Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make passive income in 2022.
Affiliates spend more than $10 billion per year, so if you can capture just 1/100,000th of this market, that’s $100,000 per year. So there is lots of money to be made.
The nice thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to create the product, deal with shipping, returns, customer service, or any of that. You are simply a middleman in the process, providing information to potential customers to guide and influence purchasing decisions.
But like anything else, there’s learning involved, which is what we hope to bring to you in this article.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a commission-based sales model in which a company compensates third-party publishers for driving traffic to their site.
Writers, bloggers, and influencers are all potential affiliate marketers. They promote products or services in exchange for a commission on any resulting sales.
In other words, affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing technique in which a company rewards an affiliate for each visitor or customer brought to the site by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.
The industry has four core players:
1. The merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’)
2. The network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments)
3. The publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’)
4. The customer
A diagram from BigCommerce paints a solid picture of what affiliate marketing is about.
History of Affiliate Marketing
The history of affiliate marketing is long and complex, but we’ll give you the CliffsNotes version.
In 1989, William J. Tobin launched his affiliate program on the Prodigy Network for his company PC Flowers & Gifts. This is largely considered the start of affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing got a big boost in 1996 when Amazon.com launched its affiliate program. The program allowed website owners to receive a commission on sales generated by visitors they referred to Amazon. It was a win-win situation: Amazon increased its customer base while affiliates earned revenue from directing traffic their way.
Other companies followed suit, creating their own affiliate programs. In 1998, ClickBank, a digital product marketplace, was founded. ClickBank changed affiliate marketing by making it easier for small businesses and individuals to get involved.
Since then, affiliate marketing has continued to grow and evolve. Today, there are hundreds of affiliate programs available across all industries.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
In order for affiliate marketing to work, three parties must be involved:
The merchant or advertiser – This is the company that has the product or service that affiliate marketers will promote.
The network – This is the platform where merchants list their affiliate programs and affiliate marketers find new campaigns to join.
The publisher or affiliate – This is you, the person promoting affiliate offers.
To get started, affiliate marketers sign up for affiliate programs with merchants that they think have products or services that their audience will find valuable.
When a reader clicks on one of the affiliate links in the affiliate marketer’s content and makes a purchase from the merchant, the affiliate marketer earns a commission.
What are the Benefits of Affiliate Marketing?
There are several key benefits of affiliate marketing, including:
1. Affiliate marketing is an easy way to get started making money online.
2. It’s a great way to make passive income.
3. You don’t have to deal with any customer service or product creation.
4. It’s a great way to build an audience and grow your platform.
5. You can get started with little to no money.
6. There are affiliate programs available for almost any niche.
7. Affiliate marketing is a great way to diversify your income stream.
3 Types of Affiliate Marketing
There are basically three types of affiliate marketing:
- Unattached affiliate marketing
- Related affiliate marketing
- Involved affiliate marketing
Unattached affiliate marketing
Unattached affiliate marketing is when the promoter of a product has no authority in the industry.
This form of affiliate marketing could simply be buying ads on Google, Facebook, or another network and making money when someone clicks and converts.
Related affiliate marketing
Related affiliate marketing is when the affiliate has some kind of authority or connection to the industry.
For example, if you’re a blogger in the fitness niche, you could promote workout gear as an affiliate.
People are more likely to listen to someone they trust when it comes to making product recommendations.
Some product promotions are affiliate marketing related while some are sponsorships.
Involved affiliate marketing
Involved affiliate marketing is when the affiliate is deeply involved with the industry. They usually have their own products and use affiliate marketing as a way to supplement their income.
This type of affiliate marketing is more common among influencers and bloggers who have a strong following in their niche.
What are the Different Types of Affiliate Programs?
There are several different types of affiliate programs, each with their own benefits and drawbacks:
1. Pay-per-click (PPC) affiliate programs – These programs pay affiliates based on the number of clicks they generate, regardless of whether or not those clicks lead to sales. This is a great way to get started with affiliate marketing if you don’t have a large audience yet. This is a typical revenue model for display ads.
2. Pay-per-lead (PPL) affiliate programs – These programs pay affiliates for every lead they generate, regardless of whether or not those leads result in sales. This is a great way to build an email list or grow your social media following.
3. Pay-per-sale (PPS) affiliate programs – These programs pay affiliates a commission on sales generated by referrals. This is a great way to make passive income, but you need to have a large audience and generate a lot of traffic to make it worth your while.
