It’s 2020. And we are all about that passive income life. It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
Becoming an affiliate is one such method of obtaining that much-acclaimed passive income. But there are so many options, and it can be a minefield navigating your way to success in this field. Did you know that affiliate marketing counts for 15% of all income from online content? There is a serious amount of money to be made in affiliate marketing, and IO Scout wants to show you how.
What is an Affiliate Link?
An affiliate link is a custom-made URL that is utilized by directing your followers either to a specific item for sale, or a service you have to offer. Your own personal affiliate link can be applied throughout content online, wherever you like. When your audience goes ahead and selects to click on your personal affiliate link, kerching! You get a nice kickback commission from the sale. This is with no fee to either yourself, or the clicker on the link. Lovely job.
Behind the scenes of the clicking on your affiliate link, there are measurements that monitor how many clicks on your affiliate link you are receiving, as well as the number of sales, and total kickbacks. As well as the personalized URL, your affiliate link contains a cookie. This said cookie is integrated into the computer of your buyer, documents their activities, and then rewards your affiliate link account with commission if the buyer goes ahead and makes the purchase your affiliate link is related to within a certain time frame. This is usually between thirty and ninety days.
Get your Affiliate Links
Before any of this can happen, however, you need to get your affiliate link in the first place. Here’s how.
Register with an affiliate program, like:
It’s always a good idea to do some thorough research into which affiliate program you should go ahead and register with. Check out the offered merchants, the kickback percentage amounts, and their own terms and conditions.
Consider your relevant keywords next. Namely, the cost per click of said keywords to keep an eye on the current competition. To find an affiliate partner that will work well with you:
- Consider affiliate programs with niches that are relevant yearly, not seasonally. This increases your chances of a passive, steady income.
- Discover all you can about the affiliate program to ensure you understand their products and services, prices and partner tags, as well and their general business ethos.
- Check out the products you want to be affiliated with – by reviews, and social media
- Make sure the commission basis is one which corresponds with how you wish to be paid for your affiliation with them.
- Methods that the affiliate company are happy for you to use to promote your affiliate links.
- The kickback that they are offering to you for becoming an affiliate for them.
Affiliate Programs to consider working with:
- Amazon Associates: Amazon-branded items and services, amongst others
- PeerFly: CPA offerings
- Travelpayouts: Covering the travel niche, this program includes travel services, hotels, car rentals, transfers, flights, insurances etc
- ClickBank: Suitable for digital information items
- CPAmatica: Covering the health & beauty niche, mobile, and dating to name but a few
- Payolee Partners: Online payment portal with an impressive share of 55% commission!
- Wide Markets Limited: Covering e-commerce solutions such as fashion, e-tickets, e-stores, media, leisure, and education
- Rakuten.com: E-commerce functioning with in excess of 90,000 items
Follow the procedure steps in your chosen affiliate program. Once this step is complete, you can navigate to the dashboard of your affiliate program, and obtain your affiliate links. Yay.
Choose which promoters you would like to add to your own website – you have the option of links via text, and also advert banners from the promoters themselves. Once you have chosen, your affiliate links will automatically be updated, and you can start to earn yourself some nice commission.
To decide on which affiliate program to be associated with, you can consider the niche you want to be involved with. The simplistic version of how affiliated links work with programs goes like this:
- Choose your platform
- Select your niche
- Join affiliate program
- Generate valuable online content
- Navigate lots of users to your affiliate site
- Encourage said users to go ahead and click on your affiliate links
- Ta-da! Convert those lovely clicks to lovely sales
How do you add Affiliate Links to your website?
It’s simply a case of copy and paste the old HTML into your website, or indeed, your blog articles (or both!) There are programs and plugins online like ThirstyAffiliates who will tidy up your affiliate links, and make them more presentable on your website. Now you’re done and dusted with adding your affiliate links to your website, it’s time to start tracking!
Tracking your Affiliate Links
Navigate back to your affiliate program dashboard for this. Go ahead and see the statistics your affiliate links have generated thus far. For absolute optimization of your affiliate links, you’re going to want to learn how to promote them, not just sticking one on your website and hoping for the best. Similar to creating your first website, you don’t just make it live and leave it.
How much money can affiliate links earn?
How long is a piece of string, this question, this one! It’s a possibility that earnings can be made from affiliate links of around $1k a year for approximately twenty to forty hours working on your affiliate links on a monthly basis.
