The Benefits Of Affiliate Marketing (Updated 2021)
This Post was first created in 2019 now despite what can only be described as a terrible 2020 the affiliate incomes are still coming in. Two things have kept my business going through this year, having an email list and having a recurring affiliate income.
My first big win in online marketing 15 years ago was through affiliate websites, after that I mistakenly ignored it as it isn't the sexiest of ways to generate an income.
Over the last year I've started to focus on it again.
As with all online marketing it's good to set goals, my first goal was to generate $5000 in a month counting just affiliate income, that has been achieved, the next goal is to get to a regular $10,000 per month. I am still working on that!
Read on if you want an insight into how effective affiliate marketing can be if you take the easy approach.
Benefits Of Affiliate Marketing
Today I thought I'd put together some thoughts on why you should consider using Affiliate Marketing to generate an income steam. But first a warning ... getting those monthly affiliate commissions can be addictive.
My first ever success online was a "lucky" blog post I made that generated $20,000 in a weekend thanks to Oprah featuring the product I had just wrote about in her favourite things show. After that I did the occasional affiliate campaign but generally focussed on my own products.
This was a very short sighted view as some of the affiliate programs I promoted had recurring commissions, some of those commissions might have been a small around $13 per months but they lasted for over 6 years. One of these promotion alone generated a high 5 figure income.
A while ago in Serious Marketers Only we decided to focus on recurring affiliate income for our first quarter sprint.
As part of that I set up a few test campaigns and stuck with them for 3 months.
The first payment I receive was $179
The image on the right shows the figures from one product, Updated (October 2020) each month it should grow and over time blossom into a nice income that covers all my monthly expenses.
Is it worth setting up affiliate campaigns?
Yes, it not only gives y0u a monthly income but it is cost effective and come with very few costs upfront
Generally creating an affiliate marketing income doesn't require too many marketing skills all that should been done by the marketing materials used by the product creators.
I'll let you decide but below you'll find a guide to exactly what I set up and how I promote my campaigns .
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing #1 Creating Long Term Assets
Creating an affiliate promotion creates an asset you have and can benefit from for years to come.
These assets don't need to be large or difficult to put together. For example my Convertbox Promo site consists of 3 pages
- An Overview (Bridge Page)
- A Review
- An Article
On top of that I've done several videos showing how I use it.
It just sits there and ranks in google and the videos rank in youtube. I don't need to update it or maintain it apart from ensuring the plugins are up to date and that it's still ranking.
This asset generates 4 figures a month without any input from me. I am sure if I pushed it harder I could generate more.
BONUS: Ranking for a product name is MUCH easier than ranking for a niche search term. The article shown on the image on the right is ranking on the first page after 3 days for the term Convertbox Review, you'll also notice there is a Video showing up as well.
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing #2 - Building a Passive Income
Personally I don't like the term Passive Income it makes it seem easier than it is, I prefer the term "Leveraged Income." However let's stick with Passive income for this article.
Once you have built up your assets , which frankly don't need to be websites, they can be videos , a course, a report etc, you can then reuse them whenever necessary. They are there working for you 24/7.
You just need to get traffic to them. Which is something many people seem to forget!
One of the reasons I love recurring commissions is that once I have made a sale, then that income grows month after month, year after year.
I am still getting $10 a month from a promotion I did back in 2009 (you do the math!)
As you saw above last February I received $179 from one recurring promotion, a year later it was over 10X that amount.
I haven't really done much to promote that products and I've not spent a cent on ads. Hopefully it will continue to grow but if it doesn't I can spend a few weeks writing fresh content, running some ads of creating an email promotion.
As you can see from the image below the Earning Per Click and conversion rates from affiliate campaigns can be pretty good. This is partly down to the fact when people are searching for reviews they are almost ready to buy.
The first image is from a new product I started to promote this month (October 2020) the second is various products I promote through about the year. Combined it soon adds up.
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing #3 - Cover Your Costs
You don't really need that many tools to be a successful online marketer however they will cost you money. What better way to recover your costs than to promote products you use?
My marketing stack is very simple:
All of those apart from ActiveCampaign is a one time payment.
I promote all of those as an affiliate and all have covered their costs many many many times over.
Additionally if you were looking to buy those products would you be more inclined to buy from someone who can demonstrate how they use them with screenshots and videos or from someone who just wrote about them?
If you are considering buying products make sure to check out their affiliate programs for example In SMO we offer members 50% commission that means they only need 2 sales to have free access, it might not seems much but it all makes a difference in the end.
If 2 products have similar features I'll always go with the one that is easier to use and has the better affiliate program
BONUS TIP: Always check what affiliate programs any product you buy have.
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing #4 - No Customer Service
If you sell your own products you have to provide Customers Service, it goes with the territory. The need for this is negated by selling affiliate products. you may occasionally be asked a question but thats about all.
All the key support and Customer Service will be done by the product owners.
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing #5 - Building a List
YES! You can use your affiliate promotions to build a list, then as you start to know what your list likes you can create your own products or find other related products to promote further down the line.
Create a report or a video funnel about the product you are promoting or how to use it. " 10 Overlooked features of Product X" "5 things you must do when you purchase Product Y"
Then use a landing page or workshop registration to give access. This will build your list and give you many more chances of making sales than if you sent traffic directly to the sales page
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing #6 - Generate Income Faster
You can start to generate an Affiliate income immediately after signing up for an account. For example if I signed up as an affiliate for a Clickbank product today I could email out that link in a promo email today.
I could post it on a Facebook page, a Pinterest pin, I could do a video on YouTube etc.
On the other hand If I want to sell my own product then I have sites and members area to build, content to create.. I'm a few weeks away from my first promo.
