The "desired action" mentioned above could mean filling out a form (lead generation), opting-in to a newsletter, or purchasing a product or service. Desired actions that don't require a purchase, generally have the highest conversions but the smallest commissions. On the other hand, the payouts for sales can be quite large depending on the product or service and the commission rate.
Do you see all of those articles, tutorials and guides all over the Internet? Somebody wrote every one of them! If you have decent writing ability (no, you don’t need a journalism degree!), and knowledge in a few specific topic areas, you can be one of those writers. It’s an opportunity to make money online and without ever leaving your home. It’s also the kind of venture that can start out as a small side business, but grow into a full-time career.
Creating a video series and selling it as a digital download on your blog, much like an eBook, can be another great seller. A video course, teaching viewers a specific skill or how to achieve a particular activity, may well resonate with your audience. If you are going to go down this route then your videos need to be as professional as possible so you should consider investing in some video and lighting equipment, as well as editing software.
Research individual companies in your desired niche: If possible, it’s always better to become an affiliate directly with a company (if they have an internal affiliate program), as no one else will be dipping into your commission rate. This is the preferred route for most of the prominent affiliate marketers, including Pat Flynn. Unfortunately, it’s also the most work, as you’ll have to do the research yourself to see who offers programs (they’re usually listed in the website footer).
The audiobook industry is booming, yet only 5% of books ever get made into audio format. If you’ve got a background in acting, or if people have said you’ve got a voice made for the radio, you can make extra money recording audio versions of independent and popular books. Sites like ACX connect authors with audiobook performers. So, whether you’re an author looking for more ways to sell your book, or an actor/voice actor looking to make some extra income, you can sell your services online.
If you design a wildly popular app (which is harder than it sounds), you might be pleasantly surprised with the income they generate. Offering one or more apps at the iTunes or Android app store gives your creations wide exposure to prospects. And income can be generated by charging for the app, displaying in-app ads, or charging for in-app features and upgrades.
You'll also need ecommerce software, fulfillment software, worry about warehousing, customer service, refunds and so on. But that's not all. You'll also need traffic. Think search engine optimization, Facebook ads, and other social media campaigns. Sound like a lot of work? Sure, it is. Especially if you do it all on your own. You could opt for Amazon's platform, which might be the easier route. But, then again, at the end of the day, this is a serious business, which could produce significant profits. So you're either all in or you're not.
If you’re looking for inspiration, my friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of the website Making Sense of Sense has become the expert on all things affiliate marketing. Michelle earns more than $100,000 per month from her blog and the bulk of her income comes from affiliate sales. Michelle has had so much success with affiliate marketing that she even has her own course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.