Are you interested in earning money online?
I like to use the word earn over the word make, because this does involve work.
This ain’t a blog post about pushing buttons and money falling out of the sky.
That’s a pipe dream the YouTubers sell you.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to get started earning money online, and I will share four reasons below.
In this blog post, I outline 7 steps you need to take to get started with affiliate marketing.
I first started affiliate marketing in 2011, and have learned a thing or 72 along the way.
This blog post is will with actionable tips, and I purposely left out the confusion, overwhelm and complexity.
How to Get Started Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
First off, for those who are unfamiliar with affiliate marketing, here is the definition per Google: It’s the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products/services. You find a product you enjoy/benefited from, promote it with a personalized link (URL), and you earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.
Why Affiliate Marketing?
There are several reasons, but here are a few of the obvious ones;
- You can get started today
- You do not need to offer a product or service yourself
- You have the luxury of not dealing with customer service nightmares
- You can monetize your interests/passions
Starting out with affiliate marketing can be confusing, overwhelming and frustrating.
I pride myself on keeping shit ‘brain dead’ simple.
Complexity & confusion are words that I no longer associate with.
Step 1: Choose a Niche
This is arguably the most important step. Don’t stress about finding the “perfect” niche, as there is no such thing.
The most profitable niches are typically in one of these three categories;
Some other niches that might not fit in the above categories are;
These are more passionate niches, where the first list revolves around problem-solving. Both can be insanely lucrative.
Any niche can be made profitable, if you put in the work. If you’re struggling with a niche, you can always create a personal blog and talk about several topics/products.
Ed Latimore, a former heavyweight boxer, is a guy I follow on Twitter. He earns $5,000 per month from his personal blog and talks about a variety of topics including boxing, business, mindset, sobriety, meditation, dating, etc.
You’re only limited by your imagination.
How to Avoid Burnout
Most online entrepreneurs chase the money, and almost every one of them eventually burns out.
It happened to me.
In 2015, I launched a Shopify store selling women’s jewelry. I sold $272,000 in women’s jewelry in about 14 months. I paid off a ton of debt, took my Dad to the Masters, but eventually hit a wall and couldn’t do it anymore.
The big Man upstairs did not put me on this planet to slang turquoise earrings to Helen in Iowa.
I HIGHLY recommend picking a niche you have an interest or are passionate about. You are going to be producing content for years to come, so it would be smart to pick something you enjoy talking about.
Don’t be like most where you give up too soon on your dreams.
Step 2: Launch a Website
Calm down, it’s not nearly as hard as it was in 2010 when I got started. Truth be told, it wasn’t that difficult back then.
However, it’s so much easier now.
You can build a WordPress website, which is what most people do. Here is a blog post I wrote about it: How to Set Up a Website in Under 30 Minutes
However, I recently stumbled upon another platform that is much more user friendly, with faster loading times (important for search engine rankings in Google), and offers everything you need to get started with the exception of an email service provider.
It’s a website builder that offers landing pages & funnels, a few dozen “plug-n-play” templates, a payment processor and has eCommerce capabilities.
It truly is an All-in-one web solution.
You can get started for $12 per month (if paid yearly) or $18 per month, if you pay monthly. I have been using it for the last 6 weeks, and am blown away by the simplicity of it.
You want your own website as this is going to be your main hub. This is where you’ll host all your content (written, audio and/or videos).
A website is something you are in complete control of.
Many people grow audiences on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and/or Instagram, which is great. However, you’re building your business on someone else’s “land”. You can be banned from any one of those platforms, and you’re business suddenly vanishes.
I just read about a guy on Twitter who’s account was terminated. No reason, no warning. Just gone.
This is why having a website is a must for ANY type of online business. You want to protect yourself.
Step 3: Setup Your Marketing Machine
You want to leverage technology that is available to all of us to save you an incredible amount of time.
This technology is going to enable you to generate leads ‘round the clock — 24/7/365.
You’ll be able to have messages (emails) that you write ONCE that get delivered to your leads for months/years to come.
Landing Page — This is also referred to as an opt in page, lead capture page, and/or squeeze page. The goal of this page is to generate a lead. This lead will then receive follow up messages (emails) from you automatically.
If you sign up for the website builder I recommended in the previous step, they offer landing pages, so use that.
Lead Magnet – This is a digital piece of content you’re going to offer your prospect on your landing page in exchange for their name, email and/or phone number. The blueprint you’re reading right now is my lead magnet.
Email Autoresponder – This is a piece of software that will store all your leads in a database. This will allow you to write messages and automatically send them out in a sequence to your new leads. You can blast out broadcast messages to all (or a segment) of your leads. Write one email, send it out to hundreds/thousands of leads with a push of a button.
For affiliate marketing, I highly recommend Get Response as they are “affiliate marketing friendly”. A lot of email providers will shut you down, if you are doing affiliate marketing.
Email Automation – Inside your autoresponder, you have the ability to set up automated follow up sequences (referred to as workflows in Get Response). Not only is your follow up automated, but these tools can allow you to send out emails (automatically) based on actions your leads take.
- If they open this email, send them this email.
- If they clicked on a specific link, send them a follow up email in 13 minutes.
