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Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing

Jan 30, 2008
Do you want to work from home? Are you thinking of starting an online business? If you have been researching the possibilities, you have probably come across affiliate marketing, a business opportunity that has grown exponentially over the last 10 years.

Thousands of online merchants depend on affiliate marketers to drive customers to their websites. The affiliates don't have products themselves but attract the attention of potential customers and encourage them to visit the merchant's website. If the customer buys a product, then the affiliate gets commission.

There are many good reasons for choosing affiliate marketing as your online business. But, as with just about everything in life, there are a few downsides. This article will take a balanced look at some of the pros and cons of being an affiliate marketer.

One huge advantage of affiliate marketing is the low start-up cost. You really don't need much more than a computer and a broadband internet connection to get going. Initially, you don't even need to spend anything on creating a website. There are free resources on the internet that let you build small websites for free so that you can test your markets and improve your skills before committing yourself to your market and niche.

Costs along the way are minimal. If you were a merchant with products to sell, you would have all the expense of product development, storage and shipping. You would also have the hassle of processing payments and would be vulnerable to the ever-present danger of fraud. But as an affiliate you have none of these worries. You collect your commission checks or the credits to your Paypal account and laugh all the way to the bank.

How much money can you make as an affiliate? The answer is 'a lot' - if you work hard and smart. Some super-affiliates have become millionaires in the space of one or two years.

So what's the downside? The disadvantages of affiliate marketing are not great and should not deter you from getting started. But it's best to be aware of them so that you are prepared.

Affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick scheme. You have to put in a lot of time to develop the best techniques and apply them properly. And the internet is not a stable playing-field. The goal-posts are constantly shifting and you have to be able to adjust. Although the concept of affiliate marketing is simple, the skills required to build profitable campaigns take time to learn.

You must be prepared to make mistakes and have failures and pick yourself up and start again. Each failure will teach you something that you can use to your advantage in future. Patience and persistence are essentials for any would-be affiliate.

You must also have self discipline. Working alone with your computer, it is all too easy to lose focus and get side-tracked. You can spend unnecessary hours on unproductive surfing, while persuading yourself you are doing necessary research, or spend too long in forums when you should really be taking action to drive traffic to your website or merchant.

You must be good at time management and setting your own goals. The affiliates that fail are the ones that mess about and don't take action.

These are just words of caution. Affiliate marketing is an enjoyable and profitable venture for people who go about it the right way. If you are thinking of becoming an affiliate then it's a good idea to invest in a program that will teach you the best techniques and keep you up to date with developments online.
About the Author
If affiliate marketing sounds like a home based business opportunity that you'd like to pursue, check out Wealthy Affiliate.
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