Affiliate Marketing - My Best Decision
When I decided to quit my job and start an internet business, I was clueless. I researched and found several viable opportunities however the more I read, the more I realized how difficult this was going to be. I did not have a product and was in no position to create one. I had it in my head I wanted to sell something so I started out in the drop shipping business.
I researched wholesalers that were willing to drop ship and found a few. I built a simple yahoo! site, created a merchant account, got my resellers license and voila, I was in business. Did I get a sale? Nope, because I did not know how the internet worked with regards to website marketing. No one could find my site and I was a marketing failure.
Because my site didn't sell anything, I gave up and continued on the research path. I slowly learned about how to market my site but wasn't sure I wanted to stick with drop shipping. My site costs combined with credit card merchant costs and plain old competition didn't really leave me with much profit. I realized I still had much to learn.
I went back to the research drawing board and joined a few forums to learn what else I might be able to do. At that time I learned about affiliate programs. I met people I trusted and admired who promoted affiliate programs. I asked a lot of questions and began my research. Affiliate marketing appealed to me. I didn't need a merchant account, I didn't need inventory, I didn't need my own product and I could even get away without a website. Wow, how good is that? So off I went.
As I began to research I found the best selling products were informational products and the best commissions were internet marketing products. Because I was familiar with setting up a website previously I decided to set up another site to list of all my affiliate sales products. I fell into the trap that most new web business owners fall into. Setting up a 'How to Market on the internet site'. I liked it because I was familiar with it and I had purchased some of the products through my research. So why not? Well, simply put there is too much competition in that category. I still have my site today but my sales are minimal. I offer only products that I trust and many of them I use but it's not a business path I'd recommend to someone starting out, particularly because many beginners tend to gravitate there. There are lots of other things that have good marketing potential. Affiliate marketing can be successfully applied to almost any product on the net.
If researched carefully and applied correctly, affiliate sales can be a very profitable internet business. The object is to find something you can sell and promote for merchants that will offer you a commission to sell it. You don't have to carry inventory, collect money, worry about delivery or even have a website (although a website is a good idea), but you're going to have to think about what products best suit you with regard to sales. I feel it's best to sell things that you like. Things you're interested in or have a fetish about. For instance, let's say you love crystal. If you love it then you probably know something about it, but more importantly you will enjoy researching it and offering it to someone else.
Next, research web businesses that sell crystal and offer affiliate programs. I recommend using Commission Junction or Linkshare. Keep in mind that the sites you select can sell other things, however you're focusing on just crystal. Find several sites and apply to them all. Most affiliate programs are free. A note to the wise, be sure to read the affiliate agreements and understand their rules. They are not all the same.
Once you've signed up for the programs of your choice, pay per click (PPC) search engines are the best and easiest way to sell your affiliate products. You can promote each product individually or you can promote them all by building a website and promoting your website. Again, be sure to read the agreements as some affiliate programs restrict affiliates offering their competition on the same website. This isn't true for all of them but you want to stay aware.
To get started you'll need to set up accounts with PPC search engines such as Google, Overture and Findwhat. Research how they work and set up some simple ad campaigns to start. You will also need to research keywords and what words cost the least and are the most effective. This is a topic for another article, however time spent and proper research tools such as Overture's view bids and search term suggestion tools will help keep your costs low and your profits high. By the way, use each of the keyword tools provided by each PPC search engine; this will help guide you as to what keywords to use. Keywords entered by users can differ from search engine to search engine.
If you choose to build a website, keep your sight on topic. Getting back to our crystal example, keep your site focused on crystal or glassware, don't throw in pictures or garden chairs. The worst mistake you can make is being everything to everyone. I know; I've made that mistake.
Offer information such as types of types of crystal, how it's made, textures, weight, where it's made, history of crystal, etc. Concentrate on offering information. If you give people valuable information on something they're more likely to buy it.
Of course crystal is just an example; you can apply the same principles to sofas, bicycles, computers, toys or whatever you might take pleasure in. Give it some quality thought, research carefully and take your time. If it's something you enjoy, you'll enjoy your business.
About The Author
Elizabeth McGee is the owner of Pro-Marketing-Online, the Expert Marketing Tools site. If you wish to learn more about how to market online from the experts and find expert, trusted tools for promoting your site then please visit Pro-Marketing-Online or subscribe to her newsletter found at www.pro-marketing-online.com" target="_new">http://www.pro-marketing-online.com or email Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org
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