I never advocate relying on affiliate income as your only form of revenue, or starting a blog with affiliate sales as your only monetizing strategy, because for most bloggers it amounts only to pennies, maybe dollars, and even that isn’t consistent. Sure, you might earn a few bucks here and there or a credit to put toward a service you use regularly. While every dollar’s welcome, of course, and this type of affiliate earnings can supplement other income, it’s not enough to support a family.
Having several affiliates is not a guarantee of making money online. Studies show that a successful affiliate marketing campaign requires you to get the right collaborations that would drive traffic to your site. Whether these associates are big or small sites or even a combination of both, you must create and maintain strong relationships with the affiliates.
To those on the outside, affiliate marketing can seem like a black box. It’s inner workings are mysterious to most marketers and in many companies it’s not treated with the same seriousness as other channels. Some marketers, only familiar with the bad reputation acquired by some industry players in the 2000s, deride it as a source of spam and little more.
You'll also need ecommerce software, fulfillment software, worry about warehousing, customer service and refunds. But that's not all. You'll also need traffic. Think search engine optimization, Facebook ads, and other social media campaigns. It is hard work, especially on your own. You could opt for Amazon's platform, which might be the easier route. But, then again, at the end of the day, this is a serious business, which could produce significant profits. So you're either all in or you're not.
It’s an excellent opportunity to offer technical training courses that teach people how to learn a much-needed skill, or accomplish an important task. It could also prove to be an important testing ground for your educational courses. If you are able to market your course on the site, against direct competition, you may be able to direct marketing to the general public, using a website, videos, or even an affiliate marketing program.
I hear your concern. However, one reason I love affiliate marketing is because it tends to be the most affordable marketing channel. This is because you are only paying affiliates for people that converted on your site into an actual customer. It’s CPA — cost per acquisition. When you compare this to other paid marketing channels like Facebook or Adwords, you’re going to end up paying CPM — cost per impressions, or CPC — cost per click. In these cases you end up wasting a lot of money on people who do not become actual customers. This won’t happen with affiliate marketing. You do need to have some form of budget in order to be able to payout affiliates for the leads they send, but you’ll want it to be a percentage of the revenue you are making, so that your margins are high enough that you’re making money. I have seen affiliates make anywhere between 5%-40% of revenue. Keep in mind, the higher the commission rate, the harder affiliates will work to promote you and prioritize you as a partner.
Blogging can be a great side hustle. Though the income may not be steady and it can take awhile to get rolling, there are a few steps you can take to ensure success. I would recommend that before you start thinking about money, you start thinking about the topics you are truly passionate about. What can you talk about and learn about for days? That’s exactly what you’ll be doing for years to come, after all. Get some more tips on starting a blog here: How to Start a Blog and Make Money in 7 Steps
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Once you have decided what type of product you are going to sell, you need to decide where to sell them. Selling merchandise on Amazon or eBay aren’t your only options. Creating your own eCommerce store is another way to promote your products and generate sales. Once you have decided what you are going to sell, whether it is white labeled products, your own designs, or other people’s merchandise, you can set up an eCommerce website to display these products.
Take good pictures. Some of the options below don’t require you to actually take the picture and sell the product, but for the ones that do, make sure you take a clear picture that makes your product stand out from the others. If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, set up a small “studio-like” area in your home with a backdrop and proper lighting to really make your pictures come across as professional. And of course, you’ll want a good camera too.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.