Successful Affiliate Marketing For Beginners

So you want to become a highly profitable, successful affiliate marketer?

Awesome! You’re in the right place.

We take a look at what has worked in 2020, what has changed - due to the pandemic, but also technology changes, rising CPCs etc. - and how run a profitable, solid affiliate marketing business in 2021 and beyond.

Let’s dive in.

How To Make Money Online In General?

Here are the only two steps you need to know to make money online:

  1. Get the attention of a potential customer.
  2. Sell him/her stuff. (products and/or services)

That’s really all it comes down to in the end.

Now that you know how to pursue any business endeavor and make money in general, let’s take a deeper look:

A potential customer (aka “lead”) is somebody with a specific pain, issue, a burning desire, a strong passion or hobby.

Your job is to

  • attract the lead (aka traffic & lead generation) and
  • sell goods or services

to the client that serve as a solution to his/her problem, pain or passion.

That’s it.

Generally speaking, we’re talking about problem solving here.

Actually Help Poeple And Be Of High Value To Them

I’ve covered the concept of value-first here.

So let’s make sure we’re not forgetting that we’re dealing with other, real human beings here.

Not just names or email addresses.

The only institutions that are legally allowed to literally print money worldwide are the federal reserve banks.

As a result, we’ve got to understand that all the money we’re trying to acquire comes from other people.

And these people are very likely working as hard for their money as you.

Therefore, they attach a certain value to their money.

Just like you and me do.

To make them hand over a small part of their hard-earned cash, you’ve got to offer them something of high value to them in exchange.

Ideally, this something is of exceptionally high value to them and they’re actively looking for a solution right now.

Present The Solution To Their Problem

They want to solve an issue and get rid of their pain now.

To make our job easier, we don’t want to come across as needy, pushy or salesy.

Nobody likes to be sold.

In addition, we don’t want to chase people down the road.

Instead, we want to put ourselves into a position of authority, a trusted expert and advisor on a certain topic or specific niche.

That way, we attract these people to us.

We offer a solution to their problem and are the authority on this subject.

They are literally attracted to us, which makes the final sale (after we educated them further on their problem and our solution) possible.

In summary:

  • The money we want to get comes from other people
  • We try to truly understand a specific problem that a certain group of people has
  • We’ve got to find a way to get the attention of those people and present our solution to them
  • Then we offer a solution to their problem
  • Our solution needs to be of high value to them
  • Then we can make sales

Become The Authority

Trust is hard to build, especially online.

In order to become the authority on any given topic, we have to give value.

Lots of value.

We want people to know, like, and trust us.

The moment you give a potential client (much) more value than what he assigns to the money in exchange, he becomes your customer.

In other words:

Your offer was irresistible, it was such a great deal for him.

You exceeded expectations and you created a godfather offer.

And then you made a sale.

Exceed Expectations And Be Of Honest, True Help

If you’re truly helping your clients, the whole process of making the sale becomes much easier.

There’s zero need to be pushy or salesy when you have something really valuable to give.

Something that is ideally in high demand because it solves a burning problem for your customer.

Where To Find People With Burning Problems?

Similar to the offline world, people gather in groups online.

People with similar interests will visit similar websites, forums, social media groups, follow the same “gurus” and influencers, etc.

And when these people put their search requests into Google and other search engines, they tell us exactly what they are looking for.

So Google Trends is a great place to perform research.

What pains they have, what issues they have and for which problems they are looking for a solution.

By participating in social media groups and forums, people tell us about their passions, hobbies and favorite movies.

And about their preferred TV shows, sports, books, games, food, health problems, and even sexual issues and preferences.

And they want to get rid of their problems.

Another starting point to find burning problems and questions of people is Answer The Public.

What Has That To Do With Affiliate Marketing?

If you’re reading this, chances are you already know what affiliate marketing is.

In short: You refer people to another company and it’s products.

If that company make the sale, you get a commission.

That’s awesome, because now you’re in the position to offer products (that you don’t own and haven’t created yourself) as a solution to people’s problems.

You can sell something without having to create it.

Powerful stuff!

Of course, you don’t have to work exclusively for one vendor.

This puts you in the position to be truly independent in comparison to a sales or account manager tied to one company.

And this also means, you can offer multiple solutions to a specific problem.

In 2020, the affiliate marketing industry is thriving and many companies offer great commissions if you can get them a new customer.

