Affiliate marketing has long promised the idea of bringing home lots of cash without having to actually put in that much effort. But is this the truth?

When you become an affiliate for a product or service all you have to do is paste a link to their site and watch the commission from orders gained through your site come flooding in, right? Well, not quite. It’s vital to understand that affiliate marketing is like any other form of marketing – there are no shortcuts and your site still needs to be marketed in the usual ways or you will see zero rewards.

Successful affiliates in any affiliate program simply don’t sit there and wait for money to come. Why? Because there is no money in simply sitting and waiting. If you really want to get hold of large affiliate checks then you have to be constantly thinking of ways to make your visitors click on those affiliate links.

Here are a few brief guidelines that should get you off on the right track…

* Become an expert in your chosen field or an affiliate product.

You can promote your merchant’s product better if you know a lot of things about it. To become an expert, the best thing you can do is purchase your merchant’s product yourself. Use the product inside out. That way you will get to know all the pros and cons of the product and this may enable you to write a testimonial on your site! Remember sometimes revealing the flaws (as long as they are minor) as well as the good points can make a review seem more believable and encourage your visitors to click on that link!

* Write your own affiliate ads.

Many vendors won’t mind if you get a little “creative” in your promotion of their products and this can be a great way to make your ads stand out from all the other people who are promoting the same product.

* Participate in chat rooms, discussion boards, and forums related to your product.

If you used to ignore them before, then it is time for you to start focusing your attention on them. You can start your own chat room or join an existing chat room related to your product. It’s a good idea not to promote your product straight away. Instead, build trust with your forum colleagues by giving out advice, then, over time, mention your affiliate product. Otherwise, you just look like a spammer, not a good thing!

* Create a free ezine or newsletter.

Ezines and newsletters are periodical publications whose aim is to inform a group of people about a certain subject. In your ezines and newsletters, you don’t always have to promote your merchant’s product for this may greatly annoy your subscribers.

Rather, find a way to insert your affiliate ads and links on some portions of the letter. Also, don’t forget to promote your ezine or newsletter on your website.

These are but a few guidelines on how you can increase your affiliate sales and continually grow your affiliate checks.

What’s important is that you are able to find a way to: attract more traffic to your site, induce your visitors to click on the ads on your site, and be able to promote your merchant’s products even outside the boundary of your website. If you can do this, there’s no reason for you to fail in affiliate marketing.

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