This is insanely helpful, thank you! I’m so excited to read the e-book guide on affiliate programs. My blog is still a baby so I’m working so hard to learn as much as I possibly can as consistently as I can. Abby, you have given so much advice in your posts that I have turned to while getting my blog going. Thank you so much for the advice, for exposing your readers to new bloggers with guest posts, and for always producing great content and great resources. You are AWESOMENESS!
If you’re going to sign up for any of their premium services, I personally recommend you sign up for this business building package. Basically, you are paying their experts to go out and perform market research, build a website for you, build you an email responder that will automatically email your subscribers for one year, and create the first handful of content pages. They will also help you research the best affiliate products to promote and give you access to special one-on-one coaching that is only available for their paying members. Check it out if you have the funding to get this type of jump start. Outsourcing from day 1 is ideal if you have the funds available, especially when you are outsourcing to a team of people managed by affiliate marketing millionaires.

To do this, you need to offer something in return. Use email providers like InfusionSoft, MailChimp, ConvertKit, Aweber, or any number of others, to shoot out the email to a survey. You can use Survey Monkey to build your survey, but you have to give them something in return. Will you give them a free cheatsheet? Maybe a downloadable how-to ebook? Determine the best thing to offer and be sure to get clear on what they need to do and what you'll give them in exchange.
Not too long ago, Instagram added a “story” function to their platform to compete with Snapchat. It has since exploded in popularity and continues to keep thousands of people glued to their phones on a daily basis. Why not take advantage of this feature with the Instagram influencers in your affiliate program? Story posts take minimum effort and there’s a good chance that the influencer will be happy to throw some of these in for you for free if you’re already running a campaign with them.

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.
Of course, you could continuously change that link every time you post about a new affiliate product, but how annoying + time-consuming is that?! Plus, changing the link in your bio to a new affiliate link every time you post won’t allow you to drive traffic to any previously posted links, so this method isn’t super effective at increasing commissions.
To think you guys scrambled and re-invented the wheel in 5 days is absolutely amazing too! I am glad you produced this thorough resource on how to hopefully abide by the Amazon TOS; play it on the conservative/safe side is the message here. You people are so knowledgeable in your business, and even you guys got a knock on the door from Amazon Associates.
Pins with affiliate links should have an FTC-compliant disclosure that makes it clear that purchases made through that pin will result in compensation to the original pinner. Publishers should also confirm that the advertisers they’re working with allow their affiliate links to be posted to social networks so they don’t violate the program terms within that relationship. It’s best to read and follow Pinterest’s Acceptable Use Policy.
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.
Same here, this post kind of fell from the sky at such a great time. Been building a great community of readers over the years but reached a point where I’m losing money maintaining the site and newsletter. As you said, the ads don’t bring much -ironically I use Adblocks too but affiliate marketing always seemed like a weird and opaque subject. I’ve read many of Chris Guillebeau’s books in the last few months (this is how I discovered your site actually!) and I didn’t realize he had affiliate links for instance. Your post opened up a new window of possibility for me. Still need to process everything and do the work behind but a big thank you to you Sean!
In addition, you should always know who you’re getting your information from. There are far too many “guru’s” out there who really have no idea what they are talking about. When you sign up for your free account, you’ll be learning directly from Mark Ling and Simon Slade who are both affiliate marketing MILLIONAIRES. They’ve also helped to hand select some other successful affiliate marketers for their training videos. About a year ago, I had my own free training videos right here on this site, but I realized after a while that I just can’t create the type of quality training that Mark Ling and his crew have already put together and continuously update.
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!
Your customers' photos: Linked to this is the use of User Generated Content on your account. Get customers to share their images of your products and re-gram (download "Repost for Instagram" app to repost your customers' photos). This is a proven successful method of selling and would make a great addition to your account. It also calls for you to start up your own unique hashtag which you can then promote to all your customers: it’s a seriously slick way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. For example, White Castle asks their customers to use #MyCrave to their photos. Now when they see them using that hashtag, they can repost (or regram) their photos to their Instagram account. Here's an example:

While these models have diminished in mature e-commerce and online advertising markets they are still prevalent in some more nascent industries. China is one example where Affiliate Marketing does not overtly resemble the same model in the West. With many affiliates being paid a flat "Cost Per Day" with some networks offering Cost Per Click or CPM.

