1 in 3 Americans reported starting a side hustle in 2020, during a time when the Economic Outlook reported employment numbers wouldn’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. During most of 2020, people were forced inside, and one of our only outlets for social connection was the internet. The steady rise and interest in online side hustles prove that people want financial freedom, time freedom, and location freedom. As proof, this year, 24 percent of Americans from that same survey wish to start their side hustle. They say that it’s a way to earn passive income or diversify their income potential.
One side hustle that’s thriving: affiliate marketing. “As long as you have a computer and an internet connection, affiliate marketing requires no money or experience to get started,” says Digistore24’s US VP of Sales, Meghan Damico. Digistore24 is an automated reseller and affiliate marketing platform where vendors can automate sales, sell products, and connect with an extensive, trusted affiliates network.
Damico’s business partner and the VP of Marketing at Digistore24, Ryan Alarid, believe affiliate marketing benefits both the affiliate and the online business. Together, they grew Digistore24’s revenue from $2 Million to $66 Million in less than a year.
“With affiliate marketing, it’s as simple as taking an established brand or product and promoting it to your audience,” says Alarid. “It’s less risk for the company, and the content is more authentic because the affiliate is motivated to create great posts that make their audience want to buy the product.”
Consumers spent $861 billion online in 2020, a 44 percent increase from 2019. With the rise of influencers and social media platforms, affiliate marketing has quickly become one of the largest online income sources right now.
To succeed in affiliate marketing, Damico recommends three easy steps: choose the right social media platform, select a niche, and promote the products.
Step 1: Choose the Right Social Media Platform
Start on a social media platform that best fits your audience and your content. Facebook has one of the largest breadth and depth across age groups, but if you promote products that would look more visually appealing in photos, you might want to choose Instagram. If the products you’re promoting are perfect for Gen-Z’ers, then TikTok may be your best avenue.
Step 2: Select a Niche Authentic to Your Personal Brand
Damico advises that when deciding what type of products to promote, think about your passions. Affiliate marketing should fit naturally and authentically into the social media content you already create.
“You want to be genuine to your followers, and that means you have to stay true to yourself with your social media content,” says Damico. “Your following will be more connected to you when you’re promoting products that would add value to their lives.”
Step 3: Promote Products and Earn Money
“Fringe” products or those off the beaten path are perfect to start. These products often come from smaller brands. With the businesses that Damico has worked with, they’ve told her that they prefer working with affiliates who authentically love their products and have a genuine following, even if it’s a smaller number.
Commissions for affiliate marketing can range from 5 to 100 percent, whereas influencers typically earn a fixed amount for each post and content must adhere to standards. According to Damico, affiliate marketers have more flexibility with their content and more creative freedom.
And Damico says the opportunities are endless. “When you’re ready to level up, you can start capturing emails and use email marketing to earn even more as an affiliate marketer.”