But how much money does the average affiliate marketer really make? Is it really a good business model?
Today I answer these questions and talk about how you can get your hands on some of this affiliate money too.
Affiliate marketers earn by receiving a commission for promoting other people’s products or services.
For example, if you have an affiliate link on your blog that invites people to buy a product from Amazon, you will earn a percentage on every sale that occurs as a result of clicking on your link. Here’s what the dashboard looks like:
However, they don’t have to be just physical products.
You can also earn money as an affiliate for online courses or software. You may have seen “Skillshare sponsored” or “Fiverr sponsored” videos on YouTube. These platforms also have affiliate programs.
Alternatively, you can also make money as a business affiliate marketing manager. I will also touch on how much the employed managers earn.
The average salary for an affiliate marketer, according to Glassdoor, is $ 59,060 per year. It ranges from $ 58,000 to $ 158,000, including “additional payment” options such as cash bonuses, commissions, tips or profit sharing.
However, this is for an employee. How about a freelancer or business owner doing their own affiliate marketing?
According to a survey conducted by the Influencer Marketing Hub, here’s the breakdown:
In other words, more than half of all affiliate marketers earn $ 10,000 or less per year, while only about 33% make $ 10,000 or more per year.
This … is not great. Certainly not long enough to live in most countries. But I believe this is due to the fact that the majority of respondents do not do full-time affiliate marketing.
Being in the affiliate space myself and connecting with hundreds of other affiliate marketers gives me the gut feeling most full-time marketing affiliates make less than $ 100,000 per year, probably around $ 30,000 – $ 50,000 per year.
That said, this is my personal experience, not a survey or research study, so take it with a grain of salt.
Revenue vs. Net income
When it comes to answering how much money affiliate marketers make, you need to take into consideration actual net profit numbers, not just revenue.
Revenue is how much money a company makes Before expenses are withheld. Net profit is how much he earns after expenses are accounted for.
So profit is the actual take-home amount your business has produced for the year.
That’s why I say that most affiliate marketers make between $ 30,000 and $ 50,000 per year. This means profits after expenses.
If those numbers sound good and you’re ready to start affiliate marketing, here’s how you can get started:
- Choose a niche
- Decide on a content channel
- Produce and promote your content
Step 1. Choose a niche
Your niche is the thing you talk about. It could be a hobby, a lifestyle, a bizarre scientific theory, or whatever. As long as there are products, services or courses to promote, you can make money from it.
To find your niche, ask yourself:
- What am I good at?
- What do I like to do?
- What am I curious about?
- What do others tell me I’m good at?
Overlapping these four questions is often a great choice for a niche. Or at least, it will make you think of ideas.
For example, my answers might look like this:
- I am good at video games, writing, traveling and playing music.
- I enjoy doing all of these things, as well as keeping a journal, hiking and relaxing in the hammocks.
- I’m curious about goldsmithing, fire dance and motorcycles.
- Other people tell me that I am a great salesman and that I do great massages.
Based on my answers, I have a ton of niche options: travel, hiking, video games, sales, entrepreneurship, and even hammocks. It’s a fun little exercise for quickly coming up with ideas.
If you’re still having trouble or want to learn more, check out our guide to finding an affiliate niche here. It walks you through how to find affiliate niches as you Google things in your everyday life.
As you can see in the screenshot above, Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar will show information about each keyword you search for, such as how many people search for it per month, and how hard it would be to rank.
Step 2. Decide on a content channel
After choosing a niche, you need to choose how to promote your affiliate links. You can create a niche website, YouTube channel, social media account, or email list.
My personal favorite method is to create a website and use search engine optimization (SEO) to rank the website on Google. This allows you to get recurring organic traffic (and sales).
Check out these Amazon affiliate websites to get an idea of what that might look like.
For example, one of my websites is monetized by Amazon affiliates and I write review posts like the one below on camping mattresses:
If this style interests you, a niche website could be the way to go.
However, just because you create a website doesn’t mean you can’t be on social media and YouTube as well. I just found it helpful in my career to focus and master one thing at a time before moving on to the next.
Step 3. Produce and promote your content
Finally, you need to learn how to create amazing content and promote that content to draw attention to it.
Affiliate marketing is a content-centric business. Without mastering content creation, you will not be successful. Whether that means writing blog content, creating videos, or taking photos, you need to learn how to do it better than most people.
But creating great content alone isn’t enough. You also need to learn how to promote your work, whether it’s building backlinks to your articles for SEO or just getting views on your videos so that the YouTube algorithm shows them to more people.
Now you know the basics of how to become an affiliate marketer. But how do you make sure you make as much money as possible on that spectrum I shared earlier?
- Start by finding the best affiliate programs
- Improve your conversion rates
- Go for quick SEO wins
- Negotiate for better rates
Let’s analyze them.
Find the best affiliate programs
Amazon is great for starters, but with a 1-3% commission, it’s far from the best.
The fastest and easiest way to increase affiliate profits is to find better affiliate programs that give 5%, 10%, and even 50% commissions on sales.
The most common range you might find is 5-10%. These are still nearly triple what Amazon pays, so don’t be put off.
Improve your conversion rates
Beyond simply promoting better affiliate deals, the next quickest way to maximize your profits is to focus on optimizing your conversion rate.
This means that you should make small improvements to your website so that more visitors click on your links and buy your recommendations.
In general, some things you can do to help conversions include:
- Use of high quality images.
- Create call-to-action (CTA) boxes for recommended products.
- Viewing comparison tables so your readers can quickly see the differences.
- Make product No. stand out. 1.
- Build your brand and focus on EAT (competence, authority, trust).
Example: Here is a page that converts very well, thanks to these recommended custom product boxes:
You can ask a developer to make them for you or use an editor like Elementor or Thrive Architect.
As far as building your brand and creating EAT is concerned, Wirecutter does a great job at this. It shows where he is getting his information and, therefore, establishing trust. We have written a full case study on how Wirecutter does it here.
Go for quick SEO wins
Most SEO tasks take time to deliver results, whether it’s creating great content or building links. But there are many low-impact SEO fruits that can show results much faster if you know what you’re doing.
For example, when I updated the content in one of my guides, my ranking increased from position # 1. 3 to position no. 1 for the keyword “how to start a blog and get paid”. My overall traffic to the page increased by 35% almost immediately.
Check out our guide to quick SEO winnings to learn how to perform all of these tactics.
Negotiate for better rates
Finally, the quickest and easiest way to maximize your affiliate profits is to negotiate a better rate from your current affiliate partners.
This won’t work for generic programs like Amazon and Walmart, but it absolutely works for smaller brands. More often than not, if you’re already sending a good amount of traffic to your partners, it’s a no-brainer for them to increase your commission a bit.
Express it in a way that shows them that you will use the extra profits to reinvest and promote them even more – it’s a win-win for everyone.
It’s best done over the phone, but even a well-worded email can increase your commission by a percentage or two.
So now you know that most good affiliate marketers make less than $ 100,000 a year. But there are many who do so much more.
And you have options: You can become an affiliate marketing entrepreneur or an affiliate manager for another company.
Both are profitable options. One of my favorite affiliate program partners has an affiliate manager who makes nearly six figures a year, plus they’ve given him ownership of the company for profit sharing.
Either way, affiliate marketing is an amazing career. Would you like to know more? Check out these other guides: