How To Earn a Living With Affiliate Marketing
There are several proven legitimate ways to make a decent living online with the advancements of the internet, but in this post I’m focusing on one of the easiest and most profitable ways to make money online, and that lies within you becoming an affiliate marketer. Affiliate marketing is by far my favorite way to make money online. Since it costs virtually nothing to begin, almost anyone can start applying immediately to affiliating marketing networks.
Hands down, Affiliate Marketing is the best business model for anyone interested in creating a lifetime income online, and the best part about it is that there is no experience required and it doesn’t even matter if you have low pageviews. Unlike advertising with Google AdSense which would require you to have tons of traffic coming to your site to make any decent revenue.
According to Forrester Research Affiliate Marketing is set to grow over $6.8 billion in revenue over the next two years! So for those who say affiliate marketing is a thing of the past are leaving a huge amount on the table! Digital marketing isn’t going anywhere my friends. In fact, it’s only just beginning.
Read below about just a handful of these very successful blogging affiliate marketers income reports and stories.
This post contains affiliate links which means I get a partial commission if you purchase anything through a link with no extra cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for more info.
“If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”
The quote from Warren Buffet above states perfectly why Affiliate Marketing is the ideal reason behind Entrepreneurs like you who don’t want to settle for a mediocre paycheck to paycheck existence.
Scroll down for 7 Steps to learn how I make $4500 minimum per month doing Affiliate Marketing.
**(Update! I hit the 5K monthly mark for monthly affiliate earnings in August!)
For my first affiliate marketing ‘gig’ I made $100 in 5 minutes time and that beat any soul sucking corporate office job. Ever since then my knowledge of affiliate marketing has grown exponentially and along with that my income levels.
Below are some example of bloggers and affiliate marketers who make astronomical earnings with affiliate marketing. This is NOT an overnight ‘get rich quick scheme’. A lot of hard work and dedication go into it.
- Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income – $176,649.93 per month
Pat was laid off in 2008, and I think it was probably a good thing to happen to him. He was able to put more time towards his blog, and it all grew quickly from there. His blog is a must-read if you want to earn a living online or be your own boss.
- Michelle Schroeder Gardner –Making Sense of Cents – $100,324 per month
- Michelle runs a well known personal finance and lifestyle blog. Famous for paying off $38,000 of student debt in 7 months. She’s a digital nomad who used to live in an RV (now a sailboat) and blogs about how to reach financial independence through blogging, affiliate marketing and debt payoff techniques.
- Matthew Woodward – $24,298.27 per month
Matt is a blogger who provides a very detailed income report each month. One thing I love about his reports is that he makes a decent amount of money from several different affiliates.
Matt earned $24,298.27 in January of 2016.
- The Busy Budgeter – $9,362.64 per month
Rosemarie runs the blog The Busy Budgeter. She earned $9,362 in blogging income, which consists of income from advertising networks, affiliate marketing, advertising, and coaching.
- What Mommy Does – $7,495 per month
Lena used to be a CPA, and now she runs this fun blog as a stay-at-home mom.
The Downside: if you want to be a successful affiliate marketer you need to put some kick ass time and effort in, have laser focus, consistency, patience, and a willingness to learn. You need to work at building amazing content that engages your audience and solves problems for them.
Affiliate Marketing is not a ‘get rich quick scheme’ but a legitimate formula that earns you income While YOU sleep – which is why it’s referred to as ‘passive income’.
The UPSIDE: there’s no cap on it! There are bloggers and freelancers out there who make upwards of $50,000-$200,000 per month and there’s no reason why you can’t learn the formula too. Granted, they are in the top echelon of the affiliate marketing stratosphere but the point is that it’s entirely possible.
The Pennyhoarder made 30 million last year with affiliate marketing. NOT a typo. And btw, the owner hates to write! So, writing skills are not a necessary part of the job to be a successful affiliate marketer.
So why doesn’t everyone do it? Because it’s take time and hard work and people are stuck in their comfort zone. Plain and simple.
If you’re seeking a profession, or even a part time career where you can earn a lucrative income by means of the internet, where you can work anywhere on the planet, make your own schedule, earn money while you travel, while you sleep and even after you die then affiliate marketing is the technique you need to master.
