I’m assuming you already know what an affiliate program is. Those who don’t can read up here.
The single biggest piece of nonsense perpetrated by get-rich-quick scamsters is this: sign up to as many popular affiliate programs as possible. Buy a lot of PPC traffic. Get rich. That’s all there is to it.
The problem with that advice is that not all affiliate programs are created equal. Some pay lousy commissions, some don’t pay at all, many operate in very crowded markets, and many have very little to differentiate them from other affiliate programs. Because the barrier to entry is low, what happens is that you end up competing with huge numbers of other affiliates, which can drive up your costs, and reduce your potential earnings.
Whilst it is true that some people thrive in these environments, they’re usually spending a lot of money to do so, have cut sweet commision deals that aren’t available to the general public, and are leveraging networks built up over time.
If You’re A New Entrant, Don’t Do What Everybody Else Is Doing
Unless you can burn through a lot of time and cash, go niche. Try to look for new products and services that people want, but choose products and services that are not yet common knowledge amongst the major affiliate communities. How do you do this? Research. Go offline and read industry magazines on consumer trends. If information is online, chances are more people are aware of it. Many affiliates only read online. Be different. Dig deep using keyword research tools for search traffic streams relating to those goods and services that others may not have discovered.
Once you’ve found a product or service that hasn’t been saturated, then go looking for appropriate affiliate programs. If need be, approach the merchants directly and set up partnership deals. These can be a more lot work, but the advantage is that you should have reduced levels of competition and be able to negotiate preferable deals. If you find an area or angle that most other people have overlooked, it takes very little work, and money, to maintain your sales.
The important point is to know your competition. Competitive markets are expensive to enter. Instead, try to find niches within existing markets, or find new territories altogether.
Try not to emulate what everyone else is already doing.