Affiliate marketing pulls together marketers who want to advertise and publishers, sometimes called influencers, who want to promote products and services and get paid to do so. Publishers place customized links to things they want to promote within their website or social media content. Then, they get a portion of the sales as a thank you for their promotion.
Now, each product promoted on Instagram can have a direct link to its products page either on Etsy, Amazon, an online store or somewhere else. This makes it easy for Instagrammers to immediately purchase something that has caught their eye as they are browsing their feed. And it makes it much much easier for eCommerce stores to drive traffic and sales from their Instagram posts.
Pinterest employs an algorithm to automate the selection of pins users will see in their feed, similar to many social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. The algorithm uses several factors in its calculations, but the presence of an affiliate link is not one of them. Affiliate pins are treated just the same as pins with regular URLs in both the Pinterest feed and in Pinterest’s search functions. Additionally, if a pinner wants to give an affiliate pin extra visibility, they can promote the pin through Pinterest’s Ads Manager, just like other pins.
According to Beeskow Blay, “Authenticity is the key to developing affiliate content that brings value to your audience and, in turn, influences them to purchase featured products.” She advises affiliate marketing beginners to “keep your message and brand consistent, find your voice and avoid overly pitchy posts or product insertions that are misaligned with your brand.” She warns that audiences are “quick to spot affiliate fakery. If they feel misled, they’ll find another source of information and not return to your site or social pages.”
Okay, so far we’ve talked about some of the key strategies for success as an Amazon affiliate, focused mostly on the positives—the what to dos—along with a few things to avoid. Now let’s talk about a few more things on the negative side of the equation: the practices you need to avoid if you want to grow your affiliate income (and yes, avoid getting in trouble with Amazon).
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.
Will my target audience realistically buy this now, or at a different time? Be sensitive to sales cycles and seasons. Maybe you should avoid holidays (when people are away from their computers, like July 4 in the U.S.) or maybe you should target holidays (like the day after Thanksgiving), but know the difference. Again, know your audience. Plan your content accordingly.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products, tools, services and learning resources I’ve personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can’t afford or that you’re not yet ready to implement.
Thanks for sharing your experience. It was a real eye-opener for me. I am new to affiliate marketing and am looking for ways to make a steady income. Your affiliate program seems to fit my needs. If you have the time email me with your affiliate link to signup and I hope you can help me get started the right way. Any assistance would be greatly appreciate. Be Blessed.
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.
That might be why many people liken marketing anything as an affiliate to more like waging a war than living on easy street. The truth is that it isn't easy by any measure. It takes time. And you can't buy into all the hype. However, by keeping a few principles and steps in mind, you too can dominate in the world of affiliate marketing and earn money while you sleep. The trick? Stay persistent and don't give up.
I come from an unsuccessful background of web design/SEO. I blogged because I knew it was good for SEO, but my articles didn’t monetize. I took a leap of faith and dropped my clients to figure out blogging/affiliate marketing. I was good at website speed optimization and knew hosting was the #1 factor. After some research, I saw SiteGround was #1 in most Facebook polls and had a great reputation with generous affiliate commissions. So I wrote tutorials on website speed… how to configure WordPress cache plugins, hosting reviews, and other speed-related topics. Usually near the end of a post I would say “Oh, here’s why you should switch to SiteGround” with evidence on why they’re the best… polls, tweets, load time improvements, etc. That’s when things got good. Now I have 0 clients and the freedom to do live my life. I wrote this tutorial because I’m actually excited to help people do the same – without the BS.
This might sound like a given, but it looks better if you can do your own photo shoot in your own style - it goes back to the word of mouth marketing. If you are the one wearing the product or have styled the picture yourself, it is more genuine and more likely to lead to a sale. @victoriama9 is a great example of this - it’s clear in the images that it’s her wearing the outfits and not a photo from the brand.
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.
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.”
You will see that I created a simple image with some selling features, noting the SALE, warranty, RETURNS and a big SWIPE UP which was pointing to my http://bit.ly/amazonferrariwatch URL I created from the Amazon Associates Affiliate Offering code (yea it’s a mouthful) but it’s the big long messy URL in the image below (which is from Bit.ly dashboard). This is an amazing officially licensed Ferrari watch backed with a 2 year warranty and FREE returns. It doesn’t get any nicer of a “sell” than offering all these things to an automotive enthusiast following like I have!
Consistency and discipline – Mr consistent usually gets the best results. Being consistent and disciplined in your business ensures you’ll minimise distractions that will delay your success. It will also help you develop a structure around your daily actions so you won’t waste time figuring out what to do next. Creating a plan and sticking to it is essential for long-term results.
