I am considering starting an ebusiness using affiliate programs, but there is so much hype out there I can't figure out which programs would work best for me. Everybody claims their program is best. I'd really appreciate some guidance here.
Great question, Todd. Affiliate programs can be an excellent way to start an ebusiness. Before we dive into the specifics, let me explain how an affiliate program works.
An affiliate program simply means that you sign on as an affiliate marketer for someone else's product. It's your job to market the product, send the company customers, and get a cut each time a sale is made from your efforts. Affiliate program commissions can range from as little as 2% for high ticket items up to 50% for ebooks and informational type products.
As an example, let's say you sign up with Amazon.com's affiliate program. You are assigned an affiliate code which you use to promote Amazon's books on your website. When someone clicks to purchase an Amazon product from your website, your affiliate code is included in the URL and you get a commission for the sale. Some folks have built elaborate websites that sell nothing but Amazon.com's books, and each time they make a sale they get a piece of the pie.
One of the most appealing aspects of affiliate programs is how quickly you can begin making money. You can literally sign up as an affiliate and begin making money in minutes. I've done it, I know it works.
Admittedly, I am not an affiliate program expert, so I sought out the person that many call the Ultimate Affiliate Program Authority, Rosalind Gardner.
Rosalind Gardner began making money with affiliate programs in 1997. She has since grown her affiliate business into a $400,000 a year business and is now considered the authority on the subject. Her book 'The Super Affiliate Handbook: How to Make a Fortune Selling Other People's Stuff Online' has been out since March and is already considered by many to be the affiliate marketers bible.
I ordered Rosalind Gardner's book as research for this article and I have to tell you I found it to be one of the best books on the subject I have ever read. It's a hype-free approach to what affiliate marketing is really all about and how to make it work. The book is 270 pages and leaves no stone unturned. For anyone serious about making money with affiliate programs, I highly recommend this book.
The bottom line, Todd, is this: you can make a lot of money with affiliate programs, if you pick the right product and do your part to promote it. As for which programs would be best for you, I advise that you concentrate your efforts on one or two products instead of starting with a shotgun approach. Pick only top quality products that hold some personal interest you. Never pick an affiliate product just because you think you'll make a ton of money with it.
Remember, you are starting a business. If it's not a business that holds your interest, you won't be in business very long.
Small Business Q&A is written by veteran entrepreneur
and syndicated columnist, Tim Knox.
Tim's latest books include "Small Business Success Secrets"
and "The 30 Day Blueprint For Success!"