People spend months or even years to learn and build affiliate marketing blogs, but isn’t affiliate marketing dead yet? Let’s have a look if you really should dedicate your time to promote other people’s products in 2020.
Is Affiliate Marketing Saturated In 2020?
Affiliate marketing has been around for decades and still remains present in 2020.
81% of worldwide brands utilize affiliate marketing as a profitable revenue channel. That means there are tons of opportunities for affiliates to promote different products and services of many brands.
This industry is currently on its fastest growth, but will it die in the future? No one can exactly predict the future, but there are absolutely no signs of decline.
Thousands of individuals and brands around the world claim their success with affiliate marketing and the numbers are only growing.
How much money can you make with affiliate marketing?
If you think with affiliate marketing you can make more than in any regular 9-5 job, you are absolutely right. There are many successful affiliates who earn more than lawyers, doctors, and other top specialists.
For example, well-known affiliate marketing guru Jason Stone managed to reach enormous success in the affiliate marketing game.
According to enterpreneur.com he has generated over $7 million in revenue in the year of 2016-2017.
All this massive revenue did not evolve any costs of his own product or service creation. Jason Stone has earned all his money by just promoting someone else’s products on free social media platforms.
Another one of numerous successful affiliate marketing masters – Franklin Hatchett, in his video explains how he passively generated $150,000 in just 7 months.
His revenue came out from only promoting two affiliate products – GetResponse & ClickFunnels.
The most interesting part of this case study is that Franklin put almost no work during the 7 month period.
Just because in the beginning he worked hard to create this profitable affiliate marketing asset, he could take a step back and watch how it generates the passive income by itself.
Earning such income online definitely requires high-level skills and knowledge, but not everyone is aiming to achieve such heights.
For many people consistently earning $100 a day can be more than enough and that is a very realistic goal to achieve.
How much money you can earn from affiliate marketing completely depends on your chosen affiliate program, number of generated sales and overall marketing strategy.
There can be affiliate programs, like Amazon, offering lower commission payouts (up to 12%) and platforms like Clickbank, where you can get higher commissions normally ranging from 50% to 75%.
That means, if you want to have success with Amazon, you will probably need to have high-volume sales going on.
Because Amazon is considered as a reputable vendor, people are more likely to convert and buy Amazon’s products that you recommend.
While with the Clickbank products, you won’t need to sell as much as you would with Amazon as it offers higher commissions.
There are products out there where you can get even thousands of dollars from a single sale, but normally such high-ticket products receive less buying volume.
Sky is the limit when it comes to affiliate marketing and you can make thousands, or even millions if you really want it.
How do affiliates work?
Affiliate marketing is a partnership between a vendor (product’s creator) and affiliate (product’s promoter). As vendors receive new customers and affiliates get their piece of pie for that, affiliate marketing becomes a win-win business model.
In short, the main mission of an affiliate (also called as publisher or partner) is to send potential buyers to the vendor’s website where they can purchase his products.
It works when the affiliate directs the customer to an offer via his unique affiliate link generated by the vendor’s affiliate program. Once the purchase occurs the affiliate marketer gets rewarded with a commission.
In fact, some affiliate products does not necessarily require sales to occur in order to pay out commission. You might also get rewarded for referring a lead.
That means you can also get commissions for sending people to sign up to your vendor’s email list.
So, how do you send people to affiliate offers?
Leaving your affiliate link in the right place is what you need to do to generate commissions. 3 the most effective common places where you can promote products and share your affiliate link are – YouTube, your website, and email.
Website is a core part of affiliate marketing and it’s essential to own it.
Affiliate and email marketing perfectly work together, and every successful affiliate marketing businesses utilize email to dramatically increase their revenue.
Video blogging on Youtube can be a perfect addition to generate traffic as well as to engage wider audiences.
There also are opportunities to effectively promote your website on other social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.
Among all social media platforms, YouTube is generally considered the strongest for affiliate marketing, which not only attracts targeted visitors but also strengthens the website.
Some people get success by just focusing on 1 of these marketing channels, however, it is highly advised to have multiple traffic sources in case something wrong happens with the main one.
The example an ideal Affiliate Marketing Strategy would look like:
- Publisher builds content around the product and a specific niche on his website. Drives targeted visitors from different traffic sources, like Google, Youtube, and other social media platforms.
- On his website, the publisher focuses not only on visitors clicking the affiliate links but also on collecting their email addresses.
- As the publisher drives traffic and builds an email list, he establishes two strong marketing channels and traffic sources where he can directly promote the affiliate offers.
Often people promote affiliate products directly from social media platforms by leaving links straight to affiliate offers instead of the website. By following such tactics affiliates can still earn commissions and make money, but they are missing out a lot.
To build a successful long term asset, it is always a good idea to send a visitor to your website where he can not only purchase via your link but also leave his email address, or share your content with others.
Regarding the email marketing, it’s important to understand, that it can be a super valuable asset as you can directly communicate with your audience and promote affiliate offers for as long as they keep you subscribed.
