It’s quite simple. Very simple.
I mean, how affiliate marketing works.
Register with an affiliate program or network. Find fast-selling products to promote. Generate your affiliate link (that’s the link containing the product’s ID and your affiliate ID). And start marketing the product online.
Each time a customer clicks your link to buy the product you’re marketing, you get a commission from the sale. This commission could be a percentage of the sale or a fixed price. It’s all down to how your affiliate network sets it.
And that’s all. That’s basically how affiliate marketing works. Nothing more.
However, there are different ways affiliate marketers go about their stuff. I mean, they adopt different strategies to promote their products.
Some affiliate marketers use blogs to market their products. Some use paid advertising. Some use forum marketing. Some use social media. Some use article directories and revenue sharing sites. And some — the silly and desperate ones — use spamming and other unethical methods.
Of all these strategies, I favor the use of blogs. Because it works best.
Here, I’ll ignore other strategies and dig deeper into affiliate blogging.
Over past few years, I’ve stumbled upon hundreds of blogs monetized with affiliate marketing. And if I’m to classify them based on the model adopted, each will fall under one of three models:
- The traditional model
- The niche site model
- The micro-niche site model
So, anyone making money by promoting affiliate products with a blog will have that blog based on one of these models.
Now, let’s discuss what each model entails.
The traditional model
This involves starting a blog from scratch without necessarily defining the monetization methods to be implemented.
Then after the blog has built a huge followership and has started generating huge traffic, you adopt affiliate marketing as one of multiple monetization options.
Pro bloggers like Pat Flynn, Darren Rowse, Tom Ewer, John Chow, and many others have achieved great success with this method. After they’ve built a large base of subscribers and loyal readers, they generate huge profits from affiliate marketing by simply recommending and promoting products that they think will be of help to their readers.
This model works best for experts — those who have spent years building their blogs and giving out volumes of valuable information to their readers. And they generate huge profits because their readers have come to trust them, and so would buy anything they recommend. But that kind of trust and traffic takes time to build. Years!
The niche site model
This involves starting a blog on a streamlined topic.
For example, narrowing down on the small business niche, you can start a blog on small business marketing, small business insurance, small business planning, and so on.
Similarly, you can set up a streamlined blog within the health niche that discusses only diabetes, hypertension, health insurance, and so on.
You get it? I’ll assume you do.
Then you’ll share lots of valuable information around that narrow topic you’re focusing on. And once the blog starts generating a sizable amount of traffic, you’ll slap up your affiliate links.
Because niches sites are usually well optimized for the topics they’re focused on, search engines tend to rank them high, and so they achieve success faster.
And trust is not an issue for most readers or niche sites, even if the author is unknown. They believe whoever who could have churned out that huge volume of information on such a focused topic couldn’t be less than an expert. With this in their minds, they buy recommended products without hesitation.
The micro-niche site model
This is even more streamlined than the niche site model. And while niche blogs can be monetized with Adsense and other methods, micro-niche sites are usually created solely for the purpose of affiliate marketing.
A micro-niche site is built around only one or few products.
For example, if you found out that a stretch mark cream called Gravidax (fiction) is selling like wild online, you can set up a micro niche blog for marketing this product alone. In that case, you’ll start by registering a domain such as gravidaxreviews.com, gravidaxstretchmarkcream.com, buygravidaxonline.com, and so on.
Similarly, you can choose to market more than one product, but few. Maybe you just found out during your research that “best stretch mark creams” is a very lucrative keyphrase. You can register a domain such as beststretchmarkcreams.com or stretchmarkcreamreviews.com and start a micro-niche blog that markets Gravidax and a few other fast-selling stretch mark creams.
Micro niche sites are very easy to create because they contain very few posts (usually less than 10). And, like niche sites, they tend to rank very highly in search engines for the keywords they’re optimized for.
So, all you need to start making money with a micro niche site promoting Gravidax is to write a detailed and helpful review of the product. Explain how it’s used. List and discuss its ingredients. Explain how it works to bring about the expected effects. Explain its possible side effects. Include testimonials from those who have used the product. And encourage the reader to buy through your link.
