In this post I outline exactly what I did, step-by-step to make my first ever passive income online with Affiliate Marketing, as a complete beginner. This case study outlines my results ($235.20/mo recurring commissions), and exactly what I did to get them.
Prefer to Watch Video?: Here's a video outlining this strategy, and detailing what I did. You can watch this video here, where I break it all down step-by-step.
Table of Contents
First of all, before you set out on any kind of goal, it's important to identify exactly what you want to achieve… and then reverse engineer your goal to figure out how to get there.
So in this case, the goal was;
GOAL = To Make Passive Income Online… WITH Affiliate Marketing
Then I asked myself… “So how exactly can I achieve this? What are the steps?”
So answering these two questions, it came to me that there really are 2 x ways to create passive income promoting affiliate products.
The first is to promote products that are memberships. That way you get an ongoing commission during each billing cycle. You make one sale, but you keep getting paid an ongoing basis.
The second way, is to have content online that is easily found by people , where you will constantly get an inflow of new customers on a regular basis. This might be like having a blog post ranked on the first page of Google, that talks about or reviews a particular product… or paying for ads that refer back to your website / product page.
Find a MEMBERSHIP Style Product to promote, that pays a monthly recurring commission after the initial sale
Create Some Content that PROMOTE'S the Product
Get qualified TRAFFIC (people) to see your content
The reason I call it a beginner's strategy, is because it's exactly how I made my first ever commissions online as an affiliate.
From the image above you can see that my results were fairly modest… but the best part was… after making these first initial sales, they have kept on paying me every single month on an ongoing basis… even continuing over 12 months after the initial sales… without me ever having to do anything.
This is completely passive income, and the power of promoting memberships.
With that being said, let's break down the entire strategy, and go through exactly what I did to finally get my first ever affiliate commissions online…. which ended up as a recurring income.
Here we go!
So the first thing you have to do is find something to promote. A real product that's useful, serves a real purpose and actually helps people. Something you can stand by and that you'd be happy to recommend to others.
What IS ClickFunnels?
It's a software that people use to build online Sales Funnels.
It's a sequence of pages, put together in a specific order that allows people to go through the process of buying your product.
Ever want to be able to make sales while you sleep? Then you must have a way to automate the sales process in your business.
While in truth you can never really make a completely automated income without having to work… you definitely can automate parts of your business.
And that's why all businesses… even affiliate marketers, should have a funnel (at least for their primary offer).
What Does ClickFunnels Do?
ClickFunnels easily allows you to build out;
What's The Benefit For The User?
… Basically, having a conversion driven sales funnel as supposed to just a website allows people to make more sales.
It was shown that a typical user who ditched their website for a ClickFunnel and included order form bumps, up sells & down sells etc. in their online sales process… increased their sales by 540% rather than just selling one product.
This statistic was taken over a sample of over 30,000 users (according to Clickfunnels).
The template web-pages provided in ClickFunnels are based on data-driven sales principles, and not just nice ‘looking' templates.
How Do You Get PASSIVE INCOME ONLINE Promoting Products like ClickFunnels?
ClickFunnels costs $97 a month, and pays out an affiliate commission of 30-40% to the affiliate. This means for every clickfunnels sale you make you will earn a monthly recurring commission of $29.10 – $38.80/mo.
The best thing about promoting ‘membership' or ‘subscription' products is that once you make a sale, you get paid on a monthly basis recurring. The more sales you make simply adds to your monthly recurring commissions.
This is accumulative over time.
CLICKFUNNELS - Commission Payout
The full suite for $297/mo includes other things like a CRM and email auto-responder. I personally only use ClickFunnels… but the great thing is you can still earn 40% commissions on the $297 full package even if you don't own it.
7-Reasons Why I Chose to Promote This Product
This meant I wouldn't have to worry about drop-shipping, or handling products. The idea of promoting digital products is that it just cuts out that extra step, and it means fulfilment is super easy (basically the user can access and start using the product right away).
All you have to do is create content and promote your affiliate links.
When you promote a membership product as an affiliate, you get a % commission of each sale, but not just one time… ongoing every month or year as long as the person using the product keeps their subscription.
