Who are the most successful affiliate marketers? If you are thinking of getting started in this multi-billion dollar industry, learning from the top affiliate marketers is the best way to get a head start and improve your chances of success.
According to Statista, the total amount spent on affiliate marketing in the U.S alone is expected to reach $8.2 billion by 2022. And some of the top affiliate marketers are making up to $2.1 million in passive income a year.
But don’t worry, the industry’s growth shows no sign of stopping and you can still get a piece of the money pie.
As a beginner, one of the best steps you can take is to learn from those who have already “made it” and try to follow their strategies.
So here’s a list of the top affiliate marketers you should learn from to succeed with affiliate marketing in 2021 (and beyond).
Top Affiliate Marketers
1. Pat Flynn
Pat Flynn is seen as one of the top affiliate marketers online. He’s an author, blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, and an all-around online business guy. He runs the popular Smart Passive Income blog and podcast.
In 2008, Pat created his first site and launched his online business after he was fired from his work.
As soon as his site took off, he got offered to sell an ebook on his site as an affiliate and made some commissions off it.
After working on his site for one and a half years, he earned his first big income through affiliate marketing (and other channels) in November 2008 which was up to $8,000.
In 2013, he grew his online income from $8,000 to more than $50,000.
Pat Flynn is open about what he’s doing and even provides full detail of his monthly affiliate income from 2008 till date.
His prolific leadership and business ethic are also worth mentioning. If you’re an affiliate marketer, Pat Flynn’s advice is that you need to be focused to know how best you can serve your audience with real value.
I’ll highly recommend you to check out his website and read more about his journey and success in affiliate marketing.
He has a blog where he talks not only about affiliate marketing but other online business ventures.
Also, you could check out his podcast about online business and passive income with over 400 episodes.
2. David Sharpe
David Sharpe is a self-confessed ex-drug addict, now multiple 8-figure earner and the founder of Legendary Marketer, a company that now helps beginners to start their own affiliate marketing business from scratch using the same strategies that helped David make more than 200 million dollars in revenue online.
Leveraging the internet, Legendary Marketer aims to help anyone learn how to become successful entrepreneurs and online business owners from anywhere in the world.
They do this by giving you robust training courses and personalized virtual coaching from top experts so you can succeed with your online business.
David Sharpe also hosts powerful masterminds where you can learn from top entrepreneurs.
His signature training, the 15-day challenge has helped as helped countless aspiring digital marketers become successful 7 and 8 figure earners.
The training was free at the beginning but due to the overwhelming demand, they increased the price to $7 just to cover the costs and make sure only people who are truly interested and ready, sign up. You can check it out here.
3. Neil Patel
You might not want to consider Neil Patel as a conventional affiliate marketer, but the truth is he is close to it and has succeeded in affiliate marketing.
Neil Patel is a successful online entrepreneur and has been recognized by top organizations including the New York Times, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, United Nations, and even the ex-US President Obama.
Neil started his first company, called Crazy Egg a long time ago and wanted to sell it for $10 million but couldn’t get anyone interested and ready to pay for it.
Then, he sought to make Crazy Egg profitable as a business venture and eventually succeeded.
Neil Patel went on to build a new company called KISSmetrics (a company similar to Google Analytics) and has invested a lot in making this new venture a 100 million dollar company.
On Neil Patel’s site, you’ll learn how to be successful in affiliate marketing and access useful tools and resources for your journey as an affiliate marketer.
4. Zac Johnson
Zac Johnson is a top affiliate marketer and has been on this journey for over 22 years, with the Amazon Affiliate Program.
He built his brand, launched his blog, promoted affiliate products, and made affiliate product sales in 2007.
Over the years, Zac has consistently earned $100,000 every year without lifting a finger to create a product of his own.
He has worked on various aspects of online marketing including PPC marketing, email marketing, building niche sites, and creating digital products in the past 18 years.
As a piece of advice for affiliate marketer beginners, Zac says you should not give up in the face of failure. You should have thick skin and be ready to put in endless hours of work for no immediate return yet.
