Affiliate Marketing: Here is the complete A to Z Affiliate Marketing Guide. After reading this ultimate guide you will be able to continue with the epic idea of Affiliate Marketing.
In this article, I have covered almost all affiliate marketing questions with their possible solution for you!
One Common Question: (Will this guide help you to really make money)?
Yes, it can!
Only if you are willing to dedicate the next several hours to critically reading it out.
All I ask from you is to have determination & patience when implementing the strategies listed in this article.
The reason of failure for some affiliates guys is they’re thinking of affiliate marketing as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme in one night.
UN-fortunately affiliate marketing is not like that!
As we all know “Rome wasn’t built in one day, everything takes time and patience”.
It all depends upon your patience and Hard-work!
Hint: Bookmark this page!
So, let’s get started with-out wasting any time!
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the coolest way to earn money from blogging or online marketing.
Once you have done the hard work, you will be earning money even when you are sleeping!
From a technical perspective, here is the definition:
Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest forms of marketing, affiliates recommend products & when someone purchases those products, affiliates earn a portion of the sale.
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You have probably seen this business model in the real-estate business.
In today’s era, where almost everything is digital, the same form of business conducted online is called “affiliate marketing”.
You can earn anywhere from $1 to $5000/daily depending on what products you are promoting and recommending.
The reason affiliate marketing is so lucrative is because once you have done the basic work of putting your content online, creating a system, driving traffic, etc.
The money will keep flowing in!
I will discuss more on this later but for now, review this image to understand the basic model of affiliate marketing:
1. A shopper/reader clicks on a product link on your website.
2. They land on the merchant’s website.
3. He/she purchases the product.
4. You earn a portion of that sale.
You must be thinking: “How do companies know if the sale is coming from my link or from someone else’s link?
The answer: A tracking link (a.k.a affiliate link)
Don’t get confused with the jargon just yet. ”Tracking Link” is pretty simple.
What is a Tracking Link in Affiliate Marketing?
A tracking link is a unique link given to only you by the affiliate company or the product company.
This unique tracking link is used to keep track of all the traffic you are sending (and sales you are making) via your website or another promotion channel.
A tracking link is like any other URL but contains a unique string/parameter for your profile.
When you join an affiliate marketing program, you will get your tracking link from the affiliate dashboard.
Here are two examples of such tracking links:
Yeah, I know, the 2nd tracking link in the above example looks horrible & ugly.
But don’t worry, because soon you will learn how to make your ugly links look pretty.
These two links are my affiliate links for two different affiliate programs.
When you join an affiliate program, you will get your affiliate link.
All you need to do is promote those links by any method possible (legitimate methods only!) and when someone purchases the product, you will earn a commission.
Each link is personalized so the company can track your referrals.
Tubebuddy.com/blogglive (my unique affiliate link)
Tubebuddy.com/somekeyword (your unique link)
TubeBuddy (A tool for YouTube) has an affiliate program where they pay 30% of commission/sale.
You can create a free account and get your affiliate marketing link.
Here’s another question: “What if companies don’t pay or don’t show a real sale as a sale?”
Answer: Well, unfortunately, that happens a lot of the time & this is why this guide will help you to learn how to avoid such situations and scam affiliate companies.
In an upcoming chapter, I will tell you about affiliate marketplaces where you can find reliable companies.
Which you can trust to form an authentic affiliate partnership.
Note: (Many old-fashioned affiliate programs, instead of using affiliate URLs, let a buyer add the Email ID of referrals (i.e. you), which is also accounted for in affiliate sales. Obviously, this is not the best way to track progress. More on that later.)
Alright, things get interesting from here:
There are many ways for you to join an affiliate program.
In this guide, I will discuss the two most popular & effective ways to join affiliate programs.
1. Joining an affiliate marketplace
2. Joining a direct affiliate program a. (Tricks on finding such programs in a later chapter)
Websites that sell products online, such as Amazon, Shopify, GoPro, or any online service, usually offer an affiliate program.
When you sign up for their affiliate program (free), you gain access to their affiliate dashboard & there you can find your unique tracking link.
In a later section of this guide, I will share tricks to discover affiliate programs in every niche.
Here are some of the popular promotion methods used by affiliate marketers:
1. Blogging or Content Marketing
2. YouTube videos
3. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and etc
4. PPC Marketing (Facebook ads, AdWords ads)
5. Buying paid traffic
6. Email Marketing
7. Creating a ‘coupon & deals’ website
8. Creating a cashback website
Note: I have shared tricks to find more of these affiliate programs later in this guide. Keep reading!
Every affiliate program has its set Terms of Standards (TOS).
For example, many of them offer a 60-day cookie period.
That means if a visitor uses your affiliate link to land on a company’s page and they don’t buy anything immediately.
They can buy the product within the next 60 days (on the same device) and you will still earn the affiliate commission.
You can read the technical description of cookies here at Wikipedia.
Another interesting thing to know: You will get paid for other product purchases as well.
If your reader goes to Amazon.com using your affiliate link & he/she purchases another product which you haven’t recommended, you will still get the same commission out of that sale.
This is yet another reason that affiliate marketing is so lucrative.
Pro Tip: Most companies require you to have a blog or a website for becoming their affiliate partner.
This helps them to get serious people and helps you because having your own blog/website is one of the best ways to make an affiliate marketing sale.
You can use Paypal Alternatives to launch your blog.
List of Important Affiliate Marketing Terms
Now, let’s understand some of the common terminologies in the affiliate marketing industry.
