Affiliate marketing is one of my favourite way to make money.
Because it’s pretty easy and can be pretty passive, depending on what you are promoting of course.
Is Affiliate Marketing Suitable For Beginners?
Yes! At its core, the process is revenue sharing. It is a way to make a commission by promoting a product you love. If you can find people to refer your affiliate link to who are happy to buy then you can make money. Obviously the bigger the audience, potentially you can make more money.
Let’s reel it back a bit before I start getting over-excited about affiliate marketing and how you can make it work for you. Often beginners don’t grasp the nuts and bolts of how the whole thing works. It’s a question I see often in online groups, especially from bloggers and newbie online entrepreneurs.
Before we dig in, a disclaimer (and you will learn why I do this later) Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means that if you decide to purchase something after clicking my link, I will get a commission on the sale, at no cost to you.
How Does The Affiliate Link Work?
Generally, this is the process:
I sign up for a product or with a company I love, we will use Amazon in this example.
There will be an affiliate dashboard with a personalized link for me to use. I am an affiliate for a lot of products and the dashboards can be super simple with nothing more than the personalised link to extremely well organized with added copy and images so that you can set up a whole launch around the product.
If you are just starting out, don’t get bogged down with all that yet, I’ll just grab the link…
In my blog post or social media, I share a link…
“Hey, did you get my book Montessori yet,
it’s available on Amazon HERE!”
The reader clicks on the link and on doing so a cookie (tiny piece of code) is placed on the readers’ browser. Usually for a set amount of time, in Amazon’s case, it’s 24 hours.
The reader is now taken to Amazon and has a few different options:
- Buys the item they originally clicked through to, in this case, my book then checks out.
- Buys the book then does some more shopping and checks out.
- Decides not to buy the book but browses and buys something else.
- Clicks away but returns within 24 hours and buys either the book and/or something else.
- Clicks away and doesn’t buy anything.
In all but the last case, I will make a percentage of the sale including anything extra added to the cart. Option 2 is the best for my wallet as I make money on the book and whatever else they buy.
Cookies, the piece of tracking code. Amazon has an unusually short time of 24 hours, most companies it is 30-90 days.
But what happens if a reader clicks on your link then goes and clicks on somebody else’s link before buying? Who gets the credit?
Usually, it is the last click, which can suck, especially when you are promoting a big program and you have spent time answering questions and generally being helpful then the person clicks of someone else’s link before buying!
Sometimes it does go on the first click, this is something to check with each affiliate program you join.
How Much Money Can You Make With Affiliate Marketing?
How long is a piece of string?
Amazon Associates is probably the biggest and easiest program out there but the affiliate payout isn’t great, it depends on the amount of traffic and sales conversions but it’s between 4% and 8%.
To the other end of the scale, I am an affiliate for some big programs, these usually cost around the $2000 mark and the affiliate payout is often 40% – 50%.
If you go all out with one of these big course launches you can make a nice amount of money without too much effort.
Obviously the big course launches tend to be to a set schedule, many of them only launch once a year and often you have to have taken the course to be able to become an affiliate.
But it’s not just about the percentage of commission, the size of your audience and the amount of traffic you have also makes a huge difference.
If you can drive consistent traffic to a blog post with affiliate links, all those small sales soon add up. Using blog posts is a great way to encourage affiliate clicks, you are not selling per se, instead just rave about how much you love the product and why and that will do the selling for you.
How Do I Become An Affiliate?
First, we need to break the parts down. There are 4 ‘cogs’ to the affiliate money-making machine.
The Creator – the person/company/seller who made the product
The System – this is where the affiliate links are created and sales are tracked
The Affiliate – the person promoting the product
The Buyer – the person buying the product
To become an affiliate first you need a product you love. You can find pretty much anything on Amazon but say the thing you love is not on there. For example, one of the apps I love is Airtable (it’s like a database system on steroids, I use it all the time!) Log in to the account and have a poke around.
Look for anything that says affiliate, partner or referral, quite often that will lead you to the sign-up page or automatically gives you a link – like in the Airtable example.
With Airtable it is called a referral, I get a $10 credit for anyone who signs up, the app itself is free but they have an upgrade version with extra bells and whistles and I can use my credits towards the upgrades.
Sometimes the affiliate/referral link is hidden in the footer. If you can’t find one, try emailing the company. I have done this several times and have affiliate links for products that I love but are not widely promoted by other affiliates.
Another way is to sign up to an affiliate market place such as ShareASale.
Some companies have both a referral link and an affiliate scheme. In that case, the referral link is usually for you to share with friends and family vs an affiliate link which is used for marketing on a bigger scale.
Another system that some companies use is to have referrals set at a quota and then when you reach the quota you can join the affiliate scheme. GenM does this well. After you have made 9 referrals, you get lifetime free interns plus the chance to join their affiliate scheme. (GenM is a portal to hire marketing interns, you can read more about that here)
Another thing to be aware of is that there is often a minimum threshold before you get paid, it is often $50, that means you need to ear $50 in commission before you get paid.
