How Much Can I Make? – By Rachel Honoway

by Jenae Reid on October 13, 2017


“How much can I make as an affiliate?”

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this question…

When I heard this in the early days of affiliate marketing, I would jump at the opportunity to convince a new affiliate that with the right mix of content and creative promotions, they could make a full-time salary, working part-time from home.FeedFront issue 40 cover

But, as the industry grew, “gurus” entered the space promising would-be “students” that they can make millions overnight, doing little or no work with a magic strategy called “affiliate marketing”.

So, now when people ask, “How much can I make?”, it is either coming from a place a skepticism, or more than often, a place of hope that what they were sold was true.

Not only is this hope misplaced, it also leads to deceptive practices. Like in any industry, there are loopholes and backdoors in affiliate marketing that can be exploited if you’re solely focused on “making money”.

Publishers and developers learned that they could make money doing things like stuffing cookies, spoofing sales, hijacking other traffic channels, and pretending that their paid reviews were unbiased.

While these practices may work for a short while, merchants and networks are quick to crack down, stopping the affiliate from earning commissions right then, and oftentimes banning them from participating again in the future.

“How much can I make as an affiliate?”, is the wrong place to start. The right place? It’s asking affiliate managers, “How can I provide value to you?”

Money follows value. If you focus on providing value to the merchants you work with, you’ll lock in your ability to earn substantial, long-term commissions as an affiliate.

So, take the time to reach out to the managers of the programs you are or want to work with, and ask them, “How can I provide value to you?”

I guarantee that they won’t say things like: “figure out a way to trick your visitors into clicking on our links,” or, “bury some of our generic banners in your footer,” or, “slap some of our affiliate links into a blog post, but don’t worry about creating strong content.”

Nor will you hear them say, “just create a page for coupons on your site, and put ours on that page.”

I will guarantee that many of the managers you reach out to will be a little surprised. They aren’t used to this kind of question. But, they are full of ideas and undoubtedly have a wish list of strategies they dream about affiliates implementing. Ask them for that list.

Though each manager will answer a little differently, you’ll probably find some common themes. They’ll want unique, creative, engaging content distributed to consumers that haven’t heard of them before, or have, but not enough to establish trust.

When you create that content, and reach those consumers, you’ll be providing value and setting the stage for a long-term relationship and substantial, stable commissions.


Rachel is a Pinnacle Awards Affiliate Marketing Legend Award recipient and President of the PMA.

This article appeared in issue 40 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in October 2017.


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