You can start figuring out your target audience by focusing on reading the reviews in your niche. You can also spend some time on forums and read the comment section on blogs that cover your niche topics. If you notice some unanswered questions emerging over and over again, write them down. Your audience needs them answered, and you can do it for them. Or you can do an online search for best niche blogs and see how they are structured.
Since you’re essentially a freelancer, you get ultimate independence in setting your own goals, redirecting your path when you feel so inclined, choosing the products that interest you, and even determining your own hours. This convenience means you can diversify your portfolio if you like or focus solely on simple and straightforward campaigns. You’ll also be free from company restrictions and regulations as well as ill-performing teams.
In affiliate marketing, you can promote any product or service. Experienced affiliate marketers say that they have achieved the best results by selling products they are already familiar with. If you choose to promote a product or service that you have already used and it has helped you solve a problem or achieve something, there is a higher chance that you will succeed in promoting it.
Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another. 
Building trust with your audience is paramount in affiliate marketing, and the quickest way to lose trust is to recommend products either you haven’t used before or that aren’t a good fit for your audience. Also make sure you never tell anyone to directly buy a product, you are simply recommending the product. The more helpful you are and the more you make quality recommendations, the more likely your web visitors will come back for your expertise. 

Since Instagram started in 2010, influencers have flocked to the platform to increase their audience, traffic, followers and engagement. With 29% of Instagram’s top posts coming from influencers or brand ambassadors, they are dominating the game when it comes to user generated content, and with statistics showing that Instagram has over 700 million monthly users it is now over twice the size of twitter. This isn’t something that should be ignored, especially for brands when they are looking at Instagram affiliate marketing strategies.

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.
The products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough. 
Then I made my very first affiliate sale for my favorite travel blogging course. It was a recurring payment of $38.80 (someone purchased the course on a payment plan.) I was over the moon! I had been promoting that course for 2 months before I finally made a sale. This small win encouraged me to continue trying different strategies to promote affiliate products.
If the above locations do not yield information pertaining to affiliates, it may be the case that there exists a non-public affiliate program. Utilizing one of the common website correlation methods may provide clues about the affiliate network. The most definitive method for finding this information is to contact the website owner directly if a contact method can be located.

Adam Enfroy is the Affiliate Partnerships Manager at BigCommerce. With 10+ years of experience in digital marketing, ecommerce, SEO, web development, and selling online courses, he is passionate about leveraging the right strategic partnerships, content, and software to scale digital growth. Adam lives in Austin, TX and writes about building your online influence by scaling your content and affiliate marketing strategies on his blog.
Today on the show, I’m talking with Michelle from Making Sense of Cents. Michelle and her husband sold their house in July of 2015 and now travel full-time in their RV. Some of their more recent adventures include a 2-week sailing trip to explore the possibility of sailing full-time in the future. Michelle is a blogger who shares income reports on her blog. If you take a look at her latest Income report, you will see that she earned over $100,000 on her blog in the month of August alone, while working less than 10 hours per week. That’s how she can afford to travel full-time.
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!

The first is to choose a good, memorable username so when people are tagging you in their photos on Instagram they don’t have to search hard to find you. It’s best not to have any strange characters in there too as it can make it more difficult for people to find you. If you have a twitter, the same username can help when people are looking for you. If you are a brand, make sure your Instagram handle is the same as your brand.


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.
Know when (and when not) to use Viglinks and Skimlinks. If you applied to an affiliate program but were denied, you might be able to still be an affiliate for that advertiser through a secondary affiliate program like VigLink or Skimlinks. Basically, they themselves are affiliates and will split their affiliate commission with you if you put their affiliate link in your content for an advertiser. Obviously, the commission rate is lower for you in this case, so if you ever are accepted into the advertiser’s affiliate program directly, immediately switch from using VigLink / Skimlinks affiliate links to your own.

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.
Banner and sidebar ads: Virtually every affiliate program provides a wide variety of ads that you can insert into the sidebars, header and footer sections of your WordPress website. Some of these affiliate ads promote a flat-fee product like the Amazon Prime free trial. Others automatically update with features products and items from your affiliate partner. Either way, if your reader clicks on one and makes a purchase, you get paid.
When the giveaway ends and it’s time to send out your product to the winner, make sure you communicate directly with the winner themselves and try to get some additional marketing goodwill from this. You can ask the winner to post about their winning on their own social media pages so that their friends and family learn about your brand. You can also incentivize the winner to refer friends and family by providing them with additional discounts for doing so. If you’re not keen on giving away your product for free you could also host a contest that allows the winner to purchase your product but at a significant, one-time discount.
Think of it this way – if you were about to open a restaurant, wouldn’t you do some research before quitting your day job and investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into it? Of course you would! You would research the best location, the best type of food to serve, how much you’ll have to pay employees, where you’ll source ingredients from, what type of tables and furniture to use, the best ovens and equipment for the kitchen, and all sorts of stuff. If you just “wing it” and open a restaurant without doing any research first, you’ll most likely fail. While affiliate marketing can be started part-time and without much capital, the same holds true. If you don’t research and plan, you will fail.
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.
Long-term success depends on doing two things well: building content that delivers value to readers and using that content to market affiliate products to convert those readers into buyers. There are many different types of content and affiliate link combinations you can try, and Amazon Associates reports and Google Analytics both help you measure success and fine-tune your efforts.
Pinterest’s enhanced ability to detect spam pins is great news, but it also means that pinners should take precautions to ensure their affiliate pins aren’t inadvertently flagged as spam. One of the guiding principles is that the image in a pin should be consistent with the destination of the pin. For example, a pin with an image of a throw pillow on a couch should not redirect to a vacation booking site.
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!
You will see that I created a simple image with some selling features, noting the SALE, warranty, RETURNS and a big SWIPE UP which was pointing to my http://bit.ly/amazonferrariwatch URL I created from the Amazon Associates Affiliate Offering code (yea it’s a mouthful) but it’s the big long messy URL in the image below (which is from Bit.ly dashboard). This is an amazing officially licensed Ferrari watch backed with a 2 year warranty and FREE returns. It doesn’t get any nicer of a “sell” than offering all these things to an automotive enthusiast following like I have!
Despite its older origins, email marketing is still a viable source of affiliate marketing income. Some affiliates have email lists they can use to promote the seller’s products. Others may leverage email newsletters that include hyperlinks to products, earning a commission after the consumer purchases the product. Another method is for the affiliate to cultivate email lists over time. They use their various campaigns to collect emails en masse, then send out emails regarding the products they are promoting.
Recipes: If you use any type of social media, you know that recipes are a great way to create shareable content. If you can find some way to relate your topic to food and include a recipes section, you’ll have a place to add unlimited content. Plus, you can extend your product promotions into related cooking tools. Need a source for blog-worthy recipes? Check out the freelancers at Fiverr.
Know when to wait. Some affiliate programs require a certain level of traffic, subscribers, etc. If that’s the case, I say it’s better to wait to apply for that program instead of applying and hoping for the best. You risk being labelled the person who can’t follow guidelines and you might also risk not be allowed into the program when you do meet the qualifications.

Affiliates discussed the issues in Internet forums and began to organize their efforts. They believed that the best way to address the problem was to discourage merchants from advertising via adware. Merchants that were either indifferent to or supportive of adware were exposed by affiliates, thus damaging those merchants' reputations and tarnishing their affiliate marketing efforts. Many affiliates either terminated the use of such merchants or switched to a competitor's affiliate program. Eventually, affiliate networks were also forced by merchants and affiliates to take a stand and ban certain adware publishers from their network. The result was Code of Conduct by Commission Junction/beFree and Performics,[35] LinkShare's Anti-Predatory Advertising Addendum,[36] and ShareASale's complete ban of software applications as a medium for affiliates to promote advertiser offers.[37] Regardless of the progress made, adware continues to be an issue, as demonstrated by the class action lawsuit against ValueClick and its daughter company Commission Junction filed on April 20, 2007.[38]
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It’s probably worth asking an account rep if you can add “nofollow” to those links and stay compliant. For SEO, it’s not worth worrying about probably. Google has said before that they handle things like this for affiliate programs on their end if the program is big enough (i.e. they have enough data to understand what is going on), and Amazon is the biggest in the world. That’s just my gut, though.

These add review stars to snippets and increase click-through rates. I have tested many rich snippet plugins over the years and my favorite (and what I use now) is the WP Review Pro Plugin by MyThemeShop (view the demo). It’s fast, looks great (here’s a page I use it on), comes with 16 pre-styled designs, supports user reviews, and is well-supported by the developers at MyThemeShop. I was previously using WP Rich Snippets but the developer abandoned the plugin and hasn’t updated it for 2 years, and All In One Schema lacks customization options.
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.
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.
Regardless of the content you choose to pin or your motivations, successful pinners adhere to Pinterest CEO Ben Silberman’s guiding principle: make (and keep) the site “beautiful”. Simply put, the best pinners find the best of the web, regardless of subject matter, and there are some simple tactics from a presentation standpoint that you can use to help improve the performance of your pins.

