Published on June 15th, 2013 | by Daniel0
An Introduction to Online Marketing
Currently I make the vast majority of my location independent income with online marketing. This income enables me to travel the globe and live wherever I want. I will not display how much I exactly earn but I can tell you it a substantial income. So I am quite thankful that I got into this business.
In this post I will share some of the basics of online marketing.
At its core online marketing (also named affiliate marketing, internet marketing) is quite straightforward. You get paid for referring customers to products. By using a specific affiliate link, a company will know that it was you who referred the customer to them, and as such can credit the lead or sale to you. Most often you will get a percentage of the sale price credited or a fixed amount for a lead generated.
Generally an affiliate link has the following structure:
This link can be placed in text, in banners, below videos, in emails and so forth. The link is unique; so wherever or whenever it is clicked, that click can be traced back to you. After a visitor clicks your affiliate link, a cookie is saved on his laptop. Consequently the page where the links leads to (i.e. a company page) can see that you referred the visitor to them. This way they can credit you for every transaction the visitor makes.
The cookie also saves some information about your relation with a company. Often there is a condition called “cookie length”, which is a time frame during which every transaction made by this customer is attributed to you. For instance, if a visitor buys a product 3 weeks after he clicked your affiliate link, you still can get credit for the sale.
Sometimes it happens that there is more than one affiliate marketer promoting the same product for the merchant. In case the customer clicks on multiple affiliate links for the same product, it is currently common practice that the affiliate link last clicked gets credit for the transaction.
How to Get Started
For your affiliate marketing campaigns to work you need an product to promote and some sort of tracking system. To find a product you can go directly to a company website for this (for instance Amazon) and sign up for their affiliate program. However, to find the most products in one place that can be promoted, it is to be recommended that you apply at an Affiliate Network.
An Affiliate Network basically acts as an intermediary between a company with a product and the affiliate. As such they build trust in the market and make it run efficiently. The affiliate network takes care of the tracking system, payments, legal issues and so forth. Furthermore they manage all affiliate products in one place. This mean that the network has a good knowledge about the market; about which products do well and which do not.
So when you get accepted for an affiliate network, you instantly have many products that you can promote. What kind of products you will end up promoting depends on you of course. It makes sense that you promote products that you have an “edge” in. For instance, in case you have more knowledge about a product than the average person, or if you own a website about a specific topic related to the products. For instance, when you have a travel blog, it makes sense that you promote travel related products and not fashion related; although the latter is still possible of course, depending on your creativity.
How to apply for Affiliate Networks
There are many affiliate networks active in the market. This also brings a huge difference in quality amongst them. So you should check each network for their payment history, their truthwortiness and so forth. Always check references.
Some Affiliate networks I use a lot and have found to be very trusthworthy are:
Neverblue – good allround network, easy to get accepted
Adsimilis – many online products as games, networks and software
Peerfly – good network that pays for leads
ShareaSale – userfriendly network with a lot of of products
You can freely apply for all these networks. Some networks do have a application procedure, which in most cases means that they want to talk to you. This is done over the phone or skype and does not take more than a couple of minutes. The networks just want to verify that you are for real and will engage in some common security checks. The question they ask will be very simple. After you have been accepted to the network you will get an affiliate manager. This person will be your contact at the network and they often know some ins and outs about the products. So if you do not know which product to promote, they can help you with good market information.
Finding your Edge
In case you want to get started in online marketing, the best thing to ask yourself is: what is my passion? It is so much easier to write about a topic that interests you and/or refer a customer to a product that you really endorse. Yes, internet marketing has its tedious parts, but in general it enables one to really utilize his or her specific strengths as a human being. That makes it a great business to be in for a digital nomad. So start with your topic of interest first and build a website around that. In this way you can learn all the intricacies of online marketing on the job, enabling you to increase your business while you get better at the same time.
Besides that it is location independent, the extra beauty of online marketing is that the market opportunities are huge. As in, only limited by your creativity. This can be overwhelming though. There are so many niches to explore, and as it is an international spectrum, your specific niches can be huge by itself. So it is important to stick to your specialisms, your passions and the topic you have experience in.
If you are interested in more knowledge about online marketing sign up for our newsletter by using the form on the right of this page, so you will get regular tips on how to build your online business and make money online. Also check out my other blog Affiliate Advice, that has much more specific information about affiliate marketing.