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.
Good point about reviewing online courses before you promote them to protect your reputation. However, I would like to point out that the level of attention the course creator gives you (the endorser) and what they give to a random customer might be very different. There are so called marketing gurus out there who are extremely skilled at making false promises and not delivering on them. Once they have the endorsement of a few reputed marketers and some ‘lucky’ customers, they can easily get away with ripping other people off with hyped up money making guarantees. I have had a personal experience with this as a customer, but lets not mention names! The point is, when we are promoting someone, we need to do an in-depth due diligence. Only going through their course is not enough. It would be great if there was some kind of a course review site -something like tripadvisor. This is something that the industry really needs – something to make people accountable. A lot of people are losing faith in these online courses. I am staying away from promoting people unless I am very certain of their integrity.
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.
Once upon a time I tried to be an affiliate marketer back in 2010. But I had no guidance where to start and go ahead properly. Eventually, I gave up. But after reading this article, I am thinking to start over once again.
I’m a RevGlue.com affiliate. I have to admit, I hardly make anything from affiliate marketing off of my blog directly. I do expect this to go up over time, especially as my organic rankings increase (search engine traffic only accounts for about 1/3 of my visits) as my old review posts don’t get much traffic on their own.
“Rakuten Marketing has provided strategic recommendations that have helped us to optimize campaigns and test new acquisition strategies with publishers.  Their expertise in the vertical and their strong partner relationships have led to a highly successful program.”
While these models have diminished in mature e-commerce and online advertising markets they are still prevalent in some more nascent industries. China is one example where Affiliate Marketing does not overtly resemble the same model in the West. With many affiliates being paid a flat “Cost Per Day” with some networks offering Cost Per Click or CPM.
In the case of cost per mille/click, the publisher is not concerned about whether a visitor is a member of the audience that the advertiser tries to attract and is able to convert, because at this point the publisher has already earned his commission. This leaves the greater, and, in case of cost per mille, the full risk and loss (if the visitor cannot be converted) to the advertiser.
This is where we put the “marketing” in affiliate marketing. It’s up to you as the affiliate marketer to make sure that your audience sees the affiliate links and offers you have on your site. You can’t simply throw them into the right sidebar and hope that your audience seeks them out and clicks on them. There’s a great deal that you can do to increase the likelihood that your visitors click on the links and get in front of the affiliate offer.
Note that merchants reaching out to establish direct relationships with affiliates will only focus on the “whales” who generate the most revenue. While it’s possible to run a few affiliate marketing relationships directly, opening up this benefit to everyone quickly becomes overwhelming.
While these amounts are not in the thousands, it still goes to show how a product (shown to the right audience) can have powerful results. So just imagine, what if i were a lot more active as opposed to passive?
I have never read a blog so full of useful information. I have been an Amazon Affiliate for an year now and I really learned a lot in the meantime. But after reading this post, I’m full of new ideas and inspiration to try new strategies. I can’t thank you more. It was amazing.
What are the terms of the program? Is there anything I need to be aware of that would make a program not worth it for me. For example, Amazon Associates does not allow you to put your affiliate links in emails. If your main method of communication with your audience is via email, Amazon might not be a good fit for you. Wayfair, for example, does not allow their affiliates to post affiliate links on Pinterest or any other social media site. If that’s a strategy you rely on, Wayfair might not be a good fit for you.
This is a fantastic article that has made me sit up and think. I have built a Amazon niche site with 75 pages, good useful content as well as review pages. 18 months in and I’m earning practically nothing from it.
Indeed, Amazon has really made a lot of people rich via their popular affiliate program, but as you rightly said, it also comes with a lot of limitations. I generally love and agree with the idea of having different monetization strategies instead of focusing only on Amazon, in case something goes wrong.
Building up a large base of traffic is in itself a huge challenge. There’s an overwhelming amount of content on the Web dedicated to attracting visitors to your website, and we won’t go into any detail on the topic here. (Check out SEOmoz or Search Engine Land if you really want to read more).
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.”
Many other major brands that use affiliate marketing take a similar approach and let one of the big networks do the heavy lifting for them: see DirecTV (CJ), Best Buy (LinkShare), and Overstock (LinkShare).
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…
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. 
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.
The other beauty of getting lots of smaller ticket sales is that they go towards increasing the commission tier you’re on. The more items you sell (not the more $’s you refer – but item numbers) the higher % commission you make from Amazon.
Increase Your Commissions by 200%
Affiliate Marketing Secrets
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.
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.

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