If you’re new to online marketing, your head may be spinning after reading about all of the potential business models you have at your fingertips. It is easy to get overwhelmed trying to decide what the right path to take is. I literally wanted to try everything (affiliate marketing, blogging, e-commerce store, etc.) and see what took off but I knew that wasn’t going to be the most beneficial approach.
You know you want to pursue something that you’ll understand and you’re probably looking for an option that has the potential for very high income. Online marketing is all about freedom and making a great income in a not so conventional way!
Affiliate marketing is just one branch of internet business that you could easily tap into – and it’s perfect for newbies or advanced marketers, as well as those who just want to be able to move at their own pace.
You can easily absorb all of the lessons to help your income soar, regardless of whether you’ve spent three minutes or three years trying to learn the ropes of online marketing.
So let’s go over a few decision-making criteria that could help you see if affiliate marketing is your preferred option for making money online!
Pin for later!
This post may contain affiliate links. See our full disclosure policy here.
1. There is a zero to low start up cost involved.
That is always a plus for me! Whether you have a shoestring budget set aside or you’re starting from nothing, affiliate marketing is a strategy that doesn’t ask much of you.
The investment you’ll be making will be effort, not cash. Of course for those who want to jumpstart their return, you can always do a little investing in things that cost money – like a domain, hosting, and some advertising if you want to – but it’s not a necessity to get the ball rolling.
When you’re just getting started – and there are so many different business models to choose from – you may not be sure if you’ll enjoy (or profit from) some of them.
When you find a strategy that’s no or low cost like affiliate marketing, it lessens your financial risk. Some business models require a huge investment up front – and then, not only are you wasting time and effort if it fails, but you’re out hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars.
Another great thing about the nonexistent upfront costs associated with affiliate marketing is that you can be just as successful using 100% free promotional efforts as you can using a paid platform.
Quick note: Most affiliate networks are free to sign up with. However, my favorite one, AWIN, does cost $5. I love them because they host the Etsy affiliate program, which is one of my favorite places to shop because supporting small businesses is near and dear to my heart! Don’t worry though…you get the $5 credited back to your payout balance when your account is approved!
Also, Etsy converts like crazy! In my opinion, AWIN is a must for bloggers just for Etsy alone! There are items for food bloggers, travel items, crafts, home decor and so much more!
MagicLinks is my second favorite network because of their huge selection of retailers and the simplicity of their program!
Related Post: Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners
2. There’s no website needed.
There are many ways to begin affiliate marketing right this second without spending a dime. For example, you can use a free blogging platform to start blogging about your niche topic and refer your readers to items they may want to buy so that you get a commission. Sites like WordPress.com and Hubpages allow you to create blogs and articles to promote your affiliate links through.
This is not my preferred method because the content is not technically yours and your website could be shut down without any notice. One reason for this is if your account seems too promotional and if you’re business model is affiliate marketing, that is exactly what you will be doing…promoting. If you’re depending on steady income, like I was, that seems too risky. I’m making thousands of dollars per month and I can’t imagine how I would feel if I built that up on a platform that could shut down my website at any given moment.
It wasn’t worth it to me since hosting costs as little as $3.95/month with Bluehost (and by using my link you get a free domain) but it definitely is an option if that isn’t in the budget right now. Bottom line – you do what’s right for you! I know what broke feels like and it wasn’t fun. You just need to get started any way that you can afford right now! The rest can come later if need be!
If you’re worried about building a website, don’t be. All you need to do after signing up with Bluehost is install WordPress, log in with a username and password and use their very user-friendly dashboard to start publishing content as an affiliate marketer!
But again, a website is not necessary. You can get started without a website and begin putting some of your earnings back into your business later if you want to take that approach.
You don’t even need sales experience to become a great affiliate. Your job isn’t necessarily to sell the customer, but to connect them through whatever platform you’re using. Affiliate links are tracked using cookies. If they make a purchase using your link you make a commission. Some cookies last as long as 1 whole year! Most are closer to 30 days though. This means that if the customer goes back and makes a purchase within the cookie period (if your link was still the last one they clicked on taking them there) you still make a commission. If they signed up for the company’s mailing list, then the company gets the hard part of trying to close a sale, and if they make a purchase while still in that cookie window you still get the commission!
Related Post: How to Start Your Own Money Making Blog in 2018
3. There’s no hassle of product creation for you to worry about.
Creating a product can be daunting to newer marketers. You have to learn all sorts of things – niche research, product creation through multi media platforms, how to launch a website and create high-converting sales copy, and more.
Plus, there’s no production costs involved – like paying for graphics, launching on a paid platform, and paying for a tool that delivers your product to the target audience.
With affiliate marketing, you’re not burdened by all of these inconveniences. All you’re doing is being the middleman.
That means you go into a niche hoping to bring together buyers and sellers. You’re the liaison between the two. This can be just as rewarding as being the one who created the product.
