How much do affiliate marketers make? Is it worth it?

Are you a natural-born salesperson? Are your friends always asking where you got your bag, sofa, or glowing skin? Are you so passionate about a certain cause or innovation that you get others excited about it, too? 

You could be an awesome affiliate marketer. 

Let’s take a step back. What is affiliate marketing? It’s a type of content marketing that allows brands to partner with influencers (or natural salespeople like you) to promote their products or services to a particular target audience. That audience could be your social media followers who are pumped about the same things as you and love your good sense in fashion (or otherwise).

Since you already have sway with your audience, you’re missing out on some easy income, which means it’s time to learn how to get your start in a successful affiliate marketing partnership.

How does affiliate marketing work

In affiliate marketing, you earn a commission from the e-commerce sales of products you promote or a certain amount for clicks on a link. In the tech world, you can get paid for the number of installs of software you recommend. Commission rates vary depending on how many posts you make, how much you sell, or how wide your posts reach. 

Some social media platforms, like Instagram, make it easy for you to get started with internal affiliate marketing programs. These programs allow you to sign up to influence in a particular niche. Most affiliate marketing opportunities run through third-party sites. They partner you with companies in your content area so that you can start promoting these businesses wherever you see fit — whether that’s in a Facebook post or a YouTube tutorial. 

How exactly do you promote these brands? Usually, they’ll give you an affiliate link or send you products to show off — but the content should be true to your brand and niche. Make it your own!  

Is affiliate marketing passive income

Not entirely. You’ll have to do some work to post links and promote products, so it’s not a truly passive income. But if you work in a niche you’re excited about, it shouldn’t feel like work.

Whatever you do, read up on payment percentages and terms before getting started. And, remember: the going may be slow at the start, but that won’t be forever. 

What are the different types of affiliate marketers? 

You may already have a niche, but take things one step further by deciding what type of affiliate marketing strategy suits you best (or at least, brush up on your industry terminology). There are three main categories of affiliate marketing: 

  • Unattached: In this type of marketing, you’re a fish out of water. You don’t advertise in your niche, so you aren’t necessarily knowledgeable about what you’re promoting. This may make it harder for you to push products to your audience, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Feel free to use a disclaimer that states you’re an affiliate, so people won’t assume you’re an authority on the goods you’re promoting. 
  • Related: This category is the kind of marketing we’ve been talking about most in this article: the kind where you use the following and authority you already have to pitch a retailer’s product or services (without doing much work).
  • Involved: In this model, you go deep. This type of marketing isn’t about posting a referral link but about sharing your personal experience with a product in testimonial-style advertising. You work with products you’re genuinely excited about and have personally used, so you do know what you’re saying.

What affiliate marketing programs are there?

While you could get your start easily on Instagram using their internal affiliate marketing tool, you should consider affiliate marketing sites and platforms to have the greatest reach possible. Affiliate marketing platforms are especially handy if you plan to make sales outside social media — say, on a blog or professional webpage or via email marketing. Here are just a few affiliate websites you could check out: 

  • ConvertKit
  • Clickbank
  • Aweber
  • DFO Global
  • Amazon Associates

How much do affiliate marketers make?

Is affiliate marketing worth it? We’d say so. Any (almost) passive income is good income, especially if all you have to do is continue talking about products and services you already like.

But before you quit your day job and start affiliate marketing full-time from the comfort of a beach chair, you should have more information on how much you actually stand to make. Here are some earnings statistics for the different levels of marketers:

  • Low-end (beginners): $11,000 per year or less 
  • Average:  $150,000 per year
  • High-end (top affiliates): $400,000 per year or more

How can you increase affiliate marketing income?

If you just saw that the most successful affiliates stand to make $400,000 a year and started writing a 2-week notice note to your boss, stop typing and read on. You can earn a lot as an affiliate marketer, but you’ll need to work up to that level. Those who earn the highest payouts are seasoned professionals with massive audiences. 

Start your affiliate marketing gig off on the right foot with these tips on how to make money with affiliate marketing and boost sales instead of remaining stagnant. 

  • Work in your niche: You can pick up extra work outside of your niche if you want to promote more products, but you may risk confusing your audience. If your followers or viewers understand what you care about and feel connected to you, you’ll have a better chance of generating a lead when you promote related products. You can even go so far as to explain why you’re an authority on what you’re selling by using a Linktree URL in your social media bios to direct your followers to your professional website or your podcast on the subject.  
  • Don’t get attached: If you aren’t having much luck with a particular affiliate program or product, change the game up. Just remember that income won’t pour in overnight, so give your initial strategy a chance before switching course. 
  • Get the power of SEO behind you: If you’re marketing through your website, drive traffic to your content using SEO (search engine optimization) techniques that support your marketing efforts. And don’t forget to keep making high-quality content for all those new viewers coming to your site. 

If you’re ready to get paid to post on social media, now’s the time. Becoming a paid influencer takes time and focus, but the payout is sweet. With the help of a solid content strategy and well-connected platforms, you’re on your way. Let Linktree help you get ahead of your goals.


6 mins

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