An introduction to affiliate marketing and how to earn a passive income
Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to earn more money. If you have a blog it is one of the more popular and profitable ways of monetizing it. In fact, you don’t even need a website to participate in affiliate marketing but I do recommend it. Affiliate marketing is one of the quickest ways for new bloggers to make money online, by promoting products, brands and services. However, it can be like black magic to some people. If you are among the many people who struggle to grasp the concepts of affiliate marketing, don’t fret! This article will guide you and steer you in the right direction. Keep reading to learn more about some of the best affiliate marketing tips for beginners.
Note: This post contains affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission with no extra cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for more details.
Why bother with affiliate marketing?
In the words of Michelle Schroeder Gardner (a highly successful Affiliate marketer who earns over $50,000 per month), if you’re not implementing affiliate marketing you’re literally ‘leaving money on the table‘.
Affiliating marketing is a wonderful way to make income from your website. Even better, affiliate marketers who know what they are doing can generate a passive stream of regular income, meaning that the job practically does itself!
If you are a website owner or a blogger, you should definitely consider affiliate marketing as a way to make money from sales commissions.
If you’re truly interested in learning more details about this subject I have an in-depth post here which covers the A-Z’s of affiliate marketing from the founder of MasterBlogging.com, a website which teaches people how to generate a full-time income through blogging.
Here it is: Affiliate Marketing – Masterblogging
How does affiliate marketing work?
Affiliate marketing is simpler than you might think. Imagine you have a blog about fashion. You are passionate about the latest trends, and you post daily articles about new clothes, style, and similar topics.
You noticed that your favorite brand of Jeans has an affiliate marketing program. They have a special link, that you can include in your blog posts, directing readers to their products.
If one of your readers ends up buying a new pair of jeans from visiting the company’s link through your blog, you are going to be paid a certain commission on the sale!
This is an example of an affiliate marketing banner from the Company Stella and Dot. If you choose to click on it and wind up making a purchase I would get a small commission.
This would cost you nothing extra, the company would of made a sale and you would of gotten a recommendation of a nice product from me. You could even become a seller if you chose to and make commission from the company directly. There’s all sorts of opportunities.
This is how Affiliate marketing can be seen as a true win-win situation. On one hand, companies can advertise their products at little to no cost. On the other hand, website owners, bloggers and even individuals have the chance to make some extra money without too much effort. Not too bad, uh?
There are many ways to be successful with affiliate marketing, but blogging remains one of the best solutions. The reasons why blogging is such a great way to run affiliate marketing campaigns is that it is very conducive to the use of keywords.
Articles and posts can be loaded with relevant keywords, thus increasing the visibility of the product or brand that’s being advertised. Imagine you have a blog about health and wellness, and you decided to do some affiliate marketing for a vitamin supplement product. You could write a series of blog posts related to the product at large, without directly promoting it.
For instance, you can write an article about “10 best tips to stay healthy during the cold winter season,” and mention vitamin supplements intake as one of the alternatives.
Most type of marketing have specific methods of payback, such as pay-per-click, or pay-per-view ads. However, affiliate marketing works quite differently.
Advertisers usually work with a CPA (Cost per acquisition) or CPL (Cost per lead) frame, meaning that publishers will only make money on commission when someone takes action from their links.
Affiliate marketing is less risky for advertisers, since they’d only pay in case of a sale. Conversely, the payout for publishers is much higher compared to traditional online ad methods.
As a publisher (someone who will actually display the ad on their blog or website), the first step is to select a specific product or service that will be relevant to your platform or niche, and more importantly, to your audience. You need to know your market and work with a product that’s suitable with your niche to increase your chances of success!
Typically, you will receive a unique affiliate ID, which will help the advertiser recognize that the sale actually came from a link on your website. This way, you can get paid and earn your commission whenever a user makes a purchase.
This unique ID can be placed on your website or blog, on social sites, in banner images, even in email marketing campaigns.
How much money can you make with affiliate marketing?
