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.
I was able to make my first online dollars through Amazon Affiliate sales… It was never much and in the beginning I was just excited to make $10 in a month, which was enough for a free ebook or two. With regular updates and link inclusions in my posts over time I was able to grow the number up to like $300 a month–which I was pretty happy with. Of course the payout rates are paltry compared to a sale of an info product like one from Unconventional Guides, etc. Thing is, people seem to be more open to purchasing physical products rather than information products…
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!
The first place where honesty is crucial in affiliate marketing on Amazon is in how you represent the product itself. This may go without saying, but if you oversell or flat-out lie about what a product can do for someone, it’s going to backfire, big time. And not just in terms of your affiliate sales for that product, but in the likelihood people will continue to trust you at all. You can always find new affiliate products to promote, but once you’ve lost your audience’s trust, it’s hard if not impossible to gain it back. This is why using a product yourself and getting to know it inside and out is extra important, because the chances you’ll misrepresent the thing you’re promoting are much, much lower when you’re an expert on it.
Adam Bosch is a Master Digital Marketer who has been running online businesses for 7 years+. Through various methodologies across affiliate marketing, SEO, internet businesses and more, he has come up with some really important tricks that will help you grow your business online. The nuggets in this course aren’t ones that are freely available online, but deep insights that are well worth paying for.
Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.
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.
Your domain is the address for your website (e.g., www.affilorama.com) so this is the first thing you will need to do when setting up your site. Considering there are millions of websites on the internet, it's possible that the domain name you want may already be taken by someone else. So make sure you have several options in mind. Be sure to read our advice on how to choose a good domain name.
You may have heard of ClickBank, one of the oldest and most popular affiliate networks. A billion-dollar company, ClickBank specializes in digital products like e-books and software, as well as membership sites. If you are comfortable selling information and don’t want the management and administration hassles of “real” businesses, this may be a good starting point. Its commissions can be anywhere from 10% all the way to 75%.
You don’t necessarily have to have a huge site or lots of traffic. Consider emailing an affiliate program’s contact person (look for contact info on the site or in affiliate newsletters) if you send a lot of leads their way, rank well in the search engines for a related keyword or have a high conversion rate. Make your email compelling. Read my tips here. You just have to be a good fit and provide excellent value to the merchant. Another good resource for this is here.
Tip #3 is to consistently post valuable content to your followers. Now valuable content will be different in each niche, but a good rule of thumb is to post inspiring, helpful, informative or motivational pictures and videos at least once a day. If you’re struggling to come with ideas on what to post just go look at what other influencers in your niche are posting, and post similar content. Of course you’ll want to make it unique, but looking at other accounts is a good way to figure out what type of posts the people in your niche respond to the most. An important thing for to mention here is to avoid making your account a pitch fest. Of course your goal is to get people to click the links in your bio, but if you make every other post about an offer or a link all your going to do is piss people off, and ultimately lose followers. I’ve found that one promotional post per week is the sweet spot to not piss off your followers, but make sure they know you have an offer out there.
For a beginner, this book is perfect. You'll discover the ways in which one can start making money online through affiliate marketing, everything that you'll need to begin, products you can start to affiliate for right away, ways to grow your traffic, and other ways one is able to utilize all the available information to you on the web to be able to make sure your affiliating business is competitive with that of your competition. The author adds a nice little addition to the book that isn't found in most and that is, a multiple choice question review page(s) after each chapter for one to make sure that they obtained all the vital information within each section before progressing onward.
It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales.
Hands down I’d say the best thing you can do is research 1 primary keyword, craft an enticing article title that includes your keyword (though it doesn’t have to be an exact match), spend time writing your search engine snippets (SEO titles/meta descriptions), and by far the most important is making your content as VALUABLE as possible through videos, nice graphics, table of contents, bold/colors/styling, etc. Small things like keyword density barely matter.
In early May, Pinterest lifted its ban on affiliate links in pins—huge news for publishers and advertisers alike. Pinterest emerged as an online destination for consumers looking for new trends and products since its creation in 2010, and with over 100 million monthly active users and worldwide reach, it represents a massive opportunity for players in the affiliate space.
Coupon codes have always been an effective way to get people to buy something. Influencers like @cassieandrewsstyle has a product photograph, and in the blurb she includes a coupon. If it is an exclusive coupon code, then it has more draw because the discount is better than a normal coupon code. Not all coupon codes require a click to be tracked by an affiliate network, which is great news for these affiliates who want to promote an exclusive code but don’t want to include a link.
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.
Do your due diligence and research your potential partner. Do any red flags pop up when you Google their name? Is there bad buzz around them in their specific niche? Do they play well with other Influencers and/or brands? This is important because the minute you attach your brand to a bad Influencer, it may take a long time for your reputation to recover.
