If you're thinking of starting an online business, we believe Affiliate Marketing is one of the best options.
Use the following guide to get started.
With everything we are experiencing with the Covid-19 pandemic and the loss of jobs world-wide at an unprecedented rate, finding an alternative way to make money is paramount.
Affiliate Marketing has made many people that used to work in regular jobs into millionaires.
Here are some really eye-opening statistics about affiliate marketing according to MasterBlogging.com:
- 1The affiliate marketing spend in the US is observed to grow by 10.1 percent each year. (Source: Mediakix)
- 2By 2020, the affiliate marketing spend in the US is forecasted to reach $6.82 billion. (Source: Statista)
- 3The annual affiliate marketing spend overall is approximated at $12 billion. (Source: Softwarefindr)
- 4Affiliate marketing accounts for 15 percent of the entire digital media industry’s revenue. (Source: Business Insider)
- 5High-income affiliate marketers, including million-dollar-earners, have pulled the average salary of affiliate marketing up to $50,617. (Source: Payscale)
- 6More than 80 percent of advertisers and 84 percent of publishers leverage an affiliate marketing program. (Source: Rakuten Marketing)
- 7Roughly 90 percent of advertisers believe that affiliate marketing is important to their digital marketing strategy. (Source: Rakuten Marketing)
- 8Affiliate marketer Jason Stone proved that you don’t necessarily need your own product or service to make millions online. In one year, he managed to earn $7 million through affiliate marketing sales alone. (Source: Medium)
- 9From 2012 to 2017, merchants and publishers who use affiliate marketing increased by 49 percent and 40 percent, respectively. (Source: Social Media Today)
- 10In 2020, US affiliate marketing will contribute to $70 billion in sales. (Source: Forrester)
Before we go through the steps, let's explore a couple basic questions.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
If you ask people off the street, it's guaranteed less than 50% would know what affiliate marketing is.
Affiliate Marketing at it's core is:
- 1Recommending a product or service for a company to a consumer.
- 2Receiving a commission from the company if that product or service is purchased.
We like to think of affiliate marketing as virtual door-to-door sales but on a larger scale.
The real beauty of affiliate marketing is you can choose not only one company to work for but several.
You are a middleman between the consumer and the vendor and you are your own boss.
Who Is Affiliate Marketing For?
The simple answer to this question is it's for everyone.
It's for someone who wants a break from the monotonous 9-to-5 job.
It's for a parent that needs supplemental income to cover the many costs of raising children.
It's for a worker that can't work a regular job anymore due to a disability or a layoff.
Most importantly, Affiliate Marketing is for anyone who dreams for a better life and will do anything to get that life.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Through your blog posts, web pages and other content (which we'll get to later on in this post) you will be placing affiliate links to products.
Within these affiliate links are pieces of code called cookies that when clicked, are saved to the consumers computer and tracks any purchases they make.
When a successful purchase is made you make a commission.
Since the cookie stays on a consumers computer (for a specified time), in most cases, it will allow for 3 things:
- 1If they make a purchase other than the product you recommended, you still get a commission.
- 2If they delay their purchase for any reason, you will get a commission within the specified time period
- 3For many vendors it allows for re-marketing and following up
Below is a detailed graphic explaining the basic process of how affiliate marketing works.
How Much Does Affiliate Marketing Make?
A big question that comes up often is "Can Affiliate Marketing make money?"
The good news is the answer is a definite "Yes!"
The bad news is the potential earnings for an affiliate marketing business will depend on several factors including:
If you want an exact answer, there is none because there is no limit to money you can make.
A recent poll on STM Forum posed this exact question with the following results:
You can see how Affiliate Marketing pays - the results vary but there is definitely inspiration here.
Some very common messages you'll get from any experience affiliate marketer are...
How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing
The key to starting any online business, especially affiliate marketing, is taking determined steps, every single day.
Every second that you don't take action is time lost that you can't get back.
Take those important steps and start today!
