How Much Money Can Affiliate Marketers Make?

If you are already an affiliate marketer or considering becoming one, everyone at some stage asks themselves the question “how much money can an affiliate marketer make?”. While it’s not ideal to answer a question with another question, the answer to this question is “how much money do you want to make?”. Now, you are probably thinking that doesn’t help you very much, so in this article, we will explore this and give you some answers and direction. 

The fact is, only a small percentage of affiliate marketers reach their true potential and are able to make 5 and 6 figure incomes. So, in a nutshell, as an affiliate marketer, you could earn anywhere from $0 to $1 million+ per annum. There are some affiliate marketers who even earn $1 million+ per month, but that is truly rare. In a nutshell, there are still big bucks to be made as an affiliate and as more and more people become connected to the Internet and more markets open up, the demand for top-quality affiliates will keep growing. 

The Cold Hard Truth

Years ago, you heard crazy success stories about high-school dropouts who became millionaires as affiliates and would only work 1 hour a day from home or while sitting on the beach. The fact is, 99% of these stories are junk. Maybe once these people reached their success, they were able to sit-back a little, but getting there, they had to invest time, money, blood, sweat and tears. 

The cold hard truth is that if you want to make insane money, or at least a reasonable income as an affiliate marketer, you are going to have to put in the hours and work hard, but more than anything, you will have to have incredible discipline and determination. Before you go quitting your full-time job in the hopes of being a super affiliate, you have to take a good, hard and honest look at yourself and determine if you have the self-discipline to push and challenge yourself. If you are someone who needs a boss to manage and motivate you, then being an affiliate is not for you. You are going to have to motivate and manage yourself and develop a never quit attitude. The second characteristic you will need to honestly evaluate about yourself is how organized you are. To be a truly successful affiliate marketer, you need to be organized, and to track and manage your business effectively and efficiently. Sure, there are some affiliates who are disorganized and make a living, but the more organized you are, the better you will manage your business, and the better you will be able to scale it and the more money you will make. 

 

It cannot be overstated enough that you will need to invest time, money and energy. The amount of money you invest will vary and you can probably get started with a shoestring budget, but like any business, you will need to spend some money to make money. Your investment in time and effort is not negotiable. You are going to have to figure stuff out, track performance, analyse the results and constantly optimize to reach your true potential. 

Finally, do not be disillusioned by other people’s claims and results that achieved 6 figure incomes by doing virtually nothing…. this couldn’t be further from the truth. Maybe now these super affiliates have this incredible passive income, but to get there, they had to try and fail over and over and over. There might be the odd marketer who cracked the code on their first attempt, but that’s like winning the lotto. If you are banking on winning the “affiliate lotto”, you are starting with the wrong attitude. Also, too often, the numbers that are thrown about so loosely, when you see these success stories, are referring to revenues, which is not profit.  Sure, you could go spend $100K on a PPC campaign and generate $101K in revenues and tell the world how you made $101,000 but the reality is you only made $1,000 in profit. 

Now that we’ve cleared the air and you understand that you need to work hard to succeed, let’s explore some of the factors that determine how much money you can make as an affiliate marketer…. 

Factors for Making Money with Affiliate Marketing

Niche

The niche you choose to be involved in will heavily affect how much money you will make as an affiliate marketer. If you are entering a super competitive niche, it’s going to impact your success and how hard you need to work to be a true player. The niche also affects how much commission is paid and if there is revenue-share or CPA payments. Commissions can range from a few percent or a couple of dollars, through to 50%+ and hundreds of dollars per sale. Always try to pick niches you have interest in even if they are not the highest paying. Remember, your goal is to build a long term sustainable income and if you are working with something you enjoy, odds are pretty good you will see greater success than trying to pursue something that bores you and you will dread working with every day. 

Traffic 

Traffic is the lifeblood to your affiliate marketing business. The source of traffic does not only determine how much traffic is available but the quality, scalability, consistency and profitability. Whether you plan on buying traffic, doing SEO, email marketing, social media or any other source, each has its pros and cons, which you should understand up front and the potential costs involved. A big mistake that many affiliate marketers make is spreading themselves too thin across too many traffic sources. It is a good strategy to have multiple sources of traffic to mitigate market risks and keep a consistent flow of traffic but trying to be a master of everything, is a sure way to fail, especially when getting started. Pick 1-2 sources and master those; figure out what works for you and when you’ve got a winning formula, scale-up. Then, move onto the next source and master that. 

Do not put all your eggs in one basket or you might wake up one morning to find that your income is at zero. An example of this is relying just on SEO where changes in algorithms could see your site drop from the first page of Google to page 3, 4 or worse, which will result in a drastic drop in traffic. It’s estimated that Google makes hundreds of adjustments every year to their algorithms. When it comes to SEO, there is no magic bullet, it takes a long time and lots of effort. 

