Affiliate Marketing – Can anyone make money from it?
A brief summary about how the world of affiliate marketing works, and the history behind it. I look at how affiliate marketing is effective and the different ways in which various companies/websites choose to exploit it. Then a more detailed insight in to one particular area of affiliate marketing and how many people are making money from it.
Firstly, let’s look at what affiliate marketing is.
An affiliate is a set of programs that generate leads, which then turn in to sales for other websites. Commission is then paid to those sites that host their services/products.
Affiliate marketing is an Internet-based marketing sector in which a business rewards its affiliates for each customer it gains the company via their marketing efforts.
You could say that affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods in their campaign to get those all important leads. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (often paid for), and e-mail marketing. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.
Another approach used by some affiliates is to offer customers free gifts in exchange for referrals to their site/services, but I will tell you more about that later on. This is an area in which I have been working for the past 3 years, and an area in which I have been able to earn a fairly considerable amount of money in a fairly short period of time. I would now say that I am pretty much an expert in this area and I am beginning to find new ways to make money from this type of affiliate marketing and find new ways to get those all important referrals. This is the area which I am going to explain to you in detail and give you all the information you need on how to make money from this sector of marketing yourself.
These types of sites are often referred to as “Freebie Sites” and many people are immediately put off them simply because they believe that nothing in life is for free. This is completely untrue and is where a lot of people are losing out. People who are lucky enough to stumble across these sites, but then decide not to give it a go, are making a very big mistake. I was once this type of person. I accidentally stumbled across the freebie scene just over 3 years ago when I found a site similar to this one: Free Consoles, and I originally thought that it was too good to be true. I made this assumption based on an idea that many people share, “Things that seem too good to be true often are”. This statement is correct in many cases, but not in this one.
This type of affiliate marketing has been around for a fair few years now in America, and there are several huge companies who have shipped out millions of dollars worth of free gifts (e.g. iPods, iPhones, HDTVs and games consoles). However, the story in the UK is slightly different. Affiliate marketing of this kind only really took off on a large scale approximately 3 years ago. People who had heard of the success in America decided to set up their own freebie sites and tried to emulate the success that some of the American sites have had. Many of these sites have gone on to be extremely successful and the appropriately named “Freebie referrals.
So how does this work? How can sites give away Community” has exploded in size over the past 2 years, and this has seen a tremendous increase in customer service and general easy of use of these sites when earning freebies. There are now several well established sites which people are using on a daily basis to earn freebies just from gaining the site new top brand products for free?
The system itself is quite simple and after I have explained it to you it will be quite clear to you how sites are managing to make considerable amounts of money from this and at the same time customers are very happily receiving free gifts.
These are the 4 basic steps which make this type of affiliate marketing work, and I will go through each step in more detail afterwards.
Once they have done this and get the required amount of referrals, the Freebie site then ships the customer their free gifts and makes a profit at the same time.
So where is the money made?
Well, the most important steps, and the ones where the money is earned, are steps 2 & 3. All freebie sites contain a page which is full off ‘Offers’. These are links to other companies’ websites with free or paid services on offer. Before receiving their free gift, the customer is required to visit one of these sites from the offers page, and try their service for a while or pay to receive some of their goods.
These offers are generally everyday products/services such as DVD rentals, gambling websites, insurance companies, credit card companies, and many others. Some of the offers are free e.g. free DVD trials, but other cost a small sum e.g. placing $10/£5 bet on a gambling website.
When the customer signs up to one of these services through the Freebie website, the Freebie site acts as an affiliate. They have affectively gained that company a new customer who could potentially go on to spend a lot of money with them. For doing this, the Freebie website receives commission from the various companies for each new customer that signs up to their services. Commission can very depending on which offer the customers complete, but it is believed that the average amount the Freebie Website receives for each customer it gains a company is approximately $40/£20.
Ok, so by step 2 the freebie website has already made $40/£20 from that one customer just by them completing one offer, which may not have even cost the customer anything! Now the customer has completed an offer they now have to refer a certain amount of people to the site depending on what gift they want to receive. So for example, a large gift such as a Playstation 3 would require more referrals than a smaller gift such as an iPod Shuffle, because the PS3 costs a lot more for the Freebie site to buy. Therefore a customer wanting a PS3 can expect to need to get about 11 referrals to the Freebie site, whereas if they only wanted a 2GB iPod Shuffle, they would only need 3 referrals.
Ok, so by the time the customer has completed step 3, the Freebie site has acquired enough money from the companies involved to pay for the customer’s product and the shipping costs. Let me give you an example:
Customer ‘A’ signs up and completes a free DVD trial which earns the freebie site $40/£20. They then decide that they want a free 2GB iPod Shuffle, which requires 3 referrals. So they ask 3 friends/family to sign up to the Freebie site via their unique referral link and ask them to complete an offer themselves. The unique link is a link which the customer uses to get people to sign up to in order to earn them referrals. The people agree to sign up and complete their offers. This then means that customer ‘A’ now has 3 referrals and can order their free iPod. It also means that the Freebie site has received $40/£20 from customer ‘A’, plus 3x $40/£20 from customers ‘X, Y & Z’. This means that in total the site has received $120/£60 in commission. This then pays for the free item, which only costs approximately $65, and the postage costs. You may have noticed that this also earns the Freebie site a bit of profit on the side.
Now the thing that I have always found fantastic about this system is that everybody is a winner! I know it sounds very cliché, but when you think about it, it’s true.
The customer receives a free product, the Freebie site earns a profit, and the Companies involved gain new customers which may or may not earn them a lot of money in the future.
So how can you get involved?
Well, as with most areas of marketing there are sites you want to visit, and ones you want to avoid. Some freebie sites are very well established, have lots of available offers, and ship gifts quickly. All this makes the freebie experience a lot easier and quicker to receive products. These are the sites you want to visit. On the other hand, some sites are out to get your cash and won’t ship you gifts.
So how do you know which ones to visit and which to avoid?
If you visit a site such as Free Consoles - Receive Free Consoles In Days! - Free PS3, Free Nintendo Wii, Free Xbox 360. Then you will find a lot of information about how the Freebie system works, proof videos and pictures of what can be achieved, and links to trustworthy and well established sites dedicated to helping you earn those all important freebies.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
About the Author:
Matthew Robinson, the author of “Affiliate Marketing – Can anyone make money from it?” and the owner of Free-Consoles.com – Receive Free Consoles In Days!
Read the article and my blog at: http:///www.free-consoles.com