Imagine earning a 7-figure income by monetizing your site with affiliate commissions.
All while being your own boss and having the flexibility to work on your own schedule, from anywhere your heart desires.
Well, for the most successful affiliate marketers out there, that’s real life.
And contrary to what it may look like, they don’t have magic powers – but tenacity, discipline, and a constant desire to learn.
They haven’t stumbled upon some secret recipe for success which they are now using to make millions.
Instead, they’ve worked really hard to get to where they are today, embraced the daily grind, and invested years of consistent effort into perfecting their craft.
They know which are the best practices that play a key role in successful affiliate marketing for new bloggers.
Luckily, they are now generous enough to share what they learned with others like you who might just be getting started in this market or are looking for inspiration on how to get to that next level.
Keep reading to discover 11 powerful lessons from 11 best affiliate marketers 2021 to inspire you moving forward into this year and beyond.
Whether it’s mindset-related or strategy-related, this knowledge will help you gain precious insight into what it takes to be super successful as an affiliate marketer.
Table of Contents
1. Take your blog seriously. – John Chow
That is how long John Chow needed to take his blog from making ZERO dollars to over $40,000 per month. So, when this guy says something about how to make money with your blog, you’ll want to pay attention.
And one of the things he advises is this: treat your blog like a real business.
Starting a blog doesn’t require making a big investment upfront. You can literally just skip taco night once and use that money to start a blog.
So this is what ends up happening in the case of many bloggers:
They don’t treat their blog as a real business. This, says John, is a big mistake that you should steer clear of if you want your blog to ever advance beyond the hobby stage.
I know many businesses that cost over $100K to start that make nowhere close to what my blog makes.
Yet, my blog was started for the cost of a $9.98 domain name. Very few normal businesses can be started for $9.98 and grow into a full blow international business.
But that is the power of blogging if you take it seriously and continue to work at it on a consistent basis. Treat your blog like you would treat a $100k business, and your entire blogging outlook will change.
- John Chow (source: How to Make 2021 Your Best Blogging Year)
2. Focus on content first. – Matthew Woodward
We couldn’t talk about the best affiliate marketers 2021 and not include Matthew Woodward in our list.
An award-winning blogger, affiliate marketer, and SEO expert, Matthew Woodward took his first steps in the world of blogging when he was just thirteen years old.
Back then, Matthew was writing reviews of online games for a website called Nintendo Files.
Building on his original passion for writing and digital marketing, Matthew made his way up to generating a seven-figure income with his blog.
So, what’s his secret?
Matthew has always prioritized creating the best content to serve his audience.
His high-quality tutorials, reviews, and detailed case studies are packed with valuable insight to help people achieve their digital marketing goals.
“Most bloggers are able to make a decent income from blogging if they are willing to put in the effort,” he says.
So, one of the most important lessons on affiliate marketing for new bloggers that you can learn from Matthew’s success is this:
DON’T cut corners when creating content for your audience.
Focus on creating valuable, original content that solves problems and genuinely helps people FIRST.
3. The first idea you have doesn’t have to be the best and only one. – Mark Ling
Mark Ling went from working as a delivery boy at Pizza Hut for $6 per hour to building a website that generated an income of $10,000 a week and co-founding Affilorama, one of the largest affiliate marketing communities online.
Mark established himself as a top internet entrepreneur, learning many valuable lessons along the way.
In a recent podcast, he talked about one of the first (and most difficult) lessons he learned early on in his journey in the world of affiliate marketing.
After losing a profitable website he built (Mark talks about this in the first part of the podcast), he found himself having to start over from scratch in a new niche.
He then realized that although his first idea for a website and business was gone, he could come up with new and better ideas. The resources were still there, within him.
The important thing was to keep moving forward and not give up.
This is a powerful lesson, especially for those of you who are at the beginning of your affiliate marketing careers.
You’ll make mistakes; projects will go sideways.
Don’t let the first big setback you encounter take you out of the game. You can always turn things around for yourself if you get back on the horse.
4. Reviews are the key for successful affiliate blogging. – Yaro Starak
Yaro Starak started his first blog back in 2005 with a focus on entrepreneurship. Two years after that, he launched his first course online called Blog Mastermind. 400 students participated in that class.
Since then, thousands of other people have learned from Yaro’s courses, eBooks, and by joining the Laptop Lifestyle Academy.
By his 30th birthday, Yaro had made a million dollars from his blogging business. Over the years, Yaro tapped into new areas of opportunity, co-founding another company called InboxDone.com, an email concierge service.
When it comes to getting advice on how to make a living online, he’s one of the best guys to turn to.
So, when he says that reviews are the key for successful affiliate blogging, you’ll want to consider making this type of content a part of your strategy.
I’m convinced that reviews are the key for successful affiliate blogging because they offer a soft-sales pitch style of promotion.
You provide value in the form of advice, people learn from your experience and you get paid for any referrals you make.
- Yaro Starak
Furthermore, reviews are likely to rank well on search engines for searches related to the product or services you are writing about, especially if your site has Authority and you optimize your posts.
That means reviews have the potential to bring you a lot of high-quality visitors who are interested in the products or services you’re promoting and therefore are more likely to click on your affiliate links.
5. Losing is profitable because it gives you data. – Ian Fernando
Ian Fernando has been a top affiliate marketer for years (15+ years of experience in digital marketing) and continues to be at the head of the class today.
A highly-analytical, ‘out of the box’ thinker, Ian encourages new affiliates to be creative and always try to look at things from new angles to find new opportunities.
As far as what the ideal mindset is for someone who is just getting started as an affiliate, Ian says that understanding that you are going to lose is critical.
A lot of affiliates believe that if one dollar goes out, they need to see at least a dollar and one cent back.
But it doesn’t work that way.
You’re putting a dollar, and you’ll never see that dollar ever again.
A lot of newbies need to understand that losing is profitable because you’re getting data and understand how to REACT to that data.
- Ian Fernando
Check out the interview below for more advice from Ian on affiliate marketing for new bloggers and how to succeed in this industry.
6. Your attitude determines your result. – Rae Hoffman
One of the best affiliate marketers 2021, Rae Hoffman has been an entrepreneur and a successful digital marketer for almost twenty years. Every step of that journey was made through hard work and by having a resilient approach.
Take no prisoners and make no excuses has been a refrain that has echoed through many of Rae’s tweets and articles. She is a firm believer that your situation is not what determines your result. Your attitude is.
One key lesson to learn from Rae is this:
Take charge of your own situation.
And do the work – whether the work means posting new content consistently on your blog, researching new digital marketing trends, or building a team that inspires you to set bigger goals.
7. Always disclose your affiliate relationships whenever you promote something. – Pat Flynn
For affiliate marketer extraordinaire Pat Flynn, getting laid off from his dream job as an architect was a blessing in disguise as it led to him starting his own business online.
Since then, Pat has built several successful online businesses such as SPI Labs or SwitchPod and became a phenomenal success in affiliate marketing.
Pat is also the founder of Smart Passive Income and has his own podcast with over 400 episodes where he shares proven affiliate strategies and his thoughts on what it takes to make it big in this industry.
In a recent episode, he talked about one of the most important (and most challenging) aspects of being a successful affiliate marketer.
Getting your audience to trust you.
If your audience doesn’t trust you, they won’t trust your recommendations.
So, how do you build that trust?
Well, part of it is creating informative, honest, and valuable content and portraying your recommendations in an authentic, transparent way.
Transparency is key here.
As Pat Flynn recommends, always make sure to disclose your affiliate partnerships when promoting products online.
There’s nothing wrong in admitting you have something to gain by recommending a product, as long as you are being honest about it and you genuinely believe it will help your audience.
In fact, people will thank you for recommending quality products and services they need. Everybody wins.
- Consider publishing an Affiliate Disclaimer on your site where people can see that you have nothing to hide. Briefly explain why you’ve chosen to partner with certain companies / promote specific products or services.
This way, you’re being transparent about what’s going on so that your audience can decide for themselves how it may affect their views of what you recommend.
8. A real affiliate marketer is an advocate for their audience. – David Risley
One of the best things about David Risley, founder of Blog Marketing Academy and top affiliate marketer, is that he tells things as they are.
He won’t sugarcoat the truth or try to sell you the fantasy affiliate marketing story (which is: starting with nothing and turning into a millionaire who can afford his dream house and a Maserati basically overnight.)
Having to pivot himself many times as an online marketer, David knows that acting on the drive to always change and improve is how most affiliates get to live their dreams.
You earn a solid revenue using affiliate marketing by working hard and finding the best ways to serve your audience.
Don’t be merely a middleman who adds no value to the transaction. You provide a TON of value. You serve YOUR customers.
- David Risley – The Secret to Affiliate Marketing
Here are some of the tactics that David suggests using to avoid being merely a channel that enables a transaction and being “an affiliate marketer with a real business” instead.
- Create free training and how-to guides that help your audience get the most value out of using the products or services you recommend.
- Advocate for your audience and try to get the best deals for them.
- Offer bonuses in addition to the affiliate offer you’re promoting.
9. Separate your content creation process into 3 different stages. – Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is a speaker, author, blogger, and the founder of ProBlogger.com, a comprehensive resource site for all things blogging.
Today, ProBlogger gets about 5 million+ visitors and 20 million+ page views a month helping content creators monetize their blogs.
But Darren’s blogging journey began back in 2002. And although it wasn’t a thought-through decision, it was one that would end up changing his life.
His blog grew to several thousand readers a month and after just two years since getting started, the income generated by it became Darren’s full-time income.
Soon, ProBlogger was born to help other bloggers make the same journey from hobby to paycheck.
If you want to know more about affiliate marketing for new bloggers, ProBlogger is an excellent resource.
In a recent FinCon speech, Darren talked about 10 things he wished he knew when he first started blogging in 2002.
Here are some insights from that speech that you can use to create better content as an affiliate marketer.
The best content is content that has an impact. “Great content emerges when you know who you are creating it for and how you’ll change their life.”
Separate your content creation process into 3 different stages: Idea Generation; Content Creation, and Content Completion. Don’t do it all in one sitting; schedule separate sessions for each activity during different days of your workweek. It will help you be a more productive writer.
Beginner content is powerful. You may have the urge to write advanced content to be seen as an expert. However, if you’re noticing that your audience is actually asking basic questions, that is what you should focus on.
Make it visual. The visual part is critical these days, so consider incorporating more visual elements into your content such as: product images, graphics, testimonials, embedded tweets, and YouTube clips.
10. Exploit new opportunities. – Jeremy Schoemaker
Founder of ShoeMoney Media, PAR Program, and a frequent speaker at affiliate conferences, Jeremy Schoemaker has earned over 10 million in affiliate revenue.
Jeremy is also the protagonist of one of the most iconic images on the internet:
The one where he holds a Google Adsense check worth $132,994.97 which he earned for just one month’s worth of clicks. (take a look at the picture here)
If you’d like to learn more about the story behind that check, this is a good read.
There’s no denying the fact that Jeremy is one of the most successful affiliate marketers out there.
And one of the things that contributed to his success was that he embraced new trends and exploited new avenues to make money online.
One of the first sites that Jeremy founded made it possible for users to upload any audio format and get a ringtone formatted correctly for their phones. At its height, the site was averaging about 5 million unique visitors a month.
Jeremy also co-founded AuctionAds, an eBay affiliate service that allows users to display live eBay auctions on their websites.
ShoeMoney is a site that is all about helping others learn how to make a living from the Internet.
The lesson here?
Don’t restrict yourself to just one thing, whether that refers to products that you promote, campaign types, promotion strategies, or anything else.
Keep an eye out for new trends and change with the times to capitalize on new opportunities to make money online.
11. Understand your passion and play to your strengths. – Finch Sells
Finch Sells is one of the youngest affiliate marketers on our list (29 years old). After quitting his 9-5 job, Finch started a successful career in affiliate marketing and now runs his own company called Finch Media Ltd.
A self-called “serial blogger,” Finch regularly writes on his site (finchsells.com) where he shares lots of tips and resources that are beginner-friendly.
His #1 piece of advice to new affiliates?
Well, we got really lucky with this one, as Finch actually wrote a post on his blog called exactly that.
(here’s the link to it: My 1 Piece of Advice To New Affiliates).
One of the main takeaways from that article is that you should focus on the things you do well and what you have to offer that might be of value to others.
When you step back from the industry and forget that affiliate marketing exists, you can find a great deal of clarity by simply asking yourself:
“What do I have to offer? What can I do for other people that would make some kind of difference?”
- Finch Sells
Finch also talks about how the only work that will leave you feeling 100% satisfied is work that you actually care about.
Picking a profitable niche just because it’s profitable NOW might give you some satisfaction in the short term.
But when push comes to shove, you’ll jump ship if the project is not something you’re passionate about.
You’ll only put your whole effort into projects that truly interest you.
This is why it’s so important to understand your passion early on. Try to pinpoint the things that you could see yourself working on every single day – and be happy.
Nail down your passion, research the market, and then do a better job of servicing it than the thousands of Internet Marketers wearing ‘expert’ masks in disguise.
- Finch Sells
Get Inspired by the Best Affiliate Marketers 2021 to Build Your Own Success Story
The path to becoming a top-earning affiliate marketer is challenging; a journey filled with moments of failure and success, feelings of uncertainty, self-doubt as well as immense personal satisfaction.
Like the people included in this article, those who find the greatest success embrace the ups and downs and use them as fuel to move forward.
Prepare for the journey ahead by teaming up with trusty partners that you can count on.
Join Squirrly’s Affiliate Program today and build a career as an affiliate marketer by connecting your audience to proven products they need to be insanely successful with digital marketing.
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