Ignore the “butterflies” that are sure to fly by on a constant basis. They will just distract you from your project/campaign at hand. One completed and profitable campaign is worth so much more than 50 almost half-finished campaigns or projects.
Commission rates vary widely depending on the affiliate program. Amazon Associates, for example, pays a tiny percentage of sales (just a few percent). Some affiliate programs (digital products especially) often pay close to 50%.
Watch them. How are other content creators in your niche utilizing advertising? What types of ads do they use? What are they promoting? What do they talk about repeatedly (if you keep seeing the same affiliate product show up again and again, there’s a good chance they’re making good money from it)? If you see a product or service they talk about that jogs your memory and you can ethically promote it too, find affiliate information by the methods described above.
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.
1. Study the arts of inbound marketing and online sales writing. This will take some time, but it will be mostly or entirely free—there are plenty of free online resources, not to mention books at your local library. Here’s a fantastic article to start with: https://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/methods/writing-for-the-web.html
Amazon Associates is an affiliate marketing program run by Amazon which allows you to sell its products on your own website in exchange for a cut of the profits. This enables you to boost your product range, test new types of products on your audience or even build a full business around this and perhaps other affiliate programs. For small businesses that currently sell products online, this could represent a great source of added revenue, if you sell additional products through Amazon, without worrying about getting the products yourself. Amazon conducts the sales and ships them directly to the client.
Organic search remains an important source of traffic for any website, so it’s important that you optimize your website for search engines as well. When creating your content, you must always do so keeping the reader in mind first, but don’t forget to follow a few basic SEO principles as well.
Publisher / Affiliate / Affiliate Marketer / Associate / Partner – They spread the word about and promote the product or service. (In this post, I will be talking about affiliate marketing from the perspective of the Publisher.)
Perhaps you’ve seen this before. You’re in a “learn online marketing” type forum. A person publishes a post complaining that they can’t make a dime online. But in their signature line they have something along the lines of “I Made 50 Million Dollars with This” followed by their affiliate link.
Creating a unique tracking ID for an Amazon link is easy. Simply log in to your Amazon affiliate dashboard, click “Account Settings” at the very top on the right, then click “Manage Tracking IDs”. From there you can make a new tracking ID so you can track which web page/campaign sold what. You can learn more about using Amazon’s Tracking IDs here.
There are several profitable niches that are also very popular among affiliate markets (e.g., weight loss). Before jumping on board with a hugely popular niche, make sure there’s enough room for you. That is — will you be able to make money and compete with already established marketers? If not, keep looking.
I’ll use MoneySavingExpert.com as an example again. The site has over 154,000 likes on its Facebook page and it connects with the audience by sharing links to content but also asking money-saving/budgeting related questions. The highly engaged readers then visit the website, where they read content and no doubt make purchases.
Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you’re trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.
The CJ Network is capable of tracking and processing an enormous volume of actions and transactions. In 2011 alone, Commission Junction tracked a total of over 3 billion website visits, 175 million transactions and over $6 billion in online sales.
The niche you choose might draw enough interest from your audience when it comes to reading and acquiring knowledge, but are they willing to buy relevant products too? Without consumer interest in products, your niche isn’t going to make you much money.
Once you are cleared to promote a particular product and you understand the terms for that campaign, look through the list of available graphic and text links for that product. Copy the HTML code provided. This code has your unique ID in it. Use this link whenever you link to the product.
Remember: Purchasing generic content is NOT an effective method to build your site. While it may be tempting to populate your site this way, in the long run it won’t help you to position yourself as an expert in your niche (and ultimately means less traffic and fewer sales).
People want to hear from other people when making a decision to buy a product or not — that’s why the reviews on Amazon products are so powerful. Those reviews are genuine feedback from people who (usually) have absolutely nothing to gain if someone buys that product or not.
Ultimate Bundles. Every year a huge bundle of products are released at a significantly reduced rate. These sales can be quite lucrative for affiliates. Click the link to see if any of the upcoming bundles are in your niche.
This is another big mistake I made when starting out — joining any and every affiliate program I came across. While I absolutely do believe in cultivating multiple streams of income when working online, there is a point where you have too much to deal with and it becomes unmanageable.
2nd tier. If you are an affiliate for a particular program and you refer others to sign up for that affiliate program, a 2nd tier program will pay you when the affiliates you referred make sales. For example, I am an affiliate for Ultimate Bundles. If you join their affiliate program via my 2nd tier affiliate link here. I will get a small percentage of any sales you make going forward.
Some of the digital products I promote cost the makers a lot of time & money to produce the content, house it, keep it updated, provide ongoing customer service, manage active Facebook Groups, deal with unhappy customers, etc. Meanwhile, I don’t have to deal with any of that, and yet I still get nearly 50% of all the sales that come through me.
When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products. For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won’t allow email marketing.
Don’t be afraid to appeal or apply again. If you apply to a program but you don’t get accepted, see if there is an indication of when you can reapply. If you don’t see anything, email the affiliate manager and ask if you can apply again and if so, when would be the right time. Be respectful and kind in your email, not defensive.
Along with that, Amazon is a complete SELLING MACHINE! What I mean by that, is they have drilled their conversion rates down to the last detail. Typically I can convert traffic I send to Amazon from my affiliate sites around 12%. The reason why it works so well is that the moment people land on Amazon, they are automatically switched into “buyer mode”. Meaning, they know the only thing left for them to do is BUY. What that means, is all you have to do is get people to Amazon’s site, and they literally do the selling for you.
You don’t control the experience. Once you make a referral, you are ultimately not in control of your audience’s experience. If they have a bad experience with an advertiser, it can reflect poorly on you.
