I think there are a couple main reasons why the research aspect is so overlooked in affiliate marketing. The first reason is, people are just lazy. Most new affiliate marketers are only thinking about making money in the shortest period of time, so they simply choose a niche and build a site in their first day. Then, months go by with little to no website traffic and they proclaim that affiliate marketing no longer works. Considering affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar per year industry driving about 20% of all online sales, that of course isn’t true. Most people just don’t do the research necessary to truly find a profitable niche that is in demand without too much competition.
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.

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.
Many affiliate marketers direct traffic to a landing page, i.e., a one-page website for e-commerce, event/webinar registration, and list building. I use a landing page to grow my email list. I offer a list of top and profitable WordPress affiliate programs. When someone subscribes, he or she enters my marketing funnel. A marketing funnel is a process of turning leads into buyers, customers, and clients as illustrated below. Search for “marketing funnel” to explore variations.
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.
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.
Amazon’s affiliate program is the most popular of them all. I don’t participate myself (yet) but the majority of affiliate marketers I know use Amazon because… it’s Amazon. You can review products you have used or write tutorials (eg. how to connect computer to TV) and drop an affiliate link to an HDMI cable… just a couple examples. You may want to build relationships with the manufacturers so you can get products before they’re released – giving you time to create a review before the product is launched and capture sales during peak buying times.

SEO: getting consistent traffic by writing AWESOME content about your keywords (there’s a phrase “length is strength” in SEO and this paid off big time for me). Maybe you’re doing videos or an eCourse, but I found blog posts WAY easier to update which means less maintenance. The biggest factor by FAR was the time I spent meticulously creating my tutorials… which eventually resulted in a sudden 3x increase in SEO traffic

In 2006, the most active sectors for affiliate marketing were the adult gambling, retail industries and file-sharing services.[21]:149–150 The three sectors expected to experience the greatest growth are the mobile phone, finance, and travel sectors.[21] Soon after these sectors came the entertainment (particularly gaming) and Internet-related services (particularly broadband) sectors. Also several of the affiliate solution providers expect to see increased interest from business-to-business marketers and advertisers in using affiliate marketing as part of their mix.[21]:149–150


While any “regular” job requires you to be at work to make money, affiliate marketing offers you the ability to make money while you sleep. By investing an initial amount of time into a campaign, you will see continuous returns on that time as consumers purchase the product over the following days and weeks. You receive money for your work long after you’ve finished it. Even when you’re not in front of your computer, your marketing skills will be earning you a steady flow of income.
In truth, there’s a sixth step to the process, which is: keep everything discussed above going. But we stated that fact throughout, so no need to expand on it. Successful affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme; it’s a slow-build process. In fact, most affiliate marketers never get rich — but they do, over time, enjoy additional income from their affiliate efforts. That income generally compounds the longer you do it.
Many Instagrammers use shortened link services such as Hootsuite (Ow.ly) and Bitly (Bit.ly). While shortened links are practical to use in posts and on other networks, I don’t recommend using one in your bio unless it’s consistent with everything else. Also, it helps if the link is customized or branded. For instance, an account for women’s shoes uses bit.ly/sixinchheels, which would be acceptable.
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.
Paid advertising is NOT something I recommend for those who are just getting started. With that said, it’s good to have a basic understanding of what is known as PPC or Pay-Per-Click website traffic. In short, you can use services like Google Adwords or Facebook Ads to drive traffic to your site. You pay per website visitor, but you can make a lot of money doing this. Say it costs you $1 to send a visitor to your site, but each visitor on average earns you $2 in affiliate commissions. You, my friend, have a money machine on your hands.
Banner and sidebar ads: Virtually every affiliate program provides a wide variety of ads that you can insert into the sidebars, header and footer sections of your WordPress website. Some of these affiliate ads promote a flat-fee product like the Amazon Prime free trial. Others automatically update with features products and items from your affiliate partner. Either way, if your reader clicks on one and makes a purchase, you get paid.
Fill out your bio with all the right information: This includes your contact information, what you post about and where you’re from. Add in a few keywords and even a couple of hashtags to ensure you’re easily findable by the right kind of followers. Something like: Beauty Blogger from San Francisco with a penchant for travel. Business inquiry: business@beautyblogger.com
Always fill out the comment box to “sell” your platform. If you are given the opportunity to explain why you are interested in a program, do it! Use the space to highlight why you would be an asset to the program. Talk about how your audience is their audience. Talk about the size of your mailing list (if it’s significant). Talk about your success with similar programs. Talk about where and how you will promote (hopefully you’ve done a bit of research so you know what they’re hoping for). Don’t sound desperate and certainly don’t lie about anything, but be upfront and honest about how this will be a win for them.

Hi Christina. I have been looking for answers about how to start affiliate through a travel blogging for more than 3 weeks and this post shined a light for me. Thank you! I still have a question about how and when to start applying to affiliate programs. I just opened my travel blog last week and had only 2 posts. Off course I have no established traffic and posts yet. I want to use affiliate links to start writing about reviews of hotels and places where I have visited, but I know my blog won’t be accepted by advertisers because I don’t have enough contents. I also took Michelle’s course and one of the chapters said to start affiliate marketing as soon as possible, but I don’t know how would you be accepted by advertisers at very very beginning?? Should I forcus on writing more posts first? And how many would be adequate to start applying to programs? Thank you for reading. Your blog is very helpful!!

Thanks Nathalie! And glad to see you came over from AONC 🙂 When done the right way I think affiliate links in context are much less intrusive and offensive than having ads on your sidebar. The average non-tech reader probably wont even know its an affiliate link anyway. So just by doing everything you’ve already been doing, you can switch out links, and probably make a nice side income!
Plus, leverage Instagram Stories, as they are known to be an effective business tool. They allow placing the links of the promoted products on a video. If a customer taps on the affiliate link, they will be redirected to the advertiser’s website where the products are available to buy. Don’t forget to add the location and hashtag stickers to raise the discoverability of your Instagram Stories.  

Fill your website with content that will be useful to the people who are interested in your niche, and place your affiliate links throughout in the most relevant places. That way when someone interested in your content clicks your link, they go to a sales page for a product that they might also be interested in, and if they buy it you get a commission!
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.

This, is most likely one of the absolutely best courses on building amazon affiliate sites. Trust me, the explanations are extremely in-depth and understandable, I never had any experience in this field but I learned everything with ease and got to work right away thanks to the instructor’s very broad understanding of SEO. This is easily one of the top affiliate marketing courses and I realy thank the instructor for putting together such an amazing course, and sharing it with other people. If you want an A-Z explanation of amazon affiliate marketing, you will not be dissapointed by this course! – Beleuta Teodor

Can you name 30 products related to your topic? If you know your topic well, you should be able to list 30 or so related or complementary products or services. Can you? If you can, great. There’s a good chance you’ll find affiliate partners that sell products that you can promote in your content. If you can’t name 30 related products off the top of your head, your topic may not have much profit potential.
In the past, bloggers could only promote affiliate products via Pinterest indirectly by linking to a blog post that contained affiliate links. But now, if you are a blogger who has already joined affiliate programs for your favorite retailers in your niche, you can now share your affiliate links directly on Pinterest. That means that instead of creating a post to drive readers to, you can now pin and image of a product you love with your affiliate link on Pinterest. You can see an example of one of my “affiliate pins” below.
Building trust with your audience is paramount in affiliate marketing, and the quickest way to lose trust is to recommend products either you haven’t used before or that aren’t a good fit for your audience. Also make sure you never tell anyone to directly buy a product, you are simply recommending the product. The more helpful you are and the more you make quality recommendations, the more likely your web visitors will come back for your expertise. 
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?
Formaro also publishes other types of content that appeal to the shopping side of her how-to audience. “You can also do product reviews or write gift guides on creative content websites, and these can be very effective — even more so than just linking to supplies within a how-to post,” says Formaro. “Keep in mind that people are most likely not in the shopping mindset when they arrive at your blog to get a recipe or how-to instructions. But, if they come to a gift guide or product review, the mindset is definitely shopping-oriented.”
This is so well put together, thank you! I’ve been spinning my wheels trying to figure out what affiliates to work with in my niche. My target audience is bloggers, and much of my content is free knowledge on how to grow a blog, but pushing a sale is just not what I want to do. But with this list I can really see that there are a lot of options to choose from. I do have an account with shareasale already, so I’m going to start there and see what other companies will work for my audience!
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