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.
If instant gratification is your thing, affiliate marketing will make you want to run into a wall. Even after you surpass the threshold needed to “cash out”, there’s usually a waiting period before your commission is confirmed/approved, simply because they allow time for people to return goods if needed. So yes, affiliate marketing is by no means a fast track to cash.
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.
Merchants receiving a large percentage of their revenue from the affiliate channel can become reliant on their affiliate partners. This can lead to affiliate marketers leveraging their important status to receive higher commissions and better deals with their advertisers. Whether it’s CPA, CPL, or CPC commission structures, there are a lot of high paying affiliate programs and affiliate marketers are in the driver’s seat.
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%.
However, more recently, people have been using affiliate links in social media, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. Affiliate marketing is ideal for Instagrammers who have a large audience to promote and sell products to but have no actual products to sell. Instead of creating their own product, Instagrammers can simply promote someone else’s, taking a percentage of the profit once someone from their Insta-audience makes a purchase. Sounds appealing right?
James Goodwillie of the blog One To Multi agrees. “I’ve been an Amazon Associate from day one, and it’s the number-one way I monetize my content. I’ve found that things like big sections of product image links are too much and scare away users,” says Goodwillie. “Adding affiliate links for product pictures or any text where I mention the product is the method that works the best for my site.”
Great post and right on target. I found that if you blog and/or do videos that sharing little stories will help connect you to potential leads. I do how-to videos and posts and I always tell personal stories or my own experiences that relate to the subject. It works and I get personal messages from people about it. It makes you more real and down to earth in the viewer's eyes. Once they like you and trust you they will become a lead and hopefully a sale. They may very well become a regular buyer because you will be their go to person. For best results it's best to blog daily and do at least one video a day.
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If instant gratification is your thing, affiliate marketing will make you want to run into a wall. Even after you surpass the threshold needed to “cash out”, there’s usually a waiting period before your commission is confirmed/approved, simply because they allow time for people to return goods if needed. So yes, affiliate marketing is by no means a fast track to cash.
I would then get a hosting provider (a place to put the website on the internet) and a domain name (the name for the website), and then install WordPress so I could start playing around with the look of my website. I’d browse some free ‘themes’ (pre-designed ‘looks’ for websites) if I was tight on cash, or I might buy a high-quality one if I had the money. 

It is a very good idea to use different product promotion strategies so you can figure out what is working and what is not. Try to do split testing and measure the performance of each campaign then take actions accordingly. Changing a few things here and there can increase your profit dramatically. Make sure to place the banner ads on different areas of your site’s pages. Some positions will make the ads more noticeable than others.
Ideally, you should take photos of yourself holding the product. You may also want to create posts that show the effect of the product. If you’re an affiliate marketer for makeup, you might post a before and after photo of what you look like before and after you put on the makeup. There are a ton of ways to do this – how you choose to market the product or service is completely up to you.

ZacJohnson.com – Zac Johnson’s blog contains more than 1,000 articles based on real-life experiences that exemplify lessons from the affiliate marketing industry. In recent posts, he gives tips on staying relevant, transitioning with a changing market to maintain a steady income flow and being successful in the travel marketing niche. Johnson’s blog also contains links to his recommended resources for marketers.
Take ThirstyAffiliates, for example. This plugin helps you add affiliate links to your site and then organize and manage them. You can also include corresponding images, and track your links’ statistics. Pretty Links offers many of the same features, but focuses on optimizing your affiliate links. Both plugins have premium versions offering even more functionality. There are also plenty of alternative options to choose from.

Building connections in your niche is essential. Once you know people posting similar content you can work with them to write guests posts on their blog. This is a great way to get backlinks since you'll be writing the content on their blog. If you have a huge article about the "best kettlebell for beginners" for example you could guest post for people in the health niche with kettlebell exercise tips. Building backlinks to your article and site is essential when trying to show up high in Google search results.


