3 Secrets To Making a Living with Affiliate Marketing 

 January 13, 2023

By  Jim Daniels

All the gurus say affiliate marketing is so easy.

If that’s true, why are there literally millions of affiliate marketers earning $0 month after month.

The thing is, affiliate marketing is NOT as easy as most gurus make it out to be.

You can’t just pick a product or service at JVZoo, Clickbank, Amazon, ShareaSale or Warriorplus and start advertising your affiliate link. I don’t care where you advertise — Google Adwords, Facebook, blogs or ad networks.

Do that and you will almost always burn through more cash than you earn in commissions every month. Unless you have very deep pockets you need to be a lot smarter about your affiliate marketing.

Over the years I’ve tried just about every affiliate marketing strategy known to man-kind. I now make a full-time income — mostly from affiliate marketing. I mix in a few other online income strategies as well, such as product creation and advertising income, but my favorite way to earn online is from affiliate marketing.

Today I’ll share some of my secrets with you.

Secret #1: Focus Tightly On ONE Market

I see far too many affiliate marketers go way too wide. For example, they’ll build a site around “ebooks” and then try to sell ebooks via amazon or wherever, on all topics.

That’s a big mistake. You need to stick to ONE niche that you know and like.

If your thing is woodworking then build a site around woodworking. Share your best projects. Share your worst screw-ups. Show them you’re human just like them. You can write all about it, make videos about it – however you are most comfortable sharing information.

Just don’t stray off the topic of woodworking and try to sell affiliate products in the Internet marketing niche. Your audience will lose interest and see right through your sales pitch. But if you’re showing them how to build a chair then you tell them you downloaded the plans from x site, well, that’s different.

That’s how you make lots of sales over and over.

Secret #2: Know And USE What You Are Promoting

The easiest products to sell are the ones you use yourself. When I go back through all my affiliate promotions I can easily see that the top performers were the ones I really liked and used myself. Not always, but usually.

That’s why it is so important to promote stuff you would buy or have bought yourself. That way you can literally show potential buyers all the good and the bad of the product. That makes your promotions REAL and GENUINE.

Here’s an example from my own promotions…

Awhile back I promoted a program about domaining. Basically buying domains for a few bucks and selling them for profit. So I wrote a blog post about domaining showing the actual results I had with the program.

Secret #3: Promote With Emotion

As I mentioned, when you are doing affiliate marketing you are going to need to create some content around the products you promote. I’m talking about emails, blog posts, videos and well… ways to help potential buyers make a decision.

This is where many affiliate marketers go wrong. They take all the emotion out and go into sales pitches like a bad used car salesman.

Instead of doing that, you need to keep it real. Talk to them like you respect them, want to help them and can relate to them.

Talk about real world things. Inject a little humor. Keep it light and don’t pressure them. They’ll appreciate it and want more.

And yes, they might even buy from your affiliate link. If not this time, maybe next time.

Here’s an example of an email I sent out to my list a while back that generated a BUNCH of sales….

I then went on to tell them about a great program I had been testing, and shared the affiliate link.

This type of affiliate marketing is not only more fun, it is more effective. More people will pay attention to you when you are not in their face screaming louder than the next guy about why they should buy.

I know for a fact that it works. Not only for me, but for all the affiliates that promote for me. On my most recent product launch, I looked closely at the top performing affiliates. All of them use this technique.

I had affiliates with tiny lists get conversion rates of 50% and land on my JV leaderboard, while others with list in the thousands make just a sale or two. The difference was the relationship they had formed with their subscriber and followers.

Try this technique and I guarantee you’ll start getting better results with your affiliate marketing.

OK, let me wrap this up…

As you can see from today’s issue, if you want to earn serious commissions with affiliate marketing, you need to put in some time and effort.

You need to be creative. And you need to take as many lessons from experience marketers as you can.

Follow the stuff they do that works. Copy them when you can.

In fact, copy ME if you want to…

I’ve just uploaded the 2023 version of all my “soft-sell” conversational affiliate promotions (like the one above) from the last couple years.

You can get all of them here, and use them on the programs I promoted, or use them on your own stuff.

You can use them as email solos, follow-ups, blog posts and in your articles. Just use them! They generated a lot of great feedback and a ton of sales, and they can do that for you too.

If you want to start generating full-time affiliate commissions in your spare time, this is probably the easiest way to do it without doing all the work yourself.

Have a great weekend!

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About Jim

I gave up a life of jobs in 1996. Since then I've been earning a living online.

I write books, create software, license info-products, affiliate marketing, build membership sites, design websites and more.

