The Value of an Affiliate Link (Proof!)

Today we'll look at just how much an affiliate link is really worth. You'll get to see some of my affiliate income sources – and exactly how I earn those affiliate commissions. We'll start with this one...

proof-5

The image above is a screenshot showing about one year's worth of affiliate commissions earned, from one affiliate link. The total is $339 in commissions. This is probably the worst example ever. It doesn't convert very well because it's not a strong message to market match, at all. We'll talk about that more in a second...

Here is the blog post that contains that affiliate link, which promotes Netflix:

watch movies online

This blog post was published on August 27th, 2007. It ranks well in the major search engines for a variety of odd longtail keyword phrases, such as: free netflix account, netflix watch instantly free, netflix free movies online, watch netflix free movies, netflix watch movies online. You'll see it here at #3:

proof-6

I actually plucked these phrases (not out of thin air! lol) but right out of my site stats for visitors that clicked through from those searches.

The commission stats I showed you earlier are just for the last year - January '09 to January 2010. That's what a copy & paste of one affiliate link in ONE blog post can be worth: $339 for a few minutes of work – once, a couple of years ago.

Again, the $339 is not total commissions earned, just in about a year's time –and on a really bad example of an affiliate promotion, as I mentioned.

The Netflix affiliate program is pay-per-lead, paying you for every person that signs up for a free trial of Netflix. The program is through LinkShare

How would you like to earn $300+, just to copy and paste?

Or even $300+/year for ONE blog post that you write? Ask yourself this: how much do you currently earn per blog post, or on each web page that you create?

Next we'll look at a ClickBank example. I don't actually like to work with ClickBank that much because a lot of people will back out of the sale and use their own link to buy a product, bypassing your referral altogether.

This is because ClickBank is set up for the last referral to get the commission. Unfortunate really. I would love to see them change it to first referrer, or at least put a 10-day cookie in place for the last referrer. But I digress...

proof-11

That's over $10,000 in commission in a year plus a week or so. And like I said, ClickBank is not one of my favorite networks to work with, so I generally avoid them as an affiliate marketer if possible.

Let's look at a specific product I promote through ClickBank...

Here you see a Google search result page for the search “think and grow rich audio”. That's my web page that's ranking #1 right there:

proof-7

There are not that many searches for that particular keyword phrase, but it does show up in my site stats. Here is a quick look at the search volume for think and grow rich phrases. You see “think and grow rich mp3” gets about 14 searches a day:

proof-9

Most online marketers wouldn't bother with a keyword phrase that has such low search volume. My page ranks #3 for that phrase. I published that web page online several years ago, at least 4 years ago, and I haven't touched it since. It consistently makes sales just about every single week.

This is one of my favorite methods - using SEO, and specifically longtail keyword phrases, to earn affiliate commissions passively. See SEO Content to learn more.

Here you can see my ClickBank stats for that product for a recent 90 day period, and you can see that it's earning about $100/month all on it's own. Passive Income. Sometimes it's more, it's rarely less – but it's out there ranking, getting clicks, making sales, and sending me checks every single month...

proof-8

These are obviously bad examples...

They're bad examples because the Netflix promo is a poor match for it's keywords, and the Think & Grow Rich keywords have very low search volume.

I'm showing you these bad examples for a reason.

I'm actually quite good at Affiliate Marketing ;)

I want you to see how even affiliate linking done badly... can easily earn you money. And consistent passive income - which is the best kind in my book!

Keep in mind these are not affiliate sites. These are affiliate links. One page, one blog post, or one link. Multiply that by the number of affiliate links and blog posts and web pages you imagine I might have out there on the web after 13 years...

Now imagine how many links you can create like that yourself in a day.

And this year, even.

None, if you don't know how, of course.

That's the reason I published the 2-part series on The Anatomy of an Affiliate Link. Trust me, it's NOT rocket science. And you don't have to get it perfect. I think I proved that with these two really bad examples.

Best,

p.s. Next, I'll show you more of the "big picture" of my life & income as a Super Affiliate. Subscribe below to get updates by email so you don't miss a single post!

Are you ready to start making consistent Affiliate sales yourself? You want to do 2 things: study the Super Affiliate Handbook, and join my discussion forum. It's a great community, and a good place to get help anytime you need it...

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Wow, Those are some pretty decent numbers especially the Clickbank ones for an affiliate that is not one of your big ones. Looking forward to you sharing some of your bigger affiliate programs!

  2. Ryan T Malone says:

    Lynn, another awesome post. For those who are still trying to get their feet in the right place with Affiliate Marketing, this should be really handy.

    In particular, its good to see the kind of results that you are able to get for something as simple as NetFlix. As much as that is a relatively small amount, if you repeated that process with a few separate CPA offers, you could easily see some good results.

    • Right - and it could obviously be improved on for better targeting and better conversions of course. But the key is duplication. Marketing on the keyword level for max profit potential, and simply duplicating that process over and over.

  3. LOL ~ I was one of those Netflix subscribers! I've been loving it since we signed up. Last week we finally got the CD to stream movies via the Wii, just in time for spring break!

    I love that used "bad examples" here. This has been a really great little series to watch and got my brain working on a few ideas.

    • I love my Netflix too :D Huge fan! I haven't hooked it up to the PS3 yet, but the kids love being able to log on and watch movies from their own computers.

  4. Oh, Lynn there you go dishing all the secrets you shared in the Beginner's section of NAMS3 :)I have 9 pages like this, just need to build links and traffic to them. Thanks for being an awesome teacher! What do you have up your sleeve for NAMS4?

  5. Hi Lynn,
    Great post & very inspirational :)

    Just a quick question on your netflix example. There is a bit of a chicken/egg situation here as I see it (as highlighted by Loretta above - somebody already on your "list" buying from your site). Do you get the sales / traffic (even as low as it is) because the domain is highly indexed / loads of visitors etc.

    For us mere mortals without a massive site with a tonne of traffic, if we posted an affiliate blog post (eg simply copying your netflix one) - would we see the same results.

    Second question - on these affiliate posts - do you link build to the individual post? or does it rank on the squillion links you have to the domain generally (another benefit of the big well ranked site).

    Hope this question is slightly clearer than mud.....

    andrew

    • Hi Andrew,

      The Netflix blog post was published in August 2007. That's the reason I gave you the stats from Jan 2009 to Jan 2010. The post is buried in my blog archives, so the stats in that period reflect search engine traffic only.

      The actual post was a lesson on niche affiliate marketing, and later I better monetized it because it was ranking well for those terms.

      So yes, ANYone can do this. It takes content development, monetization, optimization & inbound links. Period. So yes - I do build links to individual posts to get them to rank, and hold those rankings.

      I do this in other niches where I use a pen name, and don't have a large readership - relying only on search engine traffic. It works great!

  6. Ellen Braun says:

    What an informative and detailed post, Lynn, thank you:)

    I'd love to see MORE examples- there's nothing like learning by example.

    Congrats on your success with 'bad' examples!

  7. Another irresistible post!

    And as always, straightforward, honest and encouraging.

    If t5hat's not a pick-me-up, nothing is!!

    Dan

  8. Great post Lynn! It's definitely exciting to think of how much passive income CAN be made after a year of work (or 10!). As you know I've been working towards being a full time affiliate marketer myself and then one day I'll even shoot for 'super affiliate'. for now it's great to see these examples. Thanks for the sneek peek!!

    Angela

  9. That is a great teaching post Lynn - thanks for letting us see your figures (albeit for "bad" examples ;) ).

    It'd be great if my 14-visitor-a-day keyword niche made me $10k :o

    Glad I signed up with you, I'm learning lots!

  10. Christian Russell says:

    This is a great way to look at your business, and it's also a solid argument for the value of writing a blog. Articles stay live as long as you leave em up. I've had aff links convert on all sorts of levels...looking at the return on your time is smart. So many bloggers and marketers of all sorts quit too soon, so they never get a chance to see these returns.

    • That's true, Christian. I always try to get max profit potential out of ANY piece of content I write. Proper optimization & monetization is the key. Whether it's an article, a blog post, a web page, whatever... I write it with an objective, and then once the work is done - it does it's job! ;)

  11. Mike Bowling says:

    Lynn,

    Well said! Even I got it!

    Mike Bowling

  12. wow good for you. i have no earnings yet on this one

  13. Nice to see some of your stats, and the joke is on me. As I didn't think these were BAD examples. Well, not till you mentioned it. lol.

    I suppose mistakes that bring in money, are the best type of mistakes. I'll keep making them. One thing I keep doing is trying to turn my affiliates sites into social sites. I have to stop that annoying habit. If my blog is a search engine driven site, I should do away with the social aspects, contests, Facebook, etc.

    I have a lot to LEARN, yet. I feel confident in your hands.

    Cheers,
    Missy

    • It's one big learning process, Missy - I'm still learning myself, and still testing & tweaking. ;) You do want to have one main objective on the page level, so that the visitor is lead strategically to that next step in a very obvious way. Sometimes we lose sight of this when working with the project as a whole, so I try to analyze my stats every month and take a walk back through my visitors shoes to reanalyze. It's good practice!

  14. Hey Lynn - just to let you know that the affiliate link on the netflix page is currently throwing up a big nasty error when I click on it!
    I'm clicking on the
    Sidenote: This post discusses Netflix and online..... "Netflix" link

    Also, Market Samurai suggests there is only one backlink to this page (and that's from your forum!!) - so you've got this from only 1 backlink??

    • Well that makes it an even worse example! LOL I'm glad you brought this to my attention. It turns out that Netflix moved their program earlier this year to the Google Affiliate Network, so I need to update my links. Unfortunately GAN is down at the moment, so I'll keep an eye on that and get the links updated. Thanks again for the heads-up! (Strange, as I just got a check on this from LinkShare just last week)

      On the backlinks, Yahoo Site Explorer shows a total of 12 inbound links, but most of them are internal. But keep in mind that the page doesn't rank for very competitive phrases - just obscure longtail keyword phrases with very little competition. So yes, it doesn't take much at all to rank for those. ;)

  15. Lynn - thank you yet again for the great info, plus the reminder that we need to keep at it and build up a base with many roots.

  16. Great info, Lynn.

    Nice of you to give everyone a peek "behind the curtain" and see what is possible even if you're just starting out and don't know how to really knock it out of the park yet.

    Great encouragement for beginners!

  17. Lynn -
    Your "bad examples" would be excellent examples for the average-joe-newb affiliate marketer. As Mike Paul said, thanks for sharing a sneak peek with the rest of us. I'm sure this will serve as inspiration for many out there.

  18. Hello,

    I have a fair few sites that I built and have just left them alone and they make low commissions year in year out...

    I could flip them but I always say I will get round to redoing them and make them even better but I rarely do...lol

    Danny

  19. Frankly speaking, I was never an affiliate lover but the way you show the example make me think about this. From now I will try to work on this.

  20. Thank you so much for all the information you provide on your site. Its so helpful.

    I was wondering. You stressed the distinction between an affiliate link and an affiliate site toward the end of your post. Could you clarify (or direct me to another of your posts) as to what you consider necessary elements of a site to qualify as an affiliate site and how that differs from some other site that has a bunch of affiliate links? What makes an "affiliate site"?

    As someone just starting out I'm also curious how one chooses what type of site to build to maximize the opportunity to write blog posts in which affiliate links could be placed. It sounds like a niche site is one way. But this site is great in that you can you can post affiliate links for anything to do with the internet or internet marketing. This has lots of potential for years and years of content. What would you recommend to a beginner? Build a site for each main category at CJ? Stick with niches? You've done so great with this site that has broader reach and I'd love to hear your opinion on this.

    Thank you so much.

    E.J.

    ps. Your support for my questions after I purchased your backlinks product was very helpful and I appreciate the time you took.

  21. jamessamy says:

    Thank you for sharing this post Lynn. It has great content for me and anyone who comes here to read your post.

    That's why i always first see your post before i do anything online. Lynn, you enlighten my knowledge with every post and i am learning a lot here. Thank you

  22. WOW! This is a really good post that has given me plenty of food for thought.

  23. Clare Swindlehurst says:

    Hi Lynn - thanks so much for sharing these stats. It's always good to know what we can aspire to!

    My question is though - this is income rather than profits, any chance of a part 3 which shows us what you are spending your money on (software, memberships, outsourcing) to actually generate these figures?

    Clare

  24. Matthew Zinda says:

    Lynn-

    I kind of read your posts in reverse. I have just recently been referred to you, and was referred to a recent post.

    I got so much out of it that I decided to go back, and read some of your older posts also.

    What I got out of this post is how important it is to have more than one affiliate link.

    I already do many of the things that I have read on your posts, however the light bulb doesn't always come on until I hear it in other words from someone else.

    I know I have to do certain things to be successful, but I find out why I need to do them when I read your posts. Then I make sure I am contiously doing these things every time, instead of subcontiously doing them most of the time.

    I notice that happening every time I read one of your posts.

    Thank You-

    Matthew Zinda

  25. WOW! This is a really good post that has given me plenty of food for thought.

  26. Wow, Those are some pretty decent numbers especially the Clickbank ones for an affiliate that is not one of your big ones. Looking forward to you sharing some of your bigger affiliate programs!

  27. I hope I could reach my target earning this year. I must admit that it's quite difficult for me on how to start every. It's simply because I need to focus on things. Starting from identifying the right strategy up to the effective business process.

  28. Regarding Clickbank - that is the one I started with before realizing that I could use Amazon, and then so many others. Seems like just about any company that is 'anybody' at all has an affiliate program. I am starting with zero capital - not a red cent, nor a brass razoo! I cannot afford to buy a thing, so I am doing it all on free this, free that, until such time as I have so money to re-invest. I spend hours reading blogs, articles, etc. and get so much information it is overwhelming, and often sifting the crap from the good stuff is like shopping at Target (you know they stock SOME good stuff somewhere). I have only just recently found out about you, so I know I have a lot more reading to catch up on. THIS particular post is one that I know I will be coming back to on a regular basis, just for reference.

  29. Just starting out with affiliate marketing myself, made my first sale yesterday! - Thanks for the inspiration!

  30. John Davies says:

    I hope I could reach my target earning this year. I must admit that it’s quite difficult for me on how to start every. It’s simply because I need to focus on things. Starting from identifying the right strategy up to the effective business process.

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