The 10 Best
Affiliate Marketing Networks
To Make Money From Home

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How to make money with affiliate marketing?

Most people want to have a way to earn money without spending too much time and effort on it. You know it as passive income, which comes from a business that you do not need to participate materially.

There are numerous ways to earn a passive income, but not all of them are easy. I have given an overview of the different ways to make money online before, but here, I am going to explain more about affiliate marketing.

If you are a beginner in online marketing, then this method is perfect for you. At its core, affiliate marketing involves promoting other people's products and receiving a commission when a customer ends up purchasing those products because of your advertising. Sounds simple enough, yes?

By the time you finish reading this guide, you will know more about affiliate marketing, the best affiliate programs, and the possible challenges you might encounter. If you are ready, let’s start!

Affiliate Marketing Defined

Affiliate marketing is a method where you earn a percentage by advertising products of other people or companies. You find a product you think has value then promote it to other consumers, earning a percentage of the profit for every sale made by your endorsement.

This method has three core players: the advertiser, the publisher, and the consumer. Some platforms include a fourth player called the network in the circle. Let us begin by expanding on these concepts.
The Merchant

it is the person or company who owns the products, and you may refer to them as the advertiser, retailer, or brand. This party creates the product.

The merchant can be a big company like Whirlpool, a multinational manufacturer of home appliances. It can also be a businessman like Dan Lok, who sells online courses of his own to aspiring entrepreneurs.

In short, anyone can be the brand in this marketing program. Whether it is a single proprietor or a large Fortune 500 company, you can be the merchant when you have a product you want to sell.

The Publisher

The publisher or the affiliate is the one who promotes the product. Again, this player can refer to a single individual, a group of people, or an entire company.

The affiliate can endorse one or multiple products to encourage potential customers of that merchandise’s worth. Publishers do this by reviewing the product in a blog post on their website.

The Customer

The customer refers to a person who visits the affiliate’s platform and ideally purchases or utilizes it based on the latter’s promotion. Though the publisher plays a vital role in endorsing the product, the customer makes the whole system of affiliate marketing possible.

If there are no consumers to generate sales, then merchants will not share revenue, and publishers will not receive commissions. As such, affiliates try to promote the products on different channels like social networks and digital billboards to target specific customers.

Not all online marketing experts consider the network an essential player in the affiliate marketing equation. Still, I believe its role is significant, being the liaison of the merchant and the affiliate.

In some cases, you can directly negotiate some form of revenue sharing with the market. However, some merchants require affiliates to go through a network, especially if the merchant assigned the management of the affiliate program to that network.

One of the most extensive networks is Amazon. But there are a lot of other affiliate programs available. Later on, I will outline ten of the best affiliate programs in the market. 

Now that you understand the key players in this process let me proceed with the best way to start this kind of business.

How To Start an Affiliate Marketing Business

When I talk about starting a business, it usually refers to two parts of the affiliate marketing equation. Not that building an affiliate network is impossible, but it requires a lot of effort and funds to build a platform.

So, the usual route means you can either become a merchant and have someone promote your merchandise in exchange for a commission or become an affiliate and promote one or several products to earn commissions.

Not many people have the aptitude and determination to come up with merchandise of their own, so most take the route of becoming an affiliate. Although, in some ways, becoming an affiliate marketer is much more comfortable, generating enough traffic to your platform to produce sales is not a walk in the park.

how to do affiliate marketing
Here, I will walk you through both sides of the coin in case you plan to be a merchant or affiliate.

Becoming a Merchant in Four Steps

Almost everyone has an idea, but successful products do not start and end there. Product development is a long and arduous process that requires patience and commitment. 

I have seen many people come up with excellent ideas, but not everyone can translate those plans to actual products that can sell. Here, I will give you an overview of four steps you should follow to become a merchant with a product of your own.

1. Designing a Product

Great product ideas often come with a specific need. As an innovator, your goal is to come up with a product that solves a problem in scale. This part requires research to find out what is missing in the market or a gap in the market.

I recommend writing down the ideas as soon as they come. Inspiration usually strikes when you least expect it.

The next part involves collaborating with designers for the prototype once you have come up with the product concept. Depending on the actual product and your background, you may need to work with engineers to create a feasible product sample.

Often, this step requires money. Once you have a solid product idea and a functional design, you can either present it to investors or secure funds through crowdsourcing. 