Let’s assume you plan on using PPC, such as Google Ads. You might be flying high with a perfectly optimized campaign, but suddenly a new affiliate enters the market with super deep pockets and drives up the costs which force you to scale down. Besides the competition, there are risks with regards to legal and regulatory changes, and suddenly Google won’t let you run campaigns in certain regions, or you have to meet crazy requirements to do so. These types of things have happened many times in the loans, insurance, online gambling and various other niches. 

Affiliate Programs & Networks

It goes without saying that the program or network you choose to work with will affect how much money you make as an affiliate. The first thing that probably pops into your head is “how much commission do they pay”, but this is not where you focus should be. Obviously, you want to be paid a fair and market-related commission, but there are so many other factors that will determine your success. First and foremost is the tracking and reporting because no matter how effective your marketing is and no matter how much traffic you are driving, if your traffic is not being tracked accurately, you will be leaking valuable commissions. If the reporting is poor and you can’t measure performance properly or the analytics is non-existent, you will never know if you’re efforts are paying off. 

Other factors regarding the affiliate network that will determine how much money you make are the marketing materials they offer you and the support you get. If the quality of the marketing materials is poor, you will have to invest time and money producing your own which will affect your ROI. When it comes to the support from an affiliate manager, this should never be underestimated. You need to build that relationship and trust, so when you want something or a pay bump, you have someone to turn to. Remember, an increase of just a few percent or a few dollars per conversion can have a huge impact, especially when you are driving big volumes of traffic. 

Another key consideration when it comes to which affiliate network you choose is the payment terms and reliability. When you are just getting started in the affiliate world, having cash-flow to build and scale your business is vital, and if you have to wait extended periods of time to get paid or there are constant delays with payments, it could impact your affiliate business substantially. On the other end of the spectrum, when you finally achieve super affiliate status and have to wait for a 5 or 6 figure paycheck, it can have a devastating effect on your business. The size and reliability of the network are vital when you get to super affiliate level because you don’t want to come to the end of the month to find out that they haven’t got the ability to pay you.  

Geolocation 

The markets you choose to focus on will have a vast impact on your earning potential as an affiliate marketer. Every single country and even down to individual cities can vary when it comes to not only conversion rates but the amount of traffic available and the value of each conversion. Tracking the performance of every click and conversion is vital to understand where you are making money and where to focus. There is a reason that marketers, both offline and online study demographics before launching a campaign and this is why you should never neglect this.  Another key factor that will affect your profitability is localization. We don’t just mean getting your site translated into another language but making every element appeal to the target market. Things like currency symbols, date and time formats, slang and local lingo can all impact how much money you will make with your affiliate marketing. 

Seasonality 

The products you choose to promote, and their seasonality, is another key factor in your pursuit of affiliate profits. A very simple example would be promoting Christmas decorations. It’s rather obvious that for the majority of the year, you won’t get many sales, but towards the end of the year when people start looking for decoration, sales will increase. While this is a very simplistic example, it exists in almost all niches. During summertime in Europe, many people spend their time outdoors or going on vacation and less time in front of their computers, so you could see a dip in sales during these periods. Obviously, this is also impacted by the product, but the point is to understand when to scale up your campaigns and when to taper-off.  Just because the market dips, it doesn’t mean you should back off; it might mean you should crank up your efforts. You may, for example, find that PPC traffic during these periods is cheaper which means you can capitalize by expanding your campaigns. The more you track and analyse your marketing over longer periods, the better you will see the trends of seasonality and be able to build your strategies around this.  

Conclusion 

When it comes to answering the question of “how much money can affiliate marketers make?”, there is no simple answer. In this article, we have only scratched the surface of trying to answer this elusive question. 

Can you make a good living as an affiliate? Yes!

Can you become a millionaire with affiliate marketing? Yes!

Can you earn a passive income with affiliate marketing? Yes! 

The potential to earn a full-time income with affiliate marketing is totally plausible, but like any other business or profession, you have to treat it like a real business, be organized and work hard. You need to have the drive and commitment to be creative and test new ideas and techniques to find your “secret recipe” that will catapult you into the ranks of the super affiliate elites.  

If you are serious about earning a solid and even potentially life-changing income, then you should check out Algo-Affiliates. Algo-Affiliates is a top-class CPA network that focuses on high-value niches and offers exceptional support and outstanding commissions. All Algo-Affiliate offers have been tried, tested and optimized for global markets, so you can kickstart your marketing with confidence. The affiliate platform is intuitive, user-friendly and packed with features and tools. Join Algo-Affiliates today and soon you could be earning the income you have been dreaming of.