Following the rapid expansion of Internet connectivity in Africa, a lot has been said about the need for Africans to take advantage of growing Internet connectivity and build wealth. After all, a number of studies, including one by the International Telecommunication Union
, have shown some correlation between a region’s connectivity and its wealth. E-Commerce, business process outsourcing and improved foreign direct investment (FDI) have been credited for a country’s improved GDP when connectivity improves.
But how about any Tom and Jerry, like you and me, jump on the e-commerce bandwagon without any important products or services and the deep pockets to develop a flamboyant e-commerce presence? For many people, affiliate marketing is the answer.
Affiliate marketing is the term used to describe a commission based programme where anyone with an online presence can advertise certain products and services in exchange for a referral fee whenever the referred party makes a purchase. There are many different affiliate programmes with different commission structures. Some enable you to place text or image hyperlinks to products or a Web site, some will allow you to set up a store that offers products related to information on your Web site, and others require you to place general advertising banners or buttons on your website.
Most successful affiliate marketers have created blog websites dedicated specifically to the product they wish to market. In addition to placing advertising banners or text hyperlinks on their sites, pointing to the products, they also spend time writing promotional blogs about the products and services to make it easier for people searching for those products find the page. We recommend following two simple steps to get started as an affiliate marketer.
First, identify the affiliate programme you would like to work with. There are hundreds of affiliate programmes available; some are easy to setup and get started with while some are selective and more appropriate for seasoned webmasters. Some of the leading programmes are , and Sitesell
Within each of these programmes, there is a range of products or services from different manufacturers and service providers to choose from. While Amazon and Commission Junction offer a large variety of products, Sitesell specialises in e-commerce websites.
Next, you have to create a simple blog site to promote your chosen products and/or services. There are a number of free hosting services, including Wordpress
that will enable you to develop simple affiliate websites. Alternatively, for about $30/month, you can subscribe to Sitesell’s SBI
, a simple, "do it yourself" and step by step affiliate web development site for "dummies". SBI provide you with the guidance to build your affiliate page, host it and provide you with the tools you need to succeed as an affiliate marketer even if you don’t have any experience building websites.