You will be reading & hearing these words every time you learn anything about “Affiliate Marketing” or “Digital Marketing”.
1. Affiliates: Publishers (like you and me) who join an affiliate program.
2. Affiliate Marketplace: This is a marketplace where you can find numerous companies offering affiliate programs for their product(s).
There are many marketplaces such as ( ShareAsale, commission Junction, jvzoo, ClickBank and etc) which work as a central database for affiliate marketing programs in different niches.
This one is important, as using the above sites will help you find affiliate programs for your niche.
I have detailed more about the above-mentioned marketplaces in a further section of this “Affiliate Marketing Guide”
3. Affiliate Software: Software used by companies to create an in-house affiliate program for their product.
This is not so important at this stage, but it’s good to know about. Ex: iDevaffiliate, HasOffers.
4. Affiliate Link: Unique tracking link offered by your affiliate marketing program to track the progress of your affiliate promotion.
(We have already discussed this term earlier.)
5. Affiliate ID: This is similar to an affiliate link, but a little different.
In some cases, many affiliate marketing programs offer a “unique ID” which you can then add to any page of the product site (example: productpage.com/AffiliateID).
6. Payment Mode/Method: Different affiliate programs offer different methods of payment.
Common payment modes include: Check, Wire transfer, PayPal, Payoneer, and many others.
7. PayPal: This is most common payment method to receiving affiliate earnings. You need to create a PayPal account if you don’t already have one.
But unfortunately in countries like Pakistan PayPal doesn’t operate so for that I have prepared a great list of Paypal Alternatives.
8. Payoneer: This is another payment program that you will be using to receive affiliate commissions.
Payoneer offers a Master Card and you can use it as a debit card. You can join Payoneer here.
9. Wire transfer: Many companies offer direct deposit & whenever possible, you should prefer this method as this will save you a lot of money.
When you use PayPal or Payoneer, you will be paying a small amount as a service charge. With wire transfer (ACH), you will not be paying any service fees.
10. Check: I know it’s funny to hear that some companies do not offer digital payment.
One of these companies, Aweber (popular email-marketing system), offers affiliate payment via paper check only.
I personally find this stupid, but at times, we can’t do much but follow the company’s guidelines to get paid.
11. Affiliate Manager: When you join an affiliate program (directly or using a marketplace), there is always an affiliate manager associated with it.
Affiliate managers are central to many things. You should always build a good relationship with your affiliate managers.
They will help you to get increased commissions and give you a heads-up about new offers.
12. Commission Percentage/Amount: The amount or percentage of commission you will be getting for every sale via your affiliate link.
Many companies offer fixed percentages of the sale amount (Ex: 30%) & many others offer fixed rates per sale (Ex: $25).
13. Two Tier Affiliate Marketing: This is a great way of making money from an affiliate program.
In this, you recommend others to join a particular affiliate marketing program, and you will get a commission when your sub-affiliates make sales.
This is like MLM (multi-level marketing) but in a totally legit way. This is also popularly known as Sub-Affiliate Commissions.
14. Landing Page: A unique product sales or demo page which is used to increase sales. The purpose of the landing page is to direct traffic to take the desired action.
It could be as simple as subscribing to your email newsletter or buying a product. You can learn more when I finish my next guide on email marketing.
But for now, you need to know that landing pages are very useful in affiliate marketing.
You can use software like LeadPages to create a professional landing page.
15. Custom/Special Affiliate Offer: Many companies usually have special offers for their affiliate partners who are giving them a good amount of sales.
These affiliates are called “Super Affiliates”. You should focus on being one of them.
16. Link Cloaking: Most affiliate marketing tracking links are ugly. Link cloaking allows you to turn ugly looking links into easily readable and attractive links.
I have shared the complete tutorial on link cloaking in a later part of this guide.
17. Custom Coupons: Many programs let affiliates create custom coupons, which is also used to track sales.
Also, custom discount coupons help you increase affiliate sales. If you are giving a good number of sales to any particular merchant.
You can always ask affiliate managers to give you an exclusive coupon code. This also helps in the branding of your service/blog/website.
Advertising/Affiliate Marketing Terms
In the below section you will learn some more terms which are related to advertising within the affiliate industry.
Understanding these terms will help you to pick the right affiliate marketing offers from various networks.
1. EPC (earning per click): This is calculated by taking the number of clicks divided by the commission earned.
2. CPC (cost per click): The actual price you pay per click. This is a common term when running PPC campaigns using Ad-Words or Facebook advertising.
3. CR (conversion rate): Conversions divided by clicks. This gives you an idea of how your ad campaigns are performing.
Note: An online company gets to benefit from an affiliate marketing program, as this is one of the best ways to get free promotion and save on advertising.
It also benefits the affiliate.
Whenever you see coupons or discounted products offered via links, most of the time, these links are affiliate links. When you make a purchase, webmasters make money.
It’s a win-win-win scenario!
Don’t be shy to use other’s affiliate links, as they have worked hard to educate you on something.
By using their affiliate link, you are rewarding them. You will understand this better once you start working on content generation & educating your audience.
What You Need to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing
I will now share with you all the important topics to become a master of affiliate marketing.
But first, let’s take some baby steps which will help you to get the basics down right from start. One can begin affiliate marketing using any form of digital marketing.
Examples of affiliate websites:
1. Blog which educates readers
2. Coupon based site
3. Product comparison site
4. Niche Amazon site (designed specifically for Amazon affiliate earnings)
1. PPC marketing (via Facebook ads or Google AdWords)
2. Email marketing o typically used with blogging or PPC but can be done separately
Note: These are some popular methods used by affiliate marketers. Do remember, it’s not limited to only what’s listed above.
