You've looked at all sorts of work-at-home business opportunities and have decided that affiliate marketing best fits your needs and desires. You know that you have to spend money to make money, but either your budget is very tight or you have decided to not spend a lot of money until you get your feet wet as an affiliate.
As a general rule of thumb, if you spend your money wisely, the more you spend, the less time it will take to start making money.
How do you get the most return for the least money spent? The good news is you can make money in affiliate marketing without spending one red cent.
You will need to establish a web presence and you can do that for free.
The easiest way, in my opinion, is to open a ClickBank account, choose a product you wish to promote, and get your hoplink. It's not actually "your" web presence; it's a link to the vendor site you are promoting, but you can be up and running in less than 5 minutes.
I highly recommend starting a blog. Your ISP may offer free blog space or you can create a free blog through sites such as blogger.com. There are templates available, so you don't have to know HTML, and you can be set up in a very few minutes. You can begin to establish your credibility in your niche by posting articles you have written. Search engines spiders will sniff out your content and your pages will be indexed on Google, Yahoo, et al.
To go beyond these, you will probably want to establish your own website, and this will cost you money and time. You will need a domain name and website hosting. This can be done relatively cheaply by shopping around.
You will then need to build your site. If you know HTML you can do it yourself for free, but it will take time. Or you can use website building software, such as Dreamweaver. These packages range from relatively inexpensive to quite expensive, depending on their features. They are timesavers and they can help you turn out a high quality website, but as I mentioned before, you are trading money for time.
Another option is a turnkey "Internet business in a box" solution such as Simple Money Machines (I am an affiliate for this product). They take care of the domain name, website hosting, website creation, email autoresponder and all the technology stuff that would cost you a great deal of time or a lot of money – or both – if you did it all yourself. The cost is nominal for what you get, and you can literally be up and running in 30 minutes. Give it a look by clicking on the link at the bottom of this article.
Once you have your web presence you will have to advertise to get traffic to your site. This also can be done for free or for very nominal cost.
I am a big fan of article submission. You can write articles, such as this one, and submit them to distribution services that will publish your articles for free. Webmasters are always looking for good content and they comb these sites for relevant articles. Yours will be picked up and distributed widely. If readers find your articles credible, they will click on the affiliate link at the bottom of your articles and visit your affiliate site. This takes time and multiple articles, but eventually momentum does build. An often overlooked upside to article submission is that once published, your articles will be on the Internet for a long time and many months from now someone could read one of them and click on your link.
If you like the idea of article submission but don't feel you have the talent to write high quality articles or you don't have the time, there are services that will create articles for you. Shop around and you can find some very reasonable prices. These articles will be yours to copyright and publish as you see fit.
Advertising through ezines is also an effective way to drive traffic to your site. Costs vary depending on the size, placement, and duration of your ads, so you should be able to find something that will fit your budget.
Perhaps the highest profile advertising but potentially the most expensive is pay-per-click. If you don't know what you are doing, it can eat up a lot of money very quickly with very little positive result. A good place to get your feet wet in the PPC world without breaking the bank is miva.com. Once you set up an account, the initial cost is $100.
Affiliate marketing is a vast arena, and obviously I've just barely scratched the surface. The main point I hope you take away is that if you do your homework and research carefully, you should have no problem being successful as an affiliate marketer on a limited budget.
This article may be freely reprinted or distributed in its entirety in any ezine, newsletter, blog, or website. The author's name, bio, and website link must remain intact and be included with every reproduction.
Copyright June 2007
Dale Hearn has been a software test engineer for over 19 years and a denizen of the Internet since the early 1990's. Visit http://simplewealthbuilder.smmsite.com/ for information on a step-by-step program that works for him.