Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product, usually relevant to your niche or specialism, promote it and earn a percentage of the profit for each sale that you generate. The key to making consistent earnings is using affiliate offers that pay you ongoing commissions for subscription-based services. It is arguably the simplest of these five methods, with very little learning or set-up required and comparatively little cost to generate a sizeable income.
What makes affiliate marketing a great way to get started earning money online is that you can advertise great products that effectively sell themselves. Most of the time you don’t really need to know anything about the product, you don’t need to write any sales copy, often you won’t need to create a landing page. And further to that, companies often provide supporting materials to affiliate marketers as well, such as banner ads, ad text, and targeting suggestions. Affiliate commissions can range from anywhere between 5%-100% but typically are around 40-60%.
With that said, don’t think that it’ll be an easy ride to riches. It can be a grind to get any sales coming in, you have to be consistent and persistent with your marketing. This is where having your own brand or following comes into play. If you are a respected figure in a particular space then this could be a great option for you. Bear in mind that if you want to avoid any criticism or loss of fame further down the line then you should only affiliate yourself with products that you’ve either tested or use yourself, or someone you know and trust has used it. Also, You should always be transparent about providing affiliate links, never try and hide it from your customers or followers. Usually they will be more than happy to use your affiliate link. For example, some of the links provided in this post are affiliate links, so by signing up via them I earn a small commission. Of course, you don’t have to use my link but it’s there for convenience and by offering this free guide, I would hope that you’d be happy to do so. I don’t expect it however and therefore won’t be disappointed if I don’t make any commissions from this. My main goal here is to build a reputation and community of like-minded, ambitious people who are working towards financial freedom just like me, with a view to one day offer some really high-value training that people would be happy to pay for given the trust I’ve built up with them. I want to help myself by helping others. This is the same attitude you must adopt with affiliate marketing. Be in it for the long-term rewards, not for a quick buck.
How do I get started?
So how do you get started with affiliate marketing? If you already have a following then you can immediately start sharing affiliate links with your audience. Look at the products, software etc that you’re currently using and find out if they have affiliate programmes. Most companies who offer an affiliate programme have an affiliate link at the bottom of their site but if not, a simple Google search for “Company X Affiliate” should get you to the right place. Some however, will require that you be a member of that website or user of the software in order to act as an affiliate. If in doubt you can always find the contact email for the company and ask how to join. Registering is usually just a case of filling out a simple form and providing a means of receiving payment. I usually opt for PayPal but some will only provide bank transfers.
Once you’ve registered and got your link, then just include your link in posts and videos wherever relevant and start a regular newsletter where you share your most successful tips and highlight products that have helped you. Remember that products that solve a problem or training courses that will help people succeed in what they are doing are most likely to convert. If you want to really push the boat out then using your followers’ demographics as a base, you can pretty efficiently roll out some paid advertising on Facebook, Instagram or Google to increase the reach of your affiliate advertising and dramatically boost your earnings. There will be a learning curve for each advertising platform so you’ll need some time to get to grips with them and you’ll have to be prepared to lose some money initially either through learning mistakes or ad optimisation. If you have the funds however, then I would recommend doing this as soon as you can. Focus on driving traffic to your content rather than the offer itself and have your affiliate links available where relevant. As long as your content is valuable then people will pay attention to your recommendations.
If you don’t already have a base of followers or aren’t a specialist in any niche then it will require more time to start affiliate marketing in this way but is still very worthwhile. I would suggest creating a blog, a YouTube channel, or both as soon as you can. Start putting out content as regularly as you can. You can’t put out too much or too often. The more you can release, the faster you’ll see results. Make sure the content is valuable though, don’t just put it out for the sake of it. Quantity is important at this stage but quality still trumps. Just don’t get caught up in perfectionism, as long as the message is clear and useful it will be received well. Also, try to make the majority of your content evergreen. I.e. doesn’t go out of date, not seasonal, not part of a fad. That way as your channel or site gains traction, anything you create early on will still be relevant and continue to pull in views and contribute to revenue.
Another route to go down, particularly if you’ve not got any sort of following yet or a niche to focus on is to find any high performing affiliate offers on sites such as ClickBank. Products listed on these sites range from health detox plans to survival gear and everything in between. What’s good about affiliate sites is that they provide certain performance statistics as to how well the product is selling. I.e. conversion rates, re-bill percentage and ClickBanks’ own ‘Gravity’ rating. This can quickly give you a decent idea of whether it’s worth looking into. When you find a product of interest you want to check out their squeeze page to see whether it looks professional and how easy it’s going to be for you to send converting traffic to the offer. Check out this example of a good affiliate offer below.