Marketing is a constantly evolving beast, and requires constant monitoring to ensure success. Same with your affiliate links. You’re building up your audience with your affiliate links, not dissimilar to building a brand identity online. Now let’s delve into the ways you can use your brand-new affiliate links, and where they are best placed for maximum effect – and money!
Kicking us off with the simplest, and natural, genuine way to include affiliate links, is your blog posts.
It’s very easy to go ahead and add your affiliate links to your blog posts, and, with all best affiliate links, it’s a relevant way to do so, and doesn’t come across as forced or irrelevant.
If your own blog is one in which you offer your expert opinions on certain topics, you will hopefully already have a loyal band of followers who value your opinions. When you add your affiliate links to this already valuable piece of content, your audience should respond accordingly. Your already trusted audience are invested in your brand and content, and therefore will follow your suggestions on whichever affiliate link you are promoting at the time to enrich their lives further.
You can use native ads (adverts that blend into the background of the platform they are seen on) in your blog posts. Latest research shows that users view native ads 53% more often than traditional ads. And people much prefer the concept of not being directly sold to in a forceful manner. The key to this type of marketing is to ensure your users are enjoying the content they are viewing, including the ads and affiliate links.
Comments on Blogs
It’s easy enough to reply to comments on your blogs with a relevant affiliate link. But ensure it is relevant, and doesn’t feel too much like a hard sell. The key is to help your audience, not sell to them. So as long as your comments with affiliate links follow these guidelines, you are good to go.
Your Subscribers (or email list)
This is already a nicely warmed up, engaged, trusted audience. These users have subscribed to receive information from you because you have already built a reputable relationship with them. So this is one of the best areas to include your affiliate links, as these are users that are already engaged with what you have to offer. A nice way to include affiliate links with your email subscribers is to send a well-worded welcome email to your new subscribers, and peppering a few affiliate links if relevant (but don’t spam them!)
Back to your website for this one. If your website includes a resources section, this is an organic area in which to place your affiliate links. Prove that you are the authority in your chosen field by offering your consumers valuable advice. A key tip here is to list your tried and tested resources with your affiliate links, being honest about using them, and how they have benefited your life thus far (indicating that these products will do the same for your readers, too!) If your website features digital products, such as eBooks and downloads, your affiliate links can make their new home here, too.
Bear in mind that for maximum effect, your website should be capturing your visitors’ email addresses, whether that be by contact form, pop-up, subscribe button, etc.
Everybody loves a competition, and the chance to win big prizes. A competition on your website is a fantastic method of increasing customer engagement, and by slipping in your affiliate links in there too, you’ll hopefully make a nice bit of passive income from this method.
Podcasts are exponentially growing. Be sure to include your affiliate links in an organic way embedded within your podcasts, and you may well have a whole new untapped audience to promote your affiliate links to. Users who regularly listen in to podcasts are aware of adverts during their listening time, and indeed expect them, so affiliate links placed in this medium can work really well indeed.
Videos are an exceptional marketing avenue, and YouTube is where its at. Becoming an affiliate marketer means you can incorporate your own affiliate links into your video content. The three ways to do this are to visually - and contextually add your affiliate links, by speaking the affiliate links out loud during your video content, and adding it to the video description for SEO purposes, too. This should be in addition to YouTube annotations, which are selected pop-ups during the course of the video, prompting a handy call to action.
Another way of interacting with users on YouTube is by commenting on other videos. Again, make sure this is done in a non-spammy way, and comes across as helpful to the other users. If you perceive your affiliate links to be of help to the YouTube user, then go ahead and add it to the comments, if appropriate, and relevant.
Webinars are a terrific way of generating more user engagement, and reaching out to a wider audience online. Its brilliant for providing education for your audience, and being able to promote your affiliate links on this platform.
Facebook Business Page
Get your affiliate link on your Facebook Business page for maximum exposure. Affiliate links can also be utilised on your Facebook personal page, too. Your own community of family and mates are easy enough to get on board with sharing your affiliate links!
If your Facebook Business page hasn’t been up for very long, or you don’t have much of an established brand online yet, then this route can take some time. Use Facebook Ads to navigate Facebook users to your Facebook Business Page, increasing the visibility of your page. Don’t forget to share your affiliate links within the bio of your page.
