There are a few tips and strategies we recommend following when it comes to affiliate marketing. For starters, we highly recommend promoting what you know whenever possible. Promoting a new product you hardly have any experience in is fine once in a while, but promoting something you’ve used successfully for years is bound to help you gain the trust of your audience more efficiently.
Krista Fabregas is a staff writer at Fit Small Business and editor of the Ecommerce Section. Krista launched her first ecommerce site in 2001, and soon grew to operate two niche B2B and B2C sites, a 10K square foot warehouse, and staff of nine. Combined, her sites sold more than $1.5M annually for several years. Krista now shares her hands-on experience with others looking to expand into online sales. When not helping small business owners launch and grow efficient ecommerce operations, Krista enjoys writing fiction and nonfiction and riding horses and motorcycles in her hometown of Houston.
Pinterest employs an algorithm to automate the selection of pins users will see in their feed, similar to many social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. The algorithm uses several factors in its calculations, but the presence of an affiliate link is not one of them. Affiliate pins are treated just the same as pins with regular URLs in both the Pinterest feed and in Pinterest’s search functions. Additionally, if a pinner wants to give an affiliate pin extra visibility, they can promote the pin through Pinterest’s Ads Manager, just like other pins.
Once you’ve chosen your interest and you’ve create a website where you can write about it, the next step is to pick out the affiliate programs that will advertise on your site. It’s tough to start affiliate marketing without a monetization plan! With over a million products and services to pick from, you’re bound to find something related to your interests, so feel free to go crazy with ideas like underwater basket weaving and scuba lessons if your interests lie with the ocean, or organic food and organic conditioners if you prefer to discuss how to stay beautiful with only organic plant extracts.
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.
Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.
Hi Tasha and Abby, very intersting post . Tasha, I’ve noticed that you’re using Amazon links too. Doesn’t Amazon only allow affiliate links on your own website? No social networks, no emails, no ebooks, no nothing else… I’m not a native English speaker, so maybe I misunderstood the terms (they are complicated as hell for me). But good to know that with a less strict company it’s possible to use affiliate links on Pinterest too. Thank you for the info!
The next platform, which has created a great community of affiliate marketers and is a fantastic resource for a versatile and step-by-step affiliate marketing training program is Wealthy Affiliates. Over the years it has become one of the most reputable and highest-rated resources to teach you the ropes of digital marketing and online business for someone who has no or very little experience in the online and blog world.
But I think the biggest deciding factor in this, goes back to the site as a whole and all of the other posts. Are the genuine? Is the blogger constantly trying to push products? I’d like to think I’ve been doing this long enough that my audience knows I’m not out to make a quick buck – and I think even relatively new bloggers can prove this based on their other content.
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.
As you might already know, Instagram has made it possible and easy to switch between your personal and business accounts. Setting up a business profile has a number of advantages. It allows you to get access to real-time analytics and view the engagement metrics on particular posts. Users, in turn, can reach out to you by tapping the Contact button and taking a specific action afterwards, like making a call or sending you an email. In 2016, Instagram rolled out a new option for business accounts – Instagram for Business. It’s a great way to put the promoted product in front of your target audience in a few simple steps. Upgrade your business profile to Instagram for Business. Create a compelling, eye-catching post featuring the product. Select the target audience, budget, promotional content, CTA, and duration of the promotion. Once it’s done, you will see the button “Promote” under your post and be able to start running your ad on Instagram!
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.
Mistake #3: Giving your friend’s product a glowing review without actually being familiar with your friend’s product. This happens a lot in the affiliate marketing (and book marketing) world unfortunately. It’s a “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” type of situation. By all means, give your friend a glowing review, but if you haven’t actually read their book or taken their course or tried their product, don’t talk about it as though you have. Readers deserve honest recommendations! (Here’s an example of me helping to announce the launch of my friend’s book while being clear I hadn’t read it.)
Developing and monetizing microsites can also garner a serious amount of sales. These sites are advertised within a partner site or on the sponsored listings of a search engine. They are distinct and separate from the organization’s main site. By offering more focused, relevant content to a specific audience, microsites lead to increased conversions due to their simple and straightforward call to action.
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.