Can You Make Serious Money Selling Affiliate Products?

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Affiliate marketing, promoting someone else’s products in order to earn a commission is a common way for bloggers to earn money. Few people earn a living selling affiliate products: It is possible to make a large amount of money this way but a few pre-requisites need to be in place.

  1.      You need a large number of people reading your posts
  2.      Those readers have to need the product that you are promoting
  3.      Those people who need the product have to have money to spend
  4.      You need to be likable and trustworthy before anyone will click on your links

1. Large Readership

Forget the idea of selling affiliate products through organic search. There are thousands of affiliates who promote their links to search engines.

The way to go is to build up a large group of regular readers who check into your blog every few days. The only way to do that is to be helpful to your readers. Your site needs to be highly focused on one niche so that your visitors have similar interests and you will be able to help many of them by providing information about particular affiliate services.

2. Need

People have to have a genuine need for whatever you are promoting. It must solve a bleeding-neck problem; selling another way to stir your coffee is a non-starter, but selling a coffee-making robot would have possibilities.

3. Spending Power

If you promote cars to teens they might want one, but they do not have the spending power you need. Your users must have money to spend, usually credit cards or at least a PayPal account, otherwise they will be unable to spend money online and your promotion efforts will be wasted.

4. Trustworthiness

Your readers have to know a lot about you; they must like you and come to trust you before they will click on your affiliate link. People know that if they buy through your link then it will give you a commission.

You should buy any service or product that you are recommending to others. Only this way will you be able to write a genuine review and describe how the service or product solved your own need.

Your affiliate links must be labelled as such. This is a federal requirement in the USA and most companies make it a requirement of their affiliate programs that links are all labelled as affiliate links that earn you a commission.

Trust is something that you will need to earn and to build up over time. You can do this by helping people in many ways on a continual basis, usually in ways that do not earn you a penny. Nobody want to give you a commission unless they feel they know, like and trust you.

Other Hurdles to Overcome

There are other obstacles that will get in the way of you receiving an affiliate payment.

Minimum Payout

Affiliate programs may be administered directly by the company or they might be operated under third party systems. In every case your account must reach a certain value before payment will be made. That payment is often the equivalent of at least 2 or 3 sales.

It is difficult to reach the payment threshold by promoting different products because the affiliate payment systems will often be totally different. All Clickbank products are grouped together for payment purposes, similarly all Commission Junction products grouped together and all ClickShare products grouped together. If you are promoting products from different networks it will take much longer to reach the payment threshold of any one network.

Small Commissions

Amazon’s affiliate program pays 5-8% with most affiliates earning only 5%. This is hardly a large reward for an affiliate’s time and effort. I know people who make money with Amazon, but they mostly sell large ticket items. Amazon is also problematic because you need to be an affiliate of the different Amazon companies and the commissions from and are calculated separately, meaning that most affiliates never reach the payment threshold.

Inferior Products

The best companies do not have affiliate programs. They know that customers will hear about them by word of mouth, so are able to save the expense of paying affiliate commissions.

Does Anyone Ever Get Paid by Affiliate Programs?

Yes, people do get paid. This article was written with the input of people I know on who have received affiliate payments from Amazon, eToro (a FOREX affiliate program), Clickbank and JVZoo.

The amounts earned are generally small ones and can only play a small part in a blogger’s total income.

I would like to thank Nishadha Silva, Tim Soulo, Liudas Butkus, Navneet Kamat and Daniel Andrei Garcia for their contributions to this article.

Your Input?

Have you ever made money from affiliate programs? Please share using the comment box below/

6 thoughts on “Can You Make Serious Money Selling Affiliate Products?”

  1. I have never made any money with affiliate programs. They seem to be a hassle to set up and the payout is pretty minimal. Like you said in your article, there are some hurdles (big ones) to overcome! Even so, I do like your tip on making sure you have a good readership. After all, you can’t get clicks if you don’t have anyone looking over your website! Thanks for the good read.

    1. I HAVE made and continue to make referral commissions from affiliate programs I joined years ago.
      The need for a large readership is one that is minimised by most people who promote affiliate marketing as a way to earn a living. It can be but only AFTER you have built trust in your readership.

  2. I’ve looked into Affiliate marketing in the past but I’ve never actually tried it. I don’t currently have a large viewership and the audience of my current website don’t have much spending power so I didn’t really think it was worthwhile.

    All the past guides on Affiliate marketing have just been about generating large amounts of traffic, even if that traffic isn’t good. What I really like about this is that you focus on not only have a large viewership but about trust and need so it’s more about mutually benefiting rather than solely about making profit.

    This is a great place to start and I’m looking into starting other blogs with different niches so this is definitely an article I’ll keep in mind if I ever intend on getting into affiliate marketing.

  3. I have thought about this on several occasions, but never got around to it. You certainly have a great knowledge and understanding with which you are able to completely change my perception of affiliate marketing. Thank you for sharing.

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