Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Which Affiliate Internet Business is for me?

by Matt Lawless

In this article I am seeking to educate the reader on the benefits of starting an Affiliate Internet Business. I will be examining the reasons you may choose to set up in this industry and indeed which industry to choose in the first place (there are many). Once you have decided that this would be a good use of your time and effort, and which area of the market you are interested in, I will show you how to evaluate which schemes may be best for you. I hope you find the information of use!

What are the benefits of an Internet-Based Affiliate business?

One of the most attractive features of any Internet business is that it frees you from the usual requirement to work from a set place. This type of business allows you to run and maintain everything wherever you can get an Internet connection (Home, work, or even whilst on vacation).

Many people will initially start in this industry on a part-time basis, often to establish whether there would be sufficient income to warrant leaving full-time employment. If it is your intention to work in this industry full time, then set that as your goal from the outset and don't get used to the additional (often significant) income you generate. I have seen many people get used to the extra money and then realise that they can't do without both the online income and the usual monthly salary. Keep the money aide and get to a point where it matches or exceeds what you would lose by quitting your job. THEN you can quit and know there is enough to support your lifestyle.

You may be wondering whether it is possible to generate enough income to replace your current wage. Whilst it is true that there are many schemes that will only really ever generate pocket money, there are opportunities out there that would astound you how much can be made. I am personally earning twice as much now as I ever did as an employee. And without the stress of the daily commute and unappreciative boss!

One of the killer benefits to this type of program is that your marketplace is enormous! I mean, think about it for a second. Your opportunity will have global interest, and bearing in mind that English is spoken around the world, you will be making money while you sleep (let me tell you that fantastic feeling never goes away).

The rewards really are out there, the lifestyle you mostly only dream of is too, but don't expect it to just land on your plate. No matter what you read, or how attractive some of the schemes look, you will have to put some effort in to really reap the benefits of this lifestyle. There are straightforward formulas to success in this industry, which if you follow, will lead to the life we all deserve.

What type of Affiliate Internet Business should you choose?

This is a good question, and one you should consider carefully. There is a huge number of Affiliate opportunities out there, all vying for your interest (and cash). How do you know which one to invest your time in? I will get to that a little later. For now let's look at some of the options.

It is probably fair to say that this industry has its foundations in two of the oldest pastimes: Gambling and Sex. Now most of us would not even dream of getting involved in either of these, because of their questionable morality in today's society. Neither would I, but it is worth considering that these two industries have basically exploded thanks to Affiliate schemes of one or another. It then didn't take long for more traditional industries to catch on to the methods they employ to sell their services. Affiliate marketing is highly effective and should be for you too. One of the other reasons you should probably steer clear of these industries is they are highly competitive, along with the health products (ever received a spam email touting Viagra or Weight-Loss pills), which means that the market is essentially saturated and not worth your time.

There are two main categories of business model: Information based, and product based. What should you choose? Well although it is does not essentially matter, so long as the commission model works for you, you should bear these things in mind:

Product-based sales tend to have a higher cost and therefore you will tend to lose out on those with only a small budget Information-based sales can start very low (or even no) cost which then allows you to build up future sales of higher-value products. This obviously only is possible if you get to keep any additional profit from future sales. My own opinion is that the best model encompasses both aspects. Consider low-cost information products which allow you to build up trust and establish value with the client, with the opportunity to up-sell to higher-value products at a later stage. Bear in mind however that information products can have a very high value (and therefore price to the customer) associated with them, so viable businesses do exist where there is essentially no 'product' in the traditional sense.

Personally, I always choose an Affiliate scheme that is associated to an industry that interests me. This helps me to target the necessary advertising copy (words) to get into the mindset of my clients.

How to choose the best value opportunities

Do you know anyone in the Affiliate Internet industry that you trust and respect? If so, ask their opinion on what they look for and where they would invest their time if they were starting again. Personal recommendations by someone who has done extensive research already may well blow away any myths you may have heard or assumed in the past. If you don't know anyone to help, then don't worry. All the information you need to make an informed choice is out there if you take the time to look for it. Try searching for lists of companies in the industry you are looking to target. And then apply the following:

How are their commissions structured? Some offer a one-off referral fee, others an ongoing residual income. The best offer both and yours should do the same. Also establish whether you get paid for any other affiliates you bring into the scheme. This can be a very lucrative area if you are passionate about helping others improve their lives too. Does the company offer the ability to sell further products at a higher value? This is especially important if the initial sale is relatively low value. Why start a business where you have to make 100 sales to earn $1,000 where there are others that will get you ten times that in a single sale? How long have the company been in business? Look for a track-record of successful sales through their affiliate scheme. Entering affiliate agreements with companies that have only been in business for a month can be highly risky and you should consider joining a start-up company very carefully, especially if they require an initial investment to get started. Other good sources of information that will help you to establish which businesses to consider are user forums, keyword research (how much will it cost you for a paid click and how saturated is the market) and blog sites with articles about the company you are researching.

Summary

In this article you will have read my thoughts on what it takes to join an Affiliate Internet Business. We discussed whether to get involved in the first place, what type to consider, and how to go about researching what makes a good affiliate company to partner with. If you follow the advice carefully there is no reason you should not be able to make a significant income from starting an affiliate Internet business.

About the Author

Matt Lawless is an Internet Marketing Consultant & Entrepreneur based in the UK. For more information go to http://www.mattlawless.com