Okay, the next way to make money with your blog is via affiliate programs. And in actually fact, as I mentioned earlier when I was talking about CPA networks, quite often you’ll find that affiliate programs are quite often one in the same.
For example, Commission Junction or ClickBank are both considered, you could make a case of them being a CPA network as well. I suppose one of the areas where affiliate programs most commonly differ from CPA networks is that individual business or websites can run their own affiliate program.
So, for example, you could be visiting Joe Blogs’ blog.com and he might be promoting his 54,000 ways to make a million dollars next week ebook, and you can sign up for his affiliate program.
And the primary thing that affiliate programs offer is that they will pay you a share of the actual sale price.
So, if Joe Blogs’ awesome million ways to make a million dollars in ten seconds ebook, yes it just got exorbitantly bigger and better. If it were a legitimate product and sold for $100, he could potentially offer an affiliate program, paying you 50% or 20% or 70% or whatever the case may be, as your share of the commission.
Now the idea behind affiliate programs really comes from the sales industry and most particularly from commission sales. If you’ve ever had the joy to work on a sales job on commission only, and I’ve had that rare, rare privilege, you’ll know that it’s not a lot of fun sometimes. There are people out there who can make very good livings out of it.
It wasn’t really my forte in the sales industry, I have to admit, I’m a pretty good sales person and I’ve produced some pretty good results in my career in time. But working on straight commission I guess one of the things for me was just that whole how am I going to make my rent money and my food money each week. And it was just, it took your mind off being able to be, for me at least, took my mind off being able to be creative and produce results.
But there are sales people out there who are great at it. One of my best friends who currently lives in London is an excellent sales person when it comes to that kind of environment. And I’ve seen him walk into, he used to run a mobile phone business. I’ve seen him walk into a business, cold call them, make a sale and earn $1,000 commission in 20 or 30 minutes or an hour.
It made me sick to watch him do that, you know just off the street. He’s very good at the whole cold calling thing.
So, the idea behind commission sales is that the employer doesn’t pay your salary or any of your benefits or anything like that. They just give you the product to sell. And if you make a sale, you get a commission. And so, whether you’re getting 5%, 50% or whatever, that’s the deal.
So, I think Amazon.com was probably one of the first Internet based firms to introduce an affiliate program, or they actually called it an associate program. Where if you promoted their books to people and someone bought via your specially coded link, then Amazon would pay your commission, you know between 5% and 10% of the sale price.
And since then the affiliate industry has taken off. It’s now a huge part of earning an income online. And it’s also a very, very popular way for companies to sell their products.
Because the benefit for this, the company that’s providing the product that wants to sell a product is, they don’t have to pay anything until the sales’ already made. So, there are no salaries and there are no operating expenses and there is no car, petrol allowance or mobile phone allowance or anything like that. There is just, “Hey, there is the product, you sell it. If you sell it, I’ll give you X.” so, it’s great from a company point of view.
And if you’re the sort of person who’s good at making a sale in the real world then it’s a great option for you. On the Internet, affiliate programs are an awesome way to make money. Because whatever topic you want to blog about, you can find an affiliate program for them. And I really, I have to say that probably our friends at Amazon.com would have to be one of the best options. Amazon runs an, they’re called the Amazon associates program. And Amazon, these days, has so many different products.
Let me just quickly open up the website. It’s no longer just about books, in case you haven’t been there for a long time. They carry thousands if not tens of thousands of different products; electronics, such as computers, cameras, stereos, plasma TVs, home theater systems. I mean you name it, they’ve got it. They sell wheelchairs, believe it or not. They sell books, obviously. They sell videos, they sell DVDs, they sell clothing, they sell home wares. And just there are so many different things that they sell.
So, you’d be hard pressed to pick an industry that Amazon doesn’t sell a product for. Boy did you like how long it took to get into there?
So, if we just scroll down just a little bit, there are all the departments. So, books, if you’ve never heard of kindle, kindle is their new wireless reading device go have a look at my blog, eranmallach.com, I’ve written an article about the kindle, which I think you’ll find quite interesting. I think it’s going to be one of the hot products for the near future. It could potentially revolutionize the entire industry.
So, look for, if it’s after this post, for the November 22, 2007 post for Amazon Takes The Next Step With Kindle. Have a read of that. I think you’ll find it quite interesting.
You can make money selling the Kindle, which is the reading device. You can also make money selling the content that Amazon sells to go on the kindle. There are movies, there is music, there are games. Amazon has their own video network, digital video. You can buy your favorite movie and download it on the computer. So, you could, if you’re a movie enthusiast, for example, you could make money out of promoting movies or writing about movies that you love, reviewing them, discussing them, all that sort of stuff, and offer an option for people to buy the movie as a digital download or to have the DVD shipped to them from Amazon. I mean that’s an awesome option, just that alone.
Same for music, video games as well, we’ve got the digital downloads. So, go have a look at the unbox movie and TV downloads option, that’s pretty cool, I think it’s excellent.
Electronics and computers, audio TV and home theater, cameras and photos, computers, if you’re a computer geek and you love computer hardware and software, hey make some money writing about stuff and using the Amazon associate program to make affiliate commissions.
Cell phones, be aware that cell phones, if you buy from Amazon, are likely to be relevant only to USA for example. So, if you’re an Australian citizen, I probably wouldn’t be buying a cell phone from Amazon that’s prebundled with a Sprint calling plan, for example.
Home and garden, home improvement, bedding and bath, I mean there are just so many different options. Groceries, they now do food and pet supplies, toys, kids and baby products, and that’s a huge market. Apparel, shoes and jewelry, if you’re a bit of a clothes horse or you love your shoes, write about your favorite products. And using the affiliate link, promote the product that Amazon’s got so that you can earn some money if someone buys it.
You know Amazon doesn’t pay a lot for their associate program. The commission is only around about 5% to 10% on average. Some products are more but most of them are 5% to 10%. So, on a $20 book you’re not going to make a lot of money. But if you sold, promoted and sold say a $200 pair of shoes or a $1,000 jewelry item, 5% to 10% of that is still nice. A plasma TV for $2,000, 5% to 10% of that is a nice earner.
The health and beauty range, including exercise and fitness, if you’re into that kind of stuff then talk about exercise, talk about fitness, talk about weight loss and promote Amazon’s affiliate program for it. The same for sports and outdoors and tools, auto and industrial, I mean plumbing fixtures. Who’d believe you could sell plumbing fixtures for an affiliate program? But, there you go.
So, Amazon certainly was, probably up until about two months ago, I was never a big fan of their associate program. But I’ve kind of seen a new light about simply the fact that there are so many options available from them nowadays. And you don’t have to just sell low ticket or low priced items.
As I said, if you’re selling plasma TVs at $2,000 a pop, even a 5% commission on that is a nice earner. You wouldn’t have to do too many of them a week to make a good living.
So, go to Amazon’s website, scroll to the very bottom. You’ll notice the international sites are listed here. So, if you’re in one of those particular countries and your target audience for your blog is in that country then go and sign up for that particular Amazon site for the associate program. Don’t do it from the US site unless you want to promote via the US.
So, to join the associate program you just click on join associates and it will tell you all about the ins and outs of what’s available. They’ve got lots of cool tools to help you set up promotional links and demonstrations of products. There is information in their website that you can use in your site to help sell the product.
One of the great things about selling stuff through Amazon is the customer reviews that are already there. So, you can easily tap into that sort of information.
So, this has been going since 1996, this particular one, up to 10%.
Okay so, let’s just quickly jump back. Amazon is not the only affiliate program, okay? ClickBank, ClickBank.com is an excellent one if you’re selling digital products. And by that I mean ebooks, for example, or software or downloadable video programs, particularly anything to do with online marketing or subjects like golf or I mean there are just so many different options, wedding related products. ClickBank’s got over 10,000 different products. And you can go to their site at ClickBank.com. It’s free to sign up, it’s very easy to use and just find something that you like.
