Today, we will learn how to start affiliate marketing, including what it is, what it isn’t, and what you can expect when you get started.
By the end of this tutorial, you’ll know why companies pay affiliates handsomely for sending traffic to them, how to start affiliate marketing by finding the right affiliate programs and offers that you can promote, and how to cash out by promoting other people’s products.
The beauty of being an affiliate is that most of the overhead in building a business is taken care of for you – you send traffic, and you get paid a portion of all the sales resulting from that traffic.
It’s a beautiful model, and one I know very well since it’s how I got my start!
How To Start Affiliate Marketing?
When it comes to making money online, there are two different ways you can go about it. You can either:
- Sell somebody else’s products or services
- Sell your products and services
Affiliate marketing is best described as Selling Other People’s Stuff.
Being an affiliate or selling somebody else’s products is much easier overall. When you promote another product or another company, they do all the hard work. They write the sales copy, and they maintain their effect. They do customer service and merchant processing…
And you, as an affiliate, get a check in the mail!
For you, it’s pretty hands-off. You promote a product online and get paid!
How To Promote Affiliate Products
There are many ways to promote affiliate products, some more difficult than others. For this tutorial, because almost everyone reading it is a Scriptly member, we will concentrate on one of the easiest and most profitable ways of getting started…
To start affiliate marketing with email, all you have to do to promote an affiliate product is send an email to your list… Some people will open your email. Of those, some click on your affiliate link. And, of those, some will buy the product!
When someone buys the product, you get paid your affiliate commission!
Before we begin the process, let’s discuss why a company will pay an affiliate like you and me.
There are details for 8 Done For You Email Campaigns For Affiliates inside Scriptly - make sure to check them out!
Why Do Companies Pay Affiliates?
The simple explanation of how to start affiliate marketing – i.e., how to get paid – is that people and companies spend millions of dollars daily on folks like you and me to help them sell their products and services online.
These companies are innovative.
They know that the Internet is a prominent place, and it’s way easier to pay you to recommend their products to your friends, family, and social followers than to market themselves.
Plus, they know that your recommendation about their products means a lot more than their advertising, and they’ll sell more if they can incentivize you to make that recommendation!
Think of it this way.
You recommend a good restaurant to a friend. Your friend dines at that restaurant, spending $100 on himself and his family there. If they participated in an affiliate marketing campaign, the restaurant would send you a percentage, say 20%.
So that would be $20 in your pocket.
The same thing happens online, only it’s all tracked through affiliate networks! You send a friend (AKA a lead) to a company. Your lead buys. You get paid!
Here are a couple of typical affiliate marketing scenarios that you’ll see time and time again online:
- You recommend a TV on Amazon.com, using a special link. If somebody actually clicks that link and buys the TV you get paid.
- You can recommend an e-book for sale on Clickbank.com, and if someone buys it, you get paid.
- You recommend the audiobook service, Audible.com, to a friend on Facebook. Your friend signs up for their trial program and you make $25.
Best yet, you don’t need to worry about any tracking! Affiliate networks take care of everything for you; you collect a check!
When looking into how to start affiliate marketing, you’ll find many affiliate networks online that’ll let you promote stuff for a commission, but the one we like the best is Clickbank.
Aside from offering commissions up to 75% of the purchase price, Clickbank features some of the best digital products in the world that solve real-world, everyday problems!
Getting Started On Clickbank
For those who don’t know about Clickbank, it’s one of the world’s leading digital product marketplaces. You’ll find ebooks, video courses, membership sites, etc., on there. Every once in a while, you’ll also see physical products there.
Clickbank’s true power is bringing affiliates and product owners together. It’s usually the first place people learn how to start affiliate marketing.
People who want to sell their ebooks list them for sale in Clickbank. Affiliates like us can help promote those ebooks. Clickbank processes the deal and makes sure everyone is paid.
It’s a beautiful model, and it works very well.
As an affiliate, commissions are usually 50-75% of the total product price. Each product has an affiliate link you use with your ClickBank account that tracks clicks and sales.
You also get bi-weekly or weekly payments to treat it like a paycheck from a job! That’s actually how I made the transition when I started.
As soon as my weekly check from Clickbank passed that of my day job for three months, I quit 0) (Of course, I didn’t want to leave too early…)
Now, if you already have a Clickbank account, fantastic! Clickbank is the way to go if you’re new and looking to start affiliate marketing. Sign up for a Clickbank account here:
What To Promote In Clickbank
Inside Clickbank are thousands of products you can promote in almost every niche or category you can imagine…
What to promote? How do I find people who will buy these products? How do I know that this one will convert?
There are lots and lots of questions that you’ll be asking yourself as you start getting into Clickbank… The most helpful advice I can share, though, is this:
Choose a niche that you’re interested in.
The most successful marketers in the world find something they’re passionate about and build their entire list around that one topic.
The beautiful thing about Clickbank is you can find 10 or 12 different things you can sell to your audience without creating any of them!
What we do in niches is find something we enjoy, like woodworking. To see all of the products on woodworking, go to the Clickbank marketplace.
On the left, you can start filtering through categories:
Unfortunately, woodworking products are scattered around Clickbank; I will u Ithe search tool here…
When you enter your search, like ‘wood,’ you’ll get some pretty crazy results. The default search doesn’t sort very well and certainly doesn’t tell us how well a product is selling!
So, we’re going to click on ‘Advanced Search.’
From there, you’ll see the advanced search screen.
There are two things that you’ll want to enter:
- The search keyword (of course!)
- Filter for a Gravity Score of above 20
The Gravity score in Clickbank is an algorithmic number, meaning it’s a score given to a product based on how many sales are made, how many affiliates are successfully promoting, and how many refunds the product owner is getting.
There are probably many other variables associated with the Gravity score, but the simple explanation is that the higher, the better.
I generally filter out all products with a Gravity score below 20. If something is below 20, it’s not a good fit for our email list – the sales volume is too low, and the sales copy hasn’t been fully split-tested yet.
In returning to the Woodworking example, after we filter based on Gravity, we get these products we can promote…
Now, of the four products there, one isn’t a fit… It looks like a muscle-building offer, so we’ll omit that one.
When learning how to start affiliate marketing, we do need some more depth for our affiliate sequence, so we’re going to search for different products. Here’s what comes up: we search for ‘plans.’
Not all of these will be a fit, but it’s reasonable to assume that if someone is looking for woodworking projects, they might be interested in building a shed or a boat, too!
Now, put together a list of 10 or 12 affiliate products you want to promote and get your affiliate link for each one of those products.
How To Start Affiliate Marketing: Getting Your Affiliate Link
To get your affiliate link, go to any product in Clickbank and hit “Promote.”
Then, enter your Clickbank ID (1) and a tracking link (2) on the screen that pops up optionally.
From there, you’ll get your affiliate link:
That’s the link you’ll use in your email promotions, so keep it safe. You’ll use that link wherever you want to promote the affiliate product.
NOTE: Inside Scriptly, we find your best affiliate products by niche. Plus, we make it super easy to get your affiliate links! Just fill in a short form, and we’ll create 45+ days’ worth of email copy for you! Click here to get started.
What To Do With Your Affiliate Links
Now, you know which products you will promote, and you have your affiliate links… What’s next?
Well, the next thing you will need to do is write emails promoting your affiliate products or set up a Scriptly account and choose from one of the Done For You Email Campaigns for Affiliates. That’s the fastest way to learn how to start affiliate marketing.
Usually, we set these up inside the autoresponder part of our email marketing platform. That way, when someone opts in through a landing page or a list-building plugin, they go through a promotional sequence already set up from beginning to end.
Typically, we’ll set up between 10 to 12 products, with between 3 and 5 emails promoting each product. That gives almost two full months of marketing, all done for you.
Scriptly handles all of the emails for you and follows this process for promoting products:
Once someone opts into our list, they go from product promotion to product promotion, following an automated sequence. You can add bonding emails in the middle by sending links to YouTube videos or blog posts.
At the end of the day, though, we want someone to opt in and buy some of the affiliate products so that we can get paid!
Now, if we can help clear up any confusion on how to start affiliate marketing and setting up an affiliate funnel that’ll get you paid, please let us know by scheduling a strategy session with us! We’re happy to help.
GSdaily Episode 27
Today, we have a very, very exciting episode for you. Suppose you want to start a business without … not even start a business but generate some revenue without selling your products, fulfilling your services, or doing any random stuff. I’m talking about affiliate marketing. I spoke about starting affiliate marketing in one of the first GSD Dailies.
We reviewed it a bit yesterday because I’m monetizing a side project, a YouTube channel called DIY Builds. I created this DIY Builds YouTube channel to share videos of just doing stuff around the house because I enjoy woodworking and putting around, doing stuff, and whatever. It would allow me to monetize some of the tools and things we buy.
I think somebody linked to it over the last couple of weeks, and now it’s taken off. There’s a video in there that is getting 50 or 60 views a day. It ends up being about four or five hours’ worth of video-viewed content. These videos are starting to take off; I was trying to figure out how to monetize them. It was one of those things where you can do something and wait until it catches fire a little before you put additional work into it.
When I used to do a lot of affiliate marketing, I started treating an affiliate program after they sent me a check. Do you know what I mean?
Today, I want to talk about how to start affiliate marketing. To teach that, I have to explain what affiliate marketing is.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is selling other people’s stuff. Affiliate marketing is where you can recommend somebody else’s products or services and get paid a commission. Now, this isn’t like weird fucking MLM stuff. It’s not like network marketing, where you have downlines and all that other stuff. It is as simple as signing up as an affiliate for a program, picking a product you want to recommend, and then just linking to it.
Let me put it a different way. The most established affiliate program online is Amazon’s. Amazon has an affiliate program, which, up until a couple of days ago, would pay 4% to 15%, right around there, of the total purchase price of everything, of every person, every buyer you sent them. If you were recommending a book, let’s say, let’s say you’re recommending a book on Facebook and you dropped your affiliate link in.
Let’s say this is How to be Interesting: Places to Go, Things to Do. There we go. What we would do is we would go to Amazon and say, “All right.” First of all, Amazon’s affiliate program is called Amazon Associates. Amazon Associates is where you would sign up and join for free. To be a fully-fledged affiliate, You must sell three products within the first three months or the first 90 days or whatever.
You sign up for Amazon’s affiliate program, and then what you do is you go; we will look for How to be Interesting by Jessica Hagy, How to be Interesting by Jessica Hagy, Amazon. We’re just looking for the book on Amazon, How to Be Interesting in 10 Simple Steps. You can see a ribbon on the top screen if you were logged in as an affiliate. It lets you grab your affiliate link.
You have a link that is this; only your affiliate link is attached to the end of it. Now, you can add that to Facebook. You can refer this book to all of your friends on Facebook, and what it does is everybody who buys this book gets a commission on it. Depending on your volume, you get 4% to 12%, 15%, whatever.
Cookie Life Cycle
Now, if somebody clicks through, grabs this book, and buys toilet paper, diapers, and a new Mac Pro, you get paid on all that stuff, too. Not only do you get paid for this book, but you also get paid for everything else that they buy for the next 24 hours. That’s called your cookie life cycle.
Your cookie is active for 24 hours. Now, most affiliate programs have a functional cookie for 30 days, and sometimes it’s for the lifetime of that cookie. In Amazon, if you send a link and somebody buys something six months later, you get paid a commission.
This book and the 4% commission are nothing to get excited about now. It ends up being 12 cents or 52 cents or some shit. It’s whatever. The fact that you get paid for everything that the person buys at the same time is approaching getting excited about.
Amazon just redid its affiliate program; I don’t know precisely the new percentage. Yesterday, I read an article on how they have some new stipulations and stuff coming out from an affiliate standpoint. I do some Amazon affiliate stuff, but not a lot.
Where I end up going, so physical product affiliate stuff is excellent, but it doesn’t pay that well. I mean, it pays 4%, whatever.
Where I like to go and play the affiliate marketing game is ClickBank. ClickBank is an affiliate marketing network that primarily does digital products so that you can become an affiliate for any effect here. Like I said, video courses. There are Rocket Languages. Some of these have been online ever since I started. I remember promoting the Superior Singing Method and Rocket Languages. I made a bunch of money with Rocket Languages.
Jamorama, I’ve made a bunch of money on Long Tail Pro, this one. These have been around for a long time, and you can go and search for different products you can promote, such as Fast Track Coaching, Niche, Sherpa, whatever. There’s video marketing, SCM.
Our recommendation is: You find a niche that you like or are into, and then you promote offers in that niche.
Let’s say you had a personal passion for survival, not that you would have a unique power for survival or health and fitness. If you want to promote health and fitness offers, plenty are inside ClickBank. Andrea Albright has one. Let’s see Visual Impact Muscle Building, Get Lean program, Five Day Detox, and Cellulite Factor Solution. So, there are lots of affiliate programs that you can promote here.
How to use Clickbank?
How you would do it is you would go to the affiliate marketplace and drill down on the offer you want to promote. Let’s say we’re in health and fitness, and then we have Leptitox, the Godzilla of offers.
Commissions on Clickbank
Inside ClickBank, they have your average sale. This is the average dollar that somebody makes, the average dollar amount somebody makes every time that a deal happens. The average sale is $100, and the front-end offer might be, let’s say $27, but then there are upsells, and then that average dollar per sale is the dollar amount, on average, the average offer value that goes through that upsell funnel.
The other interesting number is this Gravity here. Nobody knows precisely what Gravity is besides the people at ClickBank. It’s the popularity of the offer. It’s a weight of how popular it is and how much money it’s producing weekly. And this gravity score gets redone every once in a while.
A bunch of years ago, the Gravity was above a thousand. They ended up re-weighting everything and then putting different metrics in. But this Leptitox has a gravity of 549. That’s huge, really, really high. This one has a gravity of 233. Again, that’s high.
Create a site: Niche-based
We create a niche-based site. For example, we will have a health and fitness niche website and promote offers. Now, there are plenty of other affiliate networks, not only in ClickBank. If you’re doing a lot of business development, you can look at JVZoo.
JVZoo is lovely because it pays instantly. ClickBank will put the money in your account every two to three weeks if you’re on direct deposit, or they’ll mail you a check. When I first started and got into the affiliate marketing side, Ig was using this paycheck from ClickBank to replace my salary from a job. Once this weekly ClickBank check got more than my work check, I quit my job and started doing affiliate marketing. That was my process.
JVZoo has a lot of biz op stuff so you can promote any offers here. There are automated affiliate payments wherein the vendor gets paid, and you get paid as an affiliate. There are some other places.
CJ.com is Commission Junction. They have been around for a long time. Commission Junction is considered a CPA Network. CPA is a whole different kind of beast. CPA stands for cost per action or cost per acquisition. The CPA network, what they do is they have a bunch of offers. You can promote Audible. Now, Audible’s primary offer is if you look at their website. Amazon also owns Audible. Audible’s introductory offer is you can try Audible for free. It’s a free trial. You can download a book for free.
Well, in Commission Junction, an affiliate offer says they will pay you $25 to get somebody signed up for free on Audible. And the reason is that they know their numbers. They know that, on average, somebody will stay for three, four, or five months, whatever the number is, and they will make way more than the $25 they pay you for marketing.
Why do companies prefer to pay affiliates?
That is why companies pay affiliates. It is cheaper to pay you to get that buyer, to get that customer for them, than for them to get them on their own. It’s cheaper to recommend all of your friends or recommend people or be an influencer on Instagram or whatever and then send your affiliate link out.
They pay you whenever a sale happens, meaning you only get paid per buyer.
They pay you, and then they don’t have to worry about marketing because you’re doing their marketing for them. So, you are part of their affiliate marketing army. That’s the corporate side of how to start affiliate marketing.
This is because they know that you can monetize your audience. You might have a list of a thousand people or have an Instagram following of 25,000. You might have many friends on Facebook, or you’re part of groups, so you can reach all the corners of the internet or the globe that they can’t. And you also have personal relationships with people.
This isn’t like MLM, where you’ll go and pitch your freaking waitress or neighbor on signing up for the newest, hottest trend. This is promoting a book you liked, a digital course, an audio program, a membership, or whatever, and then getting paid for it.
The example that spurred this for me was the video that is working out for us. I just opened up the livestream. If you watched yesterday’s Livestream, there is a video on us putting together a DIY playset. It’s a seven- or eight-minute video, and that’s the video that people are commenting on, and that’s the one people like. Let me go over and grab it real quick. I will drop in the link so you can check it out.
I’m going to go over here. It’s a DIY playset build. This video is just a bit of a side hustle that I did, so DIY playset build. If you look here in the description, this is an affiliate link for DIY playset plans. This is an idea from Josh, who asked, “Hey, what were the plans? Where’d you get the plans?”
We got the plans from a website with an affiliate program. I didn’t know it then, but I went to the website, and then, bam, they have an affiliate program. So I’m like, “Shit, okay.” Pay $50, $52, per plan purchase, so it’s just another example of a way to monetize without having to sell. All I did was create the video. We built it, made the video, posted it on YouTube, and we can then drop the affiliate link wherever we want to, and then it’s monetizing forever that way.
We used LinkShare for quite a bit. Rakuten Advertising. It’s funny; these CPA networks often get swallowed up, purchased, and then moved into different ecosystems. Rakuten is what LinkShare used to be. You can always tell. They have advertisers and publisher space. With CPA networks, you have to be approved on a per-offer basis. So, if you want to promote Audibly, you have to be approved for Audible. If you want to encourage some weight-loss products, you must be approved by the weight-loss effect.
There was one protein powder, part of a CPA network, that I ranked. I had a blog post about protein powders and ranked well for it. Suddenly, I was getting about 2,500 visitors a day to this blog post. Then, a good portion of them clicked the affiliate link and bought the protein powder.
I guess the affiliate network, the CPA network that I was advertising for or on behalf of, pulled the offer. They discontinued these protein powder offers. Suddenly, I had a blog post that wasn’t generating revenue anymore, yet I was running paid traffic. So I wasted a couple of hundred bucks because I didn’t know this offer was no longer available. They ended up swapping the link to something random on the backend.
Stay on top of your offers!
The downside of this how-to start affiliate marketing CPA space is it is very, very wild, wild west. It would be best to stay on top of your offers and check the rankings, revenue payouts, and everything because the money isn’t coming into you. The money goes to the vendor, who is paying you, or the CPA network is paying you. It’s just something to watch for, something to think about.
Now, we talked about what affiliate marketing is and how to start affiliate marketing. We talked about how to promote affiliate products. We’ll talk about that next. Why do companies pay affiliates? We talked about all this. You recommend a TV on Amazon.com using a unique link. You will be paid if somebody clicks that link and buys the TV. We talked about that. This is a bunch of stuff on ClickBank that we already went through. I showed you all this stuff. I am getting your affiliate link. Yep. Okay.
