A beginner-friendly introductory guide to the wonderful world of affiliate marketing.
Welcome to the affiliate marketing category of the blog.
The main purpose of this website has always been to deliver to you the best information possible about how to get started with affiliate marketing.
My name is Christian Lee, I'm a full time affiliate marketer, and this is where I share all my experiences and all the ups and downs I encounter as I try to build my online business to a six-figure passive income producing business.
On this page, you will find a quick introductory-guide to affiliate marketing for beginners, along with further links pointing to previous guides I have published.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the online business model where whoever and wherever you are, you can sell products (created by others) for a commission on the sale value.
If you are promoting a $50 product that pays out a 25% commission rate, you will be receiving $12.50 per sale you generate for the company.
Affiliate commissions vary - a lot - and you should expect to see commission rates ranging anywhere form ~1% to 70%+ for some offers. It all depends on the type of products you are promoting and there are mainly 2 types of products:
>> Physical Products
One of the best affiliate programs that you'd often hear me and many others reference is the Amazon Associates program, which pays around ~6% commission rates (depending on volume) on products sold from the Amazon.com website.
It's good to note here that since there are some extra expenses that go into physical goods (such as shipping and handling, manufacturing costs, etc ), you'll often find that these of products offer (very) low commission rates compared to the other option, which is:
>> Digital Products
Digital products such as courses, ebooks and memberships sites is where the money is at and even though I still do have some niche sites in my portfolio that sell high-ticket physical goods (over $300+), my main income is made selling courses and digital products.
The commission rates for such items is usually in the ~50% range as there are no "costs" in producing, shipping, storing and manufacturing and as you can imagine, goods such as courses and online tools are always in demand.
You can find out more about affiliate commissions and affiliate programs in my others guides listed below:
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
4-Steps To Affiliate Marketing Success
There are 4 things you need to be able to launch an affiliate marketing campaign successfully and those are:
>> A "Niche" (i.e a topic)
If you've looked into affiliate marketing before, then I am sure you would've heard about the importance of picking a niche.
But what is a niche?
In essence, a niche is "a group of people looking for something".
This is a very important step in your journey as a beginner affiliate marketer because picking your niche is one of the most crucial things that can make or break your new affiliate marketing business.
This is where I see plenty of students go wrong. Even if they do the 3 remaining steps absolutely right, they could still fail.
Because they picked the wrong niche.
So what niche should you choose?
Ideally, something that you like.
You can ask yourself these 4 questions and whatever topic comes to mind first, that should be you niche:
- What do you enjoy?
- What can you talk about forever and never get tired?
- What hobbies you have and/or currently learning?
- What do people come to you for advice on?
You should never, ever pick a niche just because you think it has more potential to make money than others.
One of the greatest things about affiliate marketing is that you do not need a lot of people to make a decent income online.
This site you are reading right now gets around ~5,000 visitors a month at the time of writing this and it makes more than enough money for me to be a "full time affiliate marketer".
If you have a topic in mind already, then you can keep reading. If not, here are some additional guides that should help you pick your niche:
- How To Find A Profitable Niche Market In 5 Steps
- How To Find Your Affiliate Marketing Niche
- Understanding How To Make Money Online
- How To Build Autopilot Niche Websites
- Building Your Own Niche Website
>> A Website (this is a must)
Having your own website is a must. You may have read somewhere that you do not need a website, but trust me on this; you do.
Maybe, just maybe, you'd be able to pull off some commissions without a website, but to build a long-lasting, long-standing, profitable affiliate marketing business, you need to have your own website.
Luckily, these days starting a website is as easy as registering a new Facebook account. With just a few clicks you can have a WordPress site up and running in no time.
Now you may be thinking this is going to cost you a few $$, but a domain name + hosting for a website will only run you about ~$100 per year - this is nothing compared to how much it would cost if you were to launch a business in the "real world".
While I would suggest you suck it up and pay the $100 for your site, I understand many are still not convinced off this whole "affiliate marketing thing" just yet so the best thing I can offer you is this SiteRubix tool which gives you not one, but two free websites to get you going.
But why is having a website a must?
As you will see shortly, in order to earn affiliate commissions, you are going to need to first get the attention of an audience in your niche.
You do this by creating great content that ranks in search engines and drives people back to your website - I'm going to talk about this next but for now; do not skip the part of getting your website up and running.