You can learn more about Zac Johnson through his blog.
5. Spencer Mecham
Spencer Mecham is the founder of Buildapreneur and one of the top leading affiliate marketers. He built his affiliate empire using mostly Youtube organic strategies and now teaches others how to do the same through his Affiliate Secrets which is now on the third version (Affiliate Secrets 3.0)
Spencer became widely popular after he became the first ClickFunnels affiliate to hit $1 million in affiliate commissions. As a result of this stride, he also became the first affiliate to join the ClickFunnels 2 Comma Club.
According to an interview by Access Wire, Spencer revealed that he started as an affiliate marketer in 2017 and over the years, has found massive success to be able to live the life he desires.
He says he has been able to build multiple, profitable (passive) sources of income to help him to retire early enough at the young age of 31.
On Buildapreneur, Spencer focuses on creating content and teaching about affiliate marketing, passive income sources, and how you can achieve the true financial freedom that you desire.
With these massive success results and learning resources, Spencer is undoubtedly one of the top names in the affiliate marketing world. Despite this, he remains accessible and down to earth and is active almost every day on his Facebook Group.
To learn more about Spencer, you can check his webinar where he shares how he went from broke and failing at different online businesses, to finally finding success with affiliate marketing
6. Shawn Collins
Since 1997, Shawn Collins has been in the marketing scene as a successful affiliate marketer with several active affiliate projects under his belt.
Initially, Shawn Collins worked in the publishing industry but wasn’t quite satisfied with his salary before he leaped into affiliate marketing.
After discovering the Amazon affiliate program in 1997, Shawn built his first affiliate site. This site was about things to do in New York City and was well monetized with Amazon.
Soon after then, he landed a job with a medical book company that had plans of starting their affiliate program to grow their business.
In 2003, Shawn Collins, along with Missy Ward, started Affiliate Summit on a cruise ship as an affiliate event company. And today, they have grown to be one of the biggest affiliate marketing event brands in the world.
With over a decade of affiliate management, Shawn is a thought leader in affiliate marketing, the Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit, the leading global affiliate marketing conference, and tradeshow.
He authored several books including “Affiliate Manager Boot Camp: Recruiting, Educating”, “Retaining Affiliates, Extra Money Answer” and “Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants”.
Plus, Shawn has been quoted and featured as a top affiliate marketer in several publications, including Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Internet Retailer, the New York Times, and Wall Street Journal.
To learn from Shawn, you can find his daily posts about affiliate marketing on Affiliate Tips.
And if you’re a fan of audio, you can listen to the weekly 7 Minutes in Affiliate Heaven podcast on GeekCast.FM in which Shawn is a co-host.
For young and beginner affiliate marketers, Shawns encourages you to follow your passion, find your voice, build a blog and start doing affiliate marketing.
You can read more about Shawn Collins on his blog.
7. Missy Ward
Missy Ward is a top affiliate marketer, a stay-at-home mom, and a philanthropist.
She started her career as an affiliate marketer while managing affiliate conferences for Affiliate Force.
Missy has spent over a decade in various companies not until she co-founded the Affiliate Summit, one of the leading global affiliate marketing conferences and trade shows in 2003.
Affiliate Summit is a company that helps solo entrepreneurs and large businesses to profit with affiliate marketing through conferences, trade shows, magazines, and more.
Missy Ward strongly believes that affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
She advises that there’s no fool-proof way of doing affiliate marketing and that you should start on your own (with your blog or newsletter) without waiting for companies or PR agencies to reach out.
You can learn more about Missy Ward on her site where she talks about herself, Affiliate Summit, and her business partner, Shawn Collins.
8. Finch Sells
Finch Sells (or Martin Osborn, as his parents called him) is a high school dropout and successful online business owner who made a fortune from the internet. He is one of the top affiliate marketers to follow today.
At the young age of 12, Finch started posting on various forums online. And at 16, he had learned to create and monetize his forum.
His journey into the affiliate marketing industry began with Clickbank, where he started selling learning kits.
