How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

Oleksandr Rohovnin
Content Marketer
18 minute read
Oleksandr Rohovnin
Content Marketer
18 minute read

You don’t need much to make money with affiliate marketing: just a reasonable affiliate program, robust affiliate marketing software to back up your endeavors, and a pinch of business acumen to create valuable content and outperform fellow marketers.

In reality, though, everything mentioned is an extremely tough undertaking, with only around 4% of affiliates making over $150,000 annually. The rest are either content with affiliate marketing as a few-grand-per-year side hustle or, in most cases, simply cannot devise a successful affiliate marketing strategy to grow their bottom line.

But no worries, we’ll walk you through the nitty-gritty of failproof affiliate marketing strategies and then focus on the absolute gold of affiliate marketing: automated affiliate marketing software.

Without further ado, let’s try to make money with affiliate marketing together.

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Looking for a head start in affiliate marketing? Here’s your ultimate guide to becoming an affiliate marketer in 2023.

Know Thy Value – Sell Thy Value

You may not like it, but there are only two ways to make money with affiliate marketing. You either need to have a unique product or service that can propel you to the highest heights in no time or exceed your competitors in at least one dimension.

Now, let’s keep it real. Only a few chosen unicorns can boast a unique product, leading to an unambiguous conclusion:

  • To make money with affiliate marketing, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel – just do what your competitors do but noticeably better. Know thy value and play to your strengths.

Long story short, you must define your competitive advantages for every specific partnership. For example, if you’re an affiliate searching for an affiliate network to make money with, you should emphasize your inbound traffic statistics to prove your value. However, if you are an affiliate network searching for affiliates, you might want to highlight your pool of advertisers and high commissions.

To make things really simple, take this value proposition canvas and rework it for yourself:


Source: Strategyzer

Feel lost amidst the complexities of affiliate marketing? Here’s your beacon in the murky world of affiliate marketing.

Achieve Synergy With Your Affiliate Program

Making money with an affiliate program is a rational choice for aspiring affiliates, allowing them to tap into a gigantic pool of advertisers without effort and even have their progress supervised by experts. In exchange, you will have to pay a commission from every sale, which is not too significant compared to the benefits you get.

However, not all affiliate programs are the same, with multiple factors to consider before you can apply. Read on to learn to choose your affiliate program.

How To Choose an Affiliate Program

Step 1. Narrow Down Your Choice to Relevant Affiliate Programs

With around 9,600 affiliate service providers serving some 100,000 companies in the affiliate network industry, you must compile a shortlist of candidates first. Eliminate all irrelevant programs and ones that charge too much. However, don’t waste time researching every program through and through – just give it a precursory glance to shortlist the affiliate programs worth examining.

Step 2. Evaluate Your Candidates

Making money with affiliate programs is only easy on paper. In reality, it’s quite challenging to find a program that perfectly resonates with your niche, approach, budget, and numerous other specificities. But it doesn’t mean you have no chance – sometimes, you just have to research harder or bide time until your best affiliate program comes about.

Factors To Consider When Choosing an Affiliate Program

 

Payment model Try to get paid for what you’re good at. If you’re good at generating leads, look for a pay-per-lead affiliate program rather than a pay-per-sale one. Luckily, today’s market will allow you to monetize almost everything, from impressions to clicks to downloads to subscriptions.

Willing to become a godlike affiliate marketing lead generator? Here’s your shortcut to success.

Some affiliate programs run multiple payment models, maximizing the opportunities for affiliates and advertisers. For example, a pay-per-lead program may be complemented by bounties, a one-time payment for a specific action, such as successful registration or membership purchase.

Unveil the secrets of increasing your revenue per lead in affiliate marketing.

Commission Rate Although a low commission rate must allow you to make more money with affiliate marketing, don’t judge the book by its cover. Low commission rates may reflect poor functionality, a modest pool of advertisers, and other misfortunes within your affiliate program.

Understanding whether a particular commission rate is reasonable takes learning the entire program. For example, Amazon Associates vary commission rates by product categories, from the sought-after 0% to a formidable 20%.

