If you’re scratching your head wondering what affiliate marketing is, no worries! I, too, had never heard of affiliate marketing until about 9 months ago. Now, it’s one of my main sources of income. In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is when you promote the products of other companies to earn a commission on sales. Let’s say you love MAC Cosmetics and run a makeup blog. You can sign up for MAC’s affiliate program and get a unique link you’ll use to promote your favorite foundations, brushes, lipsticks, and so on. If someone purchases some lipsticks through your link, you earn a percentage of the sale. Affiliate commissions typically range between 3%-40%.
One great traffic driver for me has been my new Travel Resources page. I put it up less than a month ago, created some pretty pins for it and it has done superbly well on StumbleUpon and Pinterest (racking up over 1.5k repins). This boost in traffic has helped substantially increase my conversions for Amazon, which was not a huge earner for me before. So, traffic + affiliate links = happy money dance.
Can you name 30 products related to your topic? If you know your topic well, you should be able to list 30 or so related or complementary products or services. Can you? If you can, great. There’s a good chance you’ll find affiliate partners that sell products that you can promote in your content. If you can’t name 30 related products off the top of your head, your topic may not have much profit potential.
Your customers' photos: Linked to this is the use of User Generated Content on your account. Get customers to share their images of your products and re-gram (download "Repost for Instagram" app to repost your customers' photos). This is a proven successful method of selling and would make a great addition to your account. It also calls for you to start up your own unique hashtag which you can then promote to all your customers: it’s a seriously slick way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. For example, White Castle asks their customers to use #MyCrave to their photos. Now when they see them using that hashtag, they can repost (or regram) their photos to their Instagram account. Here's an example:
Being open and upfront about earning affiliate commission is another way not to appear pushy or as if you’re just trying to make a sale. This very useful and informative post contained a number of affiliate links and were I to want to buy one of those products or services mentioned, I would actively seek out this post and buy it through Sean as a way of saying thank you for such top information.
There are countless mediums that you can deliver valuable content to your audience. You can use your blog. If you don't have a blog (which is a big mistake by the way), you can use social media, content marketing, video tutorials, infographics and so on and so forth. But your primary channel to deliver long-form value is going to be your blog. Start building a blog early and stay consistent with it.
Do your due diligence and research your potential partner. Do any red flags pop up when you Google their name? Is there bad buzz around them in their specific niche? Do they play well with other Influencers and/or brands? This is important because the minute you attach your brand to a bad Influencer, it may take a long time for your reputation to recover.
Many affiliate programs will often run promotions with good discounts or giveaways that might be attractive to your audience. For example, if you're an Amazon Associate and the site have a big Holiday Sale, it would be the perfect opportunity for you to promote discounts to your website visitors. This is a great way to promote your offers while also providing good value to your audience.
In addition, you should always know who you’re getting your information from. There are far too many “guru’s” out there who really have no idea what they are talking about. When you sign up for your free account, you’ll be learning directly from Mark Ling and Simon Slade who are both affiliate marketing MILLIONAIRES. They’ve also helped to hand select some other successful affiliate marketers for their training videos. About a year ago, I had my own free training videos right here on this site, but I realized after a while that I just can’t create the type of quality training that Mark Ling and his crew have already put together and continuously update.
Just like a real-world funnel, a sales funnel acts similarly. It funnels down visitors through several stages before they become buyers. The way Henry explains it, if you're not creating an emotional attachment during each stage of that funnel, then you're largely wasting your time. It has to start from the very beginning, and it has to carry out all the way to beyond the purchase.
Pins with affiliate links should have an FTC-compliant disclosure that makes it clear that purchases made through that pin will result in compensation to the original pinner. Publishers should also confirm that the advertisers they’re working with allow their affiliate links to be posted to social networks so they don’t violate the program terms within that relationship. It’s best to read and follow Pinterest’s Acceptable Use Policy.
While Google has been the key driver of organic traffic and sales for affiliate marketers over the years, most now realize and understand the importance of Email Marketing in this business. Without a good email marketing strategy, relying on just Google is not the best strategy according to masters of the trade. That’s why we feature this all important course created by Bryan Guerra in this list. Having taught more than 80,000 students online, Bryan is the best guy to spill the beans on this subject. Let us find out what his course is all about.
