The affiliate marketing business model is very simple, it’s effectively a commission-only sales role. You sign up to a retailers program, promote their product or offer, and when the customers you send them make a purchase, you get paid your affiliate commissions. But whether affiliates make money or not depends on them choosing the right offer for the right market, and then sending enough buying traffic to that offer.
This isn’t always as simple as it sounds – popular offers will have a lot of other affiliates competing for commissions, and the affiliate schemes that have less competition might not convert as well. Choosing the wrong offer to promote is one of the reasons why up to 95% of those who start in this business, don’t make enough affiliate commissions to keep going.
Thankfully, one of the big positives of running your own affiliate marketing business is that, if you find a product or offer isn’t converting well, or there doesn’t seem to be enough demand for it no matter how much you promote it, you can quickly and easily switch to another, which will hopefully bring in more affiliate commissions.
You’re not stuck with any stock you need to get rid of cheaply, or previous customers you have to continue to service, you can simple move on and find a better proposition. Also, affiliates who concentrate on marketing digital product will usually receive much higher affiliate commission percentages, meaning they can still make good profits even if the product isn’t converting too well – and great profits if it does.
The chicken and egg problem
Some of the better, more profitable affiliate marketing opportunities, will need you to apply and be accepted before you can start promoting their offers. They are usually keen to recruit experienced affiliates who will be able to promote their clients’ products to large audiences and bring in plenty of traffic and sales.
If you’re new to affiliate marketing, you won’t have much of a track record and some retailers and affiliate networks may actually turn you down. Buy how do you get the experience they are looking for, if they won’t let you promote their offers?
There are some ways to get around this. The first option is to simply tell the network or retailer you are trying to join the truth – you are new to affiliate marketing but want to promote their offers because you feel it will be profitable for you and for their clients. Everyone has to start somewhere, and some of these networks are more than happy to give new affiliates an opportunity, even if they don’t have much experience. Or, you could start your affiliate marketing business with retailers and networks that don’t need you to apply. Clickbank is a popular choice for many new affiliates because anybody can start promoting the products on their network, and as they are digital, they pay commissions of up to 75%.
Free promotion takes time, and quick results can cost you
You may have found, or been accepted by, an affiliate scheme that has proved to be very popular, but you will only make Affiliate Commissions if you send enough people to it, so that some of them will buy – and of course, you need to send plenty of people if you want to make lots of commissions. Getting people to your offers, or generating traffic as it’s known, is one of the biggest challenges for any new affiliate marketing business. Using free traffic methods like blogs and article marketing doesn’t cost anything, but your efforts can take time to show up in directories and the search engines, and you won’t be making much money until they do.
Some affiliates want to start seeing results more quickly, and choose paid-for methods of promotion like web banners and buttons, or Pay Per Click campaigns on Google AdWords. While these are great at getting targeted traffic to your offers, almost immediately in some cases, they can be expensive. If you choose an offer that doesn’t convert or one that is very popular and has higher advertising costs because of all the competition, it can cost you a lot of money you might not have.
The best approach for many new affiliates it to actually use a mix of free and paid for traffic that works for them. The free traffic methods can be a good way of seeing if an offer is going to make you good affiliate commissions, and when it does, you can reinvest some of the profits into paid advertising, to make even more. Using several free traffic methods should get you enough initial traffic to make some affiliate commissions and test your offers before you invest in paid advertising.
There are pros and cons to starting and running your own affiliate marketing business – but this is the same for any new enterprise. If you’re aware of the potential pitfalls, you should be able to avoid them, or quickly resolve any issues when they happen, and make sure your affiliate marketing business offers real, long-term profit potential.