Not quite long after then, Finch discovered CPA marketing, went into it, and skyrocketed his earnings.
Today, Finch runs his own company called Finch Media Ltd and he works with various clients and brands to build all kinds of affiliate campaigns and improve their conversion funnels.
He also runs his blog for over 8 years where he details his personal life, work, affiliate marketing and much more.
To be successful, Finch advises affiliate marketers to take risks, run affiliate campaigns, build sites, and just try enough things on their own.
To learn more about Finch Sells’s successes and follow his private and professional life, check out his blog.
9. Mark Ling
Mark Ling is a digital marketing expert, coach, affiliate marketer, and product developer.
He has been in the affiliate marketing game for over 20 years and made hundreds of millions in sales from affiliate marketing, becoming the best-selling ClickBank affiliate several times.
From his success with ClickBank, Mark Ling partnered with Simon Slade to start Affilorama.
Affilorama is an affiliate training program where you can learn how to earn income online through affiliate marketing (without having to set up a physical store).
In Affilorama, you get three offers to help you earn money online:
- Pathway to Passive (creating affiliate sites for passive income)
- AffiloTools (tools to track your affiliate site most important metrics and get reports)
- AffiloJetpack (resources you’ll need for marketing your affiliate offers)
And in 2019, Mark created an affiliate marketing course called Overnight Freedom.
He also released another one called Healthy Commissions in 2020. Healthy Commissions is focused on teaching you how to scale lucrative affiliate marketing businesses, leveraging the power of paid traffic.
The course will teach you how to promote and earn commissions on CPA, low ticket, recurring and high ticket affiliate products.
10. Doug Cunnington
Doug Cunnington is an online marketing consultant, project management professional, affiliate marketer and he loves building niche sites for profit.
He started his digital career by building Amazon Associate niche sites for himself and being successful at it.
Then, he went on to start the Niche Site Project to help others create profitable niche sites.
Before he attained success with niche sites, Doug has been a software engineer, a business consultant, software tester, and project manager.
He was working a 9 – 5 job in management consulting previously which he didn’t quite enjoy.
After being laid off in 2015, Doug built niche sites to earn a full-time income from affiliate marketing.
On his blog, Doug Cunnington writes on SEO, productivity, project management, and niche sites. He has been featured on various publications and blogs such as Niche Pursuits, Ahrefs, Empire Flippers, Side Hustle Nation, and more.
11. Darren Rowse
When it comes to blogging, Problogger is well-known in that space. Darren Rowse, who is the person behind Problogger, is an inspirational personality in the blogging and affiliate marketing industry.
He started his blogging career in 2002 and launched Problogger which was his main shot to fame in 2004.
Problogger is a widely popular site for bloggers and affiliate marketers to learn how to make profits online with various marketing strategies.
The blog is reported to have over 7,000 tutorials and articles with over 30,000 unique blog visitors per day.
Darren Rowse also runs the successful Digital Photography School site, which is his second blog.
He has been successful as an affiliate marketer for a long time and has earned a ton of money from promoting mainly Amazon products on his blogs.
Over the years, he has risen to become one of the few authority figures in the world of blogging and a top affiliate marketer worth following and learning from.
12. John Chow
Popularly regarded as the original Dot Com Mogul, John Chow is an author, blogger, affiliate marketer, speaker, and online entrepreneur.
He went into the blogging scene a long time ago and built his blog from zero to over $40,000 per month in just two years (while working only 2 hours a day).
Today, John runs one of the biggest blogs in the world, raking in over 200,000 active daily blog readers.
That’s not all. He also achieved massive success as an affiliate marketer (with his blog) and was awarded “Best Marketing Affiliate Blog” at the 2012 Affiliate Marketing Awards.
John Chow is the author of several books including “Blogging Secrets and Make Money Online: Roadmap of a Dot Com Mogul”, which peaked to #1 on Amazon during the first week of its release.
He has been featured in a ton of media publications like the New York Times, BC Business Magazine, Vancouver Sun, Entrepreneur Magazine, the Globe and Mail, and much more.
