Let's start with an explanation of affiliate marketing, for beginners. An affiliate is someone who sells a product producer by someone else, takes a share of the profit for finding the customer, and the product producer also receives a profit share.
You'll read a more complete definition below.
So let's look at…
How You Can Earn Six Figures Promoting Other People’s Products
I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about affiliate marketing, some of which caught me completely by surprise.
For example, “Is affiliate marketing legal?”
I certainly hope so, or else I’ve just paid for my holiday with illegal profits.
I’m going to do my best to answer some of the questions I’ve received and maybe even demonstrate that affiliate marketing can indeed be a profitable part-time side hustle, or a full-time business.
Full disclosure – I no longer class myself as a beginner at affiliate marketing (see my recent high ticket sale on the right).
But a year ago, I was very much a beginner. My success has been as a result of following a training course over this past year. You can have access to it >> here <<. At the time of writing (January 2023) the access is free, but because it's producing such excellent results (like mine) it will become a paid training. Grab the free option while you can.
As you read this article, I'll share with you some of the (many) mistakes I made on my way to success as an affiliate marketer.
Why Affiliate Marketing is Still One of The Easiest Ways to Make Money Online in 2023
You may have tried previous ways to make money online – such as creating your own product.
My first mistake! I was fooled into creating my own product as one of my first ventures online, but even though I paid for coaching, I was completely out of my depth.
There was just so much to learn. I had no idea even when I didn't know.
Yes, I eventually produced a product, because I'm just too stubborn to quite, but profit (i.e. sales that covered the cost of the course and producing the product)? No way.
It was a big fat waste of time and money. (Partly because there were other products competing with mine – yes, admit it, better than mine.)
If you're looking for an easier way to make money online, affiliate marketing is a great option. It's one of the most popular ways to earn money online, and it's relatively simple to get started.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate's own marketing efforts.
Basically, you can sign up to be an affiliate for a company, and then promote their products or services. When someone buys something from the company you're promoting, you earn a commission.
It's a pretty straightforward way to earn money, and there are a lot of companies out there that offer affiliate programs. These companies use affiliates to help them reach new customers.
Why is affiliate marketing a good way to make money?
There are a few reasons why affiliate marketing is a great way to earn money online.
First of all, it's a relatively easy way to get started. You don't need your own products or services to sell, and you don't need to deal with shipping or customer service. All you need to do is promote the products or services of someone else.
Secondly, it's a great way to earn passive income. Once you've set up your affiliate marketing campaign, it can run on autopilot, making money for you while you sleep.
Thirdly, there's potential to make a lot of money. If you can build a large and loyal audience through your content creation, you can work your way up to earning $100,000 a year or even $100,000 a month through affiliate marketing.
For example, Clickbank states on their website that they have ‘hundreds of Platinum affiliate marketers who earn more than $250k per year,’ along with an ‘impressive number of Diamond affiliates who earn more than $5 million per year.’
Fourth, affiliate marketing allows you to focus on your content creation and building an audience while other people tend to product creation and customer service.
Fifth, you can choose what you promote and to a certain extent, how you promote it. You never have to promote a product you don’t like or shill for a company you don’t believe in. Even though you are promoting other people’s products, you are still the boss of your business, and you can feel good about only recommending those products you truly believe will help your audience.
Sixth, you’ll never spend months creating a product no one buys. You might spend one day or even a week promoting something that doesn’t sell as well as you anticipated, but you can pull the plug anytime you choose and promote something else that is better for your audience, converts at a higher rate or simply pays you more.
And seventh, you’ll never have to deal with customer service. I cannot tell you the nightmare hours I’ve spent responding to customers with the oddest, strangest and sometimes most aggravating of requests. As an affiliate, in the rare case a customer contacts you directly about a product, you can simply refer them to the product seller for help and guidance while you rest easy knowing someone other than you is handling customer service issues.
In 2023 there are more affiliate marketing programs to choose from than ever before, along with more ways to reach your audience and more audience to reach as even the most internet shy people are now coming online with the rest of the world.
So, if you're looking for an easy way to make money online, affiliate marketing is a great option. It's relatively simple to get started, and it has the potential to be quite profitable.
Is affiliate marketing illegal?
Absolutely not. Regular affiliate marketing is as legal as can be. In some countries multi-tiered affiliate marketing may be illegal.
The training program I learned from (and promote) is a two-level affiliate program. So I earn commissions if I sell it to customers, and I also earn a commission if those customers sell it on. (Which is a great reason why I help students to be successful.)
I doubt you’ll ever find an affiliate program that offers a three tier system. If you do, it’s most likely not affiliate marketing but rather multi-level marketing which is an entirely different thing. (But still completely legal, just different regulations.)
What’s the difference between multi-level marketing and affiliate marketing?
There are numerous differences but let me just give you the big one: In affiliate marketing you do not need to purchase any product ever. Nor is there a ‘distributor kit’ to purchase. You fill out an application to become an affiliate, you get approved and you can start marketing the product with zero expense out of your pocket.
You never, ever pay the product owner for the right to promote their product. Nor do you fill up your closets and garages with products you’ve been told to purchase but you cannot resell.
Also, even if you are in the rare affiliate program, like mine, that allows you to recruit other affiliates (two-tier affiliate programs) you are never required to bring anyone else onboard. It's completely optional.
Is affiliate marketing a legit way to make decent money?