This meant a better chance of building up passive income, and it meant the commissions could be accumulated over time, and I wouldn't have to start each month from scratch.
By this I mean the chances of users sticking with the membership will be LONGER that most other products.
So, say if someone is using ClickFunnels to build their business on… and if those websites & funnels are actually working and producing an income stream… Well why would they want to cancel their membership? They typically wouldn't.
Website infrastructure is like online real estate.
The “make money online” or “start a business online” markets have a lot of search volume behind them. Therefore there will always be a need for good web building & marketing tools. They're EVERGREEN.
According to Google's Keyword Tool… there're literally tens of THOUSANDS, if not MORE… people every single month who are looking for ‘how to start an online business'… or ‘affiliate marketing'… or ‘how to create a website'.
If you're targeting a more general, mass market… you can't expect to make too many conversions on high ticket items. $97 a month for ClickFunnels is a good price point that an average, cold-warm market would pay (if the value is there).
The other great thing about the compensation plan is you can earn commissions on all the other products ClickFunnels offer (including the high ticket back-end ones) even if you don't own them!
This means there's no high pressure sales, or sneaky locked features. People can upgrade to higher packages if they want to add the CRM, or take the Funnel-University course if they need or want specialised training in funnel building, and you still get the commission.
Clickfunnels is proven since so many people in the industry use it, and a lot of people recommend it because you can make sales funnels LIGHTNING FAST, with a super easy drag-&-drop live editor, inside split testing, memberships, webinars… without having to integrate 10 seperate platforms.
Just some of the people who have endorsed Russel Brunson's products and part of the Clickfunnels affiliate program are;
Tony Robbins, Grant Cardone, Tai Lopez, Amy Porterfield, Vick Strizheus, Anthony Morrison, Peng Joon, Justin Verrengia, Robert Kiyosaki etc.
Since it's so popular, yes it may mean there is more competition out there, but at least you know it's a good product.
The idea is not to be afraid of competition… but to go where the competition is, create your own unique positioning in that marketplace, and stand out from the competition.
I personally use it BECAUSE I was so sick and tired of juggling so many different accounts and apps and plugins just to get a marketing campaign up & running.
Since it's an all-in-one toolkit… It has saved me SO much time and effort, and just makes all my marketing so much simpler… that I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending it to others.
It doesn't matter WHAT a person's business is in:
Health & wellness, fitness, food & dieting, dating & relationships, MLM or network marketing, finance, pet training, sports & hobbies… it doesn't matter!
EVERYONE wants to be able to;
It's FREE to Become a ClickFunnels Affiliate
It's actually possible to earn commissions from CLickFunnels without actually having to own it yourself.
You can sign up to the affiliate program here:
I will say however, that it may be difficult to promote a product that you don't own or don't know how it works.
But they have a 14-day free trial if you would like to test out ClickFunnels for free. You can always cancel from within your account setting in your back office with the click of a button.
Once you have your affiliate offer (the thing you will be promoting), you want to now create some content to promote it.
In my case I did two things which lead to the $235.20/mo commissions.
FIRSTLY I created one YouTube video talking about ClickFunnels. This is what got be half of the ClickFunnels sales.
The SECOND strategy I used was by using someone else's content. I purchased some paid ads, sent that traffic to an affiliate marketing course, which as a by-product promoted ClickFunnels for me on my behalf, by teaching people how to use it.
Strategy #1 - Free Traffic with YouTube
For this strategy I created a 6 minute YouTube video basically talking about ClickFunnels and why I like it, how it helped me create my promo campaigns faster (since it's a drag & drop software), and I talked about the compensation plan.
This is what the strategy looked like;
So half of these sales came from this one single YouTube video that I uploaded.
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.
Strategy #2 - Paid Ads to a Done-For-You Course
In this scenario I sent traffic straight to something called the Four Percent Group.
It's an affiliate marketing course for entrepreneurs.
It basically teaches people how to build an online business from scratch, and then it teaches how to promote products and makes sales online. It's all about Traffic and Conversions.
The Four Percent Group: >> Learn more here
A Step-by-step guide to learn affiliate marketing for entrepreneurs
This is an indirect way of promoting ClickFunnels, where the course teaches people how to use the software to sell affiliate products and build promotions.
