There’s a popular saying among affiliate marketers and that saying is “content is king.” Content is truly the lifeblood of any affiliate marketing business. So far, everything you have had to learn has actually been relatively easy. Learning how the affiliate marketing industry works is easy to understand once it’s explained to you. Doing market research is easy if you know what to look for. Creating a website is SUPER easy. Writing hundreds of pages of content? Not so easy.
Once you’ve chosen your interest and you’ve create a website where you can write about it, the next step is to pick out the affiliate programs that will advertise on your site. It’s tough to start affiliate marketing without a monetization plan! With over a million products and services to pick from, you’re bound to find something related to your interests, so feel free to go crazy with ideas like underwater basket weaving and scuba lessons if your interests lie with the ocean, or organic food and organic conditioners if you prefer to discuss how to stay beautiful with only organic plant extracts.
The moment you step into the world of affiliate marketing, the key skill needed to make you succeed is expertise in digital marketing. While it may take some time for you to figure out whether email marketing works for you, or is it SEO, it is a good idea to begin by knowing all fields of digital marketing and then deep diving into one particular subject. You will learn about topics including Facebook Marketing, Twitter Advertising, Quora Marketing, Google Adwords, Google Analytics and even EMail Marketing, SEO Fundamentals as well as WordPress.
Your first instinct may be to seek out companies who pay the highest commissions or join affiliate programs other bloggers in your niche are finding success in, but these methods are ill advised. There is so much more going on with a blog that earns thousands upon thousands in affiliate revenue on a month-to-month basis than placing a few affiliate links here and there.
Create an Engaged Community – An engaged community, that comment on, like, and share your posts is key to becoming a successful influencer. To create this type of community you will need to put in the work – constantly and consistently post high-quality images that interest and inspire your audience, ask questions, respond to comments, and become a well-known figure within your niche.
Okay, so far we’ve talked about some of the key strategies for success as an Amazon affiliate, focused mostly on the positives—the what to dos—along with a few things to avoid. Now let’s talk about a few more things on the negative side of the equation: the practices you need to avoid if you want to grow your affiliate income (and yes, avoid getting in trouble with Amazon).
If you want to jumpstart your success: I really do recommend enrolling in Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. It has helped me SO much in terms of starting out and getting in the right mindset for affiliate marketing. The Facebook group is amazingly helpful, and I have heard great feedback from blogger friends who have taken it based on my recommendation. If you are a beginner, this course will definitely help you. To sweeten the deal, I’ll throw in a copy of my Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers eBook for free if you buy the course from my affiliate link. Remember, there’s a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, so there’s no harm in giving it a try.
I stumble upon a roadblock signing up as an affiliate for Amazon. On step 3 they ask for a number for verification. They are restricted from making calls to the Phils for verification. I thought of using a Google voice number (US based). Will that help? I don’t want to try until I am sure for fear of getting rejected even before I start. Or what do you suggest? I tried a live chat with Amazon and all the CS said was yeah no call verification for a Philippine number. appreciate your help. Thank you.
That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!
I have started looking at affiliate networks and finding products to promote that way. Also going to try to utilize a Youtube channel with promotion, as well as some paid advertising. It all works with the right amount of patience. I do have an Amazon Affiliate account that I can link too, but diversifing and learning to branch out is key. Truthfully I do not think the Amazon associate program is all that newbie friendly.
Engage with your followers: You cannot expect all interaction to come directly to you. Make time every single day to engage with your followers or anyone involved in your industry by commenting on and liking images. If you communicate with authentic content, people will be drawn to check out your account and, hopefully, join your loyal rank of followers.
But I think the biggest deciding factor in this, goes back to the site as a whole and all of the other posts. Are the genuine? Is the blogger constantly trying to push products? I’d like to think I’ve been doing this long enough that my audience knows I’m not out to make a quick buck – and I think even relatively new bloggers can prove this based on their other content.
Let’s say I save the affiliate pin for my favorite Pinterest affiliate marketing course to a general group board called ‘Bloggers Share Your Best Pins.’ In the group board, there are pins about parenting, DIY, recipes, fashion, weight loss, and all sorts of topics. Because the board is a free-for-all, there are no relevant keywords for, well, any topic. How is the Pinterest algorithm supposed to determine that my pin is about affiliate marketing? Sometimes you have to put yourself in the Pinterest algorithm’s shoes, as strange as that sounds. How can you make its job easier? Signal exactly what your pin is about by using the right keywords and posting ONLY to relevant boards.

Promote products at various price points. Even the little products (like Amazon ebooks) add up. If there is a truly useful product on the pricier side, it can still be worth the promotion even if only a few people buy it. If you’ve used a product of exceptional quality and it’s a good investment, or if it’s a product that’s unique, specialized or one-of-a-kind, go for it.
Side note – If you do have a blog, just about any and everything that you use on your blog (hosting, themes, plugins, etc) has an affiliate program so apply to them!  You can also check out my List of Awesome Affiliate Programs which includes everything I use on my own blogs and more!  Even if you don't “blog” about those things, you can use them for Pinterest!
In the past, large affiliates were the mainstay, as catch-all coupon and media sites gave traffic to hundreds or thousands of advertisers. This is not so much the case anymore. With consumers using long-tail keywords and searching for very specific products and services, influencers can leverage their hyper-focused niche for affiliate marketing success. Influencers may not send advertisers huge amounts of traffic, but the audience they do send is credible, targeted, and has higher conversion rates. 
Finally it’s possible to find out what your audience wants. There’s no need to go outside and ask pedestrians for their opinion. With a recently launched interactive poll sticker, which is part of the Instagram Stories, it’s way easier. Want to collect feedback on the promoted product or gather more ideas from the audience? Create a survey in one tap! Ask a question and give two answers to choose from. Check out the statistics to see the votes. The poll will last for 24 hours. If needed, fine-tune your affiliate marketing campaign according to the results obtained.
Great post, Sean! I have been using Adsense for the most part for two years now and each year, due to great content, my income has doubled. Thanks for all the great content, and this is sure to open my eyes a bit more to the likes of Amazon, which, I will admit, I have been ignoring due to the way they treat their affiliates. But, maybe it’s just me being a turd….
SEO: getting consistent traffic by writing AWESOME content about your keywords (there’s a phrase “length is strength” in SEO and this paid off big time for me). Maybe you’re doing videos or an eCourse, but I found blog posts WAY easier to update which means less maintenance. The biggest factor by FAR was the time I spent meticulously creating my tutorials… which eventually resulted in a sudden 3x increase in SEO traffic
These days, you have the best programmers in the world creating what are called Content Management Systems (CMS) that will build awesome looking websites for FREE. For example, this website is based on the WordPress platform. I did pay about $50 for a premium design, but other than that, I don’t have to know any computer code at all and either do you.
Today on the show, I’m talking with Michelle from Making Sense of Cents. Michelle and her husband sold their house in July of 2015 and now travel full-time in their RV. Some of their more recent adventures include a 2-week sailing trip to explore the possibility of sailing full-time in the future. Michelle is a blogger who shares income reports on her blog. If you take a look at her latest Income report, you will see that she earned over $100,000 on her blog in the month of August alone, while working less than 10 hours per week. That’s how she can afford to travel full-time.
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