First, you should feel free to pin relevant affiliate content to your EXISTING personal boards that are filled with mostly substantive content from other blogs. For example, I will pin a beautiful rug from Target to my personal board called “Rugs and Windows.” That board contains mostly DIY tutorials from other bloggers, but certainly the people who follow it are interested in rugs and window treatments, so they will likely also be interested in rugs that are available for purchase.
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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.
Do your due diligence and research your potential partner. Do any red flags pop up when you Google their name? Is there bad buzz around them in their specific niche? Do they play well with other Influencers and/or brands? This is important because the minute you attach your brand to a bad Influencer, it may take a long time for your reputation to recover.
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.”
Great stuff here Sean – thanks for all of these insights and sharing some best practices when it comes to affiliate marketing. I’ve never been comfortable giving it a shot, but after reading this post and your perspective on how and when to do it, I may just have to give it a try. Especially considering I’m already mentioning and recommending services and products on my site, I’m just not getting the potential rewards associated with doing so. Thanks again.
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.
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.
When it comes down to brass tacks, there are some important steps to be taken to succeed as an affiliate marketer, and an overall framework that needs to be followed. But before getting into that, it's important to get a lay of the land and look at the macro aspects of marketing and buyer mentality before being able to leverage any of that psychology to sell commissionable products or services.
Win-win-win. The advertiser wins because they only pay when a purchase is made (as opposed to the shotgun approach of paying to advertise to the masses and waiting for a small percentage to actually buy). The affiliate wins because they make money while providing helpful advice. The customer wins because they get a trusted recommendation for something they might not otherwise have known about.
With all of this in mind, you also need to understand that affiliate marketing is not some get-rich-quick system. It’s a business. A real marketing business that will take some time to grow. All of the resources you need in order to succeed are listed above, but don’t expect overnight success. Give it a good 6 to 12 months and about 10 to 15 hours per week working on your business. If you do that, by this time next year, you should be an affiliate marketer yourself, at the very least making a nice secondary income. If not, in a year from now, you’ll be exactly where you are right now. Focus on the long-term and keep going with sustained effort. Of course, I’m always available as well if you ever want to contact me. I never charge a dime. 🙂
Include relevant information about the photograph and ask a question to your followers. This is important to drive engagement to your posts and it gives people the information they are looking for. Geo-tagging can help when customers want to find out where something is. A blogger utilising geo-tagging might include where they are in the photograph, while brands should geo-tag store locations to make it easier for people to find.
In November 1994, CDNow launched its BuyWeb program. CDNow had the idea that music-oriented websites could review or list albums on their pages that their visitors might be interested in purchasing. These websites could also offer a link that would take visitors directly to CDNow to purchase the albums. The idea for remote purchasing originally arose from conversations with music label Geffen Records in the fall of 1994. The management at Geffen wanted to sell its artists' CD's directly from its website but did not want to implement this capability itself. Geffen asked CDNow if it could design a program where CDNow would handle the order fulfillment. Geffen realized that CDNow could link directly from the artist on its website to Geffen's website, bypassing the CDNow home page and going directly to an artist's music page.
Make sure your bio includes some good information about you or your company - you have 150 characters to show off what you’re about. Make sure you include your website link, and a way of contacting you as well - this is important for influencers, and also brands. At the moment it isn’t possible to search bios for keywords and hashtags, so don’t worry about using those in your bio.
Now if your really want to run with this idea, or you’ve tried this and found success. Then go and find a bunch of amazing products that fit with your followers (or a wide demographic) and create a simple product review website and send your followers (from your URL link in your BIO) or your (Instagram Viral Story) to a website full of affiliate offerings!
That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!
Another great way to get the most out of Instagram influencers in your affiliate program is to host a product giveaway with them. Influencers love running giveaways because they receive excellent engagement from them and gain a lot of new followers in the process. When you structure the giveaway with the influencer you do want to make sure that it’s not one sided and you get some new followers for your social media accounts as well. At the end of the day, it’s a great way to get some new followers and get some great marketing out there for the cost of your product, which is usually a brand’s preferred currency.
What I love about affiliate marketing is it is so easy to get started! You don’t have to have a huge audience and you don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of hours creating your own products. Plus, for a lot of people, it is a natural fit. Think of how many times a month you refer a friend to a great place to eat, a life-saving toy, or your favorite new mascara. If you are already doing that, chances are you will rock at affiliate marketing.
You’ve no doubt encountered affiliate marketing on the Internet without even realizing it. Lots of popular blogs and websites write about particular products and then link to Amazon or an online store. They receive commission money when you click on the link and buy the product. As an affiliate, the blog receives a little ‘tracking code’ from the product creator that enables them to know if you have bought the product.
This is something you should spend a lot of time researching before you dive in and write that first article. The tutorial videos you’ll find here are probably the most important videos you’ll watch. Even if you’re “not a writer”, they will show you how to create awesome content for your new affiliate marketing site. The tips and tricks in those videos is invaluable. Go through all of those videos… twice.
