Are you dreaming to start working from home? You may be a mom and you want to take care of your kids while having an income stream. Or you may be someone who just wants an extra hustle at the side. Have you ever wondered if you, too, can make money even while you sleep? If you want all of that and more, then why not dip your toes into affiliate marketing? In this post, I will explain how to make money with affiliate marketing and how it works.
What Is Affiliate Marketing & How Does It Work?
To put it simply, affiliate marketing is a process in which an affiliate (in which case, is you) earns a commission from marketing another person’s or company’s products. Think of it as how you would go to networking events and hand out business cards or introduce a product in the hopes that you will give him a lead that would result in a purchase.
The same goes for an affiliate marketer’s role: You are someone who introduces products and services from the internet to others, and when a sale is made, you will earn a commission.
The beauty of affiliate marketing and why I think it can be a great way to make online income even for beginners is because the entry requirements are very low. You don’t have to think about creating your own product, you don’t have to market it or hire customer support. All of this is done by the company that offers the affiliate program. All you have to do is share the information about their product or service.
Now, you may ask: But how does it really work? How will I earn money from it?
It is as simple as: You search for a product that you genuinely like and believe in, then you promote that product to your online channels using your own unique affiliate link. Once someone purchases that product using your link, you will get a commission!
Whenever someone clicks on your affiliate link, a cookie will be dropped into their browser to see if they will push through with the purchase, browse through other products, subscribe to the company’s email list, and more. If that customer does any of the actions mentioned, then the company you are affiliated with will know that that customer came from you and they will reward you for it.
The good thing about affiliate marketing is that it is a business you can start without spending a dime. Since the products are already there, you won’t really have anything to spend on.
We also know that starting an online business will require you to work a lot of hours to see results. On the other hand, affiliate marketing is purely based on your performance and how persuasive you are in introducing a product. So this means that you may want to focus on improving your writing skills and how to review a product.
Sounds relatively easier than starting an online business from scratch, right?
How Much Money Can You Make As An Affiliate Marketer?
Who wouldn’t want a quick and inexpensive method of making money online, right? Because of its accessibility, affiliate marketing has attracted a lot of people who are looking to increase their income online. But how much money can an affiliate marketer make and how do they get paid?
According to Payscale, a website where you can find reliable salary market data, an average annual affiliate marketing income is $51,217. Those who are low-leveled affiliate marketers can annually earn up to $37,000.
But honestly, the sky is the limit when it comes to affiliate income. For my blogging business, affiliate marketing is the second biggest income stream after creating and selling my own products. If you are interested in checking in detail one of my income reports, here is a report for a month when my online income exceeded $40,000.
And I will show you just a recent transaction in my PayPal account of the monthly affiliate commissions I received from one of the services that I promote to my audience.
Usually, the biggest chunk of my affiliate income comes from the companies that offer products and services in the online marketing space. This screenshot below is for an online program that I promoted to my email list only twice and during these 2 promotions I made $8,660 in commissions.
But do note that your income will highly depend on how much and how effective you promote a product. The products you promote also have a contribution in this – the more expensive the product (or the payout of the customer) is, the higher the commission you will receive.
An affiliate marketer may get paid in two ways:
- Pay Per Sale
This is the standard and most common way of getting paid through affiliate marketing. Just as what we have been talking about, affiliate marketers will get paid a percentage or commission of the sale price of the product they are promoting. The more expensive the product or the higher the payout of the customer is (using your affiliate link), the higher the commission you will receive.
- Pay Per Lead
Another method of affiliate marketing is through lead conversions. Through this, the affiliate must convince the customer to visit the company or merchant’s website and complete an action. It could be signing up on their program, subscribing to their newsletter, filling out a form, and more. Through this, companies will track every action done by the consumer and you will get paid a fixed commission.