Or you have to wait to get paid if the product has a money-back guarantee, usually, you have to wait until after the money-back period had passed.
How Do I Get People To Buy With My Affiliate Link?
If you work on the know, like and trust factor then the selling is the easy part, as long as you LOVE the product you are trying to promote.
Anyone who knows me knows that I hate fish and shellfish. So if I wrote a post about these shrimp cleaners, raving on about how much I love them, those who know, like and trust me wouldn’t be trusting me for very long.
They would see right through my ruse of trying to get them to buy something I have no love for! I have NO IDEA what, why or how you use shrimp cleaners, no-one in their right mind would take my recommendation!
On the other hand, my people know I am a girl-nerd and that I LOVE testing apps so if I shared about my favourite social media scheduling tool, Social Bee. And wrote about why I love the tool and maybe did an insiders video to go with it. people are likely to take that recommendation as gold and far more likely to buy.
Another tip is to make yourself available for questions, I am more than happy to answer questions about any of the products I promote (except for those shrimp cleaners!). And I am 100% honest on whether I think the product is right for them.
It’s Not About The Sale
Well, it is and it isn’t.
The way I look at it, I want people to take my advice and recommendations seriously, and not regret a purchase after I have recommended it to them.
Twice I have talked people OUT of buying a $2k course, which meant me losing $1k each time!
The first, the course and the reader’s goals were not aligned. I had completed the program and knew it wasn’t the right fit. The second the reader was going to put herself into a lot of debt to be able to take the course, I suggested she waited for a year, saved her money and if she felt it was right for her the following year, then take the leap.
Both of these women have gone on to buy other things I have recommended, why? Because they trust me.
Can Anyone Be An Affiliate
Yes and No!
Some affiliate programs have specific rules, sometimes you have to be a customer, completed the program, show that you use the ‘thing’.
You might also need to share your email list size, social media following and a plan on how you intend to promote the product.
Most companies don’t want their product promoted by spammers and so often there is some kind of vetting process.
Aside from individual affiliate programs, your location might be a problem. This is something you will need to check, the first thing you should check is how you will get paid. This varies from company to company and may not be possible depending on your location.
Most of my affiliate payouts go directly to PayPal so if you don’t have a Paypal account, that might be something you need to set up before you get started.
You may also need to declare tax information depending on where the business is based that you are affiliating for.
What Rules Do I Need To Be Aware Of When I Am Affiliate Marketing?
It is always a good idea to follow the FTC endorsement guidelines, that disclaimer I mentioned at the start of the post – this is why!
You need to be upfront and honest that you are promoting something otherwise people feel duped and that you weren’t honest, even if that wasn’t your intention.
The disclaimer needs to be clear and above the link, not hidden away in the footer in really small writing!
This goes for social media posts too and emails if you are promoting via email.
PLUS – Each program has its own terms and conditions, it is your responsibility to read and follow them.
For example, with Amazon your link has to be public, you can’t share it in emails or in closed Facebook groups. The link has to be somewhere that the Amazon bot can crawl. If Amazon finds that you are sharing your link other than the public forum, it will close you down and you lose any commission you might have made.
Often with course programs, you are not allowed to share your link in the course owners free Facebook group.
If you decide to get serious with affiliate marketing then you need to check permissions when it comes to running ads.
For bloggers, the easiest way to get clicks is to send traffic to your blog post and let the post do the work rather than promoting affiliate links all over social media.
Is Affiliate Marketing Spammy?
Not at all!
This is most definitely a mindset thing. The way I see it, I know of a product, I love the product, I know other people would also love the product if they knew about it. I am doing them a favour sharing the product.
The majority of people don’t give a rats ass whether you are making a commission from the sale IF you are being honest and upfront with them.
In fact, I have people message me all the time asking if I have an affiliate marketing link for XYZ because they know I tend to share affiliate links and because I have helped them in the past in some way, they want to return the favour.
And as an entrepreneur, if I want to buy something I often ask around to see if anyone has an affiliate link for me to use. Everyone wins!
As a blogger it is also easy to pepper a post with links without going overboard. This post is an example! Food bloggers and crafters, can create a shopping list for your readers, make it easy for them to click through.
Good, solid, honest reviews will make you more sales than gushing spam fests!
To be successful with affiliate marketing:
- Only promote products you use and love.
- Always do it the ‘right’ way, be honest that you are an affiliate.
- Be open with your answers to questions, don’t chase the sale over breaking trust.
Anyone who joins the Wonder Mom Success Club can become an affiliate which is a pretty sweet deal because it is recurring revenue. If one of your people signs up for the monthly subscription, you get 30% each and every month that the sign up stays a member!
Do the work once, get paid over and over!
The Wonder Moms Success Club is my membership for moms who are looking for a community of business moms for support, masterminding and tech help, you can find out more here.