Make Money With Affiliate Marketing.
Now for the fun part!
There are various ways you can generate money as an affiliate and I’ll be covering many of them in this section.
Depending on your situation, you may either be fully committed to becoming a full time affiliate marketer, or you may just want to use it as an extra revenue source for your already existing business.
Affiliate Marketing For Existing Businesses.
We’ll start with anyone looking to add additional affiliate income into their already existing business.
If you are starting a new business and you want to become a full time affiliate marketer, then feel free to skip this section.
This is perfect for anyone who:
- Is a coach/consultant.
- Is a service provider.
- Sells digital products.
- Has a membership site.
- Bloggers, podcasters and vloggers.
- Is a social media influencer.
In other words, if you have existing customers, an email list or social following, you can generate revenue with affiliate marketing.
Strategy #1: The Tools Or Resources Page.
The first technique is to set up a tools or resources page on your website that lists out any of the products you yourself use.
You’ll see on our resources page, we list out the most common tools we use to run our business, Screw The Nine To Five.
For example, an essential service for any online business is website hosting. We mention both an affordable option and a higher priced, higher performance option.
You can see that we are providing our affiliate link via the LEARN MORE buttons and the logos themselves.
For example, if you hover over the learn more button for WPengine, you will see the URL path: screwtheninetofive.com/recommends/wpengine
This is what’s called a cloaked link. When you click on it, it will redirect you to our affiliate link. Any sales made will result in a commission for us.
To be clear, the person buying the product or service WILL NOT be charged any extra. The margins are only reduced for the merchant.
FYI: we use a free WordPress plugin called Thirsty Affiliates to create these links.
As an added layer of value, it’s worth reaching out to any merchants whose products or services you are wanting to list on your resources page to see if they can hook you up with a special coupon.
Just another way to hook your audience up!
Strategy #2: Blog Posts, Show Notes & Youtube Videos.
If you are a blogger, podcaster or YouTube personality and you’re not using affiliate links when mentioning certain products or services, then you are losing money every day!
Ultimately, it’s a simple 4 step strategy:
- You create a piece of content (blog post, podcast or video).
- If you mention a product, see if the merchant has an affiliate program.
- If they do, sign up and create your tracking link.
- Insert the link (in the blog post, podcast show notes, YouTube video description).
Here’s an example of us placing affiliate links in the show notes of this podcast episode.
I’ve spoken to a lot of people who are not taking advantage of this opportunity.
It’s clear the reason why is either, they didn’t know there were affiliate opportunities or there were too many and they didn’t know how to stay organized.
Here’s how we stay organized at Screw The Nine To Five.
Step 1: We Find & Apply For The Affiliate Program.
Most of the time, the link to the affiliate program can be found in the footer.
Go ahead and sign once you’ve found the affiliate program.
Step 2: Create Affiliate Link Using Thirsty Affiliates.
The next step is to generate your affiliate link before using the WordPress plugin Thirsty Affiliates. The example I’m using is the book called Clockwork on Amazon.com.
As you can see, Amazon makes it easy to generate affiliate links.
Next, go ahead and create the cloaked link using Thirsty Affiliates.
Step 3: Add To Your Affiliate Link Tracking Sheet.
The next thing we do is take the newly created affiliate link and add it to a tracking spreadsheet. This way we can easily grab it the next time the product is mentioned.
I also like to include a few extra columns like category, affiliate network, commission and login information for the affiliate program.
You may find over time that your list of affiliate links blows out to several hundred and so staying organized is KEY!
Step 4: Insert The Affiliate Link.
The last step is to insert the affiliate link into the desired location. Simple as that!
Strategy #3: Email For Affiliate Marketing.
Next, let’s talk about using your email list to generate additional affiliate revenue.
If you have a growing email list, then you have a great opportunity to suggest products and services to them, without coming across desperate.
We do this through our weekly newsletter called The Hookup, where we frequently mention books we’re reading, courses we’re taking and tools we’re digging.
In fact, we even have a section inside The Hookup dedicated to mentioning a tool we’re loving called What A Freakin’ Tool, as shown below:
The most important thing to keep in mind is creating a structure that contains a section like this in your own newsletter.
And this could be for anything.
