As a beginner, you’ve probably asked yourself this question countless times. How much money can I make with affiliate marketing?
It is entirely understandable. Nobody wants to take their time and effort for something that might go belly up.
But despite all that you’ve heard to this point, the truth is that there’s no obvious answer. It’s not specific, like what is the distance from here to there?
What is indisputable, though, is that many affiliate marketers are generating consistent affiliate commissions.
But also, some give up too early before earning a coin.
We can only make projections of potential earnings based on several factors. Factors like skill level, niche, amount of traffic, conversion rate, affiliate program commission level, etc
How much can you realistically make?
As I’ve already mentioned, it’s within a wide range of values. It can be anywhere from zero to hundreds of thousands monthly.
And the further away from zero, the better!
One person who has been very transparent with his affiliate marketing income is Pat Flynn. Pat Flynn started his journey back in 2010 after getting laid off from his job.
By 2017, the last time he published his income report, he made $125,000 after expenses.
The potential is massive. Google search engine users perform over 5 billion searches per day!
There are so many successful affiliate marketers that do not disclose their earnings, only alluding to it. It’s therefore impossible to verify their claims.
As an absolute beginner, you’ll most likely be in the region of $0 – $1,000 per month in earnings. It might be encouraging or not, depending on where you are around the world.
The cost of living varies wildly across the globe.
Once you move past the initial threshold, you are likely to grow the monthly earnings to $1,000 – $10,000. It makes you an intermediate-level affiliate marketer.
How long does it take to start earning?
I’m going to disappoint you again.
There’s no definite answer. Just like how much you can make, it falls within a wide range of time.
However, many people who’ve earned through affiliate marketing suggest a period of 3 to 12 months to see your first affiliate sale.
It could come before the three months or even after the one year I’ve mentioned.
It’s dependent on so many factors that it’s not possible to have a smaller range of values. These are factors like;
- How fast you acquire the requisite skills
- The popularity of selected niche
- How much relevant content you publish on your blog
- Effectiveness of the traffic avenues employed to promote your blog
Generally, the effort put in determines how fast you can start making money and scaling it.
So should I go ahead and start?
While that is a very personal decision, my advice is a strong yes. And my reasons are many.
The first being that it’s something I’ve tried and continue to earn. So it’s proof enough that anybody can do it. You’ll have to exercise some patience and take it as a business.
It greatly diversifies your income sources. Or if you are not employed is a great opportunity to sustain yourself.
And the advantage is that the income amount grows with time, unlike wages.
My second reason is freedom, the freedom to determine your flexible working hours and where you want to work.
And no boss is breathing down your neck.
Given you wield adequate discipline, you’d be hard-pressed not to start seeing the money rolling in soon.
Affiliate marketing skills you need to acquire
The ever-increasing interest in affiliate marketing has led to a rise of loads of incorrect information.
In more recent times, many blogs have touted it as an easy avenue to riches.
Most of the time, people who claim affiliate marketing as a get-rich-quick opportunity are usually out to sell you something without being frank about it.
Unfortunately, this is not the truth. It takes specialized knowledge to be effective at it. The knowledge that you cannot acquire overnight.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s rocket science. It’s a skill anyone can learn with some dedication and time. You’ll have to strike a balance between learning and earning.
You are guaranteed to need a few months to learn and grasp the foundational know-how and to build upon it going forward.
So what are these skills that you need to learn?
Creating a website
While it’s possible to earn affiliate commissions without owning a website, I do not recommend it.
And here’s why.
You may be very competent in setting up ads and running content marketing campaigns on social media, campaigns that generate thousands in affiliate earnings.
But one big drawback is that you do not own these platforms.
Pinterest might decide overnight not to allow posting of affiliate links on pins by users! And no amount of bickering will change that.
The best defense against this is to have a website you own. You have the freedom to run it how you deem fit. You can promote any affiliate program without the fear of running foul of platform restrictions.
Therefore you need to learn how to set up a website.
If the dreaded thoughts of writing code reared in your mind, fear not.
There are several content management systems like WordPress and website builders that ease the task of building websites.
Once you have a live website, the next task is fleshing it out with relevant content.
Search engines use content to produce rankings. It is also what the audience uses to get informed. And without an audience, there’s no making money.
Content occurs in written form like blog posts, ebooks, email marketing, etc. But they can also happen as podcasts or video formats like the ever-popular YouTube content.
I usually divide content creation into research and actual generation.
Research encompasses finding out what kind of search terms users utilize when searching for information in search engines. It is called keyword research.
Keyword research is a whole topic in itself, and I cannot delve into it in detail here.
The other kind of research is now researching content that addresses the users’ needs.
For example, referencing relevant case studies, drawing relevant comparisons and contrasts between review products.
Furthermore, learn to optimize the website and content to have favorable rankings in the SERPs (search engine result pages).
It falls under the scope of SEO, another extensive topic on its own.
The journey does not end with the production of content. You need to put this content in front of a consuming audience.
It takes some time to gain traction with free traffic from search engines.
Before that happens, you need to take steps to generate traffic for your blog. There are many sources you can employ depending on viability.
- Social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram
- Visual search engines like Pinterest
- Discussion boards, forums, and Q&A sites like Quora
- Telling your friends, family, and acquaintances about your blog
- Email marketing
- Paid ads
You’ll need to do lots of tweaking and testing to discover what works best. Posting and linking without much thought only lead to getting ignored and wasting effort.
Other relevant skills
The scope of knowledge you need to acquire to be a top affiliate marketer is much broader than the summary contained here.
- Graphic design skills
- Domains and hosting
- Research and analysis skills such as spying on the competition
While you can outsource a majority of these tasks, chances are at the beginning, with a limited budget, you’ll be doing it all yourself.
It might seem like a lot, but if others have managed to make money from scratch, I don’t see how anyone else cannot. You only lose if you quit.
My affiliate marketing recommendation
So by now, you have a clearer picture. How much money you can make with affiliate marketing is a progressive journey.
It’s not discrete like jumping from $0 to $10,000 per month.
Doable? Yes. Easy? Not really. It takes time and loads of learning new stuff. But at least we’ve established affiliate marketing is still profitable with some effort.
What is not in dispute is that a clear roadmap will land you at your income goal sooner rather than later.
Besides teaching you the basics on a step-by-step basis, you also get all the essential tools within the same platform.
These are a website builder, a domain name and web hosting service, a keyword research tool, access to a community of thriving affiliate marketers, and so much more.