Performance Marketing - An Honest Business

In that sense, affiliate marketing is a very honest business, and a potentially very lucrative one as well.

At the same time you don’t have to run an office, manage staff, meetings, logistics etc.

Therefore, affiliate marketing is an awesome business model.

It’s proven, it can be highly profitable, and it’s a lot of fun. 😊

To summarize affiliate marketing:

  • You refer people to other companies and their products
  • If they make the sale, you get a commission

The end.

It’s really that simple and you can totally focus on the biggest profit centers of any business: Marketing and sales.

Monetizing A Website

Once you’ve got the attention of a potential customer, you can direct his/her attention.

It’s exactly this attention that companies are after.

They want to use that attention of a potential customer to sell their services and products.

To be exact, you’re not really “monetizing a website” but instead you’re monetizing the attention from your website visitors.

This is also known as converting the traffic.


Instead of pointing towards a product as a potential solution to the visitor’s problem (affiliate marketing), you could also let other companies pay you for getting this attention.

It’s still a potential customer, right?

Placing Ads On Your Website

Companies try different forms of marketing, only one being CPS (cost per sale) affiliate marketing.

Another one could be the use of display ads, text ads, native ads, infomercials, and more.

You can sell the attention you’ve got from your reader in the form of “sponsored posts or content”.

These companies are essentially playing the basic arbitrage game that all companies are in:

They know that they can make more money over the long term from a newly acquired customer than what they pay to the publisher or affiliate.

When companies pay for the acquisition of a new lead instead of a new customer, it’s called CPA (cost per acquisition) lead generation marketing.

Affiliate Marketing Math

You’ve got to know your numbers.


We’re coming back to the very basics of business and making money in general again:

If you truly understand this concept, you will know exactly what to focus on to become profitable as an affiliate.

A quick reminder what business is and what we’re talking about:

  1. Get the attention of a potential customer
  2. Sell him products and/or services

This is also how advertising works in general: You simply pay for the first part of this concept, the “getting the attention” part.

This is also called traffic generation.

Instead of putting out valuable content that ranks high in the search engines (known as content marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization)), you place an ad in front of potential customers.

This is known as media buying.

You Pay For Impressions Or Clicks

But it’s always about getting in front of the right people.

It’s always about getting their attention.

Once they click, you try to sell your own or affiliate products.

If you know how much money you’ll make on average per new customer (LTV - customer lifetime value), you know how much you can spend for this customer. (cost per acquisition)

You’ll also know what you can spend per click (CTC - cost per click), per impression (CPM - cost per mile), and you will still be profitable.

You can also look at the two steps of making money this way:

You’ve got to pay less for the first part (getting the attention) than you make back on that customer (LTV).

The difference is your profit.

If you know your numbers, scaling your operation becomes easy.

Because now you know exactly how much money you can spend per new customer.

And you learned how to turn advertising into profit.

That’s extremely powerful stuff!

Back To The Numbers

As long as you pay less for getting the attention of a new customer than you profit on the LTV of that customer, you’re in the green and run a profitable business.

At this point, an important concept becomes obvious:

All Companies Are In The Business Of Marketing

Your products or services are not your business.

Marketing is your business.

The product or service part is simply the deliverable.

All businesses have to acquire customers first, otherwise they’re out of business very soon.

The same businesses would go broke (long-term) if they pay more for a new customer than what they make back (LTV).

While these concepts seem obvious and intuitive, it’s important to keep them in mind and stay focused on the most important numbers:

  • CPA: cost per acquisition - “What does it cost to acquire a new customer?”
  • LTV: customer lifetime value - “What is a customer worth to us on average over his lifetime?”

These are the very basics, the fundamentals of how to make money in the business world.

Why Companies Pay Recurring Commissions To Their Affiliates

Why would companies pay very high or even recurring commissions to their affiliates?

Here’s why:

Companies understand the importance of acquiring new customers.

And this business part can easily make or break the business.

Therefore, companies are happy to pay high commissions to successful affiliate marketers.

Affiliate marketers are responsible for one of the highest valued and usually the most expensive part of any business:

Successful marketing, and successfully acquiring new customers.

Plus, companies understand that they don’t have to be profitable right away.

They don’t have to be in the green immediately after they made their first sale to their newly acquired customer.

