How do you even go about making money through affiliate marketing?
Earning cold hard cash while you sleep sounds too good to be true, so is it really happening?
Before you decide to stop whatever you’re doing and dive into the fantastical world of being an affiliate marketer, it’s important to get a few things straight.
Namely, what the heck is affiliate marketing?
What is Affiliate Marketing?
The basic idea of affiliate marketing (AM) is to promote other people’s products and receive a commission once the products are sold – think of it as a type of referral bonus.
Affiliate products are usually found through affiliate networks, and the commission rate will vary depending on the vendor or network.
In short, in the affiliate marketing industry, you can get paid to promote virtually anything (that has an affiliate program).
How Much Can You Make as an Affiliate Marketer?
The passive income of affiliate marketers may range from $300 per day to $10k per day.
The consistency of income will not necessarily be stable, but if you set your strategies right, your income can gradually grow over time and remain fairly consistent barring any sort of fracture to your traffic funnel.
Here’s a poll that was taken by members of the Stack That Money forum, an AM forum, showing the annual income of bloggers and marketers alike.
Don’t let the varying results discourage you! As long as you find the right program and vocation for your business, your income should not be disappointing.
How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?
There are three simple ways for an affiliate to get paid:
Pay Per Sale
This is the most basic way of earning as an affiliate where the merchant will pay a certain percentage of the products’ sale price after the products are sold. In short, make the sale to get your commission.
Pay Per Lead
This commission is based on the conversion of leads. What happens here is, the affiliate leads the consumer to visit the merchant’s site and if required complete some tasks or actions as required. It may be filling up forms, agreeing to a product trial, downloading files, subscribing to newsletters, etc.
Pay Per Click
A bit similar to the pay per leads, this is another way to redirect the consumers from the affiliate’s site to the merchant’s website. The affiliate is required to guide the consumer on clicking on the link that will lead to the merchant’s site. The affiliate earning here will depend on web traffic.
Famous Affiliate Marketers
Here are three of the most well-known and affiliate marketers online today that are making a killing:
1. Pat Flynn
Pat Flynn has probably earned the top spot for taking his income of $8000 to more than $50,000 in just five years (2008-2013). Though 20% of his income is from other channels, you cannot ignore that amount of income.
Another reason for being picked as the most inspiring personality in affiliate marketing is because of his transparency about his income to date and his work as well.
Some of his websites give an impressive read about his journey to success in web marketing.
2. John Chow
Another revolutionary affiliate market icon, John Chow upped his business level in less than three years.
If you have zero income at present, he is someone to take inspiration from. He started from the bottom and now his income exceeds $50k. Dedicating two hours a day is enough for him to generate a big sum in a month.
Take more inspiration from his blog posts and the latest book titled “Make Money Online: Roadmaps of a Dot Com Mogul”.
3. Jeremy Schoemaker
Are debts weighing you down rendering you helpless? Jeremy Schoemaker, one of the top affiliate marketers with a staggering amount of earning will definitely put some hope in you.
Before his big break in 2003 with his blog ShoeMoney.com, he was under a $50,000 debt. Now he is known for making millions with just affiliate marketing.
Affiliate Marketing Income Brackets
Now here is an insight of where you are or where you will be in a few weeks or months. The income from AM can be roughly divided into five categories.
Beginner Affiliates or Affiliate Apprentices
They are the unfortunate ones who are losing money. Being first-timers they are attracted by almost everything. Their focus is scattered, mostly because they still haven’t found their niche.
Their earning stays below $300 per day. This group mostly invests its focus on profit pockets on the web.
They earn anywhere from $300 to $3000 per day. They tend to give attention to higher volume traffic sources but with small margins. They often target pop traffic and mobile marketing.
They earn $3000 and above in a day. They mainly focus on mass-market media and high traffic sources. In this level, the affiliates will need to take bigger risks with bigger capital.
They earn a whopping $10k per day. They invest their time and attention to the latest updates. As the level rises, the risk rises as well but with greater results.
All these profits will depend on how determined you are in keeping income consistency. Developing the right marketing strategy is the key to keep your earnings from hitting rock bottom.
Connect your target audiences with the goods and services on your site. It is vital to optimize your CTR (click-through rate) by adding affiliate links to affiliate programs and moreover stay with products that are parallel to your website.
Before you add links to affiliate programs in your site, study their contents. You should be aware of your commission as an affiliate and any regulations that are provided.
Identify Your Niches
Knowing which affiliate program to choose gives you a boost to skip the beginners’ level. Once you find your niche, you can start your website or blog and earn your way to become a super affiliate.
Choosing your niche is not that difficult nor too easy, but it requires three steps.
- Explore your passions. You need to understand what you are marketing and for bonus points for giving your personal reviews on what you are marketing.
- Study the probability of consumer attraction. Your goal is to lead the consumers to click and buy the goods and services your merchant website is selling.
- Sometimes web traffic doesn’t mean your earnings will be desirable. The niche that you choose needs to generate enough commission to keep your income high.
Here are some affiliate niches and their earnings for better insight.
