What is affiliate marketing?

Whilst we covered this in another post, in a nutshell, affiliate marketing is where you promote somebody else’s product for them. If your promotion leads to a sale – then you earn commissions. Simple!

However there are lots (and lots) of different approaches to how you might actually promote someone else’s products – both free and paid – and in this post, we’ll go through some of them.

Affiliate marketing - which direction to choose?
Which way to go? So many options…

Where I can. I also give you some recommendations about how you can find out more about each approach.

Ready to start earning from affiliate marketing? Ok – let’s begin…

Table of Contents

‘Free’ approaches to affiliate marketing

Before we go any further I do want to make something clear, whilst there are ‘free’ methods – the will, at the very least, involve time. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see my worth as being zero dollars per hour.

This means, really, there is always a cost – even if that cost is time.

Anyhoo, moving on…

Blogging for affiliate marketing

Blogging is a great way to make money with affiliate marketing.

Blogging for affiliate marketing
Blogging for Affiliate Marketing – playing the long game

This method relies heavily on SEO (search engine optimization – all the techniques on how to increase the visibility of your website in a search engine’s organic or natural results). And getting organic ‘free’ traffic to your blog.

Once you have your blog set up, you can get started by signing up for an affiliate network (see my other post for a handy list of affiliate marketing networks) and peppering your affiliate links throughout the blog.

There are also a number of different directions you could go in with your blogging – reviews of products (with affiliate links to those products), an ‘authority blog’ – which means you’re an expert in your field, and you actually write a bunch of free content for people to read.

By adding value and building up your authority, if you ‘recommend’ a product, people are more likely to buy it from you.

You also have the choice of going quite broad with your blog (for example making money online) or really narrow (for example ‘best cordless leaf blowers’).

Technically you can start a blog for free, by using something like wordpress.com, however, if you are looking to take affiliate marketing seriously, you’ll want to invest in some hosting and a domain name.

SEO is not a quick win, however, once the ball is rolling, you really can just let your blog sit there and earn a passive income from it.

If you fancy trying blogging to make money from affiliate marketing, the best course I have found is called ‘Blog Focussed’ by James Hussey.

James earns a good living from blogging and is also a very nice guy.

His course is very cheap and takes you through every single step of how to set up a profitable blog, from buying a domain name to scaling your content to earn good money.

Even better, anyone enrolled on his course gets lifetime access to his private Facebook group where he will happily review your content and give recommendations and generally help you on your journey.

You can take a look and purchase Blog Focussed below:

Social Media And Affiliate Marketing

The social media approach to affiliate marketing really is ‘free’ – however, will take you a lot of time.

You need to build a following – or at least a friends list, of people interested in what you are trying to promote.

Social Media for Affiliate Marketing
Social Media for Affiliate Marketing – if you have the time!

Again you can take the approach of reviewing products – YouTube is especially good for this – or you can be more ‘salesy’ and put out posts and messages directly trying to sell a product.

Along with YouTube, Facebook is a very popular platform for people doing affiliate marketing, with Instagram and Twitter also sneakily full of affiliate links. People are even using TikTok to good effect.

Basically, any platform can be used for affiliate marketing – you just have to find and connect with the right audience.

If you don’t fancy becoming a social media influencer, then there are a few companies who already have large followings you can pay to do shout outs for you (obviously that part isn’t free).

If you’d like to learn more about using social for affiliate marketing, there is a free Facebook group I’m a member of that has some really good training on how to use Facebook. You can sign up below.

Paid ads let you scale your affiliate marketing
Paid ads let you scale your affiliate marketing

Affiliate Email Marketing

Email marketing is synonymous with affiliate marketing.

As the saying goes, ‘the money’s in the list’ – or the money is actually in the emails you send to people on your list.

The fact is, if you can build a list of people interested in what you are promoting, then you have an asset you can sell to again and again. And it’s yours. You own it.

In fact, people will often make a loss to get people onto their list, knowing that the lifetime value of a huge email list will more than make up for it in the end.

You can build your list by giving away a free report or ebook or video series for people to sign up for in exchange for their email address. This approach is known as creating a ‘lead magnet’.

Of course, getting people to see this free report/video will in itself often require you to spend money on ads.

Having a huge list might well be a licence to print money (in the long run) – but to be clear, building a large email list is not cheap. At all.

Ads cost money, having an autoresponder costs money (the platform that you’ll be sending emails from – you don’t want to try using your gmail account for email marketing).

If you fancy trying out some email marketing, I’d recommend using Get Response as your autoresponder. They are very cheap (compared to other big players) and are very affiliate friendly.

Best of all, Get Response lets you try it out for 30 days without even needing a credit card.

This is a huge topic, but a lot of money can be made (or lost) using paid ads for affiliate marketing.

There are so many different ad platforms including: Bing Ads, Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, native ads, mobile push ads and so on.

The best promotion strategy is to test a few different platforms – BUT you’ll need a budget for this if you’re serious about getting affiliate commissions.

Different platforms also have a learning curve, so this isn’t something you can learn overnight. There are a ton of videos online, but much of the video content is just bad or old.

YouTube is great for learning how to use different platforms, but it has a lot of bad videos as well (many with nothing useful at all).

One thing to mention – affiliate marketing takes time.

You might get some initial results after a few days, but it’s not going to be an instant success, and if you’re still learning paid traffic there is a strong chance you’ll lose some money.

But the major benefit of paid traffic is being able to scale. If you find something that works you can just keep upping your daily budget and (as the saying goes) ‘scale to the moon’.

Paid traffic is the only method that lets you scale on demand.

Most of the major ad platforms provide their own training for free, like the Google Academy.

But if you are focused on paid traffic and affiliate marketing, head over to the Powerhouse Affiliates website, they have some really good case studies you can go through (and free landing page templates you can download and use).

Summing up

As you can see the one thing you are not short of with affiliate marketing is options. There are so, so many ways you can drive traffic.

My best advice is to take one or two methods and really try and learn them.

Maybe take a free method (like blogging) and a paid method (like Google ads) and see what you can do with them.

Try and become a master of them (you might lose some money in the process). But it will be worth it in the long run.

Now go get those affiliate commissions!