Affiliate Marketing: What It Is and How to Get Started


Affiliate marketing is a situation where a person signs up with a merchant to sell the merchant’s products in exchange for a portion of the sale price. This sale is called a commission.

Merchants may also offer pay per click, where the affiliate is paid for each click through, or pay per lead, where the affiliate refers someone to the merchant’s site to complete a specific action, like completing an application.

For those who don’t want to create or sell their own products, marketing affiliate programs is an easy way to get started in business quickly.

With millions of products available on the internet to sell, there are a few things you want to consider first before starting your affiliate business.

1. What is your topic?

Before you consider anything else, you want to brainstorm your first topic. There are many ways to do this.

The search engines all have some type of site, like Google Trends, or Yahoo Buzz, to show you what the hot topics are. You may choose a hot topic, or you may want to do research on topics you are interested in.

I believe in choosing topics you are interested in because you will have to do some writing like product reviews and promotional materials. It’s easier to write about something you are interested in. Just make sure there is a market for the products you want to sell.

2. What types of products do you want to sell?

There are both digital and physical products available for sale on the internet. A digital product is an electronic type of product you download to your computer like an ebook or software.

The advantage of digital products is that they offer higher commissions than physical products. The problem here is that there may not be any digital products related to the topic you choose.

3. Will you build a website? If so, what type of website will you build?

There are lots of ways to build websites from creating a simple one page website for list building or offering a product review, to creating a blog or affiliate store using some type of script.

If you’ve never built a website before, then there are a few things to learn. You may consider building a blog on free sites like WordPress or Blogger, but let me caution you here. Your site may end up deleted and then you’ve lost all of that content.

If you do decide to build a website, you’ll also need a domain name and web hosting. Do your research and get the most powerful web hosting possible for the price. You want tools like Fantastico to help you build your website and install scripts. This will make building your website a whole lot easier.

4. How will you promote?

It is easier to promote your affiliate business if you build a website, especially if you choose to write articles. The reason is that most article directories won’t accept articles that have affiliate links in the resource box.

The same applies to some free classified ad sites: some don’t allow you to use an affiliate link in your ad. That doesn’t mean there aren’t sites that won’t accept affiliate links. You will simply need to do a little research.

There are plenty of free ways to promote your new affiliate business if you have a website: search engine optimization, article writing, free classifieds, free ebooks, social marketing.

Consider what you like to do first. If you’re very social, you may find social marketing the way to go. If you like sharing information, consider articles. With free classifieds, it’s easy because classified advertising is something we are all familiar with offline.

Regardless of which technique you choose, remember to build your list so you may market to your visitors more than one time. This will help you recycle your traffic and get more from your traffic building efforts.

Like these tips? Then sign up for my free Affiliate Marketing Guide to get tips and free ebooks for starting your first affiliate business. Learn How to REALLY Start Your Business in 30 days: free ebusiness course.

Jinger Jarrett is the author of “Internet Marketing to GO! Cashing in on Online Business,” available on Amazon.