For example, when I began teaching others how to start their own blogs in 2010, it was a no-brainer to recommend the hosting company I was already using. I became an affiliate and have made thousands of dollars since.
Some good tips. I fully agree that it’s all about trust and it is always good to recommend an affiliate product that you have actually used. Why risk your reputation on a product you don’t know if it’s any good or not? If people buy one dodgy product from your site, they will probably never make that mistake again. That it why my blog strongly advocates ethical affiliate marketing. It’s the best long term stragey for affiliate marketing success.
“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.
Look around for the best affiliate deal. Many affiliate programs are offered in more than one place. For example, a while back, I realized one of my affiliates paid almost 30% more if I went through a different affiliate network. This doesn’t happen often, so I wouldn’t spend lots of time hunting, but keep your eyes peeled.
If you partner with an advertiser who uses an affiliate network to run their affiliate program, your interactions will take place via the affiliate network, not with the advertiser directly. This includes applying for the program, finding your unique affiliate links, tracking your sales and getting paid.
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.
For example, when I have promoted the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit in the past, my bonus, Shorten the Toolkit, is my list of the best resources in the Toolkit (after going through every resource personally).
Use your personal words & experience with the product. Your own content, or photos & videos of yourself using the product are always the most effective. For example, many affiliate programs provide swipe copy to their affiliates which is pre-written emails, post material or social media posts. These can be helpful as a guide, but they often scream swipe copy, aren’t written in your voice (the one your readers know!) and if a lot of affiliates are using it, are overdone.
Also, make sure you have a disclaimer on your website that advises your audience that you may have links that promote affiliate offers. This is necessary for several affiliate programs and also a basic courtesy to your website visitors. In the U.S., the FTC mandates disclosure for affiliate marketers (and anyone issuing endorsements), as well.
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.
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.
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.
Be an affiliate marketer for offline merchants as well. We’ve all seen brick & mortar businesses offer a discount to those who provide a referral. If you have a local blog and promote the products or services of a local business, ask them how you can be included in their referral program.
Do they value and help their affiliates? Some affiliate programs do an exceptional job of communicating with their affiliates, notifying them of upcoming sales, offering marketing advice or tools, offering contents and prizes during promotions and more. These types of affiliate programs are a pleasure to be a part of. Ultimate Bundles is an excellent example.
The AffiloTheme is a great option. Completely customizable, and built specifically for affiliate marketers, you can use this WordPress theme to bypass much of the initial learning curve other affiliate marketers will experience. You can also search for themes on a site like Theme Forest.
Keep a promotional calendar. You probably have an editorial (or content) calendar to help keep track of the content you will create. Likewise, use a promotional calendar to keep track of affiliate offers you will promote. I prefer to use my promotional calendar first and then align my editorial calendar to it.
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.
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.
Hard to stand out. Some affiliate programs have LOTS of affiliates. If there’s a promotion going on, it can be hard to separate yourself from the other affiliates so people buy through you and not others.
It varies from program to program. When it’s time for you to get paid, common methods of payment are direct deposit, PayPal, a physical check in the mail, company credit and redeemable rewards, such as Swagbucks.
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.
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.
The Amazon Influencer Program. Allows you to have your own landing page on the Amazon website. Here’s what mine looks like. Hand pick items you want to showcase and your affiliate links will be automatically attached. Share the URL for your landing page with others (the only Amazon Associates link allowed in emails).
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.
Low hassle / responsibility. As an affiliate marketer, you don’t have to deal with inventory, customer service, infrastructure, shipping, returns, follow up, etc. These are all the responsibility of the advertiser.
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.
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.”
Tip 4: If you’re a beginner, it’s important that you realize it make take more than a few days before you start making sales. While it is possible to earn affiliate commissions with Amazon within a few days of creating a campaign, realistically you shouldn’t expect to start making sales within the first 14-30 days. It takes time for your website to carve out a space on the internet. However, if you are determined and post 1 new blog post and 1 new video each day for your first 30 days, you hold a way higher chance of earning affiliate commissions within the first 30 days.
A cookie is a technology that works with web browsers to store information like user preferences, login or registration information, and shopping cart contents. Have you ever opted-in to have a website “remember” your password and username for one of your online accounts? That’s a cookie. Ever notice while searching the web for “travel deals” and you suddenly start seeing travel display banners on other websites? Those ads are appearing for you because you’ve been cookied (it’s okay, you won’t get hurt).
If you have built up an email list, you could also promote your affiliate offers via email promotions. Just make sure you build up a relationship with your audience first instead of going for the hard sell straightaway. The emails you send out must contain your affiliate links to products so when your audience click through. the sale is attributed to you.
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.
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.
If your site is about children’s books and you promote car insurance, at best you’ll look like you don’t know what you’re doing. At worst, you’ll be branded a spammer. Once you develop a bad reputation as a spammer or an “out to make a quick buck” type of affiliate marketer, it’s incredibly difficult to go back.
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.
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