>> Traffic To Your Website
In the affiliate marketing world, there's only one type of traffic source you should be aiming for it and that is search engine optimization i.e SEO.
(Email marketing is another good option but that's later down the line).
Any business that is built on the affiliate marketing business model needs to have Google on their side.
There's more than one way you can do this too. After many years, many webinars and many articles read, I have developed my own little methods and I share them all with my Affiliate SEO Mastery students.
You can check that course out or you can get a simple, basic understanding of SEO, how it works and WHY is it so damn important to you as an affiliate by reading any of the articles listed below:
- 106 Things To Know About SEO
- How To Do SEO By Yourself
- The Difference Between SEO & PPC
- The Best SEO Keyword Research Tool I Use
- Can You Do SEO Without Backlinks?
- Affiliate SEO Mastery (My $97 SEO course)
Simply put; if you want to become a successful, you are going to have to learn this.
It's not as hard as you may think, it just takes time to see the results but make SEO a priority and once you have that, you basically have all you need to start making money with affiliate marketing.
>> A Targeted Offer (which sells itself).
Once you have your niche, your site set up and a steady, healthy flow of "hot" traffic coming in, the 4th and final part (making money) takes care of itself.
This is why getting the right type of traffic first is important. Once you have that, then it's just a numbers game.
If you have a website catering for people who want to learn how to become a yoga-instructor and you offer them a $100 course which you make a 50% commission off (i.e $50 per sale), you can rest assured that at some point, you will convert and you will make money.
This formula is very basic, but it should give you a clear understanding of what to expect.
Let's say you have a a site getting 1000 visitors a month and you convert a very modest 1% of that traffic, that means a total of 10 sales per month; which comes to about $500.
Make that 10,000 visitors a month, and you're now making $5,000 per month.
See how that works?
You really do not need a lot of traffic (remember there are billions of people online) to make a decent amount of money with affiliate marketing - and yes; even as a beginner.
What Are The Benefits of
Now that you know what it takes to become successful - which is patience and hard work - I guess it's only fair to give you a glimpse as to what the "dot com lifestyle" is all about right?
I''m a big believer in setting goals and the following "benefits" are what inspired me to have the patience and consistency to actually see this thing through. Hopefully they would do the same for you:
>> No Boss
Maybe you're like me, maybe you're not; but I absolutely hate working for someone.
With that said, I also have to say that I have never had a "horrible boss". All the bosses I ever worked with were all personal mentors that I learned a lot from and that I respect - to this day I am still in contact with all of them bouncing off ideas and life advice.
(However; I don't like being told what to do and when to do it)
Affiliate marketing gave me the ability to do what I please, when I please and enjoy 100% the fruits of my labor.
>> No Alarm Clocks
This is honestly a great benefit of working for yourself - no alarms in the morning.
I do not have to wake up when others need me to, I wake up when I want.
This + the fact that I have no morning commute is a major benefit to affiliate marketing IMO.
>> You Own Your Day
I own my day - 100% outright. From the time I open my eyes to the time I close them off to sleep.
If you value your independence and freedom, then you know how amazing this is and yes; if you build your affiliate marketing business big enough, you can own your day too.
>> Travel Anywhere & At Anytime
It's no surprise that many who have achieved success with affiliate marketing also end up spending their time traveling the world - this is due to the location freedom an affiliate marketing business gives you.
You want to work from bed, or you want to work from your AirBnb balcony in Tuscany? Whatever floats your boat.
>> Make As Much Money As You Want
Not to sound like the typical affiliate marketing guru but yes; affiliate marketing does give you the ability to make as much money as you want.
As I said already, it's all a numbers game.
If you can make $1, you can make $100, and if you can make $100, you can make a $1000.
The internet is so big, with so many opportunities and millions of people joining each and every day that there are literally no limits as to how much you can earn.
Is Affiliate Marketing Hard To Do?
When I am not writing up posts for this website and my other niche projects, I spend my time in the Wealthy Affiliate training course answering and engaging with the community there.
One of the most saddening thing I see is people giving up way too early.
Is affiliate marketing hard to do?
Depends on what you mean by "hard" really.
Is it back-breaking work? Absolutely not.
Is it worth the effort? Yes; in the long run.
Is there too much to learn? Yes, but you don't need to learn everything at once.
