A Few Preliminaries about Affiliate Marketing in General
Affiliate marketing is an industry where a producer uses the services of what is known as “affiliate marketers” to promote its products or services. But to be successful, you need to learn affiliate marketing as there are many details to make it work.
The producer compiles a plan called an “affiliate program” under which criteria the affiliate marketer operates.
Look at this arrangement more like a”franchise” but on a much, much smaller scale and is instead, more like a commission-based
arrangement where the affiliate marketer receives a kick-back from each sale of the producer’s product any one affiliate marketer has made.
Pay-outs are based on a set schedule or table of percentages given
to each product times the quantity of said product sold during a period of time (usually by the month.)
Some set commissions are at generous 50% of the sale! Some are very low. The producer is responsible for taking care of all the numbers and the rules that are set.
The affiliate marketer’s responsibility is to set up a means through which promotions can be done (usually through a website)
and ethically runs the promotions, most commonly done through reviews.
Each affiliate marketer is assigned a unique affiliate link that identifies that person from the rest.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best business opportunities you are going to find online. It is popular, relatively low-cost compared to other business models, far more straight-way than the others and quite easy to work through.
How Affiliate Marketing works, from start to getting your money
However, like any reputable business, this industry does not offer rapid wealth and requires independent study.
It is almost exclusively a work-at-home business that requires a working computer, workstation and an Internet connection.
You should have a space in the home dedicated to this business and this should include basic office supplies, the workstation being a minimum.
There is an almost unending supply of affiliate marketplaces to choose from and best of all, this industry is entirely legitimate and is lucrative.
Like any reputable business, there is a learning curve therefore, training, whether independently, a classroom environment, or any other feasible learning environment available.
As for employment vs entrepreneurship, it certainly is the most popular online business model sought after by many who are transitioning from employment to entrepreneurship.
Education is important because, as simple as it sounds, to re-iterate – training is required. There are any number of ways to learn affiliate marketing but there is a recommended way for this that should be considered carefully.
Affiliate marketing is a vast industry with plenty of room for more to be involved, simply because of the endless opportunities it provides. It offers hands-on training.
This article discusses what you need to know about the industry and assumes you have some ideas about how it works.
However, its main focus is on some things you need to know to optimally learn affiliate marketing and to derive the best results from the preparations that will be discussed here.
Why Learn Affiliate marketing?
Let’s take a little time to go over why affiliate marketing is one of the very best online opportunities you can find in which to build a long-lasting and profitable business! We have a post here on learning affiliate marketing if you missed it.
Some Online Home Business Opportunities Out There
There are vast quantities of online money-making opportunities on the Internet. They all tout that boatloads of money can be earned through their methods and as such, advertise through written and video-based campaigns.
To name a few we have, multi-level marketing (MLM,) drop-shipping, surveys, binary trading, affiliate marketing, and online auctions, just to name a few.
There are myriads of home-business counterparts to brick-and-mortar business models to choose from and for sure, untapped possibilities as large as the human imagination can go, many of these in the form of membership sites. This includes health, alternative health, online stores – you name it! There are opportunities galore!
Some of these, you might know as a “business-in-a-box” are almost wholly corrupt and should be avoided. Of two from this list are most certainly avoid are binary trading and in most cases, MLM. Binary trading often touts itself as a business but is not by any means!
It is rather a gambling scheme based on which way commodities will go in the stock markets. Some of these are extremely dangerous and know this for a fact – “the house always wins!” Stay away from these unless you either have money to burn or want to do this as a past time, neither of which amount to anything!
Multilevel marketing in the vast majority of cases has a definite lifetime before they become saturated and fall, leaving those in the lowest tiers holding the bag!
Some of the others do present themselves as legitimate businesses but can be extremely hard to build a thriving business around. There are those assemblies of electronics businesses that have proven more of a risk and failure.
You will build 250-300 units of a particular product and then not get paid because they have been considered incorrectly-built … and who’s to know if this is the truth?
You lose! Then comes housing physical products or are high risk because you are liable should something happen – a fire, flood, theft, etc. We will be limiting the treatment in this article to affiliate marketing.
