It’s always good to have money. It’s even better to get money without having to think about it too much. That’s the promise of passive income.
Whatever you do today should pay dividends in the future. “Dividends,” of course, are one of the original forms of passive income — they reward people who own shares of a company with a portion of the company’s profit.
Today, we have many more ways to create passive income. Millions of people have done so with affiliate marketing, transforming their ability to sell stuff into always-on cash machines, promoting someone else’s products while taking a cut of every sale.
So let’s cover five popular ways to make money with affiliate marketing. These approaches, when well-executed, are sure to earn affiliate commissions of $500 or more every month. You can even stack several $500-a-month strategies on top of each other. Since they are passive income strategies, you can use the earnings from one to fuel the growth of another, creating a virtuous cycle of ever-greater income.
Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
Try one, several, or all of these tricks, and you might someday be able to completely replace your current earnings with passive income from affiliate commissions...
1. Start a niche blog
Think about all the times you’ve researched a trip, gadget, service, software, food... you get the idea.
People will always have questions. Unless you’re asking about something that can’t be monetized (and almost everything can be), you’ll probably find several sites reviewing the thing you’re looking for, or providing side-by-side comparisons against similar things.
In most cases, these blogs are monetized with affiliate offers. Creating an “expert” blog site for a particular niche or product is a well-known way to earn affiliate income. The always-on, always-available nature of blogs makes them an ideal source of passive affiliate commissions.
2. Update your niche blog!
You can (and should) update your best posts each year, or whenever new information or affiliate programs cause you to rethink your old conclusions. Blogs only become passive income streams when they're seen by search engines, and Google loves to surface the most current and relevant answer to any question.
If you’ve been paying attention to the headlines on the niche-expert blogs answering your burning questions, you’ve probably noticed many of them include a bracketed update notice, like [NEW FOR 2020] or [UPDATED OCTOBER 2020].
It’s much, much easier to update a successful blog post than it is to rewrite it completely, and this approach is also more in keeping with the “passive” aspect of passive income. Don’t neglect your best posts! They could be the difference between making $500 a month and making nothing at all.
3. Promote products you care about and believe in
This “trick” seems simple, but it’s surprising how many people dive into affiliate marketing to make money, without taking the time to find something they’ll actually enjoy promoting.
Make no mistake, there are good and bad affiliate offers and good and bad offer owners. Sometimes you’ll get a bad offer from a good owner, or vice versa. However, if you believe in the value of the offer, and the integrity of the offer owner, you’ll enjoy the effort more, and that’ll show up in your results over the long run.
Authenticity is an integral part of the modern marketing toolkit, and your audience is savvier than ever. Affiliate blogs that rank highly for valuable search keywords or questions often exude authenticity. That’s because they aren’t just promoting a product. They’re promoting a mindset, a lifestyle, a brand, or an idea. The products (or services) you promote should seem like natural outgrowths of your central idea, not the idea itself.
4. Build an authentic social following
You don’t have to be a Kardashian fan to understand the value of a social media audience. Once you commit to social media as a key marketing channel, you’ll discover that most guides to social media success emphasize “influence” and becoming an “influencer.”
These are just new words for “expert” or “celebrity” in the iPhone era. If you have a million followers on Instagram or Facebook, you’re on par with many real-world celebrities. Brands will seek you out to promote their products well before you reach the two commas worth of followers.
Let’s be realistic, though. It’s not easy to get a million followers on social media, and you probably won’t come close. But that’s okay! You can still make real affiliate commissions if you only have 1,000 dedicated fans.
Many of the same guidelines you’ll follow when building a blog also work well when building a social media following. Authenticity, value, and engagement all matter. People are more likely to buy from someone they trust. If you’re putting yourself out there on social media, focus on building your own brand, so you’ll have your audience’s trust for any offer you might promote in the future.
Social media platforms littered with the dead accounts of affiliate “brands.” This isn’t to say you can’t build a meaningful following under a brand pseudonym. It’s a smarter strategy to build a following that’ll buy any affiliate offer, rather than an audience you’ve trained to only buy one thing. Your best offer owners probably have lots of offers. They aren’t tied to the success of a single product or service, and you shouldn’t be, either.
5. Learn how to drive traffic to your offers
You don’t have to know how to create websites to start a blog or website. You can use built-out designs on intuitive platforms to launch your site in a snap. You can also hire a talented web designer if you’re feeling particularly ambitious.
You don’t necessarily need to know how to create graphics or even write content or copy, either. There are millions of talented freelancers offering design, development, and writing services online, and many will do it at quite reasonable rates.
What you’ll have that they won’t is the ability to get people to visit those sites and share that content, whether you’ve created it or paid someone else to do it.
Traffic is king in online marketing. If you have more traffic, you have more opportunities to make sales. Once you have traffic, you can optimize your sites and content to convert more sales from the same volume of viewers — but without traffic, you’ve got nothing.
Ranking in search engines (SEO) is one key way to generate traffic. Social media is another. Email lists are excellent ways to drive traffic, whether you’ve built them or bought them. You can run paid ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, or anywhere else (click here for 15 overlooked sources of paid traffic for your affiliate offer).
Whatever you do, and whatever you’re selling as an affiliate, you need to be able to get traffic to your offers. Everything else is secondary.
Anyone can generate traffic with a bit of practice and education. The sooner you start, the better position you’ll be in the long run.
If you’re looking for an affiliate network that helps you make more predictable revenue more often, you might want to consider MaxWeb. We’re currently the #1 fastest-growing affiliate network, and we specialize in maximizing results for both affiliates and advertisers. No exaggeration. We focus on carrying only the best offers and provide maximum commissions—you’ll get payouts up to 3 times a week. Click here to learn more and see if MaxWeb might be a good fit for you.