I think there are a couple main reasons why the research aspect is so overlooked in affiliate marketing. The first reason is, people are just lazy. Most new affiliate marketers are only thinking about making money in the shortest period of time, so they simply choose a niche and build a site in their first day. Then, months go by with little to no website traffic and they proclaim that affiliate marketing no longer works. Considering affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar per year industry driving about 20% of all online sales, that of course isn’t true. Most people just don’t do the research necessary to truly find a profitable niche that is in demand without too much competition.
Like any social media platform, increasing followers, views, engagement, and CTRs are a function of user activity. Posting at least once daily should be your goal. Using hashtags makes your content more discoverable. You should add ten to twenty hashtags to every post without appearing spammy. I have my hashtags ready to copy and paste in a memo on my phone. Check out your competition to understand what hashtags they use and discover the most popular hashtags with a tool like RiteTag. You might also like to read Hootsuite’s The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Use Hashtags and The Complete Instagram Hashtag Guide. Lastly, you might want to buy followers or use marketing automation and bots to attract people to your profile. For differing opinions on these topics, search for “buying IG followers, “IG bots,” and “IG automation.”
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.
Something to not overlook also is Pinterest, on almost all of my popular posts I spend the time to make a Pinterest specific image for them. If you don't know how to use Adobe Photoshop you can use a free online tool like Canva to create images. There are also plenty of WordPress plugins that add pin buttons to your blog as well. There are plenty of ways you can use Pinterest to drive traffic, see more tips on Buffer's blog.

The best way to find suitable brands to promote is by simply using a search engine using: '[Brand] + Affiliate Program'. Some companies run in-house affiliate programs however, this is a very specialist area. Therefore, most companies opt to employ an 'affiliate network' which has already built a large base of affiliates and gained years of experience in running successful programs for clients.
In this video, I explain why Amazon Affiliate Marketing is best for beginners, and how to get into the industry. The reason why I love this program so much is because it has much lower competition overall, and you don't have to "sell" people on things. Amazon's powerhouse strategy does all the lifting for you. I also reveal some tips you can use to increase your conversion rates with your affiliate websites.
A lot of people don’t realize this, but you can’t just become an affiliate – it’s a process that requires an application. Even once you’re part of an affiliate network, you’ll still need to apply for individual brands within those networks. There are times when you’ll be declined… usually there’s a reason why (lol like that time I applied to hundreds of clothing retailers in anticipation for all the packing lists that I still have not written). Other times, you’ll feel like a good fit and they’ll reject you anyway. That’s the way this cookie crumbles, so remember to put a little effort into your applications and really pick companies that fit your blog.

Long-term success depends on doing two things well: building content that delivers value to readers and using that content to market affiliate products to convert those readers into buyers. There are many different types of content and affiliate link combinations you can try, and Amazon Associates reports and Google Analytics both help you measure success and fine-tune your efforts.

I live in Jamaica and I’ve tried and become miserably frustrated with affiliate marketing. “They” always made it seem so easy yet it can be quite an uphill struggle. I’m quite fascinated with the prospect of making passive income especially after earning my first $20 (which i still havent collected lol) and Your post has been very informative and encouraging; Thank you. I’m definitely gonna get that course you recommend when I begin again. Thanks a million for being so real and all the best with blog!


Okay, I’ll be honest, when I first started out, I found it surprisingly difficult to understand how to even generate links (and deep links). For a while, I legitimately thought I was stupid. In hindsight, stupidity may have been a small part of the cause, but the truth is the process is actually pretty confusing. SO, I’ve written some pretty boring (though helpful) step-by-steps on how to generate links on a few common programs and affiliate networks… So, for my fellow life-dummies, here’s:
I am creating this comment now in Jan 2018 . Not sure if this comment section on Amazon is still active since the above blog post is dated in Sept 2017. Things seem to change fast these days. Just noticed a post in a recent facebook group that Amazon affiliates program is now requiring applicants to have a fully developed website before you will be approved with Amazon affiliates program. The only other way is to have a facebook group with sufficient following. Hmmm! Any truth to this facebook post and/or comment on this matter would be appreciated

Can you spot influencers? Do some Google searches for terms or keywords related to your topic. Do many blogs or informational content appear in the search results? Do these blogs seem to have authority? Are the readers engaged and commenting on posts or does there seem to be a strong social following? Strong engagement or following tells you there is an audience for the topic. Note the blogs and social influencers within your topic, and jot down what you like about them or feel is missing from their content. This research will come in handy later as you plan your content.
When you do use affiliate links on a page, be transparent about it. This isn’t a choice if you’re in the United States, by the way. The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, requires you to provide a clear disclosure when receiving money in exchange for promoting a product. Providing a disclosure is as simple as inserting the following message at the top of every post and page that contains an affiliate link:
Affiliate marketing is when you promote other people’s products and services, earning a small cut of the revenue for every resulting sale made. It’s incredibly popular, with 81% of surveyed brands using affiliate marketing in one study. And the benefits of tapping into this market are numerous. It’s a largely passive income stream, for example, and has a low barrier to entry.
Español: iniciar un negocio de marketing de afiliados, Português: Iniciar um Negócio em Marketing de Afiliados, Italiano: Iniziare un Business di Affiliato Marketing, Русский: зарабатывать на партнерском маркетинге, Deutsch: Ein Affiliate Marketing Geschäft beginnen, Français: se lancer dans le markéting d'affiliation, Bahasa Indonesia: Memulai Bisnis Pemasaran Afiliasi, Nederlands: Een affiliate marketing bedrijf beginnen, العربية: إنشاء شركة تسويق بالعمولة

