Affiliate marketing isn’t as popular as some of the other business models out there but it’s probably my favorite since it’s free to get started, you don’t have to create anything yourself, and it’s only going to get bigger in the future.
Have you ever heard of Uber? How about Expedia? These are billion dollar companies, and guess what, they don’t own any cars, hotels, or planes. They’re simply the “middle man” who connect buyer and seller. Affiliate marketing is exactly the same.
I spend the majority of my time these days on affiliate marketing. It’s pretty much completely passive after I get things set up and that’s another reason I like it so much. Most people teach these complex strategies on how to do affiliate marketing (which don’t work for 95% of people) but the way I like to do it is by keeping things simple (and it works).
Affiliate marketing is great for people who are tight on a budget or don’t like the thought of reaching out to businesses and selling your services.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is pretty much just referral marketing. It’s pretty much if like you read a good book, recommended it to a friend, and got a commission for doing so. There are millions of different products and services you can do this with.
If there are products out there you love and can get paid for recommending them why wouldn’t you do it?
I’m sure you’ve seen those YouTube videos where the description is filled with links to Amazon. That’s affiliate marketing. Every time someone clicks on those links and makes a purchase, the video creator will make a commission (at no extra cost to the customer).
It’s a win-win-win situation. You win because you got paid. The company wins because they got a new customer. The customer wins because they got something they wanted.
Here are some examples of affiliate marketing:
What Can You Promote As An Affiliate?
There are literally millions of products and services you can promote as an affiliate and make money from. It’s usually best to pick products you actually know about but it’s fine if you don’t.
Look around your house and you can probably find hundreds of products and I’m sure most of them are available for you to make money from. It doesn’t just have to be household stuff though. If you use a certain software it probably has an affiliate program. If you’ve been through a course you’ve benefited from it probably has a program.
Amazon has an affiliate program. Walmart has one. Tesla has one. I’ll get into more specifics in a sec, but I just wanted to give you an idea on the things you can promote as an affiliate.
I like to break products into three categories:
- Products people are ALREADY looking for.
- Products people NEED to accomplish something.
- Products people DON’T know they need yet.
Most people try to start with option three and that’s why they don’t make any money. Start with option one and work your way up. If someone is already interested in a product and just want a bit more info, the sale is a lot easier.
Products people are already looking for are things like product reviews, product comparisons, best of, etc. You don’t really have to convince people to buy these products. They just want a bit more info and someone to confirm that the product is good. An example would be people searching Google or YouTube for “best camping backpack of 2018” or “Bose quiet comfort headphone review”.
Products people need to accomplish something are a bit harder to promote but definitely not as tough as option three. Let’s say someone has back pain and you’re promoting a back relief product. They have a big problem and the thing you’re suggesting will help them. Let’s say someone wants to create a website. If they want to do that they’ll need website hosting.
Products people don’t know they need yet are software and courses and they’re quite a bit tougher to promote because you have to convince them to buy (unless they’re looking for reviews). Let’s say you’re promoting a course that teaches how to get a six-pack. They know they want a six-pack and they know they could get there without the course so it’ll be a tougher sell even though it’ll get them there quicker (hopefully that makes sense).
How Do You Promote The Products?
There are two main ways people make money with affiliate marketing:
- Free marketing.
- Paid marketing.
Free marketing is done by creating content such as articles and videos that link to certain products. This is where I recommend beginners start because it’s free but you’ll eventually want to use both.
You can review products, compare products, talk about the 3 best whatever, teach someone how to do something using a certain software, and the list goes on and on.
Paid marketing is done by running ads online. Facebook, Google, YouTube, etc. You can pay these sites to show your ad to thousands or millions of people. It takes a bit of skill to do this profitably and that’s why I recommend starting with free.
How Long Will It Take To Start Making Money?
The one main benefit of a marketing agency is that it’s a lot faster to start making money. Affiliate marketing takes a bit of time (especially as a beginner) to get going but I’d say on average it takes 1-3 months to start making commissions and 6+ to make a full-time income.
That being said, the benefit of affiliate marketing is that you do the work upfront and then it’s pretty much passive after that. I have articles and videos up that I did years ago and they’re still making me money every single month.
It’s definitely a longer grind but the passive part of it down the road is why I like the model so much.
How Much Can You Make?
Again, it all depends on how far you want to take it. Want a side hustle that makes an extra $1000/month? You can do that. Want to make $10,000/month? It’s possible. Want to start a billion-dollar company like Expedia? Yep, it’s possible.
I’m not interested in having employees and working 40 hours a week. I’m interested in having the freedom to work when and where I want. Affiliate marketing makes that possible.
Here are commissions after 45 days for an affiliate product that took about an hour of my time to set up (this is USD so the conversion to CAD was pretty nice).
Here are monthly commissions from a product I haven’t promoted in 2 years.
Here are monthly commissions from the Amazon Associates platform (which again, I didn’t spend much time on).
These are just a few of the many. I’m not bragging or anything like that because this isn’t much at all compared to others. I’m just trying to show how passive affiliate marketing can be.
How You Can Get Started
Before we jump into how to get started with affiliate marketing, I’m going to recommend you pick up a few books that’ll help a lot (here’s affiliate marketing at its finest). The first is eSCAPE by Anik Singal. The second is Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson. The third is Dotcom Secrets by Russell Brunson.
