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.
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.
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.
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.
In November 1994, CDNow launched its BuyWeb program. CDNow had the idea that music-oriented websites could review or list albums on their pages that their visitors might be interested in purchasing. These websites could also offer a link that would take visitors directly to CDNow to purchase the albums. The idea for remote purchasing originally arose from conversations with music label Geffen Records in the fall of 1994. The management at Geffen wanted to sell its artists’ CD’s directly from its website but did not want to implement this capability itself. Geffen asked CDNow if it could design a program where CDNow would handle the order fulfillment. Geffen realized that CDNow could link directly from the artist on its website to Geffen’s website, bypassing the CDNow home page and going directly to an artist’s music page.[10]
The product launches I’m referring to are targeted toward other internet marketers and they attract the very best online entrepreneurs in the world. It’s extremely competitive and requires a lot of work. It helps a lot to have a sizeable list of followers that are also interested in affiliate marketing.
I stumble upon a roadblock signing up as an affiliate for Amazon. On step 3 they ask for a number for verification. They are restricted from making calls to the Phils for verification. I thought of using a Google voice number (US based). Will that help? I don’t want to try until I am sure for fear of getting rejected even before I start. Or what do you suggest? I tried a live chat with Amazon and all the CS said was yeah no call verification for a Philippine number. appreciate your help. Thank you.
Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website visitor’s computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent affiliate sales but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates’ cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.
Note: I think the line where readers will push back probably will vary from blog to blog depending upon their readership. For example here on ProBlogger I get a little more negative feedback from readers on affiliate promotions. I suspect ProBlogger readers are a little more tuned into the issue and suspicious of some of the affiliate marketing that goes on around the web.
The vast majority of affiliate relationships are run either through networks or through custom platforms established by merchants. There’s a reason for that; these types of arrangements are the easiest to manage, and allow scale for both merchants and affiliates.
Some of the digital products I promote cost the makers  a lot of time & money to produce the content, house it, keep it updated, provide ongoing customer service, manage active Facebook Groups, deal with unhappy customers, etc. Meanwhile, I don’t have to deal with any of that, and yet I still get nearly 50% of all the sales that come through me.
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.
One of the challenges I came up against when writing about cameras regularly was that while a certain percentage of my readers were actively shopping for a new camera, many readers already owned one. In fact, writing a ‘photography tips’ blog means you attract more people wanting to learn how to use a camera that they already own, rather than buying a new one.
And of course, always follow your merchants’ lead. If they run major launches twice a year, for example, you can participate in those and take advantage of the natural momentum these launches often create.
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.
Eighty percent of affiliate programs today use revenue sharing or pay per sale (PPS) as a compensation method, nineteen percent use cost per action (CPA), and the remaining programs use other methods such as cost per click (CPC) or cost per mille (CPM, cost per estimated 1000 views).[20]
Thank you for sharing this post Daren. I’ve been making money from Amazon Associates program but it was not enough. Just a few coins here and there. But, with these amazing insights I believe my affiliate income stream is going to increase.
But there will be instances where an ideal merchant isn’t active on an affiliate marketing network and doesn’t have their own platform in action. There may be instances where a potential merchant partner doesn’t even know what affiliate marketing is.
Is this because WP is now blocking outside adds on free accounts? WP recent advised users that ads may appear on free accounts. I saw that WP has a plugin just for Amazon posts, but any plugin requires a business account. In looking at the pay-to-play WP account details, it looks like one has to buy the second level account in order to “monetize your website”.
The more affiliate programs you join, the longer the list of things to track. Affiliates handle this differently. Some keep very close tabs on everything they earn in every affiliate program. Others simply trust the payouts to arrive as they should.
“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.
Great tips, some of them I am already following. It’s little hard to start initially and have some budget in mind for paid advertisement. What do you think how much budget should be sufficient for new bloggers?
In the infancy of affiliate marketing, many Internet users held negative opinions due to the tendency of affiliates to use spam to promote the programs in which they were enrolled.[27] As affiliate marketing matured, many affiliate merchants have refined their terms and conditions to prohibit affiliates from spamming.
The concept of revenue sharing—paying commission for referred business—predates affiliate marketing and the Internet. The translation of the revenue share principles to mainstream e-commerce happened in November 1994,[3] almost four years after the origination of the World Wide Web.
Let’s start with the first scenario above. Suppose an affiliate is generating $100,000 in monthly revenue for a merchant, and getting $25,000 in monthly commissions. In this case, the network between the two may be taking $10,000 a month for its part in the process. In this case, the merchant may attempt to go around the network and set up a direct relationship with the affiliate–perhaps with a 30% commission.
Promote products relevant to your niche. Be a student of your niche. Listen to what others talk about. Note problems people have or holes that need filling. Find products that will help. Buy them. Use them. Recommend the best.
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The phrase, “Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business”, which is often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little if any influence on a possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the advertiser’s website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control and influence up to the point where the prospect either a) signs the contract, or b) completes the purchase.
Clickbank is huge. And it’s been in the game for over 17 years. ClickBank’s focus is digital information products. As one of the largest online retailers, ClickBank has a vast library of over 6 million unique products in order to reach 200 million customers around the world.
Some advertisers offer multi-tier programs that distribute commission into a hierarchical referral network of sign-ups and sub-partners. In practical terms, publisher “A” signs up to the program with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the agreed activity conducted by a referred visitor. If publisher “A” attracts publishers “B” and “C” to sign up for the same program using his sign-up code, all future activities performed by publishers “B” and “C” will result in additional commission (at a lower rate) for publisher “A”.
Take advantage of affiliate program freebies when available. Many affiliate programs provide free printables, guides, webinars or other lead magnets designed to get potential customers in their sales funnel. As an affiliate, you can share these freebies with your audience using your affiliate link so if they eventually make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission, but if they don’t they still get value upfront.
A 30-day cookie is the standard, but there can be quite a bit of variation here. Some cookies expire after just a week, while others run indefinitely. From an affiliate perspective, the longer the cookie length the better.
In my experience, most affiliate programs don’t work because the returns on them are so low that it’s not commercially viable. You need money, time and more importantly, the right knowledge to generate quality traffic that will buy your offers.
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?
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While searching on google about Affiliate Marketing saw your website on 1st page then i clicked on your website and started reading your posts. I just want to say what a lovely article your written about Affiliate Marketing, Good work admin, keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing such a nice article about Affiliate Marketing.
A question: A blogroll with some quality produkt affiliate links can really bring in more revenue as a banner on the same position? I think that this has something to do with people don`t really like it anymore to click on banners and also on the rise of adblockers, right?
I have found that one size doesn’t fit all. Rather, specific types promotions of particular products work well with Amazon. I have also had some success by getting people in the Amazon door for other reasons. For example I’ve experimented a couple of times on dPS with running a posts that gave readers a hypothetical $1000 to spend on photography gear and asked them to surf around Amazon and choose what they wanted to buy. The result was 350 comments (a fun community building exercise) and quite a few sales and commissions!
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.
In my experience, it’s product-related blogs that tend to do best with Amazon. Most blogs probably have at least some possibilities (for example here on ProBlogger I occasionally link to a book that relates or a computer or electronic tool that I think might be useful to bloggers) but the reality is that this blog will never convert as well on Amazon as my photography site.

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