Once you master this course, you are free to discover your own mediums for affiliate marketing.
I prefer educating users & recommending products that I personally use or have used in the past.
Once you have learned the in’s & out’s of affiliate marketing, you can use any of the ways mentioned above (or many other ways) to start making money.
Typically, I suggest blogging because you will not only be making money, you will also be making a name for yourself.
That’s more of my personal choice, but whatever method you use is ultimately a decision you should be completely happy with.
Tips for non-writers:
If you are not into content writing, you should consider using other forms of promotional methods other than blogging.
But if you want to create a blog and don’t want to write, a good workaround is hiring a content writer from sites like ContentMart, TextBroker or PeoplePerHour.
My only suggestion is don’t promote anything that you would not recommend to your loved ones.
Ex: Sketchy poker site or untested health-related products. Again, this is a decision you need to make based on your own moral conscience.
Link Cloaking: Your new best friend in Affiliate Marketing
Link cloaking, in simple words, means making long affiliate URLs into shorter and prettier ones. We do this for multiple reasons.
Ugly URL into Pretty URL: Usually affiliate links you get from your affiliate programs are pretty ugly.
They are usually a long strand of numbers, letters, and symbols. Link cloaking turns these long, confusing, ugly links into short, concise, good-looking links.
Affiliate URL: http://www.semrush.com/billing/offers/buy/4kprox41?promo=blogglive-Z4RV4OIB
Affiliate Cloaked URL: http://affiliatemarketing.buzz/recommend/semrush/
Have you notice that the second link looks better, more organized, and is branded.
Instead of just using an affiliate link as is, it’s better to make it look more professional with cloaking.
Why You Should Always Cloak Your Links in Affiliate Marketing?
Search Engine Ranking:
One of the major concerns with affiliate marketers is search engine ranking.
Most affiliate marketers miss out on optimizing their blog and fail to ensure that their blog is SEO friendly.
Cloaking your URLs helps optimize your site.
Changing Future URLs:
At times, your product company may change their affiliate software which requires you to change your affiliate URLs everywhere.
When you are using a link cloaking solution, you can change all URLs with a single click.
Pro Tip: Whenever I add a link to any product which doesn’t yet have an affiliate program.
I still cloak the normal URL so that in the future I can easily update the URL with an affiliate link when it becomes available.
Just using this technique helped me earn thousands of dollars extra/month.
Affiliate URLs are banned on many sites:
On many popular sites such as Facebook, or even using PPC on Google, affiliate URLs are banned. Link cloaking helps you eradicate this issue.
Links to Link Cloaking:
If you are using the WordPress platform for your blog or website, you can use this popular plugin: ThirstyAffiliate WordPress plugin.
For any other platform, you can use the Geni.us website.
Features To Look For in an Affiliate Program:
I have been an affiliate with almost 90 direct affiliate programs. Every one of them is different in their own way.
They all differ in affiliate policies, payouts, commissions, and their affinity towards affiliates like you & me.
I’m going to list down some of the features that will make your affiliate journey easier.
If you are joining a direct affiliate program & any of the below-listed features are not available, you can always ask your affiliate manager to add the feature.
Let’s start with #1.
When you are starting out with affiliate marketing, I suggest you ignore all the fancy features and focus on payment method.
This is particularly true in Asian countries, where many users have shown concerns due to the limited functionalities of popular services like PayPal and Payoneer.
You should ensure that the company offers a payment method that you can use to receive payment. In some situations, payment via check may be recommended.
Pro Tip: If PayPal or Payoneer is the only way to receive payment, you should partner with another blogger or online marketer (who is trustworthy) & ask them to receive payment on your behalf in return for a 10-15% commission.
Tasks for this section:
1. Create a PayPal account if you don’t have one.
2. Create a Payoneer account if you don’t have one.
3. Create a bank account in your city which accepts payment in different currencies. Once you have that bank account, you can use Evernote (or any other note-taking app) to keep the following information handy:
- Account number
- Bank Name:
Update: Most companies including (Amazon, CJ.com, ShareASale) now offer direct bank deposit.
Single product affiliate link: (Deep linking in Affiliate Marketing)
Imagine you sign up for an affiliate program with a lot of products and you can’t find a direct affiliate link to an individual product.
This could be very annoying for you.
It’s important for every affiliate program to offer individual links to specific products.
If a possible buyer lands on a homepage instead of a product sales page, most likely they will move somewhere else.
Do you want to lose a sale just because of one little feature? Most of the affiliate programs in 2016 have this features.
But in case it’s not there, reach out to your affiliate manager and request it.
Custom link option in Affiliate Marketing
Following up from the above point, pricing pages would not be considered a “product page”.
But sometimes, in order to showcase the product (as on a blog or review site), you might want to link to a pricing page.
Using a direct link, in this case, will be a big mistake and will cause you to lose out on a lot of potential sales.
How about an option to create a custom link for any page using your affiliate URL?
Custom discount coupon code in Affiliate Marketing
Discount coupon codes are one of the best methods for promoting any product, as it encourages sales.
Most affiliate programs, especially hosting affiliates, offer discount coupons. You can always use their code, but wouldn’t it be better to create your own branded discount coupon code?
For example, here’s a custom discount coupon code for my HostGator Hosting affiliate account: blogglive360 (for 40% off)
(This discount code helps me to get about $450/month in extra affiliate sales.)
