‘Affiliate Marketing’ is a term that most people have heard of, yet very few understand exactly what it means.
If that applies to you then today I’m going to explain how the often-misunderstood affiliate marketing process works.
More importantly, I want to help you decide if it’s something you would like to try to earn some extra cash online.
In this article I will be covering the following important topics:
- How affiliate marketing works.
- The 3 important affiliate marketing components.
- Affiliate networks and the role they play.
- Who can become an affiliate marketer and what do you need?
- How much can you earn as an affiliate marketer?
- The simple rule followed by successful affiliate marketers (copy what they do).
- The pro’s and con’s of affiliate marketing.
- An easy way to get started with affiliate marketing TODAY.
Affiliate marketing is the practice of recommending the products and services of global companies to potential customers online.
When a sale is generated from your recommendations, you earn a percentage of the total sale value in the form of a commission payment from the product owner.
One of the most appealing factors of affiliate marketing is that the fulfilment of the sale is handled entirely by the product/service owner.
This means that you hold no stock as an affiliate marketer. You don’t do any shipping. And the product owner provides all the customer support.
You simply get paid when your recommendation converts to a sale.
The online world offers a great deal of potential for affiliate marketers because any recommendations made can reach anyone, anywhere in the world.
This can result in a high volume of sales (commission payments to you) on an ongoing basis.
In addition, just about any product or service that you can think of can be recommended through affiliate marketing! More on this shortly.
While all of this sounds great, it is important to remember that ongoing success is only possible if you understand the correct way to operate as an affiliate marketer.
And I will be frank with you: affiliate marketing is not difficult at all, but it is easy to get it wrong.
With over 10 years experience as an affiliate marketer, my aim with this guide is to show you the possibilities when you do things the right way.
So you now know there are 3 main components at the heart of the affiliate marketing process:
- The product or service.
- The affiliate marketer or “affiliate”.
- The potential customer.
#1 The Product Or Service
As mentioned previously, there are almost no limitations when it comes to the type of product or service that you can recommend online.
Global companies both big and small will happily make commission payments to you for recommending their goods.
The amount they pay per sale varies from around 6% of the sale value through to as much as 75%.
In monetary terms, this could range from a few dollars to $100’s even $1000’s earned per sale.
#2 The Affiliate Marketer or “Affiliate”
As an affiliate, it’s in your best interests to make recommendations in such a way that potential customers will appreciate the benefits of a particular product or service.
This can be done in a number of ways, but the best platform to do this from is a website.
Not just any website…your own website.
Now if the very idea of having your own website puts you off affiliate marketing, don’t let it.
Later in this article I will show you the easiest way to build a stunning free website for your affiliate marketing endeavours in less than 30 seconds.
There are many benefits to having your own website as an affiliate, but more than anything it will greatly increase your chances of earning a consistent online income.
#3 The Potential Customer
We are all used to searching the internet for specific information, and this often leads us to recommendations being made by affiliate marketers.
However most of us tend to back away if we feel that someone is trying force a purchase upon us in a slippery salesman kind of way.
Likewise, if we are unsure of how legit a recommendation is then we usually seek assurances elsewhere.
These are just a couple of examples of easy it is to get affiliate marketing wrong.
Affiliates operating like this do not place enough importance on how the potential customer might feel about what they are offering.
This can negatively affect the chances of earning regular commission payments from their recommendations.
On the other side of the coin, a more successful affiliate will be honest, helpful and transparent.
This instantly creates a more positive and trusted experience for the potential customer, and greatly increases the chances of the affiliate making consistent sales.
Affiliate networks are intermediary websites which connect affiliate marketers with products/services ready for recommendation.
Companies from around the world, known as ‘merchants’, advertise their goods on affiliate networks. This makes it easier for affiliate marketers to locate specific items for their recommendations.
Affiliate networks also provide detailed conversion information about all of the affiliate programs on offer. This makes it easier for affiliates to select products for recommendation that are known to convert well.
