Affiliate Marketing [aka Affiliate Programs]:What it is and Why it WorksStarting an online or internet business can be either exciting, inclusive of it's challenges or daunting and somewhat overwhelming as to what to do first and what to expect as a result of those efforts. Aside from the obvious need of having an online business location, also known as a website, there are a few things to take into consideration before launching your multi-million dollar venture.1. Do you have a needed product or service to sell? If the answer is yes then you'll be more interested in my upcoming article 'How to Sell Effectively Online.' Of course reading the rest of THIS article can only make you wiser. . . If the answer is no, then you are in the right place at the right time to learn about selling other people's products and getting paid to do so.2. Do you have an interest in selling products that you use and or want to use on a daily basis? This question is actually designed to help you think about what types of products most people are looking online to purchase: in recognizing that the average shopper is no different than yourself you can choose business partners, also known as affiliate programs, whose products you are familiar and comfortable with reviewing and recommending to others. The bonus to this is there are often discounts and buying incentives offered to affiliates [you, the seller] for personal purchases.3. Are you willing to learn how to manage a website? If the answer is no go ahead and read the rest of the article so that you'll be able to share the information with someone you know or meet, because invariably many more people will be turning to online self-employment in the next few years. If you've answered yes then you will find my upcoming article 'How to Set Up a FREE Business Website' very helpful. Managing a website is extremely simple for basic Affiliate program marketing AND can also be a way to share knowledge and advise to others if you use some of the many free features offered in website hosting such as blogs and/or forums.Now that you've answered the three most important questions regarding starting an online business let's get you headed in the best direction to generate passive income.What Affiliate Marketing IsAffiliate marketing is the use of your website to drive traffic to the website of your business partners – it is a form of online marketing, which quite a few advertisers are still overlooking. Affiliate marketing has not gained the popularity of SEO [search engine optimization] or e-zines, e-mail, RSS capture or 'pay-per-click:' it is a solid long term income generation tool and plays an important role in the success of an online business.Being able to market someone else's product is less demanding than designing, creating and/or manufacturing a product of your own and it doesn't require stocking inventory, managing a catalog, shipping and handling, etc. You will have to come up with ideas for selling products, however most partners offer limitless affiliate training by way of webinars, emails, videos, conferences and the like. Affiliate marketing requires a lot of thinking, growth, and change. With a positive outlook and determination for success, along with a willingness to use fresh approaches ,you'll be able to reap the benefits of affiliate marketing.Building Your Internet BusinessGoing back to thinking of the products that you'd honestly recommend to others you can get started with clearly defining your market. Your market should look like you, your spouse, your children, family, friends and neighbors because that is the approach to take with your customers in order to build lasting relationships with them. Now you can focus on building an information-rich website that your market will WANT to visit. By only offering products that are relevant to your target market you can utilize your website to establish your integrity and provide expertise and knowledge to your customers.As an online affiliate marketing entrepreneur it pays to create a strong email promotional campaign. So in the beginning stages of building your website be sure to design a strong opt-in offer containing useful and insightful FREE information pertinent to what your visitors are looking for. As your business grows continue to utilize email containing more useful free information in order to maintain the customer service relationship that you've created. Being consistent with serving your customers by sharing news, tips and product reviews, etc. with them develops a trust and respect for your information so that your email customers begin to look forward to getting updates from you. AND the beauty of that is your customers will more than likely share your emails and/or newsletters with THEIR email lists!Another major plus for developing an affiliate program business is the building of a 'down line' sales force. This can be done in quite a few ways, too numerous to explore in detail in this article yet some discussion is required. First, aside from offering a strong opt-in email list you will also want to leverage your website by using technology such as e-books, autoresponders and other techniques to do a lot of the internet work and selling automatically for you. As you do so you'll find customers and others interested in duplicating YOUR success that you can coach. These people will become affiliate marketers with YOUR business partners and that will generate additional streams of passive income for you. In the world of internet business in terms of affiliate marketing [as well as other ventures] it only takes one or two outstanding down line members to bring HUGE success to YOUR business. The more people that replicate your online business strategies and success the MORE income generated for you! Providing great customer service via the email, blog and other strategies that you'll learn to use can easily inspire that one or two stellar beginning entrepreneurs in your down line to build their own internet empire allowing you to receive a lifetime of residual income!Selecting Reputable Affiliate Programs/CompaniesThere are far too many internet scams and fly-by-night companies that are ripping honest people off every day. A few things you want to look for when selecting affiliate programs or partners is brand name recognition: how long has the company been in business? Are there any complaints against them in the better business bureau [online version]? Are the products they sell brand name? These are the questions and considerations that have to be made prior to contracting with affiliate programs or companies. Also, at NO TIME should you pay money to become an affiliate marketer! If a company wants you to work for them as an affiliate they are NOT going to ask you to PAY them! Avoid any company that asks you to pay to become an affiliate AND report them to your local state department of commerce immediately.Working Your BusinessAffiliate marketing is not the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” bringing instant online riches. It is a proven avenue to make substantial earnings promoting other people's products via your website, email, newsletters, blogs and other technology campaigns.Regardless of what type of online business or work at home venture you choose to engage in, the word 'work' is the operative: don't expect to slap up a website, add a few affiliate links and make tons of money doing nothing! Your success will require your time and effort – however, if being able to walk around in your pajamas as you review a few products and make recommendations based on your findings to your customers and potential customers appeals to you, then that's a lot of the work you'll find yourself doing once you become an affiliate marketer!YEisHereS.U.R.-B.E.T. EnterprisesMoney 'Da' Easy Way©2008 S.U.R.-B.E.T. Publishing

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