Cassandra is a fitness enthusiast who can geek all day about TABATA, workout music, fitness supplements, and gears. Out of boredom and some enthusiasm, she casually started blogging on the Internet, reviewing different nootropics, greens powders, and gears. Now, Cassandra started generating traffic on her channel and her views eventually went from 50 to 50,000.
Cassie (let’s call her that) now starts venturing into joining affiliate programs and adding affiliate links to her blog for the products she reviews and when people make a purchase using her link, she earns a commission that we call ‘affiliate commission’.
Cassandra, however, is a fictitious character and so is her story, but the facts are based on real-life strategies which we in a nutshell call affiliate marketing.
The thing with affiliate marketing is that well, it’s easy to start but to gain momentum, you must work hard, try different things, engage all your creative assets, and most importantly have patience. I can tell, Cassandra didn’t become a successful affiliate marketer in a day, she leveraged her time, her creativity, and her financial assets to get where she is.
Now that we’ve touched the tip of the iceberg, let’s go diving down to experience the majesty of what lies beneath.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
I know I just explained what affiliate marketing is, but I did also say that it’s just the tip of the iceberg. So what is affiliate marketing really? Is it really a good source of passive income without working 9 to 5? Are there rules and regulations I have to comply with when I start into this vertical?
Hold on! I will get to each one of those questions running into your mind like a mouse on a mill.
In simple words, affiliate marketing is a process in which you (the affiliate) earn a commission for marketing a product that is originally manufactured or created by another person or company. You simply have to search for a niche you enjoy and start marketing the products that fall into this niche for which you will get a part of the profit the company made from the sale of the product.
Let me give you a real-life example: This is a wireless headphone (picture) and in my opinion. It has great bass, a nice build and the stereo sound is superb. But, did I manufacture this headphone? Obviously not. I don’t even properly know the complete mechanism of Bluetooth and it’s working. But I did help the company who manufactured the headphone sell a product and this is what they shall be paying me for.
Now you know what affiliate marketing is about. So, let’s understand if it’s a good source of income and whether you can actually make a fortune out of it.
Do you ever come across those nonsensical facebook posts and google redirect pages that tell you working 2 hours a day, every day, you can make $50,000 a month? That is why they are nonsensical. These click baits will flash models wearing a $10,000 suit, driving a McLaren, and whatnot. But in reality, those models know not crap about affiliate marketing. This is exactly why affiliate and digital marketing are some of the most romanticized of’em all.
Initially, when you start as an affiliate marketer, you need to understand that exhausting your brain to the limits that it gives you a genius idea is the most important aspect of marketing a product.
Next comes the risk of leveraging your money into a certain spectrum of products and seeing if it works out. And finally, it’s about pouring all your dedication into what you do. It doesn’t mean you have to work day in and day out. Sometimes you can just sip a mojito and invest two hours and make enough at the end. That’s not the point! The point is you can start making money through affiliate marketing. But some days are going to be hard and they will ask you to quit, stop with the persistence. But if you can make it to the end of the day, you are going to earn a really impressive amount of money from the comfort of your home.
Every business has some guidelines and affiliate marketing is no different. Let me give you a quick insight into the affiliate guidelines and disclosure before we move to the next bit.
All about Affiliate Disclosure and FTC Compliance
If the affiliate and the advertiser have a material connection, the affiliate must disclose the connection to the consumer. The disclosure doesn’t have to be language-specific. It must be clear and as FTC (Federal Trade Commission) mentions ‘conspicuous’. FTC also mentions that the disclosure must be stated without ambiguity. And the font must stand out against the background (nothing like deep green T on an aqua green background). The FTC validates a disclosure between the affiliate and the company on the basis of these 4 Ps or parameters:
- Presentation: The disclosure must be worded in a way that the consumers can understand what the affiliation is about. A good example of how you should present your affiliate disclosure is:
“ This website contains affiliate links and I may receive a small fee when you make a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you.”
This tells the consumer that the website earns through affiliate links. It also informs that the affiliate shall earn a certain amount of commission if the consumer makes a purchase using the links. If the consumer is cynical about whether there shall be any charges levied when he makes the purchase through the links, the disclosure clearly states that the consumer shall have to pay no extra charges while making the purchase.