It’s a tactical pen so it’s not a surprise to see that the initial sale amount is quite low but that’s not a bad thing. A low price can mean higher conversion rates as impulse buying takes effect and it has 100% sale commission which is great. The re-bill numbers aren’t fantastic but you could likely sell a fair amount. Overall it’s given a gravity score of 53.14 which is higher than average and tells me that there’s a fair amount of affiliates earning commission from it. The vendor also offers an affiliate tools page which includes ad banners and email swipes, all done for you. So I’d definitely take a further look at this offer. If we take a look at the landing page for the product the first thing that we see is a pop-up box to collect the visitor’s email. This is a good tactic and shows that the vendor knows what they’re doing. The page itself had a simple, clean and easy to read design with clear bullet points outlining the benefits of the product and a high-quality video showcasing the product. You can also see that they’re offering the product for free so I would assume that this is a ‘Free + Shipping’ offer. Quite a common and very powerful sales tactic in ecommerce and again is likely to boost conversions. So overall this seems like an offer that would be worth testing.
Now compare that to the one below. It has a decent commission percentage and much better re-bill figures but a very low sale amount and a very poor gravity score. Already I would give this one a miss. Generally, anything with a gravity score of less than 20 I would pass over. They also don’t provide any tools to aid affiliates so you’d have to take the time to create ads yourself. Taking a look at the sales page of this product, it’s clear to see why it may not be selling as well. The page is pretty basic and uninteresting and there’s a lot of text. It doesn’t really draw you in and make you want to find out more. It doesn’t attempt to capture the visitor’s email address and there’s no call to action above the fold. (I.e. the section of the page visible without having to scroll).
So you can see how to quickly decide which offers are worth looking into further and eventually throwing some money at. Although ClickBank is the goto for affiliate products, there are others such as JVZoo or OfferVault if for some reason ClickBank doesn’t float your boat.
So you’ve got some form of content on an advert that’s someone’s engaged with, they’ve clicked your affiliate link and landed on the offer page but what if they don’t convert for any number of reasons, and bear in mind most don’t for the first few times seeing an offer, then you’ve lost that opportunity and that potential revenue. There’s no way to follow up with them, offer it again, or offer something else.
That’s why you need a squeeze page or capture page, that precedes the affiliate’s own landing page your sending them to. On the squeeze page you have a really simple form that requests an email address and possibly name and upon submission redirects them to the affiliate page. This adds them to your own mailing list and you’ve got yourself a subscriber. Now, even if they aren’t interested in the offer this time, you can re-market the same product to them via email, but also keep them updated with other relevant products that you can earn affiliate commissions from. This is building an email or subscriber list and it’s where the real power of affiliate marketing lies. You may have heard the term, “the money’s in the list” and it refers to having a mailing list to which you can sell your products after the initial sale, thereby giving you the ability to re-advertise to high-intent customers for free. Don’t bombard people with stuff though. Make sure you provide some valuable advice and content and then drop some affiliate products every 3rd email or something. At this stage learning a bit of copyrighting skill won’t go amiss. There’s plenty of free copyrighting advice on the web so if you’re currently terrible at writing, don’t worry, you can still be an effective affiliate marketer and you’ll quickly improve.
Below is an example of a well crafted promo email which I received from a list I’m subscribed to. To start with the titles pretty interesting so that got my attention.
The sender uses a story to give the product meaning and context before actually mentioning how it helped him and how it could help me, then offering a free trial and dropping his affiliate link. And you know what. I sure as hell checked it out. I didn’t go for it in the end as I’m happy with my current marketing platform but that’s the game. That email was probably sent out to 10’s thousands of people and if even 1% of them signed up for the trial and went on to become paying customers the gentleman who sent the email is sure to be making a pretty penny.
In order to capture people emails and automate the sending of emails on your list, you’ll need some email marketing software and a landing page creator. For email, you could at first try something free like MailChimp however once your list grows you will need to upgrade your account to increase your contact limit and so I would suggest going with a more versatile one like GetResponse to start with even though it may cost a small subscription fee. As far as landing pages go there are options but again, my suggestion would be ClickFunnels or LeadPages. You could opt for a free method such as WordPress however that’s not a straightforward and to learn is pretty time consuming. Using the former will give you a quick and easy way to create a fresh, functional lander for each affiliate offer you’re promoting and they can integrate with most other major online software. If you sign up with GetResponse for marketing, you can natively create landing pages but you’re limited to just 1 on the starter plan so whilst it’s a good option for getting started I’d recommend you go for ClickFunnels when you can. And remember for each niche that you run affiliate offers for, you’ll need a separate mailing list so you can keep content that’s sent out to subscribers relevant.
So that’s affiliate marketing in a nutshell. They two main ingredients are really good affiliate offers and good email marketing. Don’t underestimate the revenue that email can bring in. You may think that with social media email is a bit of a dinosaur but it’s still the most effective form of online marketing.