The question is simple – can you make millions through affiliate marketing? The answer is also simple. People have done it and people continue to do it, so it must be possible to become a millionaire through affiliate marketing. The real question, however, is whether it is an easy process or not. The answer is, as you might have guessed, no.

Put bluntly, if you want to make big money through affiliate marketing (e.g. $500,000 per year like Super Affiliate author Rosalind Gardner), you will have to work hard. Hard work alone won’t cut it though. You need to either be educated in SEO and web design or you need to be smart enough, and simultaneously humble enough, to learn from mistakes and make the most of them. Here is some insight into how others have made good money with affiliate marketing as well as insight into how you can do the same.

It Won’t Happen Overnight

If you want to make real money with affiliate marketing, then set aside the idea that it is a get-rich-quick scheme. Affiliate marketing will only lead to immediate riches if you cheat and that, eventually, can lead to fines or jail time. If you want to make money at affiliate marketing and sustain that income over the years, then you have to do it right and that takes time.

Keep It Simple

One of the biggest mistakes that affiliate marketers make is to try to do too much at once. They try to create dozens of websites to promote oodles of products and then they wonder why they feel overwhelmed. Taking on too much, especially in the beginning, is a recipe for disaster.

Start your affiliate marketing career by choosing a handful (maybe half a dozen) of products that you are interested in, that you feel you can learn about, and that you can market confidently. If you know a lot about microwave ovens, for instance, then you should look for an affiliate program in that niche and avoid, say, conventional ovens. Of course, that’s a silly example, but the point remains. Focus your efforts on a few great products and a few great websites to promote them.

Choose Good Programs

In the past, every affiliate marketing program was a good one. Today, there are a lot of scams and schemes being touted as affiliate marketing. Many times you can make money with these risky programs, but they make it hard by taking large percentages, paying small commissions, and asking for an investment upfront. Ironically, the best affiliate programs that are most likely to make you wealthy are the programs that don’t claim to be able to make you rich.

To find a good program, start first with companies that are large and trusted. They generally offer lower commissions, but that is because they actually pay their commissions. Once you know which programs are interesting, scour the web to find out if they actually pay. You don’t want to put in the work, over months usually, just to find out that the company won’t pay. Finally, make sure that the program has a support system in place. The best programs should not only be in touch when you first sign up, they should also email you when you make sales, keep you up to date about earnings, and be available for problem-solving and troubleshooting.

Get Help

The best affiliate marketers don’t do everything on their own. In fact, it is impossible to make good money doing absolutely everything from web design to content creation. You can choose to do one or two things, but remember that your main job is not unlike that of a CEO. You are in charge of coordinating the entire marketing scheme. You need to know and understand the details, but you don’t necessarily have to have your hands on every aspect. Learn how to delegate well because it will become your greatest asset.

Niche Marketing

People often make the mistake of thinking that they need to go big or go home. The truth is that you need to be good at whatever you choose to do and niche markets make it easier for you to focus and hone your skills. Don’t try to tackle all of sporting equipment, for instance. Focus instead on the one or two sports about which you are passionate. In short, pick a niche and develop a deep knowledge about it.

You’ll make more money in a niche topic than you will on a general topic for two reasons. First, you’ll be speaking to enthusiasts, people who live and breath the issue you are dealing with. They will be interested in what you have to write and in what you have to sell because it fits into a topic that they already care about and because you are promoting high-quality, expert content. Marketing to them will simply be easier.

The second reason that niche topics will bring you more money is because competition is less fierce. Rather than compete against dozens or even hundreds of other marketers, you’ll only have to compete with a handful. In fact, you may not even compete with the other marketers at all. They may become your friends because you share similar interests. Together you will tackle the market to make even more money.

Expert SEO

You will need to hone your SEO skills to do well at affiliate marketing. That means that you either have to know everything there is know about SEO yourself or you need to know enough to make the right hiring decisions. Either way, you need to start learning about SEO because it is going to be the force driving traffic to your website.

Reality Versus Fantasy

Some people say that getting rich through affiliate marketing is a fantasy. The reality is subtler than that. You won’t get rich if you plan to do next to nothing. If you could do nothing and get rich, everyone would already be wealthy. To make money with affiliate marketing you have to be motivated to work hard. After you establish yourself, which may take years, then you can start to sit back and enjoy the passive income as it flows to your bank account.