Normally, you have to wait to get commissions from high paying affiliate programs. The reason is simple. A customer can cancel the purchase within the time allowed for refunds, and a lot of people would game the system.
In this article, we’ll explore the options for affiliate marketers looking to cut out networks entirely and establish affiliate relationships directly with merchants who will compensate them for any sales generated.
Promote products at various price points. Even the little products (like Amazon ebooks) add up. If there is a truly useful product on the pricier side, it can still be worth the promotion even if only a few people buy it. If you’ve used a product of exceptional quality and it’s a good investment, or if it’s a product that’s unique, specialized or one-of-a-kind, go for it.
wow im spending part to full time on my website now, only been running for a month and not yet ranked, but i was just making a target of perhaps £200 a week after the first year, it seems all these figures are just so high to me, are you sure about this
In some ways, trying to establish a direct affiliate marketing relationship with a merchant is a lot like trying to get an advertiser to run a campaign on your site. But there is a major difference here that you should consider when reaching out to establish direct relationships: the biggest hurdle to overcome from the perspective of the merchant isn’t a cash payment (as it is with advertising) but rather an administrative burden.
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.
Some commentators originally suggested that affiliate links work best in the context of the information contained within the website itself. For instance, if a website contains information pertaining to publishing a website, an affiliate link leading to a merchant’s internet service provider (ISP) within that website’s content would be appropriate. If a website contains information pertaining to sports, an affiliate link leading to a sporting goods website may work well within the context of the articles and information about sports. The goal, in this case, is to publish quality information on the website and provide context-oriented links to related merchant’s websites.
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.
One of the most common criticisms I hear about the Amazon’s Affiliate program is that there are just too many small commissions. Getting a commission of a small percentage on a $15 book just doesn’t cut it for many people.  Some people use this to justify not using Amazon at all while others just promote big-ticket items.
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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.
Ask for VIP (sometimes called “tiered”) commissions. Many affiliate programs have different commission levels. Usually the standard commission level is made public, but higher commissions are offered to higher performing affiliates. Sometimes you may be bumped up to “VIP affiliate” status by the advertiser, but most times you have to ask if there’s a higher tier and how you can get there.
Though commission rates are obviously important, this number definitely needs to be considered in connection with the type of offer. A merchant offer that pays 50% commission seems very attractive in a vacuum, but if the product offered isn’t relevant to your audience and the creative is no good the results will probably be uninspiring.
ShareASale has been in business for 15 years, exclusively as an affiliate marketing network. Their technology receives accolades for speed, efficiency, and accuracy and their reputation as a fair and honest business is well known within the industry.
Good comment Jason, at some time in the future Amazon may decide they have so much market share they don’t need affiliates anyway. I mean, if you’re just sending them people who are already Amazon customers there’s not so much benefit there for them. Or they may decide to only work with select HIGH QUALITY affiliates and the average “affiliate site” owner will not be chosen.
I am surprised you listed ShareASale as your preferred affiliate network. I have applied to join them but they keep turning down my application. The reason I included my URL here is for you to check my site and give me your sincere professional advice on what to do about the site so as to make it accepted by ShareASale.
Bonuses: Some merchants will offer bonuses for reaching certain sales thresholds, creating another opportunity to generate revenue for major affiliates. For example, a company may offer a $500 bonus to affiliates that generate $25,000 in sales in any given month. While only a very small percentage of affiliates will ever hit this target, it can translate to a higher effective commission rate (the extra $500 on $25,000 in sales is effectively an additional 2% commission). Here’s an example of a bonus commission offer (in this case, $625 for hitting the $25,000 mark and $1,250 for generating $50,000 in monthly sales):
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.
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. 
Optimize your earnings by posting links regularly. This means that you should look for creative ways to incorporate product recommendations into your blog posts while still letting the reader know you are offering them expertise on your website subject.
When opportunities to establish direct relationships and negotiate customized commission deals exist, there is likely already a relationship between the two parties. The biggest hurdle to overcome here is generally the administrative and technological burden, since there are no payment required unless revenue is generated.
The other type of Amazon affiliate link I use is when I’m mentioning a product in passing and/or a new product is announced. For example, when Nikon announced the Nikon D300s we immediately posted about the news because it was a notable and anticipated camera announcement. The camera was not yet available in stores and we were not able to get a review sample yet – but it was available for Pre-Order on Amazon so we linked to it.
I first heard about Amazon’s Affiliate program in April 2003. I had been blogging for 6 months and was beginning to realise that this new hobby of mine was going to cost me a little money (for hosting, design etc).
Attach your affiliate link to images. In the age of sites like Instagram and Pinterest, users are accustomed to clicking images. Make sure any post images highlighting the product have your affiliate link attached. Here’s how to make an image clickable.
If you’re a blogger, start by going through your analytics and finding your most popular posts. In Google Analytics (GA) you can find these pages by going to your GA Dashboard > Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Examine the ones at the top of the list that bring in the most traffic. Are there any affiliate products or services you can naturally include in them?
Amazon Affiliates rewards advertising fees, or commissions, that vary depending upon the type of product. Your advertising fees can also increase after you start to refer more than 6 purchases every month.
Affiliate networks also offer a certain degree of “protection” in the sense that they ensure revenue you earn is properly attributed and paid out. When you start establishing direct relationships, you put yourself (to some degree) at the mercy of the merchants you’re able to land as partners.
