Do you want to make money online but you’re confused about the various kinds of business opportunities out there? Don’t worry – you’re not alone.
The online business industry has grown so quickly that, in some instances, even industry experts are using different terms to describe the same thing.
With that in mind let’s talk about two main online business terms you may have run into – Internet marketing and affiliate marketing. The confusing thing about these terms is that while all affiliate marketing is done on the Internet these days, not all Internet marketing is actually done through affiliate marketing.
Confused yet? Don’t worry – it’s fairly simple. Here’s the difference:
Let’s take affiliate marketing first. Basically, affiliate marketing is a system where you as an affiliate recommend a product or service and are paid when someone listens to your recommendations and buys that product or service from your business partner.
In the very loosest sense, some form of affiliate marketing or another actually predates the Internet. For example, your chiropractor’s referral program could be thought of as a very informal form of affiliate marketing.
Add the Internet, though, and everything changes. You’ve seen ads for Amazon.com on all sorts of web sites you visit, correct? Well, Amazon was one of the first affiliate marketing programs out there. This is how it works – when you click on the site for that book and go to Amazon to purchase it, the owner of the web site you clicked from is paid a commission or a flat rate on your purchase.
And basically, that’s what affiliate marketing is. You have a web site where you either just allow your affiliate partners to post ads or where you promote their products or services explicitly. When someone clicks over to your affiliate partners’ sites and makes purchases, you get paid.
How Is Affiliate Marketing Different
So how does this differ from Internet marketing overall? Well, the term “Internet marketing” is actually something of a blanket term that includes affiliate marketing but is not limited to it.
For example, if you own a brick and mortar business you should still be doing at least some of your marketing over the Internet in order to increase your sales.
But there are also businesses that operate exclusively online as well as businesses that exist for the purpose of doing Internet marketing.
What’s the difference? Say you have an Etsy shop where you sell your craft pieces. You will then do Internet marketing, even if you’re just posting free ads in Craigslist and talking about your store on your blog, to promote your business.
Or, perhaps you own your own network marketing business. You’ll then use online marketing techniques to sell products and recruit a downline. However, you may also use traditional network marketing strategies – person-to-person selling for example – to grow your business.
Finally, you may decide to go start a business where Internet marketing is all you do. That is, you use Internet marketing to promote a product or service for your partner company. Instead of just clicking over like they would if you were an affiliate, you are actually a primary source of the company’s products or services. However, in most cases your partner company still deals with inventory and order fulfillment so you don’t have to.
In other words, there are several ways to make money online. But they all really come down to one thing – learning the tools and strategies that make Internet marketing work.