How to Use a Marketing Funnel and Email to Build Passive Affiliate Income (Free Checklist)


Want to make a passive income with affiliate marketing but don’t want to blog? You can use a marketing funnel and email system to build a passive income with affiliate marketing instead.

Why is affiliate marketing so great?

  1. You don’t have to create or deliver a product or service.
  2. It is 100% flexible. You can build affiliate income around a job, children, or whatever else you’re going in your life.
  3. It’s free. While there are aspect of affiliate marketing that might cost money, most programs are free to join.
  4. It’s portable. Do you want to live in your RV roaming the country? Maybe you want to move to an island in the Caribbean. As long as you have Internet access, you can build affiliate income.
  5. You can do it as your sole income or use it as an add-on to existing income. For example, if you provide a service or are a coach, you can add affiliate products to recommend to your clients.
  6. It’s passive. That’s not to say you can set it and forget it, but many forms of affiliate marketing can keep working for you even after you create it.

If affiliate marketing is so great, why don’t more people do it?

I think the question isn’t actually why more people don’t do it, but instead it’s “why aren’t more people successful at it?” One of the problems is that many of the gimmicks around affiliate marketing is that it’s easy and doesn’t require much work. Just share an affiliate link and get rich. The truth is that like any other income option you pursue, it takes a plan and work. However, once you have a plan and use systems, you can build an affiliate income to make extra money or a living.

Because so many people “try” affiliate marketing without really learning about it, they often don’t have the results they want, and they give up. (See below for a free affiliate marketing training to help you get the information you need).

How do Super Affiliates make money?

There are many ways to promote affiliate programs, but the two I know most of my successful friends use are blogging/email or marketing funnel/email marketing. Why do these methods work best?

  1. They offer a single hub to which people can come to learn about you and your affiliate offers.
  2. They create opportunities to bring people back to you again and again, and therefore sell again and again.
  3. They allow you to build a relationship with people, which is crucial if they’re going to trust the product/services you’re recommending to them.

I’ve used blogging and email to build my affiliate income since the late 1990s. However, over the last year, I’ve begun moving more towards a funnel/email system and here’s why.

A marketing funnel/email system is:

  • Faster and easier to set up than a blog.
  • It’s easier to maintain.
  • While it still requires content for maximum profits, it’s easier to write and post content in an email than on a blog that requires graphics, categories, SEO, etc.
  • Depending on your affiliate niche, and the number of emails you set up in advance, it’s possible you can create a full system that will run automatically, becoming a true passive income source.

There is a downside to the marketing funnel/email system for affiliate, which includes:

  • It’s harder to promote a marketing funnel than a blog. New content on a blog offers continuous reasons to share on social media etc. But funnels don’t change much (unless you add a blog to them, which defeats the purpose here), so you have to find other ways to market your funnel.

How does the Marketing Funnel/Email Affiliate Marketing system work?

At it’s essence, the funnel/email system involves 4 basic components:

  • Lead magnet: Free offer (i.e. a report, checklist, video tutorial, webinar, etc) to entice people give their email.
  • Opt-in Page: Where people sign up to get the free offer.
  • Thank you Page: The page people are taken to after they sign up for your free offer. Here they’re told to check their email to confirm and/or receive their free offer.
  • Email follow up system: This is where you provide a newsletter, ecourse, or information, as well as your affiliate offers

Some funnels have more pages. For example, you can have an affiliate offer on the thank you page. You can give new subscribers the option to decline that offer, which can take them to another page that has a different, perhaps less expensive affiliate offer.

Note that this funnel system is just for affiliate marketing. If you’re selling your own products, you can have all sorts of other pages such as an upsell product, downsell product, etc. And of course, you can combine the two: provide your own product and promote affiliate products.


Steps to Building Your Marketing Funnel and Email for Passive Affiliate Income

Below you’ll get details on building a funnel to promote affiliate programs. Be sure to grab the Affiliate Income Funnel checklist as well.