Affiliate Marketing is the Cream of the Crop of Online Opportunities
Whilst there are many business models to choose from, one of the easiest to start, the least expensive and, if given due diligence, most lucrative, is affiliate marketing.
This highly popular and reputable model has a very high success rate for those who put in the effort. Many reputable market places such as big-name stores and outlets have adapted what is called “affiliate programs” as described above.
Affiliate marketing has replaced traditional advertising methods and costs that were the norm for outlets. This saves these companies the bulk of the costs in advertising and brings it to a minimum.
Affiliate marketers replace advertising agents. It is a win-win proposition for both parties in the marketplace. There are numerous marketplaces where the two parties come together under one roof once again, through affiliate programs.
Affiliate marketing is known as an industry in its own right. The industry has been around on the Internet almost as long as the World Wide Web has been in existence.
Today it has been brought down to a science and has been perfected to its current state for years at this point! Most affiliate programs follow a similar presentation.
Why Affiliate Marketing Is Proven to Be the Best Choice
What is it that makes affiliate marketing your best choice? I have already provided some points above. Here they are explained…
It is lucrative. Whilst it does involve competition, it also features niches and sub-niches. These are portions of existing industries, such as dog-training, sports memorabilia, particular music, fashions, health, or more simply, the promotion of particular physical or digital goods.
Each of these would be considered “industries” in which you, the affiliate marketer promote. However, lucrativeness comes in choosing a “niche” within an industry.
The sheer volume of opportunities and choices that exist are overwhelming and to this day, no saturation in sight! Affiliate marketing is here to stay.
For example, Dog Training is an industry. To promote here would yield too much competition. To rectify this you would choose for example, How to Train a German Shepherd or a Poodle.
You will experience far less competition and at the same time, have more than enough interest in your audience of folks (niche) looking for the more specialized training!
Read more in detail explanation about a niche here.
This equates to a far more lucrative campaign for you! Sometimes it is necessary to go into a niche of a niche – or a sub-niche. In the case of Dog Training, this might mean the promotion of a very specific type of dog training for German Shepherd dogs! How do you gauge what your success rate would be in the numbers?
This is a very straightway – the search engines provide the data you need to evaluate a particular niche or sub-niche showing how many times per month a keyword has been searched, what the competition rate is, and other important particulars about the keyword.
When you create articles, reviews, etc, there are analytic tools that show you other viable keywords are in the content you have written and you can see this same data in other websites, enabling you to optimize your own content!
The value of this is that there are many, many opportunities within the Dog Training industry in and of itself. This is just one industry of many, many more!
This brings up another point – You choose what you want to promote, and the choice is yours! Your promotions become an exciting endeavor because you are working with that which interests you and that you have a great passion for!
This is a true hallmark for affiliate marketing. You are not limited in your business to something that might turn out to be a drudgery for you and you are not creating a J-O-B for yourself! Before entering into any type of business, this should be part of your considerations.
Do note this very important aspect…
In reputable opportunities, you, the affiliate marketer is free to choose which niches you are passionate about. I re-iterate that this is one of the hallmarks of the business model! Very few other online marketinng schemes, whether reputable or not, allow such freedom and if you were to happen upon an opportunity in affiliate marketing that requires you to promote what’s given to you, especially if it is a single product or service, do not follow through into the opportunity!
The Right Kind of Education Is Important for Success
This section is about the ways and means of approaching options of how you would like to receive your education on the subject of affiliate marketing and the pros and cons of each.
Sources of Education
There are two main sources of education through which you can get started. These are…
An accredited course through colleges and universities.
A reputable online training platform.
Let’s start with brick-and-mortar schools.
These are the accredited educational institutions that offer curriculum on Internet marketing. Very often you will take such courses when working to complete a business major, but it doesn’t have to be all this.
You can take just the courses you need without being awarded for the completion of a major course of study. The greatest aspect of doing it this way comes in having to complete the work in the proper order and your success is more dependent on doing the required reading, labs, etc that are associated with the course.
You will be in a classroom situation in some cases. Of course, at the time of this writing, we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may require online learning. You will still be responsible for your workload but in this case, you will not be in a classroom environment and this is negative.