You can choose from platforms like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, or other websites, though some of them may already require you to have a running prototype before the start of a campaign. Once you have secured the funds, it is time to build the prototype and test it out.

affiliate marketing website
how to do affiliate marketing

2. Testing Your Product

On this step, you want to put the product to the test, ensuring that it can withstand people dropping it or other trappings of ownership. Nobody wants to buy a product that will quickly break unless you intended it for one-time use.

It is also best that you or several people try it out. Take note of any challenge or frustration you encounter with its use; it is highly likely that consumers will also experience the same thing.

The primary goal for this part is to gather feedback as much as possible. Close friends and family will likely be kind and gentle about their feedback; thus, run focus group sessions with different test groups.

Then, use the comments you received to tweak and revise your product. You can come up with ideas to address those problems, and the resulting changes can take your product from good to excellent.

3. Developing Your Product

You finished your prototype and are now ready to get your business off the ground. Create an operational budget, including the cost of operation, overhead and outside expenses, and worker salaries. Coming up with a specific and calculated amount will help you secure the right amount of funding for your business.

Next, develop a marketing plan to promote your products. There are several ways to do so, like affiliate marketing, blogging, or network marketing.

Once you have secured appropriate funding, you are ready to manufacture the product on a much larger scale. The chief problem with large-scale manufacturing is quality control. So, develop quality control criteria that anyone in your team can use.

how does affiliate marketing work
affiliate marketing website

4. Finding an Affiliate Program

You can use several tools to set up affiliate program partners, depending on the type of product you offer. The challenge often lies with finding partners who have an audience interested in your product.

So, you can also reach out to fellow merchants with the same product niche and ask them to cooperate on a sale. Your first affiliate does not have to be grand right away. Instead, you can look for one person or website to partner with and adjust the details later.

The first three steps sound overwhelming, so let us look at the other side of the coin and find out how to become an affiliate yourself.

Becoming an Affiliate Marketer in Four Steps

As an affiliate marketer, you earn a commission by selling third-party products on your website. Like I mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing allows you to make passive income, although you undoubtedly have to put in time and effort at the start.

Here are four actionable steps you can follow if you are a beginner who would like to venture into this business.

1. Start With What You Can

When it comes to affiliate marketing, it is best to start with what is familiar. Check if your favorite products, applications, or tools offer affiliate partnership programs.

If so, you can start creating campaigns after researching on these brands and their selling points. Avoid jumping into the bandwagon of hugely popular industries; it is highly likely that competition is already fierce in those businesses.

You can start a few trial campaigns on your website and check how your visitors respond to them. The important thing is to give it a try and learn about your skills as a marketer.

how to do affiliate marketing
affiliate marketing for beginners

2. Start an Affiliate Website

Most affiliate programs ask you to have a working platform before you can join, primarily because they want to confirm your content will not negatively affect their reputation.

Fortunately, creating a website is no longer as tricky nowadays, especially with one-stop shops like WordPress.

3. Find the Best Affiliate Programs in Your Niche

This part requires a significant amount of research, which you should consider as an investment. Kick your research by digging deep into various search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

I already mentioned that large companies use affiliate programs too. So, if you plan to be an affiliate of a well-established company, you can check out the most popular networks below.

Check its website directly for any paid partnership programs if you have your eye on a specific brand. High-quality products usually have a good reputation and high brand recognition, which makes for a more lucrative endeavor.

how to do affiliate marketing
how to do affiliate marketing

4. Implement Creative Strategies

Apart from popular products, the key to generating traffic to your website is compelling content. It is highly unlikely that you are the only affiliate to any product, so you should have a unique approach. 

Affiliate marketers usually choose from creating regular product reviews, product comparisons, YouTube videos, live streams, or blog posts. No matter which method you select, ensure that your content has the highest quality.

Do not worry if your first few attempts’ commissions are lower than expected. That result is typical, especially when you are only starting.

My advice is to switch your online campaigns to see which ones perform better and maximize the results. With these improvements, you will be able to determine which campaigns have higher success rates and which ones you can remove from your marketing plan.

How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

There are several types of programs you can take advantage of when dealing with this business. You might see them phrased another way when you search online, but I have outlined six arrangements to earn money with affiliate marketing.

One-Tier Program

With this setup, the merchant pays you a commission based on the business you have generated on your platform. When a consumer clicks your affiliate link and purchases it, it becomes a sale, and you consequently make money.

Two-Tier Program

With this arrangement, the affiliate can have additional publishers, also known as sub-affiliates, under them. The first tier has the same mechanics to earn a commission. However, the two-tier program allows the affiliate to earn a commission when the sub-affiliates generate a sale. In some ways, this system is similar to multi-level marketing.