But I will be honest, in most of the affiliate programs they typically will use pay per sale model. Pay per lead is less common but I already had an experience with one company that paid me for the same campaign both things – pay per sale and also they paid me a small commission for each lead, meaning for anyone who sighed up for their email list. I haven’t found yet pay per click programs but I know they exist.
How To Start Making Money With Affiliate Marketing
Now that you are convinced that affiliate marketing is a money-making opportunity you wouldn’t pass by, let me tell you the steps on how to start becoming an affiliate marketer. And you can trust my word on this because I, myself, am one and have been successfully marketing tons of products from my affiliate partners.
1. Find your Niche
An affiliate marketer’s success highly depends on how convincing and persuasive they are in marketing a product. This means that before choosing a product or service to promote, you must have at least a bit of knowledge on what the product is and what category or niche it falls under. Is it Lifestyle? Tech? Travel? Beauty?
Next, you should ask yourself which of those niches you have full interest in. You won’t be able to successfully promote a beauty or skincare product if you do not know the brand or have no idea what the product is for. So keep in mind that the product you will promote is something that you are genuinely interested in because it will show through your writings. Remember, you can’t fool your customers!
2. How to Find Great Affiliate Products to Promote
Depending on your niche, you will promote different types of products.
If you are in the home decor niche, you will likely create content that features multiple affiliate products per post and give links to each product from Amazon Associates or RewardStle platforms. On Amazon you’d likely be looking at the products that have great reviews to make sure people actually buy and don’t just leave Amazon page disappointed with your recommendation. When you search for products on RewardStyle for example, they have this high commission label on some of the products. They are usually from large and known stores like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and others. So this is the filter you could use when you create content around the affiliate products.
The issue with promoting physical products through Amazon or other networks is that commissions are often very low. Anywhere from just 1% commission (seriously, this applies to some product categories on Amazon) and to about 10% maximum. So it’s rarely a huge commission but because the products are in a lower price range, usually below $50 or $100, it’s relatively easy for consumers to pick up the credit card and actually make the purchase right away coming from your affiliate link.
When you promote digital products, for example, online courses, especially those that are in the higher price range, commissions are usually higher – anywhere between 30% and even up to 50% commission. Plus, the products usually cost at least several hundred of dollars if not thousands. So when you promote high-ticket products, it takes a lot more effort to promote them, it’s not enough to just drop a link from a blog post or two.
You have to educate your audience, build trust through your free content and do this consistently so that when you have something to share as an affiliate, they would know all about your values and would see why you are recommending this product.
So if you ask me what are the best type of products to promote as an affiliate? The answer is not so easy and straightforward as expected. Is it always better to promote something more expensive and with a higher commission rate? Well, higher commissions are always great but when the product costs thousands of dollars, you need to do a ton of work as an affiliate to educate your audience about the benefits of this product, and to convince them to make a purchase.
3. Start an Affiliate Blog
Starting your own blog is probably one of the most effective ways to be successful in affiliate marketing. First of all, it builds a bond and trust between you and your audience since you will be able to freely share your opinions and reviews about the product you are promoting. Second, there is a high chance for your blog or post to rank organically in search engines. This means that when people search about the product you are promoting, there is a possibility for your blog post to appear on the search results. And another benefit is that once your blog starts to become successful, affiliate opportunities will eventually come to you – you do not have to find them! Companies always go to established online influencers to promote and review their products.
What you just need to focus on is your writing skills and how persuasive and convincing you are when promoting a product. After you are done writing your content, you just need to periodically insert your unique affiliate link to your post where you mention the product. Sounds easy, right?
And if you are worried about starting a blog, then do not worry because it does not cost much at all! In fact, you can make a blog within 11 minutes! You can watch my Youtube video here where I guide you on how to start a WordPress blog very quickly:
You can also check out my FREE course here on how to start a blog.
