To broaden your horizons about making money online you need to understand one of the main concepts – what is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is one of the forms of online or internet marketing where companies/businesses reward affiliates (you and I, in this case) for each purchase, customer or visitor referred to them by the affiliate. Here's a diagram I created below to help you better understand the concept:
The simplest and most basic method of affiliate marketing is when you create and website, write reviews about specific products, and use free resources to bring traffic to your site. If visitors find your information useful, click your ads, and buy products from seller's website – you get paid.
There are other forms of internet marketing
- Email marketing (don't confuse with spam)
- Paid search engine marketing (SEM)
- Cost Per Click (CPC) advertising
- "Organic" Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Cost Per Action (CPA) or Pay Per Lead (PPL)
- And many others.
and affiliate marketing can also incorporate all these other techniques one way or another to produce better results. Affiliate marketing methods can easily be used to promote your small business as well.
People look for information, products, or services. They come to affiliate website and read information it has (just the way you came to my site looking for explanation of "affiliate marketing"). And if visitors find information provided interesting/useful and click on one of ads on affiliate website and/or buy from the main company (which takes care of shipping, handling, and all the other hassle) -> affiliate makes money.
All we, affiliates, do is get traffic to the main seller website. And the greatest thing is – these companies love to pay us these commissions to help them promote their service or product.