Are you tired of waking up for a 9-to-5 job you have no passion for? What about slaving to make money for a company when you barely see any of the earnings?
One of the biggest selling points of affiliate marketing is that it allows you to make passive income. Once you have your content up and running, you just have to wait for it to turn into sales. Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to begin generating passive income.
But it's not a get-rich-quick scheme. Successful affiliate marketing takes a lot of work, and you have to be up-to-date with the times. Online markets can change on a weekly basis.
So what exactly is affiliate marketing, and what do you need to learn about it? And does Affilorama deliver?
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Chances are, you've heard of affiliate marketing. Plenty of business owners make money from home by participating in an affiliate marketing program. Basically, you promote the products of another business or company. Then, when someone makes a purchase from a link you use, you get part of the profits.
This is a system of revenue sharing that benefits everyone in the long run. For business owners who want more exposure, entering an affiliate program allows them to get good content written about their products. For content creators who want a way to make passive income, promoting products works.
The better you are at promoting products and ranking in search engines, the more you'll sell. So a big part of the affiliate marketing game is learning how to create the content that will drive sales.
The Four Parties Involved in Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a process that involves four main parties.
The first is the merchant. This is the person who makes the product to promote. They'll typically run their own small business, and they may join an affiliate marketing network or look for revenue sharers on their own.
The second is the affiliate. That's the person promoting these products. For every sale that happens through an affiliate link, the affiliate earns a commission. Many affiliates are transparent about their affiliate programs, but some choose not to disclose their participation.
The third is the consumer. This is the person who buys the product. When you create affiliate marketing content, you're trying to pull in the consumer and convince them to purchase your promoted product. Part of that means convincing them that you're an authority in your field.
The fourth is the network. Not every small business owner will use a network when they promote their products. But an affiliate network can make it easier to get started as an affiliate marketer. With an affiliate network, you get access to hundreds or sometimes thousands of products that you can choose from.
Affiliate networks are especially helpful if you're looking for products in a specific niche, or if you're just starting out and want a variety of choice available.
Steps to Becoming an Affiliate Marketer
If you want to become an affiliate marketer, there are just a few steps to follow. You'll have to create a website, begin doing reviews of products, build a list of emails, and then expand your reach as your traffic grows.
Sounds simple, right? But if you're starting from scratch, it might not be that easy. How do you know what makes a good website? How do you write a review that will sell? How do you figure out what your best niche is? How do you collect and use emails in a wise, responsible way?
You can get a quick overview of the basics here, but for more in-depth knowledge, you'll generally need to seek an educational course like Affilorama.
Everybody has hobbies. Chances are, there's something you enjoy doing that you could talk to an audience about. And even if you can't think of any hobbies you have, you probably have business ventures that involve products.
When you think about what you like to do, and what you're passionate about, it's easier to find your niche. You don't have to become an expert in an entirely new field overnight. You just need to know what products you like using and how to talk about them.
One of the great things about affiliate marketing is that you can do it for any product or service. It doesn't matter how strange the niche is: you can still find a product to fill it. That goes especially if you use a network with a large range of different products to review.
Some affiliates might promote products. Others might promote eBooks and online courses and marketing materials. The right one for you will really just depend on your interests.
Email marketing is the next essential part of affiliate marketing. Once you have people interested in your site, you want them to keep coming back. The more you build your user base, the more revenue you'll generate. If you have customers willing to click links in your emails, you don't have to rely entirely on SEO anymore.
One option is to put a bar on top of your site that allows people to opt in to emails. You can generate more clicks if you offer to send free materials like eBooks or exclusive video content upon signup.
You can also create email options that pop up after a user has been on your page for a certain length of time, or when they're about to close out of the page. This gives you a chance for further reader engagement.
Once you have your email list, you can start sending marketing emails with links to your content or links to more affiliate products.
There are quite a few online courses that claim to help you get started with affiliate marketing. Affilorama is one of them.
So how does it stack up to the competition?
What Is Affilorama?