Two Different Affiliate Scenarios
All right, so what to do with your affiliate links? I will show you two different kinds of builds that we do. We like to build two different affiliate scenarios from an affiliate marketing standpoint.
One of them is how I taught and did a lot of previously. We still have some clients who build it this way. The other is a lead generation strategy incorporating paid traffic and brands you as an expert. This is the way that we prefer to build these things anymore.
There are two different scenarios that we’re going to work through.
1. Money Site Build
The first scenario is what we call the money site build. What the money site builds is you have a hub site. We write content, and we rank them on search engines. This content has affiliate links. This is your affiliate link, which ends up being the offer. This is the affiliate offer there. Then we have range and then offer, and then content and request.
Now, this scenario has worked well for a long time. What we would do is this money site was centered around a niche. The niche would be weight loss, su, revival, disaster preparedness, investing, stock tips, or penny stocks. Do you know what I mean?
The downside of the Money Site Build Scenario
The problem with this model was that SEO was going through a weird phase. It used to be that we would build thousands of backlinks to these articles. We ranked them, and in return, we got a bunch of free traffic. The free traffic would end up filtering off and entering this affiliate offer. We were generating revenue with no problem at all. What happened was Google came in and said, “All right, you’re using a lot of weird SEO practices, black hat stuff to get these websites, get these pieces of content ranked, so we’re going to DNF the site, not send you any more traffic,” Then, squashed the business model.
These sites still work well, but the problem is that SEO has caught back up to where it was, so now you can build these things using video and multimedia and even transcribed content. It’s no different than the live-stream strategy we’re doing here. I mean, look at doing for you, look at DIY builds. There are so many properties you can crush anymore just by generating a lot of content. But content takes money, time, and expertise. You can’t just fake your way into getting a website that now ranks for 1200 keyword phrases. You can’t do it. It’s just something to think about when putting all this together.
2. Build an Affiliate Marketing Funnel
It is where you build an affiliate marketing funnel. And we discussed an affiliate marketing funnel a couple of weeks ago in the specialty funnel episode. The affiliate marketing funnel is basically what you do when you build a funnel from scratch. You make a funnel built around generating leads for this lead magnet.
Let’s say you put together a six- to eight-page report on survival. And then what you do is stack up survival offer one, survival offer two, and survival blog post one. I will make that a different color because this is an important part. So, a survival blog post there, a survival blog post there. You have your affiliate offer three, affiliate offer four, and then you have a bunch of affiliate offers down here.
What you do is you daisy chain them all together with emails, so email one, email offer one, email offer two, and then a bonding email, email offer three, bonding email, email offer four, email offer five. And then, the strategy is to push people in with paid traffic to that free report. So you have one choke point, which is the free report. If you’re getting 30, 40% opt-in, then you’re just watching people go through this matrix and figuring out … Let’s say this offer is converting a lot better than this offer.
Then, what you do is you switch out offers, and then maybe you nix this offer. Perhaps you find a different one, so it ends up being a lead-generation push. The ideal scenario is you’re spending money on traffic here. You know your lead costs. They are a great deal once they are worth more than you paid.
That’s the affiliate marketing funnel. We use two different kinds of strategies from an affiliate generation standpoint. I think that’s pretty on point. We talked about affiliate marketing; we discussed why it exists, how to use it, and where to get your affiliate offers. I think that pretty much covers it, for now, at least. I got another call here. I’m two minutes late.
For Questions and Guide
If you have any questions, drop them in the chatbox. Please message me in one of our groups, whether it’s DFY Accelerate or DFY Funnels. I can walk you through this stuff. Also, if you would like to jump on a call and discuss implementing something like this in your business, go to DoneForYou.com/start, and we can look at that. If you have any questions, go to DoneForYou.com/GSD. Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about affiliate marketing. This is affiliate marketing week, so we will discuss something affiliate marketing-related. Maybe we’ll talk about niches. Perhaps we’ll talk about what not to do.