Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways of earning money on the Internet. It offers a lot of advantages over other methods of sales, including the fact that you don't actually have to stock any inventory to make sales. As an affiliate, you only need to advertise a product and direct the customer to the sales page for the product itself, which is usually run by the retailer or creator of that product. If the customer buys, you receive a portion of the sales price, even though you did not actually engage in a transaction or hand over product. What could be easier than that?
While the concept may be easy, most people are lured into affiliate marketing because of promises of making lots of money, rather than making money easily. You don't have to search too long on the Internet to come across a page that tells you that you can earn thousands of dollars per day as an affiliate. While the mechanism is simple, it's actually the promise of a huge volume of cash that tends to attract people to this type of business. Many people are blinded by the big numbers, however, and fail to realize how unusual it is to make huge money as an affiliate right off the bat.
You can certainly earn money as an affiliate, but those who earn the six figure incomes often have something going for them that most people do not – a huge mailing list. Having a large group of customers at the ready when a new product comes along is a large part of making a lot of money in marketing. Those who have spent years developing a large mailing list with ten thousand, twenty thousand or one hundred thousand names can often make thousands of dollars just by sending out a single e-mail advertisement. Such success is possible, but it comes as the result of years of hard work. Advertisements along the lines of "I made $ 30,000 in a week advertising product X" may technically be true, but they often hide the unspoken "by sending e-mail to the 250,000 people on my list!"
Building a mailing list takes time. It isn't particularly hard, but it is a vital component of making money through affiliate marketing. With a large mailing list, you have a loyal, proven group of customers who are eager to buy from you. This is far better than randomly trying to get strangers to buy whatever it is you are promoting. Anyone who is interested in trying affiliate marketing needs to take the promises of huge, six figure incomes with a grain of salt and understand that such results are not typical. That doesn't mean you can't make money, it only means that you need to have realistic expectations of how much you can earn right away. As long as you understand that you can't get rich overnight, you will be OK.