Clearly, the temptation of becoming a digital nomad and traveling the world, or simply working from home on your own schedule, was born well before Tim Ferris's iconic, 4-Hour Work Week. However, for most who are drawn into this life replete with the potential for unapologetic income and wealth, coupled with the ability to call their own shots and build a business around an intended lifestyle, affiliate marketing offers a cliched pathway to riches beyond measure.
The idea of making money while you sleep is nothing new. Passive income has been a popular buzzword for the past couple of years. One way to generate such passive income is with affiliate marketing. If you want to earn money but don't have anything to sell, affiliate income comes into play and can leave you making some pretty decent change each month.
On the technology-focused forum Hacker News, a user who goes by "graeme" pointed out, "This is likely to have a massive [e]ffect on the blog/article review ecosystem. Most of the review sites that exist today only do so because of [A]mazon's fairly generous programs. I expect in aggregate there will be a shift in what lines of business people decide to get into, based on this." A user called "sharkweek" said that "[a]s an Amazon affiliate who has done quite well with it, this is definitely a gutting." The mood is equally grim on a subreddit for people building affiliate websites.
Rizzo adds, “roundup lists can also rank higher in Google search results because they tend to be more specific. In other words, don’t do a post entitled ‘Best Laptop Computer’ because you will be competing with some of the largest websites out there such as CNET, PC Magazine and so on and will have a difficult time getting traffic,” says Rizzo. “Instead, think about deeper pieces of content like ‘Best Security Camera System for Small Businesses,’ which has fewer searches but far less competition.”
Ah, my favourite section. SO, by now, you guys should know that I hate crappy advice. Wellll, I feel like the Internet really let me down with affiliate marketing, because there’s so many small considerations and details that people rarely mention in the beginner guides. SO, here are some sad truths to be wary of (that I had to learn the hard way):
Thanks Nathalie! And glad to see you came over from AONC 🙂 When done the right way I think affiliate links in context are much less intrusive and offensive than having ads on your sidebar. The average non-tech reader probably wont even know its an affiliate link anyway. So just by doing everything you’ve already been doing, you can switch out links, and probably make a nice side income!
If you are interested in learning the process behind building a WordPress website then you should look at Learn how to Build High Quality Affiliate Websites. This will help you not just learn how to promote but also get you going with setting up the wordpress website and then promote relevant products. Andrew’s course is a Bestselling Course and we have no doubts why. The following pointers should help you make up your mind. Think of this program like going to affiliate marketing school.
This is crucial! Do NOT save your affiliate pins, or any pins for that matter, to generic, all-niche boards. You’d confuse Pinterest. When you share a new pin, the Pinterest algorithm goes to work to figure out what that pin is about. It determines this based on the image, keywords, and the boards where the pin is saved. If you want to learn the ins and outs of how the Pinterest Algorithm works, there’s no better course than Pinteresting Strategies. Mommy blogger, Carly Campbell, walks you through how she went from 0-200k page views a month by mastering the Pinterest algorithm and manual pinning.
Don’t just hope and pray that visitors will buy; setup everything correctly and make it happen! If you think that visitors will click on your affiliate links and buy just because you placed dozens of affiliate links on your website then you are wrong! You need to have a structured plan in place. Affiliate marketing is a business so you will have a much better chance of succeeding if you treat it like one.
However, as I stated before, the single best source of highly targeted website traffic is from search engines. For that reason, you will wan to pay particular attention to these training videos covering SEO (search engine optimization). That’s where you’ll learn all about how to rank your website at the top of certain search phrases deliberately. You get to pick and choose what you rank for if you follow those steps.
You create an account with one (or both) of these services and provide information about your business as well as your payment information so you can receive payouts for commissions. Once you’re all set up, you can browse each service’s advertiser library and apply for various affiliate programs. You can see the dashboard displays the commission rates each advertiser offers. Payment is handled by the service themselves, so you won’t need to send and keep track of invoices.
The affiliate companies you’ll be signing up with have powerful website creation tools that can get you up and running in no time, although a big part of the reason it can set up so fast is because it’s based heavily on some basic templates. As such, while you can move things around and change the icons and images to emphasize your chosen interest, you may still feel like the website has a certain generic quality to it. That may not bother you at all, but it’s something you’re free to change if you know html code. Learning how to start affiliate marketing also means learning how to build a website.
It’s important to do some research into both your potential Influencer and their followers to see if this affiliate partnership is a good fit. While there’s no need to go over-board and nit-pick every single post, scrolling through and reading the comments on a few dozen will give you a good sense of whether this Influencer is right for your business.