4. Recurring affiliate programs – These programs offer commissions on recurring products or services, such as subscription boxes or memberships. This is a great way to make passive income if you can find a good recurring affiliate program.
5. CPA affiliate programs – These programs pay affiliates for every action taken, such as a sale, lead, or click. This is a great way to make money if you have a lot of traffic and can find high-converting offers.
How to Choose the Right Affiliate Program
There are several things to consider when choosing an affiliate program, including:
1. The commission structure – Does the program offer a fixed commission rate? A percentage of sales? A per-lead rate? Make sure you know how you’ll be paid before signing up for an affiliate program.
2. The product or service – Is it something your audience will actually want to buy? Do your research and make sure the affiliate program you’re promoting is a good fit for your audience.
3. The company – Do some research on the company behind the affiliate program. Make sure they’re reputable and have a good track record.
4. The affiliate agreement – Read over the affiliate agreement carefully before signing up for an affiliate program. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions, and that you’re comfortable with them.
5. Your goals – What are you hoping to accomplish with affiliate marketing? Do you want to make money passively, or do you want to build an audience and grow your platform? Choose an affiliate program that aligns with your goals.
How to Promote Affiliate Products
Once you’ve chosen an affiliate program, it’s time to start promoting affiliate products.
There are a few different ways to do this:
1. Write blog posts – This is one of the most common and effective ways to promote affiliate products. Write helpful, informative blog posts that include affiliate links.
2. Create videos – Videos are another great way to promote affiliate products. You can create product reviews, how-to videos, unboxing videos, and more.
3. Send emails – If you have an email list, you can send promotional emails featuring affiliate products. Just be sure to include a clear call-to-action and don’t spam your list.
4. Use social media – Social media is a great way to reach a wide audience with your affiliate links. Share helpful content, product reviews, and affiliate offers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms.
5. Run ads – Ads are a great way to get targeted traffic to your affiliate links. You can run ads on Google, Facebook, and other platforms. Just be sure to use effective targeting so you don’t waste money on unqualified audiences.
What Are The Different Types of Affiliate Marketers?
There are a few different types of affiliate marketers, including:
1. Content creators – These affiliate marketers create helpful blog posts, videos, and other types of content. They promote affiliate products through their content and earn commission on sales generated by their links.
The types of sites include:
- content sites
- YouTube channels
- product review sites
- coupon sites
- big media properties (e.g., NerdWallet, Wirecutter)
2. Social media influencers – These affiliate marketers use their large social media following to promote affiliate products. They earn commission on sales generated by their links.
3. Email marketers – These affiliate marketers build an email list and promote affiliate products through regular emails. They earn commission on sales generated by their links.
4. Paid traffic experts – These affiliate marketers use paid traffic sources, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, to promote affiliate products. They earn commission on sales generated by their links.
5. Niche experts – These affiliate marketers focus on promoting affiliate products in a specific niche. They build an audience in their niche and earn commission on sales generated by their links.
How Much Money Can You Make With Affiliate Marketing?
How much money you can make with affiliate marketing depends on a few factors, including:
1. The affiliate program you’re promoting – Some affiliate programs have higher commission rates than others. Promoting a high-commission affiliate program will help you make more money.
2. The traffic source you’re using – Some traffic sources are more effective than others at driving sales. Using paid traffic sources, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, will help you get more sales and earn more money.
3. Your conversion rate – This is the percentage of people who buy a product after clicking on your affiliate link. The higher your conversion rate, the more money you’ll make.
4. The price of the product you’re promoting – Promoting a high-priced product will help you make more money per sale. However, it’s important to remember that you’ll need to sell more units of a high-priced product to make the same amount of money as you would with a low-priced product.
5. The affiliate marketing model you’re using – There are a few different affiliate marketing models, including pay-per-sale, pay-per-lead, and pay-per-click. Each model has its own advantages and disadvantages. Choose the model that’s best for you and your affiliate marketing goals.
How Do I Start Affiliate Marketing?
Starting affiliate marketing is easy. Just sign up for an affiliate program and start promoting products. However, to be successful at affiliate marketing, you’ll need to do a few things:
1. Find a profitable niche – To be successful at affiliate marketing, you need to find a niche that’s profitable. This means finding a niche with high demand and low competition to the best extent possible.
The demand part is the most important aspect. If your niche is fencing swords, you will have a limited market.
You can find profitable niches by using keyword research tools, such as Google Keyword Planner.
2. Build an audience – Once you’ve found a profitable niche, you need to build an audience of people who are interested in that niche.