It’s quite difficult to say how much money you could really make with affiliate marketing. It really depends on the particular niche / industry you cater to, and on the scope of your website. As well as how much effort you put into it.
Smaller websites and tiny independent blogs can earn anything from a few dollars to a couple hundred dollars a day, while successful influencers and popular bloggers can even earn thousands of dollars on a monthly basis.
One of the biggest misconceptions of affiliate marketing is that it is a way to make money without working.
While it is true that you won’t have to actively promote the products you market, you won’t just be sitting around waiting for the cash to roll in!
You still need to do some work on your platform. The key to earning money with affiliate marketing is that you need to be able to engage people. If you don’t give the audience a reason to visit your page, they will never click on a marketing link!
Giving value to your audience
One of the best way to make sales through affiliate marketing is to run a website, such as a blog.
Post daily articles about things you are interested in, and use affiliate marketing links to connect your content, with the products you advertise.
By creating interesting and thought-provoking content that people actually want to read, you are going to be able to improve your chances and appeal to a much broader audience.
Don’t worry about making a sale: worry about growing your audience and followers! The numbers behind this concept are very simple. The more people within your reach, the higher the chances that someone will click on an affiliate link and make you some cash in the process!
Understanding people is the first thing to know about marketing. This isn’t only true about affiliate marketing, but any other type of marketing out there.
If you have no clue about the audience, and what they really respond to, there is really no way to craft a successful affiliate marketing strategy that will attract the right people, the right way.
Affiliate marketing networks.
In some cases, you can deal directly with an advertiser. However, some of the most popular and flexible affiliate marketing opportunities come from affiliate networks.
An affiliate marketing network is essentially a company that bridges the gaps between advertisers and content publishers, such as yourself.
Joining an affiliate marketing network could be a good way to get started in this industry, particularly for beginners who could benefit from partnering up with a larger team, with more resources and opportunities.
Affiliate marketing networks are also really good, because they can give advertisers and publisher a fantastic insight into the data behind each campaign.
Many affiliate networks provide specific stats, as well as powerful analytics and other tools, which allow advertisers and publishers to collaborate with a lot of transparency.
In some cases, affiliate marketing networks can allow publishers to generate a very good stream of income, with the comfort of working with the same platform, using the same methods, even when dealing with different customers.
Some examples of affiliate marketing networks are:
This is only one of the many reasons why some publishers seem to prefer working with affiliate marketing networks, as opposed to reaching out to brands directly. However, the latter is still a concrete possibilities, as shown in the following pointer!
Dealing with brands directly.
Many companies have affiliate marketing programs, but you can also reach out to brands and businesses to ask them if they might be interested in setting up an affiliate marketing arrangement with you.
While this course of action might require a lot more work and effort on your part, it could be a great way to strike gold, especially if you are aiming to work with businesses in your area.
Many established bloggers or influencers might actually prefer dealing with brands directly, because they know how to leverage their visibility and market influence.
Conclusions and final observations
Affiliate marketing can be an excellent way to generate some extra income. If you take your time to properly understand the process, and set up your website to engage your audience, you might largely improve your chances!
Affiliate marketing can be a very easy way to make money with no active efforts, but it is a little bit like gardening. A tree might grow its fruit on its own, but you still need to water it!
Resources That Will Help You Become an Affiliate Marketer
The best way to learn affiliate marketing is through the pros which is what I did. I started by taking Michelle’s course Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing. There are also plenty of FREE courses available. These are courses from bloggers who make full-time incomes through affiliate marketing and other methods.
As always, I advocate having varied methods of monetization on your site (if you have one).
More ways to learn affiliate marketing:
- The SheApproach – FREE Affiliate Marketing Program
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
- How I Earn $4500 Monthly With Affiliate Marketing
- 54 Best Affiliate Programs for Bloggers
Affiliate marketing is easy to put into action once you know how. And once you start getting those nice emails saying ‘you’ve made an affiliate sale!’ – it gives you even more motivation to keep going!