“Is affiliate marketing worth it?” I’m not going to lie, it’s one of the questions I’m most asked by newbie bloggers.
I make over 70% of my income with my eBook sales.
But affiliate marketing comprises the remaining 20-30% and it’s pretty darn cool because it happens mostly on autopilot and is mostly passive income, just like my eBook sales.
The best part about affiliate marketing is that you don’t need to wait for a certain amount of time to implement this monetization strategy.
You can start applying to affiliate programs almost immediately and start promoting your products ASAP to make your income.
Affiliate marketing isn’t very intrusive either, unlike ads.
If you’re struggling with affiliate marketing or just want to learn more about it so that you can start making money with affiliate marketing, continue reading this post.
If you don’t already have a blog, please read my super-nifty step-by-step blogging guide that will help you start a blog in less than ten minutes.
This post includes affiliate links to products I truly (from the bottom of my heart) recommend, meaning at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small percentage which I will use to feed my sweet, adorable pooches.
Before I begin, let’s get to the fundamentals.
Read this post on the different monetization methods you can implement in your blog before you read this one. Feel free to skip these sections by using the Table of Contents below.
What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting someone else’s products. This someone else can be a person or a company.
For instance, I am not an expert on Pinterest. I admit it very openly because social media is not my jam.
I learned everything I needed to know about manual pinning from Carly’s Pinteresting Strategies eCourse.
So, I promote her eCourse on my blog/emails and earn a small commission when someone decides to buy this eCourse via my link.
See what I mean?
Apart from courses, you can also promote a company’s products. I am an Amazon Affiliate and promote planners and notebooks sometimes in my creative and artistic posts.
And that makes me money too.
Getting to the big question…
Is affiliate marketing worth it?
It can be difficult to make sales in the beginning because affiliate marketing requires building trust and brand loyalty (this is built over time.
This means, you need to build a following and those people need to keep coming back to your blog.
Think of it like dating.
Nobody is going to say “I love you” on the first date. If they do, please run.
You meet a couple of times and that trust is built over a period of time.
Likewise, when you start a blog and start posting frequently (in 1 specific niche), you’re going to grow an audience.
They’ll probably read a few posts of yours claiming that a particular product is good and they’ll do their research.
They may buy it in the future from a link of yours and may make a commission.
If they love the product, they are going to trust you completely and won’t hesitate to buy future products that you are an affiliate for.
This is why you need to be very careful when you’re promoting a product. You need to make sure that the product will truly benefit your audience and that you’re being super authentic.
If it doesn’t, they’re not going to come back for more and you’ve lost your chance.
How do I start affiliate marketing as a beginner?
When you start a blog, you are starting from scratch.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money blogging without taking the risk of making your own products.
It’s one of the best monetizing strategies for newbie bloggers.
If a certain product (that you are an affiliate for) doesn’t make money or isn’t doing well, you can always switch to another or change your niche entirely.
This is one of the pros of affiliate marketing – it’s a low risk!
Here’s what you need to know when you’re beginning affiliate marketing.
1. Pick a niche
Before you pick a niche, do some research on what products/services you’re going to promote. Tracie Fobes has an amazing article on high-paying affiliate marketing programs for different niches. Please check it out.
Once you’re sure about your blogging niche, start the blog.
Remember, the narrower you go, the easier it actually is to make money blogging.
It sounds counterintuitive, but it works because there are too many blogs on the market right now.
The only way to stand out and be recognized is to be known for 1 thing.
My blog is about online businesses and blogging. I do talk about drawing too now (but it’s 3 years after starting my blog and establishing my niche)
Please note that I know quite a bit about dogs and dog medical care, self-care, personal development, singing, etc. but I don’t try to promote this knowledge on my blog.
If I wanted to, I’d start separate blogs for these niches.
Because people come to Stray Curls to learn how to start creating blogs or make an income with their blogs. They want to become an expert in this 1 field.
So, dig deeper to find out who your target audience is.
Now that you know who your target audience is and what they need specifically, it becomes easier to find products you want to promote.
Get my drift?
2. Be extremely selective of the products/services you endorse
The absolute biggest booboo you can make affiliate marketing is promoting a product that sucks.
No, no, no. Don’t do it.
You may earn a quick buck, but you will lose the reader for good.
When picking an affiliate marketing product or service, here’s what criteria they need to fulfill:
- The product should be something you genuinely like
- You should feel comfortable attaching your name to it
- It should genuinely help your audience achieve a goal that is directly attached to your niche.
Meaning, you’re not going to see me promote a banking service on my blog (even if they paid me $2K for each sale). Nope. Never.
3. Engage with your readers
I talk to my readers like they’re my friends.
Sometimes, I need to tone it down though.
Likewise, if you’re promoting a product you haven’t used, do your research well.
Do not lie and say it’s the best product everrrrrrr if you have never used it.
Your readers can smell bullshit a mile away. Yes, they’re human beings with brains.
You don’t want your readers leaving you for someone better in your niche.
Your traffic will suffer, and your income too.