And here, too, trust is not an issue for readers. Detailed posts send signals that the author knows virtually everything about that product, and whatever he or she says about it could be trusted.
I know professional affiliate marketers who are making thousands of dollars monthly from their micro-niche blogs. Some of them have as much as 50 micro-niche blogs covering various products. The total monthly income generated by all these blogs could be more than amazing!
And now, my story…
I first came across the concept of “micro niche sites” sometimes in 2012 while scouring the web for information on how to make money online.
I discovered that many online marketers are actually making money from micro niche sites and decided to give it a shot.
In early 2013, I registered with MarketHealth, an affiliate network that sells natural health products. I love this network because it pays huge commissions — usually 50% — on its products, and it offers an easy payment solution for Nigerians.
I browsed through the over two hundred products available on MarketHealth and chose to promote Miracet, a product that helps break the habit of cigarette smoking. I knew the quit smoking market is very lucrative. And that’s why I chose to market this product.
I did keyword research and came up with a list of keyphrases that people were using to find information about Miracet. And I registered the domain, miracet-reviews.com.
Since WordPress is my preferred blogging platform, I installed WordPress for the new micro-niche blog and installed the relevant plugins.
I published two articles on the blog: A very detailed review article on Miracet and a much shorter supporting article. To date, I’ve not added a third article.
Even though I intended to experiment with the whole process, the results started coming much earlier than I expected. Within a few weeks, my long review post was ranking among Google’s top three results for most keyphrases containing the word “Miracet.”
And to my surprise, I got my first sales notification from MarketHealth on July 23, 2013 — just 2 months after starting the micro-niche blog. Someone had bought the product through my affiliate link. And I earned $25 from that sale alone.
I was excited. I couldn’t imagine making money so early from a strategy I just wanted to experiment with.
And that was the beginning.
Here is a screenshot showing my earnings so far from Miracet alone.
As you can see from the screenshot, I earned commissions (either $25 — $100) every month from July 2013 to October 2013. No sales came afterwards until January 2014. I also earned commissions in February and March 2013, after which I’ve made no sales to date.
In all, I’ve earned $374 (about N60,000) from Miracet, and that long review article attracted all the traffic that resulted in the sales (according to my Google Analytics reports).
So, since March 2014, I’ve not earned any commissions from Miracet. But I’m sure the gate of sales will soon open again — because my blog’s ranking in Google hasn’t dropped.
Though Miracet has been “dormant” for the past three months, I made $125 in May 2014 as affiliate commissions from another product I market on this very blog (see the screenshot below).
So, even if one product isn’t selling at a time, another will make up for that. And that’s the essence of marketing multiple products — just as most online marketing gurus do.
And just so you know, the micro-niche site model is a set-it-and-forget-it thing. I never did anything to the blog since the time I published the articles except for when I updated the WordPress version and the plugins. So, the task of setting up the blog and writing the two articles was the only effort I put in.
Why I’m not earning much from affiliate marketing
If one micro-niche blog that has just two articles can fetch me about N4,000 to N8,000 per month, you can imagine how much I’d earn monthly if I had 20 or 50 such sites like some badass affiliate marketers who are earning a full time living from what they do.
But I’m always too busy to make that happen. Clients’ writing assignments. Medicine and surgery. Family. And other commitments.
My tight schedule notwithstanding, I’m now working on a new blog that I set up solely for reviewing natural health products. I’ll let you know how things pan out. Trust me.
Can you achieve the same?
Yes, you can. Just take the following steps:
- Register with high-paying affiliate networks or programs
- Find best-selling products
- Decide whether you want to set up a niche blog or a micro-niche blog
- Register a domain (keyword inclusive)
- Install WordPress and necessary plugins
- Do keyword research
- Start writing your posts, optimizing them for promising keywords
- Publish your posts
- Wait for the sales notifications (thin might take months, though)
Bear in mind, however, that there tiny details you need to know about each step. I just can’t cover all those in this post.
Does this post motivate you to give affiliate marketing a shot? Do you have questions or objections? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.