How Much Money Can I Make From Affiliate Marketing?

The earnings potential is probably the most popular question asked by new members of the affiliate community online. It is the very starting point of affiliate research because we need to know the sort of return we can get for the hours we put in – why would anyone dedicate time to something they can’t make money out of? This article is here to quench your curiosity and show exactly how much you can earn with affiliate marketing on the internet. I have reviewed the results of a few different surveys and forum polls to try and give an accurate picture, as well as considering my own experiences – the results have been pretty interesting and to my mind divide into the three identifiable categories outlined below.

Those People Who Leave Without Making Any Money At All

Sadly this is by far the most heavily populated category of the three – an estimated 98% of new affiliates leave the industry without making a sale and within three months of starting out. If you consider how long you’d need to dedicate to making a real world business a success it is no wonder so many fail though. Affiliate marketing should be treated like any other business and too many people come in expecting instant riches for very little effort on their part. This ‘something for nothing’ attitude is a recipe for affiliate disaster from the outset and the reason get rich quick scams persist in today’s market.

Another telling figure often quoted is the supposed necessity to remain in the industry, promoting yourself and your website consistently, for at least three months before you see returns. I don’t know about the accuracy of this figure but I have certainly found it takes at least this time to build up to daily affiliate sales. This is especially true if you want to start a website from scratch and with little financial investment – this is another trick many new affiliates miss, they simply won’t take a financial risk. I believe this is indicative of their lack of commitment to making their new business a success and this inherent problem generally brings their downfall. I’m not saying that SEO for free is not a potential money earner but if you are serious then PPC is the fastest and easiest way to early profits.

If you are not going to invest significantly financially, you should at least be putting in as many hours as possible. If you think you might need to spend $2000 to make your first $1000 in profit you can work out an estimate for the time it will take to do the same. If you value your own labour at $20 per hour (remember you have no skill or experience yet) then to put $2000 worth of your time in, will mean spending 100 hours marketing your website. This means spending just over 3 hours each day on your affiliate marketing projects for a whole month – now this commitment might not bring you even that level of success (it depends on a lot of other things like your niche, the quality of your marketing campaigns etc.) or it could bring a lot, lot more. The good news is you can really push on and as you gain experience each hour you put in is worth a lot more – also, the marketing you do will remain online permanently so there is a cumulative effect to be seen.

So in summary new affiliates need to be:

  • Dedicated to their new business in the long term – looking at it as a real business which will need a lot of time.
  • Willing to take some financial risks or dedicate the equivalent in hours worked.
  • Ready to fail the first few times, and also willing to learn from their mistakes and come back stronger.
  • Highly motivated to achieve the success they are constantly thinking about. They are doing research on new products, methods etc. to stay ahead of the game.

When you consider all the different factors, set out above, which determine affiliate marketing success it is no surprise so many entrepreneurs fail to tick all the boxes. I have had friends who have made livings from their own businesses offline but still haven’t been successful in our industry. They were being unrealistic however and this is the main thing you need to avoid. If you concentrate on ticking off the checklist above you will have done better than 99% of those affiliates who have failed and have every chance of making good money online. In essence, if you expect a difficult time but are willing to stick it out, and learn from your mistakes, you will make it through to the next category on this list.

Those Who Make Good Money Online

Of successful affiliate marketers (by this I mean those who make it beyond stage 1) surprisingly few are in this category. These are defined as people scraping some useful pocket money together or making a decent living from affiliate marketing. Basically, according to most online polls and surveys I’ve seen, affiliates either seem to fail miserably or make it really big. Only around 40% of successes earning between $1000 and $5000 per month languish in the middle region in between the two- I would suggest these people are in affiliate marketing more as a hobby than a business however. Often their project was a labour of love so they dedicated a lot of time and now have minor success because of the respect they gained in the niche. The niche however wasn’t targeted towards the money and the sites often aren’t monetised to the best of their ability and therefore these affiliates won’t make much more. Basically they haven’t recognised the true value of the money-making system they’ve discovered.

Obviously many people will move through this stage also so it will include some of these. It is likely that most affiliates can progress because once you’ve made some money it is very easy to make some more. Many affiliates reinvest their profits into new, more advanced, online venture or large pay-per-click campaigns. More important however is that these successful affiliates now have a repeatable money-making system which they can use in new niches to increase their income. They have learnt from experience and stayed committed and the reward lies in eventually reaching category 3.

Super Affiliate Status

This is the dream of all new affiliate marketers and it really is possible to get there. These super affiliates earn over $5000 every single month and nearly 30% of those surveyed are in this category. This only goes to show that once you have some success it really is possible to replicate it – by sticking at it for a good few months, learning from your mistakes and staying motivated, you can push yourself on to the first rung of the affiliate ladder to success. I know affiliates who make over $100,000 per year with this incredibly simple business model and I’m sure you can make a lot, lot more.