Classroom environments offer one-on-one instruction when needed, usually comes with labs to perk up weak areas in your learning and, for the important thing – classroom interaction. You gain by having fellow students to work with as well, and the classroom environment is great for this!
Conventional higher educational classroom instruction in just about any subject is very expensive. You may be able to find specialized courses to learn affiliate marketing at a reasonable price, but this is extremely rare.
The greatest drawback to college-based learning is that not enough emphasis goes to affiliate marketing. It may be covered in a few, if that, classes.
If there are any prospects in education for affiliate marketing, this might be found in some business schools and maybe even a trade school. This being said, you would likely find much better prospect places to learn affiliate marketing online.
There’s then, the online route where you usually go through a program through which you learn affiliate marketing. There is usually no set deadlines in such programs unless you join one of those expensive situations where only a small number of students are taken in, these usually being highly advanced and are one-on-one.
This is not to be confused with college/university/business school-based online learning. It is completely online-based, having nothing to do with brick-and-mortar places of learning. Let’s take a look at this option…
Online Education Works Best for Online Marketing
Some of the best online marketing versions of affiliate marketing training are and are often better than what you get in a standard college course. These offer specialized training and support in the business model. They sometimes offer the next best thing to classroom interaction.
The best training platforms include member-to-member interaction through forums, chat rooms, and virtual classrooms. It is true that college education comes with such interaction (the class environment,) but where online-based training platforms shine is in those features college-based training does not.
For example, online platforms often come with website-building, writing, organizational, niche research, and search engine optimization (SEO) tools. They often come with even more than what I just listed. Some come with web hosting, including many of the bells and whistles thrown in.
The very best ones have these features as part of the premium package that is, they are not “extras” that must be purchased separately albeit, this is rare.
Online Educational Products to Avoid
There are a number of these, in spite that some of them may be on track, they are often not comprehensive enough. These most certainly include ebooks, a package with videos, or both. This is a rather dated way to go.
Whilst there are modern versions of this method of delivery, they profusely lack the quality and comprehensiveness that a platform-based (membership website) presentation can easily deliver. There will be more on these specifically directly below this Section.
Another reason to avoid kitted or packaged training is that they often do not offer support when you get stuck. They can also be very old yet look modern. All around, it is best to simply pass these by.
You should also be on the lookout for inferior offerings within the range of full-fledged platforms. Things to look for are advertising that excessively engages in the logical fallacy, “Appeal to Emotion.” This by far, isn’t the only fallacy used by tricksters into luring in what are best known as “victims.”
Let’s now look at this…
Know What You Are Getting Into
For your prospecting, I have included this section because it is very important that you choose your teachers wisely.
It is not as easy as it seems but with a few guidelines here, you should be able to make wise decisions by knowing what to look for in your search for the affiliate platform that best suits you and what you are doing.
How to Spot Which Affiliate Courses to Avoid
I put this first because it is of grave importance! Please carefully consider the following.
There are literally thousands, if not tens of thousands of affiliate marketing courses and affiliate marketing training platforms out there. Of these numbers, very, very few are actually reputable, current, or even safe to use! Let’s look at things to watch out for in the marketing campaigns for such products.
These are the advertising you get in the form of squeeze page websites with compelling text and most commonly found today – the sales video!
By all means, getting something in your email that you have not asked for, which offers such courses (and just about anything else) should be highly regarded as suspicious! This will knock out the vast quantity of danger you can bring upon yourself.
What about those you find during your web searches, etc. I will explain the most common method found in most sales videos that promote inferior and downright unsafe products. When I say “unsafe” I mean what you are getting to be worthless junk for just about every reason imaginable.
Watch out for promises of wealth, especially instant wealth. On the same token, if you are presented with images that portray mansions, laptop-on-the-beach, falling money, expensive sports cars, relaxation, and play, you are surely looking at a scam.
Throughout such videos, you may be presented with “actual” footage of the product at work, which is very easily staged, even the expensive homes, etc can be “borrowed” or rented for the production. Do NOT take anything like this seriously and your best bet is to turn away from it.
