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!
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%.

Many Instagrammers use shortened link services such as Hootsuite (Ow.ly) and Bitly (Bit.ly). While shortened links are practical to use in posts and on other networks, I don’t recommend using one in your bio unless it’s consistent with everything else. Also, it helps if the link is customized or branded. For instance, an account for women’s shoes uses bit.ly/sixinchheels, which would be acceptable.
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.
For Dan Henry, the salient dream of living life and succeeding by marketing products or services as an affiliate wasn't just alive, it was lucid. Still, dream as he might, in 2011 Henry was still just a college dropout delivering pizzas door-to-door just to make a living. However, compelled by a nascent desire to live according to own terms, he knew that there was more to life than existing paycheck-to-paycheck.
Hey, thanks for the great post. I’ve been following Pat Flynn and love his “give and it shall be given unto you” attitude..my perception anyway. At 50, with a high school education, I’m trying to learn affiliate marketing from information online. What I’ve gleened so far is to focus on giving the best, most honest information, like your Parents would give you. In exchange for your efforts rewards will come.
For overall site performance tracking, including the number of visits, the most popular pages and how visitors interact with your website, you need to use Google Analytics. There is a learning curve to Google Analytics, but it’s well worth the time investment. Even with a basic understanding of Google Analytics, you can learn a lot about how your visitors interact with your site and which pages attract more readers than others.

Although it differs from spyware, adware often uses the same methods and technologies. Merchants initially were uninformed about adware, what impact it had, and how it could damage their brands. Affiliate marketers became aware of the issue much more quickly, especially because they noticed that adware often overwrites tracking cookies, thus resulting in a decline of commissions. Affiliates not employing adware felt that it was stealing commission from them. Adware often has no valuable purpose and rarely provides any useful content to the user, who is typically unaware that such software is installed on his/her computer.
Kate Ahl is the owner of Simple Pin Media. She helps bloggers and business owners manage their Pinterest page while teaching bloggers and online entrepreneurs how to use Pinterest to market their business. Her philosophy is simple, actionable and uses data based decisions to create the best Pinterest marketing strategy. She runs Simple Pin Media out of a She Shed in her garden, loves good cheese, great friends, and sparkly drinks.
Most successful affiliate marketers focus on a market or topic that they have knowledge of or are passionate about — preferably, both. Your niche market doesn’t have to have mass appeal and a huge audience either. As long as there’s some type of audience following the topic and products or services that relate to it, it has affiliate profit potential.
This is a very common way to promote offers. For example, you will often see a blog post with links to certain products or services. If the reader clicks through and makes a purchase, the blog owner will make a commission. These in-text links blend in with other content on your site and are a great way of promoting an offer within your content, without being over-the-top salesy with banners. 

I absolutely see the value in affiliate sales (and Pay Flynn is one of the masters at doing this authentically and openly), but I got really turned off it when I saw a lot of bloggers I read and respect writing junky “How to set up a blog” posts that didn’t seem relevant to their audiences purely so that the could get the sweet Bluehost commissions in.
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Now, truth be told, affiliate marketing does come with some costs. Fortunately, those costs are rather small when compared to starting other businesses. For example, if you want to succeed with affiliate marketing in the same way that I teach it, you’ll need a website. In order to have a website, you need to pay for “website hosting”. If you don’t know what website hosting is, don’t worry, we’ll get to that, but website hosting does cost a few bucks per month (generally under $10 / mo). If you have about $40 for startup costs and about $10 / mo for recurring expenses, this is entirely doable. There are many other optional expenses for affiliate marketing, which I will also get into, but those optional expenses are used more for speeding up the path to success (outsourcing, etc.) rather than a requirement for success. When I first started my affiliate marketing business, I had about $200 to my name.
With affiliate pins, I use both script fonts and cursive fonts. I tend to tell people to stay away from cursive fonts, but I make an exception with affiliate pins because they perform well. Before I post an affiliate pin, it goes through my ‘sister test.” It’s pretty simple – I just ask my sister, who wears glasses, whether she can read every single word.
The first mistake a lot of affiliate marketers make is that they register with too many different affiliate programs and try to promote everything. Pursuing affiliate marketing down this path can become very overwhelming and you won’t be able to promote any product properly. All you need in order to be successful is a handful of good products to promote. Try to understand the market needs and look for products that align correctly with the topic of your site.
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.
Clearly, knowing which pages are the most popular on your site is important to your affiliate monetization strategy. This data helps you target your affiliate efforts to the pages that already attract the most readers. Once those pages are well-monetized, you can look into improving the search results, reader interaction and monetization of less popular pages.

Amazon Kindle book authors: Every Amazon Kindle author should have an author website on WordPress to market their books and brand; you can list your own titles via Amazon affiliate links and earn an added 4 percent on top of your ebook royalty when titles sell; plus, you can earn even more by marketing Kindle devices and other items that might interest your reading audience
I just started using affiliate link for home decor on some of my Pinterest boards and I had a long disclosure. So glad I read this so now I can just put (affiliate) in the description. I’m a newbie, if you couldn’t tell. Haha. I always worry about getting in trouble with that kind of stuff. Thanks for all of the wonderful info Tasha. I look forward to reading your mini ebook 🙂
This is like a free graduate level college course every month available just for the reading. And unlike most college professors, these guys and gals are actually earning in the real world. Michelle made well over a million USD last year from mainly affiliate programs,AFTER she paid her running expenses and US taxes. She sure didn't do it by reviewing bicycle pedals 😉
As an affiliate marketer, one of the most important things to work on is your credibility as a product reviewer. That is why we recommend first to try using the product or service before writing a review and recommending it to other people. Until you work up your skills, you may want to try promoting recognizable brand products. And work your way to reviewing and recommending products of less popular brands.
This is important in the framework of not just affiliate marketing, but in marketing anything online, especially when the products are your own products and you're not just receiving a commission for selling them. Clearly, you need to build emotion around the entire process. In another words, you need to create an emotional attachment to every stage of the sales funnel.
For example, part of Michelle’s affiliate income comes from blogging tools and resources. Every month in her income reports, she shares all of the details on how to get started blogging. By the time Michelle’s reader finishes with her post, they know exactly how to get started and what products are necessary to purchase. All they have to do is click on the affiliate links she has included in the posts. She follows this model for every piece of affiliate content that she produces.
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