Limited hard selling. If you partner with the right advertisers, your job is to simply refer potential customers to them. They do the hard selling. This is great for those who don’t like to sell or want to minimize dings on your reputation for being pushy or sales-y.
Start with a blog, where your content is always available. By itself, an email list can be hard to start if there’s not a place (like your blog or website) where potential subscribers can get to know you first.
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.
When I first started in affiliate marketing, all I wanted was to just make money. Off I ran in every direction, trying everything, with no real idea of the mistakes I was making that could very well affect my chances at long term success.
The easiest and most common way to start building an audience for a website is via social media. Depending on your niche and industry, you can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and several other niche and location-specific networks. Building up an engaged and interested following on social media is a great opportunity to build relationships and once you have their trust, promote your products and services to them.
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.
To sum it all up, making your first affiliate commission requires a bit of work but if you break it all down and follow it step by step, it won’t seem so overwhelming at all. Here’s a quick recap of what you need to do:
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?
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.
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.
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.
Ask around. In my experience, if you establish a good relationship with other content creators (and especially if you are giving more than you are taking in that relationship), over time, most are more than willing to share tips and hints about what has and has not worked for them. A mastermind group is also a great place to get ideas.
A WordPress theme provides all the styling of a site that you (and your audience) see on the front end. There are thousands of themes available, so choosing one might seem daunting at start. Our advice: go with something simple and easy to customize. You can always change it later.
I do not recommend using social media for your main platform. Why not social media? It’s risky because you don’t control YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and other social media sites — they do. And they can change the rules at any time.
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.
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.
Google it. Search for terms like “(company) affiliate program.” For example, “Target affiliate program” or “Amazon affiliate program.” If your first search doesn’t turn up anything, try again. Don’t give up too easily. Sometimes there are slight variances in word usage or terms.
Choosing an affiliate program will take some work, but don’t be afraid to invest a significant amount of time into it because this is, of course, where your income will come from. Choosing the right program will make it well worth your while!
Would I recommend this product to my mother or best friend? It’s tempting to recommend something when there’s a commission attached. But would you encourage your mom or best friend to spend their time and money on this thing? Be honest.
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.
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.
One last note. I’ve been asked what I think of other affiliate marketing resources, both free and paid. I’m familiar with some of them, not all. I’ve read ebooks, watch videos, bought courses and more. So far, the only paid-for course that has impressed me enough to recommend is Kayla Aimee’s Affiliate Acceleration: Impactful Strategies To Increase Your Passive Income.
Warren Davies has been writing since 2007, focusing on bespoke projects for online clients such as PsyT and The Institute of Coaching. This has been alongside work in research, web design and blogging. A Linux user and gamer, warren trains in martial arts as a hobby. He has a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in psychology, and further qualifications in statistics and business studies.
However, if you are selling a niche product (with a smaller market potential – for example: commemorative and collectable plates) you may need to offer a higher commission rate to entice affiliates to join the program. You’ll have fewer affiliates but they will be highly motivated. This can result in more sales for your and ultimately more revenue.
When I first started, my overwhelming (and totally naive) impulse was to fill my pages with words and links that screamed “BUY THIS NOW!”. I didn’t help the reader learn why they should have this product. I only wanted them to click a link which would hopefully lead to a commission for me.
I wonder how to i start this site ? I cannot publish any content till i get approved for the at least one affiliate marketing program ; however eRetailers would want to review my website before they approve me ? It seems like a chicken and egg situation.
There are many places to share affiliate links, but before you do, always check the terms and conditions for affiliate programs. Some prohibit sharing your affiliate links in certain places (the obvious example is Amazon which does not allow affiliate links in emails).
Website conversion is also a big issue. Affiliates often determine how much effort they will devote to promoting your product based on the Earnings per Click (EPC) that the merchant generates for them. This calculation is based on their commission rate and the conversion rate of your website. If you have a website that converts really well (gets people to make the purchase), you may be able to offer lower commission.
Restrictions & consequences. Many affiliate programs have notoriously vague terms and conditions (I’m looking at you Amazon) and yet publishers are always responsible for knowing & following them. If you don’t, you can get kicked out of a program without warning which can obviously hurt your bottom line.
It comes with tons of research and website building done for you and extensive support, including the option to get detailed critiques from us to make sure every page of your site is optimized to sell.
Thanks for the great tips. Sometimes, I have a big image of a product at the top of a post and a smaller image elsewhere. These products perhaps are offered at more than one merchant that I have affiliate status with, so I may link one image to one merchant and the other to another merchant.
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.
We’re here to help show you how to learn affiliate marketing. I recommend working your way through our free lessons first: https://www.affilorama.com/lessons These will teach you the basics of site building, creating content, and perfecting your sales and marketing strategies.
Building an engagement or following is mostly done through social media. The first step is having a Facebook page or a Twitter account of your website so you can share new posts and other relevant info to others.
Freedom & flexibility. Because the seller is doing the heavy lifting of creating, customer service, etc., affiliates have more time to focus on what they want to do, while still making money in the background.
Some people remember the 1990’s as a tremendous period of growth for grunge music and Jim Carrey films. While this is true, most people will probably tell you the 90’s were responsible for this big, beautiful, technology called the World Wide Web (aka the internet, the web, the vast digital ocean of information at our finger tips). And with any new technology or media, companies quickly realized they had a new opportunity to market their products and services to consumers via the millions of websites they visit every day.
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.
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.
Take advantage of marketing tools whenever possible. Many affiliate programs offer useful resources to their affiliates aimed at helping affiliates make more sales. These range from monthly newsletters highlighting upcoming sales, tips or affiliate case studies, Facebook Groups just for affiliates, private webinars explaining marketing strategies in depth and more. Ultimate Bundles does this exceptionally well.
“Tools I Use” or “Things I Love” page – Many readers enjoy seeing a handy list of your favorites, plus it’s an easy and excellent way to highlight some affiliate links. Here’s mine. Refer to any posts you have written about that tool / resource or include a description of how it has helped you.
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.
Learn SEO yourself or hire a good SEO marketer to help you maximize on-page and off-page SEO opportunities for your site. If your site starts to appear in search results for terms relevant to your niche, it will be a huge boost towards building your audience (and your sales)!
Great tips, some of them I am already following. It’s little hard to start initially and have some budget in mind for paid advertisement. What do you think how much budget should be sufficient for new bloggers?
Take advantage of affiliate program freebies when available. Many affiliate programs provide free printables, guides, webinars or other lead magnets designed to get potential customers in their sales funnel. As an affiliate, you can share these freebies with your audience using your affiliate link so if they eventually make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission, but if they don’t they still get value upfront.
A publisher is an individual or company that promotes an advertiser’s product or service in exchange for earning a commission. Advertisers contractually agree to work with a publisher, then provide the publisher with creative – in the form of links, banner or text ads or even unique phone numbers – that the publisher incorporates into their website.
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
Affiliates are paid either by the vendors or the affiliate networks. I suggest you watch our introductory lessons on affiliate marketing at http://www.affilorama.com/lessons for more information on how affiliate marketing works.
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