By using the free techniques below you will create a sustainable business model that will pay for years upon years to come. Again, they’ve dubbed it ‘passive’ income because it generates income actively all the time whether you’re working or not.
Now granted, successful affiliate marketers work a lot and that’s how the most successful one’s generate the most income. It doesn’t just fall into their laps! Here’s how.
Let’s get started!
How Do I Get Started With Affiliate Marketing?
An Internet Connection and an Affiliate Program will get you going.
All you need to supply your how to make money with the internet is an internet connection obviously:) and then an affiliate program to promote.
What’s an affiliate program?
An affiliate program (affiliate marketing) is the process of you working on behalf of another company as an affiliate to bring customers or consumers to that business, and in return you receive payment for your recommendation when the consumer makes a purchase through your affiliate link. This is an affiliate link. If you click on it and decide to make a purchase I will get a small commission with no additional charge to you.
When you sign up for your affiliate program through a company such as Share-A-Sale, Clickbank, Rakuten, Skimlinks etc. you will be issued an affiliate link id, which will be the identifier for your information with the company, and how your sales will be tracked to ensure you receive credit and payment.
To find an affiliate program to promote, I really suggest you look into a program that lines up with some of your interests and the Niche or your website in particular.
It can be tempting to promote something that offers a great commission but you really want to be authentic and stand behind the product you’re representing.
There are thousands of affiliate programs that you can join and promote to make money with, and most all major retailers have an affiliate program that you can join, from iTunes to Ulta and everything in between.
Don’t get disappointed if you get rejected from a program! There are tons of other companies out there who will accept you even as a beginner. Sometimes you need mega traffic to get into those but that’s a great goal right?
To find an affiliate program that will peak your interest, just Google the niche that you have interest in within “quotes” i.e. “organic foods affiliate program” or “scrapbooking affiliates” and you will find a list of potential affiliate programs that you can join.
Below are 7 steps that will show you exactly how you can be successful at making affiliate sales time and time again and grow your income ‘passively’ while you sleep!
How to Make An Affiliate Marketing Sale in 7 Steps
1. Choose a Niche
Before you even begin building your first site, you’ll need to decide which niche you’re going to target.
Obviously, if you don’t know what your site is about or who you’re going to target with it, you can’t really build a site around it…can you?
If you’ve already figured this one out, way to go! This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult and overwhelming steps.
If you don’t quite know what your niche is yet, here’s some advice that you might find useful.
Some key questions to ask yourself when determining your niche are:
What topics am I already passionate about?
It’s much easier to work on something if you’re passionate about it. Plus, when you have a passion, you’re generally quite knowledgeable about it too. Keep in mind, you’ll have to be writing a tremendous amount encompassing your particular niche so if you don’t care about the topic it will go stale fast.
Is there money in this niche?
While following your passion is definitely the recommended option, sometimes the possibility of making money in a profitable niche trumps passion. So, you might not necessarily know much about your niche, but if it’s likely to make you money, you can always learn more about it, right?
What topic could I see myself easily writing 25, 50, or 100 blog posts about?
There are several profitable niches that are also very popular among affiliate markets. I’ll put it to you straight. Get laid, get paid and live forever. Sound familiar? These are the 3 most popular niche markets.
- Making money
Granted, these are broad topics but you can always ‘niche down’.
Just make sure your niche is relevant to consumers purchasing relevant products that you are promoting.
Are there affiliate programs available in this niche? With the hundreds of companies participating in Affiliate programs you are certain to find several to match up.
If you’re not certain how to choose your niche read my article How to Find a Profitable Niche for Your Online Business
2. Research Affiliate Programs
Once you’ve decided on a niche, it’s time to find out what’s out there in terms of programs and products to promote. You’ve probably already done a bit of research for this while researching your niche — now you need to dig deeper.
Choosing an affiliate program will take some work, but don’t be afraid to invest a significant amount of time into it because this is, of course, where your income will come from. Choosing the right program will make it well worth your while!
When choosing an affiliate program here is a small examples of Merchants – but there are literally THOUSANDS you could promote depending upon your niche.