Share your affiliate links within your community Facebook Group, and encourage interaction with your members. This can be done by the way of offering up advice to your members, and naturally include your affiliate links. Another way of getting your affiliate links out there is to join other Facebook groups.
If an Instagram account doesn’t exist yet for your business, then go ahead and create one. Over time, you’ll enjoy a lot of exposure and attention with your Instagram business page by posting visually-rich images. Your bio on Instagram should include your affiliate links, also. A good tip is when you reach the maximum 10,000 followers on Instagram, you’ll be rewarded by being able to include your affiliate link within your Instagram story which is extremely clickable.
Leverage the power of Twitter to your advantage! Approximately every second on Twitter, there are around 6 thousand Tweets...this is an insane statistic, and definitely one to get involved with, as the potential reach is phenomenal on this social media platform.
A good plan is to use your business Twitter account to follow like-minded industries and people, and start using relevant hashtags. Use your affiliate links in your Twitter profile bio, and Tweets where appropriate. Due to the limitations of characters for Tweets, consider navigating your affiliate linkers to your website, or website landing page for more information.
Another social media platform to leverage power from, and to. Not dissimilar to Instagram, Pinterest works on a visual basis. One idea is to add pins and boards surrounding a certain item or product or service. One example would be to create a board on Pinterest about fitness equipment if you are an affiliate marketer for a fitness equipment business. You could then go ahead and add lots of related content surrounding fitness, and drop in your affiliate links. A very natural progression, and one in which your audience will be able to relate to, and get on board with.
Website Reviews of your Affiliates
Another method of distributing your affiliate links is through creating reviews. Create reviews which are unbiased and effective about the products you are affiliated with. Utilise relevant keywords, and ensure you have your end reader in mind when creating headers for your reviews (what topics people are searching for online). You can include the data that these users would be interested in, such as:
- Advantages and Disadvantages of the product
- How to get hold of the product
- How to use the product
- How to set up the product
- All the features of the product
- Case studies of others who have also used the product
- Any hints for success you may have regarding the product
Following on from adding your affiliate links to your blogs by way of text, you can also include affiliate banners on your website. Some places you can add affiliate banners are:
- Your blog sidebar
- Your website header
- Your website footer
- Throughout your blog copy
- Email marketing missives
- Newsletters that you may publish
Just double check that the affiliate program with which you are registered provide links in the way of banners, and then it’s a case of copying and pasting the HTML code accordingly.
This method works well if you don’t currently have your own blog. Use this method to network in your industry, and promote your affiliate links in new places to untapped markets. When you are blogging as a guest on someone else’s blog, this is your golden opportunity to offer helpful advice to a new audience, and share valuable content with them. Try out lesser following blogs in the beginning, as chances are, they will bite your hand off if you offer out your services to be a guest blogger!
For classified ads, they don’t come much bigger than Craigslist. Millions of users navigate their way to Craigslist for all the products and services they could ever need. No direct affiliate linkage on Craigslist however, what you must do is create a landing page to direct users to, and from there add your affiliate links. This is a great free method for sharing your affiliate links to a worldwide audience.
This type of online content has the clue in its name. Evergreen content sticks around on the world wide web for a looooong time. SEO-friendly, and optimized to the max, this is the kind of content that comes up in SERPs time and time again. Its valuable content keeps it to the top of Google, as it answers users’ questions and concerns in a timely, accurate manner.
Common instances of Evergreen Content contain:
- Original Research
- Case Studies
- How-to-guides for Novices
- Resource Lists
- Top Free and Paid Tools List
- Professional Reviews
Gaining in popularity all the time, infographics are an easily consumed piece of online content. Infographics bring together information, facts, stats, and other relevant data, in a way that users can easily see and understand. The best place for your affiliate link is towards the bottom of the infographic that you have created, for easy searchability.
A landing page that is thoroughly thought out and strategized is an excellent place for your affiliate links. A great landing page will enjoy low bounce rates, as it answers customers’ questions thoroughly. The simplicity of a successful landing page includes only one prevalent call-to-action = your affiliate link. Keeping it this simple encourages users to navigate to this call-to-action, as they are not distracted by anything else on the landing page.
More of an interface for working professionals, LinkedIn Groups are used to network with likeminded business-people, and create successful working relationships. With this in mind, joining groups that are in your industry may well lead to established connections – connections which are happy to hear all about your affiliate links!
