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%.
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.
I was able to make my first online dollars through Amazon Affiliate sales… It was never much and in the beginning I was just excited to make $10 in a month, which was enough for a free ebook or two. With regular updates and link inclusions in my posts over time I was able to grow the number up to like $300 a month–which I was pretty happy with. Of course the payout rates are paltry compared to a sale of an info product like one from Unconventional Guides, etc. Thing is, people seem to be more open to purchasing physical products rather than information products…
“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.”
Affiliate Marketing Blog – This is the source for affiliate marketing news and opinions from Shawn Collins, a co-founder of Affiliate Summit, the premiere affiliate marketing conference. During his approximately 20 years as an online marketer, Collins has garnered a wealth of valuable industry knowledge that he shares on his blog. Collins also offers a podcast, “This if Affiliate Marketing,” where he interviews guests so listeners can learn about the people of affiliate marketing.
Writing content for your blog or website about picking or buying a product available on Amazon. Now more than ever, people go online to research their buying options. If you're a mom blogger, you can write an article on picking a low-cost vacuum with a link to your top choice or several links to your top choices. A food blogger can link to cooking tools. A photography site can link to cameras and other photography equipment.
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.
In the past, large affiliates were the mainstay, as catch-all coupon and media sites gave traffic to hundreds or thousands of advertisers. This is not so much the case anymore. With consumers using long-tail keywords and searching for very specific products and services, influencers can leverage their hyper-focused niche for affiliate marketing success. Influencers may not send advertisers huge amounts of traffic, but the audience they do send is credible, targeted, and has higher conversion rates.
For example, if I talk about how cool a product is, and then you find out that I’m an affiliate for them, wouldn’t you as a conscientious observer become skeptical as to whether my information is biased, if perhaps I’m only saying how cool something is because I can get paid for it? Wouldn’t that make you question my integrity with other things I say as well?
Hands down I’d say the best thing you can do is research 1 primary keyword, craft an enticing article title that includes your keyword (though it doesn’t have to be an exact match), spend time writing your search engine snippets (SEO titles/meta descriptions), and by far the most important is making your content as VALUABLE as possible through videos, nice graphics, table of contents, bold/colors/styling, etc. Small things like keyword density barely matter.
Amazon’s language: “… you will not engage in any promotional, marketing, or other advertising activities in any offline manner, including by using any of our or our affiliates’ trademarks or logos (including any Amazon Mark), any Content, or any Special Link in connection with an offline promotion or in any other offline manner (e.g., in any printed material, mailing, SMS, MMS, email or attachment to email, or other document, or any oral solicitation).”
For example, when someone drops a comment on a blog post, you should engage with that person, even if it's only to say thanks. This helps to bridge that emotional divide. Be sure to stay on top of all engagement on every platform. Don't allow it to consume you, but do your best to respond to people in a timely manner. This could make all the difference in succeeding with a sale or making someone pass you up. The more you nurture and develop your audience, the more they'll believe become fervent buyers.
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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!
Let’s take a look at a real-life example. I’ll show you how I did keyword research to promote my affiliate pin for the Pin To Profits – Affiliate Marketing Course. The course teaches beginners how to make money on Pinterest using affiliate links. Before I put myself in my audience’s shoes, I make a note of the key information about the course that I need to convey.
The top Influencers may balk at this payment model since they are used to pay-per-post. But again, it’s much more likely that micro-influencers will be open to this model. And to sweeten the pot, you should offer an initial “signing bonus” of free products for them to have, and also a higher commission rate unique for these affiliate Influencers. If your usual commission rate is 10–20% for the average influencer, consider going as high as 50%. Even if the ROI isn’t quite 11X, but say 5X, it’s still well worth the commission costs.
Style, trend and new releases posts: Styles, trends and new release content applies to much more than fashion. Style, hot finds and new release content can cover all topics, from tech, home decor and camping equipment to cooking, boating and horseback riding. Stay on top of the latest and greatest products within your topic and feature them in recurring posts.
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.
Since your pin is going directly to a seller’s site and not your blog or review, make sure that the title and description of each pin is informative and straight to the point. You can use two to three sentences and always, always, always disclose. Remember that these titles and descriptions are what help Pinterest users find you when they do a search. The better your description is, the more sales you will get.