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing #7 - Affiliate Promotions Can Be Automated
Set and Forget ... you’ve got to love it.
You can automate all of your affiliate campaigns and never need look at them again.
There are lots of ways of doing this here are a few ideas to improve your affiliate marketing.
- When someone joins your list add them to an automation with a 6 week delay, then after 6 weeks it triggers a 5 email sequence ending in a promo for an affiliate product.
- Once someone opts into a report have relevant affiliate links embedded and add them to the follow up sequence.
- Retarget anyone who spends 30 seconds or more reading a product review with your affiliate link.
- Create a series of posts that get posted to social media each month
How To Choose An Affiliate Product
One of my goals for the next few years is to grow my affiliate income to over $10,000 per month
You'll notice that I said "few years" this isn't going to happen overnight and so there's no rush or pressure on me I can take a month to build a site if I want and then leave it to mature.
Your first goal should always be to cover all your monthly expenses.
Then double that.
But First You Need To Work Out What To Promote
2 Types Of Affiliate Products
There are 2 types of affiliate products that I can promote, recurring offers and one time offers.
Recurring are my preferred source of income as they build over time the problem is they are relatively rare.
On the positive side they might only pay out $5 a month but they will do that for years to come and they can grow over time
These will form the basis of my "Affiliate Empire"
Next are one time payment products. With these I look for something that makes longterm promotion viable.
You need to be careful with what you choose to promote here, something that pays $20 severely restricts how you can promote these offers if you want to make a profit.
Something that pays $100+ gives you more freedom so for example you could run a retargeting campaign for people who have landed on your promo
What Products To Choose To Promote?
I have very strong views the range of products I will and won't promote. It's totally up to you to choose an affiliate partnership but here are my suggestions.
1. It must be something I use on a regular basis.
If at any time I stop using a product I then stop actively promoting it.
2. It must be by someone I know and trust
If I don't use a product on a regular basis the only time I would promote it is if I knew the marketer and trusted him. Even then I would ask for access to some of the files or app/plugin so that I could check that it does what it's supposed to and is of good quality.
My first big success in online marketing was as a result of an affiliate promotion. After that I sort of drifted away from the affiliate marketing space.
This was partly because a lot of stuff on clickbank or Commission Junction was pretty crap!
I also don’t like Commission Junction, Share-a-sale etc. Too often do program owner's stop their affiliate program or change the rules with no notice
My number 1 rule now for affiliate marketing is that you have to be comfortable with what you promote.
I'll follow this article up with some more that detail my actual processes for creating affiliate promotions.
Affiliate Marketing Strategies
We’ve looked at why you should consider affiliate marketing and how to choose the products you promote, now let's look at how to promote them.
There are 4 methods I use to promote affiliate products on a blog.
1. A comparison article: Product A Vs Product B for example 4 years later and this article still gets views and is ranked on the first page in Google
2. An Email list
We mentioned this earlier but it's worth saying again
Please please please build an email list!
It will fast become the most important part of your business. When our home was in the middle of a wildfire what got us out of trouble? An email list. Look at those image above and in particular the EPC number.. that's earning per click. The high numbers are down to having an engaged email list the low number running ads.
When I find a new product that is perfect for my customers how do I tell them? An email list.
3. A Free Course Tutorial
I actually use the following image on the article above.
It offer readers of the article a free course on getting started with Activecampaign. This has 2 positive effects.
It builds a list of people interested in active campaign plus they can see multiple Affiliate links during the course and see all the benefits.
4. Review Articles
Every affiliate blog should have at least one review article.
Firstly it's easy to use them to rank in google and people do search for Product X Review.
Normally it can take up to 6 months for an article to rank, i've seen review posts rank on the front page of Google in a week.
The best thing to do to get it to rank is to make sure you have 100% SEO scores in Yoast or WebTextTool and then get some links to it. Youtube, Google drive, Slideshare etc.
Quite often that is enough.
I created the post below which is a review of Convertbox a couple of days ago I fully expect it to be ranking once I get a few links to it.
Top Secret TIP! I wrote this article in Google docs, Google scan your docs for links. So adding links to new articles in Google docs is a surefire way of getting indexed. The easiest way is to create a spreadsheet and add in all your new content.
Using video to promote affiliate products is very similar to blogging.
Ensure you use easy to remember links and post them in descriptions and tell people they are there
There is pretty much not much more to say about it apart from consider using both methods together.
In the image below you'll see a series of Convertbox videos all of these either link to convertbox directly or to a landing (bridge) page.
We’ll look at bridge pages in the next section
The Final way I promote affiliate products is via paid traffic. Before you switch off this doesn't need to be expensive!
The key to advertising a product is to use a bridge page such as ConvertBox Secrets. I've actually gone a bit over the top on this one, it doesn't need to be so in depth.
The reason I use a bridge page is to help me to sell the product a bit more and to show the bonuses people can get by buying through my link.
You could link directly from a facebook ad or a google ad but by using a bridge page you keep more control and can intensify your promotion to get better results.
Let's look at how It might work.
Sarah is looking for a way to collect leads, a friend mentions Convertbox she goes to google and searches for "Convertbox Reviews"
She now ends up on our review page and reads it and goes and does some more research. However after 30 seconds our facebook pixel fired and added her to a custom audience!
That evening she logs into facebook and see our Retargeting Ad: Looking for Convertbox? Check out our exclusive bonus!
She clicks on it goes to our Bridge Page see's the bonus .. and buys.
BOOM we spent 40 cents and got a sale 🙂
At the start of this I talked about 3 strategies I use, in truth I generally use all 3 together to ensure they best possible results.