Here's a list of steps you should follow (click any link if you want to jump to step):
STEP #1: Choose Your Platform
Affiliate Marketers use many different platforms to make income.
Some use blogs, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, and in most cases, a combination of them.
With your platform, you should be able to:
We suggest you choose one platform to start.
The platforms we observe being used commonly to date are blogs, YouTube and Facebook.
With blogs, your main sources of traffic would be organic traffic using SEO techniques and paid advertising.
Due to the relative ease and low cost of starting a blog, we suggest you make a blog your first online business platform.
The biggest advantage that blog websites have over the other platforms like Youtube and Facebook are that you have full control over where to place banners and ads.
Here's a detailed video from WPBeginner on How to Start a Blog in 2020.
Besides Google, what other popular search platform comes to mind when you want to learn about something?
The answer is YouTube.
If you didn't think of YouTube, here are some statistics from Hootsuite that show why it has such potential to reach consumers when it comes to affiliate marketing:
- 1YouTube has 2 billion logged-in monthly users.
- 273% of adults in the U.S. use YouTube
- 381% of 15–25 year-olds in the U.S. use YouTube
Here's the complete list - 23 YouTube Statistics that Matter to Marketers in 2020.
YouTube started placing their first ads in August of 2007.
Since then it's become one of the world's biggest platforms for advertisers (Source: Hootsuite).
If you're interested in starting a YouTube Channel, here's a great video from Nick Nimmin on How to Stand Out and Get Noticed on YouTube in 2020.
Everybody knows what Facebook is. Heck, even your parents and grandparents probably know about it.
There is no doubt that Facebook users are an enormous pool of potential customers.
Here are some demographics from Hootsuite that show how much potential Facebook has for advertisers and affiliate marketers:
- 1Facebook has more than 2.45 billion monthly active users
- 2Seven in 10 U.S. adults use Facebook
- 3Seniors are the smallest, but fastest growing Facebook age demographic
- 4In the U.S., more women use Facebook than men
- 5In the U.S., African American and Hispanic are the most popular multicultural affinities
- 6Asia-Pacific is Facebook’s most active region
- 7India boasts Facebook’s largest advertising audience
- 8India, Indonesia, and the Philippines are Facebook’s fastest growing regions
- 9People in emerging markets are more likely to message businesses
- 10People spend more time reading Facebook posts in the morning and at night
Facebook started advertising in November of 2007 and is now known for its efficient targeting ads.
Here's video from Robby Blanchard, who teaches Facebook Ads for affiliate marketers.
STEP #2: Choose A Niche
This might sound like an impossible obstacle to conquer but you should know that starting a blog now places you in competition with millions of other bloggers.
However, the key to having a chance for success is by narrowing the competition.
First, you'll want to choose a niche that you're passionate about.
Second, the niche should be just outside of a general category.
For example, if your choose your niche to be cars. Make a website about the Best Compact Cars. Or even, a little more outside of that is the Best Compact cars of the 90's.
Some of most popular and lucrative niches are in the following categories:
By choosing a niche within one of these categories, you'll have a fighting chance for success.
Here's a great video from our friends at Income School titled Need Help Picking a Website Niche?
STEP #3: Join An Affiliate Program Or Network
According to AhRefs.com there are 3 types of affiliate programs to choose from:
- 1High-paying, low volume
- 2Low-paying high volume
- 3High-paying, high volume
Choosing the type of affiliate program you join will greatly depend on your niche and experience.
We suggest you research the competition in your niche.
Visit blogs, YouTube channels and the Facebook pages of your competitors to find what affiliate programs they display links to.
Need a suggestion?
Clickbank is a great affiliate network for beginner affiliate marketers.
Here's a video detailing How to Sign Up for a Clickbank Account.
STEP #4: Create Some Great Content
The content on your blog or website should be unique and answer commonly asked questions in Google searches and other search platforms.
The information you provide should be so useful or compelling that visitors can't help but click on your website.
