Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.[citation needed]

If you’re interested in affiliate marketing, you generally need to put a little thought into what types of products you’d like to feature. Having a niche or some kind of focus will help get eager buyers to your site much quicker than simply advertising anything under the sun. Next, purchase a domain name and website hosting, and then get your website up and running.
Amazon’s affiliate program is the most popular of them all. I don’t participate myself (yet) but the majority of affiliate marketers I know use Amazon because… it’s Amazon. You can review products you have used or write tutorials (eg. how to connect computer to TV) and drop an affiliate link to an HDMI cable… just a couple examples. You may want to build relationships with the manufacturers so you can get products before they’re released – giving you time to create a review before the product is launched and capture sales during peak buying times.
Choose an affiliate program. First, you must decide which affiliate program to join. Affiliate programs often have a theme, such as gardening or weight loss, and you should find a theme that interests you. Look for a network with a lot of product codes that are relevant to your topic. Consider networks like Commission Junction, LinkShare, ShareaSale, Clickbank, and Amazon. Remember, it isn't really about the network – it's about whether the network is relevant to the content of your website.
Need more ideas on how to make money online? Another strategy is using webinars to market your product, service, or course. I’ve done webinars to promote my financial planning practice and to drum up interest in my online course for financial advisors. With a webinar, you’re basically offering a lot of tips and advice for free — usually in a live format. At the end though, you pitch your paid product or service with the goal of securing a few deals.
Drive traffic to your affiliate program. Once you've built a popular platform and secured affiliates to work with, you'll need to drive traffic to your affiliate program. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, but one of the easiest and most successful methods involves writing a blog post or web article and using your email newsletter to invite your subscribers to join the affiliate program of your choosing.[18] Other methods include:
When I first decided to start my own company and was looking into the different ways to make money online, I was shocked by the number of scams, so-called “gurus” and get-rich-quick schemes that were out there. I kept coming across company after company, website after website, promising to help me make millions online overnight. These “get-rich-quick” schemes were a huge turn off and made me think there was actually no legitimate way to make money online other than becoming a part of these schemes. It got so bad that I almost gave up and resigned myself to the fact that I’d never be able to start my own business and I’d spend my life working as a long-haul truck driver the rest of my life. If you want to read my full success story you can do so here.
Always disclose your affiliate relationship. Most visitors will probably understand that graphic ads will lead to your getting paid, but if you write a review or use an in-text link as a recommendation, you want your readers to know that may lead to compensation as well. This ensures you retain transparency and trust with your readers, but also, it's required by the FTC's endorsement rules.
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