Apart from offering discounts, such coupon codes help in branding. Very few affiliate products offer an option to create custom discount coupons.
An option like this is incredibly useful for affiliate marketers like us. Don’t you agree?
Pro Tip: If you are referring more than 2 sales a month, you should ask your program’s affiliate manager to create an exclusive coupon for you.
Some affiliate managers are really nice people and will even provide you with a custom landing page.
So now you are a part of one of the top-selling products as an affiliate promoter and the company is currently running a great deal or offer which nobody can refuse.
But you only got to know about it after 10 other bloggers have already written about it and the promotion is coming to an end.
Make sure you are subscribed to the product affiliate newsletter or ping the affiliate manager to add you to the affiliate email list.
Alternatively, you should also subscribe to product updates, FB pages, Twitter pages, or any other ways in which you can stay updated with the latest happenings about the product
Affiliate stats and banners
So you just joined an affiliate program.
You log into your affiliate console area and you realize that there is nothing apart from your affiliate link and an “edit profile” option.
You can’t track how many hits you are sending to them or which page or promotional method is working best for you.
Moreover, there is no offering of any promotional banners or links.
For me, I might refuse to work with such affiliate programs and will find another similar (and equally good) product.
Having a fully-fledged affiliate panel is important for any successful affiliate program.
Note: At times when a new product is launched, integrating affiliate programs can be a challenge for companies.
They will give you a unique link but can’t provide an affiliate dashboard. Sometimes it’s OK to make an exception & let the sales flow naturally.
The only thing that I wouldn’t do here is pro-actively promote the product. After all, I’m unsure if I’ll be getting paid for my efforts.
How To Select The Best Affiliate Product for Your Blog in Affiliate Marketing
To be a successful affiliate marketer, you need to pick and promote, the right product on your blog.
76% of newbie affiliate marketers fail to earn any money from affiliate marketing because they never pick the right product to promote.
Having success in affiliate marketing is not easy, but it’s also not that hard. You need to be persistent, consistent and have a proper marketing plan.
If you do these three things, you will be successful in affiliate marketing.
Some of the factors that define whether you succeed or fail are:
1. What affiliate products you are promoting?
2. What medium you are using to promote them?
3. How good is your sales funnel?
4. Are you targeting the right audience?
5. Do you have a plan or are you working on a ‘hit or miss’ strategy?
As I mentioned earlier, I use the “education method”. It’s time-consuming, but at the same it’s safe & the rewards are more consistent and stay consistent for longer periods.
Writing how-to guides & tutorials definitely helps in a promotion. It doesn’t matter if you are the creator or curator.
As long as you are ensuring that your target audience uses your affiliate links to purchase a product.
Soon, I will share the tricks that I personally follow to choose only the best products to promote.
Before we move ahead, let’s recap some things we have learned in earlier sections:
Affiliate marketplace: This is a marketplace where companies list their product(s) & as an affiliate, you can select which products you want to promote.
Here you will see all the stats like overall conversion rate of a product, how much the payout is, and other data-based details that help you pick the best products to promote.
Native/In-house Affiliate program: Many products have a native affiliate program. Recall the example of TubeBuddy in the first section of this guide;
That TubeBuddy program is an example of a native affiliate program.
Usually, it’s beneficial to join an affiliate program via an affiliate marketplace, as their tracking mechanisms are pretty strong.
You can also easily reach the minimum payout by promoting multiple products from the same marketplace.
By using a quality marketplace, you lower down the chances of being cheated.
Start with an Affiliate Marketplace
Note: Some of Major Affiliate Market Places are Ban is countries like Pakistan, North Korea, China and etc. But don’t worry you can still join them.
Pro Tip: If you are unable to join A market-place, then join the affiliate products “INDIVIDUALLY“.
Go and visit the product site which you want to promote on your blog and sign-up for an affiliate program.
Also, the best place to start hunting for affiliate products is in a marketplace (like ShareASale or Commission Junction).
Depending on your niche, you can find really good affiliate products to promote.
Most of these affiliate marketplaces have sections which show their most popular affiliate products.
On the next page you can see a screenshot from the ShareASale affiliate marketplace, which shows the top 100 hottest selling products:
Remember, every marketplace has a different set of features and layout structure.
Soon I will be launching a membership site where you can get your hands on videos for every popular affiliate marketplace.
For now, ShareASale is one affiliate marketplace that you should definitely join ASAP!
The Benefits of Affiliate Marketplaces
Affiliate Marketplaces have many benefits. Here’s a quick overview.
All the niches in one place:
One of the major problems we face as an affiliate is finding an affiliate program that aligns with our niche.
In any affiliate marketplace, you can find many affiliate programs in various categories & niches.
Easy to reach minimum payout:
When you sign-up for an affiliate program directly (in-house affiliate program), the biggest challenge is to reach the minimum payout.
In an affiliate marketplace, your minimum payout is the sum of all the affiliate programs that you are promoting.
For a beginner, it’s much easier to reach the minimum payout in a marketplace.
Fewer chances of affiliate sale frauds:
In the past, when I joined the affiliate program of a popular online company (HostGator) with their in-house affiliate software, it was a disaster.
I had no choice but to blog about it.
I wrote a blog post & also made a video on YouTube.
HostGator’s people didn’t like me making this information public, but eventually, they understood the problem & moved their program to ImpactRadius, which offers better tracking.
At times, direct affiliate programs cannot track sales due to improper configurations of their affiliate software, a new affiliate manager, or maybe some of them just don’t want to pay you.
