Affiliate marketing is awesome, and I believe it's the absolute best way to make money online. Period.
Affiliate Marketing has a low barrier to entry, anybody can get started, and while there is a LOT of initial work you can reap the benefits again and again.
While I dislike the term 'passive income' (nothing is truly passive), affiliate marketing represents a golden opportunity to set up a system, and let the money roll in 24/7.
It's as close to 'passive' as income gets.
Imagine waking up every day and KNOWING that you will have made money as you slept.
For the last year, Will and I have been working on several joint projects. Some sites make $5 a day, others make over $500 a day - and we don't have to do anything else to continue making that money - the hard work is done!
While there are always tinkering with, and trying to scale, our affiliate income streams we know that we can take months off at a time and still earn cash whilst we travel...
As I mentioned before, it takes a serious commitment of time and energy to build up an affiliate income in the first place but if you want to invest in a future where you're making money online in your sleep, affiliate marketing is your best bet.
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Before we get into the wonderful world of Amazon and other affiliate programs, we need to make sure you understand exactly what "affiliate" means and how it works.
Don't worry, it's simple stuff.
Here's the bottom line...
If you find a website that is recommending a product that they don't personally sell - there's a 90% chance it's an affiliate product.
This is an enormous aspect of the internet-economy and is how many online entrepreneurs monetize their sites.
The primary function of affiliate marketing is for you (the content creator) to connect a buyer (whoever uses your website) with a seller (whoever sells the product).
The gist is simple - you act as a middleman.
Think of it this way...
Sometimes when people want to buy something - they know what they want to buy. They go directly to the source.
In this^ situation, there isn't much room for you (the affiliate marketer) to make any money.
But what about when someone isn't sure what they want to buy?
They need information before they make a purchase. And what's the first thing you do when you need information...
You Google it.
That's where affiliate marketing comes into play.
Affiliate marketing is the use of informational reviews, buyer guides, and content aimed at educating consumers before they purchase products.
Then, if the user decides to buy the product - you get a commission!
This is how an affiliate marketer (you!) makes money.
Affiliate marketers are the middleman who provide people with information they need to guide their purchase decisions.
And if that consumer buys a product after using your site - BOOM, you'll get a commission.
And these commissions can add up very, very quickly.
I am of the opinion that affiliate marketing (and SEO as a whole) have been instrumental tools in improving the quality of information on the internet.
Back in the day, there was no incentive for anyone to write great content about products. Anyone could write a bullshit review about a product.
Now? Different story.
Only truly great content will rank on Google, and only honest affiliate marketers will survive.
To make good money affiliate marketing, you have to create truly awesome reviews and buyer guides that are honest, up to date, and better than anything else on the web.
This is how you become successful as an affiliate - by producing genuine, thorough information about products which helps guide your audience.
This is how you make sales, get recurring customers, and stay on top of Google.
Like most things - the sky is the limit! But it will completely depend on how much effort you put into your project.
I run several different projects.
This is a screenshot from a niche site that we bought over a year ago but never really had any time to work on. It pulls in a bit of amount of money, but we haven't touched it in months. Over the past year, it's made over $1000.
This site will probably continue to bring in a couple of hundred bucks a month for the foreseeable future.
And below, we have a screenshot from one of our more exciting projects showing income over the last 30 days...
That's nearly $6,000 of profit in 30 days, and because we are still investing in more content on this site, the income is only going up.
We expect to double this income over the next three months which will mean a cool $12,000 a month - and that's just from ONE of the many Amazon affiliate sites we run.
The above two screenshots are from Amazon - but Amazon is NOT the only affiliate program you should be aware of.
As you may have guessed, Amazon is the most popular affiliate program in the world.
This is because Amazon is truly huge, stocks pretty much everything and is globally known all around the world - meaning it's a site that converts visitors to sales at a much higher rate than any other affiliate program out there.
This screenshot from The Visual Capitalist shows just how massive Amazon has become. Most people have grown comfortable buying things online, and Amazon is the biggest reason why.
In a nutshell - Amazon has a monopoly, and because of this, they have a catalogue of almost limitless products they can offer.
So no matter if you are writing reviews on laptop cases, making videos about puppy sweaters or anything in between - Amazon probably sells the products you are reviewing, and they will pay you an affiliate commission to send traffic their way.
But I would not go so far as to say Amazon is the best affiliate program.
'Best' is completely dependent on the content you are going to create and the products you are interested in pushing.
The cool thing about affiliate marketing is that so many companies offer affiliate programs and there are big networks of affiliate programs you can join, such as ShareASale.com, Commission Junction or Affiliate Window - these enable you to find all kinds of companies willing to pay you to help sell their products.
You'd be surprised how many companies and products are available to promore as an affiliate.
But not all affiliate programs are created equal...
When you are looking into affiliate marketing and choosing which programs you want to join, there's two things you should bear in mind...
Here's an example of affiliate marketing in action...
Let's say you're on the hunt for a new stylish high-quality kitchen faucet. So you do what every human being on planet earth does - you start Googling! You go through a bunch of random searches (aka keywords) and after a while end up here.
You fancy #7. "Kitchen Faucet Reviews and Buyer's Guides" sounds great! You click.
This website is Kitchen Faucet Divas. It's a totally random site I came across but it perfectly exemplifies what affiliate marketing is.
Kitchen Faucet Divas is a niche website. They specialize in one thing and one thing only - reviewing high quality, stylish, kitchen faucets, and sending buyers to Amazon (more on this in a second).
The site is simple, yet effective. It has some buyer guides, some pages about reviews of kitchen faucets, but if you spend some time on the site, you'll notice there really isn't too much to it and there's not a lot of content there.
Whoever is behind this site has planned, created and promoted this site with one strategy: corner the kitchen faucet market. Now while that may sound tough, sites like this have the potential to make an absolute killing.
If you click the 'Buy Now' button (or any of the other links), it will take you to Amazon.
Pretty simple, right?
But here's the best part...
This is the brilliance of affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketers don't own any actual products.
Kitchen Faucet Divas doesn't own any actual kitchen faucets.
They don't own any faucet inventory. They don't have any products. They don't have any stock. They may have never even seen the faucets which they are reviewing.
They have a few things - a website, and a ton of content, and great SEO. They also have a website specifically designed to get a ton of people looking to buy faucets. And when someone does go through Kitchen Divas to buy a faucet on Amazon, Amazon gives the Divas a percentage of the sale for the referral.
It's that simple. And the money can be big.
Starting with your own affiliate income is easy. First, ask yourself a few questions.
Do you have an idea/niche? (If not, check out this guide)
Do you have a website? (If not, check out this guide)
If so, what is the niche?
What sort of content do you create?
What are the products within or closely related to your niche?
By determining what products you can sell, you can easily start to draft a content plan for your own affiliate marketing.
Here at Ditch Your Desk, we believe that diversified income streams are the best path to sustainable online success and whilst we do not recommend focusing solely on affiliate marketing... but it should absolutely be a part of your strategy.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize content that is already ranking and when you establish a pattern of keywords, you can absolutely crush it...
As a passive income stream, affiliate marketing is one of the best options as once it's set up and cranking, you will continue to earn as long as you do not get knocked out of the SERPS.
Have any questions? Hit me up in the comments!
City dweller. Dumpling crusher. Obsessed with marketing and optimization - Aaron Radcliffe is Co-Founder of Ditch Your Desk.