If you are thinking there shall be any loopholes, at all, to assert the disclosure but somehow obscure that you’ve been endorsing the brand, remember this: This isn’t an episode of Suits and you aren’t Harvey Specter!
- Prominence: Not everyone is Superman with supervision that helps them see through the tiniest bits of space. In fact, no one’s Superman, so makes your disclosure prominent enough to be read with an ideal font size that is clearly visible to the consumer.
- Proximity: Proximity is the analysis of the claims made through the disclosure. It’s all about the closeness of the disclosure to the claims that have been modified by it.
Disclosure is most trusted and effective when it is placed in the relevant posting close to the triggered claim.
Are the disclosures the only thing you should take care of as an affiliate marketer?
No, the FTC also asserts, “any unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, is declared unlawful.” Now, shooing away the legality from the statement (only for a better understanding), suppose you took up an affiliate program that asked you to advertise for jeans.
What you do in an attempt to attract potential buyers is the claim that the jeans you are advertising are ‘the best jeans in the world’. This can be considered misleading. And also deceptive if there is no proof to substantiate the claim made and FTC isn’t going to like it.
You must also be thinking, what happens if an affiliate program isn’t FTC Compliant:
- FTC freezes your assets.
- It files a lawsuit against you for misleading and ten other suits that you didn’t even know existed.
- The commission shall require you to submit all your marketing assets and oversight to them for at least 10 years. This standard limit can go as high as 20 years.
Types of Affiliate Marketing Programs
Based on the mode of commission, advertisement, and certain other criteria, Affiliate Marketing Programs can be divided into 5 types. Let’s go through them.
This is the most basic type of affiliate marketing that is somewhat similar to AdSense (you know, tomayto-tomahto). The affiliate marketers earn revenue from the action that the website visitors take, generally clicks. The other factors are:
- Leads in the database of the website.
Pay Per Click affiliates generally choose a niche where they can grow a target audience that is likely to take action on the triggering ads relevant to the niche. You don’t have to be Professor X in order to read your audience’s mind, just a set of facts to see what triggers the audience the most. Profitable PPC affiliates operate their website at high efficiencies and charge their corresponding publishers a fortune to allow their ads on the website.
In PPL, the affiliate partner is paid the commission for every successful lead. The leads that they potentially generate within the dispatch of the stratagem.
If you are into making money seriously through affiliate marketing, PPL can be one of the most lucrative affiliates marketing structures.
The better the quality of the leads generated, the higher the commission, so buckle up and start with it already. Not just affiliates but one-third party promoters also earn payment when they achieve a certain course of action on the behalf of the partner offering the commission.
Usually, the actions that generate leads and allow affiliates to earn money are:
- Submit personal details such as contact information, etc.
Designing an effective PPL marketing strategy that works is tough. The marketing needs to be fine-tuned and targeted in a way that the results frequently lead to the acquisition of ‘leads’ on the behalf of the program distributor. PPL is also more rigorous a work than PPC because clicking on links? I can do that. Filling up details? Takes too long. The affiliate has to engage the prospect enough to achieve tangible results and drive him to sign up or do whatever the course requires; that is a job in itself.
This sort of marketing takes the game one level-up. In this structure, the affiliate is paid as soon as a lead turns into a successful sale. This translates to the fact that you don’t just generate a lead, you make the consumer buy what they see and when they do it, you earn a reward that is comparatively more than what partners in PPC AND PPL have to offer.
PPS may be compelling, considering the high commission the affiliate partners offer. But in order to succeed in this structure, I’d suggest you start with the basics. PPS is mainly opted by experienced affiliates who have forayed. And these affiliates have already developed strategies on how to convert a prospect into a sale rather than sending loads of referrals and simply ending the job to an expression of intrigue and attentiveness.
