What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is simply earning a commission by promoting and selling products or services on one of your platforms. Your primary goal with these programs is to make commissions by recommending products and services you believe will sell well.
Simple as that? Well… yes and no.
While getting started is the easy part, convincing someone to actually pay for a product or service is the real challenge. There has been a handful of really successful people who’ve made huge profits.
But most who have tried making money this way had made some small bucks every month as passive income. If you want to learn how to start a website and take part in this growing market projected to hit $6.8 billion in 2020, I would suggest creating your own site or continue reading.
Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links that may provide me with a small commission at no cost to you.
Even if you’re not making thousands every month, affiliate marketing is perhaps the best way to build a passive income source online.
Affiliate Payments and Commissions
Let’s say you’re selling an electric guitar or a washing machine from Amazon.com as a registered Amazon affiliate for $1000. Let’s assume that this affiliate sale has a 5% commission for this guitar or washing machine. This means that you’ve just earned $50. Not bad.
But there are many far better affiliate markets and programs. For example, some affiliate programs offer 25% and 50% commission for every sale you make. So if you sell something for $1000, your share can be anywhere from $250 to $500.
Most affiliates are paid 30 days after making a sale, but others don’t get paid for 90 days. So you need to be patient in this market.
The best thing about affiliate sales is that you can sell almost anything. Literally! Online courses, web hosting accounts, rubber ducks, refrigerators, hotel bookings, holiday services, VPN registrations… the list goes on.
There is an affiliate marketing platform for every niche.
What is considered a good Affiliate program?
There are four things I look for when I consider applying for an affiliate program to see whether it is worth my time and webspace. Their commission, cookie duration, EPC, and AOV.
Here are the four features of high paying programs:
A commission fee is a percentage you make of a sale that’s funded by an advertiser to an affiliate for referring a new customer. This percentage can range from a low 1% to 30% or higher. I usually don’t go for anything lower than 10%. But of course, this really depends on your niche, audience, and your product or service preferences.
If you might think of a crunchy chocolate chip, don’t worry, I did too when I heard the word. But in this sense, cookies are used to track affiliate link clicks and referrals. Basically, every affiliate program has a cookie timeframe of 24 hours to several months.
For example, if a cookie is 30 days long, that means that when someone clicks on your affiliate link but doesn’t buy anything, you shouldn’t worry. If that same person buys something from you within the next 30 days, you’ll still get your commission.
Cookies are there to track link clicks and referrals. The duration is the length of time the cookie stays on the computer after clicking an affiliate link.
Standard cookie durations are typically 30 days. You can find programs as low as one day (for most Amazon Affiliate products) and as high as 90+ days for Bluehost affiliates.
3. Earnings per click (EPC)
The income an affiliate earns for each click to an advertiser’s website from an affiliate link. EPC calculates the number of sales or earnings per 100 clicks.
4. Average order value (AOV)
The average amount spent every time a customer completes an order. In order to calculate AOV, you have to divide your revenue by the number of orders being made.
How do you get paid for an Affiliate Purchase?
Basically the more high-quality content you provide and the more followers or fans you can amass, the more likely you’ll sell something. You need to get people visiting your page and click on your affiliate links to purchase something. (I will explain this further.)
The question is, how to get started and how can I sell anything to the right customer online?
How to make money with Affiliate Marketing?
Getting started is easier than you’d think.
You have to sign up for a company’s affiliate program and wait for a confirmation to approve your application.
These are some of the biggest and easiest platforms to get started as an affiliate.
- Amazon Associates
- eBay Partner Network
Once you have signed up and been approved you will receive an affiliate link or a variety of affiliate banners (an image of your affiliate brand or product.) You need to use this link and insert them into your content like:
- in an article’s text on your website,
- under the description of a Youtube video,
- your bio in your social media platforms and many more I’ll talk about later,
- Into an ebook or Online pdf,
- Emails from an email campaign.
Through these links, if someone were to click on it and buy something you will automatically get a commission. This is somewhat of a difference for every affiliate program because sometimes you need someone to confirm your application. You need to provide some sort of verification of who you are and where you will promote a certain product or service.
In order to get started, you really have to narrow down your niche and understand the strengths and weaknesses of what you’re selling.
The Amazon Affiliate Program is enormous, encompassing a huge variety of around 12 million products and services sold each day online.
