Affiliate marketing can be a lucrative way to make money. Once properly set up, it can be a good source of passive income, ideal if you want to establish multiple income streams. On Monethalia, every post includes the following sentence just below the introduction: To ensure Monethalia remains free of charge, this post contains affiliate links. In this post, I will explain to you what this actually means and how you can use affiliate marketing to make passive income. And you do not even need a blog for this to work!
Here we go: To ensure Monethalia remains free of charge, this post contains affiliate links.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing means referring people to a website/service and earning a commission for this. For example, if you use my link to sign up to Monzo, you will earn £5 and I will earn £5. This money is paid directly by Monzo. This affiliate scheme is part of Monzo’s marketing strategy to attract new users.
In essence, an affiliate marketer is earning a commission for referring people to a product/service.
Why do companies run affiliate marketing schemes?
Affiliate marketing is a powerful source of new users for Monzo and more effective than running ads. This is because people are more likely to trust other people than a company. Imagine the following scenarios and you will understand why:
- Monzo says they offer a great bank account
- Your friend says Monzo offers a great bank account
Personally, I would trust my friend and be more skeptical of what a company is saying about themselves. This is why it pays off for Monzo to offer a referral scheme.
Companies like Monzo calculate their average profit per user/customer. If Monzo expects to make £20 from the average customer, they can pay £10 to the referer and the referee and still make a £10 profit. Note that this does not mean you have to spend or invest any money.
How much can I make money from affiliate marketing?
The good points about affiliate marketing are that anyone can do this, all you need is a PC or laptop and an internet connection. You can get started even if you can only invest a few hours per week and work from anywhere you like.
Affiliate marketing can be highly lucrative and it is possible to make a full-time income. The amount you earn is dependent on your performance. If you do well, your profits will reflect this. That being said, it can take a while until you make your first money.
In the beginning, you will have to focus on learning and figuring out which methods work for you. This is the stage which involves a lot of work and little profit. From there, your profit should gradually start to build up and you can reduce the effort you put in. Once properly set up, affiliate marketing allows you to earn truly passive income (although it can take years to get there).
How can I begin to make money from affiliate marketing?
Choose a niche
Rather than blindly throwing around links, it is more effective to choose one area to focus on. For example, Monethalia is a blog about money so that is what my affiliate links relate to. Adding affiliate links for ordering flowers would be a waste of my time as this is not what my readers are interested in. In fact, existing readers may become confused about Monethalia’s purpose and leave.
Choose a topic that you are interested in and stick to it. This way, you can connect with your target audience, people who are interested in this topic and are more likely to make a purchase.
There are different methods of affiliate marketing
In fact, you are probably already an affiliate marketer without knowing. Recommending your friends items or services you like and giving them a referral code is a form of affiliate marketing. However, you probably only have so many friends you can refer. To step up your game, there are two approaches. Which one is right for you depends on whether you own a website/blog.
Affiliate marketing with a blog
If you own a website, affiliate marketing is very easy to do. All you need to do is choose programs (more below) that are suitable for your target group and place your referral links on your website. You have several different options for this:
- Write a product/service review
- Make a list of products/services you use
- Mention useful products/services in your blog posts
- Add catchy images (with affiliate links) to your sidebar
The key here is to choose services/products that will be useful to your readers. If you recommend poor quality goods, your readers will quickly catch on and stop following your website. Poor affiliate links can be detrimental to your website’s performance.
Affiliate marketing without a blog
If you do not have a blog, you should consider setting one up. Blogging comes with a myriad of benefits and you can use my free super simple guide to get you started in under 15 minutes. No special skills required! Should you not be interested in starting a blog, that is totally OK. You can still benefit and make money from affiliate marketing. This approach is a bit harder but can be equally profitable.
To make money from affiliate marketing, you will need a place for links. Social media may be a good option, especially if you have a large group of friends/followers. There are two challenges to consider with this method:
- You can only reach people that are friends with you/follow you
- Friends/followers are unlikely to appreciate frequent posting of affiliate links and may unfriend/unfollow you
- Friends/followers are not looking to make a purchase when using social media
To overcome these potential issues, you need to actively expand your network by either befriending more people or using groups. You also need to make sure that your affiliate links come across as natural and non-spammy. Lastly, you will have to convince your friends/followers to make a purchase.
