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Susan Wilson Solovic Business Article

Susan Wilson Solovic Business Article
Susan Solovic Susan Solovic, The Small Business Expert is an award-winning entrepreneur, an attorney, a New York Times best-selling author, a media personality and a highly sought after keynote speaker.

3 Paths to Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

3 Paths to Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

There’s never any shortage of people interested in finding the best ideas for passive income businesses and successful affiliate marketing programs are certainly among the top candidates. Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people's (or company's) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.

But anyone who has made an attempt at establishing an affiliate marketing business that actually makes some money knows that it’s not easy to accomplish. You can work like crazy and invest a lot of time establishing a blog or website and never get the passive income source of your dreams.

I suppose one way to discover a successful affiliate marketing business is just to try one thing after another until you hit something that works. But starting out with a good strategy will, in the long run, be less frustrating and more rewarding.

If this has been a dream of yours, here are three strategies that will help you, as an individual, find what may be the best affiliate program based passive income business.

Affiliate marketing success

There is one key to success in affiliate marketing – traffic. Some small percentage of your traffic will buy through the affiliate links you post on your website. This will prove to be a fairly constant number, so any increase in traffic will translate to an increase in your passive income. The riddle then becomes how to get the traffic.

1. Find something new. When a new product becomes available in an affiliate program, there aren’t as many competitors in cyberspace trying to lure in prospective buyers. This makes life easier on you. If you’re quick enough, you can even grab an exact-match domain name, like “” The Rakuten/Linkshare Affiliate Network, for example, makes it easy to find companies who are presenting new affiliate offers.

2. Niche curation. This strategy requires two things:

  • You need to define a very narrow area of interest, and
  • You need to establish your authority.

You could, for example, become the go-to person for hot sauce recipes and then sell the various brands of hot sauces that you use in your recipes. The sauces and spices you use should be rather hard to find so that your fans will prefer the convenience of buying through your website over tracking down the ingredients on their own. This strategy is ideal if you’re already passionate and knowledgeable about something.

3. Ask Google what you should sell. If you already have a blog, start running AdWords ads on it and see what kind of ads Google places on your site. That will tell you what Google thinks your visitors are interested in, and hey, Google knows quite a lot about the people who read your blog.

Keep track of the products and services that Google features on your pages for a while. See how you can categorize them and then start looking for those products and services in the popular affiliate marketing programs. Also, don’t forget that some companies run their own in-house affiliate programs – if you can’t find a product you think would work well for you offered through one of the third-party affiliate programs, go straight to the company itself.

Passive income success and SEO

There is one more very important requirement if you want to establish a stream of passive income through the affiliate program model: You need to be good at small business search engine optimization (SEO).

The first strategy listed above is the least dependent on having killer SEO skills because theoretically there won’t be as much competition and you can establish your authority early. However, even if you take that approach, don’t underestimate the importance of SEO. If you don’t feel you have the skills yourself, hire someone with a proven track record and learn from that person.

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