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If you have a blog and aren’t using affiliate marketing, you’re leaving money on the table. Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make passive income online. All you need to do is recommend a product to your readers and collect profits every time they follow through on your recommendation.
Of course, there are some technical aspects to affiliate marketing. At first, you’ll want to join an affiliate program or network. They’ll give you exclusive links to use on your site that will track customers so they know that they’re coming from your content.
Affiliate marketing is similar to posting ads on your website, but you can make quite a bit more money than with traditional ads.
In this post, we’ll answer some of the most common questions we hear about affiliate marketing.
What Are Some of the Reasons Someone Would Fail At Affiliate Marketing?
There are several reasons why some affiliate marketers aren’t successful. For one thing, affiliate marketing requires you to really know and understand the products that you’re promoting. It’s obvious to the reader if you’re just making stuff up or just copying and pasting a product description from elsewhere.
In addition, your affiliate marketing will only be as successful as your blog. If you don’t write in a way that captures the attention of your readers — or if your website traffic is low — chances are you won’t make much in affiliate marketing.
Another reason someone might fail is if the affiliate products are low quality. Make sure you’re recommending items you would actually recommend to a good friend!
Why Is Affiliate Marketing Popular?
Affiliate marketing is popular because it has a low barrier to entry. Most of your favorite products may already have a referral program. You can find out how to become an affiliate just by checking their websites.
If you’re already established as a blogger, or if you’re a YouTuber or other social media influencer, you may be able to strike up a partnership with a business by reaching out to it directly.
A lot of website owners prefer affiliate marketing because the commissions are greater than what they can earn from traditional ads. Rather than making a few cents, you receive a percentage of each sale. Higher affiliate commissions and higher-priced items lead to more affiliate revenue.
Also, everyone loves the idea of making money while you sleep. Because it’s a true passive income source, affiliate marketing can let you do just that. All you have to do is post an affiliate link once and wait for the profits to roll in. (Of course, really good affiliate marketers will put a little more effort into maintaining and maximizing their content and links.)
Who Should Consider Affiliate Marketing?
Are you a content creator with a large audience? Does your audience often ask about equipment or recommendations for products in your niche? Do your audience, family, and friends spend large amounts on Amazon?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should consider affiliate marketing. And if you answered yes to that last question, definitely consider the Amazon affiliate program.
How Much Money Can You Make Affiliate Marketing?
It depends on several factors. Of course, sales are the first factor. The next factor is the percentage of sales. Some affiliate programs offer between 5% and 20% of the sale price. This is generally a standard affiliate commission. Check out these 101 affiliate programs for ideas.
Top earners can earn $50,000 or even over $100,000 per month. One of the biggest names I heard when I started blogging was Michelle Schroeder-Gardner. Michelle’s website states she makes over $50,000 per month blogging.
Michelle is an expert on helping people start a blog and get started affiliate marketing. Her course is renowned in the personal finance community. Learn more about the Making Sense of Sense Affiliate Marketing Course here.
Some affiliate marketers have made enough to quit their full-time jobs. Others use affiliate programs to diversify their income. Some use it just to make extra online money.
Where Can You Make the Most Money With Affiliate Marketing?
Different niches can make more money than others with affiliate marketing.
Blogs that compare or review items seem to have a higher chance of converting to sales. Writing about hobbies that require tools and supplies to get started can also be successful. And travel, beauty products, and technology often have the potential for sales.
It also depends on your affiliate network. Are you marketing low-dollar affiliate products to many people? Are you marketing higher-end affiliate products to a few? Percentages of different affiliate products can vary. Even with the Amazon affiliate program, different products are worth different commissions.
According to a trusted source of mine, a company will pay hundreds per bowel movement. Yes, they will pay you for it. The even better part is their affiliate program offers thousands of dollars in referrals. That means I could have tweets worth $500-2,000 each, because who doesn’t multitask on social media? It pays not to flush sometimes.
What Skills Do You Need to Become an Affiliate Marketer?
