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Affilliate Marketing: How It Works

Most of us naturally participate in marketing. We tell our friends where we got a good deal, or about products and services we like, or even, a place to avoid shopping. We also wear shirts, hats and use other items that promote a variety of businesses and causes. Affiliate Marketing is just a way to get paid for what most of us do naturally.

By recommending a product or business on your website, blog or in your emails you can receive a sales commission when your customers, friends or complete strangers click on your link and purchase that product or goods and services from that business. Some companies will pay you a few cents every time their ad is clicked on or if your ad generates a lead for them. As crazy as it sounds, some will even pay you a commission for your own purchases(!) though most do not.

NOTE: this is NOT a get-rich-quick-scheme. If you want to generate the equivalent of a full-time income from affiliate marketing you will need to work at it FULL TIME! It will require salesmanship, ingenuity and hard work. Every company promoting affiliate marketing will say otherwise, but don't believe the hype that you're going to get rich doing this without a lot of hard work. Most likely, you will learn how to generate a small cash flow.

LinkShare_120x240v1Most companies will give you everything you need to promote their products. They provide the ads, the code to embed the ads on your sites and plenty of encouragement and suggestions to make it work. Many provide you with a responsive contact person for questions and support, and even videos explaining everything technical and otherwise.

Some companies run their own affiliate program but others work through companies that manage a large number of affiliates. Here are companies I use that manage affiliate programs: Shareasale.com and LinkShare.com. You may also want to start an affiliate program for your business. They do that too.

As with all income, you will need to pay taxes on it and the companies will ask you to fill out an online W-9 statement so that they can report that you were paid.

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