In this article, I am going to be looking at Affiliate Marketing for retirees and whether it is something retirees, or soon-to-be retirees, should consider as a means of increasing their retirement income.
I will explain what Affiliate Marketing is and how it works in practice. I will then consider the pros and cons of affiliate marketing from the unique perspective of retirees in order that you can make your own determination whether it would be a good choice for you.
What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does it Work?
In its simplest form, A helps B sell something to C and in return A receives a payment from B.
Today, most affiliate marketing is done online. Expanding on the previous example, A (an affiliate marketer) promotes (markets) some products of B (an online merchant) on A‘s website. C (a potential customer) visits A‘s website, sees the products, and then goes to B‘s website and purchases one or more of those products. B then pays A a commission.
This is how the process works in practice:
- The Affiliate Marketer decides on the type of products he wants to promote.
- The Affiliate Marketer then decides how he is going to promote those products. This is most commonly done on a website set up by the Affiliate Marketer specifically for this purpose but he could also choose to promote through, for example, email campaigns or YouTube videos. He just needs some medium to present the products to potential purchasers.
- The Affiliate Marketer then identifies and approaches online Merchants that sell the products he wants to promote and joins the Merchant’s Affiliate Program. As part of that process, the Affiliate Marketer is given a unique code by the Merchant.
- The Affiliate Marketer then promotes the products on his website, YouTube videos, email campaigns, etc. attaching to them a link containing that unique code provided by the Merchant.
- When a ‘customer’ (whether it be a visitor to the website, a viewer of the YouTube video, or a recipient of the email campaign) clicks on that link he is taken immediately to the merchant’s website where he purchases the product(s) directly from the merchant.
- Through the unique code mentioned in 4. above, the merchant identifies the Affiliate Marketer as the person responsible for the sale and pays him the pre-agreed commission.
Can You Really Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?
Yes, you can, and here’s the proof.
What do You Need to Become an Affiliate Marketer?
Please note. Because websites are still the most common marketing medium chosen by Affiliate Marketers I am going to refer to websites only (as opposed to other marketing mediums, such as YouTube videos, email campaigns, etc.) for the remainder of this article. Having said that, most of what I say will apply equally to those other mediums, it is just the initial set up that will be different.
To become an affiliate marketer you will need the following:
You are going to need content for your website, and lots of it. You will also need to maintain, and make changes to, your website. While it is theoretically possible to do this on a smartphone, the reality is that they are just too small for these purposes and lack the functionality of a computer. A tablet can work and is certainly better than a smartphone, but for all-around versatility and ease of use, a computer is by far the best option. Because Colette and I travel a lot, we use a laptop, and that works great for us, but a desktop works just as well and has the option of a much larger screen.
By this, I mean an understanding of how online marketing works and what you have to do to be successful at it. If you are already experienced in this area then that’s great but most of us are going to need some help and guidance. You can gain this knowledge from books (there are, literally, thousands out there) but the problem here is the lack of support. No matter how thorough the book, you are always going to have questions.
In my opinion, the best way to gain the necessary knowledge is through an online training program and, again, there are many such programs out there. The main problem here is that the quality of these programs varies considerably and you also have to be wary of outright scams.
A good training program will not only offer thorough, step-by-step training, but also excellent 24/7 support. After a great deal of research, Colette and I chose to do our training with Wealthy Affiliate and we haven’t looked back since.
Your Own Website
This can be purchased ready-made but we recommend building it yourself. This will not only save you a great deal of money but it will ensure that the finished website is tailored to your specific needs and matches your initial vision.
Now, constructing your own website is likely going to sound a little scary, particularly if, like me, your online experience is limited. In reality, and with modern technology, it is very simple. Many of the affiliate marketing online training programs lead you through the process. With Wealthy Affiliate, for example, once you have your domain name (which you can purchase directly through Wealthy Affiliate) you can actually create your website in about 30 seconds.
An Idea of What Your Website is Going to be About
This is also referred to as your ‘niche’ and it is what is going to drive the content on your website. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of potential niches available, all you have to do is choose the one that best suits you. For most of us that will be a subject or field that we are knowledgeable in and/or passionate about.
