CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) is the leading global affiliate marketing network, specializing in pay-for-performance programs that drive results for businesses around the world. The CJ Network helps to reach and connect with millions of online consumers every day by facilitating productive partnerships between advertisers and publishers. Drive more sales and expand your reach – experience the Network Effect with CJ.
The other good thing about starting early is that you’ll learn a lot about affiliate marketing. Most of the lessons and tips that I’ve shared in this series of posts have come directly from my own experimenting with Amazon’s Affiliate program.
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).
To construct the list, I simply go through the Amazon affiliate reports/stats and find which products are selling the best from within my community. I then categorise those results by product and ‘Waahlaaa’ – we have a best seller list that shows what readers of my site are buying in the last few months.
As with many aspects of Web monetization, the exact strategies will vary from site to site. There’s no universally superior affiliate marketing offer or merchant. There are, however, some general guidelines on factors to consider when evaluating potential affiliate marketing offers. We’ll dive into several of these below. We’re using screenshots from ShareASale throughout this article to illustrate the process, but the tasks and terms will be generally similar across the major affiliate marketing networks.
People want to hear from other people when making a decision to buy a product or not — that’s why the reviews on Amazon products are so powerful. Those reviews are genuine feedback from people who (usually) have absolutely nothing to gain if someone buys that product or not.
People buy more than one item at a time – when you send someone to Amazon you earn a commission on whatever they buy, whether they end up buying what you sent them to or not. Many people load up their cart with numerous items so commissions can add up.
This is just the beginning and these guys, with their million dollar budgets, established brands, teams of experts, and huge marketing budgets will dominate the SERPS and make it near impossible for a bedroom affiliate churning out keyword laden generic affiliate “reviews” (of products they’ve never used) to compete, which is a good thing IMO.
Advertisers love affiliate marketing because it involves minimal risk. If a sufficient margin is built in as compensation for the affiliate, it becomes impossible to lose money. That’s because affiliates are generally only paid when a sale is completed (i.e., a lead is converted). Advertisers (or “merchants”) pay nothing for leads that don’t convert.
This is another big mistake I made when starting out — joining any and every affiliate program I came across. While I absolutely do believe in cultivating multiple streams of income when working online, there is a point where you have too much to deal with and it becomes unmanageable.
You know, you’ll probably learn a lot about the merchant side of things if you just pay attention to what the merchants you represent are doing. What kinds of support they give you, how they follow up, what software they use, etc.
Hi Harsh, Thank you for your post. I have a question. If I have a blog that is targeted world over: ofcourse targeting few countries and I sign up for an affiliate program in each of these countries, then do i need to post separate links for readers to click on? are u aware of any such site that does this particular thing.
It comes with tons of research and website building done for you and extensive support, including the option to get detailed critiques from us to make sure every page of your site is optimized to sell.
Truly I found this to be the most comprehensive information on affiliate marketing on the web. Great resource for someone like me who is just beginning to experiment with affiliate marketing on the web. Deserve to be published as a book.
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Affiliate Marketing Secrets
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.
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.
It’s important to make the most of your marketing efforts and finding the right placements for the right programs is essential. Our knowledgeable Account Representatives coordinate with each affiliate to create a specialized marketing plan for their platforms. By utilizing our tracking options and learning where programs are performing best, you can concentrate your marketing efforts to optimize your time and increase your profitability.
Sometimes you find out an advertiser uses an affiliate network when you apply to an affiliate program directly. For example, if you want to become an affiliate for Genesis WordPress themes, you might go to the StudioPress website (StudioPress makes Genesis) and click the “Affiliates” link in the footer like so:
I just started implementing some affiliate offers to my blog. And I agree that you have to find the balance of offering something to your readers without being too pushy or like what you said without selling your soul haha. For me sine my blog is about travel i just mention where I stayed or what hotel and if I liked it and I recommend it I put an affiliate link.
Great tips! Since I just started blogging in January I am still really just getting my toes wet in affiliates. However, I did notice that pictures and real life demonstrations of the product really help. For instance, I have several food posts where I talk about my favorite cook books and show what I have cooked out of them, and then included amazon links, sure enough I sold a few cook books.
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.
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.
You don’t get buyer’s info to use later. A buyer’s information is extremely valuable, but in this case, the advertiser gets to keep it and you never see it. The advertiser can then pitch products or services to that buyer for months or years down the road, potentially making a lot more money in the long run.
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.
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.
What the chart above doesn’t show is the role of the affiliate marketing network (e.g., Commission Junction or LinkShare). From the publisher’s point of view, the affiliate network is involved very early on in the process, generally supplying the ad creative and affiliate links used to refer traffic. They’re also involved at the last (and most important) step in the process: a portion of the commission earned by the affiliate goes to the network who matches them up with merchants and handles the various administrative functions.
Cost per mille requires only that the publisher make the advertising available on his or her website and display it to the page visitors in order to receive a commission. Pay per click requires one additional step in the conversion process to generate revenue for the publisher: A visitor must not only be made aware of the advertisement but must also click on the advertisement to visit the advertiser’s website.
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.
Amazon.com needs no intorduction. Amazon is an American electronic commerce and cloud computing company with headquarters in Seattle, Washington. It is the largest Internet-based retailer in the United States. It’s affiliate network, called Amazon Associates, allows you to tap into over a million products to advertise to your customers.
The choices I’ve listed above are the affiliate networks that I’m most familiar with. Most I use today or have used in the past. It’s hardly a complete list of all the good affiliate networks that are out there since there are so many. If you would like to share a network that you really like working with please list it in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
I’m Big Fan of Affiliate marketing. Currently, I’m using CJ and Maxbounty That is my all time favourite affiliate marketing income source. Also, I’m trying to build Shopify which is now on Fire. Thanks! for such great Insight.
However, you can still make money as an affiliate even if you don’t have tons of traffic. I have a fraction of the traffic many fellow affiliate marketers have and yet my income rivals and in some cases exceeds theirs.
Will my target audience realistically buy this now, or at a different time? Be sensitive to sales cycles and seasons. Maybe you should avoid holidays (when people are away from their computers, like July 4 in the U.S.) or maybe you should target holidays (like the day after Thanksgiving), but know the difference. Again, know your audience. Plan your content accordingly.
Since 2012 I have placed less emphasis on Amazon so things have dropped off a little but I’m still tracking in the range of $50,000 to $60,000 per year from Amazon and overall I estimate my Amazon earnings, since 2003, are around the $660,000 mark (USD). Note: this figure was updated in September 2017.
Affiliate links to share. Once you have proven yourself to be a trustworthy source of information on topics important to your audience, you can begin to recommend affiliate products or services to them. This entails applying to affiliate programs and sharing your unique affiliate links for products you promote (more below).
Webinars are the most popular way to do this, and you can host them on your own or as a joint venture with the merchant. (Usually, though, merchants will only participate if you can attract a certain number of attendees.)
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