Edited: Qoo10 affiliate program was removed from the list as it is no longer effective for new affiliates. In view of a global audience reading this post, I have added the network – Digistore24. I have also added new information to make it more relevant for this year 2024.
Since starting my online business in 2005, affiliate marketing has been one of my monthly revenue streams simply because it is easy to set up once you understand how it works.
Now 18 years later in this new economy (2024), many ask me how to make a living with affiliate marketing, whether in Singapore or other countries, especially where living standards are so high.
These questions prompted me to write this blog post to share with you how you can start making affiliate marketing income with a very minimum investment every month, and hopefully, I can help you to accelerate learning and achieve results!
Before I start, I want to manage your expectations by stating upfront that affiliate marketing is like running a business. There are no guarantees, and you just have to give it a try to see if it works for you.
Many people thought that affiliate marketing is like a push-button thing where you hit the ‘ON’ button and it will generate income on autopilot – this is not true. The people who say this are trying to get you to buy their products or services!
Now, if you are prepared to invest time and effort, do read on and I am sure you will be able to start on something after reading and digesting this blog post. Good luck!
What Is Affiliate Marketing Really?
I like to explain things using very simple words. Affiliate Marketing means selling. You may not like this word but in this case, I meant more to online selling, which is very different from the way you sell offline.
You do not need to meet anyone face to face, in fact, you do not even need to deliver any products or services.
The reason why affiliate marketing exists is that product creators need more people to buy their products, hence they are willing to give away a referred bonus (also known as commission) to anyone who refers customers to them.
This is how it works online.
First, you need to sign up for an affiliate program. There are many affiliate programs available online. If you are living in Singapore (or other countries), I would recommend the following three popular affiliate programs. I will go through the strengths and advantages of each of them in the later part of this post. Once you are approved by the program, you can start to promote any product in their marketplace.
Second, once your account is approved, you can log in to the respective affiliate website to choose products to promote. For example ClickBank, they have a lot of digital products (eBooks, videos, audios, software etc) that you can choose from their marketplace.
Third, after choosing a product that you want to promote, you can grab a customized link from the marketplace. This link is commonly known as your affiliate link. For example, this is my affiliate link to promote an effective learning program to teach young children how to read. When someone clicks on my affiliate link and makes a purchase, I will make a commission of 50%. Note that the commission for a digital product is generally higher than promoting physical products.
The fourth step is the most important step because this is where you promote the product. How are you going to tell people about this product, and most importantly get them to buy? I will teach you an effective strategy to promote affiliate products later in this post. But for now, let me manage your expectations once again…
Advantages & Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the simplest types of online business. The main reason is that you do not need to create your own product or even a website!
As you could have imagined, affiliate marketing offers the following advantages:
- Save time on creating your own products!
- Save money because you do not need to spend money to create your own products!
- You can run this business anywhere as long as you have an internet connection
- You can start with zero dollars but I strongly suggest that you set aside a comfortable amount to invest and grow this business. Any amount between S$50 to S$200 per month is good for beginners.
Now, let me show you the biggest disadvantage of affiliate marketing:
Being an affiliate marketer, you do not have any control over the products that you are promoting. For example, a product that you are promoting today may be removed from the inventory of Amazon tomorrow.
Hence, you need to check occasionally if the products you are promoting are still available for sale. In addition, the pricing of the product can change over time as well. These are the two biggest variables that you can’t control when you are an affiliate marketer.
Once you understand this and you are able to embrace the disadvantages, you are almost ready to make money with affiliate marketing!
Three Popular Affiliate Programs You Can Join!
The first program is ClickBank which is the most popular affiliate program on the internet and they specialize in digital products (eBooks, audios, software and videos etc). I like ClickBank very much because you do not need to have a website to get your account approved.
In addition, it offers the highest commission out of the three programs that I recommend in this post. The average commission percentage for a ClickBank product is 50%, which means if you recommend a product that costs US$50 and someone buys it, you will make US$25.
The disadvantage of ClickBank is that it is getting more difficult in recent years for new affiliates to get an account with them.
You can apply for ClickBank Affiliate program here.
The second affiliate network is Digistore24.com which is a good alternative to ClickBank. It is an affiliate network based in Germany but a lot of the products are created in English as the main language. Just like ClickBank, Digistore24 has a lot of physical and digital products for you to choose to promote. The main advantage of this network is that you can instant approval and it is free to join!
What I like about Digistore24 is that they have some good metrics (about the product) as compared to Clickbank. They even tell you what is the refund rate of each product (this is something that ClickBank won’t tell you!).
The disadvantage of Digistore24 is that the product range is not as wide as ClickBank. Meaning that you won’t get to see a lot of products to promote as compared to ClickBank. Thus, if you can get an account with ClickBank, actually you do not need to apply for Digistore24.
Amazon is the biggest retailer online (in United States) and it has far more products that you can recommend compared to most other affiliate networks.
The biggest disadvantage of Amazon is that you need to have a website (or a popular YouTube channel or social media profile with a good number of followers) in order to get approved as an affiliate. Hence, you may want to put this program on hold till you have a website in the future.
One thing I like about Amazon affiliate program is that they offer an increasing model of affiliate commission. You will get more commission if you sell more. But the highest percentage of commission in Amazon is still can’t compared with ClickBank.
You can apply for Amazon Associates Program here.
Other notable affiliate networks
The following are other affiliate networks that you can consider joining as well:
- iHerb.com Rewards (for organic supplements, global)
- Shopee Ambassador program (eCommerce platforms for almost everything in Singapore)
- Shareasale.com (Global affiliate offers for many different kinds of products/services)
Why Most People Fail
To be honest, there are countless people before you who have tried affiliate marketing but failed miserably.
Every day I see comments from people all around the world telling others what they should do in affiliate marketing but rarely telling others what they should not do!
The following are the top three mistakes that I see most people doing so I want to list them down for you to avoid them.
Promoting A Product Without Trying It Out!
This is a big NO-NO. What would you feel if someone comes up to you and recommend you a supplement that can treat a certain illness but that person didn’t even try that himself/herself? We often believe only when the person who recommends also tried the recommendation personally. Hence, it is important that you try out something first and when you find that it works for you, then you can wholeheartedly recommend the product to anyone!
Promote To The Wrong Audience!
This is very commonly seen on social media platforms such as Facebook. In order for people to buy the product you recommend, they must have a need. If you share an affiliate link for a paleo recipe eBook in your Facebook profile and most of your friends don’t even cook, do you think you will get any sales from it?
One very important lesson here is to think about who needs the product that you want to promote. For example, if you have an online training program teaching people how to use LinkedIn to get leads, do you think it is more effective to share this program on Facebook or LinkedIn?
The chances of getting sales will be a lot higher if you promote the right product to the right crowd. Always remember this.
Diving into affiliate business full-time too quickly!
After running several online businesses for all these years, I now encourage anyone to start a part-time online business rather than going into it full-time in the beginning. The reason is that any online business will take a while to be profitable, but if you quit your job and run this online business full-time, you will definitely feel the stress as time is not on your side and you will push yourself to make it profitable in a few months.
Even a simple affiliate business also takes some time to be profitable, thus, I strongly suggest you to start part-time first while still working on your full-time job. In addition, you will make mistakes before you make any money online. So people who start full-time will most likely to quit after they encounter many mistakes and lessons. Only those people who keep learning and turn these valuable lessons into actions then will you see the results of your part-time affiliate business!
Now, it is time to learn what works for me and I believe it will work for you too!