4. Write posts to help drive sales
There are 3 types of posts that you can write to help you drive conversions. They are:
- Comparison posts
- Tutorial posts
- Case Studies
Comparison posts are posts that compare 2 products A and B. Here, you highlight the pros and cons of each product and then tell the audience which you prefer.
People usually search for posts like these when they’re considering buying a product but are torn between multiple choices.
These types of posts have very high conversions.
Tutorial posts are posts that explain how to use the product to gain some sort of benefit.
For instance, if a beauty blogger explains how to actually cover up acne using a particular Foundation, people with acne are more likely to buy the foundation so that they can achieve similar results with their makeup.
Case studies also have extremely high conversions. For this type of post, you need to highlight a product and showcase the results.
I did this on my Pinterest for Bloggers post. I highlighted how the eCourse I took helped my Pinterest traffic.
If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, please my affiliate marketing tips in this post. It will help you understand how to increase your conversions.
How much do beginner affiliate marketers make?
If you’re reading blogger’s income reports where the blogger makes $1K within 3 months, please don’t be disheartened, then there are 4 possibilities:
- This is not the blogger’s first blog. They have had 1-3 previous blogs that have failed or just didn’t grow as fast as they wanted and they now have the experience it takes to start a blog and grow it quickly.
- They already have an audience that they’ve shifted over to their new blog – so making money was a breeze.
- They are making money via their services – providing services like coaching, writing, drawing, etc. This makes it super easy to make an income.
- They’re fabricating their income report or are counting money that has not yet landed into their accounts.
Either way, nobody publishes an income report unless they’re proud of it or want to earn some affiliate income.
Sometimes, bloggers exaggerate their affiliate income because it’s a good way to get people to click on their affiliate links.
It’s unethical, but it works.
This is the harsh truth of blogging.
When you begin blogging and start implementing affiliate marketing, it can take 3-6 months to start making $100-$500. This again depends on which companies you’re affiliated with and how often you post or garner traffic that converts.
But it can take a solid year to grow those earnings to over $1K.
This is the truth.
Pairing up affiliate marketing with ads can help you cross the $1K mark within 18 months.
After which, the sky is the limit with affiliate marketing.
That’s why I genuinely believe affiliate marketing is worth it and if you’re a new blogger, you should start writing blog posts and promoting products in your niche.
Here are some posts that you might enjoy reading:
- The definitive guide to making money blogging
- 7 things I wish I knew before I started blogging
- 17 reasons why your blog isn’t making money (despite trying everything)
- 7 deadly eBook mistakes I made + how I fixed it
Can I start affiliate marketing with no money?
Like I said before, it takes a person multiple meetings with you to understand where you come from.
You can do affiliate marketing with social media, but it’s no longer easy because Pinterest has changed its algorithm and it’s not easy to get clicks.
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it and no one would start blogs.
You need to have a blog and an email list in order to build trust and gain a loyal audience.
This does require some investment on your part.
Additionally, I highly recommend taking 2 courses to help you shorten your learning curve with affiliate marketing.
I took two eCourses that have helped me understand affiliate marketing better.
I have read tons of other books and taken tons of courses, but these 2 were totally different and made a great impact on my earnings.
This eCourse taught me how to insert links in my posts (a lot of hacks are mentioned) that enable the reader to actually click on them easily and also taught me how to write good emails that showcase a product.
Email marketing has been my best return on investment to date so this eCourse proved to be very useful.
I used her tips to not only promote the GBTK bundle from Ultimate Bundles (which is a great Affiliate opportunity), but I’ve also used her eCourse to help me write better emails to promote my own products.
Both ways, they have helped me earn more than $1K per promotion, so I would say it’s a wonderful investment for anyone wanting to get a better grip on affiliate marketing.
This eCourse helped me understand everything there is to know about amazon affiliate marketing.
Debbie (the creator of the eCourse) makes $4-5K per month via Amazon affiliate marketing alone. She’s made over $180K in amazon commissions totally and I didn’t hesitate to join after hearing raving reviews from my blogging circles.
Even though my website doesn’t cater to amazon affiliate marketing entirely (it’s a small subset of a subset), I learned a lot of things that I would never have learned if I had stuck to free blog posts and other eCourses.
I implemented her tips in October and saw the difference the very next month in my earnings.
I highly recommend that anyone who is dependent on Amazon affiliate marketing, take this eCourse.
Here are just a few things I learned from her eCourse:
- What are the types of ads you should use and which convert the best and where
- The difference between transactional and informational keywords and where to use them
- Several types of posts you should write to maximize your Amazon earnings
- How to leverage Tracking IDs
- The best way to showcase your links
Overall, this is not information you can find for free anywhere else.
Is affiliate marketing worth it?
Yes, it is.
It’s a low-risk monetization strategy and if you start building trust and write really authentic blog posts showcasing the benefits of the product, you will find great success. You can live off of your affiliate marketing earnings alone.
It’s that versatile.
Read this post to learn how you can maximize your affiliate marketing earnings!
I wish you nothing but the best!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Here are some posts you might enjoy reading: