My Favorite Income Source for Passive Income and How to Create It
If you want to earn money online every month, I’m revealing a strategy that’s helped me create passive income on four blogs. I earn about a third of my total income from affiliate marketing and couldn't have done it without this simple strategy to automate the process.
In fact, when I first started using this affiliate funnel strategy, I increased my monthly income by four-times in just six months and it’s something anyone can set up and use.
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Why Affiliate Marketing is the Best Passive Income Source
Those of you in the community know I’m a huge fan of affiliate marketing as an online income source. It’s the top income source used by bloggers and influencers and accounts for about a third of my total monthly income.
The problem is, most people are doing it wrong. They’re dropping their affiliate link into a blog post or on social media and wondering why nobody is buying. That’s the trap I fell into when I first started blogging and it was incredibly frustrating.
You’re not making as much as you think you should and you don’t know why.
In this video, I’m going to walk you through how to create an affiliate marketing sales funnel that will earn money online every single month. Not only will this strategy make you thousands a month but it’s completely passive income once you’ve set it up. I’m also going to show you how to automate this entire process to put your income on auto-pilot.
I’ll walk you through the process in this video, then I’m going to be detailing three of the steps that makes it passive income in our next video.
So this video is going to show you how to set it up then the next will show you how to automate it. If you want the entire process now, I created a FREE checklist of everything you need to get started.
Click to download your free affiliate funnel checklist to get started
Finding Affiliates for a Blog
The first thing you need to do is to pick an affiliate or a product you’re going to promote. What I like about this system, besides that it becomes completely passive income once you set it up, is that it can be used on just about anything you want to sell online. You can sell your own courses or books or you can sell other products for a commission.
So we’re here in my ShareASale dashboard, a website that connects companies and bloggers. We can click through to advertisers in the menu to browse what companies are available for affiliate partnerships. When you’re looking through here, you want to look for products that solve a common need among your blog readers or viewers. Wherever you’re going to be promoting this affiliate.
Any affiliate or product you choose, you’re going to want to try it out first. Use the free trial or just contact the company first to get access or a sample. Part of growing a successful and long-term business is only recommending quality products to your community. As much as just one of these marketing funnels can make, you don’t want to push away your readers and community by promoting crap products.
So part of picking an affiliate is knowing your audience, really knowing their needs and problems, then being able to find something that will help them. Now if I’m thinking about my Work from Home website, I know one of the biggest problems for bloggers is getting traffic to their site and using social media. Pinterest has been by far my biggest social traffic source and I use Tailwind for scheduling my pins out and managing the social platform.
So I’ll find Tailwind here, I’ve actually already been an affiliate for a while but if I wasn’t I would click to Join the Program. It’s a quick process to get approved for most affiliates, takes a couple of days at the most. Now I see that the affiliate pays 15% commission on sales and that’s recurring every month which is great, those are the affiliates you want to look for, those membership products that offer recurring commissions.
All I need to do is click this button to get my affiliate link and get the code here, this part that starts with https and between the quotation marks is your actual link that you’ll use. So I’ll copy this and keep it somewhere so when I go to promote Tailwind, I’ll have it handy.
How to Do Affiliate Marketing the Right Way
That’s the basic part of affiliate marketing. If I just wanted to make a little money, I could write up a blog post or maybe a review of how I use Tailwind. I would then use my affiliate link in the article and if anyone clicked on it and started using the service, I’d get a 15% commission every month.
The problem here is that only about one in 200 people reading the blog post are going to do that. Maybe they don’t know me well enough or maybe they’re not quite sure about Tailwind. I might get one in 20 readers to click through to learn more about the product but then only one in ten of those might make a purchase.
Doing this, and this is what the majority of bloggers do, you need massive amounts of traffic to earn any money. It just doesn’t happen and it’s why more than a third of bloggers make less than $500 a month. Instead, we’re going to create a marketing funnel that will get more sales on your affiliates and get you into this 23% of bloggers that make $5,000 and more a month.
How to Create an Affiliate Funnel System
Starting your funnel, you’re going to be doing two or three videos or blog posts around the topic. The first one you want to be fairly general, a broader topic to interest as many people as possible. For our social media tool Tailwind, I might write something up talking about the importance of social media for blog traffic. That’s something that’s going to interest all bloggers and within the post, I can talk about my experience with Pinterest and how it’s my biggest social traffic.
For your other posts or videos, you want to get gradually more specific. So you’ve got that large audience from the first post and you get them interested in using Pinterest. Then you link up the articles by telling readers that you’re going to be showing them exactly how to use Pinterest in the next article.
So here, we’re moving from the broad topic into the more specific. In marketing, this is called guiding someone through the decision-making process. You’ve talked about a problem or need they have, getting website traffic from social media, then you’re telling them about a solution.
So in this second and third blog post, you first talk about Pinterest and how to use it but maybe also about how you use a social media management tool like Tailwind to automate the process. Then you tell readers you’re going to be showing them how to set up Tailwind and make all this easy in your third article.
Now this isn’t all of our funnel but this alone will make you more money on affiliate marketing. By the time someone reads that third article, you’ve become a trusted resource because you’re spending this time to build that relationship. You first shared a problem or need your audience has and used personal stories to relate. You kept it personal and offered a solution and it didn’t come off as a sales pitch.
So you get much higher conversions on this kind of system, many more people that see your posts are going to buy and you’ll make more money. You’ll also be building a community of readers that trust your message.
How the Buying Decision Works with Affiliate Marketing
Now we talk about a marketing funnel with this strategy. I want to share this graphic because it’s helpful to imagine that idea and the buying decision people go through with anything they purchase.
