You’ve likely heard the stories about people setting up websites and using affiliate marketing, like Amazon Affiliates and CJ Affiliate,to build a second income. Some find great affiliates to work with and make enough money to quit their day job. Is it possible to make that much money with affiliate marketing? Yes, the right affiliate program or the right combination of multiple affiliates can absolutely create a substantial passive income.
But, here’s the thing: affiliate marketing sounds so easy that it may even seem set and forget. Is affiliate marketing really set and forget? Absolutely not. Not only is it not that, but it takes great dedication to build up enough of an online presence to even make more than pennies a day from it. Yes, affiliate marketing is an effective way to make money online. But, before you get started, keep these things in mind:
Affiliate Marketing Programs Can Change With Little or No Warning
The major thing to keep in mind about affiliate marketing is that affiliates can change or even end their program at any time. Sometimes, affiliates will create a new program, forcing you to join a new program in which you essentially start with nothing all over again. Also, the terms can change with little or no warning. Sometimes those changes are good, with additional ways to earn even. But many times, you suddenly will be earning less of a cut per referred customer or sale, or some referrals suddenly become ineligible for compensation. The program may also change on how you link to the program, potentially making every affiliate link on your site suddenly obsolete.
Keep a close eye on any announcements that your affiliate programs may send out. If you see any warning signs that it may no longer be good for you to be part of that program, consider finding additional or alternative programs. You don’t want to suddenly have a good chunk of your income disappear while you weren’t paying attention.
Affiliate Marketing Programs Have Very Different Terms
While affiliate programs are termed as passive income, they are by no means things you should be passive about keeping up with. As we’ve already said, affiliate programs all have very different terms of service. Those terms don’t always stay the same, either. Many programs operate on a per-sale basis, but others work on total sales within a certain time frame (usually 90 days or a year) from customers referred to the affiliate website.
Because of how different affiliate programs have varying terms, it’s good to have several affiliate programs operating for you at once. Just be sure that the affiliates you join aren’t exclusive - whether it’s exclusive for that industry or entirely exclusive. This isn’t to say that exclusive affiliate programs are necessarily bad, but in general, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, as they say. It’s good to have a variety and test which programs work best for your audience or content type.
Be Aware When Affiliate Marketing Programs Pay… If They Do
Unfortunately, it’s true that affiliate programs sometimes pay late, and some never pay at all. It’s very important to keep close track of your earnings through your affiliate dashboard (if any). If that affiliate program doesn’t have a dashboard, it’s probably not one that you should deal with. The important thing about tracking these earnings is in case your affiliate payout ends up being less than you expected. Be aware if affiliates take out PayPal fees or other charges based on your payout method.
Many affiliate programs take 60 days to process each month’s earnings. Others allow you to cashout immediately once you reach a certain threshold, usually $50 or $100, although some are as little as $10. Some affiliate programs pay instantly when a sale is made and confirmed.
Those instant payouts can be nice, but as long as you have an affiliate program with a consistent payout schedule that is actually followed, it's good to have. It's actually good to have programs that pay at various times of the month, as well. However, just that they pay and pay accurately based on what's reflected in your affiliate account are what really matters.
Affiliate Marketing Programs Can Make Great Passive Income Earners if You Are Proactive About Them
Passive income is great, but only comes consistently and in significant amounts if you put in the work first. Building a content engine that consistently drives new and existing visitors to actually purchase from your affiliates can be tricky work. Sure, some affiliate programs are quicker to launch than others. But, they are all programs that only succeed long-term if you stay on top of them.
Sure, it's great to dream of affiliate marketing making it so you can just work a few hours a week producing killer content and travel the rest of the time. While that is technically possible, it only comes after hundreds if not thousands of grueling hours building your online presence and attracting the best possible audience. Even then, you have to check on your affiliates every day.
If you see things you don't like with an affiliate program, don't be afraid to look for other programs relates to what you've already built. If it's a technical issue, be sure to reach out to their support. But if affiliate programs don't seem willing to fix issues as they arise, branching out to other affiliates is always a prudent option.
In short, affiliate marketing isn't set and forget, but if you stay on top of it, these programs can make your dreams of online marketing success a reality.
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