Affiliate programs are probably the best return for your effort with the least demand on your time. This has appeal as a retirement job since we want to run our business and not have it run us. We want to have plenty of time to “kick back and smell the roses”.
The attraction to this model is that it is virtually risk free except for your time. It costs you nothing to sign up as an affiliate (Beware of any program with a front end charge). You recommend the product and send your visitors to the website where the product is sold. If the customer purchases the product, you are paid a commission. Amazon.com is credited with developing the first large scale program on the Net and now all major companies have affiliate programs.
How easy is this? You are promoting an existing product. You do not stock inventory. You do not have to take an order or ship the product. You do not have to worry about customer service and answering emails. Your affiliate merchant does that for you.
How does it work?
When you sign up as an affiliate, you will be given an affiliate number and a special link to give your reader for linking to the affiliate website. This link will send your reader to the business site and at the same time tell the business that you sent the visitor so you will receive the commission in the case of a sale.
As an example take a look at our eBay affiliate link. Hover your cursor over this link
and look at the URL in the bottom left corner of the browser screen (Using Internet Explorer). The link has a string of numbers in it. This link is called a “hop link” since it goes to an intermediate website that does the accounting for the affiliate program. It records the affiliate ID which is one of the numbers in the link and then passes the visitor on to the proper eBay page. It takes place so fast that the visitor is not aware that the intermediate step has taken place.
Who does all this accounting?
There are companies that do the accounting and act as the coordinator between affiliates and the companies they represent. These are called affiliate program providers (APP’s). One of the major sites for handling affiliate accounting is called Commission Junction. The major site for electronic products is ClickBank. Other sites are BeFree, Linkshare, and Performics. A German APP is Affili.net.
How do I get paid?
The reason that you are reading the information on this site is to generate supplemental retirement income. You want to see money flowing into your bank account, Right? When you set up your account with your chosen APP site, you specify your business bank account. On the designated payment dates, an electronic funds transfer will occur and the funds will be deposited in your account. When you set this up properly, it is almost on autopilot.
How do I find affiliate programs?
You almost don’t have to find these programs, they will find you. That statement may be a little far fetched, but if you go to Google and type in “affiliate programs” you will be inundated with selections of every possible affiliate under the sun.
We recommend two places to learn about these programs or products. For hardgoods and services, we recommend Commission Junction and for eGoods (online books, programs, software, etc.), we recommend ClickBank.
We have created separate pages for each one of these program providers to properly cover the information involved with each.
Affiliate programs must be coupled with another activity to make money. You can become an affiliate of multiple programs, but unless you have a way to drive the potential customer to the affiliate site to click a “Buy Button”, you will not make a dime.
The programs are best coupled with publishing (Covered in another section of this site). You make a recommendation to your readers in your newsletter or on your website to try an item sold by one of your affiliates.
You can couple these programs with Google Adwords or Yahoo Search Marketing. This is called pay per click advertising and is an excellent way to direct your reader to an affiliate site.
Remember this! The biggest challenge is to couple the affiliate program with an activity that attracts quality traffic to your site or publication so you can in turn direct the reader to the affiliate site.
In summary, these programs can make you supplemental retirement income, but it takes work to pick the right program, and write the right copy to entice the reader to buy. That is not too difficult and you do it once and you are on your way.
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