Neil Patel's video, How To Write a Blog Post From Start to Finish, offers great tips on how to write a structured post.
STEP #5: Direct Traffic To Your Site
The most common ways to direct traffic to your website are through the following methods:
Method 1 - Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Learning SEO tactics is so important, especially for new websites.
For this method, we need to go back to Neil Patel with his video SEO For Beginners.
Method 2 - Paid Traffic
If you want to jump start traffic to your website, Paid Traffic is a great option.
However, using Paid Traffic is also a double-edged sword because if you don't set it up correctly, you can end up burning money.
Here's a graphic showing the Pros and Cons of Paid Traffic:
Method 3 - Build an Email List
Another method to drive traffic to your website is through building an email list.
The key to getting website visitors to subscribe to your email list is to offer something of value.
Here's another video from Neil Patel called How to Build an Email List Fast and For Free.
STEP #6: Get Clicks To Your Links
Getting visitors to your site is just part of the battle.
In order to make it easier to have them click your affiliate links requires some savvy strategies.
Strategy 1 - Call To Action (CTA)
The best affiliate marketing sales pages virtually hold your hand and get you to click affiliate links.
Many websites use buttons and bright banners with clear "Click Me" messages to entice visitors.
Here's an example of one of our CTA's on WalkAffiliateTalk.com.
Strategy 2 - Copy
You can have the best images, info-graphics and videos on your site but if you don't have the right copy to inspire your visitors to fall in love or want your products, the less likely they'll click your links.
Here are some great examples of effective copy from HoneyCopy.com:
Strategy 3 - Link Placement
Another subtle way to have visitors click affiliate links, is by placing affiliate links within your copy, that makes sense.
Here's an example from MasterBlogging.com.
STEP #7: Get Visitors to Buy
You'll need to ask yourself, "What would make me want to buy this product?"
Some of the common reasons you would buy would be the same for a potential customer.
Reason 1 - Product Reviews
What is better than word of mouth?
One of big reasons why people buy (and don't buy) products from Amazon is the detailed buyer-driven product reviews.
Leveraging product reviews is one of the best ways to entice visitors to purchase your product recommendations.
Reason 2 - Used by Big Companies
Neil Patel's SEO software Uber Suggest is a perfect example of an product trusted by some big, well-established companies.
If big names like Nike and Microsoft use the software, wouldn't you be moved to try or even buy?
Reason 3 - Product Solves a Problem
Sales of the Instant Pot and other "multi-cookers" more than doubled every year since 2011.
The chart below shows the growth in years 2015 to 2017.
The Instant Pot solved many problems that conventional pressure cookers had:
Giving great reasons as to how a product solves a particular problem or set of problems is another great way to entice visitors to buy.
STEP #8: Learn Something New Everyday
There are many aspects to an affiliate marketing business that will require you learn on a continuous basis.
Even if you eventually outsource work like website development and social media management, you'll need to know the basics.
Both hardware and software is continually evolving every year and
STEP #9: Apply What You Learn Quickly
As important as is it to learn something everyday, it is more important the knowledge you attain is applied to improve your business.
You'll hear the following lesson (paraphrased) from many of the top affiliate trainers...
Learn quickly, then apply just as quickly.
STEP #10: Invest Earnings Back Into Your Business
Everyone has responsibilities and people that need looking after.
Although it is important to look after those responsibilities, you need to constantly think about how you can reinvest earnings to continually grow your business.
Our Final Thoughts
First, we'd like to thank you for making it to the end of this post.
So if anyone ever asks you questions like "Is Affiliate Marketing dead?" or "Is Affiliate Marketing legit?" or even "Is Affiliate Marketing worth it?"
We hope you can confidently answer back with:
Affiliate marketing has so much potential to change your life and the lives of your loved ones.
We hope the information contained in post was helpful and convinces you to take that first step and then the many steps to eventual success.
Please let us know what we can do to improve this post or if you have any questions about the content by leaving a comment.