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%.
The most important rule you need to remember when adding affiliate links is to mention that it is an affiliate link. In your pin descriptions, Pinterest urges you to always disclose that it is an affiliate link and affiliate networks require it. You can write this within your description or use #affiliate at the end of your description. This needs to be done in order to follow affiliate networks rules and abide by FTC regulations.
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Blogging is probably the most common way affiliates make money with the Amazon Associates program. Some bloggers have a general topic site, and use a variety of affiliate programs and other monetization options. Other bloggers have a niche site, zeroing in on select products that the site covers. Either way, making money with Amazon Associates on a blog can be done by:
Videos also make it easier to build a relationship with your audience; you can talk right to them, and they can hear your voice (and see your face, though that’s not always necessary). Plus, not only are you sharing what the product looks like and how it works, since you’re the one who’s showing your audience how it works, you’re also building your authority with them as an expert they can trust.
There are a few tips and strategies we recommend following when it comes to affiliate marketing. For starters, we highly recommend promoting what you know whenever possible. Promoting a new product you hardly have any experience in is fine once in a while, but promoting something you’ve used successfully for years is bound to help you gain the trust of your audience more efficiently.
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.
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.
Sometimes, individual entrepreneurs with great products are worth a look, although you should check them out first and do some research. Entrepreneurs or companies may run their own affiliate program and you can apply directly to them to promote their products and services. Finally, Amazon is always an option as you can be an affiliate for just about any type of physical product on their network.
Amazon Associates is one of the first online affiliate marketing programs and was launched in 1996. The Amazon Associates program has a more than 12 year track record of developing solutions to help website owners, Web developers, and Amazon sellers make money by advertising millions of new and used products from Amazon.com and its subsidiaries, such as Endless.com and SmallParts.com. When website owners and bloggers who are Associates create links and customers click through those links and buy products from Amazon, they earn referral fees. It’s free to join and easy to use.
It is worth noting that you can also build unique URLs with your affiliate code that don't take readers directly to a product. Instead, it could take them to a collection of products, a content page, or some other intermediate step in the purchase funnel. The Creative Market Partner Program, for example, rewards you with a 10% cut of everything your referred customers buy for a full year. This means that regardless of whether they made a purchase immediately, or signed up and bought later, you will still get your cut.
Plus, it can be especially tempting this time of year to “catch the wave” of holiday shopping excitement and—as we talked about earlier—start promoting products you don’t know well and haven’t even used personally. While that may lead to some extra sales in the short term, in the long run you risk your audience’s trust by promoting products you don’t know and can’t stand behind.
Based on my research, I chose ‘affiliate marketing on Pinterest without a blog’ as my main target keyword. This what they call a long-tail keyword, a phrase that conveys a specific idea. It’s important to use long-tail keywords because then you’ll be giving users exactly what they’re looking for. If you use just ‘affiliate marketing’ as your keyword, you’ll be competing against everyone on Pinterest who has ever written anything about affiliate marketing. Thanks to proper keyword research, the first and seventh pins in the search results below are my own.
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.
Many marketers use automated email and drip sequences to introduce affiliate products and services to their subscribers. I use an auto-response sequence through MailerLite, a top-rated email marketing service and a fantastic alternative to MailChimp. You could send new subscribers three to five automated emails over a period of weeks/months and include affiliate links where applicable. Additionally, many marketers using landing page builders like Leadpages to convert subscribers and sales.
Okay, I’ll be honest, when I first started out, I found it surprisingly difficult to understand how to even generate links (and deep links). For a while, I legitimately thought I was stupid. In hindsight, stupidity may have been a small part of the cause, but the truth is the process is actually pretty confusing. SO, I’ve written some pretty boring (though helpful) step-by-steps on how to generate links on a few common programs and affiliate networks… So, for my fellow life-dummies, here’s:
Whether you are a brand or an influencer, creating a good Instagram profile isn’t as easy as it sounds. In principle it’s simple - take a good photo, upload it, add a filter and upload it. However, some of the most successful accounts have taken steps to make sure their Instagram stands out from the crowd so that they can gain more followers, and if they are an influencer, it paves the way for big brands to want to work with them to reach a wider audience.
Myth #4: You can make money quick with affiliate marketing. It’s true, you can get set up as an affiliate marketer in little time, but if you want to make good money as an affiliate marketer it’s going to take a while to build the relationships necessary to sustain it. Trust is a huge factor in successful affiliate marketing and trust takes time to earn.
Use Deep Links – these are pages on your affiliate’s website that AREN’T the homepage. For SiteGround’s hosting I link a lot to their speed technology page as an affiliate link. If you’re doing Amazon’s affiliate program you just want to gather a list of products you will be recommending to readers, create an affiliate link for each one, and import them to the plugin.
Writing good advertising sales copy (copywriting) is the other important skill for internet marketers. The good news is that when it comes to affiliate marketing, many vendors will provide you with copy to use for your blog posts, websites ads, etc. They'll give you the emails to send, the banner ads to display, and even posts you can use on social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
While affiliate marketing is nothing new in principle, it is fairly new to the world of Instagram. In many ways, the pairing is a match made in heaven. Instagram followers are more likely to engage with branded content than other social media users. Instagram celebrities from Kim Kardashian to the Beauty Boys have garnered millions of loyal followers thanks to influencer strategies that tell consistently compelling stories.
Can you make money with affiliate marketing? The short answer is yes, affiliate programs can earn a extra money and even a full-time income from home. The long answer is a little more complicated. Like any home income venture, success comes not so much from what you choose to do to make money, but whether or not you do what needs to be done correctly and consistently.