Judging by recent statistics, affiliate marketing is one of the most accessible ways to make money online. But times are constantly changing. If you want to make any money with affiliate marketing, you have to keep up with current trends. You also have to be aware of how websites need to keep their practices updated if they want to have good SEO.
The most successful affiliate marketers are able to adapt to suit the market's ever-changing needs. This ensures that you don't end up in a niche that's impossible to expand upon.
For bloggers and solo entrepreneurs, a large amount of online income is based around the promotion of third-party products. If you haven't optimized your blog or website for third-party commissions, maybe you're looking for help doing so. And if you haven't started your blog yet, you'll want to learn how to monetize it first.
Affilorama was created in 2005 by the famous affiliate marketer Mark Ling. The course aims to provide you with all the resources and knowledge necessary for an affiliate marketing program. There are both free and premium packages, which means you can try out the free content before you ever have to make a purchase.
The lessons are outlined with a variety of different formats, the most common being:
- Video tutorials and trainings
- Detailed articles with a lot of information
- Shorter blog posts that are easier to digest
Some people earn a six-figure annual income by using the tools laid out in the course. It's important to note, though, that there's no guarantee you'll make six figures in your first year.
Affilorama has an active community of more than 300,000 people. That number is growing exponentially as more and more people get involved with affiliate marketing.
There is comprehensive site support that's divided into sections. You can find support for the particular program or tool you're using, as well as a guide for people who are new to the company entirely.
The support desk helps by answering a lot of basic questions about what to do and where to go. It also helps with troubleshooting for a variety of common issues. If you have any questions about how to use the resources you're given, you can use the support section to find answers.
The site also has a web forum full of several hundred thousand community members. The forum isn't as active as the forums in some other affiliate marketing online communities. But if you post your questions there, you are likely to get answers.
The course creators don't appear to participate much in the online website. You might also struggle slightly to find someone available for a one-on-one talk. For this reason, if you're looking for an affiliate marketing program with a strong emphasis on community, you might want to seek something else.
The Affilorama Packages
One nice thing about Affilorama is that there are multiple packages to choose from. There's the free membership option, which gives you access to starter materials. Other memberships have tools and price points that are varied enough to suit a variety of budgets.
In the past, the company sold the Affilotheme package. This was a premium WordPress website theme. However, rather than selling this theme alone, that package has now been combined with the benefits of the AffiloBlueprint option.
Free Membership Tier
Many other affiliate marketing sites don't give you access to information until you pay for the content. You might get a trial version that walks you through the first few lessons, but other than that, you're out of luck.
That's not the case with Affilorama. The depth of the free membership is something that sets it apart from the competitors. By signing up for free, you immediately get access to more than 120 video lessons. That's over 20 hours of free content.
You also get access to the Quick Start Guide, which explains the basics of affiliate marketing. It also helps you learn how to avoid traps and pitfalls when setting up your business. The Roadmap to Success infographic shows you a streamlined explanation of how to successfully get involved in affiliate marketing.
One important note, though, is that a lot of the information available for free is outdated. The premium information is updated constantly and tends to be much more reliable. The free content, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be maintained as thoroughly.
You can get the first 30 days of a premium membership for only $1. This is a great way of testing to see whether you like the information. After that, you'll have to pay a monthly fee to continue accessing the materials.
These are some of the benefits included in a premium membership:
- Monthly magazine with new training materials
- Blogging bootcamp
- Access to a suite of affiliate marketing tools
- 30 quality articles per month
- Web hosting for up to 15 different domains
Though the monthly cost might seem high, it's important to note that that includes your web hosting and your marketing tools. You also have a 60-day money back guarantee should you find yourself unsatisfied with the product.
There's enough information included that you probably won't be able to absorb it all in the first trial month. With that said, you do have time to take in a great deal before you make a firm financial commitment.
The monthly magazine goes into great detail about a different sub-topic each month. It talks about different aspects of affiliate marketing that you should be familiar with. Some of the topics may be more relevant to you than others. But since a big part of affiliate marketing is picking a niche, the level of detail is invaluable.
You also get to watch interviews and webinars hosted by successful affiliate marketing professionals. They teach you how to use their tips, tricks, and methods to build your own business.