I prefer this over my old lifestyle of getting up early, commuting to work, coming home to have a few hours for my family and living for the weekends. Now every day is a weekend. I work when I want and answer to no boss.

  • Jim, I am now into my 20th year online. I have made an awful lot of mistakes and still am, such as not keeping my site updated, for one… However, I have to say that building my subscriber list and regularly communicating with them are the most important things I’ve done to increase sales. And, as you say, I keep it personal. I might start off writing about how well the wife’s garden is doing, the million motorcycles that showed up for bike week or the hurricane that blew through the region recently. I always include a photo or two…then on to the topic of the site along with product mentions with links. I believe that is the key to survival. Affiliate sales is not for the faint-hearted, but several streams of income every month is awfully nice. Tom

    • You nailed it Tom. Actually it took be many years to figure that out too! People like to buy from people and CONNECT. It’s another big secret to affiliate marketing. Actually, I should have included that as secret #4 in this post — but smart people who read the comments will see that you’ve done it for me!

  • David Coppola says:

    Looking forward to your new material

  • Herb Jones says:

    I have purchased many products only to find out after I buy them that they don’t really show how to make any money at all. Its just money for the person selling the package.

  • I have been at this affiliate marketing since a little before the year 2000. I got active about it about 4 years ago. I have seen some bad products and some very good ones. I have made a little money and still make a few bucks each month. I guess what I am getting to is – how do you stay ahead of the game, stay motivated in the midst of bad things happening?

    I have been receiving your blog for some years and I love how you stay up-beat.

    • Great question Sherwood! I’ve seen a lot through the years and understand what you mean by staying motivated. Online business has its ups and downs for sure, and you do have to stay on top of things and keep at it. Things change so fast. Things like lost search engine ranking from a Google algorithm change, lower and lower deliver rates of emails due to spam filters – can make it a challenge. But it still beats having a 9-5 job. I did that for 10 years after I got out of the Air Force 1986. The last 20 years in online marketing I wouldn’t change for everything. Being able to live like I want and watch my kids grow up, send time with my wife – makes all the bulls&$% worth it.

  • Just found out your site from a recommendation in the Warrior Forum. Great post here, Jim. A few of your points really hit home for me. Fyi, I have been doing IM since 2007, with limited success. Your advice as posted above, ring true. Keep up the good work 🙂

    • Ahh, the Warrior forum. Great resource. Never got a chance to join in the community there. Is it still active as ever?

  • Mary Martinenza says:

    Over the years, I’ve been led astray by the get-rich-quick schemes of unethical sellers. I’ve never made any money from them. What you say makes sense–connecting with your potential buyers sounds like a better way to approach affiliate sales. Thank you for your insights!

  • Nice post Jim, I burnt out a few large lists churning and burning. It worked nicely for a while, but not anymore. I plan to start over and do it the way you recommend. I’m sure it will work out a lot better.

  • Nice to hear from you AnneMarie. That was my original ezWebBusinessBuilder CD with the animated Paul character. I had a lot of fun with that project. I used a program called voxproxy for the animations. My dad burned the CD’s and shipped them all out for me. Must have sold 1000 of them or more.

    Hey, I’m glad to see you back and focusing on one niche. I wish you lots of success with that! If you need any help, you know where to find me.

  • Great post as usual. I’ve been reading and acting on your advise for years (think as far back as 1998)! Always appreciate your straightforward approach and candid advice. Thx Jim.

  • Excellent article,Jim. It hit me directly with where I am at with affiliate marketing-all over place. I think I better follow you! I will certainly purchase your Master guide and hopefully get it sold to a few of my followers who are lost in the internet mire.
    Thanks again.

  • Cynthia Gutierrez says:

    Hi Jim, I’ve been a fan of yours for the past maybe 25 years. Do you remember that you had this membership site which was loaded with tips on how to make money on line and I kept paying the monthly fee ( maybe for half a year before I realized that you had taken down that business? We did communicate every now and then but I guess I was not focused enough and did nothing. I remember your last email to me – it seemed to SHOUT “ JUST START A SIMPLE BLOG!!! ( you dumb head😂- from me, not you) I still open your mail because I truly believe in you and I share in your pride the way your daughter has followed in your footsteps. I have still probably taken some of your offers; I know, without even taking a look at them. Mea culpa, mea culpa. Well, I’m turning 70 this year and I have already cut my hair very short, so here’s going for that bucket checklist and explore your niche. Many, many thanks for getting to know you somehow and finding sincerity …

    • Hi Cynthia, thanks for the comment. Web biz is certainly a process but yes, starting something is the hardest step! I’m here if yo uneed help with your new ventures. 🙂

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