Tip #3 is to consistently post valuable content to your followers. Now valuable content will be different in each niche, but a good rule of thumb is to post inspiring, helpful, informative or motivational pictures and videos at least once a day. If you’re struggling to come with ideas on what to post just go look at what other influencers in your niche are posting, and post similar content. Of course you’ll want to make it unique, but looking at other accounts is a good way to figure out what type of posts the people in your niche respond to the most. An important thing for to mention here is to avoid making your account a pitch fest. Of course your goal is to get people to click the links in your bio, but if you make every other post about an offer or a link all your going to do is piss people off, and ultimately lose followers. I’ve found that one promotional post per week is the sweet spot to not piss off your followers, but make sure they know you have an offer out there.
Along with that, Amazon is a complete SELLING MACHINE! What I mean by that, is they have drilled their conversion rates down to the last detail. Typically I can convert traffic I send to Amazon from my affiliate sites around 12%. The reason why it works so well is that the moment people land on Amazon, they are automatically switched into "buyer mode". Meaning, they know the only thing left for them to do is BUY. What that means, is all you have to do is get people to Amazon's site, and they literally do the selling for you.
Affiliate marketing is also called "performance marketing", in reference to how sales employees are typically being compensated. Such employees are typically paid a commission for each sale they close, and sometimes are paid performance incentives for exceeding objectives. Affiliates are not employed by the advertiser whose products or services they promote, but the compensation models applied to affiliate marketing are very similar to the ones used for people in the advertisers' internal sales department.
You can also insert all types of Amazon affiliate ad banners and buttons for seasonal and holiday specials, shopping events like back-to-school and many other niche-targeted promotions like crafting, kitchen, tech and plenty more. If you insert a banner for a seasonal event but forget to change it out when the promotion is over, Amazon has you covered. Amazon will update any expired banners automatically with standard promotions, so you aren’t left with a blank spot on your site.
I have a blog post on my website called How To Make Money On Pinterest With Affiliate Links. Very quickly it became one of my most popular posts and I found myself getting countless emails from readers that wanted to learn more. In the summer of 2017, I sent a poll to my audience about what course they would be interested in me creating next and the Pinterest affiliate marketing topic won by a landslide.
Since the emergence of affiliate marketing, there has been little control over affiliate activity. Unscrupulous affiliates have used spam, false advertising, forced clicks (to get tracking cookies set on users' computers), adware, and other methods to drive traffic to their sponsors. Although many affiliate programs have terms of service that contain rules against spam, this marketing method has historically proven to attract abuse from spammers.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products, tools, services and learning resources I’ve personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can’t afford or that you’re not yet ready to implement.
Since you’re essentially a freelancer, you get ultimate independence in setting your own goals, redirecting your path when you feel so inclined, choosing the products that interest you, and even determining your own hours. This convenience means you can diversify your portfolio if you like or focus solely on simple and straightforward campaigns. You’ll also be free from company restrictions and regulations as well as ill-performing teams.
The products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough.
Outsourcing is so crucially important because that is how you will take your affiliate marketing business from just a small business that makes you a few extra bucks per month to a 5 or 6 figure monster that earns you a passive income. While one site is being outsourced and making you money, you can build a second one. While those two are outsourced and making you money, you can build a third one, and so on. So many new affiliate marketers take their first commission checks and just spend in on themselves. If they re-invested that into outsourcing instead, the returns would be much bigger. My business didn’t truly start taking off until I learned about the power of outsourcing.
While affiliate marketing is nothing new in principle, it is fairly new to the world of Instagram. In many ways, the pairing is a match made in heaven. Instagram followers are more likely to engage with branded content than other social media users. Instagram celebrities from Kim Kardashian to the Beauty Boys have garnered millions of loyal followers thanks to influencer strategies that tell consistently compelling stories.
What I love about affiliate marketing is it is so easy to get started! You don’t have to have a huge audience and you don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of hours creating your own products. Plus, for a lot of people, it is a natural fit. Think of how many times a month you refer a friend to a great place to eat, a life-saving toy, or your favorite new mascara. If you are already doing that, chances are you will rock at affiliate marketing.
Think of it this way – if you were about to open a restaurant, wouldn’t you do some research before quitting your day job and investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into it? Of course you would! You would research the best location, the best type of food to serve, how much you’ll have to pay employees, where you’ll source ingredients from, what type of tables and furniture to use, the best ovens and equipment for the kitchen, and all sorts of stuff. If you just “wing it” and open a restaurant without doing any research first, you’ll most likely fail. While affiliate marketing can be started part-time and without much capital, the same holds true. If you don’t research and plan, you will fail.