Now, is there a format that I should follow as to what to exactly name those products in my post? I’m asking because I’m writing the product names manually. For example, if I am promoting the product “MegaFood – Women Over 40 One Daily, Multivitamin to Support Immune Health, 90 Tablets”. Should I use this full name in my article or can I use “Mega Food 40+” or something else? It just feels like I might go wrong and violate the ToS there.


Jason – so happy to hear the tutorial is helping! Affiliate marketing was a huge break for me and I’m sure it can be for your son too. Whatever products/services he ends up selling, just make sure he is excited about the industry he is – it takes a long of time creating content and it will keep him motivated especially when he gets his first sales.

Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The email they sent to affiliates said, "We have received feedback from associates that the advertising fee structure could be made clearer, especially with respect to understanding which products are in fixed-fee categories and which products are in tiered-fee categories. These changes simplify the fee structure, clearly defining the advertising fees you can earn by referring traffic to Amazon."


Writing content for your blog or website about picking or buying a product available on Amazon. Now more than ever, people go online to research their buying options. If you're a mom blogger, you can write an article on picking a low-cost vacuum with a link to your top choice or several links to your top choices. A food blogger can link to cooking tools. A photography site can link to cameras and other photography equipment.
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 the standard affiliate marketing structure. In this program, the merchant pays the affiliate a percentage of the sale price of the product after the consumer purchases the product as a result of the affiliate’s marketing strategies. In other words, the affiliate must actually get the investor to invest in the product before they are compensated.
This domain can work for people in two ways. One is to get sudden bursts of income by selling a certain product. The second part is selling a service that gives you recurring fees. This course on Affiliate Marketing Strategy for Stable and Recurring Income can be very helpful if your objective is the latter. At 5.5 hours and 56 lectures, this is very extensive and useful for those looking at mastering this subject. This training program is developed by iMarket XL and Max Stryker.
Now, Amazon’s categories can be confusing. As you use the program, you’ll find that something that you’d consider a “Home” or “Luxury Beauty” item might be categorized at a lower rate. To be sure of the item’s commission category, check the categories listed at the top of the item page or search by category as we did here to find this Luxury Beauty item:

