Affiliate Marketing For Dummies
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In contrast to affiliate marketing, a traditional business usually requires a big investment of both time and money. Because you’re making that substantial an investment, it’s not something you usually work on a part-time basis. On the other hand, affiliate marketing can offer many advantages over starting a traditional business for someone seeking to earn extra income, as you find out in the following sections.

You can start your business instantly

Affiliate marketing can be an instant business on your smartphone. Because you are earning an affiliate commission by promoting a product or service someone else has developed, you don’t have any of the headaches someone starting a traditional business has, as detailed earlier in this chapter.

You have millions of physical products and thousands of digital products and services to choose from. If you are an Amazon affiliate, just think of the millions of products available. This offers your potential visitor a wider selection and increases the chance that one of the products or services you offer will be the one.

In a traditional business, given all the time and money it takes to develop a product or service, you’re lucky if you can develop and offer one or two products. If it turns out your product is a dud on the market, you’re out of luck.

You can choose your own path and lifestyle with affiliate marketing

Most of us have gone through our entire lives with someone else telling us what to do and determining our actions. We go from our parents to school to a job. Frankly, most jobs are repetitive and boring. In most companies, telling your boss that he’s going in the wrong direction and that you have a better idea leads to an abruptly shortened career.

Regardless of whether you consider yourself a rebel or a company man (or woman), having at least one part of your life where you can say you decided what to do can be very fulfilling and satisfying. Affiliate marketing can give you that path.

You can choose your own lifestyle too. As long as you have access to a computer and an internet connection, you can be in business. Some affiliate marketers don’t even own a computer or subscribe to an internet service. They go to the public library and use theirs.

For many, the most important aspect of becoming an affiliate marketer was freedom. Ted Sudol says, “When I worked as a network manager in NYC, it was up at 5 a.m., traveling on buses and subways for an hour and a half each way, and home at 7 p.m. When vacation time came, my boss said I could go anywhere I wanted to on my vacation as long as I could get back to work within four hours. With the traffic and traveling time in the metropolitan area, that didn’t leave many options.”

With a computer and an internet connection, you can determine your hours and your schedule. You can work on a part-time basis and fit affiliate marketing into your current lifestyle. If you like the benefits affiliate marketing brings to your life, you may gradually want to work it more and make it a full-time endeavor, replacing your current job. But before you quit your job, make sure it is right for you and you can replace your current income.

Want to disappear for a while at an exotic island location that doesn’t have an internet connection or computers? But worried the “hungry crowd” you worked so hard to gather will lose interest because there are no new website posts or you’re not sending them new, valuable information? No problem! You can write a quantity of valuable posts or new information before you leave and then schedule them to be sent out on a regular basis or any schedule you want. When you return no one will know you were gone unless you tell them about the amazing time you had.

You can offer a diverse range of products

One of the great advantages of affiliate marketing is that because you can choose from a wide marketplace of both physical and digital products, you can offer several different products through your affiliate links. You can track the results with your affiliate program to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Since the affiliate program supplies the banners and links for all the products it offers, you can replace nonperforming products with products that are bringing in more income. In this way you can constantly improve your income over time with minimal cost or time. (See Chapter 6 for more information on choosing products.)

Contrast that with a traditional business where you want to drop a dud product or service into which you’ve invested a lot of time and money — just to introduce a new product into which you’ll have to invest a lot more time and money.

You have no product development and fulfillment with affiliate marketing

As an affiliate marketer, you’re promoting a product or service someone else has produced. You’re simply earning a commission for presenting it to others. You don’t have to deal with the product development that’s covered in the earlier section “Surveying the Requirements of Starting a Traditional Business.”

Have you ever worked fulfilling orders for a product? You have to select it off the shelf, find a box that fits, package it so it doesn’t get damaged, print the label, and take it to the post office. But don’t spend the money yet! You have to wait until the customer safely receives the product and is satisfied. Some returns and some packages will get lost in shipment. It’s your responsibility to reconcile these issues with the customer.

