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.
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.
The fit must be right between you and the merchant who is going to benefit from your promotional efforts, or it simply won’t work. The easiest way to begin with affiliate marketing is to select an affiliate network. Many affiliate networks exist, some which are tied to well-known companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple, while others specialize in specific types of products and services.
One big pro to Tradedoubler is that they track the user through cookies, even if the user has turned cookies off. For example, most affiliate programs track users through cookies. If a user clicks your link and goes to a website, but doesn’t make a purchase, they will be tracked for a period of days (usually 30 days). If within those 30 days they come back and make a purchase, you earn your commission.
Forms of new media have also diversified how companies, brands, and ad networks serve ads to visitors. For instance, YouTube allows video-makers to embed advertisements through Google's affiliate network. New developments have made it more difficult for unscrupulous affiliates to make money. Emerging black sheep are detected and made known to the affiliate marketing community with much greater speed and efficiency.
I’ve read a lot of horror stories where Amazon has randomly closed people’s accounts for different reasons. Fair enough – many of these are due to breaches of their terms and conditions (e.g. failing to properly disclose links, not using the appropriate images and links provided in the affiliate dashboard, buying from one’s own affiliate links, etc.) but yes, if you fail to comply by their rules, you’re at risk of being shut down (and losing all the commission you’ve racked up). SO, don’t be a dummy, read the terms and conditions thoroughly and make sure you’re not breaching them.
Like them or hate them, hashtags make a difference. They improve the discoverability of posts and drive likes and comments. The key point here is relevance. Use the hashtags that correspond to your niche. Carry out research and pay attention to the tags your competitors use in their posts. Incorporate some branded hashtags to raise awareness, like the name of the promoted product or any other related tag. Let your creativity flow. Instagram allows to use up to 30 hashtags per post, but be careful not to go overboard. The optimal number of hashtags for maximum engagement is 11.
Translation: Don’t lie about the Amazon products you’re promoting. This seems pretty obvious, but this also means not overpromising or misrepresenting the products you’re promoting, even in a small way. (For instance, don’t say the camera you’re promoting has 20 megapixels when it really only has 15.) Now, of course innocent mistakes and typos can still happen to anyone, so double-check everything you write about the products you’re promoting to make sure it’s accurate.
I am so delighted to have my friend Tasha from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body here today to talk a little bit about blogging strategy– and more specifically, monetizing your blog! Tasha is my go-to source any time I have questions about using affiliate sales as an income stream for my site, and I know you will find the information she has to share incredibly helpful as well. I’ll let her take it from here!
Maybe, maybe not. Some of those commission rates still flirt with the industry benchmark for their respective categories, but when you consider that the commission rates used to be standardized across the entire site on a tiered commission structure (the more you sold, the higher commission “tier” you could unlock), some people’s businesses got completely shellacked by this change.
Affiliates discussed the issues in Internet forums and began to organize their efforts. They believed that the best way to address the problem was to discourage merchants from advertising via adware. Merchants that were either indifferent to or supportive of adware were exposed by affiliates, thus damaging those merchants' reputations and tarnishing their affiliate marketing efforts. Many affiliates either terminated the use of such merchants or switched to a competitor's affiliate program. Eventually, affiliate networks were also forced by merchants and affiliates to take a stand and ban certain adware publishers from their network. The result was Code of Conduct by Commission Junction/beFree and Performics, LinkShare's Anti-Predatory Advertising Addendum, and ShareASale's complete ban of software applications as a medium for affiliates to promote advertiser offers. Regardless of the progress made, adware continues to be an issue, as demonstrated by the class action lawsuit against ValueClick and its daughter company Commission Junction filed on April 20, 2007.
The easiest way to get a lot from your influencer partners in your affiliate program is to set up a compensation plan with them where they’re paid a flat amount of money in exchange for promoting your products or services on their feed. Most influencers do not like working on a commission basis. They would much rather get cash upfront. If your brand were willing to do this, this would be the best way to get their attention. You could even work out a zero commission deal with them where they don’t earn commission from the sales they refer at all. If the influencer is really powerful, you might even come out ahead despite the upfront risk.
When the giveaway ends and it’s time to send out your product to the winner, make sure you communicate directly with the winner themselves and try to get some additional marketing goodwill from this. You can ask the winner to post about their winning on their own social media pages so that their friends and family learn about your brand. You can also incentivize the winner to refer friends and family by providing them with additional discounts for doing so. If you’re not keen on giving away your product for free you could also host a contest that allows the winner to purchase your product but at a significant, one-time discount.
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.
Almost nobody buys just one thing on Amazon at a time: This is one of my favorite aspects of marketing for Amazon. When someone clicks through your link to purchase your recommendation, they will probably purchase additional products. You get a commission for everything they purchase after they click through your link (more about this later in the post).
There is serious competition in the affiliate marketing sphere. You’ll want to make sure you stay on top of any new trends to ensure you remain competitive. Additionally, you’ll likely be able to benefit from at least a few of the new marketing techniques that are constantly being created. Be sure you’re keeping up to date on all these new strategies to guarantee that your conversion rates, and therefore revenue, will be as high as possible.
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.
Regardless of the content you choose to pin or your motivations, successful pinners adhere to Pinterest CEO Ben Silberman’s guiding principle: make (and keep) the site “beautiful”. Simply put, the best pinners find the best of the web, regardless of subject matter, and there are some simple tactics from a presentation standpoint that you can use to help improve the performance of your pins.
The reason you need to understand this before you learn how to start affiliate marketing is because you need to choose your interest (or interests) wisely. You’ll be spending a lot of time researching and writing about your chosen topics, and so they need to be something you’re passionate about, not just something you think is popular and will get you a lot of traffic. You may be right, but you’ll quickly burn out as you either run out of things to say or you begin to hate your topic instead.
Take advantage of marketing tools whenever possible. Many affiliate programs offer useful resources to their affiliates aimed at helping affiliates make more sales. These range from monthly newsletters highlighting upcoming sales, tips or affiliate case studies, Facebook Groups just for affiliates, private webinars explaining marketing strategies in depth and more. Ultimate Bundles does this exceptionally well.
First, let me emphasize that I feel strongly that bloggers should not go overboard when sharing affiliate links on Pinterest. Think about it… When you scroll through your Pinterest feed, do you want to only see products for sale? Probably not. So exercise your judgment and make sure that affiliate links are a small percentage of the content that you share on Pinterest.
Since your pin is going directly to a seller’s site and not your blog or review, make sure that the title and description of each pin is informative and straight to the point. You can use two to three sentences and always, always, always disclose. Remember that these titles and descriptions are what help Pinterest users find you when they do a search. The better your description is, the more sales you will get.