I’ll NEVER forget my first affiliate sale…
It was the 24th of April 2017. I’d just gotten out of bed and picked up my smartphone to check my daily emails.
And then, I saw it…
“Congratulations! You made a commission!”.
I couldn’t believe my eyes!
I opened the email…
According to it, someone who’d visited my affiliate blog ended up purchasing a personal development course I had reviewed, granting me a very sweet $45 commission.
I immediately started cheering. I was so ecstatic that I barely managed to keep myself from bursting into tears of joy and relief.
That’s because at that time, I’d been involved in affiliate marketing for about 6 months without having seen any tangible results whatsoever.
Frankly, I was so disappointed and frustrated that on the verge of calling it quits.
As such, my first affiliate sale couldn’t have taken place at a better time…
Having said all that, I completely understand how big a deal making your first sale as an affiliate marketer is…
Not only it provides reassurance that all the time, effort, and money you’ve invested in your affiliate endeavors have not gone to waste, but also that the affiliate marketing model is actually legitimate and profitable.
That’s exactly why I decided to put together this post; to share with you the exact 6 steps to making your first affiliate sale as soon as possible while at the same time building the foundation of a successful online business that’ll keep generating affiliate sales for the years to come.
Without further ado, let’s start digging in!
How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale
The process of making your first affiliate sale can be broken down into the following 6 steps:
- Pursue an Uncrowded Niche
- Build Online Assets
- Gather Web Traffic
- Promote Relevant Affiliate Offers
- Invest in High-Quality Training
- Leverage Email Marketing
Let’s take a more in-depth look…
1. Pursue an Uncrowded Niche
The very first step towards making money with affiliate marketing is picking a niche.
A “niche” can be described as the main topic that your affiliate business is going to be revolving around.
There are millions of affiliate niches to choose from, including, but not limited to:
- Online Courses
- & more
The best way to ensure that you’ll start generating affiliate sales as soon as possible is to avoid going after niches that consist of too much well-established competition that could trample smaller affiliates with no authority like you, such as:
- Health, Fitness, & Weight Loss
- Personal Finance & Making Money
- Dating & Relationships
- Beauty & Fashion
- Personal Development
Always keep in mind that the more competitive a niche is, the more time and effort you’ll have to devote until you make your first affiliate sale.
On the other hand, narrow niches with little or no competition whatsoever might have way too insufficient consumer demand to generate a satisfactory amount of monthly affiliate sales in the long term.
That being said, a niche can be considered “ideal” if it strikes a pretty solid balance between low competition and high demand.
Another rule of thumb that could speed up the overall growth of your affiliate endeavors is selecting a niche you’re passionate about.
That’s simply because running an online business that’s geared towards a subject you love won’t feel so much like working but rather more like having fun and this will naturally keep you fired up to do more consistent and higher quality work and subsequently, make faster and better progress.
Find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. – Confucius
To sum up, the 3 golden rules of picking a niche that’s “perfect” for your affiliate business are:
- Low to modest competition
- Modest to high demand
- You’re passionate about it
Please note that a niche doesn’t have to meet all 3 aforementioned requirements to be considered valid…
Nonetheless, the more it meets, the higher the chances of making your first affiliate commission sooner rather than later!
2. Build Online Assets
Now that you’ve zeroed in on your niche, it’s time to start building your online assets.
An online asset is anything that can be used to connect and interact with people in your selected niche over the internet, such as a blog, YouTube channel, Instagram page, Facebook group, TikTok account, etc…
You can think of your online assets as the “storefront” of your affiliate business where all your affiliate promotions will be taking place.
One of the best methods to make your first affiliate sale as fast as possible is by leveraging your personal social media profiles as laid out in the 6-step process right below:
- Step 1: Find a high-quality affiliate offer to promote
- Step 2: Learn everything about your affiliate offer
- Step 3: Offer a bonus (discount, support, templates, etc)
- Step 4: Start providing value in relevant groups
- Step 5: Interact and connect with your target audience
- Step 6: Promote your affiliate offer when appropriate
However, while the process outlined right above could enable you to make your first affiliate sale relatively fast, it’s practically very far from being as efficient for creating a healthy and thriving affiliate business that’ll be experiencing a steady growth rate in the long term as running a blog or a YouTube channel.
