How I Made My First Affiliate Commissions Online - $235.20/mO [Case Study]
In this post I outline exactly what I did, step-by-step to make my first ever affiliate commissions online as a complete beginner... even when I had never sold anything online before.
Prefer to Watch Video?: Here's a video I recorded outlining this strategy.
***NOTE: The results in the video are slightly more than what's shown in this post, because it was recorded at a later date. But it's the exact same strategy.
After spending a lot of time and money trying and testing a lot of different things out to promote products online, I finally found something that worked. This case study outlines my result and how I did it.
Have you ever jumped from system to system, trying different things, spending thousands on courses but never seemed to get any results?
Well that was definitely me.
I literally spent 10's of thousands of dollars on online courses, MLM's, high ticket programs... only to find out later, that I had to keep on spending another $2,500/mo on advertising to really make it work.!!!
For a long time I felt like there was no way this online marketing thing could work... that it was all a setup and a scam. And unfortunately the truth is there are a lot of scams out there. I felt scammed.
But after everything ... I was determined that I couldn't let myself come this far to just quit.
I decided I had to make it work, somehow.
I think because I was so desperate to just get fast results, I would look for the easy gimmicks, or throw money at bots or article spinners, try brainless surveys... and kept putting off the fact that I would actually have to learn and develop a real skill. Marketing!
Needless to say I never got any results that way.
[ - Image: This screenshot taken in April 2018 | Initial sale made in Feb 2017 - ]
In the end My first commissions ever came about by doing some relatively simple things... where I could've just saved myself so much time, money and hassles in the long run.
In this post I'm gonna break down what I did exactly to get my first (approx.) $200 / mo in monthly recurring commissions online... by promoting an actual real product as an affiliate.
... without having to rely on gimmicks or MLM or recruiting
I hope this case study may give you some insights & ideas into what might work for you... and hopefully to show that there are no special secrets to winning, just a bit of effort and daily practice.
STEP 1 - get a product to promote
To make an income, you need a something to sell.
A Product, a service... something that's good, something you believe in and can stand by.
I had 2 x products that I used for this strategy;
Product #1 - ClickFunnels | A Drag-&-drop web builder that builds online sales funnels.
It's like a toolkit for online marketers. With it you can build;
- Capture Pages
- Landing Pages
- Sales Pages & Thank you Pages
- Bridge Pages
- Product Reviews
- Order Forms
- Upsell / Down sells / Cross-sells
- One Time Offers (OTO's), Upgrades
- Order bump's
- Product Launches
- Online Courses
- Membership Areas
- Automated Webinars... etc.
***Note: You can actually become an affiliate of ClickFunnels without having to purchase it.
If you scroll to the bottom of their website and click 'affiliates', you can sign up to their affiliate program for free.
However... realistically it would be difficult to promote a product that you don't actually use.
Product #2 - The 4Percent Challenge | A Step-by-Step course teaching online marketing for entrepreneurs
Now this product... indirectly promotes my product #1 (which is ClickFunnels), by teaching people how to use it to build their online business.
To be honest, I didn't really want to go out create my own course or product... since I felt I wasn't really in a place to teach a full course just yet. So I decided to find a digital marketing course that I thought had value for money, and wasn't just a constant up-sell network marketing type deal.
Out of all the courses and programs I bought, I have to say I learnt the most from this particular one, and so since I got value from it, I decided it could help others as well.
How does Four Percent Group work? You can read my full review here to get the breakdown.
Why Did I Choose ClickFunnels?
I chose to promote ClickFunnels specifically for a few reasons;
1.) It's a membership, so pays a commission not just once, but every month recurring
Memberships don't just pay you once, but over again on a monthly basis. Once you put in the hard work to make a sale, you will get paid every month on an ongoing basis.
Where 9-5 income needs to constantly be replenished each month, starting again from zero... passive income is accumulative over time. The more you sell, the more it keeps building on itself. So I definitely wanted a recurring commission product to sell.
2.) It's actually a good product
I use it myself constantly. It has saved me heaps of time & effort, and makes building my promotions super quick and easy.
Why Did I Choose Four Percent Group?
1.) I wanted to be able to teach people how to use ClickFunnels
Since I was still a bit awkward about creating my own course, I wanted "something" that I could offer my followers to show them how to build their online business.
If someone came to me and asked,
... "How do I promote products?, how to I get my domain name? How do I get my Auto-responder and build my list? How to I do link tracking? How to I run traffic? How to I do re-targeting?...
... I could send them straight to this course.
After all... it's how I learned how to do all this stuff myself.
2.) Four Percent promotes ClickFunnels (and other tools) for you... and you get the commissions.
Most courses that teach digital marketing... or affiliate marketing, 'recommend' or 'up-sell' tools and resources during their video modules.
It's a way the course owner generates even more income from the customers that you brought in.
Four Percent is the only course I know... that lets you plug in all your affiliate links... and passes on the commissions from all these 3rd party recommended tools and software to you and me... the affiliate.
This is an industry first!
So while you are promoting Four Percent... you are teaching people how to build their online business, and thus you are indirectly promoting ClickFunnels, and other essential tools & resources that people need to build their business.
STEP 2 - So How Did I Promoted Them?
There were 2 ways I was promoting these offers.
- Method #1 was a Free method (I uploaded a YouTube video)
- Method #2 was by running some Paid Advertising through Bing.
Let's break 'em down;
Method 1 - YouTube Video Direct to ClickFunnels
Well that's pretty much it in a nutshell. YouTube video direct to the product.
I made one YouTube video promoting ClickFunnels. It went like this;
- I Created a video teaching people about the product
- I used a Keyword in my video title, something people would search for
- i.e. 'How to do XYZ using ClickFunnels'
- I did some basic on-page SEO
- I put the keyword in my video title
- I put my keyword in my Tags
- I put my keyword in the video description
- I put the link to ClickFunnels in my video description
- I embedded the video onto one of my other personal blogs (1 back-link)
- I did not use any advanced back-linking strategies. I just posted it once on my Blog.
- I did not spend any money whatsoever boosting this video
- I did not use any other advanced or behind the scenes ranking tactics
Looking back at it now it was a cheesy and pretty lame video, as I read directly from a script which I had running on a teleprompter app (on my iPhone) Lol.
I've since removed it from my channel for that reason.
Despite this it was still responsible for 2 of my 4 x ClickFunnels Sales.
[ - this screenshot was taken in December 2017 - First affiliate sale was made in February 2017 - ]
So Where does the $235.20/mo come from?
Ok so ClickFunnels has 2 x membership levels, each of which pay out a 40% commission to the affiliate.
- Clickfunnels Funnel Builder: $97/mo - (affiliate payout is 40%) so you earn $38.80/mo
- Etison Suite: $297/mo - (affiliate payout is 40%) so you earn $118.80/mo
*** NOTE: I use only the ClickFunnels funnel builder for $97. The Etison Suite is if you want the in-house auto-responder and other stuff. I already use GetResponse so I didn't need it.
But notice how you still get commissions from the higher products even if you don't own them?
So anyway... My 4 sales were 3 x Clickfunnels ($38.80) plus 1 x Full Suite ($118.80) = $235.20/mo
This YouTube video was responsible for 1 ClickFunnels sale and 1 Full Suite, so $38.80 + $118.80 = $157.60/mo.
(The remaining 2 sales came from the next promotion method).
This one successful video got 2,900 views... and my channel had 59 subscribers at the time of writing this, and the video was posted about 12 months ago.... but the sales came in roughly within the first 2 months of posting the video.
So as a result I had made about close to $1,000 from this one video (over the 12 months) promoting ClickFunnels ... a product that pays a monthly recurring commission... and is still paying me to this day.
Not bad considering this video was free to create & upload.
*** (I have since taken this video down from my channel since looking back it was pretty cheesy)
Method 2 - Bing PPC Ads to the Four Percent Group
The other way I was sending traffic (people) to my offer was using Bing PPC (Pay per click) Ads and sending them to the Four Percent Group training course.
This is the course that would teach people how to do online marketing, and how to use auto-responders, ClickFunnels, build promotions etc. and how to put it all together.
