But to be honest, this digital marketing place isn't for everyone -- plain and simple! In fact, if you're a sciolist or a "hack", you haven't read this far. If you're reading this, it means you want more out of the Internet than just a couple of extra bucks. You want to kick ass, make yourself a name and be the next success story everybody talks about as an "overnight success!"
When I was a child, my school would have fundraisers that involved us going door-to-door to sell magazine subscriptions (magazines were glossy, soft-cover publications that would be mailed to a subscriber’s house on a weekly or monthly basis). I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was right in the middle of an affiliate marketing scheme. The magazine companies had products they wanted to sell. Schools had the ability to sell these products. And for every subscription sold, the magazine companies gave a slice of the proceeds to the school. (In this example, there’s actually a secondary later of affiliate marketing; the schools effectively outsource the actual selling to the students, in exchange for prizes that come with meeting certain sales figures.)
In many cases, the strength of your social media campaign will be dependent on the strength of your efforts in other channels. For example, let’s say you have two companies essentially doing the same thing, Company A and Company B. Company A launches a social media campaign and starts paying $100 a week toward marketing. Company B spends $100 a week on traditional advertising, and starts building an initial client base. After a few months, Company A has made some progress and is breaking even on its social media spend. Company B has a thriving customer base, so they decide to start a social media presence. By the end of the month, both companies have 1,000 followers. By this point, Company A has invested more than $1,000, but Company B has only invested $100—yet their posts are getting a similar amount of reach. This example shows how the numbers can become skewed in favor of brands with big advertising budgets being spent on other marketing efforts, or those with an already-existing audience.
One huge red flag is any company that promises you a “get rich quick” marketing strategy. Although affiliate marketing can be good money, it’s by no means instantaneous. Stay away from anything that sounds too good to be true. Also, stay away from any merchant that wants to charge you startup costs. Additionally, use established affiliate programs to find your merchants. Read reviews and ask around. You’re not the only person trying to supplement income with this marketing strategy, so there are plenty of other professionals with whom to crowdsource.