Affiliate marketing websites have been around since the birth of the internet.
Big brand companies, entrepreneurs and bloggers have all used affiliate marketing to generate an income from their online real estate.
Why is this business model so attractive?
There’s a multitude of reason why affiliate marketing is so attractive, but fundamentally it has low startup costs with the opportunity to earn huge revenue in passive income further down the line.
And you can become an affiliate for almost anything. From online training courses (like this e-commerce course called the Amazing Selling Machine) to dog food and subscription software tools such as Clickfunnels and Leadpages.
Affiliate marketing is also attractive because you can generate an income through promoting products you don’t need to create yourself.
Creating a product from scratch is one of the hardest parts of starting a business. And affiliate marketing skips this entirely as you find and promote awesome goods that are already out there.
Affiliate Marketing websites are booming
Affiliate marketing can be lucrative as the operating costs of a typical blog or website are low compared to traditional brick and mortar businesses. This enables people promoting affiliate offers to enjoy large profits from their customer referrals.
Some thought-provoking facts:
- 16% of US e-commerce orders were referrals from affiliate marketing websites, making affiliate marketing one of the four largest sources of e-commerce sales.
- 80% of brands utilise affiliate marketing.
- Affiliate marketers alone generated $10 Billion in Amazon Affiliate earnings in 2015.
Furthermore, the proliferation of affiliate networks has further increased the influence of affiliate marketing on business profits. Networks such as Viglink have over 60,000 companies on their books. Similar platforms like AWIN boast an impressive roster of more than 13,000 advertisers.
These stats highlight the fact that affiliate marketing isn’t going anywhere. It’s definitely here to stay and the industry as a whole continues to grow year after year.
Successful Affiliate Marketing Websites
I wanted to highlight the potential of affiliate marketing with some examples of people who have done really well in the industry.
We all love seeing concrete results!
The majority of these websites are blogs, typically launched by a single person and eventually grown into titans of the affiliate marketing space!
Smart Passive Income
Pat Flynn owns a blog about all things internet marketing, online business and entrepreneurship. Pat launched Smart Passive Income in 2008 with the goal of helping people start profitable online businesses by showcasing his own successes and failures.
Since then his blog has taken off and become a wild success.
You’ve probably noticed the income report picture above and yes, that’s six figures in one month from a blog.
His income report for January 2017 was a total of $157,131.
$94,824 of that was purely from affiliate marketing referrals.
Here is a detailed breakdown of his affiliate earnings from January 2017, compared to the previous month:
Pretty staggering numbers huh?
Pat represents a fantastic example of what is possible with affiliate marketing if you establish yourself as a brandable authority in your niche.
How do you do this?
By providing awesome content that overwhelms people with value. If you focus on producing amazing content and promoting that content, and you do it consistently, you can’t lose.
ShoutMeLoud is a large blog focusing on a variety of topics such as SEO, entrepreneurship and affiliate marketing. The blog is owned by a guy called Harsh Agrawal.
Harsh started the blog as a hobby and it has since attracted an audience of over 872,000 people a MONTH!
Harsh is passionate about helping people quit the 9-5 job they’re stuck in and live life on their own terms. The main focus of the blog is showing people how they can generate an income through blogging and other online means.
The last income report published was in December 2016 and the blog pulled in $34,390.
Most of this money came from affiliate commissions as you can see below:
These figures demonstrate that Harsh has fully optimised his site for affiliate marketing.
It’s worth mentioning that Harsh started this blog in 2008, so he’s had roughly nine years to build it up to where it is now. So don’t expect to achieve results like this in a few months.
The ShoutMeLoud blog has TONS of content and a powerful backlink profile. This is partly why it receives so much traffic every month.
Check out this snapshot of Harsh’s Google Analytics dashboard:
Yeah, you saw that right, that’s just under 800,000 people visiting his site for the month of December 2016 alone!
75% of those people are brand new visitors. I’m surprised a website with this amount of traffic doesn’t actually generate more revenue every month. That’s a HUGE amount of traffic being generated right there.
The hardest part of launching an online business is generating targeted traffic.
But the actual formula for building a successful affiliate marketing website is fairly simple…
Great content + strong SEO = targeted traffic
Targeted traffic = $$$
This is probably the most simplistic way to describe generating an income online but when you break down all the pieces of the puzzle, it really does boil down to these fundamentals.
Matt is known for producing outstanding high-quality content that sticks out from the competition. His blog specialises in producing high-quality tutorials and case studies that help people with things like link building, social media and traffic generation.
Matt is a 28-year-old full-time blogger. His first website was launched when he was just 13 years old — a community-based gaming website where people could share videos of them slaying their opponents with flair in shooting games!
His last income report was released in December 2016 and he grossed just over $23,298.
Here is a breakdown of his earnings for that month:
As you can see above, just over 50% of blog income was generated from affiliate marketing. The other 50% isn’t something that is revealed but Matt does mention that “it is technically affiliate income” so we know that it’s related to affiliate marketing.
