By June Tapia
April 21, 2020
One does not need to look far to find stories of bloggers making six-figure incomes and higher from building an audience and then monetizing that audience through affiliate marketing. It sounds easy enough, but once publishers get started with the process, they quickly find that not all advertiser offers are worth accepting. Even when they are, converting traffic into sales is no easy feat.
To add to this, when you hear the words affiliate marketing, the phrase “passive income” is often in tow. This creates an illusion that making an income from blogging, vlogging and other online platforms is easy. This notion is false. Don’t let this discourage you from getting started and striving toward your six-figure goal. Still, it’s better to start this journey with realistic expectations of what it takes to get there.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
This sales and marketing strategy is based on commissions. When publishers have a massive audience, such as news agencies, they can benefit from more passive income. To achieve this, they designate slots on their websites where advertisers can run ads. When people complete an action that counts as conversion, such as buying a product, the publisher gets a portion of the income.
Smaller publishers more often take a hands-on approach to marketing that involves direct sales pitches. Some do this blatantly with product reviews while others work products and services into existing content. Publishers receive a portion of the revenue generated from these sales or get paid for some other conversion action, such as when someone downloads an app.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
One of the most common questions new affiliate marketers have is how companies know who sent them a customer. While the available options are not foolproof, they do work:
How Much Money Can You Really Make?
Earning a livable income from affiliate marketing is a time-consuming process in the beginning, so it’s only natural that you want to know the average reward for your efforts. According to ZipRecruiter, serious affiliate marketers make a national average salary of $144,040. Even though this is the average, it is widely inflated by the professionals who make much more money. Most professionals earn between $82,000 and $117,499.
The top-ranking affiliate marketer makes up to $10 million in revenue. However, one professional shared that at this level, marketers are also spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing each month to bring in traffic. He shared that in his best month, he spent more than $400,000 on ads. This brings the profit from most top marketers down to about $1 million per year.
The marketer also explained that big corporations with websites that are essentially content creating machines attract even more traffic and make far more money. He estimates revenue in the tens of millions for these businesses.
Finally, note that affiliate marketers often receive additional benefits outside of cash. They get opportunities to test products and services ahead of everyone else. For instance, at one point, Tesla allowed customers to earn points toward a complimentary Model Y or Roadster based on referrals.
What Are Some of the Basic Steps You Need To Follow?
As you can see, affiliate marketing is not quite as passive as many people make it out to be. It either requires investments of time, money or both. Even so, the rewards are well worth the work. Here are some of the steps you should follow to start, build and grow your platform by leaps and bounds:
Choose a Platform: There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a platform. The first is the content you are best at. Long videos are great for YouTube, while short videos do best on Snapchat, Facebook and TikTok. Photos perform best on Instagram. For writing, create a blog. In fact, even if you choose another platform, a website provides a central hub for your brand.
Build an Audience: Building an ongoing relationship with people is a lot like making new friends; it rarely happens overnight. People take time to evaluate your content, see if you’ll stick around and then warm up to you before they commit. Be authentic and consistent to build trust. Engage with your audience to keep the conversation going.
Grow Your Email List: When people start committing, create an email list to solidify that commitment. If you chose not to use a website as your primary platform, then you can create a one-page website now just to give people a place to sign up. Use solid SEO practices for your website, whether it’s just one page or it hosts a regular blog. This is key to bringing in regular traffic.
Review Products: The best way to let individual advertisers know you’re open to sponsoring products is to start reviewing the ones you already own that suit your niche. Some people purchase products with their own money for review purposes and then sell them. You don’t always need to do full-blown reviews if this is not your niche, but give a few honorable mentions or recommend products you used for specific topics tackled in your content.
Test Programs: Once you figure out your niche, look for programs that fit this and start testing. Try not to test so many programs at once that you lose track. Test only as many as you can put enough effort into, to see if they actually work. Give each one anywhere from a month to six months before making your decision.
Narrow Down Your Options: Now that you’ve been testing programs and reaching out to merchants, you’ve probably gotten some experience and a few solid offers. Take a second look at your content strategy and then the numbers. Consider who you enjoy working with most and then make your final decisions.
How Do You Find the Right Advertisers?
As many successful publishers will share, quite often the right advertisers find them. Companies in your niche may contact you after seeing a compelling article you wrote or after reviewing your social media page. In fact, publishers tend to get a lot of offers like this, but many of these are also from disreputable companies. Vet each offer carefully and ensure they align with your content, audience topics and personal values.
You might also come across brands you like to work with on your own. The smaller the company and the more your audience overlaps with theirs, the greater the chances of them saying yes. Create a compelling pitch and then take aim. As your website becomes more established, aim for bigger fish in the affiliate marketing sea of opportunities.
Another option is to sign up for specific affiliate networks. There are a number of reasons to choose networks instead of focusing all your energy on negotiating individual contracts:
How Do You Choose the Right Affiliate Network?
The most important factor to consider when it comes to choosing your affiliate network is the industry you best serve. For instance, if you enjoy writing about everyday consumer items, Amazon’s affiliate program may best suit you and your audience. Similarly, if you primarily write about personal finances, LeadFlash may offer better opportunities.
Another important factor to consider is how comfortable you are with working independently. Some experienced marketers prefer programs where they control most of the process themselves. Beginners who need help easing into the affiliate marketing program benefit from the guidance of account managers who can answer questions and give tips. Experienced publishers looking to save time may also enjoy having an account manager handy.
Finally, consider the data analytics. Even personal Twitter accounts provide free analytics, so any company withholding this information is suspect. Choose a company that provides at least the basic analytical tools you need to monitor performance so you can finetune your sales strategies.
Is LeadFlash Right for You?
We are industry leaders in financial affiliate marketing, particularly when it comes to personal loan offers. Whether you write about how to finance tiny homes or how to pay off debt faster, we may have financial advertisers looking for a publisher just like you.
New to marketing? No problem. Our account managers will walk you through the process of getting set up and bringing in a steady income. Your success is tied to our success and that helps to ensure a mutually beneficial partnership.
Do you still have questions? Our team is ready to answer them. Give us a call at 561-499-3329 or send us a message via our contact form.
LeadFlash is a proud member of:
© Copyright 2020 LeadFlash.comAll rights reserved.