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A Guide to Making Money from Affiliate Programs

Are you looking to make money from affiliate programs? Yes its possible to make money online being an affiliate of a company – and do this even now. I myself am making money as an affiliate since 2003. You need to know something before you try your luck as an affiliate to generate income.

This guide will help you to be a better affiliate marketer.

A small note for people who don’t know what affiliate marketing is:

An affiliate of a company is someone who sells the products or services of a company mostly online and in turn gets a commission for it. Commission varies from 5% (products sales, Amazon sales etc.) up to 75% (eBook sales from ClickBank etc.). Sometimes the merchant pays a fixed dollar amount for a lead generation like sign up for a newsletter/promotion or applying for loans etc.

How do you become an affiliate?

You may have seen “Affiliate Program” or just “Affiliates” link at the footer of some websites. If you click on that link you will be taken to a page where you can submit a form to apply for their affiliate program. The company will then review your application and approve or disapprove your application. If approved they will give you a special link (and/or phone no.) to promote their products. This special link or phone no. will help to track the sales you make. At the end of the month they will send you a check for the commissions you made.

Their are some brokers in this industry as well like ClickBank. You can sign up with them and if approved you can choose the products listed there that you may want to promote. No need to sign up again with the merchant. Since you can promote any number of products with them, they combine your commission and send you a single check. This is more popular than the previous one. This is because with one sign up the affiliates can promote hundreds of products and get paid by one company instead of tracking many companies for payments.

This is good for companies as well as they too need to pay only one company for affiliate sales at the end of the month. Accounting gets easy for everyone involved. The only problem is the broker keeps a small percentage of the affiliates’ income as the company’s expenses and send the rest to the affiliate. The affiliate does not know exactly how much the broker keeps from their commission but the percentage is too small to bother.

An affiliate need to adhere to all the terms and condition of the merchant while promoting their products. If they do not, the merchant or the affiliate broking company may cancel the agreement with them. After that the special URL that the affiliate got may not work or the sales will not be tracked.

Now read this before you try your luck at affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is increasingly becoming very hard as a business. Frankly affiliate marketing should not be called as a business because the affiliate does not own or develop any product. They only market and sell a merchant’s products or services and keep the commission. Once the merchant closes their business or are not interested to do business with an affiliate – their income also stops. Moreover since affiliate marketing has a very easy entry level (anybody can sign up as an affiliate) – the competition is fierce.

If you are a successful affiliate, other affiliates (and sometimes even merchants) will copy your marketing tricks like landing page design, advertising keywords and other methods of promotion. When this starts happening the successful affiliates income also goes down. Which means even the profitable campaigns have a shelf life. And frankly their life is no more than 6-12 months, sometimes even 3-4 days. So once a profitable campaign stops being profitable – the affiliate has to start looking for other products to promote. In other words they start from scratch. This keeps happening throughout the affiliate marketing business life.

Unfortunately the affiliate-copying-affiliate is so rampant in the market place that it gave birth to businesses that specialize in telling which affiliate is running which campaigns, where and using what landing pages. Since there are many such businesses online, copying a successful affiliate has become very easy. Even if the successful affiliates hide their income – its known to the merchants and their affiliate managers. Do you think these people will keep quite when they know very well what exactly to do to make money?

Its quite common to see the merchant’s kicking out a successful affiliate and trying their methods of promotion on their own. They want to save the commissions paid.

That is one side of the story. Here is another side.

When I started affiliate marketing in 2003, I could virtually sign up with any merchant, create a bad looking landing page myself and get clicks from Google AdWords for as low as five cents. Yes you read that right. One targeted click from none other than Google for just 5 cents. If the conversion rate was 2% and per sale commission was around $15-$35, you can guess how easy it was to make money 🙂 and since there was little competition you could scale your campaigns to whatever budget you could spend.

