One of our clients eagerly awaited for an affiliate marketing program to be launched. On his YouTube channel, he has a wide audience that he could promote our product to and earn some cash. How much? It depends on many factors, but if we assume that 1% of his subscribers buy the cheapest subscription, he will make almost $20,000. Truth be told, some affiliate marketers earn $150K per year with just affiliate marketing!
The mechanism is pretty straightforward, but it requires sustainable efforts from you. In this article, we’ll explain what you need and how you can make money with affiliate marketing as a passive income and beyond.
How to make money with affiliate marketing programs – the formula
You’ll be surprised how simple the formula for earning money with affiliate marketing is. Here are the two variables you need:
- An audience with a shared interest or idea. For example, the readers of a financial management blog.
- An affiliate program of a product or service that will be useful for the audience to solve their specific problems. For example, a tool or solution that allows you to automate reporting.
You promote this product/service to your audience => they buy the product/service => you get your commission.
A reasonable question arises: If the money-making formula is so obvious, why does everyone not shovel in money? Let’s try to answer this below.
Who can and cannot make money with affiliate marketing?
You can make money with affiliate marketing if:
- You run a blog where you regularly publish helpful content for your audience.
- You develop a YouTube channel and regularly publish helpful videos for your audience.
- You use another platform to develop an audience that shares some common ideas, interests, problems, etc.
- You are an influencer in a specific niche.
- You are a consultant who can refer your clients to specific products/services.
- You provide other advisory services by which you can refer your clients to specific products/services.
You cannot make money with affiliate marketing if you are not willing to invest your time and effort in expanding your audience and promoting a product or service.
Ways to make money with affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a win-win cooperation between a product owner and an affiliate marketer. The former gets leads, and the latter gets paid for bringing in these leads. You can earn some money with affiliate marketing if you only spread the word among your Facebook friends, but it won’t guarantee a stable and high income even if you have plenty of followers. The reason is that it’s difficult to achieve the product-audience match within your FB social network.
On the other hand, if your approach includes proper ways to expand your audience and promote the right products to them, you can make a cottage industry out of affiliate marketing.
With this in mind, we tend to define two methods for success: idle and efficient.
Idle affiliate marketing
By ‘idle’, we mean that you do not make any additional efforts to expand your audience for promoting products. If you are a financial consultant, accountant, or practicing advisor, you already have a pool of contacts or clients. You just need to find an affiliate program for a product from your niche and promote it.
The idle strategy is short-term, since it may result in an instant inflow of cash, but it won’t make any further progress. However, this is the easiest way to make money with affiliate marketing.
Efficient affiliate marketing
Efficient affiliate marketing means that you constantly develop and expand your audience by publishing useful content on your blog, video channel, or other platforms. So, basically, you generate traffic that, in turn, brings new people to whom you can promote products and services.
This is a long-term monetization strategy, and a way to increase your passive income. Or, you may even opt for affiliate marketing as your main source of income. We’re going to talk more about this strategy below.
How to make money with affiliate marketing from scratch
Let’s assume that you want to start making money with affiliate marketing right out of the gate. You have neither a blog, nor a YouTube channel, nor a community to spread the word to. The following step-by-step guide will explain how to achieve your goal.
Step 1. Choose a niche
A niche in affiliate marketing is a segment of the market with a narrow group of affiliate products that you can promote through customers. These customers share specific needs and requirements associated with this market segment. For example, the SEO niche covers tools and solutions around search engine optimization tasks, including hosting services, CMS, webmaster tools, etc.
You need to choose the niche where you feel you would best perform. If there is a subject you don’t like, such as fashion and beauty, then it’s better to skip it. Other criteria to consider are high demand and low-to-medium competition. You’ll have to do solid research to choose the best niche for affiliate marketing that you would like to join and develop your audience.
Step 2. Choose a platform for your content
Once you know the audience of your niche, you need to provide relevant and useful content for them. You can launch a blog to publish articles, start a YouTube channel to record videos, make posts with valuable information via social media platforms, and so on. Choose the most appropriate platform for your content that will also be in line with your target audience.
The type of content also matters. Specific topics look better in the text, while others will better convey their message in video format. For example, explaining how to create a real-time sync between your bank and credit card accounts with Excel is better done as a video tutorial rather than a blog post.
Step 3. Traffic increases – time to search for affiliate programs
When the publications on your blog, channel, or profile start generating traffic, you can dip a toe in the water of affiliate marketing. Check out whether the products you use provide affiliate marketing programs. Visit affiliate marketplaces – here you can find hundreds of merchants. But wait on signing up for them right away! First, learn how they work and decide whether this is what you need.