With an affiliate marketplace, you don’t have to worry about this problem. Their tracking mechanisms are excellent & you will be paid for your hard (& not so hard) work.
Examples of Affiliate Marketplace: ShareaSale, Amazon, Commission Junction, etc.
If a product is not listed in the affiliate marketplace, you can directly search for that particular affiliate program. Let me explain you how:
Join affiliate programs individually
Most online products have their own in-house affiliate programs.
All you need to do is find the hottest selling products in your niche and find the opportunity to market these products.
For example, if you run a blog about dogs, you can try to find an affiliate program related to dog food or dog care.
To find these companies, you can simply use Google search with the following query:
“site:domain.com affiliate” or “(product name) + affiliate program + Country”.
WordPress (Product name) + Affiliate Program
Fashion (Niche) + Affiliate Program
Fashion (Niche) + Affiliate Program + Country
Site:Domain.com + Affiliate
You can see an example of one such Google search on the next page.
What is a “niche affiliate” product?
You must have noticed that I have used the phrase “niche product” multiple times in this guide so far.
Let’s dive deep into this: A niche affiliate product means a product based on your blog’s topics and your blog’s readers.
Suppose you run a blog about health (i.e. ‘the health niche’), you should be promoting a product related to health on your blog.
My advice to you is to select the best selling products in your niche and start writing about them. It will help you drive traffic and boost your conversion rates.
The difference between successful and failed affiliate campaigns are determined by conversion rates.
If you are getting 100 or so clicks on your affiliate campaign but a 0% or 1% conversion rate, you need to re-think your strategy.
One big mistake:
The most common mistake a newbie affiliate marketer makes is spending hours of time promoting a low-quality product.
With this approach, a marketer fails before even getting started.
Pro Tip: Don’t make this classic mistake!
What you can do instead is spend quality time learning about the product.
1. Test it out yourself or read reviews by experts or authority bloggers.
2. Review the previous products launched by the company.
3. Take time in finding the right product to promote. Don’t fall into the trap of marketers who will promise tons of money and ultimately don’t pay anything.
4. Pro Tip: Sign up for a free trial of the product if it’s available, or ask the product owner to give you a review/sample piece.
The latter technique is popular among fashion & gadget bloggers.
In a worst-case scenario, you can buy and use the product to come up with an educated review.
Note: 60% of my affiliate sales come from reviews & tutorials related to the product.
When you are signing up for any affiliate program, here are the features that you should pay attention to:
1. Available banners
2. Promotional materials
3. Affiliate control panel
4. Minimum payout
5. Payment method
6. Tax form requirements
Things to keep in mind:
1. Don’t limit yourself to a specific network or program
2. Some products may not have an affiliate program today, but it doesn’t mean they will not have one later.
This trick is perfect for anyone with an existing blog. You can read about it & watch the video here.
These things will help you to decide if you are ready to promote this product. Suppose you select a seasonal product, and its minimum payout is $1000.
Are you sure you are going to get that many conversions in an off-season?
Bonus Tip: Associating with famous brands will be an added advantage to your affiliate marketing campaign.
Top Affiliate Networks/Marketplaces
So now you understand the features and benefits of joining an affiliate marketplace. Let’s look at the best affiliate networks that you can join today & start making money.
These networks are placed in order of my personal preferences & the ones that are working out the best for me.
Some of them may have limited affiliate programs to promote but don’t discard any based on that criterion alone. The reason being:
you only need one great product to promote in order to earn thousands of dollars (..if not millions).
Some of Major Affiliate Market Places are Ban is countries like Pakistan, North Korea, China and etc. But don’t worry you can still join them.
Pro Tip: If you are unable to join A market-place, then join the affiliate products “INDIVIDUALLY“.
Go and visit the product site which you want to promote on your blog and sign-up for affiliate program.
If you have attended an affiliate summit or watched affiliate summit videos, you might already know about them.
This affiliate network was founded in 2000 & since then, it has paid out millions of dollars to their affiliates. They have a great list of affiliate programs for all types of niches.
Even though their interface is not as modern as others, you will have no problem understanding it.
ShareASale makes it easy for you to get started with affiliate marketing.
If you want to know how a company offers an affiliate program on ShareASale, you should read their marketing guide.
This will give you a kind of “backstage view” of the other side of affiliate marketing.
You can join the ShareASale program now & it usually takes 2-3 working days to get approval.
Note: ShareAsale Affiliate program is BAN in countries like PAKISTAN and etc.
CJ.com (Commission Junction)
CJ is one of the oldest & most popular affiliate marketplaces out there. You will find tons of affiliate products in all niche types.
I use (and have been using) CJ for a few selected affiliate programs for many years.
Amazon’s Affiliate Program
Note: Amazon Affiliate program is may-be BAN in countries like PAKISTAN and etc.
So if they want to join it, they can try by signing from another country via the help of friends or relatives.
Amazon has an affiliate program that you can join for free.
Since Amazon is a trusted place & they have tons of products from all niche types, the Amazon affiliate program can help you generate more than a decent income.
ClickBank is another very popular marketplace for affiliate marketers. Here you will find tons of offers which you can join & promote.
I will share more about ClickBank in a later section.
Find affiliate offers using the affiliate search engine.
You can use either of these two sites to find affiliate offers in any niche. They are like search engines for finding affiliate offers.
They are very useful when you are working on a new niche & looking for high converting offers. Affiliate marketplaces are the best places to start.
You can browse your niche in these marketplaces and see top-performing affiliate programs.