Launching a YouTube channel is a piece of cake… All you have to do is:
- Create a Google account
- Head over to YouTube
- Sign in using your Google account
- Click your profile picture (top right corner)
- & Select “Create a channel”
Getting a blog up and running is somewhat more effortful but fortunately, thanks to the huge advancements of website-building technology, it’s not as complicated, labor-intensive, and costly as it used to be a few years ago.
Nowadays, there are dozens of platforms like WordPress, Medium, Weebly, and Blogger that could enable even the least tech-savvy people to create a fully functional affiliate blog in mere minutes.
The most widely-used one among affiliate marketers, powering almost 50% of all websites worldwide, is WordPress.
That’s because WordPress offers a vast array of benefits, such as:
- Completely free to use
- Very simple to deploy
- Search engine friendly
- Highly customizable
- Scalable, versatile, and flexible
- Supported by all hosting providers
- Cross-device responsiveness
- & more
The video right below guides you through the process of launching a WordPress-based affiliate blog in just 30 seconds without spending a single dime!
3. Gather Web Traffic
Web traffic is practically the key factor that almost exclusively dictates the size of your affiliate income and it refers to the total volume of people who visit and interact with your online assets (e.g. Instagram followers, blog visitors, YouTube subscribers, etc) and might be interested in purchasing the affiliate offers you promote throughout them.
Simply put, more web traffic = more affiliate sales.
As such, web traffic can be easily characterized as the “bread and butter” of your affiliate business!
That being said, the only way to make your first affiliate sale as fast as possible is to ensure that you’ll be investing the vast majority of your time, energy, money, and resources in acquiring more web traffic.
Web traffic can be split into 2 main categories:
- Free Web Traffic
- & Paid Web Traffic
Free traffic refers to traffic generated without spending money on running paid ads.
The two methods of gathering free traffic that have a track record of being the most effective for promoting affiliate offers are:
- Content Marketing
- and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Content marketing is the process of consistently publishing niche-relevant content on your online assets.
For example, if you launch a YouTube channel and your target niche consists of beginners to meditation, your content marketing strategy will be revolving around recording YouTube videos geared towards meditation tips, positions, breathing techniques, guided sessions, etc (see example below)…
Likewise, if you start an Instagram page targeting vegans, you should be publishing posts covering vegan-related subjects such as vegan recipes, cooking tips for vegans, weekly vegan meal plans, best vegan restaurants, etc (see example below)…
Web content can come in many shapes and sizes, such as:
- How-to guides
- Product reviews
- Case studies
- & more
The more content you publish, the higher your chances of reaching a wider and more diverse spectrum of potential buyers.
On top of that, producing highly valuable content will boost your credibility and trustworthiness and assure your target audience that you’re an authority figure who can help them find solutions to their problems.
This will in turn increase the rates at which people who come across your content purchase the affiliate offers you promote.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a combination of practices that can be leveraged towards optimizing a website (or blog) so that search engines (Google, Yahoo, Yandex, etc) display it at higher positions of their search results when specific keywords are queried.
The higher a website appears on a search engine’s results pages (SERPs) the more free traffic it receives.
For instance, as you can see in the image below, the website runnersworld.com appears in the 1st position of Google’s search results for the keyword “best running shoes”, right above runningshoesguru.com and fleetfeet.com.
As such, we can safely assume that runnersworld.com receives much more free traffic for the keyword “best running shoes” than runningshoesguru.com and fleetfeet.com.
Paid traffic refers to traffic generated via advertising promotions you’ve paid to run, such as:
- Display ads: Banners, texts, or images placed on third-party websites
- Paid search: Ads displayed on search engines like Google & Yahoo
- Social media ads: Ads served on social media platforms like Facebook & Instagram
- Sponsored: Paid content created and distributed by influencers
- Native ads: Ads consistent with the overall style of the platform on which they appear
Free vs. Paid Traffic
Free traffic generation methods are perfect for getting your affiliate offers in front of potential buyers without spending money on paid advertising.
However, cultivating enough free traffic to start making affiliate sales involves a lot of upfront work, trial & error, time, and patience.