Mistake #5: Promoting a lot of affiliate products instead of just a few. Once you start affiliate marketing, you realize how easy it is to share affiliate links. Instead of becoming an affiliate for a lot of different products and sharing them liberally, I recommend concentrating on just a few and sharing them intentionally. It doesn’t seem as spammy, plus you can be sure the products you do promote are closely aligned with your brand and message. Deep is better than wide.
Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini-course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.
It's especially true now that the big media players are finally waking up to affiliate marketing (NYTime buying WireCutter and SweetHome) and BestReviews (which was already an epic product review site in it's self due to the fact they built their own 10,000 sq ft testing lab) being acquired by Tronc (owns the LA Times and half a dozen more publications).
Promote products that are stepping stones to products you will create in the future. This is a bit more advanced, but is a great way to think ahead. Amy Porterfield suggests thinking about the first thing your followers will need in order to get started with what you provide. For example, I teach people how to blog, so the first thing they need to start a blog is hosting. That’s why I am an affiliate for hosting.
Setting up a free Cloudflare account is a must for any website. It’ll add a performance boost and security with almost zero effort. One tweak I recommend in Cloudflare is turning your wp-content/uploads directory into a fully cached directory using page rules. This means Cloudflare will serve all images from cache acting as a free CDN plus it's very simple to set up. Once you have the budget you can spring for the $20/m Cloudflare account which will automatically compress your images on the fly.
Before we can get into affiliate links, first we need to talk about the affiliate program. An affiliate program is hosted by a company that wants to use marketers who are not employed by the company to promote their product or service. These marketers, and their social media accounts, are often related to the product or niche in some way. For example, a health blogger might sign up for an affiliate program promoting vitamins.
No matter how good your marketing skills are, you’ll make less money on a bad product than you will on a valuable one. Take the time to study the demand for a product before promoting it. Make sure to research the seller with care before teaming up. Your time is worth a lot, and you want to be sure you’re spending it on a product that is profitable and a seller you can believe in.
Pin to Profits – Affiliate Marketing is a step by step guide that explains affiliate marketing on Pinterest for beginners. It is a video course with 6 modules covering what affiliate marketing is, how to register for affiliate programs, how to use affiliate links on Pinterest, and how to get thousands of clicks on your affiliate links. Ultimately, the goal is to learn exactly how to make money on Pinterest with affiliate marketing.
Nowadays, the majority of large businesses offer affiliate programs. So find ones that are in your niche. If you are popular on Instagram for fashion, then you should opt for fashion affiliate programs. If your Instagram audience follows you because you are well known in the fitness industry, then you need to find health and fitness affiliate programs. Your following won’t purchase items that aren’t relevant to their interests. So choose affiliate programs that sell products your audience can relate to and that will add value to their lives.
Amazon Associates is one of the first set of affiliate marketing programs which was launched in 1996. This program has a track record of over 12 years of developing solutions for helping website owners, developers and sellers on Amazon make money by advertising tons of used and new products from amazon.com and its subsidiaries like SmallParts.com and Endless.com.
Affiliate marketing is one of the smartest and most cost-effective ways for bloggers to generate incomes. This is mainly due to how simple it is to integrate an affiliate marketing strategy into your content marketing strategy. You can insert affiliate links into any post you publish, so you won’t need to do extra work in the way you’d have to if you wanted to create an ebook or course. Plus, most companies allow anyone to join their affiliate programs regardless of how popular their blogs are.
Thanks for all the information I am slowly working my way through your list of do’s and donts! ! I’ve been approached by a website that wants to develop editorial content for my blog featuring home improvement tips from their”national client” and pay me $40 a year for reviewing and publishing their content. Boy, I am just not sure how this all works? Any words for when we are approached by others to write for our blogs?
If you’re thinking about working with an affiliate marketing network, the world’s most popular marketplace can be a great place to start. We’ll cover how to sign up and start picking and promoting Amazon products, as well as strategies for success—the must-dos and must-don’ts that go into making Amazon a key piece of your affiliate marketing stable.
The problem with affiliate marketing, like many other home business options, are the so-called gurus and get-rich-quick programs that suggest affiliate marketing can be done fast and with little effort. Odds are you've read claims of affiliate marketing programs that say you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month doing almost nothing ("Three clicks to rich!"). Or, they suggest you can set up your affiliate site, and then forget it, except to check your bank deposits.

