Last Updated on 27th February 2023
Wondering how much money can you make with affiliate marketing?
There’s no straight answer to this question as it depends on multiple factors. However, the short answer is beginners often earn nothing to just a few commissions, while top affiliates can earn as much as 6-figures per month.
Read on for the details on exactly how much you can earn as an affiliate.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a form of internet marketing that involves the promotion and sale of other people’s products or services. This is usually done online, either via a website or social media.
The affiliate marketer typically receives compensation for each person who purchases the product/service through your link. Send more traffic and you typically make more money with affiliate marketing.
You don’t need any special skills to become an affiliate marketer. You just need a computer and access to the Internet. However, you do need to learn the core skills of affiliate marketing if you hope to make any money.
There are many different ways to earn money as an affiliate marketer. For example, some choose to build a website and promote affiliate products as a blogger. Other affiliates prefer to use social media platforms for affiliate marketing.
Typically, these include Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, and YouTube. However, you can technically make money on any platform where you can reach a large enough portion of your target audience.
Another common method to promote affiliate offers is through influencer marketing. Again, many influencers like to use YouTube as their platform of choice. Others prefer to reach their audience through podcasting.
Affiliate marketing has huge appeal due to the low barrier to entry, the potential for high earnings, passive income, and a wide variety of promotional methods to choose from.
How Much Money Can You Make With Affiliate Marketing?
If you’re just getting started, you’ll likely earn just a few commissions here and there, or nothing at all until your business is established.
On the other side of the coin, top affiliates like Pat Flynn have shown affiliate income reports ranging from $8,000 per month in the early days to $100,000 per month.
Spencer Mecham, another highly successful affiliate has reported earning an average of around $40,000 per month. Spencer teaches his methods in his Affiliate Secrets course.
Overall, there’s no straight answer to this question. How much money you can make as an affiliate depends on several things, including your knowledge, skill level, the niche you’re in, and the products you choose.
All those things are important, but probably the most important piece of the puzzle is your work ethic and level of commitment.
If you’re starting affiliate marketing with no money, you also need to realize it will take you a bit longer to grow your business.
However, once you’re able to generate traffic, it becomes a game of looking for ways to improve your affiliate marketing conversion rate, as well as get more traffic.
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In the rest of this article, I’m going to give you more insight into how much you can make from affiliate marketing so you can have a clear picture of what’s involved.
If you want more info, see my article on 16 hacks and affiliate marketing secrets to make more money.
How Do You Get Paid In Affiliate Marketing?
There are multiple ways that affiliates can get paid. All good affiliate programs will state the method of payment before you sign up to promote them.
Some programs will only earn you a very small commission, while others can earn you thousands of dollars for a single sale. This largely depends on the niche and the types of products that are offered in that space. So it’s worth doing your research niche research well before you commit to a particular market.
Most commonly, the types of products you’ll be promoting as an affiliate falls into either the physical product category, the digital product category, or services.
Digital products can be anything from eBooks, audibles to online courses. Services can include anything from web hosting to marketing consultations.
Pay Per Sale
One of the most common ways affiliates get paid is via pay-per-sale. This means that you as the promoter will only receive affiliate commissions once a sale has been made after a person clicks your affiliate link.
Typically, affiliate programs will pay you a percentage per sale, while others will pay you a fixed commission per sale.
Fortunately, for most affiliate products you don’t need to make a sale directly after a person clicks your link. This is thanks to tracking cookies. Each program you are promoting will offer you a cookie life, which is typically between 30 – 90 days.
This means that if you are promoting an affiliate product with a 30-day cookie life, then if someone clicks your link, and does not buy straight away, but buys within 30 days then you’ll still be attributed the affiliate commission for that sale.
It’s worth noting that big companies like Amazon have a very short cookie life of only 24hrs. On the other hand, there are some companies out there that like to incentivize their affiliates with a lifetime cookie.
Pay Per Click
Pay-per-click is another way that affiliates can be paid. It works by paying you when people click on your links. this method does not require the customer to then make a purchase in order or you to get paid.
As you can imagine, it should be easier to make money as an affiliate without needing to also make a sale, just get the click. Well, yes, it’s certainly easier, but pay-per-click programs usually only pay very low commissions. This doesn’t mean you should discount them as you can make up for it in volume.
Pay Per Lead
Pay per lead is yet another method of making money as an affiliate. Here, you’re paid based on how many leads you generate for a company. For example, you might be paid $2 per lead. The more leads you generate, the higher your payout will be.
For pay-per-lead programs, you’ll typically be sending visitors to contact forms. Anything from an email address or telephone number can count as a lead. Sometimes, companies require a physical address as a lead in order for you to qualify for the affiliate commission.
How And When Do Affiliates Receive Payments?