On the other hand, paid traffic generation methods enable you to get traffic flowing towards your affiliate offers instantaneously and on-demand, practically as soon as you pay your chosen ad network and launch your ad campaigns.
As such, the path to making your first affiliate sale by running paid ads is technically much shorter than by gathering free traffic.
However, the main downside of paid ads is that you always run the risk of losing money for nothing as there’s no guarantee whatsoever that the traffic you paid for will result in any actual affiliate sales.
Ultimately, you can think about it this way…
Free traffic requires zero monetary investment but involves a lot of effort over a large period of time and yields slow results.
Paid traffic yields fast results but requires a significant monetary investment and involves a high risk of losing money.
4. Promote Relevant Affiliate Offers
Once your online assets are in place and web traffic has started flowing in, it’s time to start monetizing your audience by promoting affiliate offers.
The most straightforward method of locating affiliate offers is by browsing through affiliate networks like:
- Commission Junction
- & FlexOffers
Moreover, you could head over to Google and search for:
- niche + affiliate program
- product + affiliate program
- merchant + affiliate program
as depicted in the images right below.
Always keep in mind that the affiliate offers you promote MUST be highly relevant to your target niche as well as geared towards delivering value and genuinely benefiting your audience, either by helping them solve a problem, reach a goal, save them time and effort, or merely entertaining them.
For instance, if you operate a YouTube channel that revolves around yoga, it’d be in your best interest to focus on promoting yoga-related products, such as:
Promoting affiliate offers that are completely irrelevant to your target market will not only lead to making no sales whatsoever but could also hurt the credibility and trustworthiness of your affiliate business.
For example, if you start promoting dog toys or VPN software on a blog about cooking the vast majority of those who happen to stumble upon it will either think that you’re a desperate salesperson or that you’ve gone insane.
Whatever the case, no one’s going to take you seriously enough to take you up on your affiliate promotions.
Last but not least, it’s highly suggested that you promote ONLY high-quality affiliate offers that have a solid online reputation…
That’s because according to many studies, products that have a majority of positive reviews tend to have much higher conversion rates than products that have a lot of negative or no reviews at all.
5. Invest in High-Quality Training
Based on affiliate marketing statistics, lack of proper training is the #1 reason that aspiring affiliate marketers struggle to make sales…
That’s mostly because while there’s an immense amount of information about building and scaling an affiliate business all over the internet, only a fraction of it is actually legit and valid.
As such, if you don’t know how to distinguish between the good and the bad, you might end up wasting months, if not years, utilizing crappy techniques that take you nowhere near your financial goals.
If you want to ensure that you won’t end up suffering such a fate as well as that you’ll get to your first affiliate sale as fast as possible, I strongly suggest that you consider following one of The Best Affiliate Marketing Courses that have helped hundreds of people go from zero to building a sizeable affiliate income online.
Furthermore, you can get your hands on a FREE 20-Lesson Course that takes you by the hand and walks you through the process of launching your first affiliate business without spending a single dime right here.
6. Leverage Email Marketing
One of the best marketing methods of short-circuiting the process of making your first affiliate sale is email marketing…
Email marketing is considered the Holy Grail of customer conversion with an ROI (Return On Investment) that can be as high as 4400%.
Leveraging email marketing enables you to maintain an open channel of communication with your target audience via email so that you can keep interacting with them until you make them realize that purchasing the affiliate offers you endorse is in their best interest.
Technically, even a very small email list of fewer than 50 people could be just enough to start generating a steady stream of affiliate sales.
Here’s a brief overview of how the process of utilizing email marketing works:
Step 1: Sign up for an email marketing automation platform (e.g. MailerLite).
Step 2: Build a squeeze page (a page designed to capture email addresses).
Step 3: Create a lead magnet (e.g. eBook, webinar, template, 1-on-1 consultation, case study, etc) that you’ll be giving away for free in exchange for a person’s email address.
Step 4: Set up an informative automated email sequence that’ll start dripping out the moment someone subscribes to your email list.
Step 5: Launch email campaigns promoting your affiliate offers.