In the web hosting package, you get:
- 2 GB of disk space
- 75 GB of bandwidth for monthly traffic
- 10 FTP accounts
- 10 MySQL databases
Affilotools comes with a premium membership. But you can also purchase it as a standalone product. This is a good option for people who want the affiliate marketing tools but don't need or want all of the additional educational material.
Affilotools works best as a standalone if you already have experience with affiliate marketing and have a website up and running. For beginners, you'll want the educational materials that explain how these tools work.
A big part of affiliate marketing is tracking your data so that you can improve your search rankings and write content for the niches no one has yet. The Affilotools suite can be connected to your Google Analytics account. With these combined programs, you can track:
- Search engine rankings for every single keyword
- Search engine rankings for local areas, regions, and different search engines
- The money you've earned through ClickBank and other pay-per-click advertising strategies
- Your retweets and user engagement on Twitter
- Your page and post likes on Facebook
- Your total number of indexed pages
- Details regarding the performance of your competition in a variety of areas
There are four Affilotools “tiers” that you can sign up for: basic, bronze, silver, and gold.
The basic tier will monitor traffic on one website. It will allow you to track rankings for ten keywords per site over two search engines. Rankings are updated monthly.
Both the bronze and silver packages will show you weekly updates on your rankings. The bronze allows for three websites to be monitored, thirty keywords to be used, and three search engines to be used. With silver, you get five websites, fifty keywords, and four search engines.
The gold tier is the highest performance tier. It works best for people who already have several large affiliate marketing websites populated with a lot of content. You'll need a high amount of traffic for the tools to pay for themselves.
The gold package retrieves your rankings on a monthly basis. It allows you to index 100 keywords for 10 different search engines. It also allows you to monitor up to 10 websites at once. This package is optimized for those who truly want to pull in all possible traffic from all possible venues.
The Jetpack option is supposed to earn you a large amount of passive income. This means that you generate income without even needing to do anything yourself. Unlike the monthly subscription products offered by the company, this product is available for a one-time fee.
There are also two guarantees from creator Mark Ling:
- You'll get your money back in 60 days if you aren't satisfied.
- You'll get an additional $100 refund should you follow the Jetpack instructions and not see successful results within the first 60 days.
Jetpack gives you access to a suite of tools that's geared toward content creation and website maintenance. These tools can be even more helpful than the data tracking suite, especially for those who aren't used to content creation.
It's important to note that Jetpack is marketed like a magic bullet that will solve all of your problems. Though the tools are useful, you still have to be willing to put in the work if you want to have a successful business. You're not guaranteed to make your money back or become a successful entrepreneur overnight.
Some of the Jetpack tools include:
- Content creation guides that show you how to create unique posts and articles easily
- Setup of your WordPress website with one year of access to AffiloTheme and free hosting
- Reports about email marketing campaigns that help you increase opt-in rates
- Professional email templates
- eBook graphics
According to Ling, you can use Jetpack to have your business up and running within six days. Without using the Jetpack tools, it takes at least six weeks. Jetpack also walks you through 18 profitable niches, and you can create five websites in five unique niches.
This package is a blueprint that shows you how to create affiliate marketing websites. It explains more about finding your niche, creating high-conversion landing pages, making unique content, and growing your business.
The program comes with more than 90 video lessons that give you guided step-by-step instruction. You can also download the written lessons and notes on the course. Your purchase gives you lifetime access to the course as well as an account on the private members forum.
Some of the bonus features included in this package are:
- The AffiloTheme site builder to create your own high-conversion website
- 1 year of web hosting for one of your sites
- 1 month free trial of an Affilorama premium account
The lessons are laid out in a manner that's easy to follow. Another solid part of the course setup is that you get to create your site as you work. At the end of every lesson, you'll be given “homework” that allows you to build your own website and populate it with profitable content.
The Blueprint program will teach you the following things:
- How to create and customize a website
- How to get higher traffic rates to your site
- How to optimize your site for better sales
- How to do research on your market and audience so that you can find a profitable niche
The inclusion of the AffiloTheme is a big deal. This theme used to cost nearly one hundred dollars as a standalone purchase. It allows you to create responsive and beautiful websites that have SEO-friendly structuring. Your website is more likely to rank by using this theme. You can also choose between six different presets, allowing for greater flexibility and customization.