Google Autocomplete – go to google.com, start typing a phrase and look at the dropdown autocomplete results. You can use the underscore character “_” to have Google fill-in-the-blank. Just make sure the last character you type is an underscore. Try using plurals and change the word ordering to see different results. This is how I find 90% of my keywords.
"This was 250 pages of pure quality content. Well written, organized and informative. I learned a ton about affiliate marketing. Initially, I wanted to start my affiliate marketing by promoting offers on Clickbank. However, after going through this book I thought twice about that strategy. I am definitely going with his advise. Well recommended!!" - Tracy"
To learn Affiliate Marketing, the first thing that you should know is the difference between an Affiliate Marketing Merchant and an Affiliate Marketer. The product creator or seller in Affiliate Marketing is known as Affiliate Marketing Merchant, while on the other hand Affiliate Marketer helps in marketing those products by using different platforms.
Education occurs most often in "real life" by becoming involved and learning the details as time progresses. Although there are several books on the topic, some so-called "how-to" or "silver bullet" books instruct readers to manipulate holes in the Google algorithm, which can quickly become out of date,[41] or suggest strategies no longer endorsed or permitted by advertisers.[42]
Most affiliate networks these days offer an option to set a specific coupon code as “forced exclusive” to a specific affiliate publisher. This means that any time that coupon code is used, even if no affiliate link was clicked previously, the specific affiliate which the code is tied to always gets commission for sales where customers use that code. This is especially helpful if customers happen to visit a coupon site or a different bottom funnel affiliate before making their purchase when the Instagram influencer was the true referrer for the sale and deserves the proper credit.
Create custom alerts on your phone for affiliate sales – if you use GMail, go to your settings and create a filter so all emails with “SiteGround Affiliate Sale Generated” in the subject line go into their own folder (tweak the subject line to match whatever email notification your affiliate sends you). Then setup a custom alert on your phone using the GMail app so anytime you generate a sale, you get a custom alert (here’s a tutorial for Android and here’s one for Apple). I have different notifications for SiteGround, StudioPress Themes, etc. Makes your day better :)
The products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough. 

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.
“Blogging, paid search, social media, video, mobile, podcasting, organic search, email, and so on — all of these tactics are used to by affiliate marketers to promote an array of affiliate products and services,” says Collins. “Different mixes work best for each unique niche and affiliate marketer, so beginners should explore the options and focus efforts on a few marketing channels that convert the best.”
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%.
On the technology-focused forum Hacker News, a user who goes by "graeme" pointed out, "This is likely to have a massive [e]ffect on the blog/article review ecosystem. Most of the review sites that exist today only do so because of [A]mazon's fairly generous programs. I expect in aggregate there will be a shift in what lines of business people decide to get into, based on this." A user called "sharkweek" said that "[a]s an Amazon affiliate who has done quite well with it, this is definitely a gutting." The mood is equally grim on a subreddit for people building affiliate websites.
While reviewing your account, we have been unable to verify that the means through which you are referring customers to the Amazon Site are in compliance with the terms of the Associates Program Operating Agreement. Therefore, we request that you provide us with a detailed description of the methods you are using to refer customers to the Amazon Site in accordance with the Operating Agreement, which states: You must provide us with any information that we request to verify your compliance with this Operating Agreement.
Website Development Help – need help setting up your theme? I’ve been working with the same 2 developers for 3+ years. To hire them, sign up for a Freelancer account, post your job (WordPress theme installation) then invite user i333 or bdkamol to your project. If you want, contact me and I will introduce you to them via email. Both are great developers with reasonable rates, speak fluent English, and I outsource all my programming work to them.
Use your personal words & experience with the product. Your own content, or photos & videos of yourself using the product are always the most effective. For example, many affiliate programs provide swipe copy to their affiliates which is pre-written emails, post material or social media posts. These can be helpful as a guide, but they often scream swipe copy, aren’t written in your voice (the one your readers know!) and if a lot of affiliates are using it, are overdone.

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround using my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no expense to you. This year I donated $3,000 to feed the homeless in Denver. In 2017, I donated $3,000 to American Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey. Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. I try to make my reviews unbiased and backed by evidence in the form of Facebook polls, tweets, and real conversations. If you don’t want to use it, here’s a non-affiliate link to SiteGround. Either way I truly believe they’re the best host and that your site will run faster/smoother… do your research on Google and Facebook groups and you’ll find most people say the same.
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.
Finally it’s possible to find out what your audience wants. There’s no need to go outside and ask pedestrians for their opinion. With a recently launched interactive poll sticker, which is part of the Instagram Stories, it’s way easier. Want to collect feedback on the promoted product or gather more ideas from the audience? Create a survey in one tap! Ask a question and give two answers to choose from. Check out the statistics to see the votes. The poll will last for 24 hours. If needed, fine-tune your affiliate marketing campaign according to the results obtained.

So, each year he spent as a corporate drone was getting harder and harder for him. Maybe it was the routine; maybe it was the fatigue caused by the constant pressure of overworking and chasing deadlines. The bottom line was that it was time to do something about it. Finally, he took a gap year that has now lasted two years already and is unlikely to end anytime soon.

Affiliate marketing on Amazon may not make you rich (at least right away), but it’s a really solid, reliable place to start. And even though the commission rates may not be as high as some networks, your likelihood of a sale is greater on Amazon. Plus, you can get a share of a customer’s entire cart if they click on your affiliate link—even if they end up buying something different from the original product you promoted. And the fact that it’s the most popular online marketplace in the Western hemisphere is nothing to sneeze at!