Program Structure Kicking things off with a single-tier affiliate program may be a bad choice in the long run. What if you want to create your own network? What if you feel like adopting the role of an advertiser to some extent? A multi-tier affiliate program that rewards second and third-tier purchases will be safer in the long haul.

 

Affiliate Marketing Software Affiliate marketing software is an affiliate program’s bread and butter. Some of the must-have features within affiliate marketing software include:

  • Click tracking
  • Automated payouts
  • Real-time reports
  • Fraud protection

We will review each of these features down the page. For now, just remember that affiliate marketing software is the number one factor to consider when choosing an affiliate marketing program, especially if you’re new to this business avenue.

Other Features Every affiliate program is unique, making it impossible to foresee the tools, features, and conditions you might encounter.

Among other things, affiliate programs may differ in:

  • Cookie duration – a period of validity of an affiliate link, after which the link-associates purchase no longer generates a commission.
  • Lock date – a deal-sealing timestamp that makes it impossible to reverse or cancel the commission payout.
  • Lock-in period – the deadline before which an affiliate cannot change their affiliate program even if better programs are available.

Step 3. Keeping an Eye on the Runners-Up

Congratulations, you’ve got your best program to make money with affiliate marketing. But don’t give up the day job either – consider the runners-up as your diversification options, and never stop searching for new prospects.

Diversification is key to success in affiliate marketing, as it mitigates the risks of losing your sole income source if your affiliate program fails. Not for nothing, 75% of affiliates run multiple affiliate marketing programs.

Automate Your Way to Success

The difficulty of making money with affiliate marketing largely depends on your appetite. If you’re a great content creator and not too greedy, you may not even care about automating your marketing endeavors. Just scatter your affiliate links around high-quality content, and let it be.

That’s a rare case, though. It’s much more likely that you’re interested in squeezing maximum profits from your affiliate program, seeking every help down the road. In that case, automated affiliate marketing software is what you need.

Disagree? Then ask ChatGPT or any full-time affiliate marketer.

Jokes aside, marketers love automation, claiming it to save time (74%), boost customer engagement (68%), enable timely communications (58%), and unlock upselling opportunities (58%). Marketing automation has proved astonishingly effective in acquiring qualified leads, granting 451% more leads than non-automated acquisition.

  • By and large, making money in affiliate marketing boils down to finding your best affiliate marketing software and using it to maximize the efficiency of your strategies.

To make money as an affiliate marketer, you need to automate everything that can be automated and spend the rest of your time thinking through your key strategic decisions. And don’t worry about your customers – they won’t be left in the dark: automated affiliate marketing software is just as user-friendly and incomparably more efficient than any flesh-and-bone marketer.

What Is Affiliate Marketing Software?

Affiliate marketing software is a set of tools, usually cloud-based, that helps businesses manage their affiliate marketing campaigns. As a result:

  • Advertisers draw high-intent customers.
  • Affiliates earn due revenues.
  • Affiliate networks charge reasonable commissions for their service.
  • Customers quickly get to the sought-after product or sales rep.

Most affiliate marketing software suites don’t work standalone but integrate into a business’s CRM or lead management system. Such an all-encompassing affiliate marketing platform improves customer management and increases profits.

Below are three types of software to make money with affiliate marketing:

  • Specialized affiliate marketing software
  • Ping tree
  • Lead management software

Let’s review each of these in detail so you can be sure your every dollar spent on affiliate marketing software will pay off quickly.

1. Specialized Affiliate Marketing Software

First things first, you need specialized affiliate marketing software built to address the specific needs of affiliate marketers, such as link tracking, commission payouts, and real-time reports on affiliate campaigns. You may solve many of these problems with integrations, but a specialized affiliate marketing software suite is crucial as the backbone of your endeavors.

When choosing affiliate marketing software, you will likely face the dilemma of opting for cheaper standalone solutions or a comprehensive software suite.

Here’s a simple rule to select your affiliate marketing software:

  • If you’re new to the game, go for the most comprehensive affiliate marketing software suite that integrates with your other solutions.
  • If you’re a seasoned affiliate marketer, cherry-pick the solution that reinforces your current affiliate marketing software while not costing too much.

So what features should your best software for affiliate marketing encompass? Check the table below.

Must-Have Affiliate Marketing Software Features

Click Tracking As the backbone of affiliate marketing software solutions, click and conversion tracking will allow you to evaluate your campaigns and affiliates. As a result, you will know which of your marketing endeavors pay off and which may not be worth your effort.

 

Automated Payouts Timely and transparent payouts are at the core of healthy relationships between affiliates, affiliate networks, and advertisers. Up-to-date affiliate marketing software must allow you to set flexible payout rules, such as the payment time, amount, and special conditions like a lock date.

 

Real-Time Reports Real-time reports from your affiliate marketing software will enable on-the-fly tweaks and adjustments without waiting for the end of a campaign or pausing it midstream.

 

Fraud Protection Encryption, multi-level verification, and built-in fraud detection algorithms within your affiliate marketing software will keep your business safe and compliant.

 

These four basic features are the bare minimum you need to make money with affiliate marketing. Advanced affiliate marketing software suites like Lynx offer much more, including customer journey tracking, targeting, segmentation, and multiple integrations.

Struggling to choose your affiliate marketing software suite? Contact our experts for help.

2. Ping Tree

To make money online with affiliate marketing as an affiliate network, you must create a superior market where advertisers and affiliates can strike win-win deals. For that, you need affiliate marketing software like ping tree.

  • Ping tree lead distribution software strategically connects leads with advertisers within a multi-tier marketplace. Once on the market, web and call leads are pinged to potential buyers based on specific criteria, such as relevancy and price. The trade continues until all leads are sold within the criteria set by affiliates and advertisers.

Ping tree helps affiliate networks make money from affiliate marketing by fostering competition between advertisers. With ping tree, leads are offered to all matching buyers simultaneously, with the latter having a predetermined amount of time for a bid. As the time runs out – usually within milliseconds – the highest bid gets the lead.

Ping Tree Advantages for Advertisers, Affiliates, and Affiliate Networks

Advertisers Affiliates Affiliate Networks
Authority over the buying process and the ability to stop the trade at any given time Authority over the selling process and the ability to sell leads to reputable advertisers Reduced wait time resulting in more profits and exponential network growth

How To Use a Ping Tree To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

Not all ping trees are the same, differentiating by the amount of information you can get before purchasing the lead.

  • Choosing an affiliate network with advanced ping post is paramount for acquiring the leads worth the bid. With Phonexa’s Pong Post Calls 2.0, you can get deep insights into the web and call leads you purchase.


Advanced ping tree technologies like Ping Post Calls 2.0 enable data-driven lead trade with more potential for advertisers and affiliates. Affiliate networks equipped with such innovative technologies quickly gain their due market share.

3. Lead Management Software

While trying to utilize affiliate marketing software to the fullest, many businesses miss the forest for the trees. Relying solely on their affiliate marketing software, they overlook how and whether their narrow-focus toolkit synergizes with other crucial lead management solutions.

What are we talking about? Mostly about three major software toolkits for lead tracking, distribution, and analytics, which are sometimes united into a coherent lead management ecosystem such as LMS Sync.

Here you go:

You depend on a steady stream of leads, which you can only maintain if you constantly tap into your lead data.

  • To make money with affiliate marketing, it’s not enough to buy leads without second thoughts, even if you trust your affiliate network. A more viable strategy is relying on data in strategic decisions like budgeting, expansion, and cutting losses.

There’s not much difference between your regular traffic channels and affiliate marketing lead generation. For both, you need a comprehensive management system like LMS Sync unless you want to ponder heterogeneous data sets sprinkled across disconnected solutions. LMS Sync will give you a bird’s eye view of your processes and enable one-click adjustments.

Three Major Affiliate Marketing Software Solutions To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

Now let’s break down the three moneymaking pillars of lead management: lead tracking, distribution, and analytics. LMS Sync includes all these for only $100 a month, but you might want to know more about them.

Lead Tracking

 

You may not know your affiliated customers as well as your regular audience. Even if you’ve left no stone unturned in choosing your traffic sources, you still need tools for affiliate marketing to control the customer journey and the outcome.

  • Delegating affiliate marketing to an affiliate network is a good option, but only if you are not obsessed with tracking your progress. To be in charge of every minute detail, you need a proprietary tracking system like LMS Sync or Lynx.

Lead tracking software will keep you in the driver’s seat of your business and help you make money with affiliate marketing. You will know where your leads came from, what exactly transformed strangers into leads, and whether they converted or bounced.

Dive deep into the most successful strategies for business lead generation.

Collectible Data Sets

 

Marketing Data    Traffic channel, ad, and keywords

 

Lead Data Demographics, psychographics, and interaction history

 

Result Converted, bounced, or required further action

Of course, lead tracking is not limited to web leads. Everyone who has filled out a form, joined your newsletter, or left a comment under your YouTube video may also want to call you someday, making systems like Call Logic an invaluable piece of the puzzle.

Call Tracking

 

Up to 15 times more effective than web leads, phone calls can turn your pay-per-call affiliate marketing into a gold mine as long as you can track and analyze call leads effectively. What channels are driving more calls? What callers convert, and what callers bounce? What traffic sources to double down on and what to eliminate?

Keep wondering how call tracking works? Here’s your exhaustive guide on call tracking.

With so many questions weighing on your mind, you need a web lead tracking and analytics analog: Call Logic. Knowing how every caller made it to you and whether they converted will allow you to diversify your affiliate earnings to live calls. And if you’re an affiliate network, having a system like Call Logic is an absolute must to keep your affiliate marketing business afloat and your partners informed.

Learn more about the importance of lead tracking for sales and marketing.

Lead Distribution

 

To make money with an affiliate program, you must not only enroll in one and find relevant affiliates but also make sure the customers you pay for are effectively delivered to the destination point, whether a product or sales representative.

  • Lead distribution software will connect your leads where you want them to go, either an internal department or an external buyer. Whether you generate leads for yourself, buy leads from affiliate networks, or sell leads to advertisers, lead distribution software will optimize the customer journey so more of your leads convert.

As a part of affiliate marketing software, lead distribution software will help you squeeze the maximum out of the leads you buy, sell, or redirect. No more blind distribution – every lead will get to the best-matching advertiser, product, or live operator.

Lead Analytics

 

Conversion is the ultimate goal of the customer journey you’ve designed, but it’s not the end point for your business. Whether a customer converted or bounced, you must track their journey and interpret multiple data sets into meaningful marketing insights.

  • Lead analytics software enables coherent affiliate marketing management by interpreting customer data into specific business recommendations. Together with other lead management solutions, lead analytics software creates a uniform affiliate marketing system.


You can choose the right affiliate marketing software suite only if you know your business from A to Z. For example, if your conversion revolves around your website forms and on-site commitments, you will likely need a narrow-focused solution like HitMetrics.

Why Does Everyone Need Affiliate Marketing Management Software?

No matter the brilliance of automated affiliate marketing software, one might argue that affiliates do not need it. While advertisers are most interested in controlling the quality of inbound traffic and affiliate networks willing to ensure clean trade, do affiliates really need to manage their traffic?

The answer is somewhat ambiguous. While affiliates do not necessarily need affiliate marketing software – nor are they too willing to pay for it – having this tool at hand would allow you to double-check your partners or even manage the process on your own.

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But then again, whether you need independent affiliate marketing software on top of what your partners provide depends on the depth of their insights and whether you trust them.

Push Your Affiliate Marketing to the Limit With Phonexa

You can’t say you’re at the top of the game if you don’t own an all-encompassing affiliate marketing software suite like Phonexa. Instead of wading through the thickets of data, you can bring it all to one dashboard and interpret it into game-changing business insights.

The all-embracing software suite includes (among dozens of other proprietary solutions):

  • Groundbreaking click and call management solutions LMS Sync and Call Logic
  • Click tracking software Lynx
  • Behavior analytics and conversion rate optimization software HitMetrix

What’s in there for you? A failproof way to make money with affiliate marketing within legal boundaries while avoiding unnecessary risks. The unique software suite will increase your affiliate income by replacing guesswork with a data-driven approach.

Choose your affiliate marketing software suite now, or schedule a free consultation to learn more about Phonexa.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a business model in which affiliates – website owners, YouTubers, bloggers, etc. – promote third-party products and services in exchange for a commission from each sale.

Here’s a simple example of affiliate marketing:

  • Company A (advertiser) pays Company B (affiliate) to promote their auto insurance. Company B receives a 10% from each insurance plan sold.

Sometimes affiliate marketing may also involve an affiliate network, a mediator between advertisers and affiliates.

Who is involved in affiliate marketing?

Affiliates Promote third-party products in exchange for a commission
Advertisers Promote their own products via affiliates while paying a commission from sales made by affiliated customers
Affiliate networks Create affiliate markets and help advertisers and affiliates earn more with tailor-made affiliate marketing software, creative materials, etc.
Affiliated customers Enjoy discounts and other perks provided by advertisers

 

Affiliate marketing may involve a direct partnership between advertisers and affiliates. That said, affiliate networks are not redundant since they offer multiple benefits unavailable via a direct advertiser-affiliate partnership.

What is automated affiliate marketing?

Automated affiliate marketing is performed by software barring tasks that cannot be automated. Affiliate link tracking, routing, and analytics are usually performed by affiliate marketing software, whereas strategic planning needs a human touch.

Speaking of strategic planning, Phonexa’s predictive modeling for marketing campaigns can forecast campaign outcomes through analytical algorithms.

Can you really make money from affiliate marketing?

You can make money with affiliate marketing in plenty of ways and industries. Historically, the easiest industries to make money in affiliate marketing are retail, telecom & media, and travel & leisure.


Source: Statista

Your income from affiliate marketing is only limited by your abilities, business scale, and the depth of your partnerships. Around 58% of affiliates make less than $10,000 from their endeavors annually, 17% make $10,000 to $50,000, and around 4% make more than $150,000.

How to make money with affiliate marketing

One of the best things about affiliate marketing is that you can make money as an affiliate, advertiser, or affiliate network. Every party involved in affiliate marketing can make decent money from their endeavors, provided they have a solid marketing strategy and robust affiliate marketing software to back it up.

Here are a few examples of how to make money through affiliate marketing:

  • As an affiliate, you can earn a commission from the sales made by referred customers or sell affiliate marketing leads to affiliate networks.
  • As an advertiser, you grow your bottom line by tapping into untapped markets and maximizing revenues in familiar markets.
  • As an affiliate network, you can earn a commission from every deal within your affiliate market or buy leads from affiliates if you have your own product.

What is pay-per-lead affiliate marketing?

Pay-per-lead affiliate marketing is a business relationship in which affiliates are paid a commission for every lead they refer. The two most important aspects of pay-per-lead affiliate marketing are:

  • Affiliates are paid regardless of whether the referred leads convert.
  • The qualifying parameters for a lead are defined individually by an affiliate program.

Affiliate program A may require completing a website form, whereas program B may also require leaving the phone number (in this case, the users who have completed the form but omitted sharing their phone number won’t count leads).

What is pay-per-click affiliate marketing?

Pay-per-click affiliate marketing is a business relationship in which affiliates are paid a commission for every advertiser-associated click they generate.

Got Questions?

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Oleksandr Rohovnin avatar
Oleksandr Rohovnin
Content Marketer

Oleksandr Rohovnin is a Content Marketer at Phonexa. His passion is digital marketing, innovative technologies, and – above all – distilling vast amounts of complex information into engrossing narratives anyone can relate to. At Phonexa, Oleksandr stokes passion for marketing automation and lead generation in every story he curates.


Education: Zaporizhzhya National Technical University

Expertise: Digital marketing, affiliate marketing, call tracking, lead tracking, insurance

Highlights:

  • 8+ years of writing and editing experience in B2B and B2C

  • Unconventional synergy of writing talent and technical knack

  • Avid proponent of sports, gaming, and reading

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