Alternatively, many niche-based forums are a great place to find new products to promote.
Pro Tip: You should keep an eye on blogs in your niche and see which product(s) they are promoting and what methods they are using for promotion.
Art of Promoting an Affiliate Product On Your Blog
One of these days you’re going to have to implement what you have learned & start promoting products.
Now, is the perfect time to get into action mode & learn the art of promoting a product on your blog.
Do remember, there are other ways of promotions (like PPC marketing, Email marketing, etc).
But for now, I will be focusing on promoting via blogs, and later on, you can use any other method to quadruple (new word!) your earnings.
At the end of this chapter, I will also be sharing one mistake which many innocent affiliate marketers are making & how to fix that mistake.
To start, let’s learn the art of affiliate product promotion using your own blog.
Review post in – (Affiliate Marketing)
Nothing beats a killer review post about a product to drive conversions via your affiliate link.
A review article introduces the product to your blog readers, and at the same time, your opinions and experiences will help them to understand why they should be buying it.
There are a few things that you should always remember when writing a review post for your affiliate product:
1. Reviews should be honest. Most of the time, people just focus on the pros of the product and ignore the cons. An honest review should show both the sides of the coin.
2. If you don’t like writing, you can always hire a good writer to do the writing work for you. At the same time, you can take care of all other aspects of your online business.
3. Don’t forget to add product images.
4. Write a review in a personal tone (first or second person). You will connect much faster with your audience. Remember, the person reading the review is only one person.
5. Again, pick a product that you are using or are likely to use for yourself.
6. Take advantage of star ratings in search engines to get a higher CTR for your reviews. You can use WP Review Pro to add star ratings on your blog posts. Your results in SERPs will look like the below image:
Blog post promotion
A good technique is to use affiliate links inside your blog posts and then promote those posts.
For this, you should always write highly targeted posts. For example, write an article in a way that a user will be searching for right before they make a decision to buy something.
Write posts based on a buying intent keyword. This will increase your sales by at least 200%.
Best [product name] (online)
Best [product name] site
Best [product name] website
Best + product type + in (current year).
Discount [product name] [Product name] coupon
[Product name] coupon code [Product name] discount
Buy [Product name]
Buy [Product name] online etc.
How-To Articles in Affiliate Marketing
If your product is technical or needs instructions to use it, you can write a tutorial guide on how to use it properly.
Such tutorials are not only handy, but it will also help you to improve your search engine ranking. “How-To” articles always perform great in search engines.
Use Coupon Codes in Affiliate Marketing
It’s no surprise that people want to save money. Offering your readers the opportunity to save money is one of the biggest marketing gimmicks ever created.
Coupons are almost the same as “free”. Whenever a customer is buying a product, and they see a coupon box, they search for “Product Name + coupon”.
I’m sure you’ve done the same. I do it all the time. When you offer these coupons.
You offer the customer the opportunity to save money while you earn your commission as an affiliate. Win-Win-Win!
Remember, your goal as an affiliate marketer is to make the customer click on the affiliate link or else the sale will not be counted as yours.
So if you offer a coupon, make sure users have to click on your link and don’t just list a coupon code.
If you’ve ever been on various coupon sites, they will always ask you to “Click to view coupon”, “Click to go to the merchant site”, and so on.
The reason for this is so that the potential customer drops the cookie with the marketer’s affiliate link, and hence earns a commission.
Use a WordPress Website & Trick to Increase Sales in Affiliate Marketing
When it comes to selecting a blogging platform, you shouldn’t look anywhere other than WordPress. This platform powers 25% of the websites in the world.
Do you know how many websites are in the world & how much 25% of that is? Yes…. millions!
One of the reasons WordPress is preferable for creating a blog, a coupon site, or a general website is because it lets you do amazing things with a couple clicks.
For example, I’m going to share with you one simple yet powerful trick to increase your sales from existing blog posts.
Whether it’s a review post or a coupon code post, your first goal is to get more views on these posts.
Apart from on-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you should give more visibility to such affiliate posts by placing it as a featured post (the first post on your homepage).
It is a very handy feature of WordPress. You can stick any blog post on your blog’s homepage.
In the Edit Post section, click on Visibility and put a checkmark on “Stick this post to the front page”.
I have tried this with a few pillar posts at blogglive, and it helped a lot to increase my reader base.
Use Banners on the Sidebar (with a clear call to action)
When you are getting targeted organic traffic to your blog, banner advertisements work great.
For me, a great part of my conversions come from banner clicks. Prominent banner placement and technique is the real key.
One of the classic mistakes that people usually do is add too many banners. This confuses the reader.
Follow this one rule of thumb:
Never place similar products’ banners on your sidebar:
Banner ads work as a recommended product, and with multiple similar products, you are confusing your readers as they now have to decide which product they want to buy.
A good idea is to place different related products in a niche.
For example, a WordPress tips blog can place banner ads for a theme, a plugin, and a hosting service together on the same sidebar.
If your blog is multi-niche, you should consider using the WP Advanced ads plugin for your ad management.
This plugin will help you to show ads based on category and/or geographical location. You can also run A/B testing of different banners.
Bonus Tip: When placing ads, link out to the website directly instead of to your review post.
One big mistake many affiliate marketers are making is they try to link an ad to their review post or another internal post.
This is wrong because a product landing page is always optimized for higher conversion.
Though, if the product landing page is not of high quality, you are better off educating users first with your review post.