(That is why I only recommend the getting-started course inside Wealthy Affiliate because it's a simple, 10-day, step by step program that allows you to learn something new every day in a systematic, non-confusing way - more on this later)
Yes, if you are looking to get rich quick then yes; affiliate marketing will be hard for you.
If you do not want to put in the effort, then you're not going to see results and;
If you can't follow simple instructions to the T, then no; maybe affiliate marketing is not for you.
It might be a good time to tell you here that ~96% of affiliates never actually make their first $$ online.
This is because they quit too soon. You need to give this at least 4-6 months before you start seeing any results. 8-12 months before you start seeing some "wow" income.
It's hard work yes, but it's not "hard to do' if you catch my drift.
I come from a background of stacking shelves and delivering beer boxes so to me, affiliate marketing is way easier than that.
For some "affiliate marketing" insider-knowledge, check out some of my previous blog posts on the topic:
- 62 Things You Should Know About Affiliate Marketing
- How Fast Can You Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?
- How To Become A Successful Affiliate Marketer in 2019
- Adsense or Affiliate Marketing? The Best Way To Monetize A Website
- Not Making Money With Your Affiliate Marketing? Here's My Advice
- How To Invest Your Affiliate Marketing Profits Back Into The Business
Is Affiliate Marketing The Best Way To Make Money Online?
There are plenty of ways you can earn money on the internet, and I predict there will be more in the future, but here are the most popular methods that I know of thus far:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Drop Shipping / E-Commerce
- Personal Branding
- Freelance Services
- Doing Odd Jobs Online (Taking Surveys, UserTesting, Etc.)
They all have their pros and cons but to me; when you weigh up everything, it's clear affiliate marketing is the winner here.
Some may prefer the drop shipping / e-commerce method as it produces results much faster -which is true - but it also requires a hell of a lot bigger start up cost as well (and you're still not sure it would be successful).
There are also plenty of people who had success at the "personal branding" thing, just look at Kylie Jenner (who's now close to becoming a billionaire).
Freelances services are great too, but I personally do not like working with clients (I'm weird like that) and last but not least;
Doing odd jobs online. To me these type of task-based jobs are just not worth the time. The amount of time you need to put into this to become a decent income is better spent at a job earning a livable wage.
Obviously, this is all based on my experiences and some may or may not agree with this but yes; IMO affiliate marketing is the best way to make money online.
How Much Money Can You Really Make With Affiliate Marketing?
I get it; you need to see some numbers first right?
Sure you do, I love reading success stories as well. Not only it gives me confirmation that what I am doing is correct, but it also opens my mind up to new ideas and new income levels that I can aspire to.
At the current time, on average, I earn around $5,000 per month from my affiliate marketing business - the goal is to get it to $10,000 where I will then start slowly removing myself out of the business as much as possible for it to be able to run "full time" without ever needing my direct time.
My plan is to continue building this website as I love the topic of affiliate marketing, SEO and niche sites and I also plan on going all in on creating mini autopilot niche websites in 2019 and beyond.
Now, while I do ok, I am nowhere near as to what is possible with affiliate marketing:
- Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com makes around $2,000,000 a year.
- Matthew Woodward, last time he shared an income report had him at $30,000 a month
- Michelle Schroeder-Gardner from Making Sense Of Cents now makes $100,000+ a month.
Sure, those are the big players in the game, but there are plenty others out there who do not publish their income reports. Recently, BuzzFeed started doing affiliate marketing as well, and they are estimated to be pulling in around $4,000,000 a month from that.
As I said, there's really no limit as to how much money you can make - I hope you're feeling as fired up as I am right now.
Ready To Start Learning
We're now towards the end of this piece and I hope you have enjoyed this little introductory guide into "affiliate marketing for beginners".
Before I let you go into the ether of the world wide web, I'd like to extend to you a limited-time only invitation to start your affiliate marketing success journey now tomorrow or next week, but right now.
If you've been wondering whether you should get started, I say start as soon as possible.
Remember; the quicker you get started, the quicker you will start making money. Depending on when you are reading this, you are still in time to create a life-changing income this year and I have the course just for you.
For a limited time period, I want to help as many readers as possible and I want to offer you my own personal mentorship free of charge inside the Wealthy Affiliate training course.
If you wouldn't like training just yet, the next best thing you can do right now it to opt in to my email list where you will be getting DAILY email updates on how I am doing with my own journey.
Over 4,000 people have now joined the 3HUNDRD crew.