The idea behind the book is to build a lifestyle business by using the right strategies. You'll learn how to identify the parts in your business that generate the most results, automate almost every aspect of your business, and how to outsource almost every task. It will give you a unique perspective on how to approach your online business by working smarter, not harder.
The Wirecutter is the best example of an affiliate site that I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t even put it in the same category as what you’d think of as an affiliate site, aside from how they make their money. Brian Lam’s a great example of someone who sticks to a principle and then grinds it out to the nth degree. Can’t say how many times I’ve used that site (and TheSweethome) for product reviews.
Have a plan — As an affiliate, you aren’t entirely responsible for the sales of this company, but you are responsible for the success of your affiliation with that company. If you want to do well, prepare. Have a professional-grade website. One consumers trust with their contact information. Have a strategy for the content you produce and how you promote posts or products.
Great stuff here Sean – thanks for all of these insights and sharing some best practices when it comes to affiliate marketing. I’ve never been comfortable giving it a shot, but after reading this post and your perspective on how and when to do it, I may just have to give it a try. Especially considering I’m already mentioning and recommending services and products on my site, I’m just not getting the potential rewards associated with doing so. Thanks again.
Good article! I think there are a lot of hopeful “wannabes” who want to get everything without doing the work. You don’t have to have 10+ years of experience or be the all-knowing guru at the top of the mountain, but you do have to be willing to invest in the effort that is required to be successful. However, I have made good headway into a number of niches by going against the grain. If they say you should post a lot on your current activity, I don’t. I tell my audience why I don’t, I make sure that they understand that I am different. Sometimes, however, to establish trust and rapport with your audience, you do need to offer some kinds of proof or authority. Its very difficult to fake these and its better if you know something about what you’re doing. Once you have more experience, it becomes easier to enter a niche and position yourself as an expert. It’s funny but you tend to get smarter and absorb more information as you move up in the internet marketing world. Thanks for the great information!
While these models have diminished in mature e-commerce and online advertising markets they are still prevalent in some more nascent industries. China is one example where Affiliate Marketing does not overtly resemble the same model in the West. With many affiliates being paid a flat "Cost Per Day" with some networks offering Cost Per Click or CPM.
Affiliate networks have a lot to offer merchants. Take, for example, the concept of a placement marketplace. This is a sort of platform that exists for both merchants and affiliates, helping them find each other. An affiliate program can automate processes such as posting opportunities, finding affiliates, tracking their sales, and paying for clicks and leads. This ensures busy merchants and vendors don’t stiff affiliates or make mistakes on their paychecks.
Once you do move forward, don't resort to simply throwing up a handful of banner ads and call it good. All successful content-driven affiliates will tell you that deep integration of your marketing into your content is the most successful strategy, most of which can be accomplished by looking for affiliate tools outside of the quintessential and tired banner ad.
Always disclose your affiliate relationship. Most visitors will probably understand that graphic ads will lead to your getting paid, but if you write a review or use an in-text link as a recommendation, you want your readers to know that may lead to compensation as well. This ensures you retain transparency and trust with your readers, but also, it's required by the FTC's endorsement rules.
Previously known as Affiliate Window but now officially referred to as “AWIN” after acquiring Zanox a few years ago, this network claims to work with over 13,000 active advertisers and 100,000 publishers (affiliates). Founded in Germany, AWIN’s merchants primarily hail from Europe (especially Great Britain) although the U.S. network is growing rapidly. AWIN is currently active in 11 countries.
When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products. For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won't allow email marketing.
Do you know who those guys are that own those hosting review sites that ranking for “best host” etc? I think Pat Flynn is one of them. I am very curious as to how guys who are on the first page for those keywords got to that level. I looked at all the sites on the first page and these guys are so elite they aren’t even using Thrive or normal themes but it’s pretty much all custom. I am guessing these guys mastered “Amazon authority sites” or niche first before moving into the hosting niche? It seems to me to be one of the most competitive niches online with super high KD (some keywords have KD 70 etc in ahrefs) plus these hosting programs payout like crazy.
ive been thinking about this affiliate website thing for quite some time. those gurus make it sound so easy till i started researching reading up a bit here and there. all these things which needs to be done... blogging, pillowing, backlinking, wordpress, finding niches etc etc... the physically doing it on the pc, and finding content and pics and vids etc is whats stressing me out. at the moment im so confused !! haha i read that its best if you decide on a niche on which you have allot of knowledge, like a hobby etc. i dont have hobbies due to working away from home, and i build substations for a living. i cant think of a niche involving substations. are there videos somewhere which nicely shows exactly where to click what while building the website and doing the blogging, pillowing, backlinking etc? and honestly, with all the websites on the net allready, does new websites have a chance in 2014 to make some money?
We are dedicated to providing the tools and information that are needed to become an affiliate marketer while simplifying the process and speaking in terms everyone can understand. Money is never the top priority; building relationships and trust are two of the most important aspects of any marketing campaign. Without the consumers and the companies that make these products, there would be nothing to market. Nothing to promote. Our goal is to accelerate an affiliate marketer’s success and enable them to see the positive and rewarding results that can come from a career in online marketing.
What do you think you could honestly sell customers in the hopes that it would improve their day-to-day? For example, maybe you renovate homes and are always looking for the highest-quality paints or most eco-friendly cleaning solutions for bathrooms and kitchens. If you’re already knowledgeable about a market and have interest in it, that’s a great place to start.