If you’re a health coach, you could mention a supplement or a book you’re loving right now.
If you’re in the pet space, you could have a section dedicated to the latest toys for your pets.
The list goes on!
I also recommend giving your weekly newsletter a unique name. This has been proven to be a successful concept as shown by the popular newsletter, The Skimm.
How To Become An Affiliate Marketer Full Time
This next section is dedicated to anyone looking to earn a living primarily from affiliate marketing.
I’ll be covering a particular strategy called The Authority Site System.
The Authority Site System.
Let me start by saying that we are not the official experts when it comes to creating authority sites.
Therefore, I recommend attending this free training on building Authority Sites by the guys over at AuthorityHacker.com.
I promise you won’t regret it.
Note. Authority sites are not specifically all about making money through affiliate marketing, however it is one of the better options for monetizing these types of sites.
Mark & Gael break it all down into 5 easy-to-understand steps:
- Find a profitable niche.
- Keyword research & structuring your website.
- Setting up your website.
- Creating content & outsourcing.
- Promoting your website (building links).
The great thing about their approach is that they talk a lot about using one merchant, being Amazon.com, to earn money.
This is good because it means that your payouts are consistent and it’s easy to track your growth, month-to-month.
I’m going to simplify this even further into 3 steps:
- Find a profitable niche.
- Create & promote content on your website so you can rank on Google.
- Refer people from your website to your merchants.
Most, if not all of the traffic you will receive to your website will come from ranking on page 1 of Google.
This is called search engine optimization.
Step 1: Finding A Profitable Niche.
The first step is to uncover a profitable niche.
This is based on a couple of factors including:
- SEO competition (how easy is to rank on Google).
- Commercial intent (finding keywords that could lead to a purchase – ie. best collars for small dogs).
- Monetization (are there many products on Amazon and how much do they cost?).
- Personal Interest (whether or not you have some interest in the niche).
- Avoid mass market niches (things like phones and laptops should be avoided due to a high level of competition).
If you’re having trouble thinking of some niche ideas, then the following 3 categories may help (this approach is borrowed from this podcast episode on the Authority Hacker Podcast):
Think of hobby-style niches that people are obsessed with like, paintball, horse riding or drones.
These are niches based on how someone would describe themselves like, I’m a vegan, I’m a runner, I’m a pug owner or I’m a kitesurfer.
These are niches based on a specific problem like weight loss, rosacea, diabetes, etc.
An example of a good niche would be biohacking, which, if you don’t know is based on taking steps to hack your body whether it be for sleep, weight loss or even brain function.
There are a lot of books, supplements and more available for purchase on Amazon.com like infrared sauna’s, which supposedly are used for detoxification purposes.
This is a great niche for anyone who has an interest in this area.
I recommend taking some time to group together a list under each of these categories. Then, use the 5 factors mentioned above to see if you can come up with a suitable niche.
Step 2: Create & Promote Content.
Next up, after setting up your website (watch this free training to see how) it’s time to start creating content that Google can find and index in their search engine.
There are essentially 3 different types of content I recommend creating for your authority site:
- Information style content (eg. are infrared saunas safe).
- Comparison style content (eg. best infrared saunas).
- Review content (eg. jnh sauna reviews).
Of course, before you can start creating content, you first need to find keywords to target and for this, we use Ahrefs and their Keyword Explorer.
I don’t want to spend too long explaining how you can find great keywords to target.
Instead, I’ll let Ahrefs show you how in their killer free, 3-part keyword research video training shown below:
Part 1: How To Do Keyword Research.
Part 2: How To Find Thousands Of Keyword Ideas For SEO.
Part 3: How To Measure Keyword Difficulty & Rank On Google
Just keep in mind that you want to put yourself in the shoes of the person doing the searching.
For example, someone searching for best infrared saunas is probably thinking about making a purchase. Whereas, someone searching for benefits of infrared saunas is most likely looking for information only.
Keywords that have purchase intent are more likely to convert into affiliate commissions over keywords with information intent.
Creating A Content Calendar.
Once you understand the fundamentals of keyword research, it’s time to build out a schedule so you can start producing consistent content.
For this we use a tool called Monday, which allows us to create boards specifically to use for content calendars.
