The idea of making money while you sleep is nothing new. Passive income has been a popular buzzword for the past couple of years. One way to generate such passive income is with affiliate marketing. If you want to earn money but don't have anything to sell, affiliate income comes into play and can leave you making some pretty decent change each month.
Some affiliate marketing offers will pay you a set fee if someone signs up for their monthly subscription service. Some will pay you a set fee for driving new users to signup for an app or service. Either way, the more you know your demographic, the more you will be able to find the best converting affiliate marketing programs to bank serious money.
I could have promoted WP Engine (hosting company) for $200/sale with no tier program to climb – sounds pretty good right? But when I checked ShareASale I saw their reversal rates were 24%! Just to give you an idea SiteGround’s reversals are less than 10%. WP Engine starts at $29/month while SiteGround’s is $3.95/month, plus SiteGround has a better reputation. I had to climb a tier program to get SiteGround’s $150/sale, but long-term my research paid off.
His blog became wildly successful. At roughly the same time, V2 Cigs informed him of their affiliate program where they paid out 50% commissions. That was Henry's "aha" moment. Almost immediately after adding those affiliate links onto his blog, his income exploded. He was making over $30,000 per month and it was passive income. He was on top of the world.
Yes! You may be confused because affiliate links were effectively banned from Pinterest back in 2015. But on May 12, 2016 Pinterest announced that affiliate links are once again allowed on Pinterest. Pinterest said in part, “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.”
While I was doing WordPress speed optimization I noticed lots of people needed it, but very few people supplied it (there were a lack of services and tutorials when I researched Google). I also knew hosting was the #1 factor of website speed factor and these companies paid up to $200/sale. Hosting is a competitive space but the commissions and lack of supply enticed me.
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.
Rizzo adds, “roundup lists can also rank higher in Google search results because they tend to be more specific. In other words, don’t do a post entitled ‘Best Laptop Computer’ because you will be competing with some of the largest websites out there such as CNET, PC Magazine and so on and will have a difficult time getting traffic,” says Rizzo. “Instead, think about deeper pieces of content like ‘Best Security Camera System for Small Businesses,’ which has fewer searches but far less competition.”
Creating a blog is also a great idea to along with your products. Not only does it give you the ability to showcase your products, but it keeps your readers up to date with upcoming products, promotions, descriptive posts, social media sharing, email list building, etc. Here is a FREE 7-Day email course on how to start a profitable blog if you are interested.
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.
A practical way to generate affiliate commissions through IG is to add a link to your website or blog. Many affiliate marketers use IG as a traffic source. As traffic flows to your site, visitors will discover your content and stumble upon affiliate links. You might even create a unique URL and welcome page for your IG traffic. For example, chadtennant.com/instagram. Your welcome page could acknowledge your presence on IG and provide a brief intro about you and your offerings. For example,
Mistake #2: Using the “They must not be my people” excuse to be spammy. I’m not a fan of this common tactic. Here’s how it works: people send a huge number of sales/promotional emails to their list with no warning and with no easy way to opt out. When people complain or unsubscribe, they put it on their subscribers (“Oh well, they aren’t my type of subscriber anyway…”), instead of taking responsibility for the spam (let’s call it what it is). What ever happened to “treat others the way you want to be treated”?
Websites and services based on Web 2.0 concepts—blogging and interactive online communities, for example—have impacted the affiliate marketing world as well. These platforms allow improved communication between merchants and affiliates. Web 2.0 platforms have also opened affiliate marketing channels to personal bloggers, writers, and independent website owners. Contextual ads allow publishers with lower levels of web traffic to place affiliate ads on websites.
You can use affiliate links throughout your site, but it’s best to place them in strategic places. These include reviews of the product or service you’re promoting as well as in depth tutorials and guides. You should also create a Resources page on your site where you list the tools, products and services you use in your niche and insert affiliate links for them.
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.