How Google Treats Affiliate Links For Search Engine Ranking
One of the primary concerns of most affiliate marketers is dealing with affiliate links from an SEO perspective.
One major way to make sure your affiliate site grows and doesn’t get penalized due to affiliate links is by making sure you are adding value through your content.
An affiliate site should also be properly promoted and maintained like any other high-quality site.
To make sure Google doesn’t penalize me for using affiliate links, I need to take care of a few things.
As mentioned by Matt Cutts, Ex-head of Goggle’s spam division, in most cases, Google handles affiliate links without any issue.
As they know about the majority of affiliate networks.
But if you are still worried, you can add a no-follow link to your affiliate links.
How to Deal with Affiliate Links, SEO in WordPress
There are many free and paid affiliate plugins available. I have only played with a few of these WordPress affiliate plugins;
But luckily I stumbled onto one of the best ones – ThirstyAffiliates.
In ThirstyAffiliate’s settings, there is an option that lets you add a nofollow attribute to all links cloaked using this plugin.
This will help you to stop passing “link juice” to affiliate links.
Also, I suggest you add the ThirstyAffiliates URL trigger in your robots.txt file as “disallow”.
For example, my URL trigger for affiliate links are /recommended/ and in my WordPress robots.txt file, I have the following lines:
2. Disallow: /recommended/ This is to make sure Google doesn’t crawl such links, and your website is not penalized for any kind of affiliate linking penalty.
This is only a solution for those who use the ThirstyAffiliates WordPress plugin. For others, you should start adding the no-follow tag to such links.
For old posts, where you have used direct affiliate links, you can use the Link Status Pro Plugin to quickly add the “no-follow” attribute.
I suggest you use some kind of plugins like ThirstyAffiliates or another similar plugin to mask your affiliate links because default links look ugly and might lower your CTR.
(I have already explained to you the benefits of link cloaking in an earlier section, but it’s an important thing to remember.)
How You Can Effectively Increase Affiliate Sales
So how do you feel so far about these basic promotion tips? Some of the above ideas are unspoken secrets.
But there are many more which A-list bloggers like Darren Rowse, John Chow, and, at times, Pat Flynn uses for promoting a product.
What I’m going to share now will likely change your outlook towards making money from affiliate marketing.
Instead of looking at it as a quick money-making scheme, you will start seeing it as a way of “living the life”.
Affiliate marketing requires serious marketing and networking skills.
One way to earn money is by staying invisible (density-less websites) and drive traffic through PPC, searches, and banners in order to make sales through non-blogging ways.
Another (and in my opinion better) way is to create a blog, share useful information, earn people’s trust, and give them something that they can’t refuse.
This sounds simple, but the road to becoming a six-figure affiliate marketer is not easy.
However, in the process, you will learn many, many things, which will help make it simpler as you go along.
Here are some tips that you can use immediately to help increase your affiliate sales.
Build Up Your Reputation: Become An Authority in Affiliate Marketing
Your reputation will be one of the most useful tools in your mission to make money online.
It’s not that hard to conceptualize. It’s really just common sense.
If your audience trusts you and the material you give them, then it will be easier for them to trust the products you’re selling or leading them into.
If you don’t want to sell a product yourself, then you can just lead them to other sites, and simply make money by producing those leads.
But, again, be aware of how this will impact your reputation. Always be sure that you’re leading your readers to a reliable site.
Tell Your Audience What To Do Next
Remember that your readers are on your site because of your site, not because of the other sites that you are linking to.
Sometimes, even if you post a link here and there, you’ll gain nothing out of them. Your readers will leave and you won’t make money.
To effectively increase affiliate sales, you have to tell your audience what to do next.
A good way to attract your readers into an affiliate’s site is by slipping in the words “free” and “freebie” into your links.
Everyone (you and me both) loves freebies, and when your readers click on these intriguing links, your affiliate commissions will go through the roof.
Drive Targeted Traffic Using SEO & PPC
More traffic on your site will mean a better chance of selling more products with your affiliates.
It’s an accepted rule that if you want to make money online, you’ll have to target people. You have to build your site around the idea of attracting your target audience.
This is done by using keywords, creating quality content, and doing the right kind of marketing.
This will result in having your site visible in search engines for important keywords.
Even if you’re inexperienced with marketing affiliates, you’ll soon find out that more traffic will make it easier for you to make more money with your links.
I suggest you use WordPress for creating your next affiliate site. When you do, you can refer to this big list of the best WordPress plugins for SEO and optimize your site for better search engine ranking.
Base Your Actions Around Conversion Rates
When marketing affiliates, you will always have to upgrade consistently every week and, if possible, every day. You will need to base these actions around conversion rates.
For example, you have 300 visitors a day and only 3 of them click on your link or product.
That means you’ll have to change the way you market. Think from the customer’s point of view.
Ask these questions to yourself:
1. Does anything on my site make people want to click on a link or product? Branch off ideas from that.
2. Does anything on my site make people not want to buy the linked product? Remove and avoid these things.
These are some of the basic steps that you can follow, but I would suggest you do proper research about the product(s) that you are promoting.
Promoting a product in a hot, trending, and popular topic that people are buying instantly is usually a “go” for viral promotion.
Marketing affiliates is all about business strategy and engaging with your audience.
If you want to increase affiliate sales, you need to lead your audience into something that they will appreciate.
How To Start Using Affiliate Marketplace & Make Money
Bloggers & affiliate marketers can find and join affiliate programs.
Marketers who plan to launch an affiliate program, can join them & use their Welcome Kit & training webinars to educate themselves.
