What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is promoting other people’s products and services and getting a commission for each sale you make. It is a great way for people who want to start their own business but don’t have a product of their own.
What do you need in order to get started in affiliate marketing?
To start in affiliate marketing, you only need to know how to use a computer, be teachable, and be willing to put in the work. To be successful, however, takes all that and more.
I hear so many people say they can’t do affiliate marketing. They make excuses like ‘I don’t have the money’ or ‘I don’t have a following’ or ‘it’s too hard’ or ‘it takes too long’.
The truth is, you don’t have to spend very much money to be successful. You can choose to build your business organically (without paid ads).
You also don’t need a following, at least at first. Everyone starts with little or no audience. You have to start somewhere.
Another thing to consider is this: Anything worth doing takes effort. Don’t be afraid to put forth the work required for success.
You can either start today and see success sooner rather than later, or you can keep postponing taking action and hope to find the next big thing that will make you an overnight success. It’s your choice.
Though it seems like “gurus” are popping up every day online who have had “overnight success”, the truth is this; Overnight success takes time.
If you look at almost anyone having success in affiliate marketing, you’ll see that they’ve been at it for a while.
So how do you find success in affiliate marketing?
Here are a few things to know and remember:
- Any business can be difficult at times. Remembering why you’re doing what you’re doing and why you started in affiliate marketing to begin with will help you get through the hard times and keep you on course.
- Know how to learn. There are some skills that you may not have that will be necessary for your business. Be willing to learn them.
- Good communication is key. Know how to communicate with and help others. Success comes in much greater quantities when you don’t think about the money as much as how you can help people. Helping people succeed is the key to finding your own success.
- It’s important to have at least a basic understanding of certain skills in order to have success. For example, it’s best to know some copywriting, email marketing, SEO, using different social media platforms, etc. But don’t let that scare you because…
- One skill I learned from one of my mentors was to find the ‘who’ not the ‘how’. Though it’s good to have a basic knowledge of each area of your business, some things that need to be done will take way longer than it’s worth to learn yourself. Instead of spending hours upon hours learning a needed skill, you could hire an expert in that thing to do the job for you so you can spend your time in other ways. For example, if you don’t know how to run ads, you could hire an ads manager to run them for you. It saves you time, frustration, and most likely, money.
How do you become an affiliate?
Being an affiliate marketer is advantageous not only for the affiliate (you), but also to the company selling the products that the affiliate (you) promotes. In fact, it is really a win win situation. For the affiliate marketer, having your own product isn’t necessary to make money and be successful. For the company who has affiliate marketers, they don’t have to spend money on advertising and promotion of their products. That’s why they can afford to pay commissions to affiliates.
Companies are happy to have affiliates promoting their products and services for various reasons. One of which as stated above, is they don’t have to pay for advertising. Another advantage is the companies can reach a certain audience, but each affiliate marketer has their own audience through social media, email marketing and advertising. These are different prospects than the company itself has, which creates a much larger group of people who know about and learn to trust the products and services available through that company.
To Sign up as an Affiliate
Most companies will have a link to sign up to become an affiliate. If not, you can contact the company to find out if they have an affiliate program you can sign up for.
Signing up to be an affiliate is simple. There is usually an application as well as a tax form to fill out. You’ll either get instant access to the affiliate dashboard or an email with a link to it.
Getting the Information and Tools You Need
The affiliate dashboard will have all the information you need to be an affiliate for that particular company. Most companies will also provide swipe files of images for ads, emails to send to your lists, etc. to make your job as an affiliate much easier. The affiliate dashboard will also have your affiliate link you’ll use to promote that product or service.
Though some companies want to know that you have a large following, a lot of companies won’t ask for that information. You can start as an affiliate right from the get go and build your following as you build your business.
What companies can I promote? Choosing the right products…
Any company that has an affiliate program is available for you to apply to be an affiliate. Though it’s not common, the company owner has the right to deny you being an affiliate for them. Companies are happy to get affiliates to promote their products for them.
Many products and services to promote are available on affiliate networks like Clickbank, JVZoo, Warrior Plus, Share-A-Sale, Impact (formerly Impact Radius), CJ (Commission Junction), MaxBounty, etc. Other companies run their own affiliate programs privately instead of going through an affiliate network. Their affiliate program can be found on their own websites. When you go to their main product page, at the bottom where there are columns of links to different areas of their website, there will usually be a link for “affiliates”.