Making a full-time income from affiliate marketing purely with social media is hard unless you are a celebrity. You would have to take full advantages of Facebook groups, Reddit, and Tumblr.
Some websites allow you to directly share your affiliate links. Quora, for example, a platform for asking questions, allows you to put affiliate links in your answers. The difficulty here lies in finding an affiliate link that is highly relevant to the question. The advantage is that Quora already is a high-traffic site that frequently shows up on the first page on google.
If you are not averse to writing, you can write guest posts and post on other people’s blogs or perhaps even online magazines. Most bloggers have a contact section and explain what guest posts they accept (Monethalia is open for guest posts on most money-related topics).
You can also submit your affiliate link to discount sharing sites such as VoucherCloud if signing-up offers any benefit to the referee. On these sites, most popular offers will have been submitted already, so it is crucial to find a valuable niche affiliate link.
Pinterest is a visual search engine and probably the most popular choice for affiliate marketing without a blog. Because you can have followers just like with social media and use group boards, it is far easier to get exposure compared to other search engines such as Google.
The downside of Pinterest is that establishing a profile takes time and effort. If you are looking into this, you will find people reporting on how they earned their first commission within a week or within 24 hours even. Be aware that these are rare exceptions and they probably already had an established profile to start with. More reasonably, I would expect it to take at least three months until you make your first income, depending on how much time you put in.
To be successful with Pinterest affiliate marketing without a blog, here are a few basic tips:
- Use Tailwind to schedule your pins (Get your free trial here)
- Design visually appealing pins using free tools such as Canva or Paint.net
- Pin at least three other pins for each pin with an affiliate link (re-pin other people’s content)
- Join active group boards (you can find these using PinGroupie)
Pinterest affiliate marketing without a blog works like all money-making methods. You can either invest time and learn for free by yourself or invest money and pay for a course. I completed the course Paid by Pinterest from Elise of House of Brazen. This course is a lot cheaper than others but still provides you with all you need to know and extra value.
Affiliate programs you can join
Evidently, to make money from affiliate marketing, you need to be affiliated with someone. The first step to find affiliate links is to look at websites/services you are already signed up to. If your niche is about flowers, the website you use to order flower soil may have an affiliate program that you can join. Then, you can branch out and join other programs.
The Amazon affiliate program is very beginner friendly as Amazon is well-established and you know they are legit. When joining, you can also market any product that is sold on Amazon, giving you access to a huge range of products.
ShareASale is the most popular affiliate network for those who have a website. They have the best selection of offers that are profitable. If you are a beginner, I recommend you start by applying to them.
ShareASale can be a bit picky with their applicants so make sure to fill out every section in the application form.
CJ Affiliates is the other affiliate network that I am using. If you want to look into this, you are best off searching for “Commission Junction” which is their old name. They have a variety of affiliate programs but the disadvantage is that you have to apply for each one individually.
When posting an affiliate link, no matter where, it is important that you label your link as such. This disclosure should be easily readable and visible. I put my affiliate link disclosure just after the introduction. This is because readers will notice it BEFORE they see any affiliate links. Hiding your disclosure somewhere in the footer or at the bottom may mean that readers make a purchase without seeing it.
On a final note, also make sure you pay your taxes! Many websites promoting affiliate marketing forget to mention this, but you do not want to lose your hard-earned income to tax-avoidance fines. Keep in mind that regulations may differ between countries.
How to make money from affiliate marketing summary
Affiliate marketing means referring people to products or websites and earning a commission in return. This is part of a company’s marketing strategy. Affiliate marketers work from home and enjoy flexible working hours. You can make a full-time income from affiliate marketing but this may take some time to set up.
To get started, choose a niche and think about whether you want to use a website or blog for your affiliate links. If you decide against this, Pinterest affiliate marketing without a blog is a popular and profitable method. There are many affiliate programs to join, but well-established affiliate networks such as Amazon, ShareASale and CJ Affiliates are a good starting point.
Should you decide that affiliate marketing is not for you, choose from 99 other ways to make money.
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