While affiliate marketing isn’t always as easy as it sounds, it’s a 100% legit way to earn a living.
And if you get good at it, there’s no reason why, if you take it seriously, by taking some training, you can be earning six figures from it by your second or third year.
I've made it to 4-figures in my 1st year after taking training.
But don't believe the ‘coaches' who tell you that you can earn $10k in your first month – or even three months.
You might get lucky, but I've seen people who are really GOOD at what they do, but they still don't have regular $10k months.
Be ready to make this a long-term business.
How Do I Get Started as an Affiliate Marketer?
This is the big question, isn’t it?
Let’s lay out the steps you might take to get started:
1: Pick your niche.
If possible, start with something that interests you. Since you’re going to be working in this niche every day for possibly years to come, it makes sense to do something you enjoy and that stirs some passion for you.
Make a list of possibilities, and then do some research to find out:
- Are people spending money in these niches?
- Are there plenty of affiliate products to promote in these niches?
Only consider niches that get a firm yes to both of these questions.
Don’t know where to start? Later you’ll find a list of niches to consider.
2: Build your website.
While you can certainly send people straight to your affiliate offer, the real money is in building a mailing list and creating trust and credibility with your subscribers.
A website will also boost your authority, and make it easier to add content about related topics that your customers may later be interested in.
Your website will be all about your niche, making your visitors feel comfortable, offering product reviews as well as articles that your readers find informative and helpful.
Everything you do as an affiliate is working towards building trust with your audience so that they get to know you, like you and most of all, trust you.
My mistake – I tried to learn WordPress blogging by myself. I should have taken proper training and joined a community such as Wealthy Affiliate. They have members who have been with them for 5 years and longer. They wouldn't still be using the platform if it weren't earning its keep.
3: Create a mailing list.
To build a relationship with your audience you’re going to offer them a perfectly ethical ‘bribe’ to join your newsletter and get updates, news and special offers from you. The bribe should be something people in your niche would pay money for because it’s exactly what they want. It doesn't have to be big, either. Sometimes all you need is a one-page cheat sheet or list of resources.
Email your list often to let them know you’ve posted something on your blog that’s worth their time to check out. Be entertaining and informative, keep your emails short, use stories and don’t be afraid to sell them on clicking a sales link in each email, even if you just insert it in the P.S. at the end of the email.
When your list is accustomed to seeing links leading to offers, they come to expect it and they buy.
My mistake: I tried to skip the ‘build a list' step because I would have to pay for an e-mailing program. These days you can have trials or free programs. I use four. >> Click here << for a free info sheet and to see if any of these would suit you.
4: Promote only products you know and trust.
Anything you promote is something you should know well and preferably use yourself. Your reputation is on the line every single time you promote something, so never, ever promote a lousy product just because you’re looking for a fast commission.
Once you have a good reputation as an affiliate, in many (but not all) cases you can email the product owner and ask to see or use the product free of charge.
My mistake: I found some real sharks whose products didn't work, refused support and refunds. I now have a circle of trusted product producers to work with.
5: Sell them on the click.
There’s no need to do the heavy lifting of selling in your emails. If the sales letter converts well, then all you need to do is pre-sell them on why this product is something they need to look into for themselves, and why they need to do that right now.
6: Write product reviews.
A good product review is an awesome way to make sales. Your email sends them to the product review and the review sends them to the sales letter.
The trick to writing a great product review is to USE the product yourself and then be 100% honest about what you think of the product.
I once wrote a review for a lousy product and I said it was lousy in the review. Not only did I still get a couple of sales of that product, but the next time I reviewed something positively my sales shot through the roof.
7: Give stuff away.
First you give away something to get them to join your list. Then you give away something now and then just to keep people opening and reading your emails. And finally, you give away the really good stuff when they make a product purchase. The bigger the purchase you’re asking them to make, the bigger the bonus(s) you can offer.
Not sure what to give away? A short report, video, audio, cheat sheet or resource list is great to give away anytime for any reason. You can also use these to segment your list into people who like different things. For example, if your niche is online marketing, you can segment your list into podcasting, video marketing and social media marketing to name a few.
If you’re selling an expensive product, why not give away one-on-one coaching sessions? You can help the person get the most out of the product they purchased from your affiliate link.
And if it’s a mid-priced product, you could do group coaching calls. These calls also serve to bond you to your customers as well as to advertising your paid coaching services.
8: Be reachable.
If someone emails you with a question, answer them. Then use that question and answer in an email to your list, because if one person has the question, odds are others will, too.
9: Stick with it.
Like anything else, affiliate marketing takes time to grow. Your first six months might be lean indeed, and your second six months might show modest profit.
But give it a year or two and a solid five or six figure income is entirely possible.
What are the best niches and sub niches for beginner affiliate marketing?
There are so many to choose from, and of course you will sometimes overlap from one subniche to another. For example, if your niche is computers then you will likely also be the digital notebooks and webcams as well.
If you’re new to marketing, you’ll find it’s easier to work in a niche other than the online marketing niche. You won’t yet have the credibility of an experienced marketer because you don’t have any experience in marketing. Starting in this niche is like starting college as a professor without ever taking college classes.
Once you’ve established yourself in another niche and you’re making a six-figure income, that’s the time to enter the online marketing niche and teach others are how to be successful, too.
Soon I'll share a list of affiliate niches to get you started. Keep in mind that any niche you choose needs to be profitable for you with an audience you can easily reach.