You can build an audience by creating helpful content, such as blog posts, videos, and podcasts.
3. Promote affiliate products – Once you’ve built an audience, you can promote affiliate products to them.
You can promote affiliate products through your content (organically or paid) or through social media.
4. Track your results – To be successful at affiliate marketing, you need to track your results so you can see what’s working and what’s not.
Use analytics tools, such as Google Analytics or link shortening tools, to track your results.
5. Test and optimize – Always be testing and optimizing your campaigns to get the most out of your affiliate marketing efforts.
Try different traffic sources, different types of content, and different affiliate programs to find what works best for you.
High Paying Affiliate Networks for Affiliate Marketers
Affiliate marketing often involves signing up for affiliate networks.
These are the places where many affiliate programs are located. So if you want to sign up for one, it may be located in an affiliate network. Always check with a company first if you have one in mind that you’d like to promote.
Clickbank is an affiliate network that’s been around since 1998. It’s one of the largest affiliate networks in the world, with over 10,000 affiliate programs.
The affiliate programs in Clickbank cover a wide range of niches, including:
– Health and fitness
– Making money online
– Dating and relationships
– Weight loss
– Personal development
– Business and investing
Clickbank is a great place to find high paying affiliate programs. They offer up to 75% commission on some products, which means you could make a lot of money promoting them.
#2 Amazon Associates
Amazon Associates is the affiliate program for Amazon.com. It’s one of the largest affiliate programs in the world, with over 1 million affiliates.
The affiliate programs in Amazon Associates cover a wide range of niches, including:
– Home and garden
– Clothing and accessories
– Baby and child care
Amazon Associates is a great place to find high-paying affiliate programs. They offer up to 10% commission on some products but the average nets out to about 4%, which means you could good money promoting them.
Amazon Associates tends to have one of the better conversion rates among affiliate programs because just about everyone has an Amazon account.
#3 CJ Affiliate by Conversant
CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) is an affiliate network that’s been around since 1998. It’s one of the largest affiliate networks in the world, with over 3,000 affiliate programs.
The affiliate programs in CJ Affiliate by Conversant cover a wide range of niches, including:
– Health and fitness
– Making money online
– Home and garden
– Business and investing
CJ Affiliate by Conversant is a great place to find high paying affiliate programs.
ShareASale is an affiliate network that’s been around since 2000. It’s one of the largest affiliate networks in the world, with over 4,000 affiliate programs.
The affiliate programs in ShareASale cover a wide range of niches, including:
– Subscription services
– Food and cooking
– Web hosting
– Clothing and accessories
ShareASale is a great place to find high paying affiliate programs.
#5 Rakuten Marketing
Rakuten Marketing (formerly LinkShare) is an affiliate network that’s been around since 1996. It’s one of the largest affiliate networks in the world, with over 1,000 affiliate programs.
The affiliate programs in Rakuten Marketing cover a wide range of industries.
Rakuten Marketing is a great place to find high paying affiliate programs. They offer up to 10% commission on some products but the average commission is about 4%.
These are just a few of the affiliate networks that you can find high paying affiliate programs in. There are many more out there. Always do your research to make sure you’re finding the best affiliate program for you and your niche. And always remember, the higher the payout, the harder it is to get people to actually buy something from you. So always balance between a high payout and a low difficulty rating.
Tips for Publishers to be Successful with Affiliate Marketing
1. Pick the right affiliate programs.
2. Promote affiliate products that you actually use and believe in.
3. Build a relationship with your affiliate manager.
4. Use effective marketing techniques to promote your affiliate links, such as:
– Review sites
– Blog posts
5. Keep track of your results so you can continually improve your affiliate marketing strategy.
Tips for Brands Looking to Generate Sales with Affiliate Marketing
Here are a few tips to follow for companies looking to
1. Find affiliate programs that fit with your brand.
2. Make sure you offer a competitive commission structure.
3. Work with affiliate managers who are familiar with your industry.
4. Offer creative and engaging affiliate links and banners.
5. Monitor your affiliate program to make sure it’s running smoothly.
Both publishers and brands can be successful with affiliate marketing if they follow these tips. By finding the right affiliate programs, promoting products that you believe in, and using effective marketing techniques, you can generate sales and earn commissions.
Summary – Making Money with Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online. By finding affiliate programs that fit with your niche and promoting products that you believe in, you can earn commissions on sales.
Always remember to track your results so you can continually improve your affiliate marketing strategy.