Thanks for all the information I am slowly working my way through your list of do’s and donts! ! I’ve been approached by a website that wants to develop editorial content for my blog featuring home improvement tips from their”national client” and pay me $40 a year for reviewing and publishing their content. Boy, I am just not sure how this all works? Any words for when we are approached by others to write for our blogs?
What are the terms of the program? Is there anything I need to be aware of that would make a program not worth it for me. For example, Amazon Associates does not allow you to put your affiliate links in emails. If your main method of communication with your audience is via email, Amazon might not be a good fit for you. Wayfair, for example, does not allow their affiliates to post affiliate links on Pinterest or any other social media site. If that’s a strategy you rely on, Wayfair might not be a good fit for you.
To succeed in affiliate marketing, a publisher needs to deploy thousands of links in multiple places to increase the number of clicks and conversions. On IG, the only place to put a hyperlink is in one’s bio. Links anywhere else are not clickable, for example, links in posts. Many affiliates include links in the hopes that people will copy and paste them into their browsers, but that’s a terrible strategy. So, what is an affiliate marketer to do?
Think of it this way – if you were about to open a restaurant, wouldn’t you do some research before quitting your day job and investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into it? Of course you would! You would research the best location, the best type of food to serve, how much you’ll have to pay employees, where you’ll source ingredients from, what type of tables and furniture to use, the best ovens and equipment for the kitchen, and all sorts of stuff. If you just “wing it” and open a restaurant without doing any research first, you’ll most likely fail. While affiliate marketing can be started part-time and without much capital, the same holds true. If you don’t research and plan, you will fail.
If you’re in the WordPress industry like I am (whether it be design, development, or SEO) I have accumulated quite the list of WordPress affiliate programs. I excluded those I found unsuccessful or pay too little to make a profit from, specifically ThemeForest, Creative Market, and low quality theme stores like Template Monster. Hosting pays well and I wrote a tutorial for SiteGround’s affiliate program and StudioPress themes which are my 2 highest paying affiliates. Those tutorials have tons of screenshots/social proof especially for SiteGround.
It is worth noting that you can also build unique URLs with your affiliate code that don't take readers directly to a product. Instead, it could take them to a collection of products, a content page, or some other intermediate step in the purchase funnel. The Creative Market Partner Program, for example, rewards you with a 10% cut of everything your referred customers buy for a full year. This means that regardless of whether they made a purchase immediately, or signed up and bought later, you will still get your cut.
High Paying Affiliate Programs Blog – Bill Burniece runs this blog and keeps it up to date with new posts every few days about making the most with online marketing. One of his blog categories focuses on the benefits of targeting the affluent market, but he also gives tips for getting started with affiliate marketing. Burniece’s blog was named the Affiliate Summit’s Top Affiliate Marketing Blog of 2013.
While your site is still new, it's a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else's audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 
I’ve been pretty intentional about what types of products that I share with my audience, but one thing that I struggled with is that I didn’t want to come off as “salesy.” Because of this I included less affiliate links in posts or avoided different types of posts that I thought would be too pushy. However, it turns out using my affiliate links made it more convenient for my audience. Plus, the tutorial posts and roundup posts that do so well in affiliate marketing still can be super helpful and add value for your readers.
Second, it’s a good idea to create a few new personal boards that are used solely for the purpose of pinning products that are for sale (using your affiliate links of course). For example, I have created a personal board called “Gorgeous Throw Pillows and Bedding.” The description for the board is “This board is full of gorgeous throw pillows, accent pillows, decorative pillows, duvet covers, sheets and bedding. Changing your throw pillows and bedding is such an easy way to refresh any room on a budget!” I pin beautiful products to it and edit the urls of the pin to my affiliate links, using the process described above.
Merch by Amazon – If you use Merch by Amazon then you don’t need to set up your own online store – all products are simply displayed on Amazon’s website. Simply upload your artwork to your Amazon Merch account, and add the product information and price. Amazon will then create a product page for your work, and when you receive orders they will print and ship. (Merch by Amazon only prints onto T-shirts and is only available in the US).

Affiliate Marketing Blog by Geno Prussakov – Geno Prussakov is the founder of AM Navigator, an affiliate management agency, as well as a consultant, author, blogger and international speaker.  His blog delves into industry fundamentals and facilitates discussions about top customer acquisition strategies, creating content, managing affiliates and other topics. He also offers information about upcoming affiliate marketing events, conferences and tradeshows.
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.
Many successful affiliate marketers have a basic 2-page website and an email marketing system that does their affiliate promotions on autopilot to make passive income. One page is a landing page that promotes a lead magnet to entice people to subscribe the email. Once subscribed, the visitor is sent to the second page, that often has information about an affiliate product.
Know when to wait. Some affiliate programs require a certain level of traffic, subscribers, etc. If that’s the case, I say it’s better to wait to apply for that program instead of applying and hoping for the best. You risk being labelled the person who can’t follow guidelines and you might also risk not be allowed into the program when you do meet the qualifications.
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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