A Review of the Free Training
There are more than twenty hours of free material available through the free membership program. But if you want to elevate your business to the next level, it's best to sign up for the premium membership. That's because a lot of the free training is significantly outdated.
Many of the videos were first recorded in 2008, and they haven't been updated in the last twelve years. In addition, the written training is in dire need of an update as well. Nowhere does the written training mention using WordPress to build your website, and some of the recommended web building methods don't even exist anymore.
The information is also a little confusing in its organization. It doesn't take you step-by-step through the process of setting up your website. You might have to jump around a little to learn about how to pick a hosting plan, how to set up your site, and how to populate it with content.
The company offers a lot of theoretical information that teaches you about the basics of affiliate marketing. You also get to do some hands-on work, and the “homework” at the end of each lesson is helpful.
With that said, it doesn't have as much of a hands-on approach to affiliate marketing as some other courses. If you want something that will easily walk you through every single practical step necessary, you'll need to find a different setup.
The Quick Start guide is one of the best aspects of the free training. Once you sign up, you can download this 32-page PDF. You don't need to make any purchase to access it.
This is a great guide for people who are new to the affiliate marketing business. It's a good introduction that explains the major things to keep in mind. It's also a place that you can direct your family members if they want information about what you're doing with your business.
Another good aspect of the free training is how it doesn't pressure you into buying specific affiliate services. Affiliate links are rarely included. Instead, the training will list several different options that you can compare and contrast, allowing you to pick whichever is truly best for you.
In addition, they'll point you toward alternatives to their own web tracking tools.
This is great for people who want enough options to make their own decisions. It also helps to increase trust in the material, since you know that the creators aren't just pushing their own products to make money.
The Video Setup
As mentioned previously in this review, there are more than 20 hours of free video available. Some of the content is outdated, but other pieces are vital for getting started with an affiliate marketing journey. The best way to use the free content is to get the maximum possible mileage out of it before moving on to the premium content.
You can skip around in the free course. In fact, you might have the easiest time skipping around rather than going through the lessons one-by-one. This is because the course isn't set up in a very streamlined way, even if it does have valuable information to impart.
At the top of the video, you'll see a “complete” or “incomplete” tab. This lets you know whether you've viewed a video already or not, which is extremely helpful when you're skipping around the course and want to be sure you've consumed all the content.
You're also given access to a video library that has a checklist of videos to watch and tasks to do. Once you finish a video, the “incomplete” tab will turn green to indicate that you've completed it. Your progress guide will automatically refresh to show that the task is no longer on your to-do list.
This progress tracking makes it very easy to see how far you've progressed and how much is left to do. Most of the videos are around 5 to 6 minutes long. Some of them are upwards of 20 minutes, packing a ton of information into one segment!
Premium Content Evaluated
If you decide that you want to become a premium member within seven days of signing up, you can access a premium membership for just $1. You'll then get thirty days of access and won't have to pay full price until the next billing period.
A premium membership comes with three main features on top of the free membership:
- Online magazine
- Premium video content
- Premium web hosting
The online magazine covers a huge variety of different topics. You'll get articles and thinkpieceswritten by internet marketers from all walks of life. Rather than getting immediate access to every issue, you'll be sent one issue every week.
The magazine articles can either be downloaded as a PDF for offline reading, or they can be read in your browser. Either way, the digital format helps to reduce paper waste and keep from cluttering up your physical mailbox.
The “premium vault” of videos has 19 extra video tutorials that offer more in-depth studies of some of the topics in the free lessons. For the most part, if you found the quick start PDF helpful, you'll also find the premium videos helpful. They break down and expand upon many of the concepts that are touched on in the quick start manual.
Many of the premium videos also teach you about creating your own product. They walk you through finding a content niche, building an audience, and creating your own eBooks. Many bloggers and affiliate marketers use eBooks as another source of income.