As you can see there’s a never ending variety of merchants who use the program/ affiliate network?
You want to make sure other similar sellers are also using the network, as this can help you gauge your likelihood of success with the particular program.
Some popular Networks that promote these merchants that successful bloggers use to make a lucrative income are:
- Commission Junction.
- Amazon Associates
- Google Affiliate Network
- CJ Affiliate
How much commission are you likely to make from the products?
Make sure you sign up for programs that are profitable and generate a sufficient return in on investment.
And be certain that you want to be associated with the products and services.
The products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough.
Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. You want to be associated with a reputable company that you stand behind.
3. Build a Site
Steps 1 and 2 are all about research and figuring out what’s possible and profitable. Now, it’s time to start putting your research into action.
Assuming you don’t already have a website built, this will be the next step. Fortunately, building a site isn’t as complicated or labor-intensive as it was in the past.
If you’re a newbie to building sites, the easiest way to set up a site is by using WordPress. The WordPress CMS is very easy to use and while coding skills can come in handy, for the most part you will not require any tech knowledge to set up your site.
You need to follow a few steps to have your site up and running:
Buy a domain
Your domain is the address for your website (e.g., www.socialbuzzhive.com) so this is the first thing you will need to do when setting up your site. Considering there are millions of websites on the internet, it’s possible that the domain name you want may already be taken by someone else. So make sure you have several options in mind.
There are several places you can buy a domain, some well known options are: Weebly, GoDaddy, NameCheap, Network Solutions. If you purchase from Bluehost you get a domain name for free along with the hosting service.
Purchase and set up hosting
If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It’s your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don’t unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it.
I recommend Bluehost because it’s reliable, speedy and super affordable.
If you purchase your domain and hosting from different companies, you will need to link the two together. Don’t panic, it’s a simple process. I originally hosted on GoDaddy but was spending waay too much money.
If you’re a total newbie to all this no worries! Read this post first:
Once your hosting is set up, you need to install a content management system (CMS) for your site. I recommend WordPress because it is easy to use and even a beginner can quite quickly figure out how it works. Most good hosting providers will have a one-click install option for WordPress, which means it will only take you a couple of minutes and you will have WordPress installed on your site.
Install your theme
A WordPress theme provides all the styling of a site that you (and your audience) see on the front end. There are thousands of themes available, so choosing one might seem daunting at start. My advice: go with something simple and easy to customize. You can always change the looks of it later.
4. Create content
Finally, once your site is ready, it’s time to create content for it. The content you create must be relevant to your niche but also interesting and engaging enough to keep your audience coming back. You should also ensure the site content is search engine-friendly.
Write Product reviews
Your affiliate site model could be based off writing reviews about different products or services. This is a common model and if done well, can prove very useful in generating affiliate income.
For example, I focus on writing reviews on several different kinds of products or services and help my readers make the best decision about the product they want to buy. If after reading the review the user clicks through to the product/service using the affiliate link, I earn a small commission from it.
Mind you, this costs nothing extra to the consumer.
Address common problems, questions or issues relevant to your target market.
Creating blog content is a very useful and effective way of consistently building content on a site. When creating blog posts, it’s a good idea to do some keyword research I like Jaaxy, but you can also (Use a free Google Keyword tool or Buzzsumo)to figure out what it is that your audience is interested in and searching for online. Also, be sure to research competitors, forums and social media to narrow down topics for your blog.
If you are building a site that has the potential for information that will never age and remain useful for your audience, you have the opportunity to create what is known as evergreen content.
It’s important to carry out extensive keyword research before planning any evergreen content for a site like this, as your site could hugely benefit from the proper usage of keywords within such content.
5. Informational products
Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, pdf, swipe file, an email series, resource library or a mini course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you.
You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you’re trying to sell.
If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense, Medianet, Mediavine etc. Some of these programs require you to have a certain amount of traffic for qualifying first. My post below will tell you which ones.
Remember: Purchasing generic content is NOT an effective method to build your site. While it may be tempting to populate your site this way, in the long run it won’t help you to position yourself as an expert in your niche (and ultimately means less traffic and fewer sales).
