The last twelve months have not been kind to retailers in the United States. Big names like Brooks Brothers, JCPenney, J. Crew, and Century 21 have all filed for bankruptcy in 2020.
With most of us either working from home or struggling to find a job, it’s no surprise a trip to the mall sits at the bottom of the priority list. But there’s one billionaire who has been thriving during a lockdown: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. In a period of about six months, he added over $600 billion to his net worth.
So what does a billionaire piling on the wealth have anything to do with us, the regular folk? The answer is simple: affiliate marketing. It sounds like a gimmick and smells like a ponzi scheme, but it’s a legitimate way to make a serious income. For some people, it’s a side hustle. For others, it’s created big-ticket wealth.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
There’s no doubt that you already know the concept. It’s commonplace. It’s essentially a referral. You get someone to sign up to your bank account or gym, and you get a little kickback in return.
Affiliate marketing is essentially the same thing. The idea is that you refer consumers to an affiliated product or service, and if the person signs up or buys the product, you get a percentage cut. The referral is tracked through a special code within a link, which you can either provide as a direct copy+paste (e.g. when sending them to friends) or on your website.
Amazon runs one of the most popular affiliate platforms on the internet. It’s part of the reason they are so successful. And you’ve definitely come across one of the company’s affiliate links; just think about online newspaper articles giving you the “top beauty products to try this summer”. Most of those will be littered with links (some do this well, others are essentially spammy).
Some Good Examples
Okay, we’ve gone through the concept. But, aside from Amazon, let’s show you how this works in practice:
*The Wire Cutter. The perfect example of an affiliate site is the Wire Cutter. Most people don’t even know that it makes most of its income from Amazon and other big-name companies. The reason it’s so good is that the reviews provided are 100% real, they’re useful, and give true value to the consumer. It’s a win-win for both, rather than just being a scammy sales page. The site did so well that the New York Times acquired it for $30 million in 2016.
*Casinos.co.za. Here’s one that’s a little more unorthodox. Gaming sites fight tooth and nail for business and have set up affiliate networks as a result. This website is dedicated to giving insightful casino games reviews and recommendations, best gaming spots, and winning tips and tricks in order to bring players in the right direction. Commonly one that has a deal with an affiliate site. This practice has long been seen in the online casino gaming world.
*Nerdwallet. Another favorite site of ours that gives solid advice on financial products; anything from insurance to mortgages, investing, and insurance is covered. It’s our go-to for financial advice. Their ‘dirty’ secret? It’s an affiliate site. If you sign up for an insurance premium, for example, Nerdwallet gets a kickback.
We’ve chosen these examples to highlight this important point: affiliate sites done right are useful to the consumer. They aggregate data, provide helpful advice, and give unique bonuses or extras that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get. Sure, you can set up a low-budget site full of spammy links, but you won’t get anywhere.
Provide value, however, and there’s a pathway to real success.
Why It’s So Good
Affiliate marketing is an extremely attractive proposition for most people. This is why:
*Cheap. All you need is a super basic website and social media accounts. Sign up and go.
*Make Money While You Sleep. Each piece of content you create is generally evergreen and can keep working for you even while you’re away from your computer. It’s not a job, but an investment.
*Healthy Returns. Amazon gives you percentage rewards for each and every single sale you make. Considering just how much volume Amazon moves on a daily basis, this can add up to a full income.
*Work from Home. For those of us with kids or other commitments, getting a job that requires a commute isn’t possible. Affiliate marketing can be done from anywhere.
Just Take Action
The mantra of successful affiliate marketers is this: just take action. And we’re leaving this bit of advice till the end, simply because it’s the most important takeaway from our little spiel.
Don’t fall for shiny object syndrome. Stop researching for weeks, afraid to do something wrong. Don’t worry if your website or writing seems like something out of an amateur hour. You’ll get better.
Take action! You’ll be surprised by just how much you can achieve.