You can promote Amazon products as part of your other business offerings to create an additional income stream. Whether you sell a product or service, chances are their are products and services your customers and clients can benefit from sold on Amazon. For example, if you're a business coach that has found increased productivity with a Bullet Journal, you can promote dotted-page notebooks.
Are there related affiliate partners? Remember that list of 30 products mentioned above? You need to see if you can find companies, called affiliate partners, which will pay you to promote those types of products through your blog content. Researching this up front is a key factor in deciding if your niche can be profitable. We’ll explore ways to find affiliate partners in Step Two below.
Shopping on Instagram allows brands to add shoppable tags to their images. As you can see from the image above, these tags contain a product’s name and price. However, if Instagrammers click on a tag, extra information about this product will be displayed on their screen. Importantly, and super excitingly for eCommerce stores, a View on Website call to action button will also be displayed with the extra product info. This button will link directly to the product page on the brand’s online shop.
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.
Thats a great point, and I’ve definitely seen my fair share of those “how to start a blog” posts. That’s always been a good fit for people at Location 180, and if they do a good job on the post (truly make it useful) that’s one that doesnt bother me as much – solely because I know how valuable starting a blog can be for your life and goals. So if it’s some personal finance blogger that creates one and you start a blog from that by following their tutorial – all the better!
In the past, bloggers could only promote affiliate products via Pinterest indirectly by linking to a blog post that contained affiliate links. But now, if you are a blogger who has already joined affiliate programs for your favorite retailers in your niche, you can now share your affiliate links directly on Pinterest. That means that instead of creating a post to drive readers to, you can now pin and image of a product you love with your affiliate link on Pinterest. You can see an example of one of my “affiliate pins” below.
There is serious competition in the affiliate marketing sphere. You’ll want to make sure you stay on top of any new trends to ensure you remain competitive. Additionally, you’ll likely be able to benefit from at least a few of the new marketing techniques that are constantly being created. Be sure you’re keeping up to date on all these new strategies to guarantee that your conversion rates, and therefore revenue, will be as high as possible.
Instead, he focused solely on one platform. When that platform fizzled out, he lost his foundation and his footing as an affiliate marketer. He was unable to reach the people who had once been visiting his website because he was now nowhere to be found. Had he diversified, he wouldn't have gone through the massive pain related to that ranking change.
Some commentators originally suggested that affiliate links work best in the context of the information contained within the website itself. For instance, if a website contains information pertaining to publishing a website, an affiliate link leading to a merchant's internet service provider (ISP) within that website's content would be appropriate. If a website contains information pertaining to sports, an affiliate link leading to a sporting goods website may work well within the context of the articles and information about sports. The goal, in this case, is to publish quality information on the website and provide context-oriented links to related merchant's websites.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect on May 25, 2018, is a set of regulations governing the use of personal data across the EU. This is forcing some affiliates to obtain user data through opt-in consent (updated privacy policies and cookie notices), even if they are not located in the European Union. This new regulation should also remind you to follow FTC guidelines and clearly disclose that you receive affiliate commissions from your recommendations.
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.
Process-specific tutorials: You can also provide your readers with an in-depth process tutorial. For example, a DIY blog could write a tutorial blog post on “How to refinish an antique dresser” or a food-based blogger could describe “How to can your own tomatoes.” In each of these, all of the products you need to accomplish these outcomes would be links to Amazon.
The tips mentioned above covers the bulk about how profitable affiliate sites are set up nowadays. If you’re familiar with building sites and a bit of SEO, then this affiliate marketing guide should put you on the right path. However, if you want a more comprehensive guide to affiliate marketing, then you will need more than just free resources online to get a website up and running.
Review : I’m really happy that I bought this course. Theo was so informative and had really good explanations. I loved how she walked us through setting up our blog step by step which really helped me and also motivated me to get it done. It made starting my blog less overwhelming for me to see her steps on Word Press. She was very thorough and I feel a lot better about it now. She even is responsive on the Facebook group. Would definitely recommend this course! If anything could be changed, I would just want to see even more steps on the word press side as far as physically setting things up. Thanks for a great course Theo! – Jamie Banks
Shopping on Instagram has been around for about a year, but has been reserved only for select businesses based in the US. However, in March 2018, Instagram rolled out Shopping on Instagram across the globe. This feature is now available for 45+ countries and counting. It is also accessible to any business or influencer who has an Instagram Business account (although you will first need to get your account approved for shopping).
