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. 
This guide covers affiliate marketing, including an introduction to this monetization technique, a review of the most popular implementations of affiliate marketing, and highlights of the top affiliate ad networks.
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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.
I am in the process of building a great authority site in a womens sub health niche and was just going to use a few of the posts as Amazon Affiliate links. Do you think its reasonable to use about 20% of your posts as Amazon affiliate links on a good Authority site?
While your site is still new, it’s a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else’s audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 
Do they treat their customers well? If they have horrible customer service or if their products are not reliable, your target audience will find out the hard way. And if you are the one who recommended them, it’s a poor reflection on you. Search for company reviews.
Wow! Thank you for such a complete description of affiliate marketing. I just started casually blogging a few months ago and your post gives me a great view into just how much work is involved if I’m going to successfully monetize my blog. I just shared a short post titled “A Blogger’s Nightmare – 0 Active Users” commenting on having blog traffic…I definitely see that there’s a lot more involved! Thanks again.
In 2006, the most active sectors for affiliate marketing were the adult gambling, retail industries and file-sharing services.[17]:149–150 The three sectors expected to experience the greatest growth are the mobile phone, finance, and travel sectors.[17] Soon after these sectors came the entertainment (particularly gaming) and Internet-related services (particularly broadband) sectors. Also several of the affiliate solution providers expect to see increased interest from business-to-business marketers and advertisers in using affiliate marketing as part of their mix.[17]:149–150
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Affiliate Marketing Secrets
You’ll also now have some experience selling to your subscribers, and you’re beginning to understand what they like and need from you. You’ve found at least one product that’s earning consistently and may also have plans for your own products.
Affiliate networks that already have several advertisers typically also have a large pool of publishers. These publishers could be potentially recruited, and there is also an increased chance that publishers in the network apply to the program on their own, without the need for recruitment efforts by the advertiser.
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Pat Flynn recommends Pretty Link for this. You can create clean, easy-to-use-and-remember links plus get analytics so you can see exactly where people are coming from and what strategies are working best for you.
In the screen capture above you can see that when you go past 6 items referred, you move from a 4% commission to a 6% commission. If you keep referring more, the commission increases. The only category of product not included in this is consumer electronics (frustrating for a camera guy!).
Affiliate marketing is a fairly simple concept that can be implemented in a countless number of ways online. Though it’s not as familiar or easy to set up as display advertising strategies that dominate many publisher monetization strategies, there is the potential for a big payoff if a bit of work is done upfront.
1. Learn from Them – be a regular user of Amazon. You don’t have to be an active buyer but surf the site regularly and pay particular attention to the way that THEY are promoting products on their site.
Affiliate marketing used to be my main source of income, but more than 90% of that income came from my email list itself. Of course, the posts would play a part of that as I’d schedule them to be sent out in my autoresponder but the majority came straight from the emails themselves.
Since new customers are valuable, it makes sense to offer incentives to your affiliate partners to generate fresh traffic and new customers. You may already have new customer marketing incentives in place — perhaps a first purchase discount or another special offer. The same reason you offer those incentives is why you should pay affiliates more for generating new customers. No matter where the incentive is paid — i.e., to the customer or to the affiliate — the result is the same. You’re paying a bit extra to acquire that new customer because you know your ultimate payback is in the customer’s lifetime value.
Utilize Google. Entering “‘Competitor name’ + ‘affiliate program’”  into your browser’s search bar will typically bring up the competitor’s affiliate page, which could list their current commission rates.
Your audience’s trust. This cannot be overstated. Affiliate marketing is all about trust. When someone you trust recommends a product, you listen. Not so much when a stranger does. (In fact, if you’re like me, it often makes you skeptical.)
Amazon has hardly any products that don’t have a listed discount. Most books are as much as 30% off the recommended retail price and at different times during the year, Amazon runs other special discounts and promotions on different products or product categories.
Keep records of your findings. This doesn’t have to be complex. You could use a simple spreadsheet to record competitors’ names, affiliate page links, commission rates, and any other data you think to be relevant. Once you’ve collected the data, it’ll be easy to make comparisons.
This metric is a way of summarizing the conversion rate, average ticket price, and commission percentage. It does not take into account the click rate that an offer will receive. So while EPC is certainly a useful stat to consider when evaluating potential affiliate offers, it must be considered alongside the click rate an offer will receive. A great EPC combined with a bad click rate won’t translate to great earnings. (In other words, the highest EPC isn’t necessarily the best offer.)
A good example of this technique in action is my Popular Digital Cameras and Gear page on DPS. I update this page every few months and prominently link to it on the blog. Those two actions together, convert readers to buyers really well.
You don’t want to promote things unrelated to the content your audience is used to getting from you. It’s jarring and can decrease their trust in you. And without trust, your affiliate income will dry up.
4. Sales incentives. Structure your commission rates so that you have additional margin to offer sales incentives. For example, perhaps you are launching a new product line and you want affiliates to focus their marketing efforts on it. If you have room in your commission structure, you can offer a temporary increase — or perhaps sales bonuses — for hitting established revenue targets. I addressed sales incentives here previously, in “Affiliate Marketing: 3 Incentives to Drive Sales.”
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. 
When formulating a commission structure, the first step is to consider all stakeholders involved in the transaction. Even though affiliate marketing is entirely performance-based — and nary a nickel gets paid unless a transaction occurs — there are several different parties taking a cut of that sale. The affiliate gets a percentage. The affiliate network gets a percentage. And, your affiliate manager might take a percentage. What initially seemed as a no-risk marketing channel could be one of your most expensive.
Assuming you’re already emailing your list on a regular basis — for example, every Tuesday, every two weeks, etc. — you can also run occasional promotions where you email your readers more frequently.
Follow affiliate hashtags. Hashtags like #affiliate and #ad are commonly used on social media when someone is promoting an affiliate product. Follow or search those hashtags on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest (and sometimes Facebook) to see what others are promoting.
These posts act as a doorway to the Amazon site. As the number of posts has increased, my blogs have begun to rank higher in Google and my loyal reader numbers have grown, the number of people going through these ‘doorways’ has increase– hence the escalation in earnings.
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.
Most blogs won’t allow the author to include their own affiliate links (but it’s worth checking). The next best thing is to link to the definitive content on your own blog, either naturally within the body of your post or in your author’s bio.
I’ve read this post a couple of times over the last few months and as I’ve implemented the tips I can confirm that they convert for smaller sites (on a smaller scale of course). I’m looking forward to seeing how this compliments my AdSense revenue now that I’m getting results. Thanks.

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