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.
He is the co-founder of Neil Patel Digital. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author and was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.
Contact the company directly. If you use a product or service and want to recommend it but you can’t find evidence of an affiliate program, consider approaching them and asking if they are willing to set one up (maybe with your help). Highlight your audience and the value of your recommendation. Explain that an affiliate program is simply rewarding happy customers (you!) for promoting, and they don’t have to pay until a sale is made.
I relay the story of Dan Henry because it exemplifies the power of this thing called the internet that binds us all. And while Henry has succeeded on a massive scale, so many others have hit roadblocks, stumbled, fallen and failed. The large rate of failure helps to mystify and obfuscate this world of affiliate marketing because so many are trying to penetrate this market but so few are able to succeed on a large scale.
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.
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.”
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, or suggest strategies no longer endorsed or permitted by advertisers.
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.”
Engage with your followers: You cannot expect all interaction to come directly to you. Make time every single day to engage with your followers or anyone involved in your industry by commenting on and liking images. If you communicate with authentic content, people will be drawn to check out your account and, hopefully, join your loyal rank of followers.
All of the above info is for those of you who want to learn affiliate marketing for free. As you can see, there is a lot of free help for you if you plan on doing all of this yourself. However, I also know that some of you do have some funding available and you want to create a bit of a shortcut to success. The only way to do that is to outsource right now.
Creating a unique tracking ID for an Amazon link is easy. Simply log in to your Amazon affiliate dashboard, click “Account Settings” at the very top on the right, then click “Manage Tracking IDs”. From there you can make a new tracking ID so you can track which web page/campaign sold what. You can learn more about using Amazon’s Tracking IDs here.
Travel blogger @Anna Everywhere has an Instagram full of stunning photo shoots in amazing locations around the world. She is incredibly stylish, and many people send her messages asking where she buys her clothes, so to help with that - even though this is not the focus point of the picture, she will include a link to the product below the image. The image below is from Waikiki, and she mentions her bikini after everything she has to say about the location. She also doesn’t link to products in every single post that she does.
Affiliate marketing allows you to make money online, even if you don’t have a blog, website, or any products of your own. Following a few simple steps can get you up and running within hours and earning your first commissions right away. Affiliate marketing really is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make money online and should be a part of every online business owner's portfolio.
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.
Alright, I know that was a lot to digest, but if making passive income was easy, don’t you think we’d all be walking around, draped in velvet like the fancy people we truly are? Making money off blogging, passive income no less, is super difficult… and it takes hard work and dedication. With these basics out of the way, it is my genuine hope that you now feel (somewhat) less confused and more motivated than ever to tackle this beast. If you haven’t run away to the woods yet, you might be wondering, “ugh crap what do I do now?”
It’s no secret that Amazon is a pioneer in ebooks and expanding opportunities for indie authors. But Amazon also led the way in online affiliate marketing. In 1996, Amazon was a small online book retailer run from Jeff Bezos’ garage. With a limited marketing budget, Amazon decided to tap into readers’ love of books to help spread the word. Instead of having an initial outlay of money to buy advertising, Amazon paid people a commission when they referred buying customers to Amazon. This commission was paid after the customer bought, eliminating upfront marketing costs.
If you want to jumpstart your success: I really do recommend enrolling in Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. It has helped me SO much in terms of starting out and getting in the right mindset for affiliate marketing. The Facebook group is amazingly helpful, and I have heard great feedback from blogger friends who have taken it based on my recommendation. If you are a beginner, this course will definitely help you. To sweeten the deal, I’ll throw in a copy of my Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers eBook for free if you buy the course from my affiliate link. Remember, there’s a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, so there’s no harm in giving it a try.
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.
Most businesses require startup fees as well as a cash flow to finance the products being sold. However, affiliate marketing can be done at a low cost, meaning you can get started quickly and without much hassle. There are no affiliate program fees to worry about and no need to create a product. Beginning this line of work is relatively straightforward.
Pin To Profits costs $47, which I think is very reasonable for the information and strategies you learn. Since implementing McKinzie’s pin design strategies, my click-through rates have skyrocketed. In fact, my affiliate pins for the Pin To Profits – Affiliate Marketing course have gotten over 1,000 clicks in a month! Here are my total and unique clicks, according to the Pretty Links plugin.
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.
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.
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!
Like any social media platform, increasing followers, views, engagement, and CTRs are a function of user activity. Posting at least once daily should be your goal. Using hashtags makes your content more discoverable. You should add ten to twenty hashtags to every post without appearing spammy. I have my hashtags ready to copy and paste in a memo on my phone. Check out your competition to understand what hashtags they use and discover the most popular hashtags with a tool like RiteTag. You might also like to read Hootsuite’s The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Use Hashtags and The Complete Instagram Hashtag Guide. Lastly, you might want to buy followers or use marketing automation and bots to attract people to your profile. For differing opinions on these topics, search for “buying IG followers, “IG bots,” and “IG automation.”
Let’s say I’m a photographer who teaches digital photography to beginners. I use Photoshop to edit my images and mention it frequently on my blog. I even post full-length tutorials using the software regularly. This makes Photoshop a great contender for my affiliate marketing strategy. It’s a product I trust and provide information on how to use regularly. So, I search for “photoshop affiliate program” on Google and come across Adobe’s affiliate program.
Every single network or merchant will provide you with specific links that you can use to promote whatever it is you're looking to sell. Be sure to scrutinize the details of any offer that you decide to partake in. Then, build out your affiliate links and ensure that the sales and clicks are registering your to your account. You can use URL shorteners like Bitly or Google's own shortener to make the links more manageable in terms of length.
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 have now done three courses on Affiliate Marketing and can recommend all three so if you want to check out each of these in more details here are the links to have a look at. I like them all for different reasons and its up to do which ones you choose they all cover the basics but I would say Makingsense of affiliate marketing probably is the most in-depth and comprehensive but it depends on how much you want to go into it each has different tips but essentially each course covers the basics.
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, creating content is the most difficult aspect of running any affiliate marketing company. Why? Because it takes long-term dedication and commitment. You can’t just write a few articles and expect floods of traffic to your site. You need lots and lots of content. Creating enough content to truly develop a great resource for people takes a months of work. You’ll also notice that I practice what I preach. ALL of my affiliate sites are heavy on content. From this very website you’re on now to my dog food review site to my site about sharks and all my other sites, they all have piles and piles of content.
When you do use affiliate links on a page, be transparent about it. This isn’t a choice if you’re in the United States, by the way. The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, requires you to provide a clear disclosure when receiving money in exchange for promoting a product. Providing a disclosure is as simple as inserting the following message at the top of every post and page that contains an affiliate link:
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.