It's a way to bring products and services to customers using real people like you and a it's great way to earn money. While it is not as easy as it looks, with patience and hard work it can do exactly what it promises. What is it? How is it used? Does it really earn its marketers money? Is it worth the time? And how does one learn how to do it effectively?
Affiliate marketing is a form of advertising where you, the middle man, gets paid to present products and services to potential customers of companies you become an affiliate member of. You do so by placing special links on your own web page that leads people directly to the companies. These links can either be in the form of words within web content or be in the form of advertisements on the page.
It is also used by corporations, companies, and other website owners like yourself who are looking for specific customers to visit their site and see their products. These can either pay the affiliate, directly, or through affiliate network companies such as Yahoo affiliate or Google Adsense.
It is used by people like you who want to earn money writing about something they care about, wanting to earn "rebates" on products they have purchased and written a review about, or wanting to earn additional income on a website that promotes products or services.
This type of marketing works in several ways. When used directly from the company you can choose from several different payment options depending on those offered by that company. For instance, Amazon.com not only offers cash deposited into a PayPal account, they also offer gift cards and online store credit. Other methods of payment vary from checking account deposits, PayPal deposits, or check by mail.
These payments all result from different types of action on the potential customer's side. Some methods of advertising pay you per the clicking action of the potential customer. They simply click on a link and you get paid per a certain number of clicks. Or, you get paid from the affiliate merchant only if the potential customer sets up an account, signs up for a mailing list, or stays on that company's website a certain amount of time.
The other method of payment may involve an actual purchase of the product from the company. Now some companies are quite strict in that the customer actually has to purchase the product you advertised for you to earn a percentage of the products purchase price. However, some companies also effect payment if the customer purchases anything as a direct result of clicking on the link. And other companies give the customer a time period, for instance, 24 hours from the first initial clicking action, to purchase a product from their site even if the original internet window had been closed.
While many have little or no knowledge of affiliate marketing may say that it is not worth it since all the work put into it doesn't pay off when a cost per hour ratio analysis is conducted. Others will tell you that it is since, if done right, the advertising you do today, may well be paying you years down the road, even after you have moved on to other pages or content on a web page if that original web page stays on the net. How many employers have you known to do this with work you have done for them?
Not anyone can make money from affiliate marketing. It takes a certain skills set, either instinctual or learned, and lots of dedication and hard work. Certainly, those who put a few weeks into a website project based on affiliate marketing who don't earn anything those first few weeks and then decide to quit can expect to fail and quit permanently.
People, who stick it out, do their research into organic SEO, website content needs, and learn to develop Web Pages that draw traffic organically, in addition to great SEO and informational content that provide a real service to real people who are surfing the internet; can expect to turn a profit in a month or two. While this may not be substantial at first, it can, over time, turn into a sizable income with perseverance.
Affiliate marketing is certainly the advertising of the future. With it you can bring potential customers to companies, products and services you believe in to those who seek it and money into your pocket. It is hard work, but with dedication, perseverance, and a willingness to do the research and learn about how to make it work for you. You can turn a profit from being an affiliate member. What are you waiting for? If you start today by learning the ropes as I have, you can be on your way to firing your boss soon.