Highly Recommended Read: CopyBlogger: Three Killer Content Strategies for Building Affiliate Marketing Assets
6. Build an Audience
Building an audience for your site will, in some ways, follow naturally once you start producing excellent content. An interested audience will not only bring you consistent traffic, but also result in consistent sales for you.
So how do you start building an audience for a completely new site?
Here are some ideas:
The easiest and most common way to start building an audience for a website is via social media. Depending on your niche and industry, you can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and several other niche and location-specific networks. Building up an engaged and interested following on social media is a great opportunity to build relationships and once you have their trust, promote your products and services to them.
Guest post on high-traffic blogs
While your site is still new, it’s a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else’s audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche.
By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well.
Build an email list
Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates.
You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don’t be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you if you prove your trust and authority.
Use basic SEO techniques to increase search engine traffic to your site
Organic search remains an important source of traffic for any website, so it’s important that you optimize your website for search engines as well. When creating your content, you must always do so keeping the reader in mind first, but don’t forget to follow a few basic SEO principles as well.
Learn SEO yourself or hire a good SEO marketer to help you maximize on-page and off-page SEO opportunities for your site. If your site starts to appear in search results for terms relevant to your niche, it will be a huge boost towards building your audience (and your sales)!
Invest in paid advertising
Many affiliate marketers use paid advertising to generate additional traffic to their site and drive more sales. Paid advertising on social media is often a good place to start, as these networks tend to be more affordable.
You may also want to consider taking out inexpensive banner ads on small niche sites. Depending on your niche, Google AdWords could also be a good option to drive some paid traffic to your site.
7. Promote Affiliate Offers
This is the exciting part! Many fly-by-night affiliates will jump right to this step and bypass steps 1–5 completely. And this is what will set you apart.
Once you’ve shown that you can offer something of value in your niche, it’s time to continue adding value by promoting products that will be useful and helpful for your audience.
You can promote your offers in a number of ways. It will depend on the type of site you’ve built and also what you’re selling. Some ideas include:
Write honest, real reviews about products. Build up trust with your audience, and remember that they rely on your opinion. Don’t just point out all the positives of a product and gloss over the negatives. An honest opinion will be valued. Add compelling images and make mention of useful features, specifications and other details.
Your product review can then link to the page (with your affiliate ID attached), where your audience can make a purchase if they’re interested. If you do, hooray! You’ve made your first sale.
You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.
This is a very common way to promote offers. For example, you will often see a blog post with links to certain products or services. If the reader clicks through and makes a purchase, the blog owner will make a commission.
These in-text links blend in with other content on your site and are a great way of promoting an offer within your content, without being over-the-top salesy with banners.
If you have built up an email list, you could also promote your affiliate offers via email promotions. Just make sure you build up a relationship with your audience first instead of going for the hard sell straightaway. The emails you send out must contain your affiliate links to products so when your audience click through. the sale is attributed to you
Discounts and giveaways
Many affiliate programs will often run promotions with good discounts or giveaways that might be attractive to your audience. For example, if you’re an Ebay Associate and the site has a big Holiday Sale, it would be the perfect opportunity for you to promote discounts to your website visitors.
This is a great way to promote your offers while also providing good value to your audience.
When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products.
For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won’t allow email marketing.
Also, make sure you have a disclaimer on your website and social media posts that advises your audience that you may have links that promote affiliate offers.
This is necessary for several affiliate programs and also a basic courtesy to your website visitors. In the U.S., the FTC mandates disclosure for affiliate marketers (and anyone issuing endorsements), as well.
Rinse, Lather, and Repeat
Now simply to keep doing what you’re doing. Yes, seriously!
Your ongoing work as an affiliate marketer will be to repeat these steps on a continual basis. Building a site up to a point where it can make you consistent income takes a bit of work and you must be willing to constantly create, promote, market, innovate and of course, sell!
But here’s the thing, once the formula is set and in place, that is when your income is on automatic pilot and you will keep earning from those posts, reviews and links that are established long after you’ve written them!
Review of Key Points
It can feel overwhelming to do all the necessary work involved in setting up your site and building your reputation. But trust me, once you’ve made that first sale, all the hard work will be worth it!