Contrast that with being an affiliate marketer. There is no product you have to pack, label, or ship. If there is a problem with shipment or a refund request, the entity doing the fulfillment takes care of it all.

You don’t have to be a technical genius with affiliate marketing

You say you can’t become an affiliate marketer because you don’t know computer coding, HTML, and all the other computer geek speak? Well, the good news is that you don’t have to. Years ago, when people first started using the internet, knowing CMS, coding, HTML, and other technical things was a necessity. But that’s no longer the case. You can set up your affiliate marketing business in minutes on a smartphone by creating a WordPress site.

Today, setting up a WordPress site can be a snap. Page builders have dramatically speeded up and simplified building a WordPress page. Now instead of inputting code, you simply drag and drop pre-built blocks onto the page where you want them. See Chapter 7 for more information.

Your hosting company probably has a script that will set up the basic WordPress site for you with just the answers to a few questions, like what password you want to use and so forth. This gives you a basic WordPress site, and it is then up to you to transform it into a website visitors will want to come to for information (and hopefully make a purchase).

Adding little WordPress customizers called plug-ins can change your website and do some pretty useful things for you, such as collecting email addresses, sending out newsletters or offers, and tracking the responses. That way you know which of your promotions work and which don’t, so you can fine-tune your approach.

A lot of things you need to do to establish your presence are becoming a lot simpler and cheaper. Are you aware of the magic of using a “green screen”? With a video camera, some software, and background images, you can film yourself in front of a green cloth and then replace that with a background from the beach, an office building, an exotic location, or wherever you like. Some affiliate marketers promote their website and affiliate products with videos of reviews or interviews.

You can replace the green screen background with a TV studio, a lecture hall, or an office building. A May 2019 article in the New York Times titled “How to Add Hollywood Special Effects to Your Videos” describes how you can produce a green-screen movie with a smartphone, a $2 to $5 video app, and a large piece of cloth. It may not have as many bells and whistles as a studio setup, but it may be all you need to promote your affiliate marketing product.

Payment and accounting are automated in affiliate marketing

Accepting and processing payments and managing accounting are other aspects of your affiliate marketing business that have been simplified. When some affiliate marketers started years ago, it was all about getting approved for merchant status and building payment gateways. Getting approved was tough, and merchant status was like gold because it was the only way you could accept payments.

Today it’s as simple as pasting an Amazon or other affiliate company’s buy button on your website. Setting up to accept PayPal payments is also very easy. Many of the affiliate marketing companies already have PayPal buy buttons ready for you to use.

You get company-supplied marketing materials

Another bonus? You don’t have to design your marketing materials. You don’t have to go through the extensive process of testing different designs to see what works best. Most companies have an extensive assortment of banners, buttons, and graphics with your affiliate link already embedded.

To start making money from the affiliate product, all you have to do is copy the link containing your affiliate from the company or affiliate network’s site and paste it where you want it on your web page. There are even plug-ins that make this already simple process even easier. You simply enter the product’s name in the plug-in search bar and choose the options you prefer regarding how you want your affiliate ad to appear.

You can take advantage of tax deductions with affiliate marketing

When you’re running a business from your home, many of the expenses you incur can become tax deductions for you. The computer, software, tools, hosting fees, and so on can all become tax deductions. Devote part of your house solely to your affiliate marketing business? Deduct a portion of your rent, heating, mortgage, electricity, or other bills.

Affiliate marketing offers many pros. Why not get started today?

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Ted Sudol is a longtime affiliate marketer who has developed and sold several affiliate marketing websites over the years. His current sites focus on affiliate marketing and precious metals investing.

Paul Mladjenovic is the bestselling author of Stock Investing For Dummies. He’s a Certified Financial Planner as well as a national speaker and home business specialist.

Paul Mladjenovic is a renowned certified financial planner and investing consultant. He has authored six editions of the bestselling Stock Investing For Dummies and is frequently interviewed by media outlets including MarketWatch, Kitco, OANN, and more.

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