Most companies usually have a long-term strategy and can be extremely profitable after selling again and again to the same customer. (LTV)

Affiliate Marketers Are A Customer Acquisition Channel

Bottom line:

Basically every company is in the business of marketing.

They need to find new customers, constantly.

Affiliate markters and performance marketing agencies represent a very valuable customer acquisition channel.

We also see why we need to run our own affiliate business in the same way as these companies do:

We’re profitable as long as we pay less for acquiring a new customer than we make back in affiliate commissions.

How To Run A Profitable Affiliate Marketing Business In 2020?

Simply put, you spend less money on acquiring the customer than you make back later.

For an affiliate marketer, your back-end consists of commissions from the companies you work with as an affiliate.

You recommend products or services of other companies, and get a commission in case the company makes a sale.

If you’re just starting out (beginner in affiliate marketing), you’re probably doing some form of content marketing and/or SEO.

And if you produce the content all by yourself, here are the only expenses you have:

  • fees for website hosting and domain management
  • costs for different marketing automation services (for example an e-mail auto-responder service)
  • costs for acquiring the initial knowledge (books, courses, bootcamps, seminars, coachings, mentorships, masterminds, exclusive communities, etc.)

That’s it.

Very cheap, but also not very scalable.

If you go down the paid traffic route (aka media buying), you have some additional costs:

  • costs for advertising/media buying like paid search (PPC) campaigns
  • potentially outsourcing content production at scale

Making paid traffic work is not easy.

But if you’re working on the skillset of turning advertising spend into sales, you’re basically building your own ATM over time.

$1 in -> $2 out - that’s the goal.

You’re putting $1 in (ad spend), and you’re working on getting $2 out (LTV).

And that’s exactly what Online Business Dude is all about!

The Knowledge Is Out There, And Many Tools Are Free

Take this article for example.

It’s 100% free and available to you, and there’s no doubt you can become a profitable affiliate marketer by applying what I’m suggesting here.

Furthermore, you could decide to use a free, non-top-level domain in the beginning or even scratch website hosting altogether by going with a free service like Medium.

You could go with a free website provider (basically you are playing in another company’s garden) or even perform affiliate marketing exclusively in forums or in Facebook groups.

It’s important to understand that in this case you are building your online business foundation in another person’s garden.

They can change the rules - anytime.

So - Is it really worth it?

It’s your decision.

But you could also follow my advice and go down the professional route:

Buy Your Own, Virtual Real Estate

I’m talking about a professional domain and some fast hosting.

Again, it’s your choice.

In comparison to other business models, the costs for running an affiliate marketing business are extremely low while the profit potential is gigantic.

It’s truly a low risk, potentially high reward business model.

That’s why I love (CPA) affiliate marketing so much.

Be Real

Please only recommend high quality products and services from reliable and highly reputable companies that you stand behind as a person.

Ideally, you’ve tested these products yourself, use them regularly and really like them.

Then it’ll be easy for you to recommend them.

Over time, you will see some nice commissions coming your way and these will very quickly cover the costs mentioned above.

After your expenses are covered, every newly generated commission is 100% your profit.

That’s why lead generation and email marketing are so important.

And this is where the fun begins…

Consistently Applying The Basics

We’ve covered the very basics of running a profitable online business.

These have worked in the past and they will continue to work in the future.

With more and more people spending more and more of their time online, consuming videos on YouTube, and spending money on eCommerce, affiliate marketing will thrive.

We as marketers are highly interested in where the attention of our target market is.

That’s where we should be as well.

With our irresistible offers.

It’s still about consistently applying the basics!

Simply help people with their burning problems and desires, and give them what they are looking for, and they’ll be happy to exchange their money for your solution.

They will be happy to pay for it.

Helping more people results in making more money.

Having a bigger impact results in making more money.

Great Stuff, Dude. But I Need Help!

Glad you asked.

Get my FREE Online Business Blueprint (PDF) here and you’ll be well on your way to building your own online affiliate marketing business!

Can you do it alone?

Yes, sure.

It would be a lie to say otherwise and I basically already gave you all the concepts you need to become a profitable affiliate marketer in 2021.

Decision Time - Now It’s Your Turn

Now is the time to make a decision.

Do you finally want to break free from the 9 to 5, earn a decent income online and enjoy true freedom from your location independent online business?

Then grab your free copy here and start implementing.

Take action on what you learn!

Stay awesome,

Tim for Online Business Dude