Let’s start with an example: SkinKraft is a skincare brand that requires you to choose a program. And the products (as per the plan chosen) are delivered on a recurring monthly basis. When you drive the customers to buy SkinKraft’s plans, you get recurring commissions. You get this commission on each of the customer’s monthly purchases until the customer chooses to terminate the plans. This in a nutshell is recurring commissions affiliate marketing.
This is a simple model that simply translates to the fact that the more referrals you get, the higher the commissions you earn. The higher your authority on the Internet, the higher your commissions for each referral.
How to Make Up to $25,000 through Affiliate Marketing?
It’s all in the mind
This is it, this is where it starts. If you make up your mind that you can achieve $25,000 a month through affiliate marketing, with the right set of skills, you can. Cue Tony Robbins says,
“ where your focus goes, energy flows”.
If you can just be hungry about being successful in affiliate marketing, you will ultimately put your energy into achieving it. The driving force is always the mind and it’s always up to you as to what mindset you want to start working with. Is it the fear that leveraging your time and financial assets may prove wrong? Or is it the determination that leveraging your time and investing your assets will get you where you want to be someday?
There will be downfalls but in the world, being successful and being lucky are two different things- not everyone is lucky but everyone can be successful if they try hard enough. So, instead of focusing on why, start focusing on why not!
Choose the right niche
I mean, yes, you can start with any niche you think will be the highest paying amongst the others. But choosing the right niche is like choosing the right career after your senior-high.
If you choose to pursue medicine because it pays a lot. And you end up hating yourself in the next two years because you realize that you were always into music. And if you had pursued the thought seriously, you could have been working with a great band. Or you have started a band of your performing in the big cities. What happens next is that you either drive yourself out of responsibility to complete your medical school or drop to polish your music skills.
There’s nothing wrong with dropping and people do it all the time. But if you had just thought for a while and scrutinized the pros and the cons right at the beginning, you wouldn’t have to start from scratch.
Having made that unnecessarily long explanation, let me tell you why choosing the right niche is important to succeed as an affiliate marketer:
- When you know your niche, you know your products skin-deep.
- You have an idea of the target audience and what triggers them.
- If you choose a really broad niche, ranking yourself gets difficult. And so does driving traffic, and if the niche is too narrow, there is never enough traffic.
- Your driving force isn’t compulsion but passion and passion are the keys to success.
- The natural, the endorsement, the convincing it gets and you can’t fake liking products in a niche for too long. PEOPLE FIND OUT!
The Highest Paying Niches
I am not going to make the mistake of telling you what niche to choose. Rather I am going to put down all the sub-niches that pay the highest in an individual niche and why.
The parameters that categorize each sub-niche on the basis of profitability are:
- Enough Reader Interest
- Level of Expertise and Risks involved
Your Money Your Life dominates the complete affiliate marketing vertical when it comes to profitability. Why? It’s simple: any niche that has the ability to either change your life or get you over your financial uptightness is an evergreen niche. Also, YMYL has products that are recurring such as beauty, fitness, nutrition, skincare- these aren’t one-time purchases.
Which sub-niches in YMYL pay the most?
Health is the highest paying YMYL sub-niche of all because most people want to stay lean and fit through healthy practices and supplements if they need to. Studies show that almost 34% of adults in the US and 15-2of 0% of adolescents suffer from obesity. It drives them to look for ways to stay at a healthy weight. It also drives them to try different things such as paleo, keto, Atkins, intermittent fasting, and e-books to do so.
Beauty is one sub-niche that will never go out of demand, no matter what the status of the YMYL in general. Have you noticed how the beauty section in any mall or supermarket acquires the most floor-space and a prominent position? This is because beauty companies mostly have a large profit margin between the manufacturing and the selling of the product. A generous part of this profit margin is spent by the giants on advertising for the products. And what better way to advertise and promote than to utilize affiliate marketing!
Affiliate marketers in the beauty niche-earn serious commissions from the big giants like Sephora, Huda Beauty, and Mac. Some affiliate programs such as those offered by Makeup Geek pay a commission of up to 15%, followed by Violet Grey that offers 12%, and Erno Laszlo offering 10%. Follow the money.
