Monthly Archives: January 2004

Earning money from affiliate programs

We have been discussing affiliate programs in the forum this week and although I have spoken about this type of marketing in the past, I just wanted to touch on it again….

I am sure you are all aware but just in case, affiliate programs allow you to refer visitors/subscribers/customers to someone else’s website and if your referrals purchase anything, you get a commission.  For digital products, this can be as much as 75% of the purchase cost!

Used correctly, affiliate programs can be extremely lucrative.  Used incorrectly, they will earn you absolutely nothing.  I should also add that you don’t even need a website to promote affiliate products so they are incredibly flexible.  The following tips will help you to use affiliate programs wisely and hopefully, in a way that earns you some money.

If you plan on placing affiliate links on your website (or in your newsletter), you should only link to products that are relevant to your own content.  It is a complete waste of time linking to irrelvant products just because they pay a high affiliate commission.

Always try and review the products that you link to before making any sort of recommendation – if the product sucks then this will reflect on you.

Don’t expect each affiliate link to earn you a fortune within a few weeks.  Some affiliate programs won’t make you any money at all and it is just a case of testing to see which ones work and which ones don’t.  Instead of taking the view that you want one program to earn you a thousand dollars a month, aim a little lower – maybe $50 or $100 – but work with several programs.  To illustrate this point, I promote a number of affiliate programs and each one earns me between $150 and $1000 a month.  Most of the commission payments I receive are for less than $300 a month BUT I receive lots of them.  Last month, these ‘small’ amount added up to over $3,000!!

The beauty of affiliate programs is that you don’t have to deal with customer enquiries, payment collection, delivery, complaints or any of the administration tasks that go with selling a product – the product owner does all of this for you.  Your role is simply to direct traffic to the appropriate site (sure, this is not always an easy thing to do but it does mean that this is the only thing you need to concentrate on).

Ok, so what if you don’t have a website?

No problem!  There are numerous ways of advertising your chosen affiliate program without the need for a website or newsletter.  For example, it is quite common to set up a pay-per-click advertising campaign with a company such as Google Adwords which links directly through your affiliate link to the main product website.  The visitors never even pass through your website and as long as you are earning more in affiliate commissions than you are spending in PPC fees, then this really is money for nothing.

From a personal point of view, I have been using affiliate programs to earn money for some time now and I have recently built several small websites specifically to promote affiliate products of one sort or another.  I am not looking for these sites to make me huge profits – just a couple of hundred dollars a month each.  But remember, this is a couple of hundred dollars EVERY month for doing NOTHING (once the initial site is set up).

There are so many advantages to promoting affiliate products, not least the fact that you don’t need to create your own product in the first place and there are considerable financial rewards if you get it right.

What are YOU doing?

Just before Christmas, I asked my customers and subscribers to email me and tell me about the online businesses they had set up during 2003.  My reason for doing this was so that I could include a few of the stories in this newsletter to prove that it IS possible to make money online.  I get so many emails from people saying that it is too hard and can’t be done etc that I wanted to show them that they were wrong.  Also, seeing other ‘ordinary’ people succeeding is a great motivator.

So here are five of the stories that I received…

BetterWebSpace
Keiron Skillett started his web hosting business in late 2002 and by April 2003, he had already made a profit.  By November 2003, his client base had grown to such an extent that he was able to purchase his own server for hosting (instead of reselling space on a third-party server) and in his words, ‘Business is good’.  The only downside appears to be that there are not enough hours in the day for Keiron to tackle all of the online projects that he has ideas for (something I understand only too well!)  Keiron’s goal for this year is to get the business to a level that will allow him to give up his day job.

Zashop (no longer online)
This site was started in 2003 by A K Miah.  The site sells gadgets, gifts and other gizmos.  Managing the website is now the full-time job of Mr Miah and the growth in sales have been aided significantly by the recent introduction of an affiliate program.

SubCult
After a couple of false-starts online, Adam Blair finally found a small niche with SubCult.net that provides him with a modest yet constant income that has saved him from having to get a part-time job.  Adam is a racing driver by trade but as he explained to me, unless you reach the dizzy heights of Formula One, this is not a particularly lucrative job. 

Cheap-Postcards
Rebecca started Cheap-Postcards in July 2003 and is completely self-taught in web design and the other aspects of online business (as are the vast majority of online entrepreneurs).  Despite the fact that Rebecca considers the business a long way from being finished, she has built up a good customer base and sales record.  Rebecca runs competitions for her customers and subscribers and intends to make 2004 a very busy year by making various improvements to increase traffic and sales to the site.

Winsome (no longer online)
Thelma was made redundant from her job last year and at the age of 40, she didn’t relish the prospect of getting another job.  Instead, she decided to try and go it alone and set up Winsome, a website selling Faberge products and other collectibles.  Thelma admits that she has found it hard getting traffic to the website and found it easier marketing the products on eBay – as I have said before, you don’t have to have a website to sell online, many people use eBay and other online auctions as their sole outlet.

So there you have it, five stories from people doing five very different things online – thanks to all of the above entrepreneurs for taking the time to email me.

Every week I get emails from people that have taken the first step on the path to owning their own online business and every week I get emails from people that, after a few months of work, are starting to earn a regular income from the Internet – often far in excess of what they were earning offline.