I’ve read each of these books about 4 times and learn something new every time. Anik Singal who wrote eSCAPE has sold over $200 million online and his book talks about the mindset behind successful entrepreneurs. Russell Brunson who wrote Dotcom and Expert Secrets runs one of the biggest marketing software companies and his books talk about marketing products and services online. Both must-reads in my opinion (and they’re free).
Anyways, let’s jump into the steps…
I’m gonna be showing you the exact steps I took to get started and how I think you should too. I’ll be recommending some tools and resources as well which are pretty much needed and if you decide to purchase them (or the books above) I’ll receive a small commission (AKA affiliate marketing) and as a thank you I created a training program which will go more in-depth with this stuff in video form. All you gotta do is purchase anything I mention below and shoot me a message here.
Step #1 is to pick your niche.
What topic or what type of products do you want to promote as an affiliate?
Here are some ideas:
- Anything health (weight loss, muscle building, pain relief, etc).
- Anything wealth (investing, finance, business).
- Anything relationships (dating for men/woman, etc).
- Personal development (confidence, communication, etc).
- Passionate hobbies (woodworking, hiking, fishing).
The good news is that you can pick a few different topics when you’re first getting started. You’ll want to have separate channels and websites for different topics but it’ll take a bit of time to figure out what topic you like the most and what’s producing the best results.
Once you find the topic that’s giving you the best results, double down on that.
If you’re brand new I’d recommend picking a niche that has a lot of products for sale on Amazon. It’s the easiest way to get started (it’s what I did) and it’s the best way to start making your first commissions.
Step #2 is to create your website and YouTube channel.
The best way for beginners to start making affiliate commissions is by creating helpful content on YouTube and your own website. Some people use Facebook, some people use Instagram, but my favorite thing to do is leverage the two biggest search engines (Google & YouTube).
The first reason is that people go to Google & YouTube for info and are usually in the buying mindset. People searching through Facebook are there to be entertained.
The second reason is that Google & YouTube are long-term passive strategies. Posts on Facebook are only seen for a few hours and then they’re gone. Ranking your articles and videos in the search engines can last for years.
You can and should use social media to grow later on, but don’t start there.
It’s simple to create your YouTube channel so I won’t go into that but I’ve put together a tutorial on how to set up your website (which is cheap and easy) and you can check that out here.
Step #3 is to join Amazon Associates.
This is Amazon’s affiliate network and you’ll be able to promote any product on their site. They don’t offer the highest commissions but it’s a lot easier to get commissions and it’s where I started.
Once you have your website created, you’ll be able to apply to the program.
Look through their site and write down all the products someone in your niche might be interested in. If you’re in the health niche it could be supplements, books, and equipment. If you’re in the technology niche it could be headphones, lighting, and phones.
The first thing you’ll want to do is review each of the products you wrote down (Headphone A Review). Write an article and post it on your site. Make a video and post it on YouTube. Have your affiliate link in the post and also in the video description.
You don’t have to own the product or show up on camera. You can simply go through a bunch of reviews and compile the info into a powerpoint presentation. If you have the product you can record yourself talking about it.
After you’ve reviewed all the products, the next thing to do is compare them (Headphone A vs Headphone B). Make articles and videos comparing two different products and talk about which is best for who. Include your affiliate link.
After that, start making “Best Of” articles and videos (Best Wireless Headphones Of 2019). Do this for all the product categories in your niche. Include your affiliate links.
This should take you a while. Stick with this strategy until you’re making $500-1000/month.
Step #4 is to start creating tutorials.
After you’ve gone through all the reviews and comparisons and you’re making some money, the next thing you’ll want to do is look for higher paying products and start doing tutorials.
People go to Google and YouTube to ask questions. Find those questions, create an article/video answering them, and link to products and services that could help them (physical products, courses, software, etc).
Maybe you took a course on how to hit the ball longer in golf and it worked. You could create a tutorial on how to do that and recommend the course (if they have an affiliate program). Maybe someone in your niche is asking questions about building an email list. Make a tutorial answering their questions and link to the email service you’re an affiliate for.
There are affiliate networks like Clickbank and Markethealth or there are private affiliate programs offered by the company themselves. You can Google “your niche” affiliate program or “company name” affiliate program and something should come up.
There’s no need to do all these complex strategies people talk about. This works and can get you to a full-time income. Make sure your content is good and actually helps people, create more of it, and you’ll see results.
Step #5 is to start your email list.
Your business’s most important asset is your email list. It and your website are pretty much the only things you actually own and can control online. Nobody can take away your email list and that’s why it’s important to start ASAP.
What’s an email list?
It’s when you collect your audiences email address so you can stay in contact with them, build the relationship, and sell more product. You can also use it to flood your content with visitors which will help with ranking.
Definitely something you’ll wanna have. I’d recommend you create a PDF, eBook, or video to give away in exchange for someone’s email address. Mention it at the end of your videos and articles.
The email software I use and recommend is Convertkit. You can store all your contacts, set up your autoresponder sequence, and create opt-in pages with it.
Get a free 14-day trial here.
Get their complete email marketing guide here.
Step #6 is to rinse and repeat.
All you have to do now to grow your income is to create more content, grow your email list and even expand into new niches. It’s really that simple. It’s not gonna happen overnight and the people who succeed are the people who stick with it until they break through.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out on Facebook here.