Dating- ‘Course, everyone needs love and you know the best part? People break up all the time (no, I am not evil). You can choose to venture into mainstream dating sites, dating and relationship advice (You don’t really need to be a love guru for this. I ain’t but I lecture my friends all the time), dating eBooks, and mail order brides.
Insurance is an intriguing niche and most insurance affiliate programs pay on the basis of PPL or PPS, so it can be a bit competitive as well. Auto Insurance, Life Insurance, Travel, and Health Insurance are some of the keywords you should focus on while creating strategic content that ranks and drives more traffic to your website.
The problem with health niches is that the traffic is huge but the product price is less. When you are betting on a product of $39 that claims to aid weight loss, people may buy it but the commission will still be a part of the $39 that they spent. My point is: The higher the product price, the higher the commission. Will anyone want to buy a weight loss course book for $250? No. Because it’s completely pointless.
This is where technology comes in. The vertical lacks size but the high product prices make up for it. The commission on products in tech niches is comparatively higher than those on YMYL. It is because a major part of the products aren’t recurring, so people don’t have to worry about paying the hefty price again. And SaaS and other products keep giving its users the innumerable benefits they want.
If you aren’t an authority with Google in the tech space, start with a narrow niche. The best-paying tech niches are:
Hosting isn’t just profitable, it’s seriously profitable. But that also makes it highly competitive, but at the end of the day, there are always rewards. The most integral part of starting up online, hosting is an evergreen sub-niche. It is the perfect recipe for great affiliate programs. When you are new, niche-down a little and start with WordPress Hosting. And after that, you can step up your game to Business Hosting, WooCommerce Hosting, Wix Hosting, and others.
SaaS, just like supplements and beauty products, is a recurring item that keeps regulating its features that makes it more appealing to the users.
Training and Courseware are what brought you to affiliate marketing, now sell it to others. When people think of training as an essential part of the startup or vertical they will be pursuing, they initially attach it to the word ‘success’. This drives the consumers to take up training such as MMO Training.
On a beach, or a long train ride, or a school (obviously) books are everywhere. Most of the people save the plight of carrying a paperback. And they switch to digital solutions such as eBooks and eLearning sites. This makes the Courseware niche one of the most profitable in the affiliate world.
Choose a High Paying Affiliate Program
Choosing the right affiliate program is important. Period. You can’t just sign up for any program, work like an ox, and get paid nuts. No, literally nuts. Depending on your experience and site authority, there are several levels of affiliate programs and even if you are a beginner, there are myriad programs that help you start the right way and pay you what you deserve for your hard work.
Tricks to make Affiliate Marketing a Success and Earn Higher
When you want to double your affiliate profits, bleakly endorsing a product isn’t going to help. In order to have a five-digit income, you’ll need to combine your creative assets with clever marketing skills. And build strategies to make more revenues.
I am not Jay Setty and I won’t go on and on dragging a point (no offense). To cut to the chase, the trick to earning more is placing your affiliate links in the right places:
- In Articles: This is a no-brainer, add your affiliate links to your posts, especially in close proximity to the products you are endorsing. The best way you generate clicks and sales is through adding links to review articles. This also translates to the fact that you should write more review articles.
Affiliate links on product comparisons and reviews of products or services generate the most CTR, driving more sales to your pocket. Review articles, mostly from Amazon generate the most sales. They are an easier sell and even if people don’t buy the product, the clicks can result in future sales.
- On Social Handles, preferably your posts: No matter what the platform of endorsement, your affiliate links should be embedded on each one of your posts irrespective of the fact that they are placed on Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook. Of these, Pinterest drives the most traffic to your affiliate website. So make sure you create engaging content for your Pinterest viewers and embed your links in the relevant posts.
- In Emails: Ever heard of email marketing? It’s one of the most profitable cornerstones in digital marketing. The surprising part is that most people open their emails and a significant portion of these people click on links. You can scrunch up your nose saying, ‘Nobody reads newsletters and advertisements in mails’ but the fact is they do! Through emails, you don’t just sell a product or drive clicks, you establish a lasting relationship with your customers. Trust equals money in affiliate marketing.