In this case, I did not have to create the value content… I just sent traffic straight to the Four Percent.
This time my strategy to make clickfunnels sales looked like this;
In this course, Vick (the founder) builds out marketing campaigns live on screen so you can just copy along.
Everything is done from scratch, so it's really good course to teach people internet marketing, and how to promote and sell products online.
He basically teaches traffic and conversions, and how to build your online infrastructure.
And the best part is when they teach people how to build their marketing funnels using ClickFunnels, if the person purchases ClickFunnels through the course… you get the commissions for it.
This also goes for other 3rd party tools and resources they recommend during the training.
A really great way to promote multiple different products all through the one system.
The paid traffic strategy I used was Bing PPC (Pay per Click) Ads.
From the image above you can see that I had spent $469.53 on paid ads on this campaign. This was over a one month period (I try to budget $250/mo for paid ads… some months I can afford a bit more, other months I might just have to do free traffic methods).
So 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. If you don't make money back from your Ads spend initially, there's a higher chance you can make that money back.
Another Benefit of Using Four Percent Group
People generally don't go online searching for software to purchase.
But a large number of people do go online searching for “how start an online business”, “how to do affiliate marketing”, “how to sell products online”, “how to make money online”….
While ClickFunnels is a tool that allows people to do all this stuff, it does not match what they are looking for. However a course that teaches people how to build an online business from scratch and how to earn an income online… does!
the Four Percent zero-to-$10k Challenge speaks more directly to this market.
Also, while FourPercent will promote Clickfunnels for you… you can also earn commission from Four Percent directly as an affiliate (since it's a clickbank product)!
Although I am not including the commissions earned from Four Percent in this case study, the extra commissions earned from it definitely helped offset my initial cost.
Almost like promoting 2 products in 1.
Why Can't I Send Traffic Straight To The Product?
Generally speaking, you don't want to send people straight to the product because there would be a disconnect between the prospects “search intent” to the product.
People are usually go online for 3 x reasons.
1.) To be entertained
2.) To look for a specific product
3.) To solve a problem
If you are promoting a product that someone is looking for specifically... for example if someone types into Google “Gucci Ophidia Shoulder Bag”… or perhaps “men's black formal shoes”… or “round dinner bowls”… or “wireless headphones”…
… then this is when you could consider sending traffic straight to your product.
However, if you are selling digital products, or courses, or supplements, or software… people are usually not looking for a product, but searching to solve a problem.
If a person is asking themselves “how can I start a business online”… and you send them to ClickFunnels software… there will be a disconnect!
So what you want to do is send this person to a piece of content first… that might be “5 Steps to starting an Online Business from Scratch”… where step #3 might be building your online sales funnel, where you would then introduce or recommend ClickFunnels.
See how that works?
This way the content you create speaks directly to the conversation they are having inside their head… it solves their problem for them first, and offers the product as a suggested solution.
The content connects the users search intent with the product.
Usually what this means is higher conversions, and so more bang for your advertising dollars.
So the first step was finding a good product to promote, that actually provides real value to the customer, is at a fair price point and has a good compensation plan for the affiliate.
The second step was to create (or find) some good content that promotes the product.
The last and final step is just getting traffic.
But what is traffic… really?
Traffic is just getting ‘eyeballs' to your website, content or offers. It's ‘people' walking through your store to check out what you've got.
If you have good content, but no one actually lands on your page to see it… then it doesn't matter how good your content is or how much value you deliver, you can't possibly make sales.
Traffic is the lifeblood of your online business.
Here's a list of just some of the common traffic getting methods for getting people to your website or offers;
The trick is to only focus on one and do it till you “Master” it and make it profitable.
And remember, there are only really two types of traffic;
– Paid advertising: Get's fast results, but takes upfront investment
– Free Organic Traffic: Takes more time to build up your traffic flow (Takes Patience & Consistency) but there’s no investment (usually takes 3 weeks of daily consistent effort to break inertia and start getting results you can build on).
Pick one (or two) that is suited to you and your budget, MASTER them… and if you treat it like a skill that you need to practice and develop over time then you are setting a good expectation from the beginning.
So why is passive income so important to build when starting an online business… especially in the beginning?
