Article: John D. Schultz

The Small Business Library

February 23, 2001

Are Affiliate Programs Really a Money-Making Heaven for Beginners?

One of the most depressing statistics I've ever heard was that over 90% of all affiliates fail to make money. Yet if you've ever joined a discussion group on affiliate programs, you'll know that this statistic is uncomfortably accurate.

So what's going on? Aren't affiliate programs supposed to be the single easiest way to make money online? After all, the only thing you have to do is advertise; the company handles everything else from inventory to billing to customer service.

It's unfortunate that some affiliate programs promote how 'easy' it is to make money online. They tell you that they'll give you 'proven' ad copy, banners, articles, and whatever else you need to succeed at their program. Then they set you loose to make your fortune.

If it were that easy we'd all be rich, retired, and lounging on a warm tropical beach.

Joining an affiliate program is NOT a guarantee that you'll make a single penny in profits, let alone thousands a month!

You see, beginners are often misled into thinking that all they need to do is stick a banner on their website, submit ads to hundreds of classified ad sites, use FFA pages, and submit their affiliate URL to the search engines.

This strategy won't do you a lick of good. Classifieds don't work very well, if at all; FFA sites are the spammers' favorite hunting ground; and search engines won't index your affiliate URL.

What you need is quality, targeted traffic. But consider this: out of hundreds of millions of websites online, why would someone want to visit YOURS?

For *content*, of course: valuable, interesting and up-to-date information that attracts people and keeps them coming back for more. By creating a content-rich website you will have a far better chance of getting listed with the major search engines and indexes. This is what will provide you with a steady stream of targeted prospects.

Great content is also what separates you from the thousands of other affiliates. By offering your visitors something of value, you both establish yourself as an 'expert' in your field while also developing a relationship with your visitor.

Don't underestimate the power of a good relationship. People are much more likely to buy from someone they know and trust... which means it's also important how you present yourself on your site. Do you sound professional, competent, helpful, and likeable? Do you show your visitor how the products you endorse can benefit them? [You DO endorse them, right? There's no point in promoting a product you wouldn't buy yourself!]

There is simply no such thing as easy money. Affiliate programs can be an excellent source of income - if you're willing to work for it! Here are a few tips to help you succeed:

  1. Choose a target audience.
  2. Select a limited number of affiliate programs that offer products and services of interest to your target audience.
  3. Build a content-rich website that offers valuable information of interest to your target audience.
  4. Create fresh, original copy that persuades your visitor to click on your affiliate link and arrive at your affiliate page in a ready-to-buy frame of mind.
  5. Focus on generating high-quality, targeted traffic.

Are YOU going to join the small percentage of affiliates that succeed? The choice is yours!

The author, John Schultz is the owner of IncomeMax, Your Source for Making Money Online! Featuring over 5700 money-making programs and a FREE newsletter, there's something for everyone. Visit us today at Also Owner of Advertising Auctions