  1. Pick a niche topic you want to cover in your lead magnet and email. If you like gardening, you might decide to start a gardening newsletter and offer a free seasonal gardening chart. If you know how to coupon, you might offer a daily or weekly deals newsletter, with a lead magnet of an ecourse on how to save using coupons.
  2. Research the popularity of your topic. YOu don’t want to waste time and money on promoting products/services that don’t sell. You can use keyword tools such as SEO Toolbook to see how many people search for information and help on your niche topic idea.
  3. Check affiliate resources for products and services you can promote in your lead magnet and/or email. Find a way to save this information, such as through a spreadsheet, Evernote or some place you can access the information whenever you want to promote a product.
  4. Create your lead magnet. It doesn’t have to fancy, but it does need to offer enough value that people will want to join your list to get it. The best lead magnets offer tangible advice, solve a problem, or make life easier (i.e. checklists). Some ideas include a report, checklist, video tutorial, cheat sheets, swipe file, and more. If you don’t want to make it yourself, consider hiring someone at Fiverr or buy PLR content to revamp.
  5. Decide your email strategy. Will you start with an ecourse or simply deliver the lead magnet. What email will send after that? A weekly newsletter? A daily deal or tip. Make sure your strategy isn’t all about selling or your subscribers will leave your list. You also don’t want to email too much.
  6. Draw your funnel system. It’s easier to understand and implement any website by sketching it out. Your basic system might look like: Affiliate Marketing Funnel/Email System
  7. Decide where you’ll host your funnel. There are WordPress plugins and themes that can create a funnel type system for you. I finally decided to move all mine to ClickFunnels (get a free ClickFunnel trial here) because it’s easy to use and I don’t have to maintain the system like I do with my blogs and other sites on traditional hosting.
  8. Buy a domain name. I buy all mine at GoDaddy, but you have other options.
  9. Integrate your domain with your host. Your domain registrar and hosting service will have information on how to connect your domain name to your host.
  10. Upload your magnet online. If you’re going to build your site, your host can store it for you. ClickFunnels (which I use) can store lead magnet files, as well.
  11. Sign up for email services. I’ve used Aweber forever. For the features and cost, I think it’s great and most resources include Aweber integration with their services. There are others that are free to start out, but might cost more in the long run as your list grows. Plus you want to check that you can integrate the list service with the host you’re using (for LeadPages and ClickFunnels). For my Clickfunnel funnels, I’ve upgraded to use their Etison Suite that includes email list management, except for Digital Writer Success (which is with Aweber).
  12. Add your welcome and other follow up emails to your email service. Be sure to include the link to your free offer in the Welcome email. If you’re doing a newsletter, you can use the email blast or broadcast of your email service to send them. But if you have other automatic emails (such as ecourse or information), you can set those up to follow the welcome email.
  13. Build your funnel. The basic affiliate funnel just needs two pages: 1) the lead magnet optin, and 2) the thank you page. Here is what the Digital Writer Success optin page looks like (it was built using ClickFunnels.) Here is the optin page to sign up for WAHS .Digital Writer Success Optin Page
  14. Test your system. Once you have everything set up, make sure it works. Visit your lead magnet optin page and sign up for your free offer. Does the the system take you to the thank you page when you sign up? Do the links on your thank you page work? Does your email get added to the list (do you receive the confirmation and/or first email in your series)? Does the link in your welcome email deliver the lead magnet?
  15. Promote your funnel. In order to make money from your list, you need to build it. You start filling your funnel through marketing. There are many different things you can do to market your lead magnet including social media, Facebook and other ads, writing guest posts for other blogs, and more. You can see a host of marketing articles to get ideas and details here. If you want to work less, ads are your best option as long as you make sure they’re delivering results. But if you want free, social media, guest writing, being interviewed on podcasts or web shows, etc are great options. Just make sure you understand who the best fit for your offer is geared to and reach out to them. If you’re promoting coupons, you’d want to market to people who use coupons.

For more detailed information, check out ClickFunnel’s FREE Affiliate Bootcamp. It’s a complete course that will give everything you need to understand affiliate marketing using a funnel by helping you actually set up a funnel promoting ClickFunnels (you don’t necessarily have to join ClickFunnels to promote them).  The sales page might be a bit hypy, but I’ve gone through the extensive course, and the content is good.

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