The BIG QUESTION on everyone's mind is...
Can you make money on-line through affiliate programs?
The Answer is YES and YES and YES!
It is totally possible to make money on-line, there are all kinds of articles and stories about people who have been successful making money through affiliate programs. A great example is Affiliate Super Star Rosalind Gardner who makes over $ 400,000 a year. You can read a review of Rosalind's successes at http://www.bestaffiliateproducts.com/rosalind-gardner.html
There are also lots of "little guys" doing well selling affiliate products.
It has nothing to do with getting in on the ground floor in a particular program. It has nothing to do with having loads of money to market your program. Yes, you do need to have to have a marketing budget, but that is just the cost of doing business.
What it boils down to is knowing what to look for in an Affiliate Program.
More specifically, you look at programs which provide:
1. Products/Services that are in demand. This is pretty obvious, right? If you don't have a market for your products/services then you aren't going to make any money. Now, you did your research already and found that your niche idea does have a demand...so what you are doing is looking for products/services to weave into your niche site.
The best product or service to weave in, of course, is one that you have used personally. Nothing works better than giving a personal recommendation. If you can, weave in testimonials from others who have used the same product or service. That way, there is more than one voice and that goes a long way to helping a customer make a well informed buying decision.
2. Look at the Commission Structure. The BEST commission structure is one that pays you on a recurring basis. Monthly income is the best way to go but, depending on your niche, might not always be an option for you. If that's the case then do a little investigative work and check out competitor commission structures, and then, go for the one that pays you the most for a one time sale.
3. Promote more than one product/service. Now this can get a little dicey for you because you don't want to confuse your customer but, you also want to have a few options available for making a sale. Let me explain this a little better for you, by explaining what I would do using the Golf example I referred to earlier in this course.
The niche site that I suggested I would build around the "golf" niche was 'used golf equipment'. I said that I would have had some sort of a membership board where people could post their buy/sell items. That membership site would, of course, be my own product, so that means I would get 100% of the money generated by it.
I also said I could incorporate some form of comparison chart for buying used versus new golf equipment. That way if, say a specific club was selling at $150 used and maybe $185 new, then the customer would be able to decide... new versus old. I would still make the commission on the new item. See where I am going with that???
Ok, now...in addition to the golf products, I would also want to have posted some good content on my web site, as to what to look for when buying used equipment etc. I would post articles that related specifically to my niche. I would then go and apply to the Google Adsense Program and would post little ads on the article pages. If a customer came and decided to clickoff into some other site, then at least I would see a commission from the click. I may then even decide to join Amazon.com or some other online book club and pick a few good golf books to recommend.
So...one niche site and I have created 4 income streams for myself. That is what I mean by promoting more than one product or service. Essentially what you are doing is giving yourself a good well-rounded product mix.
You can specialize if you want to. For example, I know of someone who is going to build a niche site around a specific coffee machine that they feel is going to take off. The machine is made from one specific company, which is ok. So they build a site around that machine, then they go a step further and weave in the coffee that you need to buy in order to use the machine. No other company's product/service is involved, just the one specific one.
See where I am going with this? and just how powerful affiliate programs can be...IF you know how to use them in the right manner.
Ok, so let's recap what we need to look for when deciding to participate in Affiliate Programs.
1. YOU WANT programs with products/services that are IN DEMAND.
2. YOU WANT programs that pay you MONTHLY COMMISSIONS if you can have the right affiliate product. Or, at the very least, you want to shop around and find the products with the best commission rate out there.
3. YOU WANT an arsenal of programs that link or tie into one another to give you MULTIPLE INCOME STREAMS.
That is what to look for in an Affiliate Program. Now, let's cover how to find an affiliate program for your niche.
The more obvious way to do this is to go directly to the web site of the merchant who you want to work with, and see if they offer an affiliate program. If they don't ... don't worry, we have a few other places to check out. We'll find an affiliate program for you.
There are three main sites that you can use, and it just so happened we covered them yesterday in "Tools of the Niche Trade." To save you having to go back over your notes, here they are again:
1. Commission Junction http://www.cj.com
CJ is THE affiliate program directory for both physical and downloadable products. They have hundreds of merchants listed within their directory. They have also joined forces with BeFree, another affiliate directory. You can sign up for the CJ site, and then on the CJ home page you will see BFAST.
Sign up for both and then, once you are in your account, you can link them both so you get the BEST of both sites. ALL affiliates are listed, as well as their commission structures. They also provide you with banners, ads and links that you can weave into your site.
2. Clix Galore http://www.clixgalore.com/AffSelectProgram.aspx?AdvProgID=26
clixGalore has about 3500 affiliate merchants listed within their directory. From Mickey Mouse watches to Health and Nutritional Products, and everything in between.
It also is a no cost directory to join, and like CJ, they too provide you with marketing materials to incorporate into your web site.
3. ClickBank http://www.clickbank.com
ClickBank is yet another affiliate directory. It is the most popular affilate directory for downloadable products. Actually they only handle downloadable affiliate products.
Here you can make anywhere from 10% - 75% commissions on products or services you sell. Acceptable affiliate commissions today range from 25% to 55%.
The neat thing about ClickBank is that their products are listed by popularity. So, it makes your job a little easier. You can go right for the related product/service that is making the good sales.
Of course these directories will help you find the right merchant program to weave into your site in order to make money, BUT...do your homework! Find the one that is going to pay you top commissions.
Use the information you just read and apply it to ALL your niche sites and you can't go wrong!
This article is an excerpt from my 7-Day Niche Madness eCourse. It costs you nothing to sign up for it at Best Affiliate Products.
Fred Farah copyright 2004
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