So many people fail in this industry, that there are many rumors going around that you cannot make money in affiliate marketing. Search in Google and you’ll find plenty of people that have written off the entire industry as a scam. “Sure people make money, but it’s only the folks selling the How-To-Make-Money courses!”
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Yes, you can still make money in affiliate marketing, and yes, you can make big money. No, you do not have to pitch a pyramid scheme or any other guru courses. In fact, I think it’s a lot less complicated that a lot of people make it out to be.
I make a full time income doing this, and have been for 3 years now. Some people have been doing it for decades, support a family on it, and some people become millionaires.
That’s Not What I DO
Affiliate marketing in general, is making commissions by selling other people’s products on the internet. I point you to a product, you buy it, and I make a percentage of the sale. I am basically doing free advertising and getting paid per sale. I like to call myself a freelance advertiser personally, because most of my family has no idea what I do for a living.
There are a few types of affiliate marketing, so I want to distinguish a between how I make my money so you are clear on what my skill set is, and what I have no idea about.
CPA is extremely popular and often talked about in industry circles. With CPA, you get paid each time a person does something like enters an email address, submits some personal information, or signs up for a free trial. It depends on the CPA terms.
Payments are usually smaller because CPA transactions are typically non-payment actions. You might get paid $1 each time a person submits an email and confirms their address. They pay nothing, but you get paid. This is part of the attraction behind the industry, and gurus love to tell you how easy it is.
What they don’t tell you is that the majority of these CPA offers are low quality junk that everyone hates on the internet. Win a free iPad, play a free flash game, sign up for a free trial of a health supplement – that type of stuff. There are some legit offers out there, but most are total junk, which is why I don’t mess with CPA for the most part.
Dating & Sex sites are also a huge part of this industry, and I don’t mess with that stuff. Many of the big CPA and paid advertising courses focus solely around these industries, with Plenty of Fish being their go-to example of buying ads.
It’s so pervasive, that the only person I know IRL that knows what I do is convinced that I make my money selling “boner pills” (his words, not mine). There are a lot of folks, making a lot of money selling boner pills, but it’s not what I do.
What I Do Do
I focus on niche marketing and blogging. Maybe it’s semantics, but I sometimes define myself as niche marketer or blogger. Here is how I make money…are you ready for it?
- Pick a niche
- Build a website
- Find high traffic, low competition keywords
- Write content based on those keywords
- Promote products related to my niche within my content
It’s a bit of an oversimplification, but that’s the gist of how my business works. No secret strategies. No Google loopholes. I also make money teaching people how to do affiliate marketing, but the majority of my income over the past 4 years has come from non-make-money niches. (70% to be exact)
I sleep well at night knowing not only that I love what I do, but also that I help people (as opposed to flashing a free iPad sign in front of their face each time they try to watch pirated movies online). The content I write ranks well in Google, gives people the answers to the questions they have, and connect them with good products.
Helping people through affiliate marketing is the core concept of my business.
But SEO is Hard
The #1 reason people gravitate towards other forms of online marketing is because they thinks it’s easier. They want a squeeze page because it means they don’t have to write content. They do CPA because they don’t have to write sales copy.
Getting ranked in Google in order to get your affiliate offers found can be frustrating, but so can any part of the online marketing industry. Converting 10% of your visitors into $12 sales makes a whole lot more money than converting .05% of traffic into $1 sales.
SEO and ranking a website does take time. Sometimes it can be six months or more before you start seeing traffic stack up and sales to start coming in, and it could be another 6 months before you start seeing real income. But at the end of that time, you have a strong web asset that you can continue to grow for decades, or you can flip the site and make a good chunk of change.
(I will admit that the downside to this affiliate marketing strategy is that it can be hard to scale, but this strategy has worked well for me.)
Most SEO and ranking advice you get out there is purely for impatient people, who get bored writing content and feel like they deserve a better position than they do. SEO is not that complicated, and should not be the focus of your business's efforts.
But Can I Make It In A Saturated Industry?
If you learn one thing from this post, it should be that he affiliate marketing industry is nowhere near saturated, and never will be. There are literally thousands of products to promote in just as many niches. Even in highly popular areas, there are always new products being developed, new ideas to discuss, new people getting interested in the topic, and old businesses that are going offline for whatever reason.
There are currently tons of opportunities to jump in, and there will always be new ones popping up. If you get started right now however, you will thank yourself in a year or two when your business is up and running, generating income, and you don’t have to drudge through the beginner’s learning process again!
Still don’t believe me? Let’s look at some examples.
