My friend Rob is living the ideal life of an entrepreneur. He does what he wants, when he wants… and he has enough money to make it happen.
Right now he lives in San Francisco. He’s been there about a year. But before that he was in a beachfront condo in south Florida, which was his home base for world travels to Israel, Africa, South America, and beyond.
As you may have guessed, travel is Rob’s passion. But really he has the freedom to embrace any hobby or interest that strikes his fancy.
I mentioned Rob is an entrepreneur; specifically he’s an Internet entrepreneur. Drilling even deeper, he runs the type of online business that is easiest and cheapest to start and run.
He’s an affiliate marketer. That means he only sells other people’s products, whether it’s an investment trading service, a nutritional supplement, or a weight loss ebook. He promotes these products on his own websites with full sales letters, ads, blog posts, and more.
Each “plug” contains a unique coded link that tracks every customer Rob sends to the product creator’s website or shopping cart. If one of Rob’s readers makes a purchase – he gets a commission, from 20-100 percent depending on the product.
That’s where he makes his money. It’s hassle-free because Rob doesn’t have to fulfill orders or worry about customer service or refunds. And he certainly doesn’t have to create products and then test them in marketplace – which takes time and money.
He simply promotes proven-to-be-profitable products, often using sales copy provided by the affiliate product owner. Then he collects his commission checks every month.
The best part?
It’s all automated. So Rob sets everything up once and then, aside from checking his sites and links every once in awhile, he’s hands off. Rob told me once that during a yoga retreat a while back in India he didn’t go online for a whole month. Yet he made just as much money as he always does thanks to his affiliate arrangements.
Affiliate marketing is the best way to get started with your online business. But first you need an idea to base your business on, something that has profit potential. That’s easy to do with a little market research.
Affiliate Marketing – The Best Way to Start Selling Online
No matter what your business niche, you can find an affiliate product to promote on your website.
Big name retailers like Amazon.com and Walmart offer affiliate programs. And on large affiliate networks like Commission Junction, you’ll find big name brands like the recently added Garmin and Club Med. They also manage the affiliate programs of companies like Home Depot, Zappos, Dell, and more.
These affiliate arrangements allow you to sell physical products, everything from basketballs to beer steins.
Plus, there are a ton of smaller companies, offering everything from supplements to legal document services, out there.
If you’re interested in digital information products, check out Clickbank.com. All the products on this affiliate network are instantly downloadable, which makes them hot sellers. Another factor in the high sales is the price of the products – most of them are very cheap.
Another benefit is that Clickbank has thousands of products on their site, organized by top sellers. It’s easy to identify a product that will appeal to your target market – and find the biggest money maker to promote.
Find an Affiliate Product for Your Market
To find an affiliate program for your niche, search the big networks above. Then do a simple Google search: “YOUR NICHE affiliate program.” I’m sure you’ll be amazed by the number of results that pop up.
For example, a quick search for yoga-related products on Clickbank.com yielded 247 results, with commission averaging about 70%. Again, information products can be a great way to start your online business. I’d suggest you start with Clickbank.
But, of course, if you prefer to sell physical products try the other networks.
Scan the results to find products that have a great track record – the owners won’t be shy about telling you what sales have been. You should also see if they have sales copy you can copy and paste for your own marketing efforts. Not having to write (or have someone write) new sales copy can be a great time saver and speed you on to the part where you make money.
Then simply sign up for the affiliate program. You’ll get a log in so you can track your results (sales!). Every time you want to promote a new product, just log in to get your unique tracking link to make sure you get a commission on every sale.
Then you simply start writing articles related to that product on your blog or website, in your email newsletter, in dedicated sales letters to your subscribers, even PPC or insert ads in other online publications.
Every time somebody buys from your link – you get paid.
It can quickly turn into a very tidy passive income stream of several thousand dollars per month. And after the initial set up – you don’t have to do a thing.
Talk about “money while you sleep.”
The larger networks have stellar reputations as far as paying affiliates their full commission like clockwork.
One thing to look out for with some of the smaller companies is a delay in getting commission payments to you. Industry standard is that they should go out monthly. Again a simple Google search and a quick scan of industry forums should help you identify “problem” affiliate programs. Just avoid them, and you’ll be fine.
Affiliate marketing is the fastest and easiest way to start selling online.
1. Determine the niche for your online business if you haven’t already following the brainstorming and market research tips in my last article.
2. Search the various affiliate networks for products with great track sales records that are related to your niche.
3. Sign up for one or more affiliate programs.
4. Start marketing your affiliate products on your website, blog, newsletter, online ads, and more using your unique affiliate link.
5. Cash in every time somebody buys a product under your link.
Amazon Associates program – https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/
Walmart affiliate program – http://affiliates.walmart.com/aff_home.jsp
Commission Junction (products from brand name manufacturers and retailers) – www.cj.com
Clickbank (information products) – www.clickbank.com