5 Highest-Paying Affiliate Programs
There’s no get-rich-quick strategy in affiliate marketing that will bump you up to $25,000 in the first month. It will take a few months, maybe a year or two, before you establish a name for yourself and learn the ropes.
When you start with affiliate marketing, keep your expectations realistic. And let me help you search for an affiliate program that earns you some of the highest commissions paid in the market. Below is a list of some of the highest-paying affiliate programs to start making some good money.
It is rare to find an affiliate program that can pay you as high as up to $1000 per purchase. Like what? When I first bumped across this stupendous program, I looked like the saber-toothed (my teeth are fine) Scrat from Ice Age looking at Hubspot like it was my dream acorn. It is to this date, to not only me but many affiliate marketers out there!
What you have to understand here is that HubSpot isn’t looking for hit-and-run type unreliable affiliates. But affiliate websites based on the sales/ marketing niche. The joining is super easy. All you have to do to start earning through this highly effective passive source is click ‘Get Started’ on the Affiliate Program page.
It’s everywhere- from insta stories of popular influencers to the mag covers of the most sophisticated companies, Sephora rules the world of beauty and glamour. If you were into beauty and fashion, congrats, you just found your perfect affiliate match!
You know that beauty and finance are the two highest paying niches in the affiliate marketing field. And with the evergreen business that keeps scaling higher, affiliate marketing in the beauty niche is an opportunity that you should grab (only if you are a cosmetic and skincare fanatic).
But why Sephora when there are other affiliate giants that offer the beauty niche? It’s obvious, the commissions are too low, even for companies like Amazon that offer 1% to 2% on all the products no matter what the price.
Sephora, on the other hand, has a commission structure that goes as high as up to 7.2% with a cookie length of 1 day (not that impressive). With such handsome commission rates, you are sure to earn up to $25,000 working remotely, by becoming an affiliate partner with Sephora.
So, put that lip gloss on (on your website review, not really apply it) and shine bright like a diamond as an affiliate marketer!
Whether you own a store in the vast company or look to promote it for some impressive commission, Shopify has you covered.
With a number of affiliate marketing platforms such as Refersion, LeadDyno, Omnistar, and Affiliatly, Shopify offers its affiliate partners a wide range of products to choose from, in the niche eCommerce Hosting and Store Builder.
The programs can be picky but at the end of the day, they provide you with the highest commissions if you generate quality leads and drive in decent sales from reasonable customers.
Whether you’re an affiliate marketer or not, I’m sure you’ve heard of Amazon’s Affiliate Program- it is literally the king of the hills but the boo-hoo is the short cookie lifetime. Amazon’s Affiliate Program isn’t perfect and highly unreliable. The rates change, the rules can be fussy, but the commissions are justifiable.
But the good part is that it’s a HUGE company, a gorilla in the face of its ant-ish competitors, so no matter what your niche is, you can choose products from Amazon relevant to your spectrum, no matter how obscure, and still make sales. And, this ladies and gentlemen, is why Amazon makes it to the 5 highest paying affiliate programs.
Thinking of taking a trip to Greece? Maybe enjoy the beaches, the sunrise, and the ancient vibes? Expedia helps you from flight bookings to hotel reservations. But when you are an affiliate marketer with a deep interest in traveling or at least daydreaming about traveling, Expedia’s affiliate Program is just the place to start.
They are one of the best traveling affiliate partners. They offer a 5% commission from their Inventory. You can even earn a high as up to 50% of the reservations made by the customers that redirect through you. That’s some high-end commission. Man, I see myself going from zero to 5 digits in a limited time-frame!
To be an affiliate marketer is one thing, to be a successful affiliate marketer is another. What I just explained above is succinctly the tip of the iceberg. Those dollar signs gleaming in your eyes (yes, I see you!) won’t help become a successful affiliate marketer. To start, you’ll need to forget every wrong idea they’ve planted in your brain. Remember two things before when you go for it:
- Affiliate marketing isn’t tough, it’s just like any other job you would do and every job requires determination.
- It isn’t a scam. There are prodigies and examples who have been making a fortune through affiliate marketing and you can do it too!