This depends on the terms set by the company you are promoting, or the affiliate network if you are promoting via a platform like ShareASale, Commission Junction, ClickBank, etc.
When it comes to pay-per-sale programs (the most common), there is usually a cooling-off period for the customer in case they decide to refund. For example, this could be 30 days. Then, once that 30 days period has passed, you will be eligible to receive your commission payout, provided the customer has not refunded their transaction.
Typically, affiliate programs and networks pay affiliates once per month. However, some pay fortnightly, weekly, and a few even pay daily, although that’s quite rare.
What Is Passive Income Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing can also help you to generate passive income, which is what attracted me to the industry.
There are a few ways you can earn passive income as an affiliate. Here are some examples:
Promote Recurring Programs
A recurring affiliate program is when a company will continue to pay you on a monthly or yearly basis. Typically, recurring affiliate programs are either software products, services, or monthly membership programs.
As long as the customer continues to use the service (and pays on a regular basis), the referring affiliate will continue to receive commissions on the sale for the life of the customer. This is one of my favorite programs to promote.
Build an Email List
Building an email list is one of the most important marketing techniques for any business, including affiliates.
By building an audience and a list, you can start to automate an important part of your business. There are various email automation tools that allow affiliate marketing. A few good examples include GetResponse, Aweber, and SendLane.
You can pre-write emails offering information to your audience about various topics in your niche. Some of your emails will also recommend products, of which you will receive a commission if they purchase.
So, once someone joins your email list, your autoresponder will begin sending them emails automatically. Over time, you will start to make sales from your email list based on work you did in the past, ie writing your emails and setting up your autoresponder.
Blogging is another great way to make passive income. Thanks to the nature of search engines, when you write a blog post it has the potential to be found by search engine users for months and even years into the future.
Writing high-quality content is a great way to build an audience and engage them. By placing your affiliate link within the content of your articles, you can potentially make money passively when people read your articles. Once they click your referral link and then make a purchase, you earn a commission.
Content marketing is not just blogging. It’s anywhere you produce and publish content. Producing relevant content for a target audience that is hungry for information is a great way to make money online.
YouTube also has the potential to earn passive income. This is because YouTube is also a search engine, and, therefore, the videos you create can be found for a long time into the future after you have made them.
You can place your affiliate link in the description of your videos. By enticing your audience to click your product links, you can potentially earn passive income for years to come off your videos.
How Much Money Can You Make As An Amazon Affiliate?
According to HubSpot, affiliates participating in the Amazon Associates average between $100 – $20,000 per year. However, some experienced affiliates earn considerably more than this on a monthly basis.
While the Amazon affiliate program converts very well, unfortunately, they only pay very low commissions. Amazon also has a very short cookie life of just 24hrs. This makes it a lot harder for you to make consistent sales.
If you want to make money with affiliate marketing and that is your primary goal, then I don’t recommend putting the Amazon affiliate program at the heart of your business.
There are tons of programs out there that pay considerably higher commissions and offer a more generous cookie life.
Having said that, Amazon is certainly worth promoting as a supplement to your primary offers. That’s just my opinion.
How Long Does It Take To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?
There are several things to consider here.
In a nutshell, it mostly depends on how much traffic you have, how many people click your affiliate link, and how many purchases you are able to generate.
You also need to consider the niche you choose, and the products you promote. There are some highly profitable niches out there, while others will make you hardly any money at all.
If you’re just getting started then you will need to learn a few important affiliate marketing skills first. Once you understand the basics, and have chosen a niche, a few relevant products, and a traffic source, you can then start producing content.
How Much Can a Beginner Make as an Affiliate Marketer?
By now, you probably realize there’s no straight answer to this. It depends on many factors. But the most important thing that determines how much money you can make as a beginner is your level of training.
If you’re just getting started, you don’t necessarily need to invest in an expensive training course straight away. A great way to get started is to follow this 15-day blueprint by a successful affiliate marketer, David Sharpe.
Final Thoughts On How Much Money Affiliate Marketers Make
Most affiliates don’t earn much money because they only dabble with affiliate marketing in their spare time. However, there are many affiliates who take their business seriously and earn a full-time income as a result.
There is a lot of potential to earn a high income with affiliate marketing if you put the time in to learn the skills you need and stay consistent. It takes hard work and commitment, but everyone has the opportunity to do well if they apply themselves.
Top affiliates earn a considerable amount of money, some even as high as 6 figures per month. But they didn’t get there overnight. Those affiliates have been honing their skills for many years.
The potential is there, but you need to be realistic about your expectations, commit to learning the affiliate marketing skills you need, and stay consistent.
Steve West is the founder of entrepreneurnut.com, and has been working online since 2013. He specializes in SEO, YouTube, and affiliate marketing. Besides running his online business, he likes hiking, keeping fit, and eating cookies (which is why he needs to keep fit!)
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