So if you can find something on Amazon, you can sell it and get a cut of the profit. And that includes everything from ebooks to home accessories (including all types of weird items.) there is literally everything for every audience.
On top of that, according to Statista Amazon has a staggering total of 95 million Prime memberships in the US alone by 2018, who have spent an average of $1,400 each year.
Amazon’s affiliate marketing program is pretty much the first place you should check out. But in order to qualify you to need to have an online platform to show where you’ll promote all your amazon products.
The downside of Amazon is that cookies only last 24 hours. But on the bright side, if someone goes on your link and buys a laptop, for example, $1000, you will get your commissions. However, if that same person goes back on Amazon within the next 24 hours and buys a refrigerator or a guitar or anything, you will still get a commission for that product sold. So it can be a great opportunity to haul in big buyers.
Another good thing is that Amazon prolongs the referral period to 90 days. This only happens if visitors add the product or service to their cart but don’t buy immediately. This increases your chances that in the upcoming day if the visitor actually decides to buy their product from the cart, you’ll get your commission.
Below you will also see the commissions given for the specific product or service you’ve sold.
One word of advice!
You can get approval for an amazon affiliate link, however, your account will be deactivated if you’re unable to sell anything. You have to make sure that you can refer a minimum of 3 sales in the upcoming 6 months or your affiliate account will be closed.
So make sure, you can pass that minimum threshold before applying.
Clickbank is a global retailer with much better commissions than Amazon. As seen before, Amazon Associates offer from 1% to 10% commissions, whereas Clickbank offers from 50% to 75% for most of the items sold.
So should we forget about amazon? Not entirely. It depends on the audience you wish to target.
What makes Clickbank stand out is its marketplace for digital informational products like ebooks, courses, video guides, etc. For physical products, Amazon still takes the lead.
But another great thing about Clickbank is that its cookies last for 30 days. This means that if an internet browser clicks on your affiliate link and decides to buy 2 or 3 weeks later, you will still get your well-deserved commission.
The admission for Clickbank is easy and you can get started straight away.
In the digital world, where web design, digital content creation, or even blogging require web hosting, Bluehost comes into the picture. No matter which niche or market people want to grow their online presence, they will need a hosting company to start building their websites quickly and easily.
This is where Bluehost comes into the picture as a simple and cheap hosting solution. Their affiliate program is perhaps one of the best I’ve encountered so far.
They offer 60-day cookies, with a payout of $65 dollars for every dedicated referral.
The only downside is that they have a $100 threshold, which means, you will only receive your payment once you’ve crossed this threshold, or in other words, managed to sell at least 2 Bluehost accounts.
Apart from that, it’s a very easy and simplified affiliate program.
This is another global online e-learning platform, offering a 20% commission with thousands of courses and specializations. One interesting thing about Coursera is the different learning opportunities given out to clients. It offers access to online education through partnerships with the world’s best universities and organizations, including Stanford, Yale, Penn, Intel, and Google. Some of these courses and certifications can be quite expensive. This means that affiliates can make a big buck from all these.
There are only two I’ve come to experience:
- Individual course certificate: Courses usually cost between $49 and $99 as a one-off payment.
- Specializations and Professional Certificates: These run on a subscription basis, typically between $39 and $79 per month.
The payout threshold is low and the program has a 30-day cookie. Affiliate networks typically have a minimum commission threshold of $50, so you need to earn that in order to cash out your earnings. (Once you meet that amount, you’ll receive your commissions in the next payment cycle.)
Compared to Amazon, eBay affiliate program has the edge are the commission rates. Commission rates range from 50% to 70%, so they’re quite high and cannot be found in many affiliate programs with 24 hour cookies.
Below you can see what rates you will receive for each sale.
But Amazon is a bigger brand, which has built more trust. Also, a lot of people still see eBay only as a place where they can buy used products. So hauling in buyers is a bit more difficult than with Amazon, despite the high commissions.
You can withdraw your earnings once you have earned at least $10. So pretty soon.
If you are good at something, never do it for free!
The same principle applies to knowledge and skill. And if you are good at something, don’t do it for free.
Thinkific gives your readers everything you need to easily create, market, and sell your own online courses. You can use your research to build a brand out of it and grow your audience.
Thinkific is an all-in-one platform that allows entrepreneurs and businesses to create, market, and sell online courses.
