If you purchase your domain and hosting from different companies, you will need to link the two together. Don’t panic, it’s a simple process. Check out our lesson: Linking your Domain with Your Hosting.
For example, if you routinely talk about grilling meat, recommending your favorite butcher knife is probably a natural fit. If, however, you talk about landscape design, your favorite butcher knife is probably not a natural fit.
First, don’t let this question worry you. It’s really of little consequence in the big scheme of things. In fact, it’s a minor issue in the process below. Still, I realize it can be a bit confusing, so I’ll address it here.
If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It’s your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don’t unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it.
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.
A company’s website. Think of a product or service you want to promote. Go to the website of said product. Look for a link (often in the footer) that says “Affiliates,” “Affiliate Program,” “Referral Program” or something similar. Follow the links to sign up.
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 only recommend products as an affiliate that I’m extremely very familiar with—preferably products that I’ve used before and have helped me achieve something. If I’m not confident in the product and I don’t feel it will positively help people, I will not promote it.
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.
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.
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.
Promote products at various price points. Even the little products (like Amazon ebooks) add up. If there is a truly useful product on the pricier side, it can still be worth the promotion even if only a few people buy it. If you’ve used a product of exceptional quality and it’s a good investment, or if it’s a product that’s unique, specialized or one-of-a-kind, go for it.
Attach your affiliate link to images. In the age of sites like Instagram and Pinterest, users are accustomed to clicking images. Make sure any post images highlighting the product have your affiliate link attached. Here’s how to make an image clickable.
An audience. Who is your audience? “Everyone” is a bad answer. You’ve got to niche down, meaning, target a small subgroup of people. Maybe they are parents to toddlers. Maybe they are café owners. Maybe they are fly fisherman. Maybe they are nursing students.
Are you a food blogger? What’s your favorite cookware? Create content about it. Craft blogger? What’s your favorite crafting tool? Create content about it. Photography blogger? What camera and lenses do you use? Create content about them.
Finally, once your site is ready, it’s time to create content for it. The content you create must be relevant to your niche but also interesting and engaging enough to keep your audience coming back. You should also ensure the site content is search engine-friendly. More details about content creation in Step 4.
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.)
PID (publisher website ID) is used to identify the publisher’s website. A CJ publisher may have multiple PIDs under one single CJ account (e.g. if you maintain multiple websites, you will have multiple PIDs).
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.
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.
Create a blog and create tons of content related to your niche. You don’t (nor shouldnt) sell affiliate offers in every piece of content. Ideally, you want to aim for a content to promotion ration of 5:1. This is what Google is looking for. Always keep Google happy.
Affiliate links to share. Once you have proven yourself to be a trustworthy source of information on topics important to your audience, you can begin to recommend affiliate products or services to them. This entails applying to affiliate programs and sharing your unique affiliate links for products you promote (more below).
You don’t control the product or service. Just like you don’t control your audience’s experience with an advertiser, you don’t ultimately control the product or service itself. If they don’t like the product, it can reflect poorly on you as well.
Great tips! Since I just started blogging in January I am still really just getting my toes wet in affiliates. However, I did notice that pictures and real life demonstrations of the product really help. For instance, I have several food posts where I talk about my favorite cook books and show what I have cooked out of them, and then included amazon links, sure enough I sold a few cook books.
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.
Sometimes you find out an advertiser uses an affiliate network when you are browsing the list of advertisers in your affiliate network. For example, I might be logged into ShareASale and do a search for “Merchants” (their term for advertisers) in the Home & Garden category. When I do, I see that Wayfair runs its affiliate program via ShareASale._
Be intentional about finding new products to promote. Keep a list of affiliate products to review, much like you would keep a running list of content ideas. Block out regular time in your calendar a way to hunt for new products to promote.
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
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.
Honest affiliate marketing has always worked best for me, so I encourage you to do the same. I feel strongly that there’s a “right” way to approach affiliate marketing, and so I created a guide, Affiliate Marketing the Smart Way. It’s free and filled with all of my best advice on the topic.
Affiliate networks are good for publishers because publishers can find, sign up for and manage several affiliate programs under one umbrella (the affiliate network). Also, companies typically are monitored by the network which gives affiliates peace of mind.
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 them (“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”?
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