Have you ever recommended a restaurant, movie, or CD to a friend? If so, you're already an experienced Affiliate marketer.
Chances are, you didn't receive a commission check for recommending any of those things, but you can now earn a generous commission by recommending the products of other Internet marketers as one of their affiliates.
The term "associates" is also sometimes used, but it means exactly the same thing. You are referring potential customers in exchange for a commission if they buy something.
Affiliate programs have flourished on the Internet, largely due to the ease with which they can be created and operated and the relative ease with which someone can arrange to become an affiliate.
There are three basic ways to become an affiliate. The easiest way, both for the affiliate and for the vendor is what is known as automatic affiliate enrollment. That means that to become an affiliate, you don't have to formally join anything or fill out an opt-in form. This approach has become extremely popular recently, largely due to the hugely popular script called the $7 script developed and promoted by Jonathan Leger.
That script allows anyone to append a Paypal address to the URL of the product's sales page and when some buys from that link, the affiliate's commission is deposited directly into his or her Paypal account.
The second approach to an affiliate program involves formally applying by filling out and submitting an opt-in form, which may or may not require approval by the vendor before the applicant is accepted as an affiliate. A third approach is used by affiliate programs for which a prospective affiliate must either buy the product or be personally invited in order to be eligible to apply to become an affiliate.
For downloadable information products, the affiliate's commission is typically 40% to 50%, but can be as high as 75% to 100%. You read that right! I said up to 100%. How can this be? The answer lies in something called the Lifetime Value of a customer.
For example, if you promote one of my products as an affiliate, I may choose to make little or no profit on the Front End, hoping to make a lot of profit on the Back End, by offering the customer other products and services, either immediately after the initial sale or later on. In effect, this technique gives me the ability to acquire valuable potential customers WITHOUT cost or even negative cost, that is actually making a profit in the process of acquiring the lead. Moreover, these are very high-quality leads, because they are actually qualified buyers who have just proven that they are interested in the niche in which I'm doing business.
Even if I give my affiliates most of the profit on the initial sale, if I make ANY profit at all, my cost of acquiring the lead is then actually less than ZERO. As the owner of an affiliate program, this system works very well for me. Even in the worst case, where I give an affiliate 100% commission, my cost of acquiring the lead is still essentially ZERO.
One of the many great benefits of offering downloadable information products is that the cost of production and distribution is close to ZERO. So, if I promote a product through affiliates, my cost for producing, promoting, and distributing it is close to ZERO. This is especially true for products promoted through Clickbank, which provides an easy and efficient way for prospective affiliates to find out about and promote my products.
Affiliate marketing is also a great opportunity for affiliates, who are spared the need to develop or procure the product or create a sales page. Moreover, affiliates don't even need a merchant account, which is often difficult to obtain when just starting out. In addition, the affiliate is freed from the responsibility of delivering and supporting the product. The affiliates sole task is to promote the product online or offline.
Copyright 2007 Richard N. Rubinstein, M.D.
Dr. Rubinstein is a practicing psychiatrist who has replaced the income from his lucrative medical practice through online marketing. He not only offers a wide range of affiliate products on dozens of websites, but he also teaches Internet marketing through an online multi-media training program (http://doctorduplicator.com/ycmylo) as well as a personal mentoring program.