Making money while you are sound asleep: sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? You won’t be working directly on it – but that doesn’t make it any less real. Passive income is a great way to earn some extra cash while you mind your own business – and for some people, it is also a great way to soar on their own.
But what exactly is affiliate marketing, and how can you become a part of this dream? Is it as easy as it sounds? Granted, it might take some research and practice – but once you make your way around things and learn how to perform the basics, it should be easier for you to start making a profit. You just need to have the right information and strategy.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
As Bo Bennet once said,
“Affiliate marketing has made businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires.” 
You do not have to possess any particular skill or experience to be an affiliate marketer. With affiliate marketing, you earn money by helping other companies sell their products or service.
There is a big chance that all of you have participated in affiliate marketing some way or the other – you just didn’t realize it. Take Uber, for example. Let’s say that you refer your friends to become an Uber driver or to take an Uber for the first time. Each time you do that, you get a coupon code for future Uber trips. So, by recommending Uber, you get paid in coupon codes.
Or let’s take another example. You want to buy a new phone, but you can’t decide between buying the latest Apple or the latest Samsung. You go online and type something along the lines of “Apple vs. Samsung,” and you’ll be coming across comparison guides. If you eventually end up buying an either phone from their links, that affiliate marketer will earn money thanks to it. That’s affiliate marketing in a nutshell.
Affiliate marketing also has two sides. The first is that you become a merchant and get other people to promote your product. They will be making your product accessible, helping you sell – and you practically won’t be doing any of the work, except for making the product available.
The second option is to become an affiliate marketer. Here, you will choose a few products or services that you wish to advertise and bring them to the consumer – each sale earning you money.
Most people go for becoming an affiliate marketer, as it is the easiest way to make some money without actually involving yourself with a product or a service. However, becoming a merchant also has its benefits – and by using affiliate marketing to improve your traffic and sales, you’ll be on your way to reaching success.
How to Become a Merchant?
If you want to become a merchant and have other affiliate individuals or companies, there are four steps that you will have to take – from coming up with the product to getting the affiliates to promote what you have to sell. Here is how you may become a merchant in the affiliates’ world.
1. Come Up with the Product Idea
Some people say that it is very challenging to come up with the idea for a product. However, the truth is that it isn’t. Brainstorming ideas is quite easy. The tricky part is finding an original and efficient idea – in other words, having that “stroke of genius” that gets us all rich.
If you wish to be successful using an affiliate marketing business, the last thing you want to do is to become romantically attached to that idea. Instead, take a good look at the successful products that are already on the market – and try to find ways to make them even more successful. Consider how you may improve them and try to deliver a problem-solving product that people need.
While you do have to be realistic, this does not mean that you can’t pick a topic in which you are involved or interested. You just have to go with something that you know for sure people will buy. Check social shares, look at the viral content, go on forums – and see what people are looking for. You may feel like you had the most beautiful idea of the century – but if it isn’t something that you think will bring you revenue, you might want to rethink it.
2. Validate Your Idea
Alright, so you may have researched your idea – but there’s still more work for you to do. To make your idea a reality, you will first have to validate it – and the only way for you to do so is to ask people to buy your product.
It might sound complicated, but in truth, it is much simpler than you may think. All you have to do is reach your audience. Let’s say that you plan to create step by step videos on how to create Harry Potter props – say, the wizard wands. Look for fans that have tweeted that idea and ask them whether they would be interested in buying a step-by-step video series on how to make those wands or not.
Anyone may say that they like the idea – but you need to see how responsive they are. If you already have the product lined up, make it accessible for purchase. Or, if you don’t, send a subscription link, with the mention that if more than five people (just an example) buy it, you will create the product. If it seems successful, then you’ve got yourself a validated idea.
3. Create the Product
So, now you have the idea, and you have successfully validated it. You know for sure that if you decided to sell this product, you would have customers for it, and you will get the revenue. Thus, the next obvious step is to create the product and launch it on the market.