Also, he is the subject of a social media and blogging documentary for CBC television and has appeared on various radio and television shows, including The Lab with Leo Laporte and Global Morning News.
John Chow’s site is ranked #16 on the AdAge Power 150 list and #1 in the list of the Top 50 Canadian Internet Marketing blogs.
He is the founder and CEO of TTZ Media, Inc. and you can learn more about him on his blog.
13. Robby Blanchard
Robby Blanchard is a top ClickBank affiliate marketer and the creator of Commission Hero.
He grew up in a small town in Massachusetts and after graduating from Fitchburg State College, Robby opened a gym as a fitness enthusiast.
For a while, he struggled to get customers for his gym while using the “build it and they will come” ideology.
Later on, Robby took a serious interest in online marketing, started learning Facebook ads and using them to grow his gym business.
With that strategy, he got massive results that allowed him to grow his gym business into one of the most profitable in the country.
Owing to the success of his gym business with online marketing, Robby continued to learn more effective strategies and delved into affiliate marketing.
He then started promoting ClickBank products, made a ton of commissions, and even dominated affiliate contests with Facebook ads.
Now he runs Blanchard Media to help other online business owners in various industries execute innovative ad strategies to scale their traffic and sales.
To help others earn with affiliate marketing, he created the Commission Hero course.
This course details a simple 3-Step system to generate thousands of dollars every day online in the comfort of your home.
Robby Blanchard has been featured in top media outlets such as Entrepreneur Magazine, FOX, and The Wall Street Journal.
And you can follow him and learn from him via his site.
14. Jacob Caris
Jacob started building his online business empire in 2017 and has grown to be a 7-figure affiliate marketer.
He specializes in three online marketing models which include: high ticket affiliate marketing, premium-priced information marketing and coaching (& consulting).
Jacob is a multi-award-winning super affiliate worth following. He has helped hundreds of other affiliates achieve massive success with his flagship program, The Super Affiliate Accelerator.
The Super Affiliate Accelerator is a private online mastermind & training program that essentially teaches you how to build a profitable 6-figure online business, leveraging high ticket affiliate marketing.
As someone who has successfully built a 7-figure business leveraging tried & true practices, Jacob works with clients in various industries to effectively execute proven marketing strategies and grow their online businesses.
And if you’re a coach or consultant, you could work with Jacob and learn little-known strategies to charge high prices.
You can follow Jacob Caris and read more about him via his blog or join his Facebook group.
15. Andrew Payne
Andrew Payne is an affiliate with great expertise in paid and mobile ads. He originally entered the affiliate industry in 2007 and got into Adwords and performance marketing.
After several years of being a full-time affiliate, he founded a digital agency that helped B2B companies with their to generate leads and sales.
Later,iIn mid-2016, Andrew founded MobRev Media as a performance affiliate company focused on mobile, and more specifically pop and push traffic,
Andrew Payne and his team focus on things like antivirus, gaming offers, sometimes adult and glamour kind of offers, and some Sweepstakes campaigns as well.
His traffic has gone from zero to 7 figures. Payne even presented his biggest profit producing insights onstage at Affiliate World Europe 2019.
According to Andrew, the primary goal of an affiliate marketer should be to collect information that helps them determine how you can make your campaign profitable.
If you are interested in using ads, esoecially mobile and push notification you can find him more insights from Andrew on his affiliate blog, AffiliateSuccess.com.
Luke Kling is the PeerFly Affiliate Manager & Director of Marketing, Developer, and blogger.
He has been in the affiliate marketing game for over 7 years now, and started with XY7 (an affiliate network) where he worked as an affiliate manager while still in high school. He worked until his freshmen year of college when he decided to quit in order to focus more on school activities.
However, during his sophomore year of college, Luke realized he wouldn’t be able to pay his rent and school unless he increased his student loan or get a job. As increasing his loan was quite an unpleasant choice, he decided to go back to working for XY7 as affiliate manager.