- If they did not open a specific email, send them the email again in 2 days.
You truly are limited by your imagination in what you can do with these email automations. They’re insanely powerful, and only need to be setup once. This is how you “make money in your sleep”.
All you need are two tools;
- A website builder (grab your FREE 14-day trial here)
- An email service provider (grab your FREE 30-day trial here)
That’s literally all you need to get started. Most will overwhelm you with 17 unnecessary tools, and cause massive confusion.
I like to keep shockingly simple.
Step 4: Choose an Affiliate Network
You have a niche, a website, and your marketing machine is in place. Now, you need to find an affiliate network (s) to join.
An affiliate network is a network of companies that allow you to promote their products, and they’ll pay you a percentage.
I HIGHLY recommend only promoting a product/service that you have used, and benefited from. That or have done extensive research on the product.
Amazon Associates – Did you know Amazon will pay you for helping them market? It’s true. You can join the Amazon Associates program (FREE). You can get personalized links for any product on their site, and if someone clicks your link and purchases ANY item within 24 hours, you’ll earn a commission.
Each of their categories pays a different percentage, but it’s typically in the 2% – 10% range.
Commission Junction – This is a website that has thousands of companies you can promote for. Companies such as Nike, Bose, 1-800-Got-Junk & American Express, among many, many other household brands you’d recognize.
You can make money from the products you use each & everyday.
Share-a-Sale – This is another network quite similar to Commission Junction.
Clickbank – This is another popular choice among online entrepreneurs because this network focuses on selling digital products.
Digital products don’t cost anything to produce & there is nothing to ship, so the margins are much higher. On Clickbank, you can earn anywhere from 30% – 100% of the product you sell via your affiliate link.
High Ticket Programs – You’ll have to do some searching for these ones, but they’re out there. Companies offer digital products/training and/or coaching that they charge thousands for, and you can earn a nice chunk of that.
These programs typically pay 20% – 50%, so you could earn $1,000 from one sale!
Software – Most software companies offer an affiliate program. You can earn recurring commissions (paid each month) from software, as most of them are a monthly service.
Software typically pays 20% – 40%, but if it’s recurring, it could pay you for months/years to come.
Step 5: Create Content
Your content is how you gain awareness/attention, and we’re all in the attention business.
Unapologetically share your story with the world.
Eliminate your fear of judgment RIGHT NOW! Sadly, this is the #1 thing holding people back.
Do what EXCITES you.
Someone out there needs to hear your message.
As far as I’m concerned, you’re being selfish by not sharing it.
The internet is waiting for you.
Not only does your content garner awareness, it also builds trust in your audience.
People buy from people who they know, like & trust. Your content is how you build up all three of these things.
Your content works for you 24/7/365 and never takes a day off. I have YouTube videos from 5+ years ago people still watch. That’s incredibly powerful.
Determine your strengths, what you enjoy, and leverage your current skillsets.
If you have a face for radio, YouTube is probably not for you.
If you enjoy talking, but are terrified of the camera, why not start a podcast?
You can use an app like Anchor.FM, where you can create, distribute, host, and monetize your podcast, 100% free.
If you enjoy writing, start a blog, and/or publish on websites like Medium.com and/or LinkedIn.
Step 6: Pick Your Platform
When starting out, I recommend picking ONE platform and going all in. None of this “half pregnant” shit.
Commit to a single platform for 90 days, and re-evaluate how things are going. Make the necessary tweaks/changes.
Some of the many platforms out there include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. I recommend a place where your target market hangs out.
Think of a platform as a communication channel where you can interact/network with your target market. This is how you build credibility, trust and rapport.
These platforms can serve as a source to drive traffic back to your longer form content (website/blog, podcast, and/or YouTube videos.)
If your target market is 18 – 25 males, Facebook is probably not going to be your best bet. Instagram and/or TikTok would be better choices.
Whatever platform you choose, create a schedule and be CONSISTENT.
Consistency is the secret to success.
Most jump from platform to platform before gaining any traction. Do not be like most.
Remember what I said in step #2, I HIGHLY recommend setting up a website, regardless of the platform, as this will serve as your “home base”.
This is where you can store the content, whether that be written, audio or video.
A website is something you own, something you control.
Step 7: Take Fast, Imperfect Action
Do not wait.
Done is SO MUCH better than perfect.
There is no such thing as perfect, it’s an illusion.
So many people have the skills, knowledge and experiences to build a wildly successful online business, but are crippled by procrastination.
You are going to fail, get used to it.
Understand that it’s ok. I got started in 2010, and I fail daily. As long as you learn from it, it’s not failure.
This is why I recommend doing something you have a strong interest and/or passion for, as it’ll help you push through those tough times.
Get off the sidelines of life, and get in the damn game!
You have greatness inside you.
Go unleash it on the world, the internet is waiting for you.
Rooting for you!
Wrapping It Up
Affiliate Marketing is the most newbie friendly way to start earning money online.
I am not going to claim it’s the “best” online business model like many others do.
With affiliate marketing, your only focus is sending traffic to the company’s (your an affiliate for) website. No need to create a product or service, no customer service nightmares, no website to build out.
It might just be the simplest online business model online.