You can design graphics for free with Canva and for most products you can promote them directly on social media! If you’re interested in learning how to affiliate market directly on Pinterest check out my free course!
Example of How Affiliate Marketing Works:
So for instance, let’s look at how an affiliate marketer would be the primary go-between:
Let’s say you pick the essential oil niche.
Your job as a product creator would be to provide a solution that helps people use and benefit from essential oils.
But if you’re an affiliate, your job is to find the people needing essential oils and point them in the right direction to where they can find good help – to the sellers.
One incredible way of becoming a super affiliate is to build a list of email subscribers (they have free list building tools until you can afford a paid one) and become their go-to person whenever they need advice. Someone they can trust.
You’re mostly just saying, “Oh you need help with migraines or getting your baby to sleep at night? I know of the perfect product for that – here’s the link.”
Of course, building a stronger rapport with your readers will increase conversions. If you take the time to review and maybe even implement products and share your results, that will help you convert even better.
When it comes to product creation, you’re limited on time and the creation process. It might take you months to take a product from conception to completion.
But as an affiliate marketer, you can instantly begin promoting from a catalog of hundreds of products with a wide range of opportunities for your readers. You’ll be profiting on all of them, not just one income stream.
Quick note: Mailchimp is probably the most well-known free email service provider. I personally use ConvertKit because of all of the features that allow me to separate subscribers into categories based on what they are interested in. If you mainly focus on one area of products (like essential oils) everyone would probably be interested in everything that you send out and you may not need to separate your subscribers.
Related Post: How I Make Money on Pinterest Without Blogging
4. Affiliate marketing allows you to test many niches for profitability.
Here’s one of my favorite perks of pursuing affiliate marketing: Diversity.
You can dip your toes into dozens, possibly even hundreds of niche markets to see what works best for you and your audience.
This will help you determine:
- Whether it’s easy to compete in that niche.
- How much you can potentially earn.
- Whether or not you find it satisfying.
- Whether or not it is easy to find products to promote.
All four of those are very important factors for your online success as an affiliate marketer. Some niches will be harder to break into than others, so as an affiliate, you can test the waters to see how easy it is to dominate.
I will let you know that there are 3 niches that are proven to always be profitable:
Potential earnings will probably be your main concern. If the traffic’s coming, but it’s hard to convert the visitors into buyers, then you might decide to go with another target audience. Since there was no start up costs involved it is easy to change niches quickly!
Personal satisfaction is what this career path is all about! Online marketing in general is about being your own boss – not having to pursue tasks and topics that don’t fulfill you.
As an affiliate marketer, you can even dabble in many niches all at once – getting a feel for what works for you. You’re going to probably hear a lot of advice about keyword volume and competition and those are important, but it’s also important to pay attention to which niches make you feel like getting up out of bed early just so you can get to work!
5. It’s easy for newbies to master quickly.
A great perk of affiliate marketing is ease of use. Many people find it intimidating to go into product creation because there are so many behind-the-scenes elements involved – including many technical skills you need to know.
As an affiliate, you’ll need to learn some basics that are easy for any level of marketer, including things like social media and blogging (if you decide to go that route).
Like I said earlier, blogging is simple with a platform like WordPress. You’re basically going to pick a name and URL for your blog, choose a theme and start publishing posts. Blogging is a great way to determine what resonates with your audience because of Google Analytics. This will help you see which of your posts are getting read the most and those topics are what you should focus on to make more money!
One of the biggest factors is personality. Your readers want you to share insight, opinions and advice with them.
There are several types of posts that rank well in search engines such as:
- Product Reviews
- How To Guides
- List Posts
If you’re comfortable with video, then you will want to start using YouTube and maybe embedding those onto your blog. In your videos, you can talk about the niche problems and solutions that you advise them to purchase through your links.
Social media is my favorite way to share my affiliate links! You can share your links on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. You can also use these sites to share your blog posts that contain affiliate links.
Quick note: If you’re a newbie check out my in-depth review of Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner. She consistently makes over $50,000 per month from affiliate marketing alone! Who better to learn from?
6. Your Customer Service Is Non Existent
This may very well be my favorite aspect of affiliate marketing because I am an introvert! The idea of just sharing my links while trying to help people but not having to interact too much is ideal for me!
One of the most time consuming tasks when selling online is handling emails and requests from customers. They may have download issues, need clarification about the product, or want other help.
As an affiliate, none of that is your problem. It all rests on the shoulders of the product creator. It’s their job to handle the customer once you send them there, so you can continue working on what matters most – converting new customers.
So is affiliate marketing right for me?
Affiliate marketing is right for just about everybody. Even product creators adopt an affiliate strategy to complement the product development branch of their business.
Do you have any experience with affiliate marketing? Do you love it or hate it? I would love to hear your take on it!