He later joined Peerfly, one of the most successful networks in the industry. Luke claims to be working with 35,000+ people on the Peerfly network and help them monetize their traffic and helping them to make money online.
Main Blog: LukeKling.com
Why You Should Do Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing has seen an increasing trend over the years.
And with each day passing, a lot more people are becoming interested In promoting other products as an affiliate on the internet.
It’s a win-win, for both advertisers and affiliates as well. You, as the affiliate, sell products and earn commissions as a reward for your work.
While the advertiser, on the other hand, makes sales for his products easily without doing much active work.
Here’s are some reasons why I think you should get involved in affiliate marketing:
1. Work from anywhere in the world
As an affiliate marketer, you get to work remotely, from anywhere in the world. And you also decide when and where to work, becoming a full-fledged “digital nomad”.
There’s utmost freedom of time and location when you’re doing affiliate marketing.
It’s up to you to choose how, when and where to work. Affiliate marketing is flexible.
You don’t have a boss whom you’re reporting to and you’re your employer.
You can work from the comfort of your house and at night. All you need to work is a proper workspace and wifi connection.
2. Low barrier to entry
Getting started as an affiliate is easy. You only need to find the right affiliate programs, join the program and promote their products to make money.
It’s a much easier model to take part in as you are not involved in the product’s creation or delivery point.
3. It’s cheap to get started
And you also don’t need a huge chunk of money to start an affiliate marketing business.
Most affiliate programs that you’ll want to join are free of charge to register.
The only cost you’ll probably incur will be on your advertising methods (if you’re going to focus on paid ads).
4. You don’t need to create a product (or service)
As an affiliate marketer, you don’t have to go through the hassle of creating a product or service. The product you’re promoting will be created by the affiliate program.
So you have less active work to do on the product to make money.
5. Passive income opportunity
You can turn affiliate marketing into a real business venture that generates passive income for you.
If you desire to earn money while you sleep, affiliate marketing is a route to achieve that.
There are recurring affiliate programs that continually pay you money every month, for as long as your referrals stick with them.
So you need to be consistent to get substantial income from affiliate marketing without having to do a lot of active work.
6. Your earnings are unlimited
As an affiliate marketer, your earning potential is unlimited. You can go from earning hundreds of dollars to earning millions in affiliate revenue.
It’s all up to you to determine the amount you want to earn. As long as you’re ready to put in the work that’s needed to get to the desired income summit.
Top Affiliate Marketers FAQ
How much does the average affiliate marketer make?
Calculating how much affiliate marketers make on average is like trying to figure out the same for business owners. The income potential is unlimited and there are lots of factors that influence it like experience, time in the industry, and individual skills.
According to PayScale, the average income for affiliate marketers is $51,217. The bottom 10% of affiliate marketers making $37,000, and the top 10% making $71,000.
Glassdoor‘s statistic for affiliate marketers income puts potential annual earnings at $65,800, with the range between $42,000 at the low end, and $83,000 at the top end.
Finally, ZipRecruiter offers the highest forecast for affiliate marketers revenue at $154,700 a year, with a monthly income of $12,892, and a weekly average income of $2,975.
Regardless of which stats you go with, the income for affiliate marketers is promising even at the low end.
Is affiliate marketing still profitable 2020?
Considering that Affiliate Marketing is part of the sales strategies of 85% of companies, asking this question is like asking if businesses are still working. So, as long as we live in a capitalist system yes, affiliate marketing is still profitable.
A lot of people like to say it is “saturated” and they were probably said it 10 years ago and will keep saying it 10 years from now. In the meantime, there are new affiliates getting started and making money every day. So in my experience, that is just an excuse lazy people use to not put in the work.
Affiliate marketing is quickly becoming more essential as a lot of businesses are beginning to incorporate it in their overall marketing strategy.
To succeed in today’s affiliate marketing world, you need to learn from people who have succeeded in walking that path.
So go over this list of top affiliate marketers, follow them, visit their website, and get inspired.
Let me know if you have any comments below.