May 27, 2020

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:

  1. 1
    The affiliate marketing spend in the US is observed to grow by 10.1 percent each year. (Source: Mediakix)
  2. 2
    By 2020, the affiliate marketing spend in the US is forecasted to reach $6.82 billion. (Source: Statista)
  3. 3
    The annual affiliate marketing spend overall is approximated at $12 billion. (Source: Softwarefindr)
  4. 4
    Affiliate marketing accounts for 15 percent of the entire digital media industry’s revenue. (Source: Business Insider)
  5. 5
    High-income affiliate marketers, including million-dollar-earners, have pulled the average salary of affiliate marketing up to $50,617. (Source: Payscale)
  6. 6
    More than 80 percent of advertisers and 84 percent of publishers leverage an affiliate marketing program. (Source: Rakuten Marketing)
  7. 7
    Roughly 90 percent of advertisers believe that affiliate marketing is important to their digital marketing strategy. (Source: Rakuten Marketing)
  8. 8
    Affiliate 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)
  9. 9
    From 2012 to 2017, merchants and publishers who use affiliate marketing increased by 49 percent and 40 percent, respectively. (Source: Social Media Today)
  10. 10
    In 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:

  1. 1
    ​Recommending a product or service for a company to a consumer.
  2. 2
    ​Receiving 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:

  1. 1
    If they make a purchase other than the product you recommended, you still get a commission.
  2. 2
    If they delay their purchase for any reason, you will get a commission within the specified time period
  3. 3
    For many vendors it allows for re-marketing and following up 

Below is a detailed graphic explaining the basic process of how affiliate marketing works.

Source: Big Commerce

 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:

  • The Niche you choose
  • The Affiliate Networks you work with
  • The amount of work you put into the business
  • The alternate incomes stream(s) used (ie. YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest)

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:

Source: Affise

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...

  • Don't expect to get rich quick
  • It can take months or years before you make your first dollar
  • This is a marathon, not a sprint

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:

  • Collect Leads
  • Display Your Affiliate Links
  • Communicate Your Unique Message or Content

We suggest you choose one platform to start.

The platforms we observe being used commonly to date are blogs, YouTube and Facebook.

Blogs

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.


YouTube

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:

  1. 1
    YouTube has 2 billion logged-in monthly users.
  2. 2
    73% of adults in the U.S. use YouTube
  3. 3
    81% of 15–25 year-olds in the U.S. use YouTube

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.

Facebook

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:

  1. 1
    Facebook has more than 2.45 billion monthly active users
  2. 2
    Seven in 10 U.S. adults use Facebook
  3. 3
    Seniors are the smallest, but fastest growing Facebook age demographic
  4. 4
    In the U.S., more women use Facebook than men
  5. 5
    In the U.S., African American and Hispanic are the most popular multicultural affinities
  6. 6
    Asia-Pacific is Facebook’s most active region
  7. 7
    India boasts Facebook’s largest advertising audience
  8. 8
    India, Indonesia, and the Philippines are Facebook’s fastest growing regions
  9. 9
    People in emerging markets are more likely to message businesses
  10. 10
    People 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:

  • Health and Fitness
  • Romance and Relationships
  • Wealth and Money

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:

  1. 1
    High-paying, low volume
  2. 2
    Low-paying high volume
  3. 3
    High-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.

​You can reach the Clickbank Affiliate Signup page HERE.

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.

Source: Medium.com

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:

Source: WaveUC.com 

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:

  • Eliminated unpredictability and danger of pressure cookers 
  • Combines functions of several cooking appliances
  • Enabled cooking with less time

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 is very much alive
  • An Affiliate Marketing business is as legit as any other business
  • Affiliate Marketing can potentially pay better than any job out there

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.

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About the author 

Glenn Malelang

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