If your dream is to earn enough money online to quit your job, work just a few hours a week and then spend the rest of your time doing whatever you love doing the most, I have good news. Thousands of people have done exactly this and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do it, too.
There are many, and I mean many, ways to make money online. However, the most popular is called affiliate marketing. This is where you create a website or blog and promote other company’s products and earn commissions for doing so. There are webmasters who have earned thousands of dollars with simple three and four page affiliate sites and there are others who have online stores where they promote dozens or even hundreds of different products and earn huge amounts of money.
Digital vs. physical products
The first critical decision you’ll have to make as a fledgling affiliate marketer is whether to promote digital (information) products or physical products. There are pros and cons to each. You can find dozens of information products to promote on the high paying site ClickBank.com. Information products usually offer great commissions. In fact, it is not uncommon for the product’s creator to pay you more on the sale than he or she earns. In other words, it’s easy to get commissions of 50% or even 55% on the sale of these products.
On the con side, informational products are usually more difficult to sell because they are totally intangible. Plus, they don’t have a big company standing behind them. If you want to sell information products, you have to be a reasonably good copywriter because you will need to write very strong sales copy to move your visitor from your site to the page where he or she can buy the product.
Physical products are usually easier to sell than information or digital products for several reasons. First, when a person searches on terms such as Nikon Coolpix 9600, it’s because he or she has an interest in learning about the product and maybe even buying it. Second, physical products often are brand name products backed by companies that people know and trust – like Nikon, GE, Hewlett-Packard, Steuben, Columbia Sportswear and so on.
While these products might be easier to sell, they do not offer the same high commissions as information products. The giant of affiliate marketing with the largest affiliate program is Amazon.com. When you become an Amazon Associate, you can promote any of its millions of products but will earn only a 4% commission until you’re selling more than 3,131 items a month at which time your commission would go to 8.5%. And yes, there are affiliate marketers who do sell more than 3,000 items a month and get that 8.5%. So yes, it can be done but it’s certainly not easy.
Another easy way to find high paying affiliates for a physical product is through one of the big affiliate networks such as Linkshare, Share-A-Sale or Commission Junction. These networks list hundreds of companies with affiliate programs and the commissions they pay. Depending on your category, you may be able to find affiliate programs with 8% or 10% commissions but it is rare to find commissions much higher than this.
Check the stats
When you research affiliate programs in an affiliate network, be sure to check out its average sale and average commission as this information is also critical. For example, if you were to find a product that had an average sale of $154 and a 30-day EPC (earnings per click) of $57.66 and an average commission of $10.99, this would tell you that it’s a good seller and pays an honest 10% commission.
The hardest thing about affiliate marketing may be getting started. You will need to find a niche full of ready and willing buyers who want your product and have the means to buy it. Once you do this, you’ll be well on your way towards success as an affiliate marketer.