How Simple is Online Marketing and Affiliate Advertising?

affiliate advertisingHow easy is online marketing? Particularly in an era when a ubiquity of online educational programs about Internet marketing promote how simple it is? On one end of a spectrum of perspectives resides The Evil Allure of Internet Marketing.
Another (somewhat related) perspective reflects an inherent confusion among inexperienced individuals who simply do not understand that online marketing is more than setting up a website. Although establishing a website is infinitely simpler and less expensive than building a physical store, neither offers any guarantee that the business associated with either property will ever make any money.
Establishing a website is “not” Internet marketing. The game of marketing via the Internet doesn’t even begin until after a website is established and at that point the activity of the game revolves around how to get people to visit the website and buy the products/services.  (That’s a simplified statement, since a professionally launched website would integrate Internet marketing elements from the initial design).

Traffic Generation

Generally speaking, there are two ways to get visitors to your website.
Just like you can advertise any business in many ways (direct mail, trade shows, magazine ads, newspaper ads, radio, TV, etc), there are myriad ways to advertise online, with pay-per-click being the most common.
This has to do with search engine optimization, and embraces a panorama of various activities that entail considerable work.
While building traffic through either, or both, methods, you would also build up an email list of subscribers that you regularly send messages to with special offers.
These activities require resources. Buying traffic results in immediate activity.  SEO results in a lower-cost sales process, but further down the road.

Affiliate Advertising

Selling products for others is a popular way to get started as an Internet marketer. You don’t need to create products, you don’t need to maintain an inventory, you don’t need to handle the customer service and other matters related to selling products or services. An affiliate marketer drives visitors to a sales site, and collects commissions for those visitors who make a purchase.
In fact, an affiliate marketer does not even need a website.
Hence, driving visitors to sales pages for the purpose of generating affiliate commissions seems to be the easiest way to make money online. (And it is often promoted as such).
Affiliates take the risk with their time and money and the manufacturer benefits from the sale, and only pays commissions when sales are made. It’s a win-win scenario when you match up the right affiliates with the right manufacturers, and especially the right affiliate payouts (commissions).
Affiliate selling is a large industry and a rapidly growing industry. All manufacturers of products/services need/want affiliates to sell their goods.
And of course, affiliates need companies that pay affiliate commissions.
Since affiliate marketing is such a great opportunity for manufacturers, they often compete to provide the best “offers” (including affiliate commissions) in the industry to attract affiliates.
However, the concept of affiliate marketing can also be presented to newbies as a get-rich-quick scheme which ends up generating at least “some” business for manufacturers while frustrating the affiliate who is beginning to learn the same things note above: Internet marketing and its subsegment of affiliate marketing, require more activity then simply setting up a website. The two general strategies for driving visitors (noted above), applies to affiliate marketing as it applies to any online marketing.


Online marketing and affiliate marketing “can” be relatively simple.  At least the barrier to entry is low and the mechanics of driving traffic can be learned by anyone with a diligent desire to study and apply such knowledge.  However, to expect success as an online marketer in general, or as an affiliate marketer in particular, from the notion of merely setting up a website, would be an over-simplification of what it takes to become profitable.
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