I did a lot of research to find the right one, and so I chose Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner (as I mentioned earlier). I figured it made sense to learn from the best, and with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, I had nothing to lose. I chat WAY more in-depth about it in my review here, but this course was definitely a gamechanger for me.
If you choose gift card, it’ll be sent to your primary email address. If you opt for direct deposit, a space will appear on the page below to enter your bank details. And if you want a check sent to your contact address, keep in mind that the minimum payout is greater than it is for gift cards or direct deposit ($100 vs. $10), and a processing fee applies.
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!

I once persuaded my mum to buy all my Christmas presents using my affiliate links on Amazon, and then found out that Amazon won’t pay out to anyone with the same surname as you (as they assume them to be family; luckily I have an unusual surname!) or anyone who lives at the same address. However one of my friends has ordered through one of my affiliate links and the commission has tracked for that. It’s my ONLY commission, mind. And my account hasn’t been shut down yet (touch wood, fingers crossed etc etc…)
Great stuff here Sean – thanks for all of these insights and sharing some best practices when it comes to affiliate marketing. I’ve never been comfortable giving it a shot, but after reading this post and your perspective on how and when to do it, I may just have to give it a try. Especially considering I’m already mentioning and recommending services and products on my site, I’m just not getting the potential rewards associated with doing so. Thanks again.

It’s important to do some research into both your potential Influencer and their followers to see if this affiliate partnership is a good fit. While there’s no need to go over-board and nit-pick every single post, scrolling through and reading the comments on a few dozen will give you a good sense of whether this Influencer is right for your business.
Nah, you should work backwards: Start looking for the “noisiest” people on social media; the ones who have posted written or video reviews, tweets about how much they like your product, and of course, those who leverage Instagram. It’s important to check all social media because these potential partners may have, say, posted on Facebook about you but haven’t bothered to post on Instagram specifically. Then, after you’ve compiled a list, cross-reference their names/emails with your customer database. Got a match? That person is a prime candidate to reach out to, if they meet the criteria above that we’ve already established.
I would like to add that for information products, a lot of the time it’s pretty easy to rank for “information product review”. I recently did a review of a popular ebook that is a month long discipline program. I went about it by doing the actual program and documenting everything. At the end of the month I wrote up a 2700 word article summing up the whole experience.

It seems nowadays many bloggers are obsessed with this monetization stream, clamouring to find out how they, too, can make money off blogging through affiliate sales. This popularity has led to one very negative consequence: information overload, and not enough answers. After a few email exchanges, I realized some newbies were petrified of asking basic questions… in fear of sounding dumb.

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.
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.
You can also insert all types of Amazon affiliate ad banners and buttons for seasonal and holiday specials, shopping events like back-to-school and many other niche-targeted promotions like crafting, kitchen, tech and plenty more. If you insert a banner for a seasonal event but forget to change it out when the promotion is over, Amazon has you covered. Amazon will update any expired banners automatically with standard promotions, so you aren’t left with a blank spot on your site.
John Holloway uses Amazon affiliate links exclusively on his Guitar Lessons website. He advises beginning bloggers to “try different things and see what works best. Some best practices to start with are image links, in-text links and even product comparison tables with links,” says Holloway. “Just make sure that the linking is natural and not overdone or you run the risk of driving visitors away.”

Once you’ve got a topic and possibly some products to promote, the next lessons you’ll want to go through are ‘Finding and Registering a Domain Name’ and 'What to Look for in a Hosting Provider.' These will give you a hand with setting up your own domain name and hosting, and then you should have some help from your hosting provider to install WordPress. 
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.
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.
That was my initial reaction when I heard the news here. Gael , Mark and Perrin of Authority Hacker company involved in a stringent audit By Amazon Associates with risk of getting banned! The legalities of potential lawsuit liability against a huge online retailer, aka “Amazon” actually forces Amazon to go after a big fish in the Affiliate Marketing game, namely “Authority Hacker”.
Along with that, Amazon is a complete SELLING MACHINE! What I mean by that, is they have drilled their conversion rates down to the last detail. Typically I can convert traffic I send to Amazon from my affiliate sites around 12%. The reason why it works so well is that the moment people land on Amazon, they are automatically switched into "buyer mode". Meaning, they know the only thing left for them to do is BUY. What that means, is all you have to do is get people to Amazon's site, and they literally do the selling for you.
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.
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.
Keep in mind that it’s important to promote affiliate product links authentically. Refrain from being salesy and remember that your primary job is to help readers or customers find products that are useful, inspirational, and beautiful. Focus on sharing products that make your audience members’ lives easier, and you’ll naturally increase clicks and sales.
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