That makes a premium membership extremely valuable for anybody who wants to build their own product. However, if you're only interested in promoting other people's products, this might not be the right avenue for you.
With the premium web hosting tool, you can host up to 15 different websites. That's great for people who have multiple sites optimized for multiple niches. Many marketers write multiple blogs or review websites for different types of products or different areas of a market.
Pathway to Passive Review
Pathway to Passive is the most inexpensive of the courses offered through Affilorama. It is significantly better quality than the free training, mainly because this course has actually been updated over the years. With that said, it does still give you limited training materials when compared to the more expensive courses.
There are seven main chapters to the course:
- Getting started with affiliate marketing
- Writing product reviews
- Creating content to solve problems
- Creating and growing email and newsletter lists
- How to create “wow” content
- Making everything work together
- Additional helpful resources
Within these seven chapters, there are 33 total lessons. These lessons go more in-depth about the basics of affiliate marketing and the things you need in today's world. But for the most part, you won't be learning anything hugely groundbreaking.
Pathway to Passive encourages you to build a site using WordPress. It also has significantly better structuring than its free counterpart, so you can follow the lessons to create a step-by-step website. This training is also lighter on the up-sells than the free training.
One potential drawback is that this course doesn't come with any video training. If you're a text-based learner, you might not find that a problem. Certainly it's a good course option if you prefer to avoid videos.
But some of the lessons might be easier to digest in video format. Video lessons help to walk you through the process of using tools and doing market research on a step-by-step basis.
Another note about this course is that, like the free training, it teaches you a lot about the theory of marketing. But it also doesn't show you a lot of practical examples. You have to figure out how to relate the information back to your own life and marketing scheme.
Like all products on the site, this course comes with a 60-day money back guarantee.
One of the features of AffiloTools is the backlinks tool. This offers an analysis of the backlinks for any site, including the domain they come from.
The tool works the way that any backlink analysis tool should. However, there are some things to keep in mind. One is that other tools may be able to find a larger percentage of backlinks. Another is that the searches using this tool are limited, while other backlink analysis tools might not be so limited.
The Rankings Checker allows you to check where your website ranks based on keywords. It will tell you what result your site is on a search engine when compared to other keywords. The number of keywords and search engines that you can compare depends on what plan you purchase.
The Social Monitoring tool links to your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Twitter and Facebook are two of the most vital social media platforms to use as an affiliate marketer.
This tool will show you your follows and likes over time for both pages. You can also use the tool to post to your Facebook or Twitter account. It will even suggest ideal content that you can share with your followers so you're delivering content within your niche.
The Link Finder tool is built to help you build faster backlinks. It allows you to filter pages based on their content or keywords. It also allows you to find websites that are open to guest blogs and building of backlink channels.
You can always try the free version of the tool suite to see whether you like it. If you do, you can upgrade to one of the paid versions to increase your usage.
AffiloTools is also good for people who are using ClickBank as their marketplace for selling affiliate products.
PLR Resources: Outdated and Unnecessary
One potential problem with Affilorama's training is that it focuses a lot on private label rights marketing. This type of marketing is basically obsolete today.
In the past, you could purchase the rights to use a bundle of articles for a certain topic. Once you had the rights to these articles, you could post them on your website without needing to do any content writing yourself.
But the problem with PLR articles is that the writer may sell the same bundle to multiple different people. That means that your website will have duplicate content with your competitors. Not only does duplicate content hurt your credibility, but it will also cause you to be penalized by Google and other similar search engines.
Affilorama does warn you that PLR articles don't work today like they used to. It gives you a heads-up for every lesson that has out-of-date content regarding PLR schemes. But it is a little odd that they haven't simply removed the poor training content altogether.
There's a lot to love about Affilorama, especially given the free membership potential. A free membership gives you access to more than 20 hours of video plus an extremely helpful startup PDF. And you can upgrade to a premium membership for just $1 for your first 30 days.
The website's courses have transparent money-back guarantees. In my research, I never found any indication that anyone had trouble getting their money back. So there's very little to lose in terms of trying it out. You get more content for free than most other freemium models offer.