You probably use products and services that you like. Of course you do! Everyone has favorites that they like. Perhaps you even wrote a rave review on a website such as Amazon.com.
When you are searching for a product to buy, you read the customer reviews, right? They’re usually very valuable for making a decision.
You can make money selling your favorite products and services to others — IF you have an online audience. The most popular way to do this is through an email newsletter but if you have a popular blog, that could work, too. A combination of both would be better.
How do affiliate programs work?
A company selling a product sets up an affiliate program. More about how that’s done in a minute. Here are the steps you need to take to make money as an affiliate for that company:
- Sign up for the affiliate program. When you’re done, you’ll get some code which contains a link to a sales page plus your personal affiliate code.
- Write a description of the product or service. You need to really sell, but without overdoing it. The best situation is when you sell a product or service that you use yourself and you can give in-depth, honest feedback about your experience and what benefits you gained. You can put the description in your blog and email newsletter. You can also put ads on your website. Many affiliate programs provide you with various-sized ad images.
- Include your affiliate link in your description by linking text. Attach your affiliate link to the ads.
- When people see your description and ads, they click — hopefully! In this way, they are using your affiliate code on the website where they purchase the product.
- The affiliate software remembers the code and gives you credit for it. Even if the person doesn’t buy right away, you may get credit, because most affiliate programs put a cookie on the person’s computer. Typically the cookie expires after 6 months.
- Each month (usually), your affiliate earnings are calculated. Most often this is a percentage of the sale but sometimes it’s a flat amount per sale.
- You get paid! The payment may come a month later or just a few days later. You may get a check in the mail but usually you’ll be paid by electronic credit to your checking account or via PayPal.
Types of affiliate programs
Some affiliate programs are sponsored by the creator of the product or service. The company might use a shopping cart-based affiliate program. That’s what I do. My shopping cart, 1ShoppingCart, includes an affiliate program.
Amazon.com has a huge affiliate program and I use it for books I’ve written that were published by major publishers. That way, when someone buys one of my books by clicking on my EllenFinkelstein.com website, I get a small commission — usually 4 – 7%.
Another method is to use a WordPress plugin. I can’t recommend any, because I’ve never used this method, but I’ve certainly been on the buying end of this type of affiliate program.
Another major type is affiliate aggregators like Commission Junction, Clickbank, and others. These sites let a product creator list a product. People who want to market the product sign up as affiliates. These sites are useful for several reasons:
- The creator doesn’t have to have his or her own affiliate program.
- A marketer can find many products to market in one place.
- The site takes care of payment (for a fee, of course).
Are you cut out to be an affiliate?
Here are some qualities that I think you need to be successful as an affiliate:
- You have traffic and readers who need products and services. For example, if your audience is passionate about the environment, they may be interested in products that can help them save energy.
- You are willing to try out products and review them
- You can write great content besides just product reviews. You won’t get much traffic if all you do is review products — although there are exceptions to that rule.
Give it a try!
If you’d like to become an EllenFinkelstein.com affiliate, go to this page and sign up! I’ll contact you soon after with more information and marketing ideas.
If you have questions, let me know — about the products themselves or about the process of being an affiliate. Just leave a comment. If the issue is private, click the Contact link at the top of this page.