Today, we’re going to get into exactly 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 that happen as a result of 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 a lot easier to get started with overall. When you promote another product or another company, they do all the hard work. They write the sales copy and they maintain their product. 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 tons of ways to promote affiliate products, some more difficult than others. For this tutorial, because most everyone who’s reading it is Scriptly members, we’re going to concentrate on one of the easiest and most profitable ways of getting started…
In terms of how 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 get into the process, let’s talk about 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 on how to start affiliate marketing – ie. how to get paid – is that people and companies pay millions of dollars every day to folks like you and me to help them sell their products and services online.
These companies are smart.
They know that the Internet is a big place and it’s way easier to pay you to recommend their products to your friends, family, and social followings than it is to market themselves.
Plus, they know that your recommendation about their products means a lot 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. The restaurant, if they participated in an affiliate marketing campaign 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 of the trackings! Affiliate networks take care of all that for you, and you just collect a check!
When looking into how to start affiliate marketing, you’ll find lots of affiliate networks online that’ll let you promote stuff for a commission, but the one that 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 of you who don’t know anything 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 as well.
The true power of Clickbank is that it brings 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 sale 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 its affiliate link you use in conjunction with your ClickBank account that tracks clicks and sales.
You also get bi-weekly or weekly payments, so you can 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 3 months, I quit :0) (Of course, I didn’t want to quit too early…)
Now, if you already have a Clickbank account, awesome! If you’re new and looking to start affiliate marketing, Clickbank is the way to go. Sign up for a Clickbank account here:
Click here to set up a Clickbank account >>
What To Promote In Clickbank
Inside Clickbank, there are tens of thousands of different products that 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 that they’re passionate about, and they 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 having to create any of them!
What we do in niches is we find something we enjoy, like woodworking. To find 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 all around Clickbank, so we’re going to use the 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 it 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 that’s 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 lots of other variables associated with the Gravity score but the simple explanation is the higher the better.
I generally filter out all the products that have a Gravity score below 20. If something is below 20, that means that it’s not a good fit for our email list – the volume of sales are too low and the sales copy hasn’t been fully split-tested yet.
In getting back to the Woodworking example, after we filter based on Gravity, we get these products that we can promote…
Now, of the 4 products that are there – one of them isn’t a fit… It’s a muscle-building offer it looks like, so we’ll omit that one.
When learning how to start affiliate marketing, we do need some more depth though for our affiliate sequence, so we’re going to search for some different products. Here’s what comes up with we search for ‘plans.’
Not all of these are going to 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 that 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 that’s in Clickbank and hit the button that says “Promote.”
Then, enter your Clickbank ID (1) and optionally, a tracking link (2) on the screen that pops up.
From there, you’ll get your affiliate link:
That’s the link that you’ll use in your email promotions, so make sure to keep it safe. Whenever, where ever you want to promote the affiliate product, you’ll use that link.
NOTE: Inside Scriptly, we take care of finding the best affiliate products for you, 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 to use! Click here to get started.
What To Do With Your Affiliate Links
Now, you know which products you’re going to promote, and you have your affiliate links… What’s next?
Well, the next thing that you’re going to need to do is to 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.
Normally, 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 that’s already all set up from beginning to end.
Typically, we’ll set up somewhere between 10 to 12 products, with anywhere between 3 and 5 emails promoting each product. That gives almost 2 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-in to 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 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. If you want to start a business without … not even start a business but generate some revenue without selling your own products or fulfilling your own services or doing any of that kind of random stuff. I’m talking about affiliate marketing. In one of the very first GSD Dailies, I kind of talked about how to start affiliate marketing a little bit.
Yesterday we went over it a little bit because I’m monetizing kind of a side project, which is a YouTube channel called DIY Builds. I put together this DIY Builds YouTube channel so that I could share videos of just kind of doing stuff around the house because I enjoy woodworking and putting around, doing stuff, and whatever. It would give me a way to monetize some of the tools and stuff that we buy, you know what I mean?
Over the last couple of weeks, I think somebody linked to it and now it’s kind of 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. This video, these videos are starting to take off, I was trying to figure out how to monetize. It was one of those things like you can do something, and then you kind of wait until it catches fire a little bit before you actually put additional work into it.
Back 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, what I want to talk about is 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. By and large, 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 and then picking a product that 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 go sign up and you can join for free, and I think you have to sell three products within the first three months or the first 90 days or whatever to actually be a fully-fledged affiliate.