The platform makes it easy to share knowledge, grow an audience, and scale a business. This is why I recommend it as an excellent affiliate program to make some money and help a lot of people learn for a decent price.
- You can get a 30% recurring commission on all paid plans for as long as the new subscriber pays for Thinkific.
- They offer a 90 day cookie period
- Your affiliate application is accepted in 2-3 business days
According to Thinkific’s own affiliate sign up form, you could earn up to $1700 per referral per year. Not bad!
Podbean is a user-friendly podcast hosting service that allows you to upload your podcast episodes to Podbean. This means that when someone wants to listen to your content, they’ll download or stream the data from Podbean’s servers.
Buzzsprout is a free podcasting platform and software that lets you upload, host, and promote your podcast.
From secure and reliable hosting to full iTunes support, HTML5 players, show stats, and of course, Buzzsprout has everything you need to publish and promote your podcast! If you already have a WordPress website, people can so use it as a WP Plugin to integrate it.
This is why this is another great affiliate program. But most importantly, because its also really straightforward.
But what’s really amazing about Buzzsprout is that you can get: $25 USD per Paid Signup. On top of that. it also offers your Listeners a $20 Amazon Gift Card if they sign up (after 2nd paid invoice.) This makes it really attractive for your visitors to use Buzzsprout if they want to host their podcasts.
Another awesome thing for affiliates is that the cookies never aspire!
Once you have a website with Bluehost and integrated Buzzsprout, you have a much better chance of boosting your audience and online traffic.
Shareasale is an exclusive affiliate marketing platform. You have to look at it like a market where you go to if you want to discover affiliate programs that you can sign up for with the products and services you’d like to start selling.
By applying, you get access to more than 4,800 merchants across multiple markets and niche industries, making it easy to find the right fit for your website.
It’s worth noting that in order to use Shareasale, you need an active website. So make sure your site is up and running before you apply.
I believe most people are familiar with the freelancing giant, Fiverr. But how does its affiliate program work and why would I recommend it for beginners?
Fiverr is a place that allows people to get all kinds of cheap services for their startup and business. Their affiliate program has 4 commission structures.
- Revenue share commission: You get 30% of a 20% sale
- Cost-per-acquisition (CPA): One-time commission that varies quite a lot from $25 to $150. Depends on the niche. These have the highest commissions.
- Hybrid Model: This is a share between the revenue share model and the CPA model.
- Sub-affiliate Model: This is a commission plan for other affiliates. You get your money when you promote a referring affiliate, not a customer. You’d get 10% that is generated through your referred affiliate.
Fiverr has an easy-to-use dashboard to launch, manage, and monitor your affiliate campaigns and a portfolio of resources to help you promote. They make things easy for their affiliates. All you need to do is get people to sign up and pay for various services on Fiverr, for which you get your commission.
Just like with Bluehost, there is a payment threshold of $100.
How to promote an affiliate product or service?
Personally, there are five ways I’d promote anything on Times International. The most common way is through our website and social media pages. But let’s go through each and every one of them to see how it’s actually done.
As long as you have a link, you can insert them anywhere online that you own
Promoting affiliate links on a website is the most common way. Nearly everyone I know uses a personal blog, agency, company, or domain to promote an affiliate link. A website is the best way to insert a link into a text or an affiliate banner ad (image) with a link inserted into it.
With Kindle Direct and Smartpdfs, you can publish and promote your content and still have your affiliate links activated. Just like with a website, you just copy and paste your affiliate link into your images or text. As long as you have a working ebook or smart pdf, people can still access your link and you’ll get your commission.
At the bottom of most Youtuber’s videos, you’ll find descriptions of detailed information of merch, Patreon, sign up and of course affiliate link.
You can insert your affiliate links into your bio, description, or posts on your Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest account.
Word of mouth
As long as you can convince people to sign up for a service or buy a product, you can still get a commission as long as you tell people to sign up through your affiliate link. You can direct someone to visit your page and click on your link so that your affiliate program will register that you’re the original affiliate partner who has led the purchase happening.
I sometimes try and create events to help young adults to build passive income streams. At the same time, I also encourage them to see which affiliate platforms suit their interests and skills to help them promote their websites, podcasts or video channels. By helping them, I also give them the choice to sign up to one of my recommended affiliate programs if they’re interested. This helps me to give free lectures, meanwhile, take a small commission home.
Want to learn more?
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