There are many steps to coming up with a product and starting up a business, which is why you might want to do your research. If you are a complete beginner at this, you might also want to try some entrepreneurship courses or get help from professionals like the ones on Monbi.com. Success comes with research, so you have to be prepared.
Once you have created your first products and officially opened up your business, delivering them to the first buyers, you are ready for the next step. At this point, you may think about opening up affiliated networks.
4. Find the Right Affiliate Network Partners
Everyone can find a random Joe that is willing to advertise your product to gain a little extra cash. The problem here is finding an influential affiliate partner – one that has the audience that will be interested in what you have to sell.
Look up influential people on the Internet that are willing to working with you. Sometimes, all you have to do in this regard is to conduct a Google search. Just make sure that the person you are collaborating with has relatively the same interests as you. To stick with the same example, if you are selling videos on how to create Harry Potter wands, you may work with someone that makes Harry Potter robes.
Practically, as a merchant, you will be working with a fellow merchant. You may also contact Instagram influencers – or any other person that has a good number of followers. Simply put, each time they are successful in selling one of your products, they will receive a commission for it as well.
The Steps to Becoming an Affiliate Marketer
So, let’s say that you considered becoming a merchant and that it did not work out for you. Maybe you did not have the right idea, or you did not have the resources necessary to put things in motion – in which case, becoming an affiliate marketer seemed like the best idea. You didn’t need a simple product – you just needed a product that you could advertise.
Just like when it comes to becoming a merchant, there are four different steps that you will have to follow. You may want to start small here – and as you are beginning to make money, move higher onto the big guns. Here are the main four steps:
1. Review Products from Your Niche
Becoming an affiliate marketer is easy, mostly because you went past the “stroke of genius” part and went straight into the advertising one. At this point, the next thing you will have to do is to look for partners and review their product. You probably already have quite products that you like or have tried – so, all that’s left is for you to leave your impressions on it publicly.
Any product is right here. For all it’s worth, you may even review Hot Wheels toy cars and tracks – or also make reviews on review books. As long as you know, people are using them; you are on the right path to becoming an affiliate marketer. You just need to make sure that your reviews are genuinely beneficial. Otherwise, people will begin to realize that your only purpose is to make some quick money.
To connect with the audience, you may want to review a product that you feel you can truly connect with – and not just some random products that are entirely out of your niche. Plus, when you do not honestly know a product, are you even entitled to review it? Stick to your niche as much as possible.
However, bear in mind that to be an affiliate marketer, you will need quite a lot of traffic – mainly if your plan here is to make some serious cash. You can’t always expect your audience to pop by your website randomly – in which case, you will need to find a way to contact them directly. This is where the second step to becoming an affiliate marketer starts.
2. Start Collecting Emails
To this day, email remains one of the most efficient marketing channels. You just need to learn the correct tactic of asking your visitors for their email. You need to do it in a way that is not particularly invasive for the client, but that is still convincing enough to trigger them. Here are three efficient ways for you to build your email list:
The Hello Bar
Hello bars are quite useful ways to help you gather up emails, as they put the call to action straight at the top of the website. As a result, whenever someone pays a visit to your website, your Hello Bar will likely be the first thing.
On the Hello Bar, you may give them an exclusive review video, an eBook, or maybe a bundle of your three most popular reviews. Once your visitors click on the Hello Bar, you may direct them to the page where they may enter their email address. Once they do so, they will obtain access to your content – and you’ll be able to keep them informed with your future reviews.
The Exit Gates
The Hello Bar may also be used to make an exit gate. The exit gate is practically a popup that will take up the screen when people seem to be about to leave your page.
Once the people see the popup screen, they may have the choice to subscribe with an email to find out more information regarding the product or service. It is an excellent tactic to get leads and email addresses, allowing you to get sales from affiliate marketing.
Sidebar widgets are quite a popular option for blogs, as they allow the visitors to see your ads as they are reading through your content. However, most bloggers make a mistake because they tend to clutter their sidebar – telling their visitors to do one thing after another. When you ask them to do this many things, they’ll likely just give up and simply do nothing whatsoever.
