Affiliate Programs: The Simple Way to Start an Online Business

By: Jez Lacey


Starting an online business it is a very daunting prospect. Some of the things to be considered are; what can you offer to your potential customers? With your own online business, the first thing you must have is a product or service to sell.

Do you have a product that you can buy or produce yourself to sell, or are you going to enter a ‘franchise’? Because selling physical products online means you are faced with making the products yourself, finding a franchise opportunity and researching wholesalers, to find a product range that you are comfortable with. Ideally you would have a working knowledge and experience of the product or service. You then need to be able to fulfil orders, package them, deal with customer enquiries, arrange and pay for shipping costs and the list goes on.

If you provide a service, then you may well have to start by offering to undertake jobs for no charge in order to get an opportunity to prove your abilities to your potential customers. This is one way of establishing credibility, and then when you are charging for your service, you are still limited by how much work you can actually handle due to time constraints.

Of course there are other options like drop shipping with all the problems that may involve.

Whichever route you choose to take, it is important to present your business in a form that shows clearly what product or service is being offered.

This involves not just building a web site, which is in itself a learning curve, there is also the need to be able to write compelling ad copy, an effective marketing plan, sorting out payment processors and cash flow, all of these things are best planned in advance for smooth implementation, for when you are setting things up for trading.

All the above systems do all have the ability to provide you with a very nice income from home, but if you want to get started on making an income from home quickly and easily, then affiliate programs are the ideal starting point, read on to discover why.

AFFILATE PROGRAMS EXPLAINED

At this point you may well be wondering what exactly ARE affiliate programs?

Essentially, an affiliate program allows you to sell another company's service or product and you would earn a commission on every sale or lead. The company for whom you are an affiliate will provide you with an affiliate link, which is a special URL code that will identify you as the source of the customer’s introduction to the company, so you can see for yourself that your marketing plan is sound and producing results. This means that the only skill you need to master initially is that of marketing, you do not even need to build a website or handle the transaction.

Affiliate programs often have tiers, which means that if someone who signs up to the affiliate program through your link is placed in your “downline” and you will then earn a percentage of any sales they make too.

HOW DO I CHOOSE AN AFFILIATE PROGRAM?

The first step in deciding on an affiliate program to promote is to research the popularity of some of your interests. You are more likely to make a success of promoting a product or something you are interested in, than something you know little or nothing about.

There are many sources to determine if people are searching for products and services in a particular field, including free ones such as the Overture keyword tool; (http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion ) and paid ones such as the word tracker service (http://www.wordtracker.com/ ).

Once you have decided on a product or service, for which there seems to be a demand and is in your scope of interest, you will need to find affiliate programs in your chosen field. This can be achieved easily by typing your chosen subject along with 'affiliate program,' into your favourite search engine and sift through the results until you find an affiliate program you like the look of. Alternatively you can search through affiliate directories such as http://www.associateprograms.com and http://www.affiliatesdirectory.com/.

Once you have found a program that interests you, ensure you read the terms of the program; take particular care to check the level of minimum payout, and when payouts occur. If payouts do not occur until you reach a high level of commission you may well never see your money.

It is a good idea to go with programs that have high commission percentage rates, as in effect you have fewer products to sell to achieve the income you desire. It is often the case that digital products; (books and software) have the highest commission rates, due to the lower costs. A good starting place for finding affiliate programs is clickbank (http://clickbank.com/ ). However these tend to be lower priced than physical goods so pick your chosen affiliate program with care!

Affiliate programs will provide you with a variety of marketing tools such as banners, classified ads, email ads and so on. They may well also have training on how to market. Then all you have to do is set off promoting your new affiliate program everywhere you can.

Once you have mastered this skill and see the income come in, you will be in a much better position to start selling your own product. Good luck!

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Jez Lacey the quiet man together with the JFC team finally shares his knowledge with you. Check out our latest ebook on affiliate programs now: affiliate Roadmap

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