There are many affiliate networks available, with CJ.com, Shareasale.com and Clickbank.com being among the most popular.
CJ.com is one of the largest affiliate networks in the world and it’s focus is mostly on physical products. Here you will find a huge number of popular brand products from across the globe.
CJ.com is free to join and with in excess of 3000 merchants available, it’s widely regarded as one of the most trusted affiliate networks.
ShareASale.com is very similar to CJ.com and has over 4500 merchants within more than 100 niche sectors.
After a slump in business due to the popularity of CJ.com, ShareASale restructured their company back in 2017 and has since grown from strength to strength.
ShareASale is also free to join, but new affiliates must pay $5 for a security check when joining. The $5 is then paid back once the check is passed.
Clickbank.com is a digital affiliate network, meaning it offers downloadable content in the form of ebooks, software and membership services.
With over 4000 products on offer, Clickbank is very popular with affiliate marketers who focus on recommending digital goods.
Clickbank is free to join and offers commission payments of up to 75% for affiliates.
As well as affiliate networks, there are also 10,000’s of independent affiliate programs available online.
A couple of examples of these would be Amazon.com and Udemy.com
Amazon is a website that many of us use to get a great deal, and affiliates can recommend anything from their vast range of stock.
The only downside is that Amazon commission payments start at a relatively low 6% and increase gradually based on affiliate performance.
Udemy is an online learning platform where anyone can create and sell online courses on just about any topic.
As an affiliate, you get to recommend any courses on the Udemy platform and earn commission payments in return.
The Udemy affiliate program pays 50% commission per sale so it’s definitely a worthy consideration for new affiliates.
We have only scratched the surface in terms of what you can recommend and how much you can earn as an affiliate, but I’m sure you will agree the potential is huge.
An affiliate marketing business can be set up by anyone from anywhere in the world.
Most affiliate programs and networks require you to be at least 18 years old to create an account, but there are no restrictions in terms of upper age limit.
In fact, many retirees take up affiliate marketing as a way to top up their retirement income.
In terms of actual equipment, as long as you have a home computer or laptop with internet access, you are good to go.
If you’ve heard of affiliate marketing before then it might well have been sold to you as a way to make mountains of cash with very little effort.
This is simply not true.
While it can be done from the comfort of your own home (a huge benefit for many people), just like any other career or way to make money, it takes consistent effort to earn a stable income.
Unlike a bricks and mortar business in the offline world, setting up online as an affiliate marketer can be straightforward and setup and ongoing maintenance costs are very low when done correctly.
The golden question that everyone wants the answer to!
There is no set amount of money that an affiliate marketer can earn. However, the amount that YOU can earn is dependant on YOUR input and levels of commitment.
As an example, when I started out as an affiliate marketer over 10 years ago, I also had a full time job.
I was only able to commit 5-10 hours per week initially, but when my affiliate income started to increase, I increased my commitment to grow my online business further.
When I reached the point of earning more online than from my full time job, I left the 9-5 to focus on expanding my online business and income.
Important point: not everyone does this – and you don’t have to either!
You might want to just earn some extra cash each month, which is definitely achievable with restricted commitment.
Or you might have the same desire that I had and want to one day quit your job and work online. This is also achievable, over time and with consistent effort.
As an affiliate marketer, you ultimately have control of your level of commitment and earning potential.
Across the Internet there are many trains of thought on how to create the greatest level of success as an affiliate marketer.
Within the darker corners of the Internet, it’s not uncommon to be told to pick up a ready-made website with recommendations already in place to begin your affiliate marketing career.
Make no mistake: that is the worse possible way to get started as an affiliate marketer and also the most expensive in the long run.
The best way to create long-term success and get the greatest amount of pleasure as an affiliate marketer is to do something ridiculously simple…
Build your own website about something that interests you…something that you are passionate about!
Now that could be a topic (niche) that you already know about, or likewise it could be something that you want to develop a better understanding of.
Take this website as an example.
I started workfromhomewatchdog.com back in 2011. My reason for doing so was to prevent others from losing money to online scams the way I had when I started out.
The key point here is that I was no expert when I set this website up. But I was (and still am) very passionate about this niche and helping others.
The Internet is full of personal websites where individuals write about specific passions and interests, attracting like-minded people searching the Internet.
Over the years I have personally helped people to create successful websites on niche topics that they are passionate about. Some of those include:
- The RV lifestyle
- Home decorating and organization
- Surviving as a student
- Weight loss (personal journey’s)
- Parenting children with Autism
- Retro gaming
- DJ training
- Drone piloting
The reason why this approach works so well is because as individuals, we never tire of talking about things that we are truly passionate about.
This makes it easy to build a website about a personal passion rather than a random topic that we know nothing about.
And guess what?
You can be 100% certain there are people searching the Internet on a daily basis for information related to your own personal interests and passions.
By doing affiliate marketing the right way, you can put your niche website, and recommendations, right in front of these people 24/7.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most appealing ways to make money online. But that doesn’t mean it is right for everyone.
To help you evaluate if it’s a good fit for you personally, let’s look at the pro’s and cons.
Pro #1 – Your Interests = An Online Income
Given the choice, we would all prefer to make money by doing something related to our interests and passions.
Affiliate marketing allows you to do exactly that by building a website on a niche topic close to your heart and recommending related items to your website visitors.
It’s a win/win situation that makes affiliate marketing one of the most desirable ways to earn an income online.
Pro #2 – Convenient and Flexible
Regardless of how much you would like to earn as an affiliate marketer, it’s a way to earn money online that can fit seamlessly around you and your weekly schedule.
Do it from home on a PC or even from the coffee shop on your laptop or tablet. You get to choose when and how you work on your affiliate marketing business.
Pro #3 – Earn When You Are Not Working
With a website built and recommendations in place, you can earn commission payments at any point during the day.
This is because your website will be live 24/7, across the globe.
It’s therefore completely normal for affiliate marketers to make sales from their recommendations when they are not actually working. For example: when you are watching a movie, having a day out with the family or even while you are asleep.
Pro #4 – Low Investment And Running Costs
When compared with setting up a business in the offline world, an affiliate marketing business online is considerably cheaper and much easier to set up.
All you effectively need to get your online business off the ground is your own website, and remember that unlike an offline business you do not need to populate your business with actual stock.
With an online business you have no rent to pay, no rates, no electric, no gas, no phone and so on.
An offline business can cost $10,000’s per year to run, and that’s before you even know if it will be profitable.
In the online world, an affiliate website generating a consistent income can be run for much less than $100 per month.
Pro #5 – Affiliate Marketing: A Skill For Life
Once you understand the core principals of the affiliate marketing process, you will have the ability to make money online whenever you need to.
In fact, you will look at the Internet in a whole different light when you realize just how much potential there is online from an affiliate marketing point of view.
There are no limits in terms of what you can achieve if you do things the right way and put in the necessary effort.
Let’s now take a look at the cons…
Con #1 – Self-Motivation Is a Must
The big difference between life at the 9-5 and earning an income online is that you are your own boss as an affiliate so you decided when and how hard you work.
Having been in that position myself when I started out, I can tell you that it’s a real shift in mindset and it takes time to adapt.
This can often mean working on your affiliate marketing business when you would usually be relaxing, or even making some sacrifices to fit in your online business time.
Of course, it depends on what you want to achieve in terms of success and your financial goals.
But one thing is for sure…put in the effort and the results will come.
Con #2 – You Have No Control Over Your Competition
Affiliate marketing is a popular way to make money online, and that means other people could have websites ranking in the search results on the same niche topic as you.
The good news is, not all affiliates know the correct way to build a website.