4. Start a Youtube Channel
This is kind of like a blog but a video blog, right? You can totally promote products or services by recommending them in your videos. You can’t drop an affiliate link in the video as easily as in a blog post, but you can add it to the description below the video. If you ask me what do I think works better a blog or a Youtube channel, I think it’s definitely easier to write texts than record and edit videos. But if you already have a blog and want to reach an additional audience with your videos, then I have a great video for you that will help you start a Youtube channel from scratch with a few tools and strategies and grow it to 1000 subscribers as fast as possible.
5. Create a Pinterest account
If you do not have the time or just are not interested in starting a blog, there is another way where you can promote your affiliate links for free. And that is through Pinterest! Contrary to popular belief, Pinterest is not a social media site but is actually a search engine just like Google! This means that, with the right keywords and SEO, when people search for the product you are promoting on Pinterest, there is a high chance that your pin will be at the top of the search results! If you are just starting out or already made an account on Pinterest but you feel lost and you want to improve your SEO, then you can check out my free course: Pinterest SEO Traffics Secret where I teach you how to master SEO and keywords on the platform and keep you updated on the latest Pinterest updates, changes in algorithms, and more.
And if this is your first time hearing about Pinterest, you can easily start a Pinterest account by following my easy tutorial here:
After that, you just need to create pins FOR FREE on canvas just like what I do here:
And once you are about to upload your pin, you just need to paste your own unique affiliate link in the URL section of the pin. If you are wondering about how successful affiliate marketing on Pinterest is, then feel free to watch my video here:
6. Start an Email List
Another great strategy to build trust and communication between you and your audience is by starting an email list! This method encourages your audience (whether it be through your blog or social media channel) to sign up or subscribe to your email list. Once that is done, it is now up to you to construct a personal yet persuasive email about the product you are promoting. You should treat this as a mini-blog of some sort since the approach will almost be the same as when you are writing a blog review post – but shorter and more direct to the point.
You can send out emails weekly or even daily! This means that you will be able to introduce more products to your audience more frequently. This also gives an opportunity for your audience to reply back to you and inquire more about the product which increases the chances for a sale!
In addition to that, always keep in mind that your email list is something that you control. Whereas your social media profiles, like your Instagram, Youtube or Pinterest account – all of these platforms decide which of your content should be shown to which users. Not all of the followers will always see your posts with affiliate links and they can literally take away from your all your work one day if they decide to change an algorithm or to ban your account. With an email list you have direct access to the inbox of each user who signed up for your list.
7. Sign up for affiliate programs
Again, depending on your niche, you might need to work with some products directly. Like for example in the case of online courses or big service companies, they will often have their own platform for you to sign up.
But in many other niches, looking for individual companies that offer affiliate partnerships can be very time-consuming. This is why affiliate programs and networks exist. Their main role is to provide you access to different brands and companies that offer affiliate partnerships. These networks will also handle the tracking, reporting, and payment to the affiliates. The variety of companies and brands that you can find on these affiliate networks could range from high-end brands like Dior, Gucci, and more to indie brands and eCommerce websites.
Some popular affiliate networks include:
There are many more but I just mentioned the ones I tried to work with for different products! The possibilities and choices are endless when it comes to affiliate marketing 🙂
Passive Income With Affiliate Marketing
Everything is now accessible through the internet. The same goes for products, jobs, and income. If you are one who is searching for a side hustle that can provide extra income, then do consider affiliate marketing. In fact, once you become successful, you can easily make this your full-time job and main income stream. And as long as you can find a product to promote, then you can take part in affiliate marketing and earn passive income.
How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing | 7 Steps To Affiliate Marketing
- What Is Affiliate Marketing & How Does It Work?
- How Much Money Can You Make As An Affiliate Marketer?
- How To Start Making Money With Affiliate Marketing
I’m Anastasia and I’m a full-time blogger, online entrepreneur, and Pinterest marketing strategist. I help digital entrepreneurs and bloggers drive targeted traffic from Pinterest either through my online courses or through Pinterest consultancy.