Affiliate Marketing


A  common  way  to  make  money online  is  through  affiliate marketing . As  of  this  writing, affiliate  marketing  is  my  largest income  stream . But  what  is affiliate  marketing ? Let’s  back  up one  step…

How to really make money online

There are essentially two ways to make money online:

1.Sell your own stuff.
2.Sell or promote someone else’s stuff and get paid for doing it.

The 3 basic steps in affiliate marketing

1.You recommend a product or service to people (your followers or people you know).
2.Some of those people purchase the product or service based on your recommendation.
3.You get paid a commission for those purchases.

That’s it. Simple, right?

How does affiliate marketing work?

1.You have a blog, website, email list or some other online presence where people listen to what you have to say.
2.You partner with the company that sells a product or service you’d like to recommend. As their partner, you are their affiliate (sometimes referred to as an associate, partner, internet marketer or affiliate marketer).
3.You recommend (sometimes referred to as market or promote) this product or service to your followers. You might do this by writing a post about it, placing a button or banner ad somewhere on your site, mentioning it in your email newsletter or talking about it on social media. You include a special link to the product or service so followers can check it out for themselves. But you don’t just use any link, you use your affiliate link. It contains a special number, your affiliate ID, which is unique to you.
4.A follower uses your affiliate link to check out the product or service and they decide to purchase it.
5.When their purchase is complete, you earn a commission.
6.You receive a payout of your accumulated earnings after a specified period of time, or when your earnings reach a certain threshold ($100 is common).

Six important things to remember before you become an affiliate

1.Always tell your readers when you are using affiliate links.
2.Choose only products or services you can recommend without reservation. Seek out the best.               Products or services you’ve used yourself are great since you can speak from experience.
3.Note that you can become an affiliate for large companies once, and then promote any of their            products. For example, you can become an affiliate with Amazon (“Amazon Associate”) once and      promote any of their products.
4.Choose products or services that are relevant to your niche. 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 and 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. Start out with        high standards and you’ll be fine. Simply put, promoting bad stuff makes you look bad and will          hurt you in the long run.
5.Look around for the best affiliate deal. My friend Carrie tipped me off to this and after searching        around, I realized one of my affiliates paid almost 30% more if I went through a different network.
6.Experiment, experiment, experiment! Experiment with different networks, types of content, ad            sizes, text links vs. images, placement on your page, etc. Sometimes there are vast differences in        revenue when small changes are made.
7.Always know the Terms of Service for the programs in which you are participating.

Four ways to find affiliate products or services to promote

When you’re looking for things to promote, be creative. Every product or service you use and love might very well be affiliate-worthy. Here are some ways to find out whether or not there’s an affiliate program attached to the things you talk about and use:

1.Think of a product or service you already like and go to the website of said product. Look for a link    (often in the footer) that says “Affiliates,” “Affiliate Program,” “Referral Program” or something        similar. Follow the links to sign up.
2.Search for terms like “[product] affiliate program.” For example, “Target affiliate program.” If your    first search doesn’t turn up anything, try again. Don’t give up too easily. Sometimes there are slight    variances in word usage or terms.
3.Take note of the affiliate products others in your niche are using. Look at their sites. Read their            posts. What’s in their sidebar? What are they linking to? If you see a product or service they talk        about that jogs your memory and you can ethically promote it too, find affiliate information by the      methods described above.
4.Another way to find things to promote is to join an affiliate network and browse through their              available campaigns. In fact, many companies offer their affiliate program via an affiliate network,      so many times as you are searching for possible products to promote, you will have to join an              affiliate network anyway. This will often work to your advantage since you’ll have access to a lot        more products, all in one fell swoop. Like this…

What is an affiliate network?

An affiliate network works like this:

1.An affiliate network is like a middleman. They provide a place where advertisers (i.e. companies        that have products or services to sell, sometimes called “vendors”) are matched up with publishers      (i.e. you, the blogger or website owner; also referred to as “affiliates”).
2.Advertisers approach an affiliate network and say, “We will reward any of your publishers $XX          who promote Product X and it results in a sale.”

3.If in agreement, the network lists that campaign (or offer) on their website.
4.Once you, the publisher, join an affiliate network you can log in and see the available “Campaigns,”   “Offers,” or “Marketplace” to promote. Sometimes you have to apply to be part of the specific             campaign for that product, sometimes you don’t; it depends on the affiliate network and advertiser.
5.Once you are cleared to promote a particular product and you understand the terms for that                  campaign, you look through the list of available buttons, banners, text links, etc. for that product.        You choose the one that you like most and copy the code they provide for you. This code has your      unique ID in it. Use this link when promoting the product.

Affiliate networks are nice for advertisers because the advertisers don’t have to run the affiliate program themselves. Affiliate networks are nice for publishers because it’s like one-stop shopping and they don’t have to hunt for individual programs. Of course, affiliate networks are nice for the affiliate networks because they are acting as middlemen and getting a piece of the profit pie.

How do I maximize my profit from affiliate marketing?

I hate to sound like a broken record, but again, it’s all going to be unique to you and your blog. But if you’re stumped and truly aren’t sure where to start, take a look at the bigger blogs in your niche. How are they utilizing advertising? What types of ads do they use? Where are they placed on the page?

Ask around. In my experience, if you establish a good relationship with other bloggers (and especially if you are giving more than you are taking in that relationship), over time, most are more than willing to share tips and hints about what has and has not worked for them.

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