From the image above you can see that I had spent $469.53 on paid ads. This was over a one month period (back in Feb 2017). Results were;
- Total ad spend = $469.53
- Total clicks sent to Four Percent training = 1,179
- Four Percent conversions = initially 5, but only 2 remained (i'm not counting these sales)
- Revenue from ClickFunnels Purchases = 2 x $38.80 = $77.60 / mo
So yes I actually lost money on this campaign initially, spending $469.53 and making only $77.60... but those memberships had lasted for over 12 months... and so has make back over $1,000 in the long run.
This is one of the beauties of having memberships products to promote as part of your product mix.
STEP 3 - Learnings & Final Thoughts
Looking back, here's what I learned after making my first ever commissions online, when I previously had tried for so long with no luck.
Don't send cold traffic straight to a product... it's an easy way to loose money
Initially I just sent people straight from an Ad directly to the ClickFunnels website. I made zero sales.... and spent a lot of money on ads. Don't do this.
The reason is because there's a disconnect.
People typically go to the net to find answers or solve problems, not to go spend money on a product they've never heard of. If you send people straight to a product before giving any value, they have no real reason to purchase a product they know nothing about.
People aren't looking for "how to buy a software" or "where to buy a new cream I never heard of"... they are looking for "how to start a business online" or "how to cure my skin rash" or "how to get 10,000 followers on Instagram" or "How to get Leads to my business".
Address the problem, or pain point of the market first.
Send Traffic from your ads, to a piece of value content first... then to your product.
I had a lot better results using the following formula;
When you give some useful content up front first, you're allowing people to see that value in your product. Whether you send them to a YouTube video teaching something they want to learn, or solving a problem they're struggling with...
Or (as in my example) sending them to a course that teaches them how to build a business... they are getting value first. Then purchasing the product is simply an option they can choose to make based on whether it makes sense to their situation.
Your job as a marketer, is to create compelling content first... NOT to just send traffic to products.
TIP: What can you do for your value content? ...here's some ideas!
Here are some ideas of content you can create, that you place in front of your offer proposition;
Remember: Affiliate Marketing is a 'skill'... it requires practice to get good at it.
Forget about done-for-you systems, or 3 steps to affiliate marketing. It sets up the wrong mindset to approach this business. If it were that easy, everyone would just do 3 steps and be killin' it online.
Be prepared to have to test different things out until you find something that works for you. The same style of promotion wont suit everyone. Find your own 'style'.
Marketing... like surfing, or dancing, or a sport... is a skill-set you must practice to get good at. I can give you 3 steps to skateboarding, but no chance you will be great at it the first time you ever step on.
Marketing is the same. Even though you can be given the steps... you need to step up to the plate every day and practice it until you get good at it.
Eventually you will get a feel for how it all work. Don't be afraid to put the time in.
Having 'membership' style-products is a must have for any business.
Although my initial earnings were only around $235.20 for the 4 sales... (made roughly over Feb-April 2017) and I actually lost money initially because of the Ads...
Since it was monthly recurring commission I'm still getting paid today for 3 out of 4 of those sales over 12 months later!... and I only ever worked in that first month for those sales.
After my initial work creating that video and Bing Ad (which are both no longer running), I did no further work to maintain it, even up to 12 months later.
Promoting memberships is a powerful form of leverage. Aim to have at least one.
Choose products that have a high retention value.
Basically if a product is good... people will stick with it longer. I chose to promote ClickFunnels because it's like online real estate.
If a person is selling stuff online, and that website is making them income, why would they want to cancel their membership?
The simple fact that people still continue a $100/mo membership even after 12 months later, is at least some proof in of itself that it's a good product (if a person actually has a need for it).
Even Memberships Fade Over Time If You Don't Keep Producing Content
While promoting memberships is a great way to get some recurring income into your business... it's not 100% passive forever. People will always fade off eventually.
While promoting memberships is a great way to get some recurring income into your business... it's not 100% passive forever. People will always fade off eventually.
