Affiliate marketing is an interesting concept that many are unfamiliar with. In a nutshell, it is advertising. If you are an affiliate marketer, you advertise for other companies in various ways. Either through your own website, writing articles, email lists or other creating ideas. If you have a website or blog that gets some traffic, you may be able to make money with it!
Basically, you visit various online stores and services and many of them will have an affiliate program. It is often in small print toward the bottom of the page. Most times you can sign up to be an affiliate for free. Many stores/services go through other companies to handle their affiliate marketing such as Commission Junction, Linkshare, Shareasale and many others. When this is the case, you will have to sign up with those companies and apply to be an affiliate. It is really easy to get accepted into some programs and more challenging to be accepted into others. If you find you are having a hard time getting accepted, your state laws interfere with becoming an affiliate of some companies, or you just have a hard time keeping up with all the various companies then check out Viglink, it allows you to monetize your entire site with whatever company or product you choose (as long as that company is in their database). They do take 25% of your profit however, it is very convenient and does make things come together so you don't have to organize all the information yourself. Once you are accepted, the companies pay you a certain percentage of sales that you send to their website via your marketing methods (website, blog, email, articles, etc.).
You can invest a ton of money getting started in affiliate marketing or you can get started for almost nothing if you use free websites hosting (search google for free website hosting or free blog hosting). It is fairly simple to get started once you learn the basics on how to set up the blog or website on these specific sites. You will have to teach yourself some very basic HTML code or do what I do and google what you need to know. You can pretty much find out how to do everything by being very specific with Google on what you are looking for.
There are a lot of affililate marketing educational programs. Don't be fooled into buying them all. To get started, it is a good idea to get a basic guide to help teach you step by step on what to do. Once you get the basics down, just get started and keep working. If you keep searching for the easy way out, you aren't going to find it. Don't fall for all the flashy ads with the people advertising that you are going to make thousands of dollars if you just buy their program. While it is possible to make that much money with affiliate marketing, it takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to get there. Affiliate marketing is one of those things that works if you stick your mind to it and keep trying even when things don't seem successful at first.
Affiliate Marketing with Physical Products
I feel that doing affiliate marketing with physical products is a fairly easy way to start making some money with affiliate marketing. You are advertising solid products that people are actually looking for. This makes these sales easy if you can find a specific niche and build a very specific website around it. Learn some SEO to get that website to the front page of google or do article marketing in which you write articles specific to a product you are interested in selling for various article directories such as ezinearticles.com, streetarticles.com, goarticles.com and many more. One problem with marketing physical products is that a few states are trying to pass laws that cause companies to charge a states sales tax for those who buy a product through an affiliate marketer that is from that state. Because of this, places like Amazon.com and Overstock.com are not allowing affiliates in those states. There are ways around it however, you can still be an affiliate with other places that already have a physical presence in those states such as Walmart and Barnes & Nobles (and many others).
Affiliate Marketing with Digital Products and Services
Affiliate marketing with digital products and services seems to be a bit more challenging to me but the percentage paid to the affiliate marketer tend to be quite a bit higher. While the average percentage you can make on physical products is 2-15%, the percentage you can make on digital products is up to 75% and services can be a great thing to get into as you get the recurring income with them. Say if someone signs up for web hosting for example. Many web hosting companies will pay a recurring commission meaning you get that commission every month until that member stops hosting with them! This is a great way to build an income that keeps on coming with less work involved after the initial set up.
For learning about affiliate marketing and how to get started I especially like Easy Paycheck Formula as Sara Young is very quick to respond and seems to sincerely want to help people succeed and she teaches methods that are free to start. Click the links below and they will take you directly to these courses.