It was same with Yahoo. Clicks were cheaper but the quality of traffic from Yahoo was not that great. Some other three tier advertising platforms too were producing great results. I had great results with 123Search. They are no more into business. I could get traffic from them for as low as a cent.

So why am I telling you all this? That is because everything that you read in the above 2 paragraphs is no more in existence. It has become very difficult if not impossible to advertise in Google for affiliates. Some people say Google straight away rejects affiliates’ URL. This is not true. If your URL adheres to all the Google AdWords advertising policies they will approve your ad. However be ready to fight against the merchant themselves. Most merchant nowadays do not allow direct linking to their website through the three major search engines – Google, Yahoo and Bing. In that case you won’t be able to direct link from these search engines.

If you have a website – you can advertise that website through these search engines, and have your affiliate link in your landing page, but your website has to be excellent to be able to be approved for advertising. If they disapprove you will have a lot of work to do before you can get approved.

Moreover your account in Google and Bing may get banned if you have submitted a website (or affiliate URL) that goes severely against their advertising policies. Like promoting health hazardous products, rebills, adult websites, gambling, scams, software downloads etc. You have to be very careful before you press the submit button, else you may lose your account for ever.

The three tier search engines too have become so bad that most of them send 99% software generated clicks. The one genuine click will be of very low quality. You will not get a single sale with them even if you spend thousands of dollars. They will show clicks and take their money and you will be lurching in the dark as to why sales or leads are not happening.

Things have come to that level.

But there are people who are still making money as an affiliate. (You can smile now :))

Whenever I see a chance, I too jump into it. And I have websites that still give me good traffic from the search engines and I make money from there.

I do read a lot of forums and still find affiliates making more than USD $100,000.00 profits per month. And they say they know people making more than that per month. I don’t know how much of that is true, but I know a couple of guys making more than USD $50,000 profits per month through affiliate programs.

But most have them have a website and have their own products to sell as well. Combined they make more than 50k – but still a significant income here is from the affiliate programs.

You are here to learn how do you make money from affiliate program, right? And must be wondering why am I telling you all this? Its because you should know what exactly is happening right now in affiliate business world, so that you are better determined and knowledgeable before getting your hands dirty to try this business.

In the very near future I will start writing articles to help you get all the information to make money from affiliate programs. It will be free so please bookmark this site or subscribe to the newsletter.

I promise that you will learn a lot and all of that for free.

I am keeping my promise. Here are the articles. More to follow.

1. How Does an Affiliate Makes Money – Read how you can make money as an affiliate and where are the places to get started as an affiliate.

2. How To Get a Domain Name and a Website for Newbies – In this article you will learn why a website is important for getting into affiliate business and how you can get a domain. You will also learn what type of domain you should get.

3. How to Get a Reliable and Cheap Web Hosting Company – In this article you will learn how you can get a reliable and cheap web hosting company to host your first website. You will be happy to know it will cost you less than $100 per year to host unlimited number of websites for life.

4. Get a Website Designed For Free and be Proud of It – You need not spend a dime to get your first website designed. You can install wordpress (a world class platform to blog), and download some free themes available online to get a great looking site. Or you can buy an affordable theme that’s very easy to help you make changes to the design of your site.

5. Learn What Content You Should Write in Your Website – Just a great looking site will not get visitors. You need to write something to get visitors come from various places to read what you have written. This article will help you to know what to write, how much to write and how long so that your website starts getting top ranks in the search engines.

6. Link Building Strategies – Learn interesting ways to build links for your website. Contrary to what people say, links are still a major part of search engine optimization strategy. The quality of links count. If you can get even a few links from good websites in the same or relevant business as your website – these links will get to get your website top ranks in search engines.

7. Promote Your Website Content – Learn easy ways to promote your content using popular social media platforms. Here you will learn how you can get genuine traffic from Twitter and Facebook account. These methods will help you to get traffic from sources other than the search engines. In fact these are even more quality traffic because these people will know about your website and you can build a relationship with them. Soft promotion will help you to get customers through social media.

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