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What Is Affiliate Marketing? A Beginners Guide To Making Money Online

If you’ve not heard the name before, you’ve definitely seen it in action. Affiliate Marketing is the hottest marketing trend right now and guess what, you could be making money off it. By doing the advertising for them, you could be getting paid by companies all over the world. So how can you make money off it? Find out below.

What Is Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is where a company will pay somebody for generating sales for them. Let me give you an example. Fashion site ASOS want to sell more of their product, so they create an affiliate program. A fashion blogger comes along and promotes a certain outfit on their site and Instagram, then the viewers of the site or IG who like it, will click on a link that’s been personalized for the blogger and will go through to ASOS. Then, any purchase the customer makes, the blogger will be given 6% of.

Affiliate Marketing

Sounds kinda crazy doesn’t it? Companies everywhere are using this as one of their leading techniques to drive sales to their site. The best part is, anyone can become an affiliate marketer. In fact, I am, with no prior experience to any of what I do here on my website.

All you need to do is build some form of traffic stream, whether that’s through a website or social media, identify your niche (what types of products you’d want to promote), then start posting. It truly is a no loss situation.

Depending on what type of product the site sells, some will offer you a percentage of the sale price (usually somewhere between 5% and 10%) or a set amount per sale.

How Does It Work

When you apply for one of these programs, you will typically be given a personalized link to their site. Some sites will also offer you an ad or a banner to put on your website, but for now, all you need to worry about is the link.

Once you’ve got your link, you can do whatever you want with it, it’s up to you how you market their product, but remember the better job you do, the more money you make.

Then when someone clicks through to the website, a cookie will be temporarily installed in their browser which tells the website who sent them there. The cookie will then track and purchases they make and credit the appropriate persons affiliate profile.

Some of the cookies remain active for up to 30 days, and get this, you will get paid out regardless of what they purchase. It doesn’t need to be the thing you were sending them there for. You could get super lucky and send someone to Amazon for a book that’ll probably pay you $1.50 if they buy it, but they might buy a laptop in a weeks’ time and guess what, you get paid for it.

You will usually get paid out on a monthly basis, but every website has different rules and methods of payment, so check first.

Why Is It Becoming So Popular

Though it’s not often publicly discussed, the marketing budgets of many businesses is huge. Finding the most cost effective way to get their product recognized is a really big issue, that’s where affiliate marketing comes in.

Like anything in marketing, it has become popular because it works. Paying only based on sales is a marketers dream, it minimizes the risk of losing money and requires less effort. All the marketing team have to do is set up the affiliate marketing program, then people will naturally go find it, it’s really that simple for them.

On the other side of the deal is the blogger. They love it because it’s an easy way to monetize their online presence, who doesn’t like making money from home?

Then there’s the consumer. To explain why consumers love it so much let me ask you this, when you’re watching TV, do you think you pay more attention to the show or the ads. Or, when you’re scrolling through Facebook, do you stop to read what an ad says or do you keep scrolling. We’ve all gotten used to what an ad is to the point our brains can instantly detect an ad, even from the most subtle features, before we even see the full thing. It’s just not stimulating having something sold to you like that.

Affiliate marketing combats that with subtleness and trust. We all know that if we see someone holding a bag of coffee beans and has tagged a company on IG, that they’re making money from it, but there’s a level of trust there that makes it alright. Even though we’ve likely never met the person and only know them through a screen, it’s instantly more trustworthy than having someone yell at you on TV.

It’s that psychology that is the driving force behind the movement.

Is There Really Money To Be Made In Affiliate Marketing?

Yes, a lot. Don’t take it from me though, have a look at some examples.

DollarSprout.com – Their website went from nothing to a 6 figure monthly salary in just 8 months. It was only a 2 man operation too. They relied heavily on affiliate marketing right from the get go which most of the $100,000+ a month revenue can be attributed to. Jeff and Ben worked around the clock on promotion of their site, but I think you would too if you knew the results would be that big.

Thewirecutter.com – This is a huge undoubtedly a huge operation. In fact in 2015, the site as a whole made $150 million in affiliate sales. You read that right, million. Their site has always been based around simply reviewing products and a big portion of their sales come purely from Amazon’s affiliate program. They employ a big team of people making sure content is being produced around the clock and everything runs smoothly behind the scenes, but those numbers are ridiculous.

TripAdvisor – In all honesty, I didn’t realize TripAdvisor were an affiliate site until I looked further into it. From humble beginnings, they’ve now grown to a worldwide company, with more than 116 million visitors a month. Considering they refer people that are about to spend big on travel, it’s likely their monthly turnover is more than their viewers.