Other things to look for in such a video are the absence of what the product is. Many of these turn out upon purchase to be things like placing ads on Wikipedia, Facebook, and that sort of thing, which often violates those website’s terms of services.
Watch out for those that want you to promote a single product. When you go to leave the page and a “WAIT” notification pops up, keep on going! Usually clicking on the notification will take you to a page offering a lower price for the product or course you’ve come to.
Watch out for those “done it all for you” and “Easy Button” formats. Also, not so evident, but can be traced are the fake testimonials often found in video form (and even worse, text on the page!) The same characters have been found on other scam sites!
These testimonials are very common. They have been falsified and created on Fiverr.com, an online platform used for the creation of videos, music, and other online services and sold to folks who want them. This is almost exclusively ordered by unscrupulous online marketers. Not all services from Fiverr are for sinister purposes. This is the most popular way fake testimonials get produced! Watch out!
Very often, these offers lead to absolute junk that often does not work, and if it does, it’s not anything that hasn’t been done before and not truly a business at all! Likely, a malfunction of the product and a subsequent call to the company through email or phone produces … nothing!
Other things to watch out for are videos that do not allow you to review any part of the video at will without having to watch it over again. This is not a good sign and relies on you to pass through once, especially when some of these can be quite lengthy.
If you eliminate the emotional appeals (flaunting of wealth, the numbers given, unreasonable expectations, etc,) the rags to riches story and apparent live evidence given, calls to action, such as “turn up your speakers” and any warnings to act quickly, and you turn out little to nothing, you are looking at a scam.
If you do respond and you find yourself, right off the bat, faced with up-sells, down-sells, and other offers, back out of it and move on…
You may come across websites with affiliate marketing training without a sales video but a page full of text with bullets, etc. If you find this, you may or may not have a legitimate offer. The width of the page may be narrow and headers and other elements simply look old.
Most pages like this are long gone and mostly forgotten in the modern world of the Internet and these are usually leftovers from the past. Beware that the ordering system may still be active on these websites!
The big problem with these are, for the most part, that they are from the 1990s and 2000s. Reputable or not, you will be getting dated materials which you do not want! Good as they may have been back then, affiliate marketing training has grown with the times. Leave them be. They’re at best, historical!
Before you get involved in anything, do yourself a BIG favor – do your research before you purchase into anything. If the product is no good, you will find complaints about it right at your fingertips!
There is much, much more to this than I can present here, but what I have given you here should keep you relatively safe since the above scenario is extremely popular with scammers. You have been warned!
How to Spot Which Affiliate Courses to Consider
The first thing to note is that no affiliate training platform, course or program is perfect, but some of them do come pretty darn close!
If you find anything already mentioned in the section above in an offer you’ve been presented – even if it looks compelling, you should leave at once!
There are no reputable offerings that resort to the above methods in their marketing. Reputable offerings do not need to resort to the kinds of methods described above.
Unlike the above, a reputable course tells you outright what is in the program right there in the advertising and information pages (if it has these.) You can readily find them through reviews, which is the recommended research you should do.
Even if some of these reviews are negative, you can note where the problems lie as opposed to an outright bad program which will get more severe negative reviews. Look for success stories, income possibilities, and the advertising media itself. If it is forthright and matches fair and square with customer reviews, it is likely a good pick.
The best picks are those that lay it all out on the table, not just in what it is, but in cost and lets you know what to expect. For example, all reputable affiliate marketing programs come with the awareness that success doesn’t come overnight, that it takes work to do this (after all, this is what the training is all about), and they leave it no secret that this is required.
Look for what you get in customer service. Things to look for are support systems that work and are not only effective but are quick to provide you the answers you need and any other support systems you need within the platform. Yet another feature is that everything in the platform gets regular updates and is kept current with the times.
When you can find all of these features within a teaching program, you’ve likely scored an excellent hit!
A Few Programs Worth Looking Into…
Here are a handful of some of the best prospective learning platforms you may want to check out. One of the best of this bunch, in my opinion, and through comparison is Wealthy Affiliate. However, you may find one here or even one not mentioned that is best for you. Without further adieu, here they are…
Affiliate Marketing Courses that Have Withstood the Test of Time
Has been around for some time. This provider has had its heyday though and for many years has been a virtual ghost town. It has video courses that have not been updated in a very long time. It also sports a forum. The forum too is a ghost town.