Passive Income is ACCUMULATIVE Over Timer
It's just like renting out properties. One property will generate a certain amount of cash flow. Then to earn more, you would need to purchase more & more properties.
Promoting membership products is the same principle.
The more sales you make over time just keeps on building up your automated monthly pay check. Passive income is accumulative over time
If you’re going to go through the work & effort to create a site, create content, do social media marketing, review & promote products etc. then you definitely want to add ‘membership’ products to the mix.
Passive Income becomes your BASE-LINE
Every month, before you even get out of bed in the morning, there are expenses we have to meet. Rent, bills, phone, internet, food, fuel & transport, medical etc. These are baseline expenses.
They come in every month whether we like it or not… and whether we are ready for them or not.
Being able to setup a passive income means having a baseline for your income.
Every time you get out of bed, you know there is income coming in every month whether you go to work or not.
A consistent cash-flow can be considered your income baseline.
It's also security. If something happened in your life where you were injured, or let go from work… you know for certainty that $X amount of dollars will hit your bank account whether you show up or not.
It means never having to depend on someone else for an income.
I have no idea why they don't teach this in schools.
My personal belief is that each person should strive to create at least a certain degree of passive income as early as possible.
Passive Income Is CASHFLOW In Your Business
Every business needs cash-flow coming in that is pretty dependable & consistent month to month.
This allows you not to have to constantly be hustling so hard month to month just to keep generating a base line income.
It also frees up your time to focus on building and expanding your online business, like creating your own products or focusing on new launches.
This case study breaks down how I make my first ever sales online as an affiliate, by promoting membership products for recurring commissions.
Here's a summary of the steps I took to make my first passive income online as a beginner;
- Find ‘membership' style products to promote as an affiliate
- Create or find some content to promote the product
- Get traffic to your content or sales funnel
Summary of Results
After doing these steps, these are the results I got including what I had to invest to get them;
- Time cost = 1 afternoon creating a YouTube video (free)
- Time cost = Setting up Pay per Click ads on Bing
- Money cost = $469.53 up front on Bing Ads to Four Percent Group
- Initial ClickFunnels Sales = $235.20
- Monthly recurring affiliate commissions (ClickFunnels) = $235.20/mo
- This campaign earned over $2,000 up to 12 months later
In short, most of the effort or ‘work' I had to do to get this result was writing a few ads and creating a YouTube video.
The Lead Up
Just be aware that although It does sound quite easy, I did dedicate a lot of my time even before this learning how to use the Bing Ads platform, and learning how to record, edit and upload YouTube videos.
It's not necessarily hard, but it does take time & effort to learn.
And you have to be willing to make the sacrifices, and put in the effort.
Online marketing is a skill-set you have to learn and practice, and it's something you get better at with time and experience.
The beginning is always hardest
Your first results will always be the hardest.
But as you create more content, and build on your initial results, it does tend to snowball and accumulate slowly over time.
Also in the beginning chances are you will try a lot of things that won't work which can get frustrating. But once you finally find something that works… you will focus more on scaling that up.
And you will find that replicating your initial success will then be a lot easier, and your results will snowball.
You always want to look for leverage
Having ‘membership' or ‘subscription' products to promote as an affiliate is a great way to add leverage to your income.
You do the work up front, to set up ongoing payments. The income you create is accumulative… It comes in without you having to be there, you don't have to start from scratch each time.
Another form of leverage is using online content!
Once you create it It's out there working for you 24/7 even while you sleep. While you can only work so many hours in a day… with a video, blog, online sales funnel or ads running… these are all assets that can work for you 24/7 without you even having to be there.
Just another form of leverage.
Find something you are PASSIONATE about
Like any business, it will rarely be a smooth road. There will be bumps, and challenges along the way where the only way to overcome them is to rise to the challenge and meet them head on.
That's why it's so important to enjoy the process. And if you are dealing with a topic you are passionate about it will be that much more fulfilling,
So thanks for reading, and I hope this case study helped provide some ideas of what youcould do to start earning passive income online, and a fair expectation of what's involved in promoting products online.
Resources Used in this Case Study
Here are the resources used in this case study;
Thanks for reading!