What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is promoting someone else’s product or service to earn a commission.
The goal is to send people to their website, via an ‘affiliate link’.
If the customer completes a specified action – like making a purchase, or signing up to a mailing list, you get a commission.
Of course not every company participates in affiliate marketing, but there are literally hundreds of thousands of companies that do. No matter what you blog about, or what niche you’re in, you’ll find it easy to find products and services to promote.
What is an Affiliate Marketer?
An affiliate marketer is the person who promotes a product or service and refers a customer to the merchant.
Affiliate marketers can be individuals, such as bloggers, or small companies.
How does Affiliate Marketing Work?
How much do Affiliate Marketers Make?
There’s no limit to the amount of money you can make from affiliate marketing.
Many established bloggers say affiliate marketing is their highest-paying income stream.
There are some bloggers who make $60k/month from affiliate marketing. Other bloggers make $500K/month. Individual results will vary. I think even just a few thousand extra dollars/month can seriously change your finances.
Like starting any business, there’s a lot of work on the front-end. The more time and effort you put in, the easier and more profitable affiliate marketing becomes on the back-end.
The key to affiliate marketing is building an audience. The bigger the audience, the greater the multiplier effect on referrals and commissions.
I always say to people, making your first dollar is the hardest.
After you’ve started a blog, it takes time and effort to build an audience.
However, once you have an audience, your blog posts can provide an income while you work on other posts – which become your future income pipeline. (The reason I say ‘almost’ is because bloggers update their posts with current information when necessary, so it isn’t completely passive).
How soon can I start making money?
This all depends on the person and their affiliate marketing strategy.
It took me a few months to start making money from affiliate marketing.
The first thing I did was to start a blog.
It’s easy to start a blog, but the first few months of blogging are tough. You have to put a lot of work in for no immediate return.
But once I made my first dollar, money very slowly started trickling in.
It was exciting. It motivated me to keep going.
If you’re a blogger with an established audience, you could start making money a lot faster. If you promote the right products (or services), it’s possible to start making money straight away.
How do Affiliate Marketers make Money?
Affiliate Marketers make money each time a reader completes a ‘specified action’. The ‘specified action’ is defined by the merchant.
Specified actions include:
|Specified action:||Commission type:|
|A purchase||‘Pay per Sale’ – fixed amount, or % of total sale|
|Fills out a form||‘Pay per Lead’|
|Calls a telephone number||‘Pay per Lead’|
|Signs up to a mailing list||‘Pay per Lead’|
|Simply just visits the website||‘Pay per Click’ – paid for every visitor directed to the merchant’s website|
Most commissions are ‘Pay per Sale’.
‘Pay per sale’ commissions can be fixed, or a percentage of the sale– anywhere from 10% to 75%.
This means low-priced items may pay a few pennies per sale, while high-priced items like yachts can pay $10,000’s per sale.
Affiliate marketers must also consider sales volume and conversion rates.
Affiliate marketers can make good money promoting low-priced products if they refer a lot of visitors. Lower-priced products generally have better conversion rates than high-priced products.
Successful affiliate marketers promote a mix of high and low priced products and services.
What is an Affiliate Program?
An affiliate program is the framework a merchant creates to organize their relationship with affiliate marketers. It provides the terms of service of doing business together.
Affiliate programs can be managed ‘in-house’ by the company, or through an affiliate network.
What is an Affiliate Network?
Running an affiliate program involves a lot of work. Some merchants outsource their affiliate program to an affiliate network company.
An affiliate network is a company that runs an affiliate program on behalf of a merchant. The affiliate network gets paid a small percentage of each transaction.
Affiliate networks act as intermediaries between merchants and affiliate marketers. They track conversions, make payments to affiliate marketers and provide them with affiliate links.
What is an Affiliate Link?
An affiliate link, (also known as ‘affiliate code’) is a special URL. Affiliate links include a unique ‘affiliate ID’ to track conversions.
This is an example of an affiliate link:
Affiliate marketers enter affiliate links in their content. When a visitor clicks on the affiliate link, they are redirected to the merchant’s website. The merchant knows where the customer came from because they can see the ‘affiliate ID’ associated with the click. The company tracks the referral – and pays the affiliate marketer for every completed ‘specified action’.
