How to Actually Make Money with Affiliate Marketing

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Do you dream of being able to work from home and make a real income? Affiliate marketing is an incredible way to do so! Read on for tips, tricks and best practices from a blogger who consistently makes more than $2,500 a month in affiliate marketing.

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I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “make money in your sleep with affiliate marketing.” It’s quite the big claim, eh? When I first started out as a blogger I remember reading that over and over again, but being so confused.

I had a very minimal idea of what affiliate marketing was, let alone how to even use it successfully. To be honest, for the first year I was blogging I struggled to make more than $50 a month with affiliate income!

I grew my family & lifestyle blog Mimosas & Motherhood into a full-time income in six months out of necessity when the pandemic hit and my husband lost his job. I went from making *maybe* $100 a month on a good month to recently making more than $2,500 in affiliate commissions consistently in a single month! You can learn more about our story here.

If you’re reading this article to learn how to actually make money with affiliate marketing because you’re feeling the same way, I want you to know you’re not alone! I have been an affiliate marketer for a few years now, but it took me a LOT of education, trial and error and experimenting to figure out how to skyrocket my affiliate income.

Do you want to learn how to make money with affiliate marketing, but you’re not sure where to get started? I’m here to help you by covering some of my biggest tips, tricks and insight that I wish I knew when I got started with affiliate marketing!

Note: Some links may be affiliate links. That means I may make a commission if you use my links to purchase, at no extra added cost to you! I only recommend products that I personally love and believe in. Full disclaimer here.

Can You Actually Make Money with Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing allows anyone to make good money from literally anywhere. And, yes, you can even make money while you sleep and generate a passive income! Nearly every single day I wake up and I’ve generated a sale while I slept.

BUT (and this is super important): Affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick scheme. While yes, it’s all about generating a lot of profit with minimal effort, that doesn’t happen overnight! It takes hard work on your end to do the research, find the right products/programs and set up your platforms in the right way first.

In this post, I’m going to teach you how to generate passive income with successful affiliate marketing techniques.

If you’re ready to skip ahead you can also snag my free list of 20 Amazing Affiliate Programs for Bloggers and Content Creators here! This curated list includes fantastic platforms and programs to help you maximize your affiliate income, no matter your niche!

how to use affiliate marketing

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Before we dive in, let’s cover the basics. What even IS affiliate marketing? In a nutshell, it’s when an online retailer pays you a commission for sales or traffic generated from referrals you send their way.

Here’s a very easy basic breakdown of how affiliate marketing works:

  1. You recommend a product or service to your followers through your blog, website, social media platform or email list.
  2. Your followers purchase the product/service using your affiliate link.
  3. You get paid a commission for the sales made using your affiliate link.

What You Need to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

To get started with affiliate marketing you only really need two things:

  1. A blog, website or social media platform
  2. Affiliate products to promote

To actually make money with affiliate marketing, you need a place that you can host your links. I highly, HIGHLY recommend doing so with a website, even if you have a large social media following.

Creating a blog is so easy these days, and there are a lot of options out there. I recommend using WordPress (which is what my blog is hosted on). With WordPress you can easily build a professional-looking website quickly, even if you have no idea how to code! Plus, WordPress websites are optimized for speed, security and SEO, which makes them ideal for people who are serious about making money with affiliate marketing.

Need some help getting started? I teach a free course on how to launch a blog that actually makes money! Check out my Free Blogging Crash Course here!

Next, you’ll need to choose the right affiliate products to promote.

My biggest piece of advice is to choose products that are relevant to your niche and content. Mimosas & Motherhood is a “mom blog,” so I probably wouldn’t see a whole lot of success promoting a custom truck lift kit 😉

There are a few different ways to go about this, and one of the easiest is by joining an affiliate network. Affiliate networks are basically businesses that connect merchants to affiliate marketers. It allows the merchant to reach a lot of individuals who can potentially promote their products, and it allows the affiliate marketer to offer a wide range of products to their readers.

There are a lot of affiliate networks out there, but here are a few of the most popular for beginner affiliate marketers:

Want even more to choose from? Don’t forget to sign up for my free list of 20 Amazing Affiliate Programs for Blogger and Content Creators!

Once you have your website, blog or social platforms launched and have joined a few affiliate networks, you’re ready to start promoting affiliate products!

But it’s not as easy as just inserting links every which way in your content. Next I want to share with you my biggest tips when it comes to making money with affiliate marketing for beginners.

affiliate marketing platforms for influencers

How to Make Money With Affiliate Marketing: What are the best tips if I want to make money online in affiliate marketing?

Create Clickable Content That Generates Affiliate Revenue

This sounds like such a no-brainer, but the #1 thing that most beginning affiliate marketers miss is to create the right kind of content for your audience, with the right kind of affiliate products linked.

