Money. We could all use a little bit more of it, and while they say that it won’t buy happiness there’s no question that it can certainly make things a little easier. There are numerous ways that people in today’s world can earn extra income, and one particular way that I almost found by accident is affiliate marketing. I was a full-time truck driver working 70 to 80hrs per week and started blogging online. I really never expected that to lead to a full time income for me. If you want to read the full story, you can do that here.
But for all the hype, plenty of people are still focused on one simple question – does affiliate marketing really work? It’s a question that seems easy enough to answer… Afterall, affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar industry, so of COURSE people make money with it! I personally know that it works because it personally worked for me. So, quite simply, yes affiliate marketing really does work. You really can earn a living with affiliate marketing and a great living at that, but there’s a lot more to the story.
After writing this article, I decided to create a video so I could delve into more detail about this. Check it out below:
The Internet Is A Dishonest Place Giving Unrealistic Expectations
Unfortunately, the internet is a very dishonest place. There are tons of so-called “guru’s” and affiliate marketing “teachers” and “experts” out there that promise affiliate marketing is some easy business to succeed at. Most of those “experts” are nothing but mediocre salesman pushing scammy rehashed products that never teach you enough to actually make money online.
What’s unfortunate is that there really are some people out there that really do want to help you succeed. I’d like to think of myself as one of them. It’s hard for us though, because what we are trying to “sell” you on is not as sexy as what the scammers promise. They promise things like “I’ll show you step-by-step how I make $10k per month on auto pilot!” while we are trying to tell you that affiliate marketing is a BUSINESS that takes time and effort to grow. Instead of promising big bucks in days or weeks, we promise that you can earn a pretty darn good living after months or even years worth of effort where you make nothing at all. It just doesn’t sell things, even though it’s the reality. Here’s an article I wrote on how long it REALLY takes to make money online.
Affiliate Marketing Basics
Alright, so now that we know affiliate marketing is not some get-rich-quick strategy, we can dive a bit more into the question of does affiliate marketing really work? We’ll have to start with the basics of just what affiliate marketing is. Unlike some other types of opportunities online, affiliate marketing is a very real way to earn money that could reward you in a big way, so long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort to get there. Here’s the quick version of what it involves:
- You’ll sign up for an affiliate account from a company that has an affiliate marketing program in place. There are hundreds of options out there from the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program to Target and Walmart to Clickbank and Commission Junction. There’s an affiliate program out there for just about everything.
- Once you’re signed up, you review the different products available. Again, there are thousands of products and services that are covered under affiliate programs. You’ll need to select some that you feel you can market effectively. For example, I have a website that reviews dog food and uses the Amazon associates affiliate program to earn revenue.
- Use the internet to spread awareness about the products and essentially market them for the company. Here, you’ll have to think of yourself as a professional marketer. Your goal is to get potential shoppers to click your links to the products and then make a purchase of them. This is the hard part, and my “secret sauce” on how to do this is what is called the CTPM Process.
- You get a commission fee for every product that is purchased through your affiliate links. If no product is purchased, you won’t earn anything. In this way, affiliate marketing differs from the traditional ‘click through’ marketing of the past – but the commissions are much more substantial. In some cases, I earn up to 75% commissions.
Here’s a quick visual of how it all ties together…
That’s the process in a nutshell, but there is obviously more to it. If you want the answer to ‘does affiliate marketing really work’? to be a yes, you’ll have to master some other aspects of the process. This may include things like building your website, setting up social media accounts, using social media, creating great content for your website, and more. At Wealthy Affiliate, you can set up a free acount to help you learn many aspects of building an affiliate marketing business.
So, does affiliate marketing really work? It could, but the first step is knowing the different ways it works and how to make it work for you. The basics above are the keys to understanding just that. Below is a pretty cool video from a guy called the Lazy Ass Stoner (don’t let the name fool you he’s super smart) on how affiliate marketing works if you want a bit more of an explanation. The reason I love this video is because he explains it so well and in a way anyone can understand.