The secret here is to keep it as simple as possible – without over-cluttering things. Once you create your sidebar widgets, add only one call to action; it’s more than enough. Plus, make sure that you also offer them something they might use in exchange for their emails – such as a free course or a bonus. They likely won’t give you their email unless they are given something in return.
Use those emails to keep your audience engaged – and send them updates around once a week. Try not to overdo it with updates either, because they may easily be annoyed with the spam. At the same time, don’t leave too much time between those updates, as it might lead your followers to forget about you. You need to find the right timing to be successful.
3. Use Joint Venture Webinars
The next step into becoming an affiliate marketer is to educate your viewers by using live webinars. They are quite an efficient way to attract your viewers into buying the product – and we can give you an excellent example of why to do so.
Let’s say that you want to buy a new motorcycle. What will convince you to get a particular model? A review that you read on the Internet or a live presentation of that motorcycle in action? You will go for the second one because you’ll be able to get a better idea of it. You’ll be able to hear it “purr,” see how it looks like in detail, and witness whether it’s easy to control.
There are several tools, such as LeadPages, that can help you create landing pages. There, people may sign up for your webinar, and you can also get more leads. You may also want to promote the webinar for at least a week in advance on social media – triggering people into signing up. You may also use Google Hangout to stream your webinar, as it is entirely free.
During a webinar, you may engage with your audience and connect with them, giving them a more significant interest in the product. You may answer any key questions that they may have, but also tackle factors such as:
- Presenting the key features of the product
- Showing the different ways in which you may use the product
- ·Discuss the pros and cons of the product
- Tell the audience how to make the most of the product
- Relate the personal history that you have with that particular product
These are only just a few examples. In the end, these webinars might contain every bit of information that you consider useful regarding the product. Still, make sure to keep it on a positive vibe – otherwise, you might not attract the viewer.
Pro Tip: Ask the merchant that you are collaborating with whether they can give you a special deal that you may present to your audience or not. After you spend enough time talking about the product during the webinar, imagine the effect that the special deal is going to have.
4. Make Use of Pay-per-Click Advertising
The moment your affiliate marketing business starts making money, and you may begin considering PPC (or pay-per-click advertising). Bear in mind that there are quite a few benefits to PPC advertising – but you may only be able to reap them once your business has already started bringing you some revenue. At that point, you are a bit more confident that your clicks will also lead to conversion.
Pay-per-click advertising can apply for several purposes, including:
- Getting people to sign up for the webinar and the reviews that you are manning to post
- Lead to more sales of the product that you are currently advertising
- Grow your email list along with your audience
In this regard, you may run Google ads, Facebook ads, or any kind of social media ad. The purpose here is to invite people to join your webinars. Bear in mind that you will need to find a way to hook them in mind for this strategy to be successful. You may want to get them to sign up and also buy the product. In this case, you should be particularly careful about your SEO and be sure that it is effective.
You know the types of affiliate marketing at this point – and you know that you can either be a merchant or an affiliate marketer. However, you are still not convinced whether this should be a path for you or not. Why would anyone want to be an affiliate marketer? Well, here are just a few of the main benefits.
1. Source of Passive Income
One of the main benefits of affiliate marketing is that it has the potential to bring income for something you only have to do once. This is because your website will work for you at all times, day after day, night after night, even as you travel or sleep. You don’t particularly have to do anything, which is why this kind of income is called passive income.
It is an entirely different matter from your classic 9 to 5 job, where you get paid per hour, along with your performance during that time. It is rather difficult for you to enjoy financial freedom when working in that traditional mindset or system.
It is rather difficult for you to enjoy financial freedom when you are working in that classic mindset or system.
2. Flexible Work Schedule
When working as an affiliate marketer, you will not have to spend long hours in front of the computer – at least not once you get into the gist of it. Indeed, in the beginning, you may still have to go to your full-time job to supplement your income, and you may even have to do quite some work to get an audience – but once the business gets on the right track, the products will practically be selling themselves. The more popular you become, the more free time you are going to have.
