“Affiliate marketing is dead.”
Have you ever heard that before?
As we plunge into 2021, it seems like more and more people are echoing that phrase.
Is it true?
Can you still make money with affiliate marketing in 2021?
Well, the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no.
Let me break it down for you.
Can You Still Make Money With Affiliate Marketing in 2021?
In short, yes. It is still possible to make money with affiliate marketing. And yes, affiliate marketing is still as profitable as it ever was. However, it’s not the “easy money” it used to be.
You may have heard that affiliate marketing earns you money as you sleep.
While that is true, getting to that point has become more difficult in the past few years.
And now, in 2021, with recent trends and Google’s constant algorithm changes, starting an affiliate marketing business is not as easy as throwing up a bunch of websites and spamming them with content.
They get drawn into the promises of never having to work again in a few months – when that just isn’t true.
However, here’s something that might shock you:
Now is the BEST time to get into affiliate marketing.
Didn’t I just say it’s more difficult now?
Well, yes, but since you’re not up against spammy sites anymore, the opportunity for your legit affiliate marketing business to grow is HUGE.
According to Statistica, more and more companies are spending on affiliate marketing than ever before.
This means that while it may be challenging to get started, done right, affiliate marketing is more rewarding now more than ever.
As an affiliate marketer myself, I can fully attest to this.
You just need to know what you’re doing and pour in the hard work.
You’ll get to the end of the rainbow, where your affiliate businesses will generate cash on autopilot.
But before you get there, here are the things you need to know about affiliate marketing in 2021:
How to Run a Successful Affiliate Marketing Business in 2021
Affiliate marketing was way easier when I started back in 2011.
Back then, all you had to do was find a niche that no one had tapped into, and BOOM! You’d get cash.
Now, you’re going to have to put a little more effort in than that.
Here’s what you need to know:
Quality vs. Quantity
One major thing aspiring affiliate marketers need to know is this:
Quality beats quantity. Every time.
It’s tempting to jam out as many articles as fast as possible.
After all, the more keywords you go after, the more people will find your links, right?
This is because Google’s search engine algorithm has become super complex in the past few years.
In the simplest way I can put it: Google bots can now pick out the best-written content and put it on top of search results.
You can’t trick the bots with black-hat techniques anymore. That’s why quality content is crucial for affiliate marketing.
One example of quality content is longer and more in-depth articles.
Again, it’s tempting to jam out 500-word articles targetting every keyword you can dream of.
But stats don’t lie:
Longer content consistently ranks better than short.
So if you’re serious about affiliate marketing in 2021, make sure your content is valuable to your readers!
To get even more specific, learn about the CTPM process here.
TLDR: Google prefers long-form and high-quality content in 2021.
Importance of Fresh Content
Here’s some good news:
Google prioritizes new content.
So even if you’re up against several other websites in your niche, you can beat them.
You’ll find that a lot of their content is outdated already.
And by outdated, I don’t mean from 2010, or even from 2015.
Depending on your niche, articles from 2018 can be “old” already.
So take advantage of this.
What professional content writers do is read through their competitor’s articles. Then, they write something that is 2x better.
That, and the freshness of your article, will give you a better chance of winning the keyword – and getting a bunch of affiliate sales!
Also, if you’ve been dabbling with affiliate marketing for a while, it pays to go back and update your content.
Nobody wants to know what the best Mother’s day gifts were back in 2019. They want to know the best gifts now.
TLDR: New content wins in 2021. Publish fresh content and update old ones!
Why You Should Make it Personal
Many buyers know about the affiliate marketing business.
They know that we, affiliates, will try to get them to buy our partner’s products.
Because of this, many people now see affiliate marketing blogs as ads. And if you try to hard-sell something in your blog, it’ll become just that – an ad.
And you know how much people hate ads.
But there is a way to correct this.
If you provide high-quality and ultra-valuable content in a personal tone, people will trust you.
Talk to your audience with your voice and avoid salesy language at all costs.
Give your readers the impression that you’re a friend who is trying to help them make a decision.
Making your writing personal builds trust. And people are far more likely to buy the recommendation of someone they trust.
TLDR: Don’t use salesy language. In 2021, people know what affiliate marketing blogs are – so make things personal and build trust with your audience instead of hard-selling.
Ads vs. SEO
There are two ways to generate traffic:
Paid and organic.
Ads vs. SEO.
What’s better in 2021?
For affiliate marketers, the best strategy is to use a mix of both.
If you’re thinking long-term growth, SEO is the answer.
Once you rank for a keyword, you’ll grab everyone that searches for it – even a couple of years down the road (make sure to update it once in a while).
Yes, the results will be slow to show up. Depending on your niche, it can take 3-6 months before you start winning keywords.
But if you put up the best answers to your audience’s questions, you will rank eventually without having to spend anything.
That’s why I say that SEO and organic growth is the best way to do affiliate marketing.