1. Merchants: Merchants are business owners who set up an affiliate program so that affiliates can join & drive more sales to their business in return for a fixed commission.
2. Affiliate Marketers: Users like me & you who join an affiliate program & promote it via a blog, PPC, or other methods.
3. Affiliate Software: This could be self-hosted or a service like ShareASale, ClickBank, or CJ where an affiliate program is hosted. In this case, ShareASale is the affiliate software.
4. Affiliate Marketplace: A marketplace where an affiliate can discover new opportunities & join an affiliate program.
Similarly, a business gets to expose their affiliate program to affiliate marketers.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the basic terminology, let’s learn how to use ShareASale’s affiliate marketplace.
Other Affiliate Marketplaces
ClickBank is one of the most popular affiliate marketplaces out there and a large hub for affiliate marketers.
Most of the premium WordPress affiliate program plugins are managed by ClickBank and you need to get the “hop link”.
JVZoo is another affiliate marketplace and is widely used by internet marketers. You will find some amazing WordPress products out there (plugins & themes), which you can easily promote.
Most of these products are launched by internet marketers so they know what we as bloggers require.
This means that the products are usually very useful.
Joining their program is easy and free.
1. Payout via PayPal
2. Lifetime cookies
Affiliate or AdSense: Which is Better?
So far you have learned the affiliate marketing basics, you have a glossary of affiliate marketing terms, and you know all the important elements of an affiliate program.
You also know where to go to get good affiliate products to promote and market. Now, if you are an experienced blogger that is already monetizing your blog with AdSense, you may be asking this question:
Should I continue using AdSense or remove it altogether?
I personally use both, because sometimes I write multi niche articles? There’s no right or wrong answer here. But there are a few important things to note.
Affiliate marketing is more rewarding than AdSense in terms of revenue & not loading up your site with un-moderated ads.
But the downside is it requires more effort. With AdSense, you simply place a code & all money-making from the blog is on auto-pilot.
With blog-based affiliate marketing, you need to churn out high-quality content on a regular basis along with constantly working on finding quality products within a reputable affiliate program.
These are like Infolinks (in-text ads) and may help to generate more money than AdSense. You can read more about them here.)
By not using Google AdSense, one can easily clean the clutter from his/her blog & make content more concise and readable.
At the same time, by using affiliate marketing, you end up earning more while keeping your readers happy.
Now, let’s have a detailed look at some of the reasons why & scenarios where affiliate marketing is better than AdSense.
In my personal opinion, AdSense is good only when you are running a multiniche blog.
But if there is a relevant product to your niche blog, affiliate marketing will be way more profitable.
Now, about my model:
I use affiliate marketing banners + AdSense + direct advertisements to monetize most of my blogs.
People have a common misconception that Google is against affiliate marketing. This is simply not true.
Google says it’s perfectly fine to keep the affiliate links, but it’s important to maintain the quality of the blog.
If you write sneaky and low-quality content and put 20 affiliate links into an article, this will surely affect your website’s search engine ranking.
Things to know- AdSense vs. Affiliate Marketing
1. It’s easier to get into an affiliate network than AdSense.
2. Affiliate marketing pays higher than AdSense.
3. Most affiliate companies offer PayPal as a payment method; o AdSense doesn’t.
4. You can find affiliate products for all niches, but AdSense is not allowed on certain niches.
5. AdSense gives recurring income while many affiliates only pay once.
6. Affiliate ads are more attractive whereas we don’t have any personal control over ads shown by AdSense.
It’s quite evident from the above points that affiliate marketing is more lucrative and beneficial than AdSense. But, again I would suggest you experiment with both.
With one affiliate sale, you could be making somewhere between $10-$300 depending on the product that you are promoting.
In my case, I can make a lot more money with affiliate marketing than with AdSense.
CPA Vs. Affiliate Marketing: The Beginner’s Guide To CPA Marketing
CPA is considered to be easier than affiliate marketing for one simple reason:
1. You get paid for sending a lead.
Once the traffic you send converts into a lead, it becomes the job of the particular network to convert that lead into a sale.
Whether or not that sale gets made, you will still be paid for the lead.
In CPA, you get paid for sending users who complete an action that could be as simple as getting a user to fill out a form or take any other desired action.
In affiliate marketing, you get paid when somebody makes a purchase.
In short, it’s much easier
Here are some more differences between CPA & affiliate marketing:
1. You get paid fast in a CPA network.
2. You are usually on your own in a CPA network.
In an affiliate network, you are assigned an affiliate manager who guides you towards the best offers & shares ways to help you make more money.
3. Once you are part of an affiliate network like ShareASale, ClickBank, or any other, you can quickly get affiliate links and start promoting.
With CPA, it takes a much longer time to become part of a network & you need to get approval for the CPA offer that you wish to promote.
FAQ about CPA: Should you use CPA or Affiliate Marketing?
One benefit of CPA is it usually converts well (because no direct sale needs to be made) & you can drive traffic from various sources.
At the same time, the downside of CPA in comparison to affiliate marketing is that (because no direct sale is being made) it pays less.
The rule of thumb to making an online income is:
1. Don’t limit yourself to one form of making money online.
For a beginner, it’s good to start with CPA as you might not have a blog or a consistent source of traffic.
With CPA, you can see immediate results as you will start seeing a few cents in your account when users take simple actions like submitting their email into a form.
Content is the king, just get started. Start Affiliate marketing as a part-time job. Once you got succeed then you can make it a full-time job. But initially, you can start it as a part-time job.