Generally speaking, you’re ready for this stage once you have 500-1,000 email subscribers and at least 10% of them are opening your emails. At this point, you can start testing products to see what your audience is likely to respond to.
Many affiliate marketers use paid advertising to generate additional traffic to their site and drive more sales. Paid advertising on social media is often a good place to start, as these networks tend to be more affordable.You may also want to consider taking out inexpensive banner ads on small niche sites. Depending on your niche, Google AdWords could also be a good option to drive some paid traffic to your site.
As search engines have become more prominent, some affiliate marketers have shifted from sending e-mail spam to creating automatically generated web pages that often contain product data feeds provided by merchants. The goal of such web pages is to manipulate the relevancy or prominence of resources indexed by a search engine, also known as spamdexing. Each page can be targeted to a different niche market through the use of specific keywords, with the result being a skewed form of search engine optimization.
A few days later I might post a post asking readers what they think about the camera or one of its features. For example, I recently wrote a post asking readers what they think about the idea of a camera with an inbuilt projector after the release of the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj.
Keep an eye out for these kinds of promotions because they can be well worth promoting (if relevant to your readership). In fact, last time Amazon had cameras on special, I promoted the sale to my newsletter readers and had readers emailing me to thank me for letting them know about it.
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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.
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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.
Avoid resource heavy widgets and plugins. There are a lot of tools you can use to share affiliate links on your site, such as carousel widgets or dynamic images. I don’t recommend using these as they slow your site down. Stick to your basic HTML and use your own images when you can. Speaking of images…
Affiliate Royale is an affiliate program management plugin, and the only one you’ll likely ever need. Its list of extensive features includes link tracking, a link and banner creator, and even the ability to set up to 100 commission levels:
The above reasons are all valid. There are other options that pay higher commissions (although not so many for the type of products Amazon sells), you can promote higher value products and there are programs that have longer cookies… but there are also some things I like about Amazon.
Hello, I just read your post. I am a public school teacher and I am trying to create additional income. I enjoyed your article because it provided some good information. I can’t help but think that you should get someone to help you edit your material for grammar mistakes. Please don’t take offense to this, I just think it would help your writing be more professional and polished.
Some merchants will pay for actions that do not involve the transfer of money (i.e., something besides a sale of a product or service). For example, many merchants pay affiliates for referred visitors that ultimately sign up for a newsletter or other free product.
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In fact, a few of our readers tell me that if they’re going to make some kind of purchase at Amazon that they always come to DPS to click on one of our links to do so! Transparency isn’t as scary as you might think (although this might depend upon your audience a little).
Blogger Gardening Jones is upfront about how she has partnered with several companies as an affiliate. She lets her readers know that if they purchase any of the products she recommends using her links, she’ll make a little money from the sale.
But establishing direct affiliate marketing relationships is extremely challenging for a number of reasons, which we’ll get into below. While there are certain instances when a direct relationship makes sense, most affiliates will be better off accepting that networks are part of the equation and focusing on finding the right merchants and maximizing referrals.
So wherever you share an affiliate link, whether it’s in blog posts, web pages, or emails, let your readers know that you stand to earn a small commission if they buy through you — and if they choose not to use your link, no worries.
A lot of the companies I want to feature on my site aren’t on affiliate networking platforms. Ive been reaching out asking if they would let me sell their stuff on my website with links but I’m not sure how much is safe to ask for for each purchase made through clicking on the link I provide. I’ve done a little research and 15-20% seemed like a safe starting point. What do you think?
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.
Hi, Nice article. I am not sure about the process though. I can understand, finding a niche. But, when it comes to affiliate programs I get a little lost. Would I be promoting someone else’s products? If so, no problem. I know I need to research high end products with gravity, are these products ones in certain stores, or companies, etc.?? If so, do I need to get permissions to be on an affiliate program with that company? Also, if it is products with a company, then how do I offer promotions on their products since they are not mine? Thank you, Nanette Vlahusich
An Intermediate affiliate may drop a level after losing his best campaign, while the Affiliate Apprentice can turn Top Doggy Baller overnight if he stumbles in to an unsaturated niche and makes it pay (a daily occurrence in 2009, rare in 2013).
Set up a website. Professional or business websites can also use the Affiliate program. However, they are best used with people who do not sell similar products on their website, since Amazon’s marketplace can drive business away. If you have a website promoting different products, a club, a non-profit or a service, then you can recommend quality products on your site and make money doing it.
“Rakuten Marketing has truly demonstrated the value and effectiveness of affiliate marketing. By using the affiliate channel to increase our brand awareness we have been able to successfully propel Cotton On worldwide.”