Merch by Amazon – If you use Merch by Amazon then you don’t need to set up your own online store – all products are simply displayed on Amazon’s website. Simply upload your artwork to your Amazon Merch account, and add the product information and price. Amazon will then create a product page for your work, and when you receive orders they will print and ship. (Merch by Amazon only prints onto T-shirts and is only available in the US).
I am so delighted to have my friend Tasha from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body here today to talk a little bit about blogging strategy– and more specifically, monetizing your blog! Tasha is my go-to source any time I have questions about using affiliate sales as an income stream for my site, and I know you will find the information she has to share incredibly helpful as well. I’ll let her take it from here!

The fit must be right between you and the merchant who is going to benefit from your promotional efforts, or it simply won’t work. The easiest way to begin with affiliate marketing is to select an affiliate network. Many affiliate networks exist, some which are tied to well-known companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple, while others specialize in specific types of products and services.
Great article as it gets me thinking about the various ways to monetize my sites. With that said, my biggest hurdle has been how to get started building traffic. You see articles all over the net talking about massive traffic techniques, but I’ve never really found a guide for a fresh blog/website and how to get to their first 100, 500, or 1,000 daily uniques. Of course writing consistent quality content is key, but writing alone an audience does not make. Any tips or articles to point us to? Thanks again Sean!
Your ultimate goal as an affiliate marketer should be to outsource all the work while you collect a paycheck each month. My website DogFoodInsider.com is 100% outsourced at this point. There is always someone willing to work for you. From writers on Constant-Content.com to programmers on Elance.com to odd jobs on Fiverr.com – the sources you can use for outsourcing is nearly limitless.

Website Development Help – need help setting up your theme? I’ve been working with the same 2 developers for 3+ years. To hire them, sign up for a Freelancer account, post your job (WordPress theme installation) then invite user i333 or bdkamol to your project. If you want, contact me and I will introduce you to them via email. Both are great developers with reasonable rates, speak fluent English, and I outsource all my programming work to them.

If you focus on a niche that has a highly engaged following it is more likely to be successful. @afterpay obsession is one of those affiliates. It is for people who want to shop at stores that offer Afterpay. If a brand has any great promotions, they will let their users know so they can grab the bargain and pay in installments. They have a very active Facebook page but they use their Instagram page to highlight products, but also to encourage brands to work with them.
You don’t necessarily have to have a huge site or lots of traffic. Consider emailing an affiliate program’s contact person (look for contact info on the site or in affiliate newsletters) if you send a lot of leads their way, rank well in the search engines for a related keyword or have a high conversion rate. Make your email compelling. Read my tips here. You just have to be a good fit and provide excellent value to the merchant. Another good resource for this is here.
Although he had tried countless times in the past, he had failed to quit. But this time was different. His frame-of-mind had changed. And something inside of him clicked when he realized he could use electronic cigarettes to actually ween himself off the "real thing." He implemented a system where he used a low-quality gas station brand, and went from strong to medium then mild over a multi-week period.
Plus, leverage Instagram Stories, as they are known to be an effective business tool. They allow placing the links of the promoted products on a video. If a customer taps on the affiliate link, they will be redirected to the advertiser’s website where the products are available to buy. Don’t forget to add the location and hashtag stickers to raise the discoverability of your Instagram Stories.  
For the person just starting out wanting to know where to begin and would like a reference to be able to use and always go back to whenever need will find this book to be of tremendous value as it gives you the all around picture of what and how to get started in affiliate marketing, get you off the dependence of a 9 to 5 income and gives one the knowledge needed to be able to start making extra money, online, passively!
Thanks for reading, Charmaine! I’m not sure about Hong Kong-specific affiliate programs, but what I would say is that most retailers do have an affiliate program in place, so if there’s a particular HK brand or company you use a lot, Google their name + affiliate program to see if they have one. Besides that, the ones I suggested are open to you regardless of where you’re from!
Many affiliate programs will often run promotions with good discounts or giveaways that might be attractive to your audience. For example, if you're an Amazon Associate and the site have a big Holiday Sale, it would be the perfect opportunity for you to promote discounts to your website visitors. This is a great way to promote your offers while also providing good value to your audience. 
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.
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.

Affiliates may only post affiliate links on social media feeds they operate in line with their website URL, such as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Affiliate links are prohibited on some social sharing sites, such as Pinterest and Tumblr. When posting content outside of Etsy, it is the Affiliate’s responsibility to follow each site’s policies on affiliate link

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