Affiliates have a unique opportunity when it comes to conducting business online.
They have the potential of earning a commission based on referred sales without having to be concerned with order processing, back office work, and sales follow up.
Ideally, this is the perfect business model for any online business.
On the other hand, since being an affiliate can be so lucrative, there is an overwhelming amount of competition in every market.
There are hundreds of thousands of affiliates competing to bring customers to Amazon, eBay, Best Buy, and to thousands of other sites.
Even if you do sign up as an affiliate for an online business who has few, or no other affiliates, you are still competing with affiliates offering similar products for other online business.
This does not take into account the actual online businesses that spend money advertising their own products and services.
But even this dour aspect of the status quo does not mean that affiliates cannot earn money.
As a matter of fact they can, as long as they find creative strategies for reaching prospective customers, while keeping an eye on the bottom line.
One of these strategies involves the use of pay per click advertising like Google Ad Words and Overture.
While this by itself is not a unique strategy for affiliates, it can be approached in a manner that makes it both unique and effective.
I like to call this strategy shadow marketing.
Shadow marketing involves researching topics, key words, and phrases, that your intended market is interested in.
If an affiliate for Amazon wants to bring visitors to a book on hunting, she can select to bid on key words related to hunting grounds and hunting permits.
Since the key word “hunting book” might be saturated by other Amazon affiliates, her ad will stand out if it appears on a Google search for hunting permits.
The probability is high that someone looking for information on hunting permits will also be interested in books on hunting.
The key is use Google Ad Words and Overture by bidding on key words that are of interest to your market. This strategy will work if you select key words that other affiliates selling the same product as you are not bidding on.