So the key here is to ensure that you build your website correctly and your content is of the highest and best possible standard.
Search engines (especially Google) reward those who build their websites this way and tend to rank them higher in the search results.
Rank higher in the search results and you will get more website visitors each day, thus increasing your earning potential.
Con #3 – The Learning And Earning Curve
You will not experience overnight success as an affiliate marketer, and it will take time for you to learn the ropes and get your affiliate marketing business off the ground.
That is why I always advise people to expect a period of 1 – 3 months before the little successes start to happen.
As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if you take positive steps from the start you will be building solid foundations for an affiliate business that will last for years to come.
Con #4 – It *Can* Be Costly To Get Started In Affiliate Marketing!
Yes, I’ve already told you that a major benefit of affiliate marketing is the low running costs, but at the same time it can be VERY expensive – if you are not careful!
This comes down to where you learn how to put your affiliate marketing business together.
On this website alone I have reviewed many affiliate marketing courses and some will eventually charge you $1000’s to get up and running with no guarantee of success.
Websites of that type love a newbie to the industry because someone in that position has no idea how much things cost so they are more likely to pay more than they need to.
Remember: An affiliate marketing business can be easily setup and maintained for considerably less than $100 per month. If anyone else tells you otherwise, look for a more reputable service provider!
Now that we’ve covered affiliate marketing in detail and the potential it offers, it’s time to look at how you can get started in the most cost-effective way possible.
The key point to remember here is that costs can easily escalate.
And as your affiliate marketing business would require a number of online services to setup and maintain, managing them all from a variety of different service providers can be difficult.
These would be services such as: a domain name provider, website hosting, a website builder, a keyword tool, ongoing affiliate marketing training and help/support as and when you might need it.
To avoid these costly and time-consuming problems, I recommend using a proven industry-leader within the affiliate marketing world called Wealthy Affiliate.
Wealthy Affiliate was created back in September 2005 by a couple of Canadian guys called Kyle and Carson.
Since then, it has grown to become one of the most trusted online platforms for learning about affiliate marketing. But that’s not all…
My first reason for this recommendation is simply because EVERYTHING you need to create and maintain your affiliate marketing business is included under one roof at Wealthy Affiliate (WA).
So, domain names can be purchased from right inside WA (or you can use a free domain). Website hosting, a website builder (SiteRubix), a keyword tool (Jaaxy), full affiliate training and 24/7 live support is all included at Wealthy Affiliate.
Take a moment to look around the Wealthy Affiliate website to learn more about what it offers.
Let’s now look at that other important factor…cost.
Wealthy Affiliate has 2 levels of membership. The first is a Starter membership and it’s completely free.
As a Starter member you will follow the beginners training course (more on this shortly) where you learn affiliate marketing from the ground up.
You also have full access to all of the tools you will require to build your affiliate marketing business and can build up to 2 websites completely free of charge.
The second level of membership is Premium. This unlocks the full suite of Wealthy Affiliate tools and advanced training resources for those who really want to step up their earning potential.
The Premium membership costs considerably less than the industry average at just $49 per month.
However, I suggest that the Starter membership is where you should begin because it’s completely free and it will allow you to decide if the Premium membership with greater earning potential is right for you.
Creating your free Starter membership at Wealthy Affiliate takes 30 seconds, and once inside you are introduced to the Beginner Training Course and the 4-step process that you will follow.
These simple 4 steps are all you need to follow to get your affiliate marketing business off the ground. It’s a proven process that has been working for Wealthy Affiliate students since 2005.
Every step of the process is broken down into digestible lessons within the Beginner Training Course below.
Each lesson is task-driven, meaning you have to take action on what you are learning before moving on to the next lesson.
This ensures that you understand the content of the lesson before moving on to the next.
The tasks are simple to follow…
Building your niche website happens in lesson 4, and as promised earlier, the process is completely simplified at Wealthy Affiliate.
