I went into my notifications and switched the toggle from ‘On’ to ‘Off’. When I first started affiliate marketing I loved seeing the sale notifications come through but after getting to 50 or more notifications each day I could no longer keep up. A good problem to have considering each notification meant more money coming in but a problem nonetheless.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make. — from SmartPassiveIncome
Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing
Getting started with affiliate marketing is easy. Think of a product that you have had great experiences with and Google the company that makes it. For example, if your cats love the cat tower that you got them for Christmas, go to Google and enter ‘Petsmart affiliate program’. If they have an affiliate program it will pop up.
Another way you can find out if a company has an affiliate program is to go to their website and check the bottom of their page. If they have an affiliate program it will often say ‘affiliate’ or ‘partner’ at the bottom. You can also search their page for the word ‘affiliate’ and read through their FAQ page.
Once you have determined the company has an affiliate program you can apply. Applying is simple and depending on the company you may be approved instantly or have to wait about a week to be approved and given access to your affiliate page.
After you are approved you will have access to a link that is specific to you and when you promote the product people can click on the link to buy through you (yay!).
The Details of Affiliate Marketing
Some companies will list their payout rate ahead of time but most won’t. If this is the case then make sure that after you apply you read through the details of the payouts for that merchant.
A few specific points you want to look for are:
Most merchants are pretty lenient about this but some are very specific. For example- you can’t use affiliate links in emails for Amazon products because it’s not easily accessible to the general population. Most companies have no problems with this though.
- Time Frame of Payout
Are payouts one week, two weeks, a month, per quarter (aka every three months)? I’m an affiliate for Siteground and they wait 30 days after someone purchases to make sure they use their hosting before payouts.
- Commission Specifics
This varies greatly and is part of the reason I’m not a big fan of Amazon. Everyone trusts them so you may make more sales but their payout percentage is generally 3-5% which is pennies on most products.
In general you will want to promote products from businesses or merchants who offer 10% or more for their products. Digital products are often the most lucrative because their payouts are often between 30-100% for some vendors.
You may be wondering how a company can afford to pay 100% commission on a product but companies make up their loss on the back end. Having the customer on their email list means they can sell them other products over and over again.
If the payout is less than 10% and the company only sells items that are $50 or less it probably won’t be worth your time to apply. However, that’s just a personal rule of thumb for me because if it’s a high ticket item (like furniture) and the payout is only 3% that means if someone buys a $2000 couch, you would get $60 so it would still be worth your time to promote them.
Niching Down in Affiliate Marketing
When I first started in affiliate marketing, I promoted everything. If they had a product and I liked it- I promoted it.
Don’t do this. In theory- it’s great but when you promote everything you’re not talking to your audience and you don’t position yourself as an expert in anything. In today’s world it’s better to be an expert in one thing than to promote everything.
Whatever it is, if you become known for promoting great products in that area then you will be seen as an expert and more trusted and trust equals sales. You can read more about niching down and finding your target audience here.
Using Your Affiliate Links
Once you have decided on what to promote you can start including your products in your content. The trick is to not make it seem like an ad. You want to show how the product helped you and how it can help your audience. Same with sending emails.
Share a funny or embarrassing story or a short story about how impressed you were with a product and people will want to try it out for themselves.
Stories sell more than ads ever will. Make sure to include your links when possible and to track them so you know where sales are coming from.
Tracking Your Links
Some affiliate companies will have a way to generate your affiliate link with a tracking code. However, if this isn’t possible I highly recommend that you use a tracking company like Clickmagick.
Clickmagick will let you see where people are clicking from. At the beginning people will only view the products you suggest from your email but, as time goes on, you will have people clicking your links from multiple different avenues. Tiktoks, emails, Instagrams- the clicks can come from anywhere.
The best way to grow and optimize in affiliate marketing is to know where your audience is coming from. This allows you to see what your audience likes and to create more of that content. If one link is being clicked 2% of the time but another link is being clicked 3% of the time you want to know why one link is outperforming the other by 33%.
Finding Higher Paying Companies and Merchants
Another way to look for affiliates is to sign up through an affiliate network and look for companies that sell the products you plan to promote. This comes with pros and cons though.
The pro is that they may pay more. The con is that they’re not as trusted. This means you need to verify with them by buying from them first. Use their website, make sure your product comes in a timely fashion, even contact their customer service to make sure they’re responsive.
I tend to look for products made in the US right now only because with COVID you never know what kind of restrictions may come our way from with shipping and other countries.
To look for different merchants, sign up for an affiliate network then simply search. There are several affiliate networks to choose from including:
- CJ Affiliates
- Flex Offers
This is an example using Shareasale and searching for the term ‘pet’.
Over 700 merchants come up and the most popular come up first. I tend to stick with merchants with high ratings because that means they have more sales and tend to be more established. You can also see how their payout amounts.
Once you’re more comfortable with affiliate marketing you can research the other companies. There’s nothing wrong with promoting products from different companies in a compare-contrast email or content with your followers.
As you can see, affiliate marketing can be a great way to increase your income- just be genuine.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to drop a question below.