Compare this to a CPM-based advertising campaign, where an advertiser pays a fixed amount to get a fixed number of ad impressions. (E.g., they may pay $10,000 to have 1 million ads shown on a publisher site, or a $10 CPM.) That campaign may be unsuccessful however if the ad impressions don’t convert into clicks and/or eventual sales.
If you get THAT clear and believe in some product, go ahead. Your audience trusts your word. But most folks need to use or experience before they can get clear, because they have a fear: the fear of using trust. I am slowly losing that fear but still use what I promote, before I promote it. I also just sell my stuff mainly. Since I have quite a few products and eBooks and services to sell.
You will vastly improve your chances of making a good income as an affiliate marketer if you use as many available communication vehicles as possible. Email is one of the most effective communication vehicles there is. Even more so than your blog or website.
You’re right, Javier – the Smart Blogger audience is mostly beginning and intermediate bloggers and online businesses. The merchant side is more of an advanced topic. But good suggestion. Maybe they’ll address the merchant side in the future.
If you’re not new to affiliate marketing, and especially if you’re already using Amazon’s program, this book probably won’t offer you much. I’ve been working with Amazon for a few years and I came away from this with only a few nuggets of useful information that I wasn’t already aware of.
The more fun you have with posting links, the more likely you are to get sales. For example, you may want to post a best-of blog for the year’s most innovative new products or the best non-fiction books of the year. You can include links to Amazon products and people will use the link as a reference and as a way to buy.
Hey Jan, glad it made you think. As you’ve found out it’s not easy to rank #1 on Google especially when so few people will link to your product reviews. You need to tackle a specific niche with a focused target audience as a whole and build a community of like minded people around your site in order to make any significant income online sustainably and for the long term.
Though the glory days may be behind us, affiliate marketing remains a multi-billion dollar industry and a primary source of income for thousands of successful online entrepreneurs. As the number of merchants embracing affiliate marketing strategies has increased, new opportunities have been created for Web publishers able to build an audience and effectively promote affiliate offers.
To discover these audiences, PacSun tested a prospecting campaign using comprehensive first-, second- and third-party data with exclusive data from the Rakuten ecosystem settling in as their second-party source. Compared to a control group, this campaign returned:
That way, if you decide to write a review to promote it or send the affiliate link for the product’s sales page to your email list, etc., you will have first-hand knowledge of how it works. This will help you to decide it the product has real value pertaining to your niche. I, personally, won’t sell anything I haven’t tried myself to be sure they work as advertised. Selling just to make money with no real value is a sure way to lose customers and ultimately destroy your business. Bad reputations are hard to get rid of once you get one, especially when there’s money involved. With that being said, I hope you all have a great holiday season.
Next, add an email list which gives you a fantastic opportunity to communicate with people on your own terms. That is, you don’t have to wait for them to come to your blog or website, you can go straight to their inboxes. Related: Email Marketing 101.
Review: 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Note the affiliate links to the landing page where this e-book can be purchased. For every referred purchased, this publisher makes 40% of the total purchase price.
Formerly Commission Junction, CJ Affiliate by Conversant reaches millions of consumers shopping online through their affiliate marketing network. The Conversant, Inc. companies include Commission Junction, Dotomi, Greystripe, Mediaplex, and ValueClick Media.
Note: All of these strategies assume that you are already sending traffic to the latest content you’re creating by emailing your list on a regular basis (at least two to four times per month) to let them know what’s new.
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.
If you have identified merchants for whom you think you could generate substantial revenue through an affiliate marketing relationship, there’s no reason not to attempt to set up a direct relationship. There’s also not much magic to pursuing this type of arrangement; if there isn’t a pre-existing relationship, start by reaching out to your potential partner and telling them a bit about your site.
A blog scientist by the mind and a passionate blogger by heart ❤️. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud (Award winning blog), speaker at various international forums.Life motto: Live while you can! Teach & inspire while you could & Smile while you have the teeth.
Amazon Affiliate links, once clicked on by a potential buyer, are active for 24 hours. This means that they expire for that particular user after 24 hours. Fresh links means new chances to earn money.
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.
Personally I think affiliate marketing is one of the best business models out there at the moment. If you can cultivate an emotional connection with a target audience through product advertisement then you can make a heck of a lot of money.
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.
Online, affiliate marketing works generally the same way–except that the door-to-door sales approach is replaced by strategies more suited to a digital marketplace. In most instances, the affiliate marketing process works as follows:

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