Recently the website platform has been updated though not much else, at a quick glance, has changed. Proceed with caution! There is are free-to-join accounts but as you might expect, there’s not much to work with here except dated videos and articles.
This platform has been around for the longest. I first heard about it in 2004 but it has been around longer than this. Although it has some dated content on it, there are still success stories to this day. Pricing is nominal and is worth a look!
Started in 2005 as a glorified keyword list site that outdid all the rest, this very unique platform has developed with wild success to date! Comes with website building tools, onboard web hosting that freely includes what you would pay for anywhere else.
This amazing platform offers the whole nine yards that must be seen. Focuses on white-hat marketing and is newbie-friendly.
The uniqueness of this program comes in its famous community where help is encouraged and is done on a massive scale, making WA known to have one of the best support systems available.
Much, much more can be said of this program and is one highly recommended! Wealthy Affiliate has just about the best “Try-Before-You-Buy” programs I’ve seen, which in itself, outdoes many paid courses!
Courses Known for Positive Results
Here are three selections that look promising but are fairly recent developments…
Not been around long but has a great success rate amongst members using it. Courses however are derived through pricey up-sells. The courses do go from novice to highly advanced levels. As reviewed here.
The Affiliate Lab:
Another platform that hasn’t been around but has some solid learning to be had! Everything here seems up to date and the program stresses white-hat marketing methods that teach putting the customer first and not treating them like fish to be caught.
It has great reviews though I myself have not delved into the actual use of the program nor the pricing. The Affiliate Lab is one worth looking into.
Income School – Project 24:
Has an online community, massive training, is low-priced, features the necessary tools for writing, niche research, and campaigns that you need. The founding partners actively work with students, assuring their success being upfront with methods they have used themselves.
More Tips to Discerning Which Programs to Join
You should look for advertising that clearly tells you what the program is and what it is about. You should not see what appears to be unattainable expectations or promises in the advertising. Purported earning figures, for example, usually come in colorful, huge flashy fonts that you will make in a matter of days or even overnight yet their very income disclaimers otherwise tell you that the figures given are for entertaining purposes or apply only to the atypical.
It should tell you upfront that this will not be an overnight success story after all, reputable businesses do not become what they are overnight. They take a lot of work to build and this is true with affiliate marketing. You should not be fooled by the flaunting of wealth whether real or staged. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Watch out for those wolves that are dressed in sheep’s clothing! These come in all sizes and shapes. A multi-level-marketing business can come dressed as an affiliate marketing business model, hiding its true identity. The infamous Empower Network and its European sister are good examples of this.
These, in spite of the popularity and size that they got, grew out of the rocky soil of deceit and manipulation sprouted tall but withered away as quickly as they came into being.
One of their methods in gaining such high numbers was through manipulation – through the coercive and compelling force of calling those who declined membership “wussies.”
There are a very few out there that have withstood the test of time, have indeed delivered on their promises insofar as what their platform can do for members, but are also forthright on the fact that there is work to be done and wealth doesn’t happen at once.
A Final Note
This body of knowledge is in no way meant to scare anyone away from the industry of affiliate marketing. Instead, it is written in mind of helping you on your quest to learn affiliate marketing without fear of being ripped off and with some pointers on what to avoid and what to look for in a learning experience that will produce the effects you are looking for.
This article cannot, in any way, include everything but it does cover the basics and tries to touch upon issues that could produce undesired results or even theft of your hard-earned money.
There are training platforms out there that are high in integrity, are actually out there for your success rather than your money because their own reputation is on the line and so is your success!
I hope you have found this article to be helpful. The Internet is swarming with bad products out there and the good ones are quite hidden – if you don’t know what you are looking for.
With the points above, the desirable affiliate marketing platforms will stand out more and you should be able to discern correctly and I hope you will be better able to choose your teachers wisely, because your success in this means your success in your business, and this is what it is all about.