Plus, one significant advantage of this kind of business is that you can be wherever you want. You don’t have to deal with annoying co-workers, and you also don’t have to listen to your boss shouting orders at you every five minutes. If you want to do your work from the comfort of your favorite coffee shop, you are free to do so – nobody is stopping you. The only thing you will need is a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection.
3. No Face-to-Face Marketing
Good news for introverts here – you no longer have to go into face-to-face selling to promote a particular product. Granted, some people are naturals at it, and they are convincing enough to sell a product even if they are standing right in front of the potential clients – but not everyone is like this.
Some people get really anxious when it comes to selling a product face to face – and because of those emotions, you might not be able to make a good sell. However, with affiliate marketing, all you have to do face a laptop – and the laptop won’t make you feel anxious. You just have to deliver your pitch once, and the Internet will do the rest.
4. No Need for Prior Experience
We see all those sales representatives from the past, all of which needed previous experience in the sales department. However, when it comes to affiliate marketing, there is no need for previous experience. When you are starting, you don’t really have to know any programming, coding, or sales techniques. You just need to have a way with words and also implement some good SEO techniques, and you should be able to build a good affiliate marketing business.
Tips to Raise Your Success Rate with Affiliate Marketing
Now that you’ve decided that you wish to go into affiliate marketing, you also need to take all the steps necessary to make it work. In this regard, here are some tips that can help you double (or even triple) your affiliate marketing success rate.
1. Go for Consistency
As with everything else that you do in life, consistency is the very key here. Just like you can’t expect to lose 20 pounds from going to the gym just once, you can’t expect to get results. It’s going to be difficult but as Israelmore Ayivor said in The Great Handbook of Quotes, you should
“Do it again and again. Consistency makes the raindrops to create holes in the rock. Whatever is difficult can be done easily with regular attendance, attention, and action.”
The more you do it, the better you will become at it – and the easier it will be for you in the long run. You will need a well-organized schedule – one that you can easily follow if you put in consistent work. Moreover, you will need to invest in your website along with your education. Everything that you learn may easily help you become better at online marketing.
The truth is that people have general difficulties in finding a balance between the two. Many of them spend quite a lot of time on their website but don’t do much in regard to improving their skills. As a result, they may end up doing the same bad thing again and again and again. Similarly, some people focus too much on honing their skills, but never actually put it into action – which is why their business is not growing in the slightest. Bear in mind that consistency is key here.
2. Have Patience
Many people do not seem to realize that affiliate marketing is not some “get rich quick” kind of scheme. At the start of this business, you may come across a variety of promotions and advertisements that say, “you will earn $10,000 in a month by going through this system!” However, you can be certain that if it’s not a scam, there is certainly a catch to it. For this reason, you might want to be careful.
When it comes to affiliate marketing, the chances are that you won’t be seeing any results in the beginning – not for at least a few months. Still, if you are willing to be consistent and hold on to your patience throughout the entire process, you are likely going to get unimaginable results.
3. Get a Mentor
As Tony Robbins once said,
“If you want to achieve success, all you need to do is find a way to model those who have already succeeded.”
In other words, if you wish to be successful, you will have to find someone that you can look up to, that you can use as a role model. Bear in mind that “modeling” something is completely different from “copying.”
But where can you find mentors? Isn’t it expensive to hire one? Not really. Nowadays, there are quite a lot of people who share their success online, be it through tweets, forum posts or blog posts. They do it so that future generations can also learn from their success and step up on the affiliates market.
4. Focus on Good SEO Content
You may be spending quite a lot of time on your website, and you may have a mentor that is giving you all the right ideas – but if you don’t do your best to improve your copywriting skills as well, then a lot of your effort will simply go down the drain – and you won’t be able to do anything to keep your followers.
First things first, you will need to understand the followers – who exactly is your target audience? What is the best way to reach them? Write clear and catchy headlines and be persuasive and informative with all of your content. Make sure to add all the right keywords so that the search engine easily finds your content – bringing you an audience that is as large as possible. You may also want to focus on bringing quality on the table rather than spending your time with the quantity.