Does Affiliate Marketing Really Work For You?
Beyond wondering if affiliate marketing really works, because it absolutely does, the real question you should be asking is “does affiliate marketing really work for ME?“ The simple fact is that affiliate marketing can only work for people with certain traits and abilities. Sure, anyone CAN succeed with affiliate marketing and make money from it, but the chances of you succeeding will really depend on your personality and abilities.
Think about the following points and how they apply to you in order to determine whether or not you’ll be likely to find success with affiliate marketing.
- Are you willing to work for it? As if you’re building a real and legitimate BUSINESS? Affiliate marketing isn’t a simple path to easy money. If you actually want to make serious money from affiliate marketing, you have to treat it as a business. You have to learn how to build a website, how to market that site, and have a business plan to follow. You’ll have to devote yourself every day to your goals. If you aren’t willing to put in the effort, you’ll never get the rewards, which often come MONTHS or YEARS after starting. Most small businesses don’t earn a dime for 3 years. Affiliate marketing doesn’t quite take that long, but 1 to 2 years is not a stretch. Are you willing to put in that much time and effort for the rewards at the end?
- Can you learn about online marketing? Hardly anyone is an online marketing expert. Even those that get a degree in marketing really don’t know what affiliate marketing is, how to grow a blog, a social media following, a YouTube channel, etc. You must learn how to teach yourself many marketing skills independently, and the learning never stops. As soon as you learn one thing, you’ll need to learn another.
- Do you give up easily? You’ll have to be motivated in order to find true success, and you’ll need the patience of a monk. It’s too common to see affiliate marketers give up within a week or a month because they feel that they’re not getting the results they want. Affiliate marketing is a LONG-TERM strategy. In order to truly succeed, you either need to learn how to grind it out for a while, or you need to learn how to enjoy the process. If you would blog and write for free, you are ironically the most likely person to succeed and make money with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing does really work – but only if you’re the kind of person willing to make it work for you. Be honest with yourself and you’ll be able to determine if it’s a good fit for you. Your personality has more influence on your success or failure than anything else.
Tips To Help You Make Affiliate Marketing Work For You
As you can see, the answer to the question of “Does affiliate marketing really work?” is twofold – yes, it works, but only for those willing to put forth time, effort, and energy. If you want it to work for you, you’ll have to treat it seriously and like a job instead of some internet get-rich-quick scam.
Let me give you a personal example – When I was first really trying to make money online, I spent every moment I could growing my online business. At the time, I was a truck driver working very long hours, but that didn’t stop me. If my trailer was being loaded or unloaded, I’d work on my site. If I was waiting for my next load assignment, I was working on my site. If I had any downtime at all I was working on growing my online business. IT took me 6 months before I earned my first $7 commission and another 6 months before I was earning enough to quit my trucking job, and honestly, I found success much sooner than most people. Even now, most of my sites take about 2 years to earn any real significant income.
There are a few tips worth remembering that can help ensure that affiliate marketing will work for you. Here are some things that could make it easier to reach your goals with it:
- Set up a strong, easy to navigate website. This will be the hub for your affiliate marketing efforts, and should be designed to be professional and informative. The platform found at Wealthy Affiliate makes it easy to create a great site you can use. You can even set up a free account there and set up your first website for free.
- Choose products you are excited about and interested in. This way you stay motivated to talk about them and market them. It’s very tough to sell products and services you don’t really believe in, so find a niche that you have some degree of passion for and only promote products and services you would buy yourself.
- Seek help when you need it. Another reason I like Wealthy Affiliate is the community they have. Whether you use the community there or find other online forums for community support, I highly recommend having a support network.
- Don’t give up. The simple fact is that it will take time to reach your goals. If you want to truly succeed at affiliate marketing, you must get BEYOND the point where everyone else gives up. You haven’t really failed until you’ve given up.