Software Affiliate Programs
This is probably one of the most profitable affiliate programs that include web hosting providers and software. The affiliate commissions are usually around 30% per payment. If your niche lies in software, you are up for a bigger amount, however, since it has larger numbers, the field is quite packed and competition is high. Most beginners avoid this program for obvious reasons.
Travel Affiliate Programs
Usually, the affiliates receive their incomes from travel agencies, booking agencies, airlines, and reviews sites. The percentage of commission depends on the niche you choose. Flight tickets may give you about 3%, while accommodation may be between 3 to 12 % commission. The competition is high in this program as well but comparatively lowers than dating and e-commerce affiliate programs.
eCommerce Affiliate Programs
This niche requires a bigger audience to get a decent commission. The earning percentage usually stays between 4 to 8.5% and when you have a high number of audiences, you can earn a minimum of $1000 in 20-40 working hours monthly.
Dating Affiliate Programs
In the dating affiliate program, commissions vary in different actions. An affiliate can earn up to $5 for referral commission, $12 per lead, $500 for an order, usually first orders. Any loyalty programs will lead to an increase in your commission depending on the number of sign-ups.
Loans Affiliate Programs
If this is your niche, you will probably earn a decent commission. Loan companies are always competing for clients. Depending on the size of the loan, affiliates can earn from as low as $1 to $5000.
Fitness and Nutra Affiliate Programs
As the hype for health and fitness grow, supplements sales rise as well. This affiliate program is the latest niche that is fast growing where you can earn between 15 to 40% commission from every merchant by promoting a healthy lifestyle with their products and services.
Basic Know-Hows of an Affiliate Marketer
Finding your niche was not that hard, the next step is to know the structure of becoming an affiliate. Here are four easy-to-understand ways.
Firstly, start by reviewing the products through your blog, vlog, or website. The key is to stay relevant to your site.
Secondly, assort emails of potential clients for a more direct approach.
The third step requires your participation in joint venture webinars. This way you are adding to your email list, creating new content, and creating an opportunity to make maximum sales in the minimum time period. Webinars are an effective way to connect with your clients. Using live webinars not only encourages active response from the clients, but it also helps you to avoid hard-selling the products.
The final step calls for pay-per-click advertising. Paid advertising will help you to collect more emails and more sign-ups for your webinar, which means more sales.
Types of Affiliate Marketing Channels
Here are a few of the most used AM channels:
On the top are the influencers who have the maximum potential of having an impact on the decisions of purchase. Firstly, they have an impressive number of followers so they can directly lead the consumers to the merchant sites without hard-selling any of the products.
Basically, the idea is to play their role by sampling products and writing reviews about them in their blogs, in this way they drive the traffic to the merchant’s site. The key is to match the product with the blogger’s niche.
Paid Search Microsites
Microsites are a great way to generate sales to a large extent. They offer more relevant and focused content to a particular set of audience. The rise of the seller’s conversions is a common result in this context.
Not a new method, but email listings are quite effective in generating leads with the consumers directly. The affiliates promote the products through newsletters and hyperlinks.
Large Media Websites
As the name suggests, these sites are intended to create audiences in terms of millions. They promote the products to the mass by using affiliate hyperlinks and banners. The biggest advantage of this method is the massive exposure which in turn increases the seller conversion rate. It is an advantage for both the affiliate and the seller.
Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing
Before any venture, it is always wise to get your wits on the advantages and disadvantages.
- You don’t need any expert skills in marketing
- You can start from zero investment
- You are not responsible for shipping the products
- It’s a full-time job where you don’t have to quit
- Although it is a full-time job, there is limitless flexibility when it comes to the nature of work
- No hassle of customer service
- Income is based not only on sales but other actions like signing up, installing apps, etc
- You can work from the comfort of home without going anywhere
- Fierce competition
- Revenue is low
- You have no control over the quality of the product and services
- Affiliate programs can be unreliable
- The company can change their affiliate program policies
- Being an affiliate to the wrong business may put a halt to your credibility
How Long Before You Make a Steady Income?
The consistency of income in AM is a slow process that gives you ample time to transit from your former job to a full-time affiliate. For most people, it takes a minimum of 6 months to start a decent earning from the affiliate industry. Depending on your performance and persistence, it may take even a few years to secure a place in the web markets.
Focus on creating quality content and SEO (search engine optimization) to drive traffic to the seller’s site. This may not be an overnight upshot but as you stay consistent on promoting the affiliate products by using the appropriate strategy, you can start commissioning a decent income in a few months.
Affiliate Marketing and You
Affiliate marketing is both lucrative and volatile. This industry is an ideal place to make money online where you have full control over the income depending on your performance.
Many people make the mistake of promoting too many products or promoting the wrong products, or both. Pay attention to quality content website for more followers and better if you provide regular feeds.
One of the most attractive deals about marketing is you have the upper hand to make it your primary job or a secondary one regardless of the income.
Remember, the success of affiliate marketing depends on your basic marketing skills, exposure, and most importantly your persistence to meet your income goals.
An SEO expert, web designer, and writer, Thomas writes on topics he deems fun such as digital marketing, entrepreneurship, and personal development. Since 2014, he’s worked with countless business owners to help them improve their organic presence online. When he’s not writing about online business or geeking out about the latest Google algorithm update, he spends his free time playing the piano and working out with his wife.