Adam Enfroy is the Affiliate Partnerships Manager at BigCommerce. With 10+ years of experience in digital marketing, ecommerce, SEO, web development, and selling online courses, he is passionate about leveraging the right strategic partnerships, content, and software to scale digital growth. Adam lives in Austin, TX and writes about building your online influence by scaling your content and affiliate marketing strategies on his blog.
Krista Fabregas is a staff writer at Fit Small Business and editor of the Ecommerce Section. Krista launched her first ecommerce site in 2001, and soon grew to operate two niche B2B and B2C sites, a 10K square foot warehouse, and staff of nine. Combined, her sites sold more than $1.5M annually for several years. Krista now shares her hands-on experience with others looking to expand into online sales. When not helping small business owners launch and grow efficient ecommerce operations, Krista enjoys writing fiction and nonfiction and riding horses and motorcycles in her hometown of Houston.
Let’s say you have a promotions page where you’re promoting a product via affiliate links. If you currently get 5,000 visits/month at a 2% conversion rate, you have 100 referrals. To get to 200 referrals, you can either focus on getting 5,000 more visitors, or simply increasing the conversion rate to 4%. Which sounds easier? Instead of spending months building domain authority with blogging and guest posts to get more organic traffic, you just have to increase the conversion rate by 2%. This can include landing page optimization, testing your calls-to-action, and having a conversion rate optimization strategy in place. By testing and optimizing your site, you’ll get far better results with much less effort.
Starting your own home business has never been easier, thanks to the internet. With the help of the internet you have access to people from all over the world, right from your own home. While there are many types of businesses you can start, affiliate marketing is one of the best. It can give you an extremely large income and all you have to do is learn some new skills. If you can read and write you can have a very successful online business.
Yes, creating content is the most difficult aspect of running any affiliate marketing company. Why? Because it takes long-term dedication and commitment. You can’t just write a few articles and expect floods of traffic to your site. You need lots and lots of content. Creating enough content to truly develop a great resource for people takes a months of work. You’ll also notice that I practice what I preach. ALL of my affiliate sites are heavy on content. From this very website you’re on now to my dog food review site to my site about sharks and all my other sites, they all have piles and piles of content.
Banners – after testing them out I decided to take down my banner ads since they looked salesy and weren’t working like my affiliate links did. They’re easy to throw up, but distracting and probably won’t get great results. If you try them, be sure to show specific sidebar banners based on the type of content people are reading on your blog (for posts that fall under my SEO category I would show a banner related to SEO, and for posts under my website speed category I would show a different banner). You can do this using a plugin like Widget Logic.
However, affiliate marketing isn’t just about marketing your partners’ goods, or at the very least it can be about much more than that. Affiliate marketing is also an opportunity to create your own website or some other form of content and get paid to do so, because you’ll be running ads and providing other links to things your audience will genuinely want to buy, at least if you combine your affiliates and your interests correctly.
Don’t forget to post your affiliate pins to your OWN personal boards! When I share my affiliate pins, I start with my own relevant boards because they’re better optimized for SEO than my group boards. I carefully write my board descriptions to optimize them for keywords. Technically speaking, you don’t even need to share pins to group boards if you have well-optimized personal boards with high repin rates. The advantage of group boards is that they help you expand your reach.
It’s a little silly how often people overlook this step. The simple math is, if you have more eyeballs on your affiliate links, the more likely you’ll make sales. Sure, that’s a bit of an oversimplification buuuut it still holds true that you should be trying to gain traffic on these posts anyway. So, remember the importance of promotion! It’s not enough to just write killer affiliate posts.
Media reporter Mathew Ingram tweeted, "Not great for media who rely on affiliate revenue[,]" potentially a nod to popular gadget reviews The Wirecutter, which was acquired by The New York Times. Technology journalist Michael Morisy quipped, "Amazon reworks affiliate program, cutting commissions 50% for electronics. Guess they think Jet threat has passed?" in a reference to up-and-coming Amazon rival Jet.com, which sold to Walmart in a deal largely regarded as a failure for the startup.
Is the space crowded? The exercise to spot influencers will help you judge how crowded your topic is. Some competition is fine, don’t let a few influencers with heavy followings discourage you. It’s highly unlikely you’ll stumble upon a topic that doesn’t have competition. However, if you see page after page of blogs in the search results, you’ll have a hard time breaking into the top search results, which can hamper your efforts and your profits.
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.
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.
If you haven’t already checked out my NEW free Wolf Millionaire Webinar I suggest you take the time to join and watch it. I outline and explain all the different ways you can make money using Instagram. Almost all of them DON’T require you to have a business, product or service in order to make money! At the end of my webinar I will send you a link to my updated FREE 35 Page Instagram guide.
Your ultimate goal as an affiliate marketer should be to outsource all the work while you collect a paycheck each month. My website DogFoodInsider.com is 100% outsourced at this point. There is always someone willing to work for you. From writers on Constant-Content.com to programmers on Elance.com to odd jobs on Fiverr.com – the sources you can use for outsourcing is nearly limitless.
