Affiliate Disclosure: Look, I'm working my ass off delivering value to you. So, yes any links that you see in this post are probably affiliate links to help keep this blog going. They are true recommendations and if you click on them and purchase, I probably earn a commission (at no additional cost to you).
In this affiliate marketing explained article, I am going to cover everything you need to know about affiliate marketing.
This includes what it actually is, the most popular affiliate programs and how you can get started today.
I am also going to cover 5 common misconceptions, that I often see around the Internet.
Another thing that I am going to cover is frequently asked questions because I often see the same questions.
By the end of this article, you will not only have a good understanding of affiliate marketing, but you will also be able to start building your affiliate marketing business today.
Affiliate Marketing Explained: What Is It?
The concept of affiliate marketing is actually pretty simple.
Affiliate marketing is when you (the affiliate), sell someone else’s product through your tracking link, and you get a commission. Pretty simple huh?
Affiliate Marketing is a real way of making money online and anyone can do it. There are no limits to how much you can sell because you can sell products while you are sleeping.
Well, while the concept of it is pretty simple most people fail. This is often because they are just trying to make a quick buck and they don’t treat it as a business.
Affiliate marketing is a real business model, and like any other business model, it takes time, effort and consistency.
Another reason why a lot of people fail is that they simply do it wrong.
The selling is the hard part of any business and there are some tricks that you need to use in order to be successful.
Why Affiliate Marketing Is The Easiest Online Business
Affiliate Marketing is by far the easiest online business that anyone can start.
You do not need your own product, customer support and you don’t need to handle all the problems that come with having your own product.
All you need to do is handle the selling.
However, just like with any online business it still isn’t the easiest thing in the world.
That means you need to test, follow working strategies and stay consistent.
Otherwise, you will probably fail.
Affiliate Marketing is by far the easiest online business though, as I explained above. Most people start with affiliate marketing before they go into other online businesses.
That is also proof that it is the easiest online business.
Common Misconceptions About Affiliate Marketing
Below you will see the Top 5 Misconceptions that I have seen about affiliate marketing.
All 5 Of these are not true.
For sure, there will be more out there, but these are the Top 5 Misconceptions that I have seen around the Internet.
1. Is Affiliate Marketing A Scam?
Personally, I always find this one quite funny because I do not understand how it could be a scam.
As I mentioned above, affiliate marketing is a real business and it is when you sell someone else’s link for a commission.
Affiliate Marketing is used by some of the biggest companies in the world such as Amazon and GoDaddy.
They also have affiliates and I can tell you they did not get to where they are by scamming people.
An Example that will help you understand
Below is an example to help you understand why affiliate marketing is real and isn’t a scam.
Someone has an online course on social media marketing that they sell for $300.
They have created this course once & there is no additional cost to creating the product. So if someone would sell the product for him, he would not mind giving them half the money, 50% commission.
Well, that person is you, so he creates a tracking link for you so when someone purchases through that link, the sale gets tracked to you.
Then you get the commission. The owner of the course is happy because he is selling more of his courses with less effort and you are happy because you are earning commissions.
The customer will also be happy, assuming it is a good product that offers value.
You can switch this model with anything, even physical products. However, if used with physical products the commission will probably be a lot lower because there is the cost of the production of the product.
Why Do People Think Affiliate Marketing Is A Scam?
I am not sure if I am completely honest.
However, I have some ideas about why some people might think it is a scam.
Gurus displaying aggressive earning claims, and promising you to be rich overnight.
Gurus selling useless courses, with affiliates for that course.
Other than that, I do not have an explanation unless the people who say that it is a scam simply don’t understand the business model.
2. Is Affiliate Marketing MLM?
In case, you don’t know what MLM is, it is multi-level marketing.
Wikipedia definition: Multi-level marketing (MLM), also called pyramid selling,network marketing, and referral marketing, is a marketing strategy for the sale of products or services where the revenue of the MLM company is derived from a non-salaried workforce selling the company’s products/services, while the earnings of the participants are derived from a pyramid-shaped or binary compensation commission system.
So, MLM is when a company is selling a product and at the same time tries to recruit a non-workforce to work for them on a commission basis, while anyone working in the pyramid-shaped system also gets paid for the commissions of the users below them.