You sign up for Amazon’s affiliate program and then what you do is you go and we’re going to look for How to be Interesting by Jessica Hagy, How to be Interesting by Jessica Hagy, Amazon. What we’re doing, we’re just looking for the book on Amazon, How to be Interesting in 10 Simple Steps. If you were logged in as an affiliate, you can see a ribbon on the top screen. It lets you grab your affiliate link.
Basically, what it is 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, get commission on it. You get 4% to 12%, 15%, whatever, depending on what your volume is.
Cookie Life Cycle
Now, also, if somebody clicks through, grabs this book, and then also buys toilet paper and diapers and a new Mac Pro or whatever, 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 or whatever.
Basically, your cookie is active for 24 hours. Now, most affiliate programs, have an active 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.
Now, this book and 4% commission is nothing to get excited about. 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, it’s approaching getting excited about.
Amazon just redid their affiliate program, I don’t know exactly what the new percentage. Literally yesterday I’d read an article on 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 great 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 does mostly digital products, so any product on here you can become an affiliate for. Like I said, video courses. There are Rocket Languages. Some of these have been online ever since I started. I remember promoting 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 actually go and search for different products that you can promote, so Fast Track Coaching, Niche, Sherpa, whatever. There’s video marketing, SCM.
What our recommendation is: You find a niche that you like or that you’re 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 personal passion for survival, or health and fitness. If you wanted to promote health and fitness offers, there’s plenty of them inside ClickBank. Andrea Albright has one. Let’s see, Visual Impact Muscle Building, Get Lean program, Five Day Detox, 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, you 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 sale 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. Gravity, nobody really knows exactly what gravity is beside the people at ClickBank. Basically, it’s the popularity of the offer. It’s a weight of how popular it is and how much money it’s producing on a weekly time span. And this gravity score gets kind of redone every once in a while.
There was 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 gravity 233. Again, that’s really high.
Create a site: Niche-based
We create a niche-based site. For example, we will have a health and fitness niche website and then promote offers. Now, not only just in ClickBank, but there’s plenty of other affiliate networks too. If you’re doing a lot of business development, you can look at JVZoo.
JVZoo is really nice because it pays instantly. Whereas 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, when I first got into the affiliate marketing side, basically what I was doing was I used this paycheck from ClickBank to replace my paycheck from a job. Once this weekly ClickBank check got more than my work check, I quit my job, and then I started doing the affiliate marketing stuff. That was my process.
JVZoo has a lot of biz op stuff so you can promote any of the 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 really, really, really long time. Commission Junction considered as a CPA Networl. 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, if you go look to their website. Amazon also owns Audible. Audible’s primary offer is you can try Audible for free. It’s a free trial. Basically, you can download a book for free.
Well, in Commission Junction, there’s an affiliate offer that basically says that they will pay you $25 for you to get somebody signed up for free on Audible. And the reason is that they know their numbers. They know that on average somebody’s going to stay for three months or four months or five months, whatever the number is, and they’re going to make way more than the $25 that they pay you for marketing.
Why companies prefer to pay affiliates?
At the end of the day, that right there is why companies pay affiliates because it is cheaper to pay you to go get that buyer, to go get that customer for them, than it is for them to go get them on their own. It’s cheaper for you 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 which means 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 why because, at the end of the day, 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 a bunch of 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’re going to go and pitch your freaking waitress or your neighbor on signing up for the newest, hottest trend. This is literally promoting a book that you liked or it’s promoting a digital course or an audio program or a membership or whatever, and then getting paid for it.
The example, kind of that spurred this for me was the video that is working out for us. I just opened up the live stream. Yesterday, if you watched yesterday’s Livestream, basically there is a video on us putting together a DIY playset. It’s a seven or eight-minute-long video and that’s the video that people are commenting on and that’s the video people are liking. Let me just go over and grab it real quick. I’m just going to drop in the link so you can check it out.
Basically, I’m going to go over here. It’s a DIY playset build. This video, it’s just kind of a little 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 basically asked, “Hey, what were the plans? Where’d you get the plans?”