As a rule, affiliate marketing programs are based on a one-tier model – you get paid once a sale is made via your affiliate link. However, you may also encounter two-tier programs or multilevel marketing. In this case, you need first to refer other affiliates, and once they start making sales, you will get paid. A special case is an affiliate program with a growing (or climbing) tier. The idea is the more sales are made via your affiliate link, the higher commission you’ll get.
It’s also worth making some calculations to predict your income. For example, the Coupler.io affiliate program offers 50% commission for the first subscription payment and 20% for every renewal later. There is no limit to the number of customers you can refer.
Assume that you expect to convert every 10 users out of 1000 visits to your blog. If these 10 customers subscribe to the cheapest monthly paid plan, which costs $49, you’ll get a $245 commission. For every renewal of their subscription, you will get an additional $98 per month. They say:
On average, you should receive from $300 up to $950 per customer within a period of their stay with Coupler.io.
This is a shallow analysis, of course, but it will give you an understanding of whether this or that affiliate program is a good fit.
Step 4. Join one or several affiliate marketing programs
It’s difficult to imagine that the entire content on your blog or channel will be about the same product. Therefore, it makes sense to differentiate your promotion efforts by spreading the word about different tools and solutions. With this in mind, it’s better to sign up for multiple affiliate programs.
Step 5. Spread the word about the products
What do we already have before this step? You have published some traffic-generating content and signed up for a few top SaaS affiliate programs. This means you are ready to promote some products in your publications. You can do this in different ways:
- Add your affiliate links to the existing articles in a natural and logical way.
- Create new content, keeping in mind the promotion of affiliate products.
- Create content dedicated to the promotion of affiliate products. For example, you may describe how you improved your workflow using a particular tool.
- Collaborate with other content creators by exchanging links or making guest posts.
- Promote your content on social media.
Making money with affiliate marketing is an ongoing process. You can’t just add affiliate links to your articles or videos and enjoy the sound of rustling cash :D. Well, you can add links and even earn some money, but the inflow of cash will cease if you do nothing else.
So, the more valuable content you produce => the more traffic you bring => the more users click on your affiliate link => the more money you make.
Best practices to make money with affiliate marketing
Traffic before sales
Focus on generating traffic rather than making money. Your blog or channel should already have several traffic-generating publications before you can start promoting products with affiliate links. If you start pushing sales from the outset, there is a risk that your content will turn away readers or viewers due to its commercialization.
So first, you need to build your blog or channel, then you can redirect efforts to monetization of your traffic.
Follow Google’s guidelines for affiliate marketing
Google provides Webmaster Guidelines for sites that participate in affiliate programs. The main idea is that content that features mostly information about affiliate products does not provide enough valuable information to the reader. As a result, such content can suffer in Google’s search rankings, bringing little to no traffic. To avoid this, most of your content should be relevant and aimed at building a loyal readership, and a minor share of all your publications can be associated with affiliate programs.
In your content, you promote affiliate products. But your content also requires promotion, and social media like Facebook or Twitter are the best place for this. You can create or be involved in Facebook Groups, recommend your content on Quora, and use other benefits of social media promotion.
Track your affiliate marketing performance on a dashboard
The only way to understand whether your investment in affiliate marketing succeeds is to analyze the results. We advise you to build a dashboard where you can track different stats about traffic, published affiliate links, income received, conversion rate, and other metrics. You can do this in a spreadsheet such as Google Sheets.
You’ll have to enter some data manually, while the rest of the data flow can be automated. For example, if your blog is on WordPress, you can easily automate exports of different WordPress data to Google Sheets using the WordPress integration by Coupler.io. For example, here is what your dashboard on blog performance may look like:
How much money you can make with affiliate marketing?
The total funds that you can see in your wallet depend on multiple factors:
- Type of content
- Quality of content
- SEO for your blog/channel and content
- Frequency of publication
- Affiliate programs promoted
- Conversion rate
- There are many other factors as well
We can’t say that if you launch a blog about health and fitness, you’ll start earning $100 per month in a few weeks. Some affiliates can spend a year to reach their first $1,000. Others can boast $1,000 monthly over the same period.
However, the main idea is that you can make money with affiliate marketing, and even $100,000 per year is quite a realistic figure.
How to make money online with affiliate marketing with less effort
As we mentioned above, you have two approaches to making money with affiliate marketing: idle and efficient. If for some reason, you don’t want or can’t invest your efforts in creating content and developing your audience, you can always choose the idle method. This means that you can promote a particular product using the contacts you already have. This may bring some good results from a short-term perspective, but you won’t be able to keep this pace or increase it. This is all you can expect without effort. It’s up to you which way best suits your needs. Good luck!Back to Blog