Affiliate marketing is something I’ve been doing ever since 2009 on an architecture related website, promoting an exam software product that has since generated $200,000 in commissions over the years.
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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 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.
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).
Myth #2: You can’t use affiliate links in Mad Mimi or MailChimp. This is not true. I’ve used Mad Mimi since 2013 and have included affiliate links in my emails almost every single week since. Note how MailChimp explains it here. You can’t be spammy, but if you’re just using affiliate links, you should be fine.
Always disclose. You must let your readers know when you are using affiliate links. Read my post, Are You Disclosing Properly? for more. An image disclosure or general disclosure at the bottom of your site is not sufficient.
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.
Once your hosting is set up, you need to install a content management system (CMS) for your site. We recommend WordPress because it is easy to use and a beginner (like you!) can quite quickly figure out how it works. Most good hosting providers will have a one-click install option for WordPress, which means it will only take you a couple of minutes and you will have WordPress installed on your site.
For example, if you are promoting an online training as an affiliate, as a bonus, offer your own ebook. The key here is to make sure the bonus you offer is complementary to the product you’re promoting, makes the product easier to digest or offers help with the product itself.
A way to communicate with people (like a blog, not social media). Sometimes this is called a platform. It might be a blog, a website, an email list or some other online presence where people listen to what you have to say.
I was planning to start but not getting proper mentor but your article inspired me to do right away. So i contacted few of affiliated sites. lets see… what going on next… thanks for sharing this article with us.
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.
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.
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.
In addition, some market segments use a specific payment model. For example: the financial space generally pays affiliates a flat fee, while travel is typically based on a percentage of the total order that the affiliate sends to the merchant.
There are many affiliate networks. Many are easy to join. Some require you to apply and wait for approval. Some are by invitation only. Different affiliate networks provide different products so you’ll want to hunt around to find the one(s) that are the best fit for you.
For example, the content on Super Weddings is useful whether you’re organizing a wedding today or next year. All the content on the site is created accordingly. To make things easier for the audience, it is separated into categories to make it very convenient for the reader to find what they’re looking for. This, of course, is also very good for SEO.
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.
Don’t exhaust all the information about the product with your link. Offer enough information to your readers so they know what the link is, but I don’t recommend giving too much detail on your own site for a two reasons. First, product information, like price, often changes. If you mention the price on your site and someone clicks over and finds a different price, it’s confusing. Second, many times, the product details and features are better explained by the makers of the product. It’s best to stick to your own experience on your site.
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.
The best part of all this is that the way that I teach you how to do affiliate marketing makes it a win for everyone. A lot of people worry about getting involved with affiliate marketing because it might make them look slimy or too salesy.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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).
I can partner with the company who sells that drill as an affiliate. They’ll give me a special link to the drill tagged with my own, unique affiliate ID. Every time I use that link in a blog post and someone clicks it, my affiliate ID follows them for a time. If they buy the drill in that time, I will earn a commission.
Use effective calls to action & hone your copywriting skills. Learn how to do them well. Read How to Create a Great Call to Action: 6 Tips for tips. Make sure you create catchy titles to draw people in. Make it personal, not sales-y. What would you be more likely to read? “Here’s What I Use to Build My Sites” or “Bluehost Hosting“?
These are great because they are an easy stepping stone into a sales funnel without jumping immediately to a sale. A lot of people are willing to grab a freebie. If the advertiser is skilled a nurturing them in the sales funnel, they are more likely to purchase in the end.
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