Realistically…… not much. There’s quite a bit to know. The learning curve is steep, but once things are set up and the basics are in place it will get easier. I’ve seen several people make sales at 2 months, but they are superstars and worked on their new businesses full time and overtime. Plus, they had mentors and marketing material, and money to invest in advertising.
I’m not trying to doubt you. If you’re resolute, you’ll succeed.
However, my experience was failure for 3 years with Amazon, Clickbank and Share a Sale, and I’m a hard worker and fairly sharp guy. I thought I could figure it out, but wasted a lot of time and money. After 3 years I finally had this big epiphany and realized I needed guidance and then found relative success. I’m so glad I didn’t give up and have learned a few things I’d love to share.
The programs I mentioned are great because they’re free to join and have thousands of products to choose from. I loved grabbing my Amazon affiliate links from the toolbar on my browser and then posting them on Facebook, but I only had enough commissions to get paid out twice because I didn’t meet the minimum commission level to receive a check. Amazon seemed to change the rules a lot too. Anyways…
I learned that it takes the same amount of time and effort to promote a product that pays .80 cents in commission (like books) as it does to promote products that pay thousands in commission (like luxury items, memberships, etc.). Don’t waste energy promoting products or services that don’t pay. I can’t believe how much time I wasted making that mistake. That’s something to consider with Amazon. People go there to save money, not to spend thousands of dollars per transaction.
What’s a product funnel?
I then learned what a product funnel is. It’s a term that you’ll hear a lot, but it took me forever to figure out what the heck it is. It’s a line of products that can be cross-sold to your referred customers. This does not exist on Amazon and I’m not sure about the other platforms.
As a general rule, it’s much tougher to get a new customer vs keeping an existing customer. So, you want to have multiple products that can be sold to the same customer. That’s how you increase ROI. Successful product funnels overdeliver on value with an inexpensive product up front (top of the funnel) and that earns the customer’s trust. Then there are complementary, more expensive products that can be sold to that same customer (middle toward bottom of the funnel).
And if you’re smart, you’ll find product funnels that require the customer to pay a subscription because each time they renew, you’ll earn a commission. You can effectively annuitize your income and make more every year.
The fastest way to make affiliate sales
Speaking of Return On Investment, I also learned that success comes much quicker to those who can pay for advertising. Trying to use a blog or SEO to generate leads will take at least 6 months and more like a year. I was too cheap to pay for advertising in the beginning, but was promoting low-dollar products anyways so it wouldn’t have made financial sense. I would have spent more on advertising than I could have made in commissions.
The challenges here are coming up with content for an ad and knowing where to advertise and to whom. You also need a landing page where people will exchange their email address for info, or simply buy your product. I use Convertri.
You’ll also need a follow up series of emails, because even after clicking on your ad the overwhelming majority of people navigate away from the landing page and don’t opt in or buy on that first impression. So, you’ll need an email autoresponder. Aweber is the most bang for the buck and has the best customer service of any company I’ve ever done business with.
If it sounds like a lot…. It is.
In order to come up with content for an ad, you either have to devote the time to learn and do it yourself, or hire someone. It’s that way for every single aspect of your new affiliate marketing business.
I made the mistake of trying to do everything myself because I was cheap. I learned a lot, but fell behind on my journey because I’d get discouraged or overwhelmed. If there’s a task you dislike, like video editing for me, then invest a few bucks on Fiverr.com and have someone complete that task for you. I found a website guy in India who has worked for me for 4 years now, I think. WordPress and website management can be a bottomless pit. If it stresses you out, hire someone to take care of it and focus on the business tasks you’re good at and that you enjoy.
Another thing I learned is the importance of community. It’s much easier to make sales when you have contact with others who are trying to do the same. There are tons of Amazon, Clickbank and Share a Sale affiliates, but not really any organized places where they gather to help each other. If you can find others to follow and collaborate with, you’ll be successful much faster.
Speaking of following others, coaching and guidance is absolutely key. Find someone who started from zero and became successful and emulate their business. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Just do what other successful affiliates are doing.
How do I promote an affiliate link fast?
The fastest way to get your affiliate links online is to put them into social media posts, but that doesn’t necessarily equal sales. Online marketing is a numbers game. The more impressions or eyeballs you get on your offer, the more clicks through to your landing page or product page. The more people who hit your landing page, the more likely you are to get sales or opt-ins.
Paid advertising is the way to accelerate traffic to your offers and thus success. The most common sources of paid traffic are Facebook and Instagram ads, YouTube ads, Google and Bing PPC, and solo ads. With all of these sources you’ll need an ad, landing page with the ability to opt in with an email address, or even buy your affiliate product, and you’ll need an email autoresponder, like Aweber and follow-up emails.
Do I need a website or landing page to promote ClickBank or affiliate offers?
No, you don’t “need” a website and landing pages are the destination provided by ClickBank. However, you’ll be limited to promoting your affiliate links on social media. One of my favorite things used to be grabbing my Amazon product affiliate links from the browser toolbar and pasting them into Facebook posts. People would click my link and then be taken straight to the product page on Amazon. I didn’t have to worry about setting up landing pages. The main challenge with this strategy is that it takes months or years to be successful.
If you would like to make affiliate sales quickly, you’ll need a website and a budget to pay for advertising and traffic.
Why is affiliate marketing difficult without having a website?
Because you’ll be limited to social media posts and solo ads. If you don’t have a large social media following, not many people will see your posts. It takes time to create valuable content that people care about reading or viewing and to develop a following. Don’t plan on making a viral video. Those are the exception, not the rule, but use YouTube. It’s a great source for free traffic. Plan on being consistent and creating content daily for your target audience to consume.
How long does it take to grow an affiliate website organically?
The short answer is 9 months to 1 year, but it depends on quite a few variables. You must optimize your website and blog with keywords and rich content that provides enough value that people spend time on your site. If the search engines see that people are consuming your content, they’ll consider you an authority and send more traffic your way.
Remember, search engines are trying to create a positive user experience and thus deliver the answers people are searching for. So, make sure that your site does that and that it’s formatted correctly. Check out the article, Best Blog Format.
If the affiliate niche you choose to serve is super competitive, like the make money online niche, it will take longer than a year to get any sort of consistent traffic. If you find a niche that’s less competitive you’ll be successful faster. It depends on how many others websites are targeting the keywords you’ve chosen to target.
You want as many backlinks as possible too. That means that other websites are linking to yours. That’s most easily done by posting on social media and linking back to your site. You can also offer to write blog posts for other people’s websites for free, that point back to your site in your author bio. I wrote a blog post for HoneyFund, which you can check out here. That guest post provides a backlink to one of my websites and gives me free traffic.
How do I start affiliate marketing in 2021?
If you hate your job and would like to quit, affiliate marketing is an excellent escape hatch. However, it takes time. I recommend finding guidance, community, the right product funnel and make sure you enjoy it before you quit your job. Give it at lease 90 days before making a major decision like that. Plus, your paycheck can be used to buy advertising so you can accelerate sales.
Amazon, Rakuten, Clickbank, Shopify and Share a Sale are platforms that have thousands of affiliate products to choose from. They are a great way to get your feet wet with affiliate marketing, but there’s no guidance and high-ticket products are hard to come by.
There are lots of moving parts, so don’t be afraid to pay for training. You’ll likely save money in the long run because you’ll avoid expensive and time consuming mistakes.
That being said, the best guidance I know of is through the mentors platform. Register for their free workshop here.
Matt Nathanson, your online business mentor
Freedom Through Digital Education