When new online marketers think about “Affiliate Marketing”, they think primarily in terms of marketing the products and services created by other businesses they have come across. You can make good online incomes doing this sort of thing. You find good products from good companies that you trust to pay you, and you promote those items far and wide using whatever strategies you can think of, websites, forums, social media sites, video adds, e-mails, etc. and you build an income stream for yourself online.
Exponential growth in your online business is difficult to achieve utilizing this strategy, but as you work, you can create a comfortable at-home income for yourself doing it.
Yet, there is a totally second side to this coin. Perhaps you as an entrepreneur should also be thinking about creating your own online assets and then finding entrepreneurs utilizing the above business model to sell your assets for you. As a small entrepreneur, you can succeed at this just as the bigger corporate entities can – you just need a focus, a niche, a strategy, some drive and you need to work at bringing people closer to you that you can share a vision with and that you can then collaboratively, present your product or services portfolio to the world and you can all make money at it.
You won’t be able to initiate this sort of strategy immediately if you wish to sell your own products as you start to work for yourself as you have no products of your own to promote and sell. You first need to build these and then roll them out after they have been created.
But you can start almost immediately looking for affiliates to help sell your services if you are wanting to trade your time for money directly. Let people know what your service chargeout rate is and what percentage of this rate they can get if they promote you to others. This is how professional consulting and freelancing service models have worked for years. The only downside to this is that you are still trading time for money. You only get paid when you physically work to create something for someone else and the time you take at doing this takes away from time you could be using to build your own passive income business; one where you do not directly have to trade your time for an income. You don’t get to wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, go to your computer and see how much money you have made since the last time you logged on.
So now let’s look at affiliate marketing from a product provision perspective where you can actually earn a passive income from products you create. If you have budget, product creation skills (such as programming, web and database development skills for example) coupled with good product ideas and possibly investors at hand, you can build and sell physical products that have taken time and money to create and then you can go after the affiliate world to help sell it. But this usually takes a considerable amount of time and money.
What if you have neither? You want to create something you can sell and get others to sell for you but you don’t have any product development teams at hand or budget, etc. You are a “one-person-band” creating online and wanting to make a good and growing passive income. The logical fallout to what you can achieve is to create “Knowledgeware” products of some sort that people will purchase and affiliates will want to market for you.
If all you want to do is create the product and then have others sell it for you without you directly having to support your product, work with and directly grow your own affiliate base, then you are looking at doing things like:
- Writing E-Books and self-published paperbound books on sites like Amazon, Create Space and Ingram Spark.
- Creating online training courses and publishing them on sites like Udemy, SkillShare, etc. where the sites themselves and the site’s affiliate members sell your created Knowledgeware products for you.
This can make you an income and even a growing income over time but your trade-off here is that you are giving away the greater parts of each sale to those hosting/marketing websites and the affiliates that they work with. Your net take-home revenue is much lower than the full retail value of the product on each sale – yet your benefit is that you have very little work to do to market your product as they are taking care of that for you. Create enough products and a decent passive, monthly revenue stream can be generated.
This brings us to the final business model for selling your products online. One where you choose to be in complete control of your product and marketing it, bringing in your own affiliates. Now you can keep most of the money for your products yourself except what you choose to give away to your own affiliates which will increase your per product profit margins. This model has the potential for the most exponential revenue growth for your business but it will take the most work to create and manage, at least in the first year or two.
You will find there are several things you will need to build out to be successful under this model. The list below may seem daunting to you, and I have by no means listed everything you will find you need to do, but if you want to attain the real growth in your business and the higher levels of incomes that are possible, all the tasks I include below are things you will need to work on. Here is my list:
- Create products that trend well and sell well – probably of a “Knowledgeware” variety sort and hopefully, easily downloadable from the Internet or easily distributable to your target markets.
- A website to showcase and sell your created products.
- Information on each of your products consumers can use to make decisions with.
- Product promotional e-mails and advertising/promotional videos.
- An affiliate signup process and revenue sharing model – and this should be automated.
- Affiliate training documentation and videos.
- Tools you create to help your affiliates sell your products such as: logos, banner and other adds, advertising copy, trackable hyperlink codes for each affiliate so as they sell, they will automatically get tracked in your system and can get paid. This needs to be fully automated.
- Auto-responder set up informational e-mails geared to supporting your affiliates.
- Methods to facilitate easy communication with your affiliates when they have questions or run into issues.
- Programs put in place that enable additional incomes or bonuses for your affiliates if they bring in even more affiliates to your business.
- Sometimes, you may also even be wanting to build in the capability of generating “affiliate brandable” websites that you host to aid them in their marketing and sales efforts – but you can evolve to this.
- The building of promotional videos that affiliates can use and distribute themselves to help them promote your products and business.
So this last method of generating affiliate revenues for your business is significantly more work that the other methods discussed in this lecture. It is something you evolve to in your business once you have created a substantial and saleable product portfolio.
But here is where the real money is in affiliate marketing. This is how you can work hard for a few years to build a strong online business capable of generating for you a significant monthly income.