To sum it all up, making your first affiliate commission requires a bit of work but if you break it all down and follow it step by step, it won’t seem so overwhelming at all. Here’s a quick recap of what you need to do:
- Choose your niche.
- Research different affiliate programs and products.
- Build a site.
- Produce excellent content.
- Build an audience.
- Promote your affiliate product(s).
- Repeat steps on a continual basis! As you can see, there is a tried-and-true strategy when it comes to affiliate marketing for beginners. Put in the work, and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards of your first sale.
Write Your Way to Extra Cash
Another one of the best solutions to how to make money with the internet is called article marketing, this is related to affiliate marketing.
Article Marketing is where you write articles based on keywords that are related to the affiliate offer that you are promoting. Start out with the Google external keyword tool, and type in your niche such as “Wedding planning, baby photo albums, organic smoothies” etc.
The Jaaxy keyword tool will give you a list of keywords that are related to that niche, and you will want to stick to this criteria when choosing keywords to write articles about. Make sure that:
1. There are at least 1,000 monthly searches for the chosen keyword
2. No more than 10,000 total web page results
3. Keep your keyword density between 1-2% (keyword should appear in the article 5-9 times for a 450-500 word article.
You can also get paid for your great content and find a sponsor for your web site. Click here to find out how!
This is the basics about how to make money with the Affiliate Marketing, and you’ll be surprised how quickly your earnings will grow IF you remain consistent, patient and persistent.
You CAN do this!
Get started with Affiliate Marketing and make a 6 figure, passive unlimited income, while you travel, sleep and for the rest of your life! All the hard work will be worth it!
Listen – Blogging can be really difficult.
Many bloggers and online influencers skip over affiliate marketing. They either think it’s too hard, that it’s a waste of time, that they will turn followers away, or that their followers just won’t be interested.
However, if you’re not earning money through affiliate marketing, then you are leaving Thousands of Dollars on the table.
Perhaps you have zero experience with affiliate marketing or you’ve even tried affiliate marketing in the past, but nothing seemed to work.
Trust me, I know how you feel. When I started out blogging, I knew NOTHING about it.
And due to that, I was afraid to try new things, and I was definitely afraid of affiliate marketing because I didn’t want to scare my readers away or waste my time.
I personally started learning about affiliate marketing from Michelle from Making Sense of Cents who earns over $150,000 a month through affiliate marketing. I took her course where she shares her step by step methods to get started.
In her course, there are 6 modules, over 30 lessons, over 20 worksheets, bonuses, as well as extremely helpful EXCLUSIVE Facebook group, and more, and she goes through everything when it comes to affiliate marketing, such as:
- What affiliate marketing is and how it works
- Why affiliate marketing is the top method that will earn you a passive income online
- The exact steps she’s taken to earn over $300,000 from a single blog post
- How to pick the right affiliate products to promote
- How to increase conversions
- How to build trust and not lose followers
- Required disclosures that you need to know about
- The one major tool you need for affiliate marketing
- Different strategies to use to promote your affiliate products
- How to use Pinterest to succeed at affiliate marketing (yes, this includes the newest Pinterest affiliate rules!)
You can always try to do it on your own and waste YEARS figure it out, but I always think it’s best to learn from the pros who have had the best success from it and can show you all the best short cuts:)
If you want to learn more about how to make money while you sleep, you have nothing to lose by checking out Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing TODAY!
To learn more about the profitable world of affiliate marketing and what you are missing out on I also recommend you watch this webinar by Affilorama:
How to Make $10,000 a Month Online – WEBINAR
Make sure you read my review of two of the top leading Affiliate Marketing Programs on the Web today:
With these two programs you can get started learning for FREE. It just depends which type of learning style you prefer. I discuss the pros and cons of each in my review.
I started making $100 in 5 minutes doing affiliate marketing which then grew to $300 to $4600 and up. There’s no cap on how much you can earn. Remember affiliate marketing is going to grow by 6.8 billion in the next two years.
There’s no time like the present to get started.
If you liked this post please SHARE on social! And let me know if you started a side hustle (or would like to) that turned into a full-time biz! 🙂