Your affiliate link on your LinkedIn profile can appear in your LinkedIn bio, right at the top, in plain sight. Whenever anyone browses your LinkedIn profile, they will see your affiliate link.
Creating online courses is prevalent right now. So by creating your own online courses, in your own particular knowledge niche, you have a captive audience for your affiliate links scattered throughout your courses.
No spam on this platform! You’ll be kicked off Reddit in a flash if you try and spam your affiliate link all over the place here. Again, you’ll want to utilize your landing page to direct users to, which then contains your affiliate link, rather than posting your affiliate link within Reddit. This is a great platform for offering valuable advice and content to your users.
As an alternative to YouTube (and there’s nothing to say you can’t use both platforms simultaneously!), Vimeo enjoys approximately 70 MILLION users on their platform. Embedding tools are offered to you to really make the most of liberally sprinkling your affiliate link throughout the site.
Say you created your own online event, and then went ahead and invited lots of people to it. Using different platforms to get your online event out there can be used to your advantage, bringing lots of different folk together from lots of different places. Your affiliate link can be placed in any of the chat features of your online event.
Advertising via Social Media
We have touched on this topic a little, but to clarify – your affiliate link cannot be used directly in ads on Facebook, or some of the other social media platforms. Once again your trusty landing page can be used for this – to navigate your interested parties to.
Three Ways to be Effective with your Affiliate Links
To keep achieving success with your affiliate links, here are some tips worth considering:
- Affiliate Link Cloaking
You can take advantage of online cloaking tools to make your affiliate links shorter. A bit like bitly.com for website URLs. A lot of these online cloaking tools are plug-ins that can be directly run through WordPress, which makes them easily manageable within the platform. Cloaked affiliate links appear more professional and expert too, than a very long-winded affiliate link! This all helps with your brand identity.
- Many Affiliate Products
The world is your oyster when it comes to affiliate links. And if you are affiliated with a program such as health and fitness, there is literally no end to the number of products you can attach your affiliate link to. A word of caution, however, don’t go too wild with dropping your affiliate links all over the place, and certainly don’t post them in irrelevant places, as this will do your brand no good at all.
Always consider how your intended audience will respond and interact with your affiliate links. If the answer is, not good, then don’t do it. Your aim overall is to be consistently relevant, and helpful, and answer your users’ questions. So then when you drop in your affiliate links, they come from a recognized, trusted source, and people don’t feel like they are being hounded by advertising.
Your Affiliate Link Strategy
Your strategy very much depends on the products or services you are promoting, and are affiliated with.
Think about the following when planning your affiliate link strategy:
- Is the product a one-off buy?
- Is the product susceptible to a monthly fee?
- Does the product have a high value, or a low value?
And bear in mind:
- Do you think your methodology is susceptible to creating sales of the product or service?
- Do you think your methodology is likely to encourage users to register their details for a recurring service?
Chances are, the pricier and more complicated it is to be involved with the product or service, the more strategic you will need to be. Match your strategy for affiliate links to the services and products you are affiliated with. Its important to include your affiliate links in many places, but avoid saturation of your affiliate links. All of the links you promote should have some significance, or reason, behind adding them to your online content.
You can use the services of Google Analytics to measure how successful your affiliate link strategies are, and tweak your strategies accordingly. See the places that are working as most often frequented, and consider implementing your affiliate links there.
Affiliate Links – Completed it, mate
Hopefully this article has provided you with lots of different opportunities in which to distribute and promote your affiliate links. Our suggestion is to experiment with many different avenues, not just sticking to one, and see the results. You will find quite quickly that some platforms will earn you more kickbacks from your affiliate links than others, which will be dependent on the type of item you are trying to promote, along with the type of audience, too.
The absolute vital ingredient with successful and lucrative affiliate links is to encourage trust. Only then can you start to earn that lovely passive stream of income from monetizing your online activities. Unleash your creativity, and start thinking of new ways to include your affiliate links online, and on social media. The sky really is the limit.
The user-first principle is only getting much stronger as time goes on. Tap into what your customers are thinking, and therefore, wanting, and you’ll be much better positioned to understand where your affiliate links are best to be placed. Elevate that customer experience and enjoyment by providing answers to their questions, in a really natural way.
If your audience trusts you, and your brand, you will have untapped success with your affiliate links. Good luck with your affiliate link strategies, and hopefully you will be in receipt of lots of lovely commission from your affiliate program and products.