How long does it take to make money with Affiliate Marketing?
Some people can start making money in a single day with affiliate marketing, while others need to wait months and even years for their first commission.
It all depends on your marketing strategy, financial goals, as well as the hours you put into work.
Ideally, you want to make money from a website that consistently gets organic traffic.
Why organic? That’s because it is generally the most targeted, profitable and ever-green traffic, which every successful online business wants to utilize.
Following organic traffic strategy, you would normally receive your first income within 3-6 months from the start. That’s because in order to get organic traffic from search engines like Google, you will need to rank your content pages and today it takes time.
The average time for new websites to start ranking and generating traffic form Google is about 3-6 months.
Normally, in the beginning, a new affiliate website should only focus on publishing content. Without having at least 10-30 quality blog posts on your website, you shouldn’t expect Google rankings, traffic or income at all.
Indeed, not everyone must follow this strategy, as there are other ways and methods to start making money online earlier.
If you have knowledge of paid advertising, such as Facebook Ads, or Google Ads, you can always invest and generate targeted traffic in a much quicker way.
Keep in mind, paid advertising can be financially risky as you bet money for ad campaigns. If you are new into digital marketing, we highly advise you to be patient and stick with free traffic methods which can turn significantly profitable in the long run.
All the beginners must understand that like any other business, affiliate marketing requires some time and effort. The main reason why talented individuals quit this game is that they don’t have enough patience.
In the beginning, it’s usually like working in an endless silence until the results and rewards hit you at once. It’s very important to be patient and survive the start period.
Once this business starts to roll on, it can turn into compounding passive income asset, and that can be really exciting.
Few case studies:
Let’s take a successful affiliate website Dollarsprout (which makes more than $180k in a month) as an example and look into one of its reports showing the website’s income timeline.
It all started in February 2015 where the website was making 0$. It took one year and two months for Dollarspout to make its first income, which was $0.29 on May 2016.
After a year, in May 2017 website was reaching nearly $7k a month, and in January 2019 – over $180k!
Such data indicates that success can be huge and it definitely doesn’t happen overnight.
Another successful example from affiliate marketer Warren Wheeler – Clickbank Case Study, reveals how he has built an affiliate website from scratch and made nearly $80k in just 8 months.
His affiliate site is based on a specific niche where he writes product reviews and informational content, he uses only free traffic methods and mainly focuses on Google organic traffic.
After a month when he just got started his affiliate website (March 2018) he was making a little bit over $300/week. Just a couple of months later, his weekly income was reaching over $2800/week from promoting affiliate products.
Warren’s first affiliate income (2018 February-March):
Warren’s affiliate income for March and April 2018:
This report shows incredible revenue growth in a super short period of time. In just over a month Warren has managed to nearly 10x his affiliate income and these results are insane.
The products he promoted were based on the Clickbank affiliate marketing platform. There you can find various high-quality digital products in many niches and get a good % of commission ranging from 50% of 75% per sale.
All the pages that Warren published on his affiliate site were well search engine optimized, packed with valuable information and generally helpful.
By reaching such quick success with affiliate marketing he proved that it’s still possible to rank a website on Google quickly if you use the right strategies.
How can I become successful in Affiliate Marketing?
Everyone defines success differently, but if you are a beginner who wants to get the money ball rolling, the following steps are just for you:
1. Build an authority website
To get targeted organic visitors from Google to your website, you need to demonstrate a high level of expertise in your field. The more specific your niche is, the easier is to build authority within it.
Constantly publishing high-quality content demonstrates Google that your site is a valuable informational resource on the web. It makes Google reward you and rank your pages high, and that will generate the traffic you need.
Content is the key when trying to rank on Google in 2020. Answer people’s queries on Google with value-packed content, publish regularly and search engines will love you.
2. Choose the right product/niche
Even if a lot of marketing gurus will advise you to think less in the beginning and take action, there is nothing worse than putting a lot of work into the niche.
It is a good idea to take some time to think before you start doing affiliate marketing. Make sure that your niche is profitable, not saturated and actually interests you.
Working in a niche that you actually love will result in bigger productivity, passion, and success.
It’s important that the product you are willing to promote is selling on the market or has the potential to be sold. There are Affiliate Marketing platforms, such as JVZoo, Clickbank, Amazon and more, that show how popular the product is.
If the product is brand new and does not have sales history, make sure it came from a reputable brand, which had sales success in the past, before you start promoting it.
3. Utilize email marketing
Not using email marketing along with affiliate marketing is probably one of the biggest mistakes you could ever do. Email is a super powerful tool to promote your affiliate offers and no successful marketer does not utilize email nowadays.
Create opportunities to capture visitors’ email addresses on your website and grow your email list. Why would you let your visitors go, instead of having a chance to communicate with them for a lifetime in your emails?
Take time to create an effective email marketing funnel. Build a nice landing page and signup form, create attractive lead magnet (free gift for the exchange to email address), and write your email content.