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):

This is especially important when you consider intent. If you use a hashtag like #instantpot when promoting the Instant Pot in an Instagram recipe post, there’s a good chance you’ll get exposure to fellow Instant Pot affiliates or people who own Instant Pots already. It's fine to include it, so long as it's just one in a long list of more relevant hashtags.

Two-tier programs exist in the minority of affiliate programs; most are simply one-tier. Referral programs beyond two-tier resemble multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing but are different: Multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing associations tend to have more complex commission requirements/qualifications than standard affiliate programs.[citation needed]
John Holloway uses Amazon affiliate links exclusively on his Guitar Lessons website. He advises beginning bloggers to “try different things and see what works best. Some best practices to start with are image links, in-text links and even product comparison tables with links,” says Holloway. “Just make sure that the linking is natural and not overdone or you run the risk of driving visitors away.”
Ask for VIP (sometimes called “tiered”) commissions. Many affiliate programs have different commission levels. Usually the standard commission level is made public, but higher commissions are offered to higher performing affiliates. Sometimes you may be bumped up to “VIP affiliate” status by the advertiser, but most times you have to ask if there’s a higher tier and how you can get there.
On Instagram, hashtags are your best friend. They’ll put your post in front of thousands more people. That will earn you more followers, and, hopefully, more sales. Make sure you add relevant hashtags to all posts promoting the product or service. Going back to our health food blogger example, she might add hashtags like #healthyliving and #cleaneating to her affiliate posts.
I just LOVE your writing style, Christina! I recently purchased the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course, but have yet to really dig in. I had NO idea all of those crazy complications with Amazon! I’ve already been rejected once 😛 But luckily, though my ego was bruised, I pressed on and am now on round 2 (with no success so far..lol) Hopefully with this post and the course I will make something in the next 90 days!

Virtual store pages: An affiliate virtual storefront lists products on your website just like a standard ecommerce store, but the “buy” button sends shoppers to the affiliate partner site to complete the purchase. You create this using a product feed that you populate with affiliate items, and then insert as a page into your website. Most affiliate marketplaces offer this feature. You can also use an affiliate storefront WordPress plug-in like WooZone to build a store using Amazon products.
What kind of commission do they offer? One-time commissions or recurring commissions? For example, many programs pay you one time for sending a customer. On the other hand, some programs like membership sites or SaaS (software as a service) programs will pay you a commission as long as the person you referred is a paying customer. Recurring commissions are great when you can find them!

I would have one partner create a separate page/contact form specifically for the advertiser – so only people who see that contact form are people who were referred to by the advertiser. The advertiser would use that page as their outbound link. I know you can track outbound clicks in Google Analytics events and Contact Form conversions (usually through most contact form plugins) but that is the best way I think. Never done it, but this is how I see most affiliate programs like that work.
As you might already know, Instagram has made it possible and easy to switch between your personal and business accounts. Setting up a business profile has a number of advantages. It allows you to get access to real-time analytics and view the engagement metrics on particular posts. Users, in turn, can reach out to you by tapping the Contact button and taking a specific action afterwards, like making a call or sending you an email. In 2016, Instagram rolled out a new option for business accounts – Instagram for Business. It’s a great way to put the promoted product in front of your target audience in a few simple steps. Upgrade your business profile to Instagram for Business. Create a compelling, eye-catching post featuring the product. Select the target audience, budget, promotional content, CTA, and duration of the promotion. Once it’s done, you will see the button “Promote” under your post and be able to start running your ad on Instagram!
I would have one partner create a separate page/contact form specifically for the advertiser – so only people who see that contact form are people who were referred to by the advertiser. The advertiser would use that page as their outbound link. I know you can track outbound clicks in Google Analytics events and Contact Form conversions (usually through most contact form plugins) but that is the best way I think. Never done it, but this is how I see most affiliate programs like that work.
Creating a blog is also a great idea to along with your products. Not only does it give you the ability to showcase your products, but it keeps your readers up to date with upcoming products, promotions, descriptive posts, social media sharing, email list building, etc. Here is a FREE 7-Day email course on how to start a profitable blog if you are interested.
×