For those with experience, you can either build your website on a domain that you already own or one that you buy from within Wealthy Affiliate.
If you are new to affiliate marketing and what to keep costs down, you can use a free domain on Wealthy Affiliate’s state of the art SiteRubix hosting platform.
You only need to complete 3 simple steps to build your free website:
- Choose a free domain name.
- Choose a title for your website.
- Choose a design from over 4000 free website themes.
Hit the ‘Build My Website’ button and your website is built in less than 30 seconds.
You are NEVER alone at Wealthy Affiliate…
One of the most powerful aspects of Wealthy Affiliate is that as a Starter or Premium member, you join a community of individuals from around the world who are all on their own affiliate marketing journeys.
At Wealthy Affiliate you get to mix, chat and make friends with people who are just starting out right through to affiliate experts who are there to guide you.
This is all made possible by the Wealthy Affiliate community where you get to interact live with others, 24/7.
So if you have a question or need a hand with anything, help is available in an instant.
As the owner of a website where I review a wide variety of work from home products and services, I could easily recommend an affiliate marketing program that costs in excess of $1000 and earn a nice commission payment from the product owner in the process.
It happens all across the Internet…but not here.
There are a couple of important reasons for this.
Firstly, the reason why I know Wealthy Affiliate is the right place for you to learn about affiliate marketing is because…
I have been a Wealthy Affiliate member since 2006.
Here’s a screenshot of my 10 year Wealthy Affiliate report that I posted inside Wealthy Affiliate at the time.
As a Wealthy Affiliate member, I have been able to learn the affiliate marketing process and turn it into a full time online career that has lasted well over a decade.
While there are many affiliate marketing training programs out there, I was able to achieve something remarkable online thanks to Wealthy Affiliate, so I know that it works.
The second important reason simply comes down to cost.
I didn’t have a spare $100+ per month floating around in my bank account each month when I started out. I had to be really careful when spending my cash on online opportunities.
So I know that most people looking to earn an extra income online are in a similar position – it’s likely that you are too. Cost matters!
As you can join Wealthy Affiliate with no cost, no commitment and just an email address as a Starter member, you get to follow the same affiliate marketing path that I took with zero risk.
Psst…a word on commission payments
I am of course an affiliate for Wealthy Affiliate, and it’s important to me that I am totally transparent with you about that.
I ONLY receive a commission payment from Wealthy Affiliate if you become a Premium member.
Please note: Any commission payments that I earn are paid by Wealthy Affiliate and are at no cost to you.
Even though you can join immediately as a Premium member at $49 per month, I advise against that.
I would prefer you to try the free Starter membership first to see if affiliate marketing is right for you.
If you decide it isn’t, you can simply leave and it hasn’t cost you a penny.
If you do like what you see and want to develop your very own online business at Wealthy Affiliate…I will help you get there!
As one of Wealthy Affiliate’s most successful and longest serving members, I have gained a lot of experience as an affiliate marketer.
Over the years, I have coached 1000’s of Wealthy Affiliate members and helped them to build successful affiliate businesses.
If you decide to try Wealthy Affiliate as a Starter member through any link on this page, I will be your personal coach for the duration of your time at Wealthy Affiliate (as either a Starter or Premium member).
Here’s a brief overview of how I will be able to help you:
- To help pick a niche topic for your website and evaluate how profitable it will be.
- To guide you on what your visitors will want to see the most on your website.
- To help make your website as profitable as possible.
- To guide you on scaling your business and reducing your workload.
- To always be available whenever you need a hand with anything :)
I want you to become successful at Wealthy Affiliate, and I can help you to achieve whatever level of success you are after.
Click the link below and let’s get started!
Once signed up I will send you a message at Wealthy Affiliate so that you have my contact details right away. Drop me a reply when you have a moment!
I will also explain how you can get an even cheaper deal on the Premium membership if you decide to upgrade in the future.
I look forward to helping you succeed at Wealthy Affiliate!