You first have to understand or realize there’s a problem, then you get interested in a solution and start looking for options. Finally and only after these first two steps do you start evaluating different products or companies.
It’s only after all of this, and this happens in every decision you make big or small, but it’s only after this that you make a purchase. So with this affiliate system, we’re guiding people through that funnel. Instead of just talking about a problem and hoping they come back to our blog after doing that evaluation, we’re keeping control of every step.
How to Create a Landing Page for Affiliate Marketing
The problem here is that you need to get people to visit each blog post or video. You might not need that massive traffic because more of them are buying but you do need people that are coming back. For this, and this is a crucial part of that sales funnel system, you create what’s called a lead magnet and email list.
A lead magnet is a free handout or checklist you offer that readers need to sign up for by giving you their name and email address. For our Tailwind example, I might offer a checklist of how to set up Tailwind or 10 tips to using Pinterest for blog traffic. It’s important that the freebie appeals to a wide audience so I’d probably go with the general tips to use Pinterest or even how to use social media so something even broader. That way, you get more people signing up and get more people into your funnel.
So within each of these articles in my funnel, I can talk about this free handout and offer a link to the signup page. You want to do this a couple of times, towards the beginning of the article and at the end.
When someone clicks through to get that free checklist, they’ll go to a landing page which is just a webpage you set up to talk about the freebie and an email form. These don’t have to be long or complicated, just tell people what they’ll get and why it’s important. These pages can be set up like a normal blog page though it’s better if you set it up with a landing page plugin.
That makes it so you can remove all the menus and sidebar items that are on your regular blog pages. The idea is you want people to be focused on just one thing, getting that free handout.
How to Use Email for Affiliate Marketing
Now with this funnel, you need an email service that lets you segment your email lists. You’re going to set up a special series of two or three emails for the people that got your free checklist so they can’t be in just your general blog email list. This email series is going to keep them in that affiliate funnel, it’s going to keep them reading those three blog posts and guiding them through that buying process.
I’ve used three email providers; MailChimp, Constant Contact and AWeber before I finally got to the one I use now. None of them offered the features I needed to really make this funnel work and all lacked something.
I use ConvertKit now because, not only is it an inexpensive tool, but it’s super easy to set up my affiliate funnels and makes everything automated.
With ConvertKit, I can set up a form that will connect with my landing page to catch emails from that free handout and the tool will even deliver the handout automatically. Then I create the series of two or three emails that are going to keep people coming back to my posts, keep them engaged and in the funnel. This is something I’m going to show you how to set up in our second video, how to automate the process with ConvertKit, but once you have this part done, this system is completely passive income.
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So you’ve got someone on this special email list that you set up in ConvertKit. You’re going to send out an email for each blog post or video and one of the features in ConvertKit is that you can time these. That first email goes out immediately, thanking them for downloading the free handout and talking a little about the topic. Then your other emails go out over a few days to build that relationship with the reader.
You should include short personal stories or anecdotes here. For our example, for that first blog post, I might talk about how important social media traffic was when I was just starting out blogging. I might talk about how motivating it was to see those first visitors.
Then in the second email, I would talk about how I avoided Pinterest for years. I didn’t think my blog topic was very visual and just didn’t want to mess with another social platform but when I did start using it, it was bringing thousands of visitors to the site within a month. Then finally in the third email, I might talk about how frustrating it was trying to fit Pinterest into my busy schedule and how Tailwind solved that problem by automating everything. I didn’t think my blog topic was very visual and just didn’t want to mess with another social platform but when I did start using it, it was bringing thousands of visitors to the site within a month.
Then finally in the third email, I might talk about how frustrating it was trying to fit Pinterest into my busy schedule and how Tailwind solved that problem by automating everything.
So each email builds that connection with the reader, shares your common problem and walks through to a solution. Within each of these, you refer to one of the blog posts and provide a link to it. If that first email goes out immediately then maybe the second one goes out in 24 hours and the third gets delivered in a couple of days.
Not only does this email series keep people in your funnel, coming back to read each post, but you can also promote your affiliate as well. By the time they’re getting that third email, they’ve read the first two blog posts and are probably ready for a solution. Besides linking to your third blog post in the email, you can also add in a quick note about the affiliate, so Tailwind in this case, and your affiliate link in that email.
This way, someone might click through to your blog post and click on the affiliate link there. Even if they don’t though, they might go back to that email, see the affiliate mentioned again and end up clicking on it.
Why This Affiliate Funnel Strategy Works so Well
There’s an old marketing rule that says someone needs to see a message as many as seven times before they’re ready to buy. This is why TV commercials for a product will run constantly, like during every commercial break in a half-hour period. It’s because they’re trying to build that awareness so the next time you’re at the store, you’re thinking Budweiser, Budweiser, Budweiser.
We’re doing the same thing here…even if it’s slightly less annoying. Through the blog posts and emails, we’re gradually building in the mentions of the affiliate, talking about how it solves a problem and getting the reader familiar with it.
Once you’ve got this set up, the three blog posts, each that offers that freebie handout lead magnet that gets people on your special email list, then that email series that keeps them in the funnel, it’s all going to feed into each other. Anytime someone visits one of the three posts, about one in five or so are going to sign up for the handout. They’ll get the emails, they’ll read all three posts and about one in ten is going to convert to using that affiliate and you’ll get a commission.
Get started on ConvertKit and create your first affiliate funnel today!
Don’t forget, if you want that entire process of setting up your funnel as well as setting it up on ConvertKit to put it on auto-pilot, click through to download this free checklist. I’ll also be showing you how to set that up in our next video, exactly how to set up ConvertKit to make these funnels passive income, make sure you click that subscribe button so you don’t miss it.