One of the most famous methods of making money is health/fitness stuff. Losing weight is probably the most popular and widely used. But we can break this down to carve out a low competition niche for us and get a foothold in a so-called saturated part of affiliate marketing
- lose weight on a gluten free diet
- lose weight on a paleo diet
- lose weight on a slow-carb diet
- lose weight without exercise
- lose weight without eating less
- lose weight while learning cooking
- lose weight for people over 50
- lose weight people in wheelchairs
Each of these is more than just a blog post. It could be a website by its own. If one of these categories appeals to you, why not start your affiliate site today (link)?
Let’s look at another example of a supposedly saturated market for affiliate marketers: Love
- Dating for non-native English speakers
- Dating over 50
- Dating after divorce
- Dating for millennials
- Dating for Christians
- Online Dating
- Sex advice for married couples
- Sex advice for people with STDs
- Sex advice for gay men/women
…and the list could go on. You don’t need to decide on your niche market right now. In fact, there are so many more other ideas out there, that you probably can’t even comprehend how many possibilities there are to make income in weird markets.
Here are just some of the weird niche ideas I’ve had or seen over the years:
- coffee enemas (a real thing for detox)
- body detoxification
- raising pet chickens
- urban farming
- caring for children with disabilities
- caring for autistic family members
- bass fishing
- fly fishing
- herb gardening
- body building for teens
- video games for (young) kids and their parents
- how to write a novel
- making beer at home
- exotic meats (cooking and ordering)
- wood stove cooking
- bread making
- vintage video game console restoration
- ham radio
- zombie films
There are just an infinite number of ideas that you could come up with, but the best idea, and the most profitable idea, is going to be the one you are most passionate about.
My very first website was about natural horse care products but I gave up 3 weeks in because I wasn’t very interested in the topic. I also started a chair website just last year for kicks, and quit about 3 months in because I lost interest. I did make a sale from gaming chairs though, so that could be a cool niche too!
A Perfect Example
One of my first successful niches was promoting a type of computer software. There was one website in my niche that dominated every single keyword. They were just impossible to beat, and I used to spend hours every week just looking at their website wondering what they were doing that I wasn't doing. Well, they messed something up (I suspect they were copying content from other sources and using bad backlinks), and here's their site's traffic stats today:
Along the way I fell out of the niche and no longer ‘strive' to make it in that industry. My site also had some issues due to poor backlinking strategies, but that's not the point! The point is, if I had been doing my job correctly (I was still a newbie), that I would be in a much better position today to take advantage of his lost traffic.
There will always be opportunities to enter s0-called saturated niches, and there will always be new niches popping up that the “experts” overlook because they're too busy with their established businesses. It's easy to feel like you missed the train, that all the good ideas are taken, and that you don't stand a chance against the entrenched competition. But it's just not true.
I now make a full time income in affiliate marketing. Imagine if I had said the same things to myself in 2010 (the year I started). So in 2020, so you want to be where you are now, still thinking that you can't get a piece of the action? Or do you want to be the guy that says, “Wow, I'm glad I got started when I did?”
I also want to make a quick point about new products and niches being invented every day. If you asked someone 3 years ago what a gluten free diet was they probably wouldn't have a clue unless they were truly had celiac disease. Paleo diet? Before Dr. Oz did his show on it, it just wasn't a thing. Crossfit? Also relatively new, and is a massive money maker these days.
Apple is releasing their Apple Watch soon, and no doubt there will be a tons of sites popping up on how to develop games, apps, and other features for the watch. Wearable technology in general would be a great niche site to start now before the explosion. Traveling, technology, health – all these things are changing at lightning fast paces and anything new that pops up is an opportunity for you to jump in the game.
Even just the way people think changes what niches can make money. How about a ‘living with AIDS' site, or ‘autistic homeschooling' site. These are both topics that were taboo in the past, but have recently become more acceptable to discuss, and with the added privacy and anonymity of the internet, more people are coming out of the shadows to talk about the real problems in their lives. Where there's a problem, there's an opportunity to make money.
The Big Picture
People are making money in affiliate marketing right now, and they will continue to make money in the future. You are NOT too late to the party, and getting started on your first affiliate website right now is the best way to take advantage of this awesome industry.
The training center that took me from a n00b and showed me how to go full time, step by step, was Wealthy Affiliate. They are the ONLY website I trust for advice on building, ranking, and profiting from my affiliate sites. If you want to learn how to do what I do, the way I learned how to do it, you can create your free starter account and see how everything works before you pay any membership fees.
No credit card needed, and your starter membership training includes 2 websites and personal support from me. Have any questions before you try it out? Let me know in the comments below.
Have you tried and failed at affiliate marketing? What was your biggest hurdle?
Are you just getting started? What’s holding you back?