by Ashwin Foogooa
In e-commerce, the term affiliate refers to a what we traditionally refer to as a "broker", i.e. someone who puts buyers in touch with sellers and vice-versa.
So does this mean that you can earn money as an affiliate? Yes, without any doubt. Insurance brokers, mortgage brokers, car dealers, real estate agents all earn their living out of brokering. There is absolutely no reason why you cannot make money as an affiliate.
Even better, registering as an affiliate normally does not require any investments.
However, be careful not to expect to make a living out of affiliate revenue. It is a home business that is developed rather slowly.
If you have already read the other sections of my website that contain money-making opportunities using other tools, there is not much more I can tell you here. The advice I have given elsewhere is applicable for affiliate businesses too.
Just consider the following tips too:
Always, always start your affiliate business in something you are passionate about. For example, if one of your hobbies is digital photography, consider becoming an affiliate of businesses that make money selling photography. Chances are that you will be a lot more motivated in building the business and will learn about it much more quickly. Likewise, if one of your hobbies is online poker, you might want to consider driving traffic to poker ebooks or to internet casinos;
Leverage the power of your peer group. Chances are that they are as interested as you are in the affiliate product you are selling. There is no harm in asking them whether they are interested. Also, your friends and family will be a lot more accomodating for mistakes that you make at the start; Leverage the power of your mailing list. For example, every time I transact with someone on eBay, I keep a record of their email address. In doing so, I've accumulated a mailing list of over 3,000 people around the world. And guess what? They all have some vague interest in eBay. An occasional email to all 3,000 of them with a hoplink to a "Make Money on eBay" ebook generates about 20 sales and US$500 in affiliate revenue. Not bad for an hour's work a month, is it?
Be patient. Affiliate businesses, like most businesses, are not built overnight. Persevere and you will see the rewards in about a year. The mailing list I describe in (3) above has taken me a year to compile, and there is still much more to be done;
Do not limit yourself to only one affiliate business. Subscribe to a few, but do not subscribe to all of them at once. Build one business at a time. At some point, you will be able to offer your contacts a choice of what products to buy from you. You may have a product to sell on how to make money on eBay, but there is nothing you can do if your contact is only interested in finding out how to make money using paid surveys.
Offer a service in return of buying the product you are selling. For example, I come across many people who will offer a free online poker tool if, and only if, you subscribe to a specific casino using the link they provide. This means that they are providing you an incentive to do something for free (i.e. subscribe to the casino), and they get commission in return from the casino for driving you to sign up to it;
You can even offer free, honest advice on a product before suggesting some affiliate links. For example, most of the products I refer you to on this site use my affiliate link. So if you appreciate the advice I've written, chances are that you will be a lot more amenable to buying the product. If you decide not to buy any, it doesn't matter. I've still provided a service for free on a theme that I am passionate about. So I don't feel guilty that I'm putting all my hours in the evenings and weekends developing my sites and not getting any income in return;
If you want to consider driving traffic to your affiliate product using Google Adwords, remember that it is expensive and many people may click on your link hence causing you to pay Google but not actually buying anything. This is how I lost money in the past using Google Adwords to drive traffic to an affiliate business. Remember that the best traffic is free quality traffic;
Use passive, or secondary marketing techniques. For example, every time I sent an email to a correspondent from eBay, I left my hyperlink to an internet casino in my signature. I don't care whether this generates money for me but in one year, it has provided me about US$1,500 of income!
And finally, remember that the best position to be in is not the affiliate but the business that recruits affiliates in driving traffic to them. Essentially, this often means that you have other people working to make money for you and expect you to give them a cut in return. Altogether, this means that it is almost free money to you. But it is very hard to set up such a business so I would advise you to start as an affiliate first.
Online casinos are a great source of affiliate businesses and they pay amongst the highest as well. But remember that Google Adwords does not like people driving traffic using gambling keywords;