When choosing a company, product, or service to promote as an affiliate, there are a few things to consider.
First, is the product something you like, know and believe in? Your audience will know if you don’t like or use the product and are just trying to make a quick buck.
Secondly, what percentage of commissions does the company pay? I personally don’t promote products or services without being paid at least 30% commissions. Many products and services pay more.
For example, ClickFunnels pays 40% commissions on everything you sell of theirs, including the software, any upsells or downsells, order bumps, and one time offers.
Another company that pays great commissions is Buildapreneur who pays 50% commissions for each sale made on their products. (Their affiliate marketing course, Affiliate Secrets 2.0, is one of the best courses out there to learn affiliate marketing. Click here to get it now.)
Thirdly, is it a product that will help your audience? You don’t want to choose products just because they offer great commissions. You want to promote products and services that will truly help your prospects and followers. Make your focus on them, and it’ll be clear what products would be great to promote.
Look at the quality of the company, the commissions you’ll be paid for the sales you make, and what your audience needs and you can’t go wrong in choosing the right products and services to promote.
How does an affiliate earn commissions?
Earning commissions for the sales you make is an easy process. When you sign up to be an affiliate for a company, you will be required to fill out a tax form and a method of payment, like PayPal for example.
Most companies have either a free trial or a money back guarantee, or both. You won’t be paid until after the free trial and the money back guarantee, which can be around 45 days for some companies.
Payday comes on different days for different companies. For example, ClickFunnels pays their affiliates the 1st and 15th of every month. Some companies will pay every week or every other week. The company will tell you this information when you sign up to be an affiliate.
When payday comes around, you’ll usually receive an email notifying you it’s payday and then see the money in your PayPal account or wherever you set it up to receive your commissions.
And then you go out and party…I mean, pay your bills. 😉
How does one make money with affiliate marketing promoting the products or services they already love and use every day?
It’s nice talking about getting that money in your account for selling products and services as an affiliate marketer, but how does one sell the products and services, and do it in a way that isn’t off putting or spammy?
There are two main ways to promote your offers:
1. Organic, and
Promoting organically simply means you don’t pay money to get your message and products in front of people.
It takes a lot longer to grow your following and business and to start seeing results than it is by paying for ads to get people to your offer. But, the good news is it’s totally possible to start and grow a successful affiliate marketing business with little or no money to start with.
Here are a few proven ways to build your business this way…
1. Start your own Facebook group
Even though it’s a lot of work having your own Facebook group, it’s so much fun interacting with other like-minded people and helping others on their online marketing journey.
Most affiliate marketing Facebook groups don’t allow the members to post what is called spam. Posting spam in a group constitutes posting your own affiliate links, trying to collect emails, or self promotion in any way. Though it’s good to be seen in different groups so people can get to know and trust you, spamming is a great way to get yourself booted from the group and labeled a spammer.
Facebook groups are a great way to get your face and your message out there by contributing and adding value to the groups you’re in. By doing that, you will be considered an expert in your field, which usually leads to more affiliate sales down the road.
2. Have your own YouTube channel
Some have said that YouTube is a goldmine. If you have the equipment (microphone, screen sharing software, etc), it’s free from there. It just takes time to shoot all the videos and get them uploaded and ready to go.
Some people spend a day or two shooting a bunch of videos, called batching, and then hire a VA to get them all ready and uploaded.
YouTube is a great way to organically grow your audience and your business.
Another great way to grow your audience and business organically is through Instagram.
Russell Brunson said, “Instagram is the most important platform to grow for your business in 2018.”
And that hasn’t changed for 2019.
Instagram is another goldmine where you can share stories, connect with influencers, and after getting 10,000+ followers, you have the swipe up option where you can invite them to click on a link.
A great way to grow your business is through a blog where you use SEO.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, requires finding and using keywords in your posts, which seems time consuming. However, in time it can be very profitable and worth the time spent setting it up. You can also use SEO with YouTube to rank higher and reach a larger audience.
There are certainly other ways to grow a business organically, but these are just a few of the most common ways to do so.
It may take a lot longer to grow your business by using these methods, but to be able to do so with little or no money makes it worth it.
Paid traffic is when you use ads to get your message, products or services in front of people. This is a great method to use when you have more money than time. If done correctly, buying ads will get you results much quicker than using organic methods.
However, I recommend using both paid AND organic methods as an affiliate marketer and having a combination of both will not only help you not put all your eggs in one basket but also be able to reach many more people.