Tip #1 Post links to your landing pages and websites within your stories. Now before you get all like, but I need to have like 10,000 followers to be able do that. Let me give you a strategy to help get you there ASAP. The strategy I prefer for getting 10,000 followers takes a little longer than follow/unfollow, but it gets high quality active followers, and that’s Gary Vee’s $1.80 strategy. Basically with this strategy you search up 10 hashtags in your niche and and leave your 2 cents, AKA a comment on the top 9 posts for each hashtag. I highly recommend doing this over the follow, unfollow method because you can really build a strong connection which of course is great for sales, but if you’re a little more impatient feel free to do the follow, unfollow method with an app like captivate to speed up the process.
If you are a music lover, it would be a good idea to promote it over books and even other products. All you need to do is listen to clips of a full album within a short period, say 10 minutes, get a good feel of it without you purchasing it and do a short review. If there is another niche you are passionate about, make sure you get a unique discovery about it. Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of reviews about these products all over the web but you need to make yours more unique to attract people to your site.
For a beginner, this book is perfect. You'll discover the ways in which one can start making money online through affiliate marketing, everything that you'll need to begin, products you can start to affiliate for right away, ways to grow your traffic, and other ways one is able to utilize all the available information to you on the web to be able to make sure your affiliating business is competitive with that of your competition. The author adds a nice little addition to the book that isn't found in most and that is, a multiple choice question review page(s) after each chapter for one to make sure that they obtained all the vital information within each section before progressing onward.
On the other hand: the main reason of bankruptcy for small businesses is bad financial management. Simply said: to forget to make invoices, not checking the payments and not following bad payers. 1 out of 3 is going bankrupt for this reason alone. I had to learn it myself. I spend at least 10% of my time with financial stuff. I don’t love it but the bills get payed ;-)
2nd tier. If you are an affiliate for a particular program and you refer others to sign up for that affiliate program, a 2nd tier program will pay you when the affiliates you referred make sales. For example, I am an affiliate for Ultimate Bundles. If you join their affiliate program via my 2nd tier affiliate link here. I will get a small percentage of any sales you make going forward.
This is insanely helpful, thank you! I’m so excited to read the e-book guide on affiliate programs. My blog is still a baby so I’m working so hard to learn as much as I possibly can as consistently as I can. Abby, you have given so much advice in your posts that I have turned to while getting my blog going. Thank you so much for the advice, for exposing your readers to new bloggers with guest posts, and for always producing great content and great resources. You are AWESOMENESS!
There is no shortage of products you’ll be able to promote. You’ll have the ability to pick and choose products that you personally believe in, so make sure that your campaigns center around truly valuable products that consumers will enjoy. You’ll achieve an impressive conversion rate while simultaneously establishing the reliability of your personal brand.
Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The email they sent to affiliates said, "We have received feedback from associates that the advertising fee structure could be made clearer, especially with respect to understanding which products are in fixed-fee categories and which products are in tiered-fee categories. These changes simplify the fee structure, clearly defining the advertising fees you can earn by referring traffic to Amazon."
You can create a free account and get an overview of the dashboard and access some initial knowledge without any payment. However, live events, research features, and the level 2 - level 5 series of courses, walking you through the process of creating and growing a business within the niche that you want, are limited to premium members. Membership costs $19 a month, or is priced at an individual rate. But it’s absolutely worth it when you take it seriously and want to invest in yourself.
Great article as it gets me thinking about the various ways to monetize my sites. With that said, my biggest hurdle has been how to get started building traffic. You see articles all over the net talking about massive traffic techniques, but I’ve never really found a guide for a fresh blog/website and how to get to their first 100, 500, or 1,000 daily uniques. Of course writing consistent quality content is key, but writing alone an audience does not make. Any tips or articles to point us to? Thanks again Sean!
I personally prefer to do it that way--you can create a more convincing review that's more likely to make sales. It's not always possible or practical, though; for example, would you break up with your significant other just to test a product for getting your ex back? ;-) In cases like that, or if the product is expensive, it's usually best just to use the vendor's affiliate resources instead.
Very useful info, and thanks for the heads-up about Etsy not allowing affiliate links on Pinterest! Have you ever tried advertising on Pinterest, i.e. paying Pinterest to promote your pins? I was wondering if that could be lucrative with affiliate marketing, where the margins are always lower than when you have your own product to sell. I’m also wondering if it would be lucrative to advertise on Google, Facebook and Youtube (found this guy who supposedly made a lot of money that way – https://moneytestimonials.com/crestani-free-webinar/ ). I’ll probably do my own experiments with this but if you have experience in this area I’d be very interested to hear about it!