Nobody starts a business with the goal of earning barely enough to pay their bills.
You start a business to create a better life for you and your family.
To provide you with financial freedom.
Affiliate marketing is no different in that regard.
So it’s always good to have at least some idea of how profitable the affiliate marketing business model can be.
Especially because there’s so much hype out there.
So let’s separate the BS from the facts and look at how much can you make from affiliate marketing.
How Much Do Affiliate Marketers Make?
The neat thing about affiliate marketing is the sky really is the limit in terms of potential income.
For example, there are lots of legit affiliates generating a 6-figure monthly income promoting affiliate products.
Which means they make money hand over fist with their marketing efforts.
But that doesn’t mean every affiliate will achieve this level of financial success.
In fact, this is a far more typical example of the money earned by affiliate marketers in their first few months online:
$40 might not sound exciting, but it all adds up, believe me.
And here’s how that works.
From $10/pm to $20,355/pm in under 24 months.
Or Robert Botha, another Authority Site System student who went from zero to almost $9,000/pm in under a year.
And these are just two examples of many similar success stories.
One of our students is currently negotiating for his own Netflix show!
You might also want to check out our post on 20+ successful affiliate websites – stories of regular people achieving incredible results.
Affiliate Income Categories
When it comes to earnings, there are different categories of affiliate marketers you might fit into.
And there’s a pretty big variance in how much each type of affiliate earns every month.
So here’s my take on what these categories look like:
- Beginner – $0 to $1000/pm
- Intermediate $1000 to $10,000/pm
- Advanced – 10k to $100k/pm
- Super affiliate – $100k+/pm
Now, your next question is probably something like, “Okay, but how many affiliates are there in each category?”
The affiliate marketing STM Forum ran a survey a few years back, asking members how much they earned per year.
And here are the results of that survey:
The TLDR of this is 20% of all affiliates earn less than $20,000 per year.
But also that 19.68% of all affiliates earn at least $1 million a year.
I call bullshit on those numbers.
Firstly, the numbers are based on CPA offers and paid traffic.
So they’re not indicative of a typical affiliate marketing business.
The reality is that 80% of affiliates earn between $0 and maybe $80,000 per year.
And there’s nothing wrong with $80k a year – that’s a bloody nice income.
15% of other affiliates earn somewhere between $80,001 and maybe $1 million per year.
But it’s the 1% of affiliates that are making 6 and 7-figures per month with their affiliate marketing efforts.
Like the examples from Authority Site System students, we provided a little while back.
How long does it take a typical person to earn job-replacement income from affiliate marketing?
How long is a piece of string?
Just be prepared to work at it for around 2 years.
Beware of Affiliate Gurus
There’s an entire sub-industry within affiliate marketing that will prey on your hopes and dreams.
This is how it works.
Some dude rents himself a mansion and a sports car.
He then films himself walking around inside his mansion, talking about how easy his “affiliate marketing system” is and how “anyone can do it”.
The thing is though, that the dude is actually broke in real life.
His only income source is from selling bullshit courses that teach you how to sell bullshit courses.
But he makes exactly zero money from selling affiliate products.
Oh, and those income statements they show you?
Yeah…here’s a “proof of income” that took me 30 seconds to put together.
Be very careful about who you believe, affiliates – marketing tricks can be used to deceive you.
Revenue vs. Net Profit
Here’s the next thing to pay attention to when talking about how much you can earn from affiliate marketing.
And how much people claim to the bank each month.
Let me put it this way – anyone can earn $100,000 per month from affiliate marketing…
…if you spend $99,750 making it.
Okay, that’s an extreme example, but there are lots of affiliates who claim to generate a 6-figure monthly income.
But they forget to mention that their monthly expenses account for the vast majority of that income.
That’s why we encourage people to take the content publishing route instead of paid traffic + CPA offers route.
In our experience, content publishing is simply more stable, more scalable, and less likely to bankrupt you.
There’s less time spent chasing new products and traffic sources.
Basically, you need to pay attention to revenue claims vs. actual profit.
Truth be told, most of the “guru” affiliate types don’t know the difference.
Which is why they live in rented mansions.
Affiliate Commissions in Different Niches
There is roughly the same amount of effort required to get paid a $10 commission as there is a $50 commission.
But most new affiliates will lean towards the smaller commissions because they don’t know any better.
Or their perception is that the lower payouts from some affiliate programs is somehow the path of least resistance.
So we’re going to show you some of the most lucrative affiliate marketing niches out there.
And, yes, they’re competitive.
But there’s a way around that by being strategic with your website content.
Or more specifically, mattresses.
This is an example of those weird niches that you probably wouldn’t think of upfront.
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that mattress affiliate programs like Puffy Mattress pay up to $300 per sale.
And there are lots of similar mattress affiliate programs out there.
In fact, this niche is so competitive it almost feels like there’s some kind of mattress mafia running the show in the background.
Gael and Mark riffed on this subject during a recent podcast – you should give it a listen.
And now we have web hosting affiliate programs – the granddaddy of them all.
This is a niche where even relatively new affiliate marketers can make serious money.
Because affiliate programs in this niche offer anywhere from $50 to $500 per sale.
But, here’s the snag.
Some of the worst web hosting companies offer some of the highest payouts.
The flipside of that coin is that you can also promote web hosts like Kinsta – the best in their class and they also have an excellent affiliate program.
I remember when there was a stigma attached to online dating.
These days people look at you funny if you haven’t been on an online dating site at least once during your lifetime.
So that means that the dating niche isn’t going away anytime soon.
Now the thing with dating affiliate programs is that their payouts range from $10 per lead up to $120 for each sale made through your affiliate links.
I personally know an affiliate marketer who made $80k/pm in this niche.
So there’s most definitely money to be made here, especially with more established programs like eHarmony and Match.
The average person does an awful job of managing their money.
This is why they have a mountain of credit card debt and a credit rating that would embarrass a crack addict.
It also means there’s an ongoing demand for products and services to help them fix their various money issues.
And when you dig down into the various personal finance affiliate programs you’ll find some pretty hefty commissions.
In fact, the better programs pay anywhere from $50 to $100 per lead referred from your website.
So you’d only need to make as few as 30 sales each calendar month to produce a job replacement income.
That can’t be said of many niches.
Well, this one is kinda self-explanatory.
Luxury goods cost a lot of money, therefore there should be lots of luxury affiliate programs to promote.
And there are.
One prime example is Villiers Private jets.
They pay affiliates a 30% cut of whatever a charter flight costs.
And that repeats for the lifetime of the customer.
Or what about believing the sky literally isn’t the limit by promoting near-Earth space tourism?
Tickets come in at a cool $55 million…and you might be able to earn a percentage of that.
Our shortcut tactic
Question: So how can you possibly make money with these affiliate programs considering the niches are so competitive?
Answer: You do the work other people don’t want to do by focusing your website on low competition keywords.
If we take mattresses as an example:
Yup, it’s a tough one.
Plus, all the keywords with high search volumes are super competitive.
But if we dig down a little further and look at keywords with a score of KD5 or lower we get this:
1,748 very low competition keywords, and some brand names you can extract even more long-tail keywords from.
Your content should focus on the informational keywords e.g. “how to”, “what are”, “Why is”, etc.
But also any low comp “best x for y” keywords you can find.
Then take those keywords and create content based on a silo structure.
Kyle Roof explained how he approaches silos on a recent episode of the Authority Hacker podcast.
Can low comp keywords, based around a silo structure, help you compete with huge DA sites?
Income can be a mental hurdle
The best advice I can give any new affiliate is to aim way higher than what they think is possible in terms of income.
Basically, you can psychologically limit yourself by setting your sights on $1,000/pm.
Because once you reach that…what comes next?
Then chronic procrastination.
And ultimately, frustration.
So aim for $5k each month, minimum.
That’s what you’ll need to cover your bills, pay your taxes, and your business expenses, and have enough left over to enjoy life.
But $10k each month is a better goal, in my opinion.
I’m not one for motivational quotes, but here’s one that hits this nail on the head.
“It is your attitude, more than your aptitude, that will determine your altitude.”
Over time, the weight on the links at some point will drop off a little bit as we can figure out a little bit better how the content fits in within the context of the whole web.
Grinders, hustlers, and innovators can go from zero to 5-figures each month within a year.
The simple truth of things is that you get out of any business what you put into it.
That also applies to how much money you can earn from affiliate marketing.
And the truth is that you can earn a lot of money from affiliate marketing.
We should know – it’s how we pay our bills.
If you’d like to see how it’s done, then why not get access to our free training?
You’ll learn what it takes to get your first affiliate site up and running.
Free of charge.
All we need from you is the best email address to send your invitation to.
The sooner you get started, the sooner you can start making money.
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