The great thing about Monday for those looking to build an affiliate marketing business, is that when you start outsourcing content, it’s easy to slot in freelancers to take over the work you were once doing.
There are also multiple views that make it even easier like the calendar view as shown below.
When creating a content calendar, I recommend working month to month initially before planning out and scheduling on a quarterly basis.
Once you have your content calendar in place, every Monday just sign in and click on My Week to see what tasks you have to complete.
Simple as that!
Some other good alternatives to Monday are Trello and Asana.
The next step is to start creating your content and for this I’ll show you a couple of examples.
Firstly, one common type of content which is great for earning affiliate revenue are product reviews.
Take for instance this review of the popular landing page tool, ClickFunnels.
Shown in the image above, you can see a simple table of contents:
- ClickFunnels Pricing & Features
- ClickFunnels Tutorials
- ClickFunnels Vs LeadPages
- ClickFunnels FAQs
- Should You Use ClickFunnels
Typically, we keep to the same structure with all of our reviews.
The most important thing to keep in mind when creating reviews is to remain honest and trustworthy.
Your goal is to rank on page #1 of Google for keywords like, product name review, product name reviews, buy product name and many more.
Therefore, if someone lands on your review after searching on Google, they’re likely wanting to read an HONEST opinion of the product before they buy.
If it’s not the best option available to them, feel free to say so and recommend something else instead.
Next up, we have what we call comparison content.
These are designed to compare different products next to each other. Take this example for instance, which compares all the best WordPress page builders.
SIDE NOTE: This website uses a page builder called Elementor in case you were wondering.
As you can see, the goal is to list the best products in an easy-to-read comparison table.
SIDENOTE: There’s also this tool called AAWP that allows you to quickly generate comparison tables for products listed on Amazon.
In this case, we are hoping to eventually rank #1 on Google for the keyword term, best wordpress page builder. The monthly search volume isn’t high, however there is commercial intent, which is the main thing.
The final type of content you are likely to create are called information posts and right now you’re actually reading one of these!
This is what we call an ultimate guide, and its goal is to cover everything someone would need to know about a topic. In this case, the topic is affiliate marketing.
Not only are these articles extremely informative, but there is also a chance to suggest certain products you think the reader may find useful.
In fact, throughout this guide you have probably noticed me mentioning products periodically.
My goal isn’t to push unnecessary products and services your way. Instead, the goal is to mention products we use, or that we think will be helpful to you as an affiliate marketer!
This is by far the most important part of the process and is normally the biggest roadblock for most people.
As we’ve already discussed, your goal is to rank on page #1 of Google for as many keyword terms related to your niche as possible.
We call this process, search engine optimization (SEO) and there are many different factors that will determine your ability to rank.
More of them are discussed in greater depth in this free training, but for now I’d like to introduce you to the idea of building inbound links to your website, also referred to as backlinks.
An inbound link is when someone else places a link on their website that points to your site.
Take for example this guest blog we wrote for entrepreneur.com. Firstly, as part of our bio, a link gets placed at the top which points to our homepage. (shown below)
And secondly, there was an opportunity to place a link to another one of our pages within the article itself. (shown below)
This method of building inbound links is known as guest blogging (covered further in this podcast episode) and is by far the easiest strategy to get started with.
Google places a high amount of importance on inbound links.
It shows their algorithm that if many other sites are willing to link to your own, then it assumes that your site is an authority and should be ranked high in their search engine.
We are working on creating an ultimate guide to SEO which will be available in the near future.
For now, I really do recommend watching this free training by the guys over at Authority Hacker to learn even more strategies.
Step 3: Track Your Affiliate Commissions.
The final step of this strategy is to make sure you are tracking your affiliate commissions.
If you plan on just promoting products through Amazon, then it will be easy to track your sales.
If on the other hand you are using multiple affiliate programs, then I recommend getting into a monthly schedule of checking your sales and entering them into a Google spreadsheet.
Generally speaking, as your website traffic grows, so too should your commissions. If not, then reach out to your merchant to make sure your links are being tracked accurately.
SIDENOTE: There’s this tool called ClickMeter that helps you better track all of your affiliate links. That way if you feel your merchant isn’t tracking commissions accurately, you can show them data that confirm your total clickthroughs.