Don’t exhaust all the information about the product with your link. Offer enough information to your readers so they know what the link is, but I don’t recommend giving too much detail on your own site for a two reasons. First, product information, like price, often changes. If you mention the price on your site and someone clicks over and finds a different price, it’s confusing. Second, many times, the product details and features are better explained by the makers of the product. It’s best to stick to your own experience on your site.
Affiliate marketing as a monetization stream is perfect for bloggers, because we recommend things on a daily basis. It’s also a largely passive way to make money, which frees up your time to do other cool things, like travel and eat your weight in pie. Long story short: affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize your blog, so you should read on to learn all about it!
The same holds true for video ads. As Mediakix reports, sponsored videos are commented on three times more than sponsored photos. Once uploaded, your post will be labeled ‘Sponsored’ and will show up in the news feed of those users who fit the profile to be the most interested in your offer. This way, Instagram aims to preserve the seamless look and feel of the feed, so that users are more willing to engage with it.
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%.
For those who want to figure out how to sell Amazon products and make money off it, this course on 2017 Affiliate Marketing + SEO Strategy could be ideal for you. It’s a quick course that teaches how to build an amazon affiliate website, brushes you on the latest SEO techniques but may not be enough if you are looking at an advanced curriculum. The trainer Isli Hoxha, Website Developer & Growth Hacker will teach you marketing in depth.
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!
In the past, we removed affiliate links from Pinterest because spammers were abusing them. Now that our spam detection system is so much stronger, we’re ready to allow affiliate links again. To make way for these changes, we’re making minor updates to our acceptable use policy. We’ll start rolling out all affiliate networks today and over the coming weeks.
Perhaps most importantly, though, successful affiliate marketing on Amazon is built on the same foundational principle that all affiliate marketing, and all online marketing and business, is based: trust. In the end, Amazon is another tool that helps you help your audience and build their trust further, by promoting products that will help them achieve their goals.
Think about affiliate link placement in your posts. I can often tell a blogger’s intention is to monetize a post with an affiliate link. However, there will be either a gigantic introduction (lots of words!) or other links (that take the reader away from the post) before the affiliate link shows up once. Eliminate distractions. Put your affiliate link as close to the beginning of a post as works naturally. And of course disclose first.
“Affiliate marketing is split across many different channels,” says Shawn Collins, co-CEO of Affiliate Summit, a global affiliate marketing conference. So, once your home base affiliate marketing website is set up, it’s time to explore others ways to reach readers and build your audience. This is another ongoing task for beginner and seasoned affiliate marketers alike since online, social, and mobile marketing is an ever-changing field.
This can be as simple as adding a single disclaimer at the top of a blog post in which you’re sharing affiliate links. I’ve had people tell me it feels odd to tell visitors that you’re making money from an action they’re taking, and I get it, but the truth is this: it doesn’t cost those visitors anything to use your link (beyond the cost of the product), and once you help them, they’ll often look for ways to help you in return. And providing affiliate links is an easy way to let them do that, at no extra cost to them!
Hey Tom, thanks for this tutorial – it’s a good thing to get a tutorial like this from a trusted person like you and not from the thousands of (sometimes) confusing articles about passive income/affiliate marketing/clickfunnels and what not that I come across from time to time, I am making a living as a web designer and I have been thinking of pivoting from design and creative work to focus on passive income but didn’t know where to start. This is the perfect foundation article I have seen so far and I ‘d like to ask if you have any further reading/guides/videos on affiliate marketing that you’d recommend. I like to do my deep research before starting :) One more thing, there are some broken or missing images in this article, it could be my browser but check from your side too because there are quite a few images (e.g your Mercedes) that are missing. Thanks
Ahh thanks for the kind words. Glad you found the post helpful. I would focus on building up a good base of content first before adding affiliate links, because like you said, some programs might not accept you if your blog is still so new. 2 posts is a nice start, but I’d definitely work your way up to 10-15 posts, enough to “fill up” the blog before you apply for affiliate programs. That’s just my opinion though! The other thing about starting too early is that you haven’t really established authority or a solid audience that trusts you yet, so the odds of readers making purchases through you is much lower as well. Focus on content first, then programs! The good thing is, you’ve taken Michelle’s course, which I thought was super helpful in terms of getting in the right mindset for affiliate marketing. Now that you know what sort of content works, you can get a good strategy set out from the beginning. 🙂 Best of luck!
As another example, I’m planning on writing a blog post comparing the Blue Yeti USB Microphone to the Blue Snowball iCE Condensor Microphone. I have both and use them for client video calls, livestreams, and creating courses. However, the Blue Yeti is twice as expensive. I’m sure a lot of people wonder whether they investment is worth it (the answer is “yes,” by the way). I can help people make their decision and earn a bit of affiliate income in the process.
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.
In the BigCommerce affiliate program, you receive a 200% bounty per referral and $1,500 per Enterprise referral, with no cap on commissions. Plus, the more referrals you drive through the program, the higher your commission tier will go. BigCommerce uses an industry leading 90-day cookie, so you will receive credit for up to three months for the referrals you generate. Also, there are no obligations or minimum commitments to join the program.
I had that experience as well. Getting high monthly page views doesn’t necessarily translate to more traffic. You also need to focus on the conversion rate of your pins. For each pin, divide the number of clicks by the number of close ups. That gives you the conversation rate. You want that number to be at least 50%. Make a note of the pins that have the highest conversation rates and see what design elements they have in common. They create more pins like them. Hope that helps.