So, for example, if you and me would work in an MLM company and I have referred you, you make the purchase I get the commission. Up until now, everything’s fine. However, now I will recruit you and you go out and make a sale. Now, you get a commission but I make a commission as well because I referred you. If they make a sale, you get the commission and I also get a commission and it goes on and on so you can have thousands of people working under you. It is basically a pyramid scheme.
While this may interest some of you, it really shouldn’t.
Personally, I have never tried any sort of MLM myself, however, I have heard from tons of people that it can get you into some real trouble such as debt.
And btw, statistics show that only 3 out of 1000 are profitable with MLM. 0.3%! Less Than 1%
It is also very looked down on in most communities and it can also be very addicting apparently, in a sense that you do not stop bothering your friends & family and trying to get them to join.
Affiliate Marketing is completely different, you & the vendor are the only people getting paid for the sales you make.
It’s like digital sales closing, or a digital salesperson, with the advantage of being able to do it in so many different ways because you can use your link in so many different ways.
If you would like more information on why MLM is something that you should stay away from, watch the video below.
3. Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?
This is also one of the questions that simply does not make any sense.
As long as there will be products online that are selling, affiliate marketing will be there too. Why?
Because it is beneficial to everyone. Businesses will always want affiliates to sell their products.
Also, the easiest way to earn a full-time income through affiliate marketing is definitely the knowledge industry, which is a $369 Billion dollar Industry.
And it’s only getting bigger. So no, Affiliate marketing is not dead and is not predicted to slow down for a long time.
4. Is Affiliate marketing a “Get Rich Quick Scheme”?
No, it really isn’t. Affiliate marketing is a real way of making money online. However, it is also a real business. That means that you have to invest time and/or money upfront, in order to see returns later.
So, you will not see profits very quickly, but it is possible to see quick profits with the right knowledge, money and time.
In affiliate marketing, it is all about building your affiliate marketing assets which could be:
Your email list
Your social media profile
Your youtube channel
All these are assets that can produce traffic, and you want to produce targeted traffic, in order to get people to your affiliate offer who are interested in it.
All of the assets that are listed above have their own & unique benefits. However, as I said earlier unless you have the right kind of knowledge, money & time these will all take time to build up.
5. Is Affiliate Marketing Legit?
Another question that you should know the answer to by now.
Of course, it is!
As I have explained throughout this article, yes, affiliate marketing is a real business model!
There are tons, and I mean tons of people who are earning a full-time income online through affiliate marketing. That alone proves that it is legit.
It is a career opportunity of a lifetime and there are already so many successful affiliates out there promoting products for commissions.
Personally, what I find so great about affiliate marketing is the passive income that it brings.
Yeah, you will have to put some work in upfront, however, you can:
Have people visit your blog while you are sleeping if they purchase you get commissions
Have your emails sent out automatically while you are sleeping with your affiliate link and get commissions
Have people watch your YouTube review while you are sleeping which has your affiliate link, again you make commissions.
The opportunities are truly endless.
And just to put this into perspective for you there is an example below.
The average conversion rate of first-time viewers is 1%. While the average email follow-up conversions are 5%. (Note: With Low-Ticket Items, you often see a lot higher, and you make even more money with upsells and downsells)
That makes a total of 6%. Have a look at the example below.
Imagine you have a $100 affiliate product that you get 50% Commission for.
You send 2000 visitors to your landing page. 50% Convert to leads. and give you their email. They are then redirected to your affiliate offer. 1% of the 1000 purchases that equals 10 Purchases.
Now, 5% convert in the follow-up emails, that’s another $2500. So $3000 in total. Now, you also have your upsells & downsells + an email list which you can promote different affiliate products to whenever you want
Your advertising cost for this would be anywhere between $800 and $2000. So your total profit would be anywhere from $1000-$2200.
Note:In order to have a campaign like this, you will first have needed to test your emails & funnels to be sure that they convert.
Now, you don’t only have some profits which you can reinvest, you also have an email list which you can use to get affiliate commissions forever.
You can just keep building this list, and as time goes past, you will reach financial freedom. It’s pretty simple really.
The Best Affiliate Programs
Next, I am going to cover the best affiliate marketing programs.
In this guide, I am only going to cover affiliate marketing programs that anyone can join so that anyone reading this can join them.
For sure, there are some other top affiliate programs out there, but these are the best ones that are open to anybody.
ClickBank is the most popular affiliate marketplace on the Internet.