When a visitor clicks on affiliate link, a ‘cookie’ is placed on their web browser. The cookie stores the date, time and origin of the click. If the customer doesn’t purchase straight away but purchases within a set timeframe, the affiliate marketer still gets paid a commission. Cookie length is normally 30 days.
How to Become an Affiliate Marketer?
– New Bloggers
If you’re new to blogging, I recommend the following steps to become an affiliate marketer:
1. Start a blog
3. Learn Blog SEO – Search Engine Optimization to drive traffic to your blog.
4. Collect emails, to build your subscriber list.
5. Learn the basics of affiliate marketing – see my Affiliate Marketing Tips.
6. Join affiliate marketing networks – See below best affiliate marketing networks for beginners.
7. Add affiliate links in your blog posts, and send emails to your subscribers.
– Existing Bloggers
Existing bloggers can make recommendations to their readers.
I recommend following steps to become an affiliate marketer:
1. Look through your blog – list the products and services you’ve previously written about, or recommended.
2. Learn the basics of affiliate marketing – see my Affiliate Marketing Tips.
3. Do a Google search – find the affiliate programs for the products and services you want to recommend – include the word ‘affiliate’ after the product or service in your Google search:
e.g. type into Google ‘Best Buy affiliate’
4. Join the affiliate marketing program for the products – either directly, or through their affiliate marketing network.
5. Update your posts, by adding affiliate links.
6. Join more affiliate networks – See best affiliate marketing networks for beginners below.
7. Look for products and services that:
a) Your audience would be interested in
b) Would help your readers
c) You personally feel good about recommending to your readers
The Best Affiliate Networks for Beginners
When I started blogging, I wrote some great content around the affiliate items I wanted to promote – then I applied to a select few affiliate programs. Even though I didn’t have an audience yet, I still got accepted by all the merchants I applied to.
I recommend doing the same – first start a blog, second write some great content around the items you want to promote- and third, join a small number of affiliate networks.
Once you’ve a joined few affiliate networks, apply to affiliate programs that interest you, and are relevant to your blogging subject. You can then start affiliate marketing.
When I started affiliate marketing I joined the 2 easiest affiliate networks to join – and the most popular affiliate networks:
I like ShareASale because they have one of the largest numbers of merchants in their network. They also have some high paying affiliate programs.
Unlike other affiliate networks, ShareASale has no requirements to join. That makes it really easy to start affiliate marketing.
You can find affiliate networks to promote for every blogging niche. ShareASale has a large choice of items to promote.
When I started ShareASale, I used the ‘Browse by Category’ function to search for programs I wanted to join:
You can also do a ‘keyword search’ or an ‘advanced search’.
ShareASale Affiliate Categories
Freebies, Free Stuff, Rewards Programs
Gaming and Lotto
General Web Services
Home & Garden
Online Dating Services
Search Engine Submission
Sign up for a free ShareASale account here.
You can promote any item on the Amazon platform. If the customer buys the affiliate item, you’ll get commission for everything else in the customer’s cart.
Make sure you have some great content before you join Amazon Associates. If you don’t get a sale within 90 days, they stop your membership and ask you to reapply another time.
Don’t list the price of the item on your blog because it’s against Amazon’s Terms of Service.
Sign up for a free account here.
Why become an Affiliate Marketer?
- Get paid to blog
- Make money 24/7
- Low risk
- Potential for high reward
- Cheap to start – just start a blog
- (Almost) passive income
- No physical business location
- No employees
- Sell globally
- No product
- No storage costs
- No shipping costs
- Work from home
- Easy to learn
Master Affiliate Marketing
Learning affiliate marketing is one of the best things I’ve done.
If you want to make money from blogging, I highly encourage you to learn about affiliate marketing.
If you do it well, you could make money independently from your job or your family for the rest of your life.
You don’t need any formal training to become an affiliate marketer. Anyone, young or old can learn affiliate marketing. The more time and effort you put into it, the greater potential you have to earn money.
Keep learning, keep blogging and don’t give up. Outwork the competition and keep focused on your first dollar.
Your first dollar will be the hardest – once you’ve made your first dollar, the sky’s the limit!
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are referral links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and services I love and use myself.
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