How Much Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing?

You’ve probably heard about affiliate marketing as a way to earn passive income, and with big brands like Wirecutter selling for millions, it’s no surprise that it’s a hot topic. But what’s the real deal with the money affiliate marketers make? Is it a good business model for you?

When starting a business, nobody wants just enough to pay the bills. You want to create a better life for yourself and your family. So, it’s important to have an idea of how profitable affiliate marketing can be.

How do affiliate marketers make money?

When you become an affiliate marketer, you get paid a commission for promoting other people’s goods and services.

Here’s an example: if you have a link on your blog to Amazon, and someone clicks on it to buy a product, you earn a percentage of the sale. Cool, right?

And it’s not just physical products you can promote. You can also make money by promoting online courses or software. You may have seen ads on YouTube that say “sponsored by Skillshare” or “sponsored by Fiverr.” These platforms have affiliate programs too.

How much do affiliate marketers make?

Wondering how much you can make as an affiliate marketer? Glassdoor says the average salary is $59,060 per year. This can range from $58K to $158K, depending on whether you get “additional pay” like cash bonuses, commissions, tips, or profit sharing.

But what if you’re a freelancer or business owner doing your own affiliate marketing? Well, a survey by the Influencer Marketing Hub breaks it down like this:

Affiliate annual revenue (Influencer Marketing Hub survey)

The stats show that over half of affiliate marketers make $10K or less per year, with only 33% making over $10K.

That’s not exactly a dream income, and it’s definitely not enough to live on in most places. But, it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of affiliate marketers don’t do it full-time.

From my own experience in the affiliate space and talking to hundreds of other marketers, I’d say the majority of full-timers make less than $100K a year. I’d guess around $30K to $50K annually.

Now, this is just based on my personal experience, so take it with a pinch of salt.

At the end of the day, your skills and efforts will determine how much you can make from affiliate marketing.

I know a 21-year-old student from Wealthy Affiliate was able to earn $7,395 in just 1 week, which means he made more than $1k a day…all while using free traffic methods.

Wealthy Affiliate member earnings

Revenue vs. net profit

When people ask about the earnings of affiliate marketers, it’s important to remember the difference between revenue and net profit. Revenue is just the amount a business brings in before expenses, while net profit is what you actually take home after all the bills are paid.

Based on this, I’d say the average affiliate marketer earns an annual profit of $30K to $50K. That’s the real take-home pay, not just some fancy revenue number.

How do affiliate marketers get paid?

Affiliate marketing is a lucrative business, but how exactly do marketers get paid for their efforts? In this article, we’ll explore the three main ways affiliate marketers earn money: PPC, PPL, and PPS.

1. Pay Per Click (PPC) 

PPC advertising is all about placing ads within a web page. Every time a customer clicks on an advertisement, the hosting platform pays the affiliate marketer.

2. Pay Per Lead (PPL) 

In PPL advertising, the goal is to encourage people to engage with a brand’s products as prospective buyers. This could be through subscribing to a newsletter, downloading a brand guide, or signing up for free trials. Affiliate marketers can earn money through PPL, and the better their conversion rates, the more they get paid. The only difference between PPC and PPL is that leads are monetized, not clicks.

3. Pay Per Sale (PPS) 

With PPS, affiliate marketers get paid a small commission on the sale price of any product sold through an affiliate link. They earn commissions from individual affiliate sales, not individual clicks or leads.

Affiliate Commissions In Different Niches

As an affiliate marketer, you put in the same effort for a $10 commission as you would for a $50 commission. But, most new affiliates tend to choose the smaller commissions because they aren’t aware of the bigger payouts or believe that lower payouts are easier to earn. But, did you know that there are some highly profitable niches in affiliate marketing that could earn you big bucks?

Here are some of the best affiliate marketing niches. The competition is fierce, but you can beat it by being strategic.

1. Sleep

Who would have thought that the sleep niche, specifically mattresses, could be so lucrative in affiliate marketing? Mattress affiliate programs like Puffy Mattress offer huge payouts of up to $300 per sale. Although this niche is highly competitive, with the right website content strategy, you can make a significant income.

2. Dating

Gone are the days when online dating carried a stigma. Today, it’s almost a norm. This means that the dating niche is here to stay and is one of the most profitable niches in affiliate marketing. 

Dating affiliate programs offer payouts ranging from $10 per lead to $120 for each sale made through your affiliate links. I know an affiliate marketer who made $80k per month in this niche. With established programs like eHarmony and Match, there’s a lot of money to be made in the dating niche.

3. Web Hosting

Web hosting affiliate programs have been around for a while and can be a lucrative niche for even new affiliate marketers. With payouts ranging from $50 to $500 per sale, it’s no wonder why this niche is so popular. 

However, be cautious as some of the worst web hosting companies offer the highest payouts. On the other hand, you can promote top-notch web hosts like Kinsta that have excellent affiliate programs.

4. Luxury Goods

Luxury goods are expensive, so it’s no surprise that there are a plethora of luxury affiliate programs to promote. For example, Villiers Private Jets pays affiliates a 30% cut of a charter flight’s cost, and the commission repeats for the customer’s lifetime. Another option is promoting near-Earth space tourism, where tickets cost a cool $55 million and you could earn a percentage of that.

5. Finance

The average person doesn’t have the best money management skills, and there’s always a demand for products and services to help them. That’s why personal finance affiliate programs offer hefty commissions, with some paying anywhere from $50 to $100 per lead referred from your website. With as few as 30 sales each month, you could potentially earn a job-replacing income.

How to earn more affiliate commissions?

As an affiliate marketer, you want to ensure you make the most possible money from your efforts. Here are four strategies you can use to maximize your affiliate profits:

1. Find the right affiliate programs

The quickest way to increase your affiliate profits is by finding better affiliate programs with higher commission rates. While Amazon is a great option for beginners, its 1-3% commission rate leaves room for improvement. Look for affiliate programs that offer 5%, 10%, or even 50% commissions on sales. A common range you’ll see is 5-10%, which is still triple what Amazon pays.

2. Optimize your conversion rates

Another way to maximize your profits is to focus on conversion rate optimization. This means making small improvements to your website that will encourage more visitors to click your links and make purchases. 

Some tips for boosting conversions include using high-quality images, creating call-to-action boxes, displaying comparison tables, highlighting the best product, building your brand, and establishing expertise, authority, and trust.

3. Quick SEO wins

While most SEO tasks take time to produce results, there are many low-hanging fruits that can provide quick wins. 

Examples include improving internal link structure, speeding up your website with caching, reclaiming lost backlinks, optimizing title tags, refreshing your content, and more. In one instance, refreshing content led to a 35% increase in traffic and a move from position #3 to #1 for a specific keyword.

To learn more, you can check out our list of Google ranking factors.

4. Negotiate better rates

Finally, you can maximize your affiliate profits by negotiating better rates with your current affiliate partners. This may not work with larger, generic programs like Amazon and Walmart, but it can be successful with smaller brands. 

If you’re sending a good amount of traffic to your partners, they may be willing to increase your commission rate. Phrase your request in a way that shows you’ll use the extra profits to reinvest and promote them even more, making it a win-win situation. This is best done over the phone or through a well-worded email.

Closing Thoughts

Now you know most successful affiliate marketers make under $100K. But don’t let that fool you – there are plenty who earn way more.

If you’re thinking of jumping into the affiliate marketing game, you have two options: start your own business or work as an affiliate manager for another company. Both can be super lucrative. I even know an affiliate manager who makes almost six figures a year and has a piece of the company for profit sharing. How cool is that?

Trust me, affiliate marketing is a fantastic career choice.

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