Affiliate marketing FAQs
Affiliate marketing is an online business model that involves promoting products or services created and distributed by third-party online merchants in exchange for getting paid a commission for each sale you refer.
In layman’s terms, affiliate marketing is the process of being compensated for helping businesses sell to more customers.
Here’s a bird’s eye view of how affiliate marketing works.
- You join a merchant’s affiliate program
- The merchant gives you a unique affiliate link that points to their e-shop
- You promote your unique affiliate link online (blog, forums, social media, paid ads, etc.)
- Every time someone clicks on your unique affiliate link and makes a purchase on the merchant’s e-shop, the merchant pays you a commission
There are thousands of successful affiliate marketers all around the world. Some of the most well-known ones are:
- Pat Flynn
- Matt Diggity
- Matthew Woodward
- Doug Cunnington
- & more
You can check out a roundup of my 17 favorite examples of affiliate success and their backstories right here.
- Billion-dollar industry
- Very low startup & operational expenses
- Huge income potential
- Flexible & versatile
- Passive income
- Simple to implement
- No technical background
- No customer support
- No physical setup
Affiliate marketers can be divided into five main income groups:
- Total beginners: $0 – $20,000 per year
- Low-level affiliates: $20,000 – $50,000 per year
- Intermediate affiliates: $50,000 – $100,000 per year
- High-level affiliates: $100,000 – $500,000 per year
- Super affiliates: $500,000+ per year
Some of the factors that influence how much you earn as an affiliate marketer include:
- target niche
- available resources
- previous experience
- marketing efforts
- & overall mindset
Here’s a rough income growth timeline of a typical affiliate marketing business:
- months (0-3): no earnings
- months (3-6): first affiliate sale
- months (6-12): $100-$500 monthly
- months (12-18): $1000 monthly
- months (18-24): $3000+ monthly
This timeline isn’t a guarantee of future performance but rather a mere approximation of the income growth of an average affiliate business. Your own timeline could be shorter or longer than projected.
Over the years, I’ve seen aspiring affiliates striking a gold vein just a few months into the industry. On the other hand, I personally know people who’ve been struggling to grow their affiliate revenue to $1000 per month for several years.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most affordable money-making models out there.
Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to get started as an affiliate marketer along with their associated costs:
- web hosting & domain name: $2.95/month (Bluehost)
- keyword research tool: $49/month (Jaaxy)
- expert guidance: $49/month (Wealthy Affiliate)
- email autoresponder: Free for up to 1000 subs (MailerLite)
Please note that on top of expert guidance, Wealthy Affiliate also provides free access to hosting and a keyword research tool so you don’t have to purchase them separately.
The process of getting started with affiliate marketing can be broken down into the following four simple steps:
- Pick a niche
- Launch a blog
- Build an audience
- Promote affiliate products
No, you don’t.
Affiliate marketing is very simple to get started with by virtually anyone regardless of age, education, background, available capital, tech-savviness, professional network, etc.
In fact, most 6-figure affiliate marketers were no more experienced than you currently are when they first ventured into the affiliate marketing industry.
Nonetheless, being knowledgeable in fields like marketing, sales, content production, business management, etc., could help you reach your financial goals somewhat faster.
To wrap this up, the 6 steps to making your first affiliate sale are:
- Pursue an Uncrowded Niche
- Build Online Assets
- Gather Web Traffic
- Promote Relevant Affiliate Offers
- Invest in High-Quality Training
- Leverage Email Marketing
Using those steps as a blueprint will not only help you make your first affiliate sale in no time but also build a thriving affiliate business that’ll keep generating consistent sales for the years to come!
Before I close this, I’d like to point out that although investing in a dedicated affiliate course isn’t mandatory to become a successful affiliate marketer, having access to high-quality, structured guidance could shorten your learning curve, minimize trial and error, save you immense amounts of frustration and disappointment, speed up your progress, boost your earnings, and significantly increase the chances of actually reaching your financial goals.
That being said, here’s a roundup of The Best Affiliate Marketing Courses that have helped hundreds of people go from zero to generating a sizeable affiliate income online.
Have any questions?
Leave a comment right below or contact me right here and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.
All the best,
Harry, Founder & Editor at dearboss-iquit.com