Now that your site is set up and you’ve joined an affiliate program, you’re ready to begin perhaps the most time-consuming (but potentially rewarding) part of the affiliate business: Producing content.
Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates. You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don’t be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you.
Let’s face it: technology, especially the internet, can be pretty daunting to try to grasp, and with terms like malware, cursor and spam, it also seems pretty dangerous. So kudos to the guys who decided e-commerce and affiliate marketing should rely on an innocuous technology called a “cookie.”
Review existing content. Have you ever mentioned a product in the past that you use? Maybe you didn’t even think about it at the time, but is there an affiliate program for it? Find out (just google “product/company affiliate program” like “Target affiliate program”) and update that content with your affiliate link.
Hi Abdul! As you say, it’s really hard to figure out what to budget at first. It really depends on your niche and choice of keywords, and can range from five dollars per day to virtually any number you can imagine. It’s best to start researching your keywords or ad packages with the ad networks you’re interested in and see firsthand.
Welcome! Chances are, you’ve landed here because you aren’t quite sure how this whole affiliate marketing thing works. Maybe you’ve discovered CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) while searching the web for online marketing solutions, or maybe you’ve heard of affiliate marketing but still don’t know: what is affiliate marketing? Thankfully, some good folks at CJ want to help you master the art of affiliate marketing and how to make more money online.
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting another person’s (or company’s) product. Products exist in your target market right now (that people are probably already buying) and if you can become the resource that recommends those products, you can generate a commission as a result.
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.
Your ongoing work as an affiliate marketer will be to repeat steps 4 – 6 on a continual basis. Building a site up to a point where it can make you consistent income takes a bit of work and you must be willing to constantly create, promote, market, innovate and of course, sell.
Nothing breaks a reader’s trust more than being led to a promotion that will blow up their inbox. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer and see what will happen if they follow your advice.
That way, if you decide to write a review to promote it or send the affiliate link for the product’s sales page to your email list, etc., you will have first-hand knowledge of how it works. This will help you to decide it the product has real value pertaining to your niche. I, personally, won’t sell anything I haven’t tried myself to be sure they work as advertised. Selling just to make money with no real value is a sure way to lose customers and ultimately destroy your business. Bad reputations are hard to get rid of once you get one, especially when there’s money involved. With that being said, I hope you all have a great holiday season.
Contact the company directly. If you use a product or service and want to recommend it but you can’t find evidence of an affiliate program, consider approaching them and asking if they are willing to set one up (maybe with your help). Highlight your audience and the value of your recommendation. Explain that an affiliate program is simply rewarding happy customers (you!) for promoting, and they don’t have to pay until a sale is made.
Building an audience for your site will, in some ways, follow naturally once you start producing excellent content. An interested audience will not only bring you consistent traffic, but also result in consistent sales for you.
Myth #3: Affiliate marketing is passive income. Affiliate marketing approaches passive income, but only once you’ve put in a great deal of work on the front end. If you take the time to build trust among your audience, there does come a point when affiliate marketing becomes almost passive.
For example, The Wire Cutter is focused on writing reviews of several different kinds of products and helping their readers make the best decision about the product they want to buy. After reading a review on their site, if the user clicks through to the product/service using the affiliate link, The Wire Cutter will earn a commission from.
Once you’ve decided on a niche, it’s time to find out what’s out there in terms of programs and products to promote. You’ve probably already done a bit of research for this while researching your niche — now you need to dig deeper.
When recommending an affiliate product, everything hinges on your affiliate link. If you don’t use your affiliate link, or you use the wrong one, you won’t be properly credited for any resulting sales and therefore won’t get paid.
Audience fatigue. If multiple affiliates share the same audience, and all those affiliates are promoting the same thing at the same time, that audience can be deluged with promotions. This can be annoying for your audience. Hopefully you are not the affiliate that “breaks the camel’s back” and makes a customer check out altogether.
Very well written! Thanks for sharing these tips. Something as simple as adding your affiliate link to images is one I’ve overlooked sometimes lol. What has worked the best for me is adding bonuses to the affiliate offer.
Whats getting me is the first time around. This is all knew, so the learning terminology and apply the meaning of those words. The different tools, adword traffic travis, and CONTENT, OMG. Thank God for check spelling even though I still have Webster next to me.
When a user visits a publisher’s website and clicks an advertiser’s creative ad, the visitor’s browser receives the CJ tracking cookie that identifies the advertiser, the publisher, the specific creative and commission amount. This data is stored within the link information in what are called “parameters” and can include even more anonymous data used for attribution.
While following your passion is definitely the recommended option, sometimes the possibility of making money in a profitable niche trumps passion. So, you might not necessarily know much about your niche, but if it’s likely to make you money, you can always learn more about it, right?
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Technically no, although in my opinion, it’s the most convenient vehicle for affiliate marketing. Why? Because it’s a perfect spot to keep all your content and it’s not subject to the whims of social media algorithms. Plus, it’s available 24/7 so anyone can find it at any time.
Keep your company’s business goal should also be top of mind. If your goal is attracting new customers, then maybe affiliates driving that type of traffic might be offered a better rate. And you may want to look at having different commission rates for different types of affiliate s- such as coupon affiliates, PPC affiliates, and super affiliates. Each of these groups has different strengths and will need to be addressed separately. You can also offer split commissions, whereby the commission is divided among multiple affiliates that participated in the process.
The wording of your disclosure matters. On Facebook, for example, people avoid using the word “affiliate” because it doesn’t get things seen. However, Amazon will kick you out if you use wording that isn’t clear.
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