Climbing Tiers

Generally, the one and two-tier programs have a fixed commission whenever the affiliate makes a sale. With this setup, however, the publisher gets a higher commission the more you make sales. For example, the first five sales per month equate to a 50-dollar commission per transaction. However, if you hit six to ten sales per month, the commission becomes 75 dollars per purchase.

Recurring Commissions

This setup usually happens when you promote subscription services. The affiliate earns a commission as long as the customer remains subscribed to the related product. Though one-time programs offer higher payouts, this type of structure offers much more passive income potential.

Site-wide Commissions

With this arrangement, the affiliate receives a commission no matter what product the customer purchases from the merchant. Amazon’s affiliate program has this setup, although the commission percentage varies on the category of the purchased product.

Cookies

You are probably aware that your computer stores cookies every time you visit a specific website. Affiliate programs capitalize on that by allowing their affiliates to earn money if a customer purchases a product within a specified period upon clicking the affiliate link. The duration usually ranges from 30 to 90 days.

Best Affiliate Programs

Now that you have grasped the basics of affiliate marketing, it is time to choose the best affiliate program to earn passive income. There are hundreds of options available online, and you might feel overwhelmed with the massive selection.

The good thing is, I have already listed ten of the most lucrative affiliate programs in the market. I came up with this list based on the program’s brand reputation and potential commission. Regardless of the product niche you prefer, I am certain one of these affiliate programs will appeal to you.

Amazon

One of the biggest online platforms worldwide, so it is no wonder that it also has one of the most extensive affiliate marketing programs. Amazon has millions of products and services, so affiliates can direct their audience to the website for purchase and consequently earn commissions.

Bloggers and content creators with a suitable platform can participate in the Amazon Associates Program, while social media influencers with a sizable following can become an Amazon Influencer.

Currently, Amazon only accepts platforms on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. If selected, the influencer gets to have a vanity link that contains all their recommended Amazon products. If not selected, influencers can try again once they meet the program’s eligibility requirements.

how to do affiliate marketing

Advertising fees differ in the product category, but affiliates can get anything from 1 to 10 percent. Affiliate links for luxury beauty products and Amazon coins generate the highest commission, while music and digital videos are a close second.

The platform is so well-known that you will not have a difficult time convincing customer to click the affiliate link. Plus, if they go to Amazon using your link and purchase other items, you will still get a commission on all the products on their cart. The cookie life for clicking an affiliate link is 24 hours.

how to do affiliate marketing

eBay

When it comes to brand reputation, eBay is comparable to Amazon, so customers know the affiliate link directs them to a respectable platform. This e-commerce giant also has a wide range of products offered, so affiliates looking to start a marketing business have numerous options.

Again, the commission rates depend on the product category and the participating website. Generally, affiliates receive a higher percentage if the sale happened on the United States’ eBay website.

Fashion items have a higher rate compared to electronics, collectibles, media products, and automotive parts. With auctioned items, the affiliate can get up to 70% of the auction fee, not the sale price.

The cookie life for clicking an affiliate link to regular items is 24 hours. Auction items have ten days.

ShareASale

This platform has nearly 4,000 merchants so that affiliates can choose from a wide range of categories for their advertising. It also has a user-friendly interface that is easy on the eyes, making it perfect for beginners to affiliate marketing.

ShareASale boasts of robust reporting features that allow affiliates to monitor how their campaigns are doing. Compared to other networks, this one has a threshold of 50 dollars before publishers can receive their commission. Though it may seem high at the start, especially for starters, others may not find it an issue.

Since the platform carries thousands of merchants, affiliates may not receive notifications when one shuts down or closes for any reason. I recommend checking your affiliate link periodically to ensure that it directs customers to your intended product.

how to do affiliate marketing

how to do affiliate marketing

ClickBank

This online platform has been around for more than 20 years, available to over 200 countries, ensuring a diverse audience for all its products. ClickBank holds millions of digital products and boasts some of the highest commission rates in the industry, offering as high as 90 percent on specific products.

With a focus on digital products like online courses and membership sites, it has subscription services that generate recurring commissions. ClickBank also offers affiliates a flexible payment schedule in various options, which include checks, wire transfer, direct deposit, and Payoneer.

The platform has a minimum payout of 10 dollars, with an average cookie life of 60 days, depending on the merchant you select.

CJ Affiliate

Formerly known as Commission Junction, this platform is similar to ShareASale as it has thousands of merchants on its website. It carries a mixture of small and big companies like Lowes, GoPro, IHG, and Grammarly.

The commission percentage and cookie duration vary depending on the merchant you select. When it comes to payments, CJ Affiliate sends the monthly compensation through direct deposit or a check.

Beginners might find it challenging to start with CJ Affiliate because it deactivates accounts if there are no commissions earned within six months. However, if your website already generates steady traffic, then you will appreciate this platform’s feature-rich affiliate network.

affiliate marketing online

affiliate marketing online

FlexOffers

This platform, founded in 2008, is relatively new compared to other affiliate networks. However, FlexOffers has no shortage of opportunities, with over 12,000 merchants and hundreds more added each week.

Like CJ Affiliate, the commission percentage and cookie duration vary depending on the merchant you select. In terms of payment, regular affiliates get their commission within a month of a sale while top performers can receive theirs in seven days.

The affiliate program has a minimum balance of 50 dollars for payment, and affiliates can choose to receive their commission by check or direct deposit. If they live outside of the United States, then PayPal is an available option.

What I especially like about this network is the dedicated manager they assign to help each affiliate. This person offers support in navigating the world of affiliate marketing, which makes this platform ideal for beginners and veterans.

Fiverr

If you are looking to partner with a platform that offers freelance services, then Fiverr is the one for you. Compared to networks that carry physical and digital products, the website focuses on freelancers offering services like graphic design, digital marketing, and programming.

The network has several commission plans to choose from, so the amount varies on the product. Affiliates can earn 15 to 50 dollars depending on the service under Fiverr CPA while they get 10 dollars and 10 percent revenue share for services under Fiverr Hybrid.

affiliate marketing online

how to do affiliate marketing

Etsy

This platform does not fall far behind Amazon and eBay in terms of brand reputation, although Etsy caters to unique items ranging from handcrafted to vintage products. As such, the website occupies a specific niche in the global retail industry.

Potential affiliates will need to apply on Awin, the website’s affiliate portal. The program has a 30-day cookie period, ensuring that publishers receive commissions on qualifying sales during this time. The commission percentage varies based on the order price, excluding other expenses like shipping and VAT.

Rakuten

This affiliate network contains several big companies like Walmart, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Papa Johns. It has over 1,000 merchants available on the platform, which means you will not find much difficulty finding a specific niche.

The commission percentage and cookie duration vary depending on the merchant you select, with a minimum payout balance of 50 dollars. A significant advantage of this platform is the ability to rotate advertisements internally.

It has been around since 1998 and has received publishers’ ratings by the Better Business Bureau and social media users. Affiliates can receive their payment through check, direct deposit, or PayPal, although you will have to wait for merchants to pay Rakuten first.

how to do affiliate marketing

affiliate marketing online

Avangate Network

Compared to other programs on this list, this affiliate network is relatively new, established in 2006. The marketplace focuses primarily on software products and digital goods, with over 22,000 items.

If your interest lies with these types of products, Avangate Network is the perfect platform. The commission percentage and cookie duration vary depending on the merchant you select, although this period ranges from 30 to 180 days. The program pays monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly, depending on the amount of commission in the reporting period.

Challenges With Affiliate Marketing

In theory, affiliate marketing may sound easy and straightforward; but like any business model, the process has its ups and downs. No button will magically increase the funds on your bank account, so you should not throw all caution away and immediately quit your job.

However, when it comes to passive income, this system has unlimited potential. In this section, I will list five challenges most affiliate marketers face, whether you are a beginner or have been doing it for some time.

I also suggest you to read how to avoid The 3 biggest old-school mistakes affiliate marketers are making…

You can also learn more through my new course Digital Mastery Business Blueprint. I have shared my best practices that would help you start up your online business the right way.

how to do affiliate marketing

1. Gaining the correct knowledge

Everybody wants to make money, so this topic is a popular subject on the Internet. There are legitimate websites that offer great information but finding them and applying their principles is a different matter altogether.

Add to that the fact that there are numerous scams and lies you might encounter, and this detail makes finding valuable information tedious and frustrating. 

To overcome this challenge, look for information that provides detailed and relevant steps. If the marketing tool promises a quick buck with a purchase of magical software, the chances are high that it is a product too good to be true.

Read multiple sources for reviews to help you discover the information that you need. Here is something I wrote for 9 killer marketing strategies to launch your next online business, you can check it our right here.

One of the very best in the affiliate industry is Spencer from Buildapreneur, I highly recommend to check what he is offering.

2. Creating compelling content

With affiliate marketing, the content plays a significant role in helping you generate sales. Trends quickly change, and so does the customers’ attention span. You must perform the right level of research to deliver content that will not make potential customers look away.