It is completely free for affiliates, and you can promote any product from the marketplace that you want to promote and bag yourself commissions.
What’s great about ClickBank is, is that all the products are digital. That means that the commissions are way higher usually between 50% – 75%!
This is because the products are digital. That means there is no additional cost to the vendor of the product because they aren’t physical products, so there is no cost of producing more products.
ClickBank also has tons of products with recurring Commissions, which makes it easier to make a sustainable income off ClickBank.
They also have loads of products in almost any niche, so they really do have something for everyone.
Personally, I have only used WarriorPlus to promote products in the E-Business & E-Marketing Niche. However, I am pretty sure there are other Products in different niches such as health as well, but I am not sure.
The only notable differences between WarriorPlus & ClickBank are:
WarriorPlus has fewer payment methods
ClickBank is way more popular, which means really popular products are products that literally everyone is promoting. They also often have fake bad reviews, so that other affiliates can suggest their products at the end.
ClickBank has a lot more products and probably a lot more niches, due to its popularity.
WarriorPlus sometimes (not always) has more detailed information about the sales funnel & product prices.
ClickBank Products usually have better promotional material.
On WarriorPlus you have to get approved by the vendors. This is usually pretty easy, but sometimes they do decline.
You can sign up to both affiliate marketplaces and see which one is the best for you, or use both.
3. Amazon Associates
Amazon Associates is Amazons affiliate program.
Personally, I never used it because I like to promote knowledge products because of the higher commissions.
When you are promoting Amazon products, you are promoting physical products.
That means there is the cost of producing the product, which means commissions will be way lower.
Also, I believe Amazon takes a small % as well. However, as I have never sold on Amazon, I do not know.
Apart from that, Amazon works like any other affiliate platforms. You get your links, you promote, and get paid commission for sales.
The Best Pieces Of Software For Affiliate Marketing [+ Free Trials]
Before I go into what the best pieces of software are for affiliate marketing, I would just like to make clear that it really depends on what methods you are using i.e paid traffic, free traffic, etc.
I would also like to say that whichever methods you use, you probably will want some sort of email marketing campaign.
Email Marketing Software For Affiliate Marketing
As I said above, email marketing is essential for any affiliate marketing business. In fact, it is probably essential for any online business.
The main reason why it is so essential for affiliate marketing is that you have the ability to email your leads your affiliate offers forever and whenever you want.
And it is a list of leads that you own, whereas on social media you don’t own your followers.
Email marketing is also really useful for being able to keep in contact with your leads by offering them value etc.
The Email marketing software that I use is called GetResponse, they offer a 30 Day Free Trial (No Credit Card Required) which you can get by clicking here.
If you are looking to go into paid traffic & promoting affiliate products through your email list then I recommend that you get a 14 Day Kartra Trial, and start building a funnel.
Then once you have your funnel connect your autoresponder, drive traffic and start collecting emails. I really can’t explain how you can start because I do not know which affiliate marketing strategy you want to use.
However, the key is to know where you want to go and focus on getting there.
Who Is Affiliate Marketing For?
Affiliate Marketing is for businesses that are trying to sell more of whatever they are selling and people (affiliates) who are trying to build an extra income stream.
Affiliate Marketing has made businesses millions and average people millionaires.
It is such a great model and if you are trying to build an additional income stream or maybe even more, affiliate marketing is for you.
Affiliate marketing is also for most online marketing beginners. Most big marketing “gurus” start by selling other people’s products.
Who Offers Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is used by a large proportion of online businesses.
This question is usually asked by people who want to become affiliates.
The answer to this question is that there are so businesses that offer affiliate marketing it would probably be impossible to name 1% of them.
However, here are some affiliate marketplaces who you could sign up to for free today:
Why Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
The reason affiliate marketing works is simply because it benefits everyone.
It is beneficial to the customer assuming the product offers a lot of value, it benefits the affiliate who wants to earn an extra income and it also benefits the business who wants to make more sales.
Why Start An Affiliate Marketing Business?
That really depends on you. However, if you are looking to build a (passive) income online, affiliate marketing will always be the easiest option.
As I mentioned earlier, you will never have to worry about customer support, shipping or any other struggles that come with having your own product.
You only need to sell, sell and sell. That’s it and that is the reason affiliate marketing will always be the easiest online business to start with huge potential.