An affiliate home based business is a legitimate, low-cost business opportunity for those with no product of their own. There are hundreds of business persons on the web who earn sizable incomes sitting in their homes. These affiliate businesse sell the products and services of other merchants. In return, those merchants pay them a commission.
You proceed as follows to start and run an affiliate home based business:
- Select the kind of product you know about – hard goods like perfumes or digital goods like software or services like web hosting.
- Search the internet for merchants selling the kind of products you have selected.
- Check whether the merchant has a reliable affiliate program. We discuss the aspects of reliability a little later.
- You join the affiliate program of the merchants you have selected.
- Promote the merchant’s product or service by, for example:
- Creating a web site that would seek to attract visitors likely to be interested in the product or service, create a favorable impression among them and send them to the merchant site.
- Creating a newsletter carrying news and views about topics of interest to prospective customers, and recommending the product or service to the newsletter readers.
- Conducting email campaigns using a targeted email addresses list of prospective customers.
- Writing articles of interest to prospective customers (containing a link to the mechant site or your web page) and getting these published by newsletters read by these prospects.
- When someone clicks through your “affiliate link” and buys, the merchant pays you a commission.
Affiliate Business Advantages
The major advantage of the affiliate business model is that it could be completely home based. The second major advantage is that it could be run at low costs. We look at these advantages in more detail below.
Home Based:All you need to start a home based affiliate business is a computer and a connection to the internet. With just these two facilities, you could:
- Find online merchants with affiliate programs.
- Join the affiliate programs by completing online forms.
- Create a Web site or newsletter, run an email campaign and submit articles to online newsletters.
- Promote your Web site or newsletter, or hire lists of email addresses for running a campaign.
- Monitor your results by going to the statistics page kept uptodate by the merchant.
- Know about the commission checks that have been mailed by the merchants.
Low Cost: The affiliate home based business costs little to run. Only the computer might cost a significant amount. (If you want to avoid this cost, move out of your home to access the Net at a public internet cafe.)
- Internet connection and recurring fees are affordable.
- Almost all affiliate programs are free to join.
- You could get a domain of your own and web hosting services at thirty or forty dollars a year.
- Web site promotion could be done at reasonable costs using the following approach:
- Learn how to optimize your Web pages for major search engines and get plenty of visitors to your site for free.
- Spend small sums on pay-per-click, ezine ads and email campaigns to increase the flow of visitors to your site.
- Get your pages listed in directories and exchange links with non-competing sites.
- Email addresses can be hired and email campaigns run, or your own newsletters sent, at little cost.
- Writing articles for ezines and submitting these at the article repository sites could be done free.
If you provide many web pages with interesting content, the above steps should generate high levels of traffic to your Web site. Be prepared to wait for several months before results begin to show.
Affiliate Business Success
If your web page content is designed to create a desire for the affiliate products or services, the visitors would click through to the merchant sites. Out of many clickthroughs, a certain percentage would buy the product. This is the critical part of the business and you might need a year or more to learn:
- How to write content that creates a desire for the product.
- How to create natural clickthrough links to the merchant sites.
- How to monitor clickthroughs and sales, and improve content and links for better results.
One common mistake new affiliates make is putting up a web site filled only with glossy graphics and promotional material provided by the merchants. The web site might even have a ‘cool’ look. However, it would be extremely difficult (and quite expensive) to bring interested visitors to such a site in large numbers.
On the other hand, search engine optimized web pages could get many visitors for free. And informative content such as product reviews and comparisons could not only create interest but also bring more visitors from word of mouth publicity by satisfied readers.
The most important ingredient for affiliate business success is high levels of traffic. Your web site must be receiving hundreds of visitors per day before you could see some tangible results. The reasons for this situation are several:
- Visitors who click through might not purchase on the first visit. If they feel interested by the merchant’s offer, they might visit the site later, when they are ready to buy. And this time they might go direct to the merchant site.
- Some visitors might actually strip your affiliate link and visit the merchant site direct.
Commision is usually paid only for purchases made while clicking through your affiliate link. It might take a hundred or more clicks before such a purchase results.
Your focus should hence be on building high levels of traffic to your site, as indicated earlier. Once you do this, there are several ways to monetize the traffic, and you might be able to expand beyond just an affiliate home based business.
Good Affiliate Programs
All affiliate programs are not likely to succeed. We have already mentioned that you should select a product or service you know and like. Only then would you be able to promote it effectively. The next step is to examine the features of the affiliate program itself.
- Is the product or service readily marketable?
- Are there too many affiliates already promoting it?
- How has the merchant arranged dependable reporting of clickthroughs from your site and sales from these?
- Does this merchant have a reputation for prompt commission payments and fair dealings?
- If the product or service is likely to be purchased repeatedly, would you get commission on subsequent sales?
- select good affiliate programs,
- for products or services you know about,
- take the time and effort to learn the small details, and
- build high levels of visitor traffic to your site,
your affiliate home based business could indeed bring you a substantial income.