Thirsty Affiliates tracks, cloaks, and categorizes your affiliate links. Once you’ve signed up for your program(s) grab your affiliate links and add them to this plugin. This can take time if you will be linking to multiple pages on your affiliate’s website (which in many cases, you should). The pro version comes with statistics but I don’t even use it and I’m quite the analytical person.
Lets take a minute and clear up some confusion many people have about affiliate marketing Most people confuse affiliate marketing with MLM (multi level marketing) also known as pyramid selling or the ponzi schemes. Ponzi schemes generates returns (money) for older investors by acquiring new investors. This is similar to a pyramid scheme in that both are based on using new investors money to pay the older (initial) investors.
A common influencer marketing advertisement is where the brand sends the influencer a photo or ad and asks them to repost it on their feed. This is effective with getting a specific message out to that influencer’s followers; however, it’s not personalized at all. This specific influencer has built up their following because they like the posts that he or she puts on their feed. They aren’t as likely to engage with a random ad. That said, if the influencer themselves was in this ad then they may be more likely to engage. This is where free products come in.
Set up a website. Professional or business websites can also use the Affiliate program. However, they are best used with people who do not sell similar products on their website, since Amazon's marketplace can drive business away. If you have a website promoting different products, a club, a non-profit or a service, then you can recommend quality products on your site and make money doing it.
Awesome article! This is jam packed with great info. I am just starting a personal finance blog with my fiance and we were a little confused about how to start monetizing. We were initially thinking about using Google AdSense but between this post and another blog I read I am surely convinced that’s not the correct route. I’m really happy you have shared this information because it’s provided an excellent starting point for creating income.
It’s probably worth asking an account rep if you can add “nofollow” to those links and stay compliant. For SEO, it’s not worth worrying about probably. Google has said before that they handle things like this for affiliate programs on their end if the program is big enough (i.e. they have enough data to understand what is going on), and Amazon is the biggest in the world. That’s just my gut, though.
Great article. Great resources. I do find it quite odd that people will reject sellers. As an affiliate marketer and new blogger myself, this is extremely frustrating. Now, I know there could exist a reason for rejection, especially within marketplaces, however, I haven’t the faintest idea why they would off the bat. I have heard it reduces epc’s (earnings per click), but, I don’t get why people care about this other than for some contests internally. Which in my opinion hurts less than refusing essentially free eyeballs on your products.
File-Sharing: Web sites that host directories of music, movies, games and other software. Users upload content to file-hosting sites and then post descriptions of the material and their download links on directory sites. Uploaders are paid by the file-hosting sites based on the number of times their files are downloaded. The file-hosting sites sell premium download access to the files to the general public. The websites that host the directory services sell advertising and do not host the files themselves.
There are many ways to make money blogging, but generating revenue as a new blogger can be difficult despite this. You’ve heard of the thousands upon thousands of dollars other bloggers have generated from ebook and course sales, but you’re having trouble keeping up with a consistent publishing schedule let alone finding the time or resources to complete an ebook or course. That’s why affiliate marketing is such a popular option for new and growing blogs.
Even if you already have a good grasp of the affiliate marketing business model, I highly recommend you check out this primer section in your free account. Check out the article, but more importantly, make sure you watch ever video at the bottom of that page. Those videos are filled with a wealth of information from very, very successful affiliate marketers.
There are two important links you need to make it easy. The first is the blog posting link which is at the bottom of the posting page of the blog software written as “bookmarklet”. Click on the link while holding down the mouse and drag it up to your Links toolbar on the browser you are using. This makes it possible to use a mouse click to blog a product.
As difficult as it may be, it’s important not to get affiliate marketing confused with sponsorships. Affiliate marketing is not a direct endorsement of your brand or content from a company. It’s a simple arrangement that allows you to earn revenue for referring new customers to that company. You aren’t paid unless you refer traffic or new customers to them. This arrangement is often available to anyone regardless of web traffic, social media following or list size, as previously stated.
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.
Hosting – I suggest joining the WordPress Hosting and WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group and see what real (unbiased) people are saying about hosting. SiteGround was #1 in multiple Facebook polls and #1 in most Facebook conversations (this one too). People who migrate usually see significant load time improvements especially if they’re currently using Godaddy/EIG. I use their semi-dedicated GoGeek plan which comes with 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting (#1 factor in WordPress Optimization Guide) and have <1s load times with 100% scores in GTmetrix/Pingdom. SiteGround also does free migrations.
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.
You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it’s worth reiterating. I still see square pins all the time on Pinterest. With affiliate pins, I make my pins longer than usual so that they stand out. My pins are typically somewhere between 735 x 1250 and 735 x 1400. I also experiment with smaller pins (600 x 900), and they do well too. There is no set rule for the exact dimensions your pins should be. Just make sure they are vertical. I use both PicMonkey and Canva to create my pins. PicMonkey has an edge over Canva in terms of features.