In simple terms, affiliate marketing is when you earn commissions for recommending products/services to readers (or people you know). This is done by joining affiliate programs, where you get unique links (tagged with your personal ID) that tracks whenever your links convert to a sale. If someone out there buys something through your link, it rains money. Or, well, usually a smallll percentage of the sale, but it’s a start!
Niche — Unless you’re Amazon, people don’t come to your site looking to buy both weed-wackers and moisturizing cream. Most websites have their products narrowed down to a specific genre, such as fashion, health, petcare, etc. If you’re wanting to go into affiliate marketing, your first plan of action is to determine what you’re selling. This step comes first because so many subsequent decisions depend on this answer. The type of website you make, the type of audience with which you engage, all of these are heavily influenced by your niche. If you’re having trouble deciding where to focus, do some introspective thinking to determine what you’re passionate about.
When you get started in setting up your affiliate marketing business model, keep in mind you’re not just developing a website. You’re growing a business, so treat it as such! The vast majority of successful businesses in the world began with a solid business plan. Affiliate marketing is no different. If you don’t have a quality and profitable affiliate marketing business model planned out ahead of time, you will probably never succeed.
Market research/networking — When you become an affiliate marketer, you are hoping to establish yourself as a voice of authority in that specific industry or niche. In order to do so, you need to have a good grasp on who you’re talking to. Who are you trying to sell these products to? What kinds of copy or advertisements do they respond to? Do they prefer email marketing over social media marketing, or vice versa? Market research is a part of any advertising strategy.
As each state is different, I can only tell you about federal requirements in general. A limited liability company (LLC) is composed of members. When an LLC is composed of only one member, by default, it is disregarded for federal income tax purposes. This means the member will report all the activities of the LLC in Schedule C, just as a sole proprietor would, and attach Schedule C to the member’s personal income tax return, or Form 1040.
I did a lot of research to find the right one, and so I chose Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner (as I mentioned earlier). I figured it made sense to learn from the best, and with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, I had nothing to lose. I chat WAY more in-depth about it in my review here, but this course was definitely a gamechanger for me.
Clickbank is one of the most popular affiliate marketing program that deals with digital products such as eBooks. This website has been around for many years and is among the first affiliate websites on the internet. Another great thing about this site is that it lets all people from different occupations to sign up for a free account. Once you sign up for the account, you will have an access to millions of eBooks that other members are selling. The quality of many of the items within the Clickbank affiliate program is debatable. But, the commissions are far and above many of the others on this list and much of the reason it is rated highly within this article is history and ease of use.
Affiliate marketing has a very low barrier to entry; many merchants accept everyone who applies for affiliation. Some forms of affiliate marketing don't even require the affiliate to have a website. This creates a very high level of competition, especially for particularly profitable offers. In forums where affiliates participate, there are frequent claims of commission theft or hijacking by other affiliates and even by merchants. A cookie system that credits the sale to the last link clicked makes these actions more likely.
Actually, I got started online back in the early 2000s (!) by selling Japanese games, comics and other Japanese gear, which involved packing and shipping the orders myself. (I was amazed when my website about Japanese mahjong sets began to get orders. At that time I knew nothing about "keywords" and simply wrote a few blog posts on the topic and put up a sales page with Paypal buttons - and it worked!)
Commission Junction — This site serves as a clearinghouse for thousands of companies and small businesses looking to get into the affiliate business. It offers myriad affiliate programs, but you must apply separately to each one. Payout rates vary wildly, up to 50 percent, and some commissions are based on leads or clicks vs. sales. Frustratingly, Commission Junction deducts $10 from your accrued earnings for every month in which you don’t actively earn commissions; if you let your account lapse, your income could get wiped out.
Russell Brunson teaches you how to turn leads into qualified subscribers. The strategy then goes into turning those subscribers into buyers and teaches you how to identify hyperactive buyers to build your business around them. This approach allows you to build a business as an affiliate rather than giving away your leads and customers to merchants.