There are a few ways that are more common to advertise for affiliate marketing. Here are a few examples…
1. Google Ads
Google ads are one of the most popular advertising options for affiliate marketers. Because of the popularity of this option, competition is high and advertising can be more expensive. They’re also called PPC ads, or Pay Per Click.
There are two ways to run Google ads: direct linking and indirect linking.
Direct linking is where you use your direct affiliate link right in the ad and is much more competitive. This is the safest way to run Google ads, as indirect linking could potentially get your Google ads account shut down.
When direct linking, if you use keywords that are less common, you’ll have more success and your ad budget will stretch further.
Indirect linking is when you create a bridge page, a page that creates a bridge between the prospect and the direct offer. This can be a riskier way to run Google ads and can potentially get your ads account shut down, as has happened to some affiliate marketers.
You have a lot of control with how much you spend on Google ads, as you can set the amount of how much you spend on ads when setting up the ad campaign and can turn off your ads at any time.
2. Solo Ads
The purpose of solo ads is to grow your list of email subscribers so you can market to them again and again. It’s a great way to grow your email list in a more inexpensive way. Expect to pay somewhere between $60-120 USD for 100 link clicks from a good, reputable solo ad vendor.
To find a reputable solo ad vendor, you can ask for recommendations in Facebook groups. There is also the option of using Udimi, which is a website for finding solo ad vendors. I have always gone with recommendations from people I trust and have had great success with solo ads.
Many people confuse solo ads with other types of ads thinking they’re going to make a lot of sales. But if you have your emails set up correctly, the sales will come on the backend, meaning through your email marketing.
3. Facebook Ads
It’s risky to run direct ads for affiliate marketing offers through Facebook ads, and is actually against their terms of service. Facebook ads are great, however, to be able to re-target a certain audience. Many affiliate marketers use them this way.
4. Instagram Ads
One way to get link clicks or even to grow your email subscriber list is to have a link to your offer on your Instagram profile so that when people visit your profile, they see your link and offer.
Another way is to reach out to influencers on Instagram and pay them to post your link or ad. The influencers who are willing to do this more than likely will post it on their Instagram profile. This method usually costs around $20 USD and up.
There are other types of ads you could run for affiliate marketing, but these are a few of the most common. Above all else, when advertising for affiliate marketing, be sure to read the terms of service for each advertising platform so you can stay within their terms and not get your ad accounts shut down.
What tools are needed for affiliate marketing?
You can start with very little overhead with only a domain and hosting (which can literally cost less than $5/mo.). When it comes to using SEO for affiliate marketing, you can really get started with these and use free tools while bootstrapping it.
One resource to help you get started with SEO is in a course called SEO Affiliate Domination. In this course, you’ll learn all you need to know about how SEO works and why it’s great to use with affiliate marketing. You’ll learn about blogging, writing articles, how to rank high with Google and YouTube, and so much more.
If you want to create true passive income, SEO is the way to go. You put in the work upfront, but then reap the rewards for years to come. It’s definitely a great way to build your affiliate marketing business and get that passive income coming in.
There are some other important tools needed to be able to enhance the success you have with affiliate marketing. Can you still be successful without these tools? Yes, but the road to your success will be much easier with them.
Besides having the internet and a computer, here are some essential tools…
ClickFunnels is a platform for digital marketing that is used to help businesses get more leads and sell more products and services. You can build sales funnels quickly and easily to walk your customers through a clearly defined and optimized buying experience that will lead them exactly where you want them to go: to the checkout.
Want to know more about ClickFunnels? Check out the in-depth article all about it.
ClickMagick is a link tracking software that is web based and doesn’t require you to download any software. It allows you as the business owner to know exactly what’s going on in your business in order to fully scale and optimize your offers to get the best results.
Tracking your links and funnels is a vital piece of the puzzle for any business. By doing so, you’re able to see where your sales are coming from and what’s working. With that information, you can re-target, optimize your funnel, advertise better and to the right people, cut out click-fraud, and so much more.
Email Marketing Software
Email marketing is a must for affiliate marketing and helps you keep the bridge of communication open to market and sell to them again and again.
For affiliate marketing, some email marketing software is better to use than others. There are some email autoresponders out there that frown on using affiliate links in emails you send out and in some cases even shut down accounts of affiliate marketers.