If you are a music lover, it would be a good idea to promote it over books and even other products. All you need to do is listen to clips of a full album within a short period, say 10 minutes, get a good feel of it without you purchasing it and do a short review. If there is another niche you are passionate about, make sure you get a unique discovery about it. Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of reviews about these products all over the web but you need to make yours more unique to attract people to your site.
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.
Ideally, you should take photos of yourself holding the product. You may also want to create posts that show the effect of the product. If you’re an affiliate marketer for makeup, you might post a before and after photo of what you look like before and after you put on the makeup. There are a ton of ways to do this – how you choose to market the product or service is completely up to you.
I’ve been pretty intentional about what types of products that I share with my audience, but one thing that I struggled with is that I didn’t want to come off as “salesy.” Because of this I included less affiliate links in posts or avoided different types of posts that I thought would be too pushy. However, it turns out using my affiliate links made it more convenient for my audience. Plus, the tutorial posts and roundup posts that do so well in affiliate marketing still can be super helpful and add value for your readers.
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).
Of course you want affiliates with high commissions, but they should also have a solid reputation with high conversions and low reversal rates (you get $0 if people cancel after signing up). If they’re part of an affiliate marketplace like ShareASale or ClickBank you can see some numbers there. Companies likes Amazon/SiteGround are safe bets, otherwise do your research (or track your affiliate links so you can monitor their performance). Avoid affiliates offering huge commissions since this probably means they’re struggling to acquire/retain customers naturally. This will hurt your numbers (specifically your conversions/reversal rates).
The benefits of affiliate marketing are location independence and the ability choose which products to promote. Also, your investment of time and energy directly correlates to the return you see. Depending on your availability and what you hope to gain from the enterprise, you can choose to be the type of marketer who sets up shop and passively waits for customers to come, or you can proactively spread the word about your favorite merchandise from prominent brand affiliates.
Don’t Buy Fake Followers – Although brands might be impressed at first glance with your follower numbers, it won’t take long for them to realize that your audience isn’t worth paying for. A few clicks to check on engagement levels and how your followers have responded to your posts will tell them that you have bought your followers, not organically grown your audience. This isn’t the type of audience that will get results for businesses, and consequently, people won’t want to pay you to promote their posts.
Don’t go insane and join a million at once… think first about what would make sense for you to endorse. If you’re a travel blogger for instance, becoming an affiliate for hotels, tours and travel gear may be appropriate. Most companies will have an affiliate program, or be part of an affiliate network. Your best bet would be a quick Google: “company + affiliate program”.
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.
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.
Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.
Thank you for a very straightforward introduction to the world of Affiliate Marketing. I’m looking forward to the journey and just starting out. For me, I’m just as enthusiastic about the challenge of gaining success for its own sake, as the financial rewards it may hopefully bestow on me. There are so many variables involved and putting the whole thing together feels like attempting a 40,000-piece jigsaw puzzle with a hangover.
Focus on reviewing products that fall within your niche. Then, leveraging the rapport you have created with your audience and your stance as an expert, tell your readers why they would benefit from purchasing the product you are promoting. It is especially effective to compare this product to others in the same category. Most importantly, make sure you are generating detailed, articulate content to improve conversions.
Many top-tier online brands list their affiliate programs right on their website so you can find them easily. Some are self-administered, others are run through an affiliate marketplace, but you can sign up from the brand’s website. Like marketplaces, these large affiliate programs are free to join and easy for affiliate marketing beginners to navigate.
Sponsored posts on Instagram can be a great tool to increase your followers, and engagements on specific posts. If you have a coupon code, or a working on a collaboration this can be a good way to increase sales. You can target your audience to specific demographics including location, interests, behaviours and purchase intent which makes it easy to find the people you are looking for.
With affiliate pins, I use both script fonts and cursive fonts. I tend to tell people to stay away from cursive fonts, but I make an exception with affiliate pins because they perform well. Before I post an affiliate pin, it goes through my ‘sister test.” It’s pretty simple – I just ask my sister, who wears glasses, whether she can read every single word.