This is a HUGE one! A lot of people register for Amazon Associates at the beginning of their blogging career because they assume it’s just good to “get it out of the way”. Don’t!! *foams at the mouth* I repeat: don’t register until your blog is reasonably established and you’re quite certain someone out there will buy something off of your link. If you don’t net any sales within your first 90 days, your account will get shut down. You’re welcome to apply again, but by then, your fragile ego will be in ruins.
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!
So now you know the 5+ handy ways to make money through Instagram, you’re all set to start building your empire. Whatever avenue you decide to go down, be sure to always keep your personal brand in mind and treat what you do as a business. The more you understand what it is you can offer, the stronger your message will be to potential collaborators!
That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!
Your site has some great FREE content. I love the stuff on affiliate links. Most sites just give very high level info on making money with affiliate links. I even purchased content from another blogger that didn’t have some of the great info you give for free. I have a website but I have a ton of Pinterest followers and about 7K views per mo. so I really want to monetize that. Thank you for your content!
Earnings are what matter to most affiliates. Our commissions indicate how we are performing, which is why affiliate marketing is also called performance and commissioned-based marketing. Google Analytics will monitor traffic to your website. To learn more about your audience, measure reach, and track engagement, check out Instagram Insights (for business profiles), Hootsuite Analytics, and Iconosquare.
Hi, Nice article. I am not sure about the process though. I can understand, finding a niche. But, when it comes to affiliate programs I get a little lost. Would I be promoting someone else's products? If so, no problem. I know I need to research high end products with gravity, are these products ones in certain stores, or companies, etc.?? If so, do I need to get permissions to be on an affiliate program with that company? Also, if it is products with a company, then how do I offer promotions on their products since they are not mine? Thank you, Nanette Vlahusich
When you promote a product you also promote the person or the company who is behind the product so try to choose wisely. You don’t want your visitors to go and buy a product following your advice then come back unhappy. Do you think that this visitor will come back to your site and take your advice again? Most likely no; this can hurt your credibility in the long run. Usually, websites/company that offer good customer service will have better customer satisfaction so try to stick with promoting their products.
Shopping on Instagram allows brands to add shoppable tags to their images. As you can see from the image above, these tags contain a product’s name and price. However, if Instagrammers click on a tag, extra information about this product will be displayed on their screen. Importantly, and super excitingly for eCommerce stores, a View on Website call to action button will also be displayed with the extra product info. This button will link directly to the product page on the brand’s online shop.
We already touched base on this, but we’ll mention it again. Affiliate marketing is one of the most important sources of income you can use because it’s accessible to almost anyone and is so effective when it comes to generating revenue. You don’t need tons of traffic or a strong social media presence to get started. You only need great, high-quality content as well as products and services to promote.
What you should do is consider products and services that would help your readers the most and pass over the trust you have in those companies. Consider the products and services you already use in your niche, and see if they have affiliate programs by searching for “[product/service name] affiliate program” or search for it on their websites by adding “/?s=affiliate program” to the end of their URLs.
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.
^ Shashank SHEKHAR (2009-06-29). "Online Marketing System: Affiliate marketing". Feed Money.com. Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2011-04-20. During November 1994, CDNOW released its BuyWeb program. With this program CDNOW was the first non-adult website to launch the concept of an affiliate or associate program with its idea of click-through purchasing.
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.
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.
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.
Promote products at various price points. Even the little products (like Amazon ebooks) add up. If there is a truly useful product on the pricier side, it can still be worth the promotion even if only a few people buy it. If you’ve used a product of exceptional quality and it’s a good investment, or if it’s a product that’s unique, specialized or one-of-a-kind, go for it.
I eventually learned the best model (for me) was to copy what Yoast did… charge a flat free for SEO Audits. People were always super happy with my audits. I still have my SEO audit templates (one for local SEO, national SEO, etc). Sometimes it would only take me 4 hours to write an audit and I would get $750, sometimes more if they wanted a more thorough audit. Maybe I undercharged?
Ooh that makes sense! Yeah, surname would probably be a big one. I’ve also heard that they keep tabs on any old addresses you’ve registered and if the address is the same as someone buying from you, then that doesn’t count either. I can’t imagine they’d be able to know who ALL your friends are, but a good thing to be mindful of! When I first started I thought, hey, why not just make a FB post and tell everyone to buy off me? haha then I realized maybe it’s not that simple.
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.
I whipped up a quick video walking you through how I personally use Tailwind for Instagram Affiliate Marketing. In it, you’ll see a snapshot of my current dashboard, how I schedule posts with Tailwind and Apps4Life (a free tool that allows you to create captions with line breaks). Plus, I go into depth on how to use Hashtag Finder 2.0, which is simply the best.
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