LinkConnector imposes a very rigorous and lengthy screening process, so you’ll need to prove that you have a high-quality website and established audience before being accepted. Despite its somewhat schizophrenic approach, LinkConnector does have some very happy long-term affiliates. And their “naked links” allow for direct connection to the merchant website without having to be rerouted via LinkConnector, which will give your website an SEO boost.
Although it differs from spyware, adware often uses the same methods and technologies. Merchants initially were uninformed about adware, what impact it had, and how it could damage their brands. Affiliate marketers became aware of the issue much more quickly, especially because they noticed that adware often overwrites tracking cookies, thus resulting in a decline of commissions. Affiliates not employing adware felt that it was stealing commission from them. Adware often has no valuable purpose and rarely provides any useful content to the user, who is typically unaware that such software is installed on his/her computer.
LabradorTrainingHQ.com is a site that I came across when doing some competitive research for Perrin's affiliate site. They compete for some of the same keywords, and it appears that they are monetized by the same methods (Amazon Affiliates and an Affiliate Program with Chewy.com). This site gets more traffic than HerePup.com, but it's still another example of a smaller website doing very well. This is a WordPress site, with a generic template/theme and (there are free themes that look just as good) it's more in the form of a Blog than an actual media property.
He put only very little effort on building this site but it makes him thousands of dollars every year “on autopilot” (=passive income). I think creating this site took only like a few workweeks in total. We can certainly say it was success. You can take a look at the process how Jay built the site on Wealthy Affiliate live training archive. (I’ll leave a link below.)
It can be published as a book, and other people have already suggested what to include into ‘part 2’. As someone who has been asked by other people wanting to promote my products/serviced, I’d love to read about the merchant’s side of AM, e.g. various software that can be used, how to choose affiliate partners, what to include in the agreement, etc.
Once you've protected your prospecting pool, maximize your affiliate program by working with the best and leaving the rest. As the old 80/20 adage implies, most of your revenue will come from a very small percentage of your affiliates. Because it can be time-consuming to manage a larger affiliate network, consider selecting only a few companies initially, and interview them before signing them on. Affiliates are an extension of your sales force and represent your online brand, so choose partners carefully.
Good point about reviewing online courses before you promote them to protect your reputation. However, I would like to point out that the level of attention the course creator gives you (the endorser) and what they give to a random customer might be very different. There are so called marketing gurus out there who are extremely skilled at making false promises and not delivering on them. Once they have the endorsement of a few reputed marketers and some ‘lucky’ customers, they can easily get away with ripping other people off with hyped up money making guarantees. I have had a personal experience with this as a customer, but lets not mention names! The point is, when we are promoting someone, we need to do an in-depth due diligence. Only going through their course is not enough. It would be great if there was some kind of a course review site -something like tripadvisor. This is something that the industry really needs – something to make people accountable. A lot of people are losing faith in these online courses. I am staying away from promoting people unless I am very certain of their integrity.
It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales.
Among those sites, I still found 50em.com to be one of the most superficial ones. As some would say, working as an affiliate is similar to that of an employee, in that if the company discontinues the products, or stop the affiliate programs, the money would stop coming in as well. The hypertarget focus of 50em.com is well appreciated and a great lesson though.
I was able to make my first online dollars through Amazon Affiliate sales… It was never much and in the beginning I was just excited to make $10 in a month, which was enough for a free ebook or two. With regular updates and link inclusions in my posts over time I was able to grow the number up to like $300 a month–which I was pretty happy with. Of course the payout rates are paltry compared to a sale of an info product like one from Unconventional Guides, etc. Thing is, people seem to be more open to purchasing physical products rather than information products…
TheAthleticBuild.com is a website that's covers a number of different fitness topics. It's probably safe to say that most of their content is geared towards men, and most of their revenue comes from either Amazon or their affiliate programs. Based on the looks of the site, they have a few supplement reviews that are probably affiliate programs where they get paid a portion of each sale that a buyer makes. Some of these affiliate programs have higher returns than other programs, but there are some right vs. wrong decisions you'll have to work through yourself if you are endorsing certain types of nutritional products, especially if you don't take them yourself.
My domain currently has a DA of 55 and I get 250,000-300,000+ pageviews/month. Interestingly enough, I had similar earnings on Amazon when I had a lower DA and fewer pageviews (just 175,000). I don’t know how many pageviews all of my Amazon posts have, but the main ones that deliver nice income probably vary from around 1,000 – 6,000 pageviews per month each. It looks like it’s mainly 10 articles driving these sales.
Merchants receiving a large percentage of their revenue from the affiliate channel can become reliant on their affiliate partners. This can lead to affiliate marketers leveraging their important status to receive higher commissions and better deals with their advertisers. Whether it’s CPA, CPL, or CPC commission structures, there are a lot of high paying affiliate programs and affiliate marketers are in the driver’s seat.
Because the site is ranking #1 in Google for this (and probably ranks very well for other related terms), they are probably making great money. This is probably easily a $100 to $200 a day website. That's right, I would not be surprised if this site was pulling in $3k to $6k or more each month. In fact it could be more, but its hard to guess without knowing all the traffic they are receiving.