Let’s say you are an amateur competitive cyclist and have been so since you were a teenager. Based on your accumulated knowledge and experience you could likely write endless articles (posts) on a wide variety of related topics such as the latest equipment innovations, training techniques, even dietary recommendations. This, then, would be a very good niche for your website. You could then promote a very extensive range of products on your website from cycling clothing, cycle parts, training videos, to competition-quality bicycles.
Preparedness to Write Content
It is the content (the articles or posts) on your website that is going to bring the visitors there and who will ultimately be purchasing the products you are promoting. There is no getting around this. As you gain experience, you can consider having others write content for you but this is very much a two-edged sword (not to mention expensive) and you definitely need to be writing your own content, at least in the beginning.
You do not have to be a great writer to write ‘great’ content. If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, let me explain what I mean. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so your writing only has to be ‘great’ in the eyes of the reader. To achieve this you should write as though you were actually having a conversation with your reader. Just keep it interesting and on point and you will do fine.
One or More Online Merchant’s With an Affiliate Program in Place
Before you commit to a particular niche, and get your website up and running, you will need to make sure there are merchants out there who are not only selling the products you would like to promote but who actually have an operating Affiliate Program. This is relatively easy to do and is typically done by searching online through Google or one of the other search engines. As an alternative, the ever-innovative Wealthy Affiliate recently introduced an Affiliate Program Search feature which allows you to search for Affiliate programs and products from within the Wealthy Affiliate platform itself.
Affiliate Marketing is not an overnight, get-rich-quick, scheme and so be very, very wary of anyone, or any program, who tells you to the contrary. You can actually get set up as an Affiliate Marketer quite quickly but it will then take time for your website to gain sufficient authority in the online search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) and for the visitors to your site (traffic) to reach sufficient numbers that you will start to see significant sales. How long this takes will depend upon a number of factors, principal among which will be the quality and quantity of content that you write and the other things you do to improve your standing within the search engines, also known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
What Are the Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing?
- Start a business with little to no capital outlay – all you need is a computer
- You are your own boss
- Very low operating costs
- No prior marketing or technical skills required although some training is recommended
- Can be done in your spare time so, if you are not yet retired, you can get your Affiliate Marketing business up and running while you still have a steady income coming in from your 9-5 job
- Work from anywhere that has an internet connection
- Requires no physical effort beyond operating a computer
- Set your own hours – the internet never sleeps
- Make money when you are sleeping (passive income)
- No upper limit on the money you can make
- You are involved in something that you are passionate about or, at least, have a great interest in (your niche)
- While making money you are also helping people
- Great opportunity for a couple to work together
- Requires a lot of time and effort, especially in the beginning
- No guarantee of income
- Successfully working for yourself from home actually requires far more discipline than working for others
- It’s hard work
Why is Affiliate Marketing Good for Retirees?
For most of us, as we approach or enter retirement, the thought of being able to take things a little easier is very welcoming. Even if we know we are going to need an additional income source we certainly don’t want that to involve working horrendous hours and, likely, don’t want the work to be too physical either. We have worked hard all our lives and would now like to slow down the pace a little and allow a little more time for other interests that have been difficult or impossible to pursue previously.
Affiliate Marketing will involve some hard work, particularly as you get started, be under no illusions about that. But if you know, and accept, that you are going to need to work at something wouldn’t you prefer it to be in your own home or some other location of your choice? Wouldn’t you prefer to be your own boss and set your own hours while working at something you enjoy? Does it appeal to you that you can get started with no prior experience, virtually no capital set-up costs, and minimal operating costs? If so, Affiliate Marketing could be a great choice for you as a means of creating additional income for your retirement.
Some Final Thoughts
My goal in writing this article was to get you thinking about whether Affiliate Marketing is something you should be at least considering. I wanted to let you know what it is about and what is involved in getting started. I could have made this article three or four times longer than it is but I did not want to overwhelm you with information, particularly if this is a totally new concept to you. If I have succeeded in my goal then I realize you will more than likely have many questions and if you do, then please send them to me via the comments box below and I will respond as quickly as possible. If you prefer to keep your question private then email me from our Contact Us page.
For more information on our recommended training program please see my Review of Wealthy Affiliate.
Still a little skeptical of whether it’s possible to make money with affiliate marketing? If you would like to see some real-life examples of people who are succeeding with Affiliate Marketing you can read this.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you would like to see some other ideas on how to create extra income for your retirement then please take a look at Colette’s article, Money Making Ideas for Retirees.
Wishing you happiness and success.