Who Offers Affiliate Programs

You might be surprised to know that almost all big name companies will have an affiliate program. While it may not be their sole source of exposure, it certainly does help them out. Some of the big names include:

Amazon – Earn Up To 10%

Amazon Associates

Amazon’s affiliate program is the most used around the world, simply because the opportunities are endless. You can promote literally anything on there to your audience and make cash off it. Boasting over a million products to advertise, any niche is well and truly able to make good money off it. Remember, due to the nature of Amazon, you could be making a lot more money than you planned on if the customer happens to add other stuff to their cart.

The payment system is dependent on what category it is you’re selling, but don’t let that influence what you’re selling, remember quality is better than quantity.

Amazon affiliate payout

eBay – Earn Up To 5%

eBay affiliate

eBay also has a huge market available. With over 1.4 billion items for sale at any given time, pitching extremely specific products to your audience is extremely easy. eBay makes it easier for local businesses to list their products and is bigger in some countries around the world than Amazon, so it’s definitely worth a shot.

ebay affiliates payout

The payment system is similar to Amazon, but branches off to be a bit more specific. Above is just a snapshot of many different categories and subcategories that all range between 2% and 5%.

ClickBank – Earn Up to 75%

Clickbank affiliates

If you’ve not heard of ClickBank, they’re a marketplace solely for digital products. This may not cater to all that many people, but the payouts can be big. Digital products are never cheap to purchase, believe me, but usually cost the seller not much at all (besides time and effort). Considering there’s nothing to lose, they are able to offer you astronomically high cuts of the sales you generate, anywhere between 5% and 75% depending on the product. There’s a lot of money to be made here if you can get it right.

Etsy – Earn 5% Of Each Sale

Etsy affiliate

Etsy is another marketplace site that loves your referral traffic. Etsy is the king of the online creative world, with many artists of all types using it to sell their crafts. The Etsy community are usually loyal users with many return customers. It would also be extremely easy to find heaps of content on here to promote, the opportunities truly are endless with Etsy.

There are many, many more big name companies out there to find. Remember, all you need to do is type in the company you want to target + affiliate program (or partner program, affiliate network, partners, etc.). If you have a decently large following, some companies will even set up a custom affiliate program just for you if they don’t currently offer one and see potential in the partnership.

Swagbucks – Earn $2.20 Per Sign Up

This one is a little different, instead of leading a customer to a sale, all they need to do is sign up for free. It really is that simple. You’ll earn a flat fee of $2.20 every time regardless of what they do once they’re on the site.

Swagbucks login

The best part about Swagbucks is the amount of traffic you can get clicking through to the site. For a paid service, the chances of someone purchasing something are low, but here there’s nothing for them to lose, so why not?

How You Can Do It Too

Speaking about the main 2 paths, you too can start earning today.

Socials

If you have a big enough social following already (1000+ followers), you’re ready to go. Start searching what you want to promote, or outreach businesses manually via DM or email.

If like most you don’t have a following that big, that’s totally fine. Either work on building you brand up, or start a separate account to your personal one and run with a theme that you know will get views, like comedy, fitness, fashion, anything! This will take some time and effort though, so be patient.

Online

The biggest misconception about creating a website is that it’s hard. Take it from me, it’s not at all. The internet is rich with all the information you need to know to create a website, from scratch, with no prior knowledge of anything at all.

Once you’ve got your site set up, you can start looking at ways to increase your traffic, whether that’s through SEO (ranking on Google), or through social exposure.

Getting visitors to your website certainly isn’t easy at first, but putting in the initial leg work really does pay off in the long run. Remember, the harder you work, the more money there is to be made; there is no cap on how much your salary can be online.

So What Are You Waiting For?

If you’re even remotely thinking about starting it, do it. If you’re passionate about the idea, you could be making money from that passion. If you take anything away from this article, please let it be that affiliate marketing is not difficult. It’s simply a matter of taking that initial leap of faith and sticking with it.

I wish you all the best of luck, let me know of any thoughts, questions or success stories you have in relation to affiliate marketing below.

Tom
Hi! I'm Tom, a 21 year old student working a part time job that's in the very same rat race as you. I'm based in Sydney, Australia and studying Civil Engineering at Uni. You may think it seems weird that I'm creating a blog of completely unrelated content to what I do, but let me tell you why. Last year, I had my shifts cut from 15 hours a week to 0 purely because I was too expensive to have working. I started looking for other ways to make money, and I soon found that everyone has a different opinion. So I've created this site, and will continue to create relevant content, to give my honest thoughts on ways to make and save money that I have personally tried. I hope you enjoy!

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