Interestingly, Matt has achieved a similar monthly income (he grossed $33,898 in November 2016) with MUCH less traffic, compared to ShoutMeLoud.
Check out the figures:
Just over 61,000 hits for the month of December 2016, compared to over 800,000 for ShoutMeLoud.
This is probably partly due to the fact that ShoutMeLoud is an India-based blog and probably attracts a tonne of traffic from India that doesn’t convert as well.
When you’re starting an affiliate marketing website, you want to be targeting places like the UK, US and Canada as these are tier 1 markets with high spending power.
Making Sense Of Cents
A personal finance and lifestyle blog with some REALLY impressive affiliate earnings.
Owned and operated by a girl called Michelle, she spends her time travelling the world and is currently touring North America and living in an RV.
She finished college in 2011 and managed to pay off over $38,000 of student debt in just seven months.
When she first started her blog, she was thinking even just making an extra $1000 a month would be amazing. Probably not too different from what you’re thinking right now :-)
Michelle generated just over $160,000 in February 2017 from Making Sense Of Cents.
Check out the breakdown of affiliate earnings:
So you’re probably thinking that amount in a MONTH is insane for a blog and yes — you’re right!
But this demonstrates the awesome power of the internet and how these online business models have changed the game.
Michelle has created a million dollar business from blogging about personal finance and lifestyle.
Isn’t that beautiful?
Beautiful that we even have the opportunity to do things we enjoy and not just get paid but achieve total financial independence from it.
Promoting top affiliate marketing programs provides the opportunity for you to build a business around something you genuinely love.
Bringing things back to the blog, Michelle generated the bulk of her income from promoting an affiliate marketing course and Bluehost (a website hosting company) generating a total of $94,041 from these two things alone.
Another $30,000 was generated from an affiliate launch and other related promotions.
The Power Of Email Marketing
Michelle mentions on her site that she has an email list of over 40,000 subscribers. A large email list of warm prospects is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your marketing arsenal.
Building an email list involves you having something valuable to offer to your visitors. Something that warrants asking for their details.
For example, Michelle offers a free email course on how to start a blog…
Once you hook your readers in with something of value that’s related to your content. You can then follow-up with them by providing additional value and building that relationship.
Essentially you’re helping your subscribers by giving them content they like so when it comes to you recommending a product, they will be more than happy to check it out.
Let’s say Michelle emails her list of 40,000 subscribers about a product she’s recommending.
If only 2% of people convert, that’s 800 sales! Many affiliate programs offer a tiered commission structure for products sold later down in the funnel.
This basically means that if 800 people purchased a training course on blogging and 50 of those people went on to purchase an upsell product offered by the same company, you’ll also receive commissions from these sales!
Another lady that’s killing it with blogging.
These girls are on fire!
Melyssa Griffin helps entrepreneurs and bloggers grow their audience, influence and monetise their passion.
She has a beautiful website that provides webinars, e-courses and a Facebook community all centred around this very topic. Over 100,000 people have opted in to check out her library of free resources.
Did I mention, she has a beautiful website? I genuinely spent half an hour just ogling over the sexy design.
In 2013, Melyssa was working as an expat English teacher in Tokyo, Japan.
Despite moving to an awesome city, she felt underpaid, isolated and creatively stifled.
You know that feeling when you just know you can do so much more?
Melyssa started her blog in the hopes of creating an online community. Her blog quickly became her post-work obsession and three months after starting, she was able to quit her job, move back to California and focus on her blog business full-time.
Within three years of launching her hobby blog. Melyssa was generating over $1 million dollars a year.
Her last income report was for December 2016 and she generated a massive $283,680.
It’s worth noting that Melyssa has her own line of products that she has taken the time to create and this is what generates the bulk of her earnings on her website.
However, even though the majority of earnings came from e-course sales. Melyssa still generated a very respectable $25,572 in affiliate earnings.
To give you a more detailed breakdown of December’s earnings, here is an expense and profit breakdown she posted on her income report:
Why Affiliate Marketing Is So Powerful
I hope these results have given you a taste of the power of affiliate marketing and online business in general.
Many people are still under the impression that you need to come up with an amazing idea to make money when it comes to business.
Business models like affiliate marketing prove that this just isn’t the case.
Affiliate marketing is powerful because it allows you to monetise something that normally wouldn’t be profitable. Who would’ve thought personal blogs that start out as hobbies can end up generating so much income?!
It seems almost unreal when we compare average salaries from various industries (as well as how long it takes to actually attain some of those roles).
Starting an internet business through affiliate marketing blows it all out of the water.
I’m a London-born lover of technology, obsessed with online business, passive income and the digital economy. I love learning, researching and curating the most valuable resources to save you time, money and help you discover the truth on what it actually takes to achieve your goals.