Although helpful, sales skills may not be required to be an affiliate marketer. If you have a marketing background it would also be helpful but not necessary.
One skill you do need is authenticity. Would you want to buy a product from someone who is just trying to sell any old thing? Often, businesses are looking to solve a problem for their customers. What problem are you trying to solve by recommending a certain product?
Which Affiliate Marketing Gigs Are Best for Beginners?
Like the answer to many questions, it just depends. To begin affiliate marketing, find your niche. Know your audience. From there, check out the resources mentioned to find affiliate programs that fall into that niche.
How Do You Get Paid in Affiliate Marketing?
Payment options vary from program to program. Some programs pay out by sending checks, while others may offer credits or gift cards. Many use PayPal or other online payment systems.
Make sure you understand the terms of payouts. Some affiliate programs, like Amazon, require you to earn a certain amount they’ll pay you.
What Are Some Best Affiliate Programs for Beginners Without a Website?
Although rare, I have seen a few successful affiliate marketers who don’t have a website. There are a couple of affiliate programs you could use without a website. Try these topics and advertise through social media or an email marketing campaign and newsletter:
- Social Media Management
- Amazon Affiliate Program
- Stock Graphics and Photos
How Is Affiliate Marketing Different Than Other Online Jobs?
Affiliate marketing is different from traditional remote work because you are paid a commission for selling. Generally, it’s a percentage of a sale. Like other gig economy jobs, you are considered a contractor for that company, rather than an employee.
How Do You Become an Affiliate Marketer?
Try going to a product or service’s website you enjoy. Look for a referral or affiliate menu on their site. Most companies will have a page on how to become an affiliate marketer for their product or service.
How to Get Started With Affiliate Marketing
A blog post from the Penny Hoarder recommends these five steps to get started:
- Build an email list
- Gain subscribers through guest blogging
- Join an affiliate network
- Promote the products and services you use
- Find affiliate opportunities in your network
If you are interested in the Amazon Associates program and already have a blog, you can get started right away. Scroll down to the Amazon Associates heading in the link above, then click on “Amazon Associates” in the first sentence. From there, you can sign up for the program.
What Are the Best Strategies for Affiliate Marketing?
- Know your affiliate products
- Know your audience
- Believe in the products you’re selling
- Solve a problem
- How to reach your audience
You can search for a specific affiliate marketing strategy. But there are some key points you will need to address.
Again, there are some recurring themes here. What problem will this product solve? Why would your audience buy from you? How are you going to reach your target audience? What metrics will you use to determine if your strategy is successful?
What Should You Do Before Becoming an Affiliate Marketer?
Market research is a must. See a recurring theme yet? Know your audience, know your products. Gather which affiliate programs you want to be a part of. Think of why your audience would want to use these products. What problem will these products solve? Why should your audience buy from you or your recommendations?
Next, how are you going to market your products? Do you already have a blog? Will your social media presence be enough? Are you going to use an email marketing campaign or newsletter? How are you going to build that email list? What is the best way to sell to your audience?
How Do You Build a Successful Website for Your Affiliate Marketing?
Here’s a quick rundown on blog building in six steps:
- Pick your blog niche: What is your site about, and what is your target audience? What products will serve your niche?
- Find your domain name: Pick a website name in your niche that is clear and concise. Make sure it is easy to remember
- Set up web hosting: Find a hosting provider. Here’s how to set up a site with Bluehost.
- Set up your site: Customize your site to your niche. Use design principles and skills to make an eye-catching site
- Write your first post: Write a couple of posts in your niche. Try a comparison post, product review post, listicle, or how-to post to incorporate affiliate links.
- Make money: Use your affiliate marketing strategy to create passive income.
The Bottom Line
Getting started in affiliate marketing is relatively simple. You can start affiliate marketing through a newsletter, social media, or a blog. You can also sign up with an affiliate program like Amazon Associates as long as you have a site.
However, there is a lot more to understanding affiliate marketing. To be a successful affiliate marketer, Millennial Money recommends The Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course.