If you’re in the WordPress industry like I am (whether it be design, development, or SEO) I have accumulated quite the list of WordPress affiliate programs. I excluded those I found unsuccessful or pay too little to make a profit from, specifically ThemeForest, Creative Market, and low quality theme stores like Template Monster. Hosting pays well and I wrote a tutorial for SiteGround’s affiliate program and StudioPress themes which are my 2 highest paying affiliates. Those tutorials have tons of screenshots/social proof especially for SiteGround.
Let’s say I save the affiliate pin for my favorite Pinterest affiliate marketing course to a general group board called ‘Bloggers Share Your Best Pins.’ In the group board, there are pins about parenting, DIY, recipes, fashion, weight loss, and all sorts of topics. Because the board is a free-for-all, there are no relevant keywords for, well, any topic. How is the Pinterest algorithm supposed to determine that my pin is about affiliate marketing? Sometimes you have to put yourself in the Pinterest algorithm’s shoes, as strange as that sounds. How can you make its job easier? Signal exactly what your pin is about by using the right keywords and posting ONLY to relevant boards.
From what I’ve read, and from what Tasha has answered in other comments above, it seems like Amazon themselves give contradictory information. In one of Tasha’s previous answers she says, “Hi Tim! I’ve talked to Amazon about this as well, as have many other bloggers I know personally. Each one of us is getting different answers. It’s VERY frustrating. Many have been told as long as their Pinterest account is listed in their profile, it’s fine. For those that haven’t, I’ve pointed out during my calls to Amazon that you can pin Amazon affiliate products directly to Pinterest from the rewardStyle interface, so it’s silly for them to tell anyone that they can’t do it directly from their Amazon Associates account. But of course, with Amazon giving different bloggers different answers, you have to do what you are comfortable with. Or, if in doubt, pin Amazon products via rewardStyle if you are a member 🙂 Hope that helps.”
Interested in knowing how to start affiliate marketing? It can be overwhelming when you first start out, but learning all about affiliate marketing and how to start is actually fairly easy. Affiliate marketing is an exciting alternative to the traditional means of making money through advertising on the internet. While professional media sites often resort to increasingly intrusive popup ads and video ads that sometimes play full audio whether you want them to or not, affiliate marketers can afford to be less aggressive and yet still make a living off of advertising revenue.
As search engines have become more prominent, some affiliate marketers have shifted from sending e-mail spam to creating automatically generated web pages that often contain product data feeds provided by merchants. The goal of such web pages is to manipulate the relevancy or prominence of resources indexed by a search engine, also known as spamdexing. Each page can be targeted to a different niche market through the use of specific keywords, with the result being a skewed form of search engine optimization.
As difficult as it may be, it’s important not to get affiliate marketing confused with sponsorships. Affiliate marketing is not a direct endorsement of your brand or content from a company. It’s a simple arrangement that allows you to earn revenue for referring new customers to that company. You aren’t paid unless you refer traffic or new customers to them. This arrangement is often available to anyone regardless of web traffic, social media following or list size, as previously stated.
Also known as a publisher, the affiliate can be either an individual or a company that markets the seller’s product in an appealing way to potential consumers. In other words, the affiliate promotes the product to persuade consumers that it is valuable or beneficial to them and convince them to purchase the product. If the consumer does end up buying the product, the affiliate receives a portion of the revenue made.
Something to not overlook also is Pinterest, on almost all of my popular posts I spend the time to make a Pinterest specific image for them. If you don't know how to use Adobe Photoshop you can use a free online tool like Canva to create images. There are also plenty of WordPress plugins that add pin buttons to your blog as well. There are plenty of ways you can use Pinterest to drive traffic, see more tips on Buffer's blog.
To think you guys scrambled and re-invented the wheel in 5 days is absolutely amazing too! I am glad you produced this thorough resource on how to hopefully abide by the Amazon TOS; play it on the conservative/safe side is the message here. You people are so knowledgeable in your business, and even you guys got a knock on the door from Amazon Associates.
Since the introduction of Instagram stories was released in November 2016, it has become incredibly popular as a peek into the day to day lives of some of the most popular Instagrammers out there. Anything that gets posted lasts for just 24 hours. @sheshopped posted about creating pretty ice cubes for her Marks and Spencer Australia photo shoot the next day. This lets people know to expect something new on your Instagram the next day to highlight that brand and piques people’s curiosity.
Inspiring other bloggers to maximize their blogging income through affiliate marketing is a huge passion of mine so I’m super excited to share my thoughts on how to use affiliate links on Pinterest to grow your affiliate earnings. If you are a blogger looking to get started with affiliate marketing or improve your affiliate marketing earnings, be sure to click the image below to get my free mini-eBook on affiliate marketing for bloggers.