Once you have everything set, you can easily automate the whole email sending process with your autoresponder. As you automatically generate leads (subscribers) and send them emails, you can automatically earn commissions and that’s where the beauty of email marketing comes from.
4. Monitor and test it
There’s always enough space for the improvements you could make, and that also applies to affiliate marketing. To reach success in affiliate marketing you need to spend some time discovering what works best for your business.
It’s important to understand that every niche evolves different audiences, therefore testing is important to identify tactics that work best for your specific audience.
If your website is brand new, it’s better if you mainly focus on providing high-quality content and wait until your site gets enough data for testing. Once you have your content out and enough traffic, you can implement some testing techniques.
Often little changes can matter so much. You don’t want your content that you’ve crafted and designed for so long to go to waste because of something minor have not been fixed.
There are a lot of things you can test throughout your affiliate marketing journey, that includes:
Visitor behavior – Google Analytics allows not only monitoring how many visits and sessions your website is getting, but also visitor’s: session duration, exact visit time, bounce rate (% of visitors leaving your site immediately) demographic location, traffic source, choice of devices and many more.
You can use this data for a big advantage by monitoring and identifying where your website underperforms and adding tweaks to those areas.
Analyzing your visitor’s behavior with a heat map is also a good idea of getting the exact picture of how the user interacts on your webpage.
The heat map allows monitoring the areas of a webpage that are being clicked, scrolled or dismissed.
As for affiliate marketing, a heat map helps you test the design and overall performance of your affiliate links.
Ranking keywords – Google Search Console is also a very helpful tool to monitor your website’s presence in Google search results. It allows you to check which key-phrases from your blog-posts are getting organic traction.
CTR (Click-through-rate) indicates how often people who see your page on Google search results actually click it. Having high CTR is a very important factor for ranking in Google in 2020 and it can also be monitored in the Google Search Console feature.
Email performance – now almost every email marketing service provider has an analytical feature allowing you to test your email marketing campaign performance. You can easily test everything from your subject line’s performance to your affiliate links.
Call to action buttons are one of the most important things you can test when doing affiliate marketing, but before that, you need to make sure that your emails are even getting opened (open-rate).
That’s why starting with the subject line, and pre-header tests should be your primary focus.
Identifying a time when your emails perform best is also a crucial step in email testing for affiliate marketing and all can be done with the right email service provider.
Website speed – it’s important to have a good website load speed, ideally under 3 secs, if you want to rank in Google and provide the best user experience for your visitors. You can use Gmetrix to test your website speed.
5. Take a course
Learning about different affiliate marketing methods and techniques has its positives and negatives. A good thing about it is that you generally expand your mind and the whole thinking of affiliate marketing becomes broader. The bad side is that you may get easily overwhelmed and confused by not knowing which “online guru” or strategy to trust and follow.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to take a course and entirely focus on it until you succeed. There are many free and paid affiliate marketing courses you can find online. Here’s a review of a good one.
It is highly recommended that you follow with a single course
6. Work hard, be patient and stay motivated
If you want to replace your current job with affiliate marketing, you should treat it as a real job. We are definitely not talking about the “get rich quick” scheme here and success does not happen over-night.
Top affiliates are successful not because they were born successful, but because they have dreamt big enough to put those enormous hours into work. Every successful marketer started from the bottom facing the competition which you should never be afraid of.
It’s important to understand that it can take months and even years to see results from affiliate marketing, therefore we should keep our expectations realistic.
A small achieved objective is always better than a big one unachieved. Instead of focusing on big goals, which are far ahead of you, focus on small little things that you can realistically achieve, for example – try to spend at least 10 hours/week on affiliate marketing, or publish 5 posts every week.
As you reach those little goals, feeling of achievement will keep you motivated and drive you further to success.
Having a general working plan is also very important to maintain focus and keep motivated. Dedicate your time for planning your affiliate marketing steps – it will definitely help with focus.
By that, you won’t need to everyday distract yourself with the thoughts of what you should. Let your business plan to be your recipe to success so you can work on it with the full confidence without any second thoughts.
To sum up this article in 4 words – affiliate marketing isn’t dead.
Affiliate marketing is alive and it can be the easiest, yet the hardest way to make money online. Due to high competition and other factors, affiliate marketing can be difficult and demand effort, especially in the beginning.
However, eventually, this type of business can become passive, meaning it may require less work in the future to generate further income.
If you are one of those who has the ability to retain focus and not willing to give up, affiliate marketing can be a profitable solution and make you significantly big money.
Once you put a lot of work in the beginning and have everything set up, this business can drive you income automatically for years without you having to do anything.
Paul Lian is a researcher, writer, and founder of WayToChanges.com. With over eight years of experience in blogging, digital marketing, copywriting, and digital products, he has built multiple six-figure income streams. Through his blog, Paul shares his best expertise, strategies, and tools to help readers achieve financial freedom and success in their own digital ventures.
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