However, there are some compatible email autoresponders. The two that many people claim are the best to use with affiliate marketing to lower the risk of being shut down are Actionetics that is connected with ClickFunnels and ActiveCampaign.
There are others that some affiliate marketers have used and can work if you’re careful how you promote your offers. Here’s a list of some of the other email autoresponders you could choose from:
Some email marketing software clearly state that it’s against their policy to promote your affiliate links. You should always look at the terms and conditions of the email autoresponder of your choice to see if they are compatible with affiliate marketing.
Platform for Your Audience
To expedite your success, you need a platform for your audience to be able to communicate with them so they can get to know you, like you and trust you. With those three elements, you’ll increase your influence and your sales.
Some examples of platforms you could use are a Facebook group, Instagram, LinkedIn, a YouTube channel, or a website or blog.
Keyword Research tool
It’s important to be able to do keyword research, especially if you’re contributing content to your blog or to YouTube. Using keywords help you rank higher and ultimately get more link clicks and affiliate commissions. Here is a list of some of the more popular and very useful keyword research tools available:
Google Adwords Keyword Planner – Click the link, then go to keyword planner.
A business without a website is a business that’s not playing all its cards.
Having your own website helps you establish authority in the affiliate marketing world. It creates a homebase where you can send customers and prospects to show them what you offer, like your services and your products.
To establish that authority, some experts in affiliate marketing have suggested creating a domain using your name, or at least something that is applicable to what you offer.
For example, you wouldn’t want to have a domain that is about baking when your business is about affiliate marketing. Keep it applicable and you’ll be fine.
Are there any great affiliate marketing courses?
There are two courses I would recommend more than any others. Many people have earned a comfortable living with affiliate marketing by using the information taught in these courses. Between the two, you’d have all the information you’d need to be successful with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate Secrets 2.0
This course teaches all you need to know about YouTube, Email Marketing, Funnels, Google Ads and other traffic sources, and so much more.
Spencer teaches you step by step how to implement different aspects of affiliate marketing in your business to be able to have the most success. Without his course, I would have been lost as to how to do affiliate marketing the right way to get the best results.
SEO Affiliate Domination
As mentioned above, the SEO Affiliate Domination is a course that will teach you exactly how to get that passive income coming in.
What’s the difference between affiliate marketing and network marketing?
One question I get a lot is ‘am I going to have to annoy my friends and family to get sales?’
The answer is no and this is why: when someone thinks about that question, they’re thinking of network marketing, not affiliate marketing.
Network marketing is when you have to sign up a certain number of people under you and those people have to sign up people under them, and on and on in order for you to make enough money to pay the bills. Some people have referred to network marketing as a pyramid scheme. Though not all network marketing is a pyramid scheme, it’s definitely not affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is completely different in the fact that for you to make money, it doesn’t matter what people do after they sign up under your affiliate link. There is no pyramid or ladder. You are simply selling a great product to someone who could use that product. You then get the commissions for that sale. Done. You don’t even have to tell your friends and family about it if you don’t want to.
What are the benefits of affiliate marketing? The pros and cons…
Affiliate marketing is a great industry for multiple reasons. There are a few downsides to it though too. Here is a list of the pros and cons of affiliate marketing…
- It’s not a saturated industry…there are plenty of commissions to go around.
- It can create passive income.
- It’s something you can do from anywhere with the internet and a computer or smartphone.
- There is a large online affiliate marketing community for support and collaboration.
- There are plenty of resources and courses to help you learn and succeed.
- It’s easy to become an affiliate.
- There is no pyramid scheme…no pyramid at all.
- You don’t need to have a product of your own in order to make money.
- The more common affiliate marketing niches, like make money online, can seem like scams if not presented correctly.
- Facebook ads can be tricky. Facebook doesn’t like the make money online niche of marketing and can shut you down. Using retargeting ads gets around this.
- Email marketing can also be tricky, as some email responders don’t allow you to use affiliate links, but there are ways around that.
- Affiliate marketing can seem spammy if not done correctly.
There are numerous skills and a great amount of information you can learn to be successful in affiliate marketing. Just remember to take it a step at a time.
Many people who ‘fail’ at business fail because of information overload. They learn, learn, learn and never implement the knowledge they are gaining.
Action is key. Implement what you learn along your affiliate marketing journey and success will come.
Want to learn more about how to be successful with affiliate marketing?
Join my free Facebook group where I answer questions, share tips and tricks of the trade, give support and encouragement, and help my group members become successful with affiliate marketing.