|Image courtesy of Feelart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
With affiliate marketing you don't have to have your own products or services, you simply place promotions on your website for other companies and you are compensated when someone purchases from a company using the link you provide.
Most of the time it doesn't matter how you promote the companies that you work with. you can use social media, your blog or website, email marketing, e-newsletter links - you name it! The affiliate program that you work with does the work for you by tracking and reporting to the individual merchants, then paying you a commission for each transaction that happens through the affiliate link.
I have done a lot of research on affiliate marketing programs and ultimately chose to sign up with three different networks. NOTE: Some merchants require certain criteria be met before they approve you to promote their products regardless of which affiliate network program you work with. My advice is to go ahead and apply to represent any company that you are interested in. If you are approved, great! If not, oh well. Typically you can reapply after 30 days.
LinkShare is reportedly the largest affiliate network, with over 10 million affiliate partnerships. I work with LinkShare for my blog "A Beautiful Little Life" to promote a few of my favorite brands, like Sundance, Fossil and Vera Bradley. They work with PetSmart, Macy's, The Container Store and so many more I couldn't even begin to list them all! Click on the ad above to go to their site.
Commission Junction is another network that I work with and they work with a larger variety of merchants that are not fashion related. Brands like Deluxe Check, Hammacher Schlemmer, the NBC Universal Store and more. They are said to be the largest affiliate marketing network in North America and they have a ton of options for different companies to work with.
Amazon.com offers Amazon Associates and they will pay you a percentage of every sale that comes from a link on your blog. Because Amazon.com has such a wide variety of products available, there truly is something for everyone and every type of website! You can promote fashion, electronics, office supplies, furniture - and of course books. It's by far the easiest to set up and use, and because so many people shop regularly on amazon.com, it's kind of a no-brainer.
Again, I'm not an expert, but these are programs that I'm working with every day and if you have any questions, feel free to ask! You can leave a note in the comments or email me at email@example.com.