First I want to just say well done with what you have accomplished. You have done an amazing job. I’m not really one to post a comment on blogs as I’m sure everyone says. But the thing that struck me the most about you is I can tell your a great individual. You love cats, as my wife and I do. We also have rescue cats. You are a very generous and honest person and that is most likely why you also have done well. Very authentic and honest. I’m in the process of building an affiliate amazon site. So I can relate to the content side of things. I’m already a customer of siteground but If I wasn’t I’d happily sign up through you. I have bookmarked your site as I’d like to come back and read a little more and keep an eye on your progress. Thanks for taking the time to write this post. It’s one of the best blog posts I’ve read. Take care Tom
One last note. I’ve been asked what I think of other affiliate marketing resources, both free and paid. I’m familiar with some of them, not all. I’ve read ebooks, watch videos, bought courses and more. So far, the only paid-for course that has impressed me enough to recommend is Kayla Aimee’s Affiliate Acceleration: Impactful Strategies To Increase Your Passive Income.
Affiliate Marketplaces – ShareASale and ClickBank have thousands of merchants to choose from. It’s nice to login to 1 place and check the performance of multiple affiliates without going to each individual portal on each website. Many programs aren’t part of a marketplace though. I’m a big fan of ShareASale – there are so many companies and industries you can choose from.
The description you send should include, for example, identification of the websites on which your banner ads are posted, advertising services you are using, screenshots of your Site’s analytics tools that show your Site traffic and its sources, the keywords you are using to drive referrals, any plugins or browser add-ons you use, live links to your Sites, a sequence of links that allows us to duplicate the clicks the majority of your customers make to get to the Amazon Site via your special links, and any other information that would be relevant to confirming the your compliance with the Operating Agreement, which can be found here: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/agreement.
Without doubt that was by far the best summary of “Greatest Tips” I have read to date. It is so confusing out there…I want to help my son who struggles with cranky bossy managers to empowering him and havening him live life on his terms. I know affiliate marketing is the way out but where to start?? Do we set up on Shopify and offer other people’s products? Do we set up a blog with a few good links? Do you go to clickbank and peddle the China trinkets etc? Its a tough one to sort but this tutorial was an easy to understand read and you have my word that any of the hosting or other services offered I will use your affiliate link to thank you for sharing your knowledge and your mistakes. Sincerest thanks Tom!
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.
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!
However, be aware that you need to submit an application to most of these networks to be accepted. Once you're accepted in, you're often required to apply directly to the merchant afterwards. So there are two layers or gates that you need to bypass. That's also why it's important to build up your platform and create that emotional bridge between yourself and your audience before attempting to promote anything to them.
Fun fact: the “Amazon Associates” program actually has a different program for a variety of different countries, meaning yes, Amazon.COM has a different program than Amazon.CA, and Amazon.CO.UK, and Amazon.FR, etc. etc. If you want to, you can sign up for all of them without being residents of these countries. What’s important is where your readers are from.
Check what other items your referrals are buying. One great feature of the Amazon Associates program is that you get paid on items your referral buys, whether or not they buy the specific item you referred. Amazon stats will let you know what items you referrals bought. If you haven't yet promoted the item, and it's a fit for your blog or website, you should consider adding to your product list.
But I think the biggest deciding factor in this, goes back to the site as a whole and all of the other posts. Are the genuine? Is the blogger constantly trying to push products? I’d like to think I’ve been doing this long enough that my audience knows I’m not out to make a quick buck – and I think even relatively new bloggers can prove this based on their other content.
The second place where honesty is crucial is in how you represent your affiliate links themselves. I always recommend being honest with the fact that you can earn a commission when people use your affiliate links to purchase a product. In fact, the FTC requires that you disclose when you’re using affiliate links, but beyond even that, it’s just good practice to let people know that you’ll make money when they purchase via a link on your site.
While the world of Instagram influencers and how we utilize them to market our products is still very young, we have been able to cover several great ways to get the most out of these powerful players within your affiliate program. Good luck with all your affiliate marketing efforts and feel free to email us or comment below with any ideas or questions.
Thank you for the insight, it did set straight some of the things that seem to be left out in the sales pitches from those selling their affiliate programs. I’ve been looking for a couple of weeks now, and while some of it is starting to sink in, one of the key factors appears to be the creation of an informative blog. It seems there are other ways to operate as an Affiliate Marketer that don’t require a blog or a website, but, it appears that content and traffic to it, are the preferred methods.
Yes is the short answer. Any time you are planing on generating money, you should have a plan. No plan means no real focus. There may be some 1/1000 percent of a chance you will succeed, but I haven't met them yet. If you have already started and have generated an income, record how. Doing so will give you material for use in expanding your business faster.
Totally agree with your opinion on affiliate marketing. I’m in the same space myself and can tell you what it feels like to earn $1000 commissions while literally sitting on the sofa watching TV. It is absolutely mind-blowing. High-ticket commissions are what sets apart the affiliate marketers that scale their business up to six or even seven figures to the ones that only make a few thousand a month. I run a website based on digital marketing an entrepreneurship. You should check out our affiliate program – it is guaranteed to blow your mind. 🙂
Hi Kate, on Pinterest, you can add the affiliate URL when you create the new pin on your account. If you already have the pin made and want to add the affiliate link, you can just “edit” the pin and change the URL. Hope that makes sense. In the book, Elise has a step by step tutorial with photos on how to add the URL to Pinterest in case you need more help.