Creating relevant material takes hours, so an affiliate has to have the determination to spend a few hours in front of the computer solely for this purpose. Whether you are a full-time employee or full-time parent, find a way to squeeze in this task.

When I first started in this industry, I worked a regular nine to five job. So, can you guess what I did? I was burning the midnight oil and spent all my free time working on my online businesses.

Though this practice may not be for everyone, my point remains the same: no matter how busy you may seem, you can always find time if you are determined enough. All these hours will be worth it when you reap the benefits later on.

3. Keeping the motivation

Like with most things in life, the hype is high at the start. You spend hours researching and write articles with excitement and energy. This step happens to everyone, and it is also typical for doubt to creep in when your expectations do not meet reality after a few months.

A few months, you say. Depending on your content, it may take 6 to 12 months before your rank rises, and you generate decent traffic to your website. If you narrow your niche, it may become faster, although the waiting is still painful.

It would be a waste to give up when you have already put in time and effort in the affiliate marketing business. This industry requires consistent input for you to reap the rewards, so keep at it even when you feel like throwing down the towel.

4. Dealing with outside pressure

Whether if it is from a relative, a close friend, or a random individual you have only met once, you will receive skepticism about all the time and effort you spend on the computer. Affiliate marketing is not the most conventional business venture, so understandably, some people will have doubts.

In this scenario, the best thing to do is to acknowledge the pressure and move forward. Remember your goals, and this process is how you want to achieve them.

However, if a significant other comes to you about the subject, try to come up with an agreement. These people may oppose this venture because you no longer spend much time with the family or another valid concern.

5. Focusing on the analytics

If you are only starting, do not spend too much time looking at your website’s statistics for the first six months. It is addicting, I know, but as I mentioned in #3, it will usually take a few months before your platform generates sufficient traffic.

The more you look at the lackluster results, the more demoralized you will get. Instead, focus on creating quality content and building your niche. Affiliate marketing takes persistence, but rewards are sure to come if you have made a solid foundation.

Best Marketing Methods and Tools To Increase Sales and Customer Lifetime Value

There are two ways to grow a business – getting new customers or retaining existing ones and increasing their lifetime value or CLV. The customer lifetime value is significant as it reflects how much profit a business can make off one customer over time.

The higher the CLV, the bigger the revenue is for the company. Merchants can employ numerous techniques to increase customer lifetime value. From an advertising perspective, affiliates can increase sales by utilizing several methods and tools.

My advice is not to stick to one strategy. Different opportunities may call for different approaches, so I have listed several methods and tools to increase your repertoire.

Social Media

Whether you are a fan or not, there is no denying that social media plays a significant role in today’s market. There are several options to choose from that target specific platforms, and some have free trial versions.

If you have funds to spare, you can hire a social media manager to utilize these tools and help engage your targeted audience. Some of the most common social media marketing tools are HootsuitePostplannerTailwindMentionBufferMeltwaterIFTTTGoogle AlertsTweetDeck, Facebook Page Insights, Google Analytics, and SEMrush.

Content Marketing

These strategies will help you get the most interaction out of your platform without spending lots of time and effort. There are numerous tools to choose from and having the right technology will help you get the job done better and more efficiently.

Each content marketing tool has a specific purpose, so keep that in mind when selecting one. For example, BuzzSumo will help you analyze trends in your industry, while Evernote will help with organization and brainstorming for teams.

Kredanalyzes your social platform activities to determine which influencers can help you enhance your online presence. Meanwhile, ClickFunnels will help you save time in creating a sales funnel.

If you need help proofreading your content, tools like Grammarly and Hemingway App will help make your articles more readable and audience friendly.

Blogging

When I say blogging, do not limit yourself by posting content on your website. Instead, post your ideas on other well-known platforms to have visibility. These authority domains have massive audiences and will help you extend the reach of your content.

When blogging, make sure that your article has value. This detail ensures that you become an authority on your chosen subject in the eyes of the audience. You can start posting on blogging platforms like Quora, Reddit, or LinkedIn.

Influencers

If you want to boost your visibility on social media without building an audience of your own, then leveraging influencers is the way to go. Find one in your niche, so your content becomes visible to the target audience.

Though the number of followers is essential, it is more important to spread your content to the right consumer base. Reach out to influencers in your niche and check their pricing. If small tests yield positive results, then you can do it on a much larger scale.

E-mail Marketing

When a user visits your platform, you must build a relationship with the customer through e-mail sequences. These automated messages ensure that you have constant communication with your customers. Popular e-mail marketing tools are AWeber, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, MailChimp and Drip.
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