There is a sense of insecurity that a pandemic like the novel coronavirus wields. It leaves behind an economy in tatters. So how to survive the bad economy is a crucially important topic. It is very apparent that jobs post-COVID will be a challenge and therefore alternative means of livelihood need to be sought.
Affiliate marketing is one such an option. This is a low-risk digital marketing model where you advertise products on behalf of a partner online and get commissions for all the clicks passing through your site. You only need to pick a profitable niche for your online business. A niche is simply a specialized market for a specific target group.
There is a low capital investment outlay as the model eliminates inventory and other distribution activities such as shipping and handling. Your major focus becomes only driving traffic to the websites where you provide links to your prospects. There is, therefore, need to understand how to deal with building sites, content building, search engines optimization and all that will enable you to be identifiable on the net.
Most people will recoil at the idea of building their own sites. This is not a very big hurdle as there are programs that will take you through the process without breaking a sweat. They will in fact give you the necessary training to help you start not only affiliate marketing but an entire online business!
This e-commerce model requires a lot of hard work and a good budget for marketing and advertising. You may choose social media, email marketing, blogging and whatever method that will work for you. As you get to understand the customers purchase life cycle and all that goes into it, you soon begin to build a successful enterprise. As long as you find yourself focusing on helping people, there will be enough visits on your site to make you profitable. In fact, the internet is a world of about 4 billion people!
It might take you time to monetize your sites or pages. However, in the due course, every effort expended could prove worthwhile and result in a lifetime success. As the cliché goes “Rome was never built in a day.” Of course, it started a stone at a time and that is what you do.
Why should you give it a thought?
1. There is flexibility of choice. This should motivate you and give you the needed drive as you specialize in what interests you. There is a sense of fulfillment as you select from the millions of different products and services available online, and you only promote what appeals to you.
2. There are a lot of willing customers and when you connect to the appropriate target group, you don’t need much “selling” and persuasion. The internet has made it easier for anyone to find potential customers who are already searching for the products or services that they are offering. It is easy to use tools like google analytics and see the keyword searches that might be attractive.
3. With Affiliate marketing, you might only need the cost of your internet to get going. It is like buying a shop on the busy street for a song! This is the cheapest business to embark on that even a kid coming out of high school can do and become highly successful, seriously!
We have at least two types of affiliate programs available, These are Affiliate networks and independent affiliate programs. Affiliate “networks” are centralized collections, in most cases in thousands, of affiliate programs that you can join through one network. This makes it convenient to promote many different programs at the same time (even in different niches) and receive one payment.
Some of the more common examples of these networks are:
(1) Commission Junction
On the other hand, we have independent affiliate programs. The largest affiliate program in the world by far, and an example of an independent affiliate program is Amazon.com. Amazon boasts of over 500,000,000 products on their program and they are growing daily as more sellers join. Their commissions are not very high, they range from 1-10% but with incessant and huge volumes of purchases from them annually, the earnings can only be substantial.
Wealthy Affiliate is another example of an independent affiliate program. It offers very good commissions, lucratively pegged at 50%. For the record, Wealth Affiliate happens to be one of the best work from home training programs.
They are many other affiliate programs, you just have to google or bing and the search results will be so overwhelming.
How does Affiliate Marketing differ from Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)?
Although MLM, or network marketing, is a business model that has some similarities to affiliate marketing, the two are not exactly the same. For MLM you often have to get people to sign up to a program you are promoting. As you recruit more people called down-liners, you are compensated for it. Additionally, when these down liners sell, you earn commissions. You earn multiple levels of commissions through your recruitment. MLM in short will encourage you to build a team as you promote a service or product. On the contrary, with affiliate marketing there is no need of a team, one individual is enough to do all the promotions.
Secondly, most of the Affiliate programs are free whereas MLM programs have member starter fees which in some cases is the minimum initial products that you have to buy.
The other difference is that in affiliate marketing you have complete control of what to sell. Affiliate marketing gives you more control and authority over your business. In contrast, in MLM, you can only sell the products of the MLM program you’re involved with. To take matters further, your concern is not only the product of the MLM but also its business model. Most of the people involved might not even understand the inherent aspects of the compensation plan which is part of the sales pitch. This might cause them to misinform and misdirect others to join. In some cases, there have been downright exaggerated claims which bring the question of ethics. This is what makes MLM to be abhorred by some people.
Unfortunately, get rich quick, Ponzi, or pyramid schemes find the network marketing a very good model to adopt. So, for anyone involved in MLM, there will be questions of legitimacy and legality. However, there are many MLM programs that are legit but one must only understand and ask the right questions. Other than knowing whether it is legit, it will be important to understand the market niche that you will be dealing with.
In summary, the following would be noticeable differences:
- Membership starter fees and (even stocking) with MLM
- Recruitment of people with MLM.
- Flexibility with affiliate marketing, your own niche, brand and business model
- Online time with affiliate marketing which might not always be the case with MLM
- Definite residue income and in most cases bonuses and scholarships with MLM, With Affiliate marketing the built brand, may eventually result in a residue income.
In the end, both marketing models require hard work and a sense of direction and can both be rewarding. But I prefer affiliate marketing!