Affiliate Marketing (AM) is fast becoming a major trend in line business. With the internet still in its adolescent years, it has already established itself as an extremely viable career opportunity, bridging the advertising gap for companies, while providing much sought-after work at home revenue.
With the boom in affiliate marketing, however, there is a growing wave of new marketers that become easily discouraged when the initial hype wears off and they don't understand what to expect in the business. For those just entering the arena, here are a few Facts Of Life about Affiliate Marketing:
1) YOU WILL HAVE TO INVEST SOME MONEY
Affiliate marketing being a hybrid of the independent contractor & the self-employed small business owner, it is inevitable that some money be invested. While a contractor might earn a base pay + commission, they also have little or no control over product, promotion or price. And, while a self-employed owner controls all these, they also pay all the bills.
But an AM is neither. They don't control price nor, once they sign up, product. But they do control promotion. And, unlike a self-employed worker, they bear only a fraction of the costs. The advertising fraction.
So, the bad news is affiliate marketers do have to invest some money, at some point, even in the best programs or scenerios. But this has also become a growing trend in all sales positions, as well as positions in all industries. Many positions include a certain amount of investment. Any job that requires a uniform, for example, means investing in special clothes. Plus most realtors must pay for their own advertising.
The good news is that, unlike other sales positions (but similar to small business), the AM controls that cost because they decide on which advertisements to invest.
The best news is that many companies, like Plug-in-Profits (http://trackermo.com/pips.html), now offer great affiliate support and will guide the new AM until they understand the business and can stand on their own two feet.
2) YOU WILL HAVE TO INVEST SOME TIME
Affiliate marketing works on the slide-rule effect. That is, the more effort the AM invests, the richer the dividends. And, like a microcosm of a career, the AM works their tail off in the beginning-- then works less and less as their sales build. But this can be measured in months, rather than years (thus, the mirocosm).
Still, many enter the AM arena thinking all they have to do is sign up as an affiliate, then sit back and reap the rewards. And that's just when they should be getting busy. The rewards will come, but not until they've put in their time.
The bad news here is to expect to eat, drink and sleep marketing-- at first.
The good news is that, according to experts in the field, an affiliate can expect to see a return on their investment within the first 3-9 months, depending on how much time they spend at it.
3) YOU WILL GET BURNED ONCE OR TWICE
It's inevitable. Either by paying astronomical fees for hosting, for leads or for some other service (not to mention, the existence of scams), it happens. That's why "expert" and "experience" have the same root word. It takes experience to know what's going on, how to spot a scam, and to know a good opportunity when it arrives.
The good news is, experience is the best teacher of all. And a new AM will soon learn from their mistakes.
4) YOU WILL HAVE TO UPDATE YOURSELF
The internet has been called the most fluid industry ever. That's a poetic way of saying it changes faster and more often than a body of water. Engineers call it expotential growth, though it's more reminiscent of growth on a cellular level: Rather like a baby starting as two single cells and, in short nine months, becoming a fully formed infant. Or, like a pyramid scheme that really works!
Whatever the analogy, the point is the internet is constantly, incessantly, (sometimes annoyingly) changing. What was vital two years ago (SE placement, keywords, Pay-Per-Click), is now becoming passe, replaced by new types of more effective marketing techniques (PowerLinking, Opt-in lists, pay-per-buy).
All of which leads to--
5) YOU MUST BE PRO-ACTIVE
To keep the revenues up, AMs must find good resources to monitor the business. Newsletters, forums and affiliate resource pages all become vital to watching the latest trends. They are filled with the latest information, the latest ideas and the newest concepts in advertising.
Also, in the case of the AM with their own website, that must be updated occasionally, too while the affiliate landing page will be updated by the company. But when an AM opts for their own page, they must be aware that every few months or years, a new enhancement takes off. Right now, the latest is audio and or animated spokespeople.
Once an affiliate marketer arms themself with these facts of life, they have a very good chance of succeeding in this new arena.
About The Author
Marige O'Brien has worked as a writer, web designer and, most ecently, internet marketer. Her own website can be found at http://www.trackermo.com