However, don’t throw ads out the window! When significant shopping days come around, ads will bring you a quick buck.
There are some days during the year, such as Black Friday, when the whole country gets up and buys things (check out the important calendar dates list below!).
Days like these are the perfect time to put up ads.
But get this:
Your ads have to be excellent.
People don’t fall for spammy ads anymore.
It’s the same thing with your content. Quality is always the key to success in 2021.
So whether you’re doing SEO or ads, never take the spammy route. It just doesn’t work anymore.
TLDR: Use both: SEO for long-term growth and ads for sales days.
Impacts Of COVID-19 On Affiliate Marketing
It wouldn’t be a 2021 forecast without mentioning the coronavirus!
Indeed, Covid-19 changed a lot of things.
But in the affiliate marketing world, not all these changes are bad.
You see, with people stuck at home, more people are turning to online shopping. This is one of the reasons why affiliate marketing is so profitable this year.
Plus, with people stuck at home, there are new market trends that you need to be aware of.
For example, searches for online learning products have skyrocketed in the past few months.
Online schools, courses, webinars, etc. – becoming an affiliate of these products is highly-valuable this year.
“Making money online” and “work-from-home” are other niches that shot up like crazy when lockdowns went into place – and are still going strong this 2021.
Of course, you don’t have to jump into one of these to make money with affiliate marketing.
Often, staying away from the crowds and competition is the better way to earn. Finding a niche market and establishing yourself as the authority there is also profitable.
But it’s good to know what most people are searching for this year.
TLDR: Covid-19 has sharply increased the number of people searching for online learning, work-from-home, and make money online products.
Affiliate Marketing Calendar for 2021
Holidays and sales weekends are BIG days for affiliate marketers.
It’s the days when you should run ads, whether that be on Facebook or Google.
Also, if you’re doing unpaid content, publishing your holiday-specific articles a month or two ahead is a good idea.
Remember, SEO takes a while.
You shouldn’t publish articles about Christmas gifts a week before Christmas.
Not only are people done shopping by then, but even the last-minute shoppers won’t find your article since it takes time to rank (unless you’re running ads).
So with all that said, here are some key dates you should mark on your 2021 calendar:
- January 1: New Year’s Day
- February 14: Valentine’s Day
- March 14: Mother’s Day (UK)
- April 4: Easter
- May 9: Mother’s Day (USA)
- June 20: Father’s Day
- Oct 31: Halloween
- Nov 26: Black Friday
- Nov 29: Cyber Monday
- Dec 25: Christmas
- Dec 26: Boxing Day
- Dec 31: New Year’s Eve
How Fast Can You Make Money Affiliate Marketing?
Don’t expect instant profits! Your first dollar can take six months or longer – while getting a steady stream of income takes anywhere from 1 to 1 ½ years.
The best thing you can do is to start right now.
Take everything I’ve shared with you about quality and SEO, and you should start seeing organic profit around the Christmas season this year.
Don’t worry. You could also do ads on major sales days.
A word of warning though, ads can get very expensive.
There’s a lot of science behind which ads work and which ones don’t. But that’s a topic for another time.
Why Do Affiliate Marketers Fail in 2021?
Many affiliate marketers in 2021 fail for two reasons: having unrealistic expectations or not adapting to the times.
And when they fail, they exclaim:
“Affiliate marketing is dead!”
Well, my bank account seems to disagree with that.
And yours will too if you set these two principles in your mind:
- Affiliate marketing takes time
- Affiliate marketing is about quality
That’s all there is to it.
If you’re patient and provide quality, you will succeed.
So many affiliate marketers built their empire on SEO tricks and keyword stuffing.
And when Google updated their algorithms?
These tricksters came crashing down.
“Affiliate marketing is dead!” They cried.
In reality, affiliate marketing moved on. It didn’t die.
Ready to Take on Affiliate Marketing?
And there you have it!
You now have the foundational knowledge you need to succeed with affiliate marketing in 2021.
If you’re looking for a more step-by-step guide on getting started, I may release an article on that soon.
But if you want it now, there are several excellent affiliate marketing courses that you can check out.
The one I used to grow my business was Wealthy Affiliate.
To be totally transparent, they are also my affiliate partner.
But as their student, I only have positive things to say about it.
Wealthy Affiliate not only got me going when I was a clueless truck driver back in 2011, but the community also kept me growing and learning.
Yes, Wealthy Affiliate is one of the older affiliate marketing courses – they started way back in 2005. But today, they have everything the modern affiliate marketer needs.
And to get you up and running and have a supportive community behind you?
I haven’t found anything better than them.
So do check them out if you’re ready to get started.
Can you still make money with affiliate marketing in 2021?
It sure is different from years past, but the opportunity to make money as you sleep is bigger than ever before.
And the way things are looking?
Affiliate marketing isn’t going away anytime soon.
So go and get started!