[ - Photo taken in March 2018 - initial sale happened in February 2017 - ]
Where initially my promotions brought in 4 x sales, netting $235.20/mo in ongoing commissions... about 12 months later 1 of these cancelled out, leaving $196.40/mo. Still pretty good results considering after 12 months 3/4 of the memberships are still going.
More evidence that ClickFunnels is just a useful tool and people are getting value from it.
Find products that you love & use... it's easier to promote & you will have more fun
You don't have to go out and promote or use ClickFunnels just because I have here.
If ClickFunnels seems too expensive, there are alternatives.
LeadPages is another great lead-capture tool you can use.
It starts out at less than half the price of ClickFunnels, and might be a better option if you're just starting out and on a budget.
While ClickFunnels does have more features... LeadPages still does the job in terms of creating Capture Pages and Bridge pages for your affiliate marketing campaigns.
Do you have to sell software or digital products?... Heck no!
If you love Star Wars... you can sell lightsabers or costumes or figurines
If you're into building, you can teach people how to do stuff and sell tools & equipment.
The best advice is to go with something you're passionate about, and promote products you actually use and love to use because they help you in some way.
It will be easier to create content based around stuff you really love and enjoy.
Don't overspend on high ticket programs... get small results FIRST, then scale up
Spending tens of thousands of dollars online before you have any results is NOT a good idea at all. I got suckered into the allure of high ticket programs... only to find I couldn't make any income from them because I didn't know how to promote online.
Yes it's wise to have at least one high ticket product to promote, which may range from $250 - $2,000... but it's not necessary to start with. Get some results selling regular products first.
Once you know you can make a few sales here and there, then consider scaling up.
Don't get pushed into going all in (meaning spending over $5,000 in any company) until you can prove you can get at least 3 sales on the low end first.
You don't EVER want to get into personal debt for any company that may not be around 3 months later (it's happened to me).
Learn at least ONE free traffic strategy
So from my results, half came from using a free traffic strategy (YouTube)... and the other half came from running paid ads.
As you can see running paid ads can be quite costly, especially in the beginning when there no income coming into your business.
Learning a free traffic strategy, while it will take time, effort and practice to develop the skill... and is more of a long term strategy, can definitely save you from running into more financial debt from spending money on ads that may not convert.
Aim to master at least one free traffic strategy!
Think of it as a career... or a full time hobby
Truth is anywhere from 95%+ of people who get involved with affiliate marketing or network marketing, make less than $100 a month. I think the reason is because they underestimate the amount of work & dedication it really takes.
Not so much 'hard' work, but long term consistent work...
... and more being creative, trying out new ideas every day.
If you're half hearted about it, or just testing the waters... or expect to make an income sitting behind the PC eating potato chips from your couch pressing a few buttons... don't expect to see any kind of results.
But if you make a decision you're going to commit to giving it a real go for the next 12 months... or at the very least, say a 90-day period where you take daily action... spending 2 hours a day on income producing activities... then you have a much better chance of succeeding.
Don't look at it as 'hard'. If you see it as hard, it will seem that way. But if you simply work it into your daily routine... it will soon become something you naturally do.
And can actually become something you really enjoy and have heaps of fun doing 🙂
So that's how I made my first even commissions online as an affiliate.
Overall it took me quite a bit of testing different things before I got to that stage, so obviously it wasn't as simple as just slapping up a video, but hopefully this gives case study serves as a good example of what to expect if you intend to pursue affiliate marketing.
Also I did invest some time in learning internet marketing leading up to this... I didn't just start day #1, upload a video, and made commissions. I had to learn it, practice it and apply it.
My Aim For This Case Study
My aim was not to give you a 1,2,3 step process to follow blindly, but rather to demonstrate my thought process behind running promotions as a complete beginner... and to show what I did that finally got me results, after a long time of spinning my wheels.
... and that if you're willing to put in the effort, the rewards are there.
Resources Used in This Case Study
Here are the resources used in this case study;
If you have any questions about this case study, or about anything affiliate marketing, feel free to comment below, or even hit me up on Facebook and ask. I'll be more than happy to help out where I can 🙂
Thanks for reading,
Have a great day!