5. Go for a Profitable Niche
You keep hearing about “finding the right niche” and whatnot – and most of the time, we get the suggestion to “go for something that you are passionate about.” While that is not completely wrong, and you should indeed go for something that you are passionate about, you should also go for something that you know will earn you the cash.
Before starting, ask yourself this question: does this niche have the potential for good income? What do people really buy when it comes to this market? One good way to find out exactly what is popular is to check out other affiliate markets – for example, the one on Amazon. This way, you may find out exactly what is successful and what isn’t – which will allow you to set on your profitable niche.
6. See It as a Business
For you to be successful in your affiliate marketing “adventure”, you need to treat it like a real business – not just some part-time project you sometimes dive into. You don’t have to wear a suit for it – but that doesn’t mean you should not take it seriously. You will only get good results if you give it the attention that it requires. This means that every day, you will have to dedicate a certain amount of time to sustain your business.
You can’t expect to “make it big” unless you give the business your time of day (or night, depending on when you feel most comfortable working). Many people see it as a hobby and are only “trying out the waters” – but don’t give it enough attention. They do not treat it seriously – and in the end, they end up abandoning the idea because it does not bring them any revenue. They didn’t find themselves in luck, so they just quit halfway.
However, according to Louie Ortiz, CEO of Monbi.com, luck is not something that comes naturally; luck is something you work for. In an interview given to the SDVoyager, when asked whether luck played a role in his business, he answered that
“I think we create our own luck by working daily to create opportunities in life and business. It’s a funny cliché but very true. It seems the harder our team works, the luckier we seem to get.” 
In other words, if you don’t work for it and treat it seriously, you won’t get the success that you want.
That said, the train of thought for the average person goes like this: if it starts showing results, then I will begin putting in some effort. however, the truth is that everything happens the other way around. You will only see results if you put in some effort. This is why you should take everything quite seriously, even from the very beginning.
FAQ about Affiliate Marketing
When it comes to affiliate marketing, certain questions are bound to pop up. To make the research process easier for you, here are a few commonly asked questions that we took upon ourselves to answer for you.
1. How much can you earn with affiliate marketing?
How much you can earn with affiliate marketing depends on exactly how much attention you give to your business. If you only take care of it now and again, it’s quite clear that you will not earn much. On the other hand, if you give it the time of day, you may earn quite a lot.
Bear in mind that affiliate marketing is not exactly consistent. The average affiliate can earn anything between $10,000 and $400,000 every year, depending on how much work they put into it. On the other hand, some super-affiliates can make as much as $1,500,000 every year. It all depends on how much you want to succeed, and how much you are willing to work for it.
2. Is affiliate marketing actually a pyramid scheme?
No, affiliate marketing is by no means a pyramid scheme. The best way to convince yourself is to look at it as if it’s a sales job driven only by commissions. Each time you are successful in driving a sale towards a business, you get paid for it. You’re helping that company grow, and that effort should be paid. It’s nothing more and nothing less than good business.
3. How much time do I have to invest in my affiliate business?
This mostly depends on your schedule – but the truth is that there isn’t a specified time that you have to spend on the business. You can spend two hours a day on it – or you can spend two hours a week. In truth, it mostly depends on you, and it also depends on whether you have other commitments or not.
However, what you should remember is that the more you spend on the business, the faster you may see results – and the more money you should be able to earn. Therefore, if you want to see better results or earnings, you must invest as much time in it as you can.
4. How long will it take until I start earning?
This mostly depends on your situation. Some people begin to earn within a week or two – but this is mostly because they spend quite a lot of time on their computers every day. The average person takes a few months until they can make any actual profit – and some people can even take years. It all depends on you.
In the end, affiliate marketing is quite an efficient way for you to earn some extra cash. This kind of passive income is perfect for those that look for more flexibility – that do not want to stand by a strict schedule. You just need to figure out what you want to be: a marketer or an affiliate marketer.
 Israelmore Ayivor – The Great Handbook of Quotes
 Tony Robbins – Unlimited Power
 SDVoyager – Meet Louie Ortiz of The Louie Ortiz Group in Del Mar