I recommend if you’re going to promote a product big time, I recommend that you buy it and actually understand what it’s about and what you think of it. I don’t encourage you to promote something you don’t like or haven’t used. For me it’s not just an honesty thing but it’s an integrity thing. I can’t honestly promote something really effectively unless I know and use it.
Commission Junction is a huge big affiliate network/CPA network. And you’ll find lots of companies there, including you can sign up for eBay through Commission Junction. So, they carry a lot of the big name companies that sell places like Sony for memory and a lot of other companies. I will say that Commission Junction is a real hassle to actually sign up to become an affiliate for. I’ve done it once or twice and never really got around to using it because it’s such a hassle to use that the actual sign up process is so convoluted, I don’t like it. And I think they could do much better job than they do.
But that aside, Commission Junction has lots and lots and lots of options. So, in particular if you want to sell physical products from big name manufacturers, then that’s a good place to go.
EBay is an excellent option and you can do it via Commission Junction. You can become an eBay affiliate. And where you can use eBay as an affiliate product is eBay will pay you, if you’re running your blog and you’re blogging about a particular topic, let’s just say for the sake of the argument that your blog is about digital cameras. Well you’ll notice if you’ve been on eBay that you can buy and sell digital cameras on eBay.
So, if you have an affiliate program or if you’re a member of an affiliate program from eBay then you can promote a currently running auction for a particular digital camera. If someone buys, you can earn a commission on the sale. And if someone actually signs up to eBay, they’ll also pay your commission as well. So, that’s quite attractive too.
Once again, just like CPA networks, there are lots of affiliate programs. Just go to Google and type list of affiliate networks. Probably one of the best sites you can go to for information on this is associateprograms.com, which is run by Allan Gardyne.
The last time I looked Allan was living either on the East coast of Australia or in New Zealand. And his site’s been around for a long time. And he’s all about affiliate networks.
Now I just quickly jumped over to his site. And he lists here the four big affiliate network, which is Commission Junction, which I’ve already talked about, Link Share has more than 600 merchants and then you can find some big name companies in here including Dell, Nordstrom, Target, Disney and American Express.
You know if you’re a computer geek, you like selling computer stuff, sign up and promote, whether it’s Dell or Compaq or IBM or whatever, sign up and promote their products through one of these affiliate networks.
ClickBank I mentioned, the main thing about ClickBank is their products are downloadable, they do not allow you to sell physical, shippable products. So, it has to be downloadable stuff such as ebooks, usually made from PDF documents. Also people can sign up for software and a variety of other things. So, as it says here, it’s a good place to search for overlooked niches.
And Performix, I have to be honest, I haven’t actually heard of them. They’re owned by Double Click, who I definitely have heard of. Google just bought Double Click earlier this year for some obscene amount of money. So, they include companies like America Online, Bose, Comp USA, L. L. Bean, PC Connection, Verizon Wallace. So, there are some large companies there.
Then if we click on there, click, you know there are five pages here that Allan’s got on his site just listing different affiliate networks.
So, I will have links to the primary ones, which I’ve listed here and some links to go and sign up for their affiliate or associate programs. I encourage you to check these option out.
Once again, when it comes to making money from your blog, you don’t want to rely, if possible, you don’t want to rely on one option. There is no rule that says you’re only allowed to earn money from your blog via Google AdSense. You know most successful bloggers have multiple options of earning incomes. And some of them have AdSense, they sometimes have a CPA network and an affiliate program, these all sorts of things.
So, you want to be, over time don’t waste six months research all of these to find the perfect one. Just find one you like and start with it. The beauty of a blog is that it’s an on going, it’s a work in progress. So, just because you start by using AdSense doesn’t mean you can’t add something in down the track, okay? That’s the beauty of it, you get to choose. But do a little bit of research to find out what these different companies offer and see if you can find something that matches your topic.
So, I think affiliate programs are definitely a worth while one. I mean it’s an area I’ve definitely made money out of and I’ve been quite happy about and looking to do a lot more with.
So, check it out and we’ll speak to you when we come back with the next way of making money with your blog.