Is affiliate marketing the way to make money on your blog? How much money can you make by selling affiliate products? Is affiliate marketing better or worse than selling ads? Let’s get into the pros and cons of affiliate marketing!
How Long Do Affiliate Programs Last?
The biggest problem with selling affiliate products is that the offers will disappear someday.
Don’t believe me? Check out what happened to the apple app store affiliate program. Or check out when Amazon cut its affiliate program payouts in HALF! There are countless examples of this happening over and over again.
Many people based their entire blog or YouTube channels around an affiliate program. Only to watch their business get destroyed overnight when that program disappeared or cut back. This is why I don’t recommend you rely exclusively on affiliate programs for monetization. It’s here today, gone tomorrow.
Do NOT Create Content Solely For Affiliate Programs
Creating a piece of content solely to sell an affiliate product is the mini-version of basing your entire business on a single affiliate offer. This strategy can work in the short-term, but it has you holding a quickly depreciating asset in the long-term.
Unless you’re iJustine and are peddling enough camera gear to get YouTube sponsorships this won’t work. You want your content to appreciate in value over time. You can’t do that if every piece of content you produce is a product review.
Treat Affiliate Income as Bonus Money, Not Your Primary Income Model
For example, I recently wrote a post on how to setup Gmail with a custom domain name for free. I wrote that post because I believed it could bring in a lot of traffic to this website. Traffic that could help my website gain authority and that might be interested in my core product offer.
Sure, I put the affiliate link for GSuite in the post. But, I didn’t make the post in a desperate attempt to gain affiliate sales. If they come in that’s great, but the content still has value to me even if they don’t.
Use High Paying Affiliate Offers
Some affiliate programs are better than others.
That said, as of 2021, Amazon is only paying out 3% on anything sold within 24 hours of clicking the link (for US traffic). So to earn $100, you’d have to sell $2,500 worth of Amazon products within 24 hours to people in specific countries.
That’s a minuscule payout. And a cookie that disappears way too fast. A large percentage of people are going to click your link then come back and buy 1+ days later. You’ll get nothing for those sales.
Compare that to Clickfunnels. ClickFunnels is a piece of software that enables you to offer 1 click upsells and downsells. As of this writing, a single ClickFunnels sale will make you $40/m until that user unsubscribes. And their cookie lasts forever.
To make $40 on Amazon, you’d have to sell $1,000 worth of goods within 24 hours of the link click. Are we seeing why you should target higher paying affiliate offers?
How Do I Find High Paying Affiliate Products?
There are a surprising number of high paying affiliate programs out there. More products than you think have an affiliate offer.
After you’ve written your content type “Product name + affiliate program” into Google. Do this for any product you mentioned in your blog post. An affiliate product will show up more often than you’d expect.
I’d recommend you only use affiliate products you were going to link to either way. But, if you’re going to ignore that advice and want to try to find the highest price offer. I would search through an affiliate network like Share-a-Sale for the highest paying offer. Or I’d start Googling “highest paying affiliate offers” and begin your search for high paying offers that way.
Affiliate Program Examples
Here are a few affiliate programs that I like. I like them because they’re products I’ve actually used before and had a good experience with. Some of their commissions pay quite well, some do not.
- Bluehost pays $65 for each signup.
- SkillShare pays $10 for every user you sign up.
- Grammarly pays $25 for you to sign up. Then 20 cents per free user you sign up and $20 for each premium subscription sold.
- GSuite pays $15 per user signed up. And even more for business users.
- Adobe Creative Cloud pays 85% of the first month. About $6-$60 per sign up depending on the plan.
- Tailwind pays 15% of the sale price. If a user signs up for a year, you’ll make $18.
- Clickfunnels pays $38/m until the user unsubscribes.
This is a small list of software that I enjoy and happens to have affiliate offers. The true list of affiliate programs is much broader than this.
If you’re in a different niche, there are plenty of other options.
- Travel affiliate programs: Tripadvisor, Expedia, Hotels.com, etc.
- Finance affiliate programs: Bankrate, Equifax, Freshbooks, etc.
- Fashion affiliate programs: Eddie Bauer, MVMT, Warby Parker, etc.
The number of affiliate programs out there is massive. No matter your niche, there’s an affiliate program out there that pays quite well. You just have to look for a good match.
How Much Can You Make From Selling Affiliate Products? More Than Ads?
Ads only pay between $10-$30 in revenue per 1000 page views (RPM). How much do affiliate programs pay in comparison to this?
The amount affiliate program pay on an RPM basis is going to be specific to the affiliate program and your content. But, lets try to give a couple real-life examples.
With the Amazon Associates program. We know it pays 3% on sales. If you were getting a 0.5% conversion rate to a $50 product, you’d make $7.50 for every 1,000 page views($7.50 RPM). That is very much in the same ballpark as what ads pay.
You’re about to see why that’s a very low-end affiliate offer. Lets instead try being an affiliate for Clickfunnels where you get $40 per month per signup.
If you had a 0.1% conversion rate for ClickFunnels, your RPM would be $40 x the average number of months a user stays subscribed. If the average amount of time a user signs up is 5 months, your RPM would be $200. Which crushes ads and Amazon affiliate. Heck, this affiliate deal rivals creating your own product as far as monetization goes.
So yes, if you find a high paying affiliate offer that matches your content, you can make a lot of money from it. But again, don’t get sucked into the trap of making 100% of your content exclusively for affiliate deals (even very good ones). If the affiliate program decided to stop paying you one day they’d have the power to ruin your entire business overnight.
Don’t Sign Up For Affiliate Programs Until You Have Traffic
Many beginners will sign up for affiliate programs before they have any traffic. This may prove to be a big waste of your time.
For example, even if you had an RPM of $200 from your affiliate product. If you’re only getting 30 visitors a month, is the $6 per month you’re leaving on the table worth signing up? And most affiliate programs don’t pay nearly that well.
It may not be worth your time to sign up for these affiliate programs until you have more traffic. Focus on creating more content. Sign up for these programs once you have hundreds or thousands of targeted visitors per month.
Remember to Include an Affiliate Disclosure
Don’t Spam Your Affiliate Links on Social Media
I know the urge to make money is strong. But you’re not setting yourself up for long term success if you’re resorting to spam. For example, it’s short-sighted to create Pinterest Pins with a direct link to your affiliate offer. Or other shady practices.
Other people do it, and it works to some degree, or else they wouldn’t bother. But it’s not the path to the long term sustainable business that you want.
Affiliate marketing isn’t a great primary monetization strategy. But, it’s a fantastic secondary monetization strategy!
If you’re affiliate marketing correctly, you’re simply connecting users with the products and services they’re already looking for. Your users will thank you for it and you’ll make as much more more than you did from ads. Plus, it doesn’t hurt UX or bog down your site as ads do.
In that scenario, everybody wins from affiliate marketing.