While affiliate marketers are generally able to join affiliate networks for free, merchants usually have to pay a fee to participate in the network. Affiliate networks usually charge an initial setup fee for each merchant and often a recurring membership fee. It’s also common practice for affiliate networks to charge merchants a percentage of the commissions paid to affiliates. This percentage is known as an ‘over-ride’ and is payable on top of the affiliates commissions. But make no mistake about it, despite these fees, the benefits to the merchant for joining these networks is well worth the price. Here’s why…
Great post and right on target. I found that if you blog and/or do videos that sharing little stories will help connect you to potential leads. I do how-to videos and posts and I always tell personal stories or my own experiences that relate to the subject. It works and I get personal messages from people about it. It makes you more real and down to earth in the viewer’s eyes. Once they like you and trust you they will become a lead and hopefully a sale. They may very well become a regular buyer because you will be their go to person. For best results it’s best to blog daily and do at least one video a day.
Again, if you decide to promote physical products, try to find high-quality, high-value, specialized or unique products that your audience will appreciate — mediocre or poor-quality products will reflect badly on you.
Sponsored Products are advertisements for products sold by merchants on Amazon.com. When you click on a Sponsored Product ad, you will be taken to an Amazon detail page where you can learn more about the product and purchase it.
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.
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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Affiliate Marketing Secrets
Commission rates vary widely depending on the affiliate program. Amazon Associates, for example, pays a tiny percentage of sales (just a few percent). Some affiliate programs (digital products especially) often pay close to 50%.
CommissionSoup is a division of Bulldog Media Group, which is a leading performance marketing company that specializes in online customer acquisition for clients in the financial services industry. Since 2000, we have focused on financial services digital marketing as our core niche. We take an innovative, strategic approach to our relationships, with the goal of delivering solutions that are tailored to meet each client’s needs. This approach has delivered long-lasting relationships and over one million new customers for our clients each year.
When it comes to selling services as an affiliate, it’s important to concentrate on those which will be accessible to your entire audience no matter where they’re located (as opposed to service providers who serve local customers only).
Financial services provider, Wells Fargo, launched their affiliate marketing program with the goal of expanding credit card acquisition beyond current customers of the bank. Rakuten Marketing designed an affiliate prospecting program that focused on building strong relationships with publishers and educating them on the products offered. This approach was aligned with creating compelling consumer-facing offers that would appeal to a publisher’s audience.
As with most methods of making money from blogging, the more eyeballs that see your affiliate promotions – the better chance you have of them converting.  Of course, this is a generalisation as not all kinds of traffic converts – but more of that in the next point.
Great post Leanne, it’s always great to see affiliate marketing in a concise and to the point fashion. When using analytics to track conversions, what factors do you feel are the most important to focus on for affiliate marketers? Where do you see a lot of affiliate campaigns fall flat in terms of optimizing their campaigns?
While I do get a fair bit of search engine traffic, I’ve found that in most cases (and there is an exception below) search visitors don’t sign up to the affiliate programs on my blogs. Loyal and repeat readers do.
Understand where people are at in the buying cycle and promote accordingly. Spend the most time sharing affiliate links where people are ready to buy. For example, you can share affiliate links on Pinterest, but most people are not on Pinterest to buy but to look. As such, focusing your affiliate marketing strategy on Pinterest might not be the best use of your time. Review posts, for example, might be better at tipping people over the line into buying.
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.
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.
Unlike one-man affiliate sites that curate content from all over the web and rewrite it to create product reviews, the posts published on sites like TheWireCutter and BestReviews are written after extensive testing by their dedicated staff.
You don’t need a tool, you need a good strategy. You have few products ready to be sold, so, to complete the process you need a traffic and conversion. You can have some paid traffic from social networks, search engines, forums and other advertising websites. For the conversion you need a well built website and attracting products that your visitors will want to buy.
Reversal rates are generally in the low single digits; it’s standard for about 1% of transactions to be reversed. If you see offers with extremely high reversal rates, that could be a red flag. It doesn’t mean you should necessarily stay away, but it’s worth understanding why so many transactions are returned. For example, there’s something strange going on with this merchant:
Some people remember the 1990’s as a tremendous period of growth for grunge music and Jim Carrey films. While this is true, most people will probably tell you the 90’s were responsible for this big, beautiful, technology called the World Wide Web (aka the internet, the web, the vast digital ocean of information at our finger tips). And with any new technology or media, companies quickly realized they had a new opportunity to market their products and services to consumers via the millions of websites they visit every day.
Promote products you already use. What things do you use and love? Keep a list. Find the affiliate program for them. Of course, never write about a product or service you love without becoming an affiliate for it first!
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.
Mistake #4: Promoting products that are irrelevant, low quality or unhelpful. If you lose trust by promoting bad products, you lose readers. If you lose readers, income across all income streams decreases. Only promote things that truly benefit your audience.
Pierre, I am impressed with your post and that it is high quality with lots of valuable information. I am new to the affiliate marketing game and got it in my mind that I needed to add a high-commission paying offer to my mix to boost my sales. You gave me some really good ideas. You are a work smart kinda of guy! Thanks for your post!
You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.  
There’s obviously a lot of work that goes into each of the three points above; building up substantial traffic takes months (or even years) of effort, and finding the right affiliates involves never-ending research.
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.

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