If you are writing a blog post about the best kitchen knives, but are including links for laundry room organization products too, your readers most likely won’t be clicking on those links. They came to your post to read about knives, not detergent!

It’s also important to remember that if you’re writing a blog post about the best kitchen knives on your website about monster trucks, it doesn’t matter how awesome that post is: your audience of monster truck enthusiasts aren’t on your website looking for that information.

As an affiliate marketer, it’s your job to help users discover the right product for their needs with high-quality content, help them make a purchasing decision, and then navigate them to the product website for completing the purchase.

Promote Your Affiliate Products in the Content of Your Posts

Now that you understand that you need to write posts that fit your target audience, you’ll want to think through the strategy of adding affiliate products. You want to insert your links strategically in a way that makes the most sense for your readers to click on.

Here are a few tips for affiliate link placement:

Only link where appropriate: Don’t add an affiliate link if it doesn’t fit in your content! This will negatively impact your reader’s experience, and will cost you sales if they click out of the article because of it.

Add links as early as possible (but after your affiliate disclosure). Remember that most readers skim a blog post to start. If you save all of your links until the end of the post, you’ll miss out on clicks from these short visits.

Learn From Successful People Doing It the Right Way

Education, education, education! Just like any other new skill, if you want to be successful with affiliate marketing you need to invest in learning from successful affiliate marketers!

While there is a ton of experience stored in social media groups and shared from free in blog posts like this, if you want to start making real money from affiliate marketing (and not spinning your wheels for months and potential years seeing barely any sales), you want to invest in some solid affiliate marketing education.

And Most Importantly: Be honest.

Don’t promote a product you wouldn’t use yourself. Don’t bombard your visitors with untruthful reviews, or ones that are overly optimistic and feel fake.

Provide an honest review of the offer or product you are sharing, with all the pros and cons clearly listed. Be trustworthy and authentic: you’re much more likely to make affiliate sales when people feel that you are trustworthy!

affiliate marketing for content creators

How to Be Successful with Affiliate Marketing

It can be challenging to earn a steady income from affiliate marketing, especially if you aren’t working with the right affiliate programs for you or aren’t sure what you’re doing when it comes to sharing products. Once you’ve built up a website, blog, newsletter, or social media, here are some more steps that I recommend you take to become successful and generate a more reliable revenue stream:

  1. Build trust. Try the products you intend to market so you can personally attest to the quality! Trust is paramount when it comes to recommend affiliate products, especially if for pricier options. Focus on the quality of your own brand and recommendations, not just the earning potential. You want your followers and readers to trust your recommendations, which will make them more likely to buy again from you.
  2. Know YOUR brand. (Confused about branding? I talk a lot about this with paid partnerships, like in How to Pitch Yourself to Brands). Choose affiliate items that match your niche and the content of your blog. Understand who your target market is, where you can find your audience, and how to entice users and followers to buy.
  3. Use variety. If you’re a blogger, mix and match affiliate ads and links so you don’t overwhelm your visitors! If you’re a content creator, create a variety of social media posts.
  4. Know the legal requirements. While most visitors and followers probably know that ads equal compensation, legally you MUST disclose on every single post or page where an ad might be. It’s legally required that you explicitly state that each purchase using that link can generate revenue for you.
  5. Track your links, traffic and earnings. This is a huge one: if you’re not tracking your affiliate programs, you don’t know how to tweak and grow! Monitor the success of your affiliate programs, your links and your click through rates.

How fast can you make money with affiliate marketing?

Like anything new, there’s a learning curve when it comes to learning how to do affiliate marketing the right way. Remember what I said about this not being a get rich quick scheme? You have to be willing to put the time, energy and research into finding what products are best for your niche, as well as which ones truly convert!

I made my first affiliate sale within a month of getting started with affiliate marketing, BUT like I mentioned about it took me over a year of barely making any money to learn how to do it correctly! It takes a little bit of extra time and a lot of commitment, but affiliate marketing remains one of the top ways many bloggers make a majority of their income.

What is an affiliate marketing average income?

I don’t think there’s one consistent answer across the board here. It’s impossible to average, because affiliate marketing is so vast! In the last year I have personally averaged between $1000-$5000 in affiliate income each month. I belong to a few affiliate programs that are super seasonal, which means I see a big influx in affiliate earnings only once or twice a year with them. Other programs I generate sales with every single day.

I also know multiple bloggers who make over $10,000 in affiliate income every single month (and a friend who is now average $20,000 a month)! So it’s absolutely possible to generate big numbers with affiliate marketing.

Ready to Start Making Money With Affiliate Marketing?

You CAN be successful with affiliate marketing! It takes a little bit of work, but with the right techniques, strategy and programs, you can generate a real income for your online business with affiliate marketing. I hope this article was helpful for you as you figure out your own business model, and if you haven’t already, be sure to snag my free list of 20 Amazing Affiliate Programs for Bloggers and Content Creators here!

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