Well, we got the plans from a website that has an affiliate program. I didn’t know it at the time, 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, created the video, posted the video 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, a lot of times, get swallowed up, they get purchased and then they move into different ecosystems. Rakuten is what LinkShare used to be. You can always tell. They have advertisers and publisher space. Now, with CPA networks, you have to basically 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 promote some weight-loss products, you have to be approved by the weight loss product.
There was one, actually, it was a protein powder, part of a CPA network, that I ranked. I had a blog post about protein powders and I ranked really, really well for it. All of a sudden, I was getting about 2,500 visitors a day to this blog post. Then a good portion of them was clicking the affiliate link, going, and buying the protein powder.
The affiliate network, the CPA network that I was advertising for or on behalf of, I guess, pulled the offer. They discontinued these protein powder offers. All of a sudden, I had a blog post that wasn’t generating revenue anymore, and yet, I was running paid traffic to it. So I ended up wasting a couple of hundred bucks because I didn’t know that this offer was no longer available. They ended up kind of 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. You need to stay on top of your offers and you need to check the rankings and you check your revenue and check your payouts and all that kind of stuff because the money isn’t coming into you. The money is going to the vendor and the vendor is paying you, or the CPA network is paying you. It’s just something to watch for, something to think about.
Now, so 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 special 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 kind of already went through. I showed you all this stuff. Getting your affiliate link. Yep. Okay.
Two Different Affiliate Scenarios
All right, so what to do with your affiliate links. I’m going to show you two different kinds of builds that we do. Two different affiliate scenarios that we like to build out from an affiliate marketing standpoint.
One of them is a way that I taught and did a lot of previously. We still have some clients who build it this way. The other one is a lead generation strategy that incorporates some 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 what we call the money site build. What the money site build is, basically, you have a hub site. We write content and we ranked them on search engines. Those content have affiliate links. This is your affiliate link and then this ends up being the offer. This is the affiliate offer there. Then we have content and then offer, and then content and offer.
Now, this scenario worked really, well for a long time. Basically what we would do is this money site was kind of centered around a niche. The niche would be weight loss or survival or disaster preparedness or investing or stock tips or penny stocks. Do you know what I mean?
The downside of Money Site Build Scenario
The problem with this model was that SEO was going through a weird phase. It used to be we, we would go and build thousands of backlinks to these articles. Ranked them and in return, we get a bunch of free traffic. The free traffic would end up kind of filtering off and going into 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 basically squashed the business model.
Now, these sites still work really well, but the problem is now SEO has kind of caught back up to where it was, so now you can actually build these things using video and multimedia and even transcribed content. No different than kind of the live stream strategy that we’re doing here. I mean, look at doing for you, look at DIY builds. There are so many properties that you can crush anymore just by generating a lot of content. But content takes money, time, expertise. You can’t just fake your way into getting a website that ranks for 1200 keyword phrases now. You just can’t do it. It’s just something to think about in looking at putting all this together.
2. Build an Affiliate Marketing Funnel
It is where you build an affiliate marketing funnel. And we talked about an affiliate marketing funnel a couple of weeks ago in the specialty funnel episode. The affiliate marketing funnel, basically what you do is you build a funnel from scratch. You build a funnel really built around this idea of generating leads for this lead magnet.
You put together a six to eight-page report on survival, let’s say. And then what you do is you stack up survival offer one, survival offer two, survival blog post one. Actually, I’m going to make that a different color because I think this is an important part. So 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 you push people in with paid traffic to that free report. So you have one choke point and that chokepoint 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, literally you just switch out offers, and then maybe you nix this offer. Maybe 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 what you paid for.
That’s the affiliate marketing funnel. Those are two different kinds of strategies that we use from an affiliate generation standpoint. I think that’s pretty on point. We talked about affiliate marketing, we talked about why affiliate marketing exists, how to use it, where to go get your affiliate offers. I think that pretty much covers it, for now at least. I actually got another call here I’m two minutes late for.
For Questions and Guide
If you have any questions at all, go ahead and just drop them in the chatbox. Send me a message in one of our groups. Whether it’s DFY Accelerate or DFY Funnels. I can kind of walk you through this stuff. Also, if you would like to jump on a call and talk about actually implementing something like this in your business, go to DoneForYou.com/start and we can look at that. If you have any questions at all, just go to DoneForYou.com/GSD. Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about affiliate marketing. This is affiliate marketing week, so we’re going to talk about something affiliate marketing-related. Maybe we’ll talk about niches. Maybe we’ll talk about what not to do.