There are lots of ways to make money online, but perhaps the most efficient way to make truly insane amounts of money is with affiliate marketing.
And that’s perhaps the biggest benefit: it’s almost like selling products without actually having to fork up the cash to build them. It also makes it easy to try a lot of different markets really quickly, testing the waters without having to really commit before you know something is working.
The other benefit, of course, is the money.
In particular, the revenue per visitor tends to be among the highest for any type of online business (although affiliate marketing is certainly still less profitable than selling your own products and services).
We discuss how to calculate revenue projections in our members area, but for now, it should do to say that for me, I earn roughly double the revenue from affiliate offers than I do from display ads, and I do that with about ⅓ of the traffic.
There are lots of ways to do it, too, and there are literally hundreds of thousands of products you could recommend.
It’s a business model that can include any number of internet marketing skills–from SEO to social media marketing to ad buying to email marketing. Some people combine several marketing disciplines into their affiliate marketing campaigns, while others focus on just one, and you can be successful either way, which makes affiliate marketing an incredibly flexible business model.
If you can’t tell, we love affiliate marketing here, and a great deal of the energy and resources we put into our businesses is dedicated to promoting affiliate offers in one form or another.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is an agreement between a company selling products and marketers whereby the company pays the marketer for referring customers (or potential customers).
For example, a company that sells helicopter rides might pay affiliates $200 for each person who buys a helicopter ride after clicking a link on the affiliate’s website.
Most of the time, those marketers will be publishers with their own websites, but there are plenty of other kinds of affiliate marketing out there, too; buying traffic with ads and sending that traffic directly to affiliate offers is another popular method, for example.
Lots of companies set up their own affiliate programs, but there are also third-party networks (e.g. ShareASale and Commission Junction) that help companies connect with affiliates and manage the payment processes. Most of the time, sales are tracked through affiliate ID numbers, which are incorporated into the links marketers share on their websites, ads, or social media accounts.
Affiliate marketing programs are available in virtually every market and with almost all kinds of products–from small digital products like eBooks to extremely high-dollar products like golf simulators.
Most of the time, payouts take one of two forms: a flat fee or a share of the revenue generated. Flat fees are awarded when a certain action is taking, and it doesn’t necessarily happen to be a sale; plenty of affiliate programs pay for leads, for example.
Other programs, however, might award marketers a share of the revenue generated from each referral; some programs will do this for the entire life of the customer.