Since the introduction of Instagram stories was released in November 2016, it has become incredibly popular as a peek into the day to day lives of some of the most popular Instagrammers out there. Anything that gets posted lasts for just 24 hours. @sheshopped posted about creating pretty ice cubes for her Marks and Spencer Australia photo shoot the next day. This lets people know to expect something new on your Instagram the next day to highlight that brand and piques people’s curiosity.
Amazon’s affiliate program is the most popular of them all. I don’t participate myself (yet) but the majority of affiliate marketers I know use Amazon because… it’s Amazon. You can review products you have used or write tutorials (eg. how to connect computer to TV) and drop an affiliate link to an HDMI cable… just a couple examples. You may want to build relationships with the manufacturers so you can get products before they’re released – giving you time to create a review before the product is launched and capture sales during peak buying times.
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!
Thanks for reading, Charmaine! I’m not sure about Hong Kong-specific affiliate programs, but what I would say is that most retailers do have an affiliate program in place, so if there’s a particular HK brand or company you use a lot, Google their name + affiliate program to see if they have one. Besides that, the ones I suggested are open to you regardless of where you’re from!
In addition to Amazon’s clear commitment to conversion rates (read: probable sh*tloads of testing), the extreme growth of Amazon Prime. Estimates from top firms calculated Amazon has between 65 and 80 million prime subscribers in early 2017, which is up from about 54 million just a year earlier. The huge boost in Prime subscriptions has apparently had a massive impact on conversions.
James Goodwillie of the blog One To Multi agrees. “I’ve been an Amazon Associate from day one, and it’s the number-one way I monetize my content. I’ve found that things like big sections of product image links are too much and scare away users,” says Goodwillie. “Adding affiliate links for product pictures or any text where I mention the product is the method that works the best for my site.”
Hi Tasha and Abby, very intersting post . Tasha, I’ve noticed that you’re using Amazon links too. Doesn’t Amazon only allow affiliate links on your own website? No social networks, no emails, no ebooks, no nothing else… I’m not a native English speaker, so maybe I misunderstood the terms (they are complicated as hell for me). But good to know that with a less strict company it’s possible to use affiliate links on Pinterest too. Thank you for the info!
Some advertisers offer multi-tier programs that distribute commission into a hierarchical referral network of sign-ups and sub-partners. In practical terms, publisher "A" signs up to the program with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the agreed activity conducted by a referred visitor. If publisher "A" attracts publishers "B" and "C" to sign up for the same program using his sign-up code, all future activities performed by publishers "B" and "C" will result in additional commission (at a lower rate) for publisher "A".
The same holds true for video ads. As Mediakix reports, sponsored videos are commented on three times more than sponsored photos. Once uploaded, your post will be labeled ‘Sponsored’ and will show up in the news feed of those users who fit the profile to be the most interested in your offer. This way, Instagram aims to preserve the seamless look and feel of the feed, so that users are more willing to engage 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.
Plus, it can be especially tempting this time of year to “catch the wave” of holiday shopping excitement and—as we talked about earlier—start promoting products you don’t know well and haven’t even used personally. While that may lead to some extra sales in the short term, in the long run you risk your audience’s trust by promoting products you don’t know and can’t stand behind.
hey sean, am a newbie who is so ethusistic about online marketing. great post , i must commend , it came in handy. through your post i clearly understand that an affiliate mustr have a website and a blog as a platform for promoting the good and services. here the thing with me , i dont have either of them and am asking ….. is it advisable for me to delve in affilate marketing peradventure i get a blog running now …?
Amazing and thorough breakdown of how it all works! Thank you so much for sharing! a group of 3 friends myself + 2 are about to start affiliate marketing together. Since many advertising rules have changed with affiliate marketing (facebook ads etc.) and many articles have not been updated since, weʻd love any advice or suggestions you have for 2018!
Cost per click was more common in the early days of affiliate marketing but has diminished in use over time due to click fraud issues very similar to the click fraud issues modern search engines are facing today. Contextual advertising programs are not considered in the statistic pertaining to the diminished use of cost per click, as it is uncertain if contextual advertising can be considered affiliate marketing.
I would like to add that for information products, a lot of the time it’s pretty easy to rank for “information product review”. I recently did a review of a popular ebook that is a month long discipline program. I went about it by doing the actual program and documenting everything. At the end of the month I wrote up a 2700 word article summing up the whole experience.
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.
Second, you need to nurture your email list. Michelle didn’t even start an email list until she had been blogging for 2-3 years and only began focusing heavily on it last year. Those email subscribers are your loyal followers, your tribe. They are the ones who want what you have to offer and will become your customers when you are ready to sell something, whether that’s through creating a product or through affiliates.