Affiliate Marketing
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Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Affiliate marketing is the action of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money with your blog.  Choose products that offer value to your readers.  It is easier to talk about a product you own or strongly believe in.

Don’t choose a product or affiliate network based on the money.  Good money won’t mean anything if promoting crap products, turns your readers off.

Look at cookie time, commission rate and conversion rates.  Be sure to read the terms of service.  You don’t want to do something to get kicked out of the affiliate program.  Contact the affiliate manager if you have questions.

Choose less than ten companies to promote affiliate products at first, so you don’t get overwhelmed trying to keep up with everything.  Pick a reputable company, you don’t want to sign up, promote products and then not get paid.

Be sure to add legal pages (privacy policy, terms & conditions, disclaimer, etc) to your blog.  Most affiliate programs require you to have legal pages.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires you to let people know you will earn a commission.  This is what I put at the top of each affiliate article and link it to my disclaimer:  

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, WHICH MEANS WE MAY RECEIVE A COMMISSION, AT NO COST TO YOU, IF YOU MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH A LINK.  PLEASE READ MY FULL DISCLAIMER FOR MORE INFO.

My Experience with Affiliate Marketing

Amazon is a good beginner affiliate program.  They have a lot of different products to promote.  Most people trust Amazon and already have their credit card on file with them.

Amazon gives you 180 days to make three qualified sales.  Sounds easy enough, but I didn’t make my three sales until the last 30 days of that 180 days.  I have heard that Amazon knows if the sales are from family and friends and it won’t count.  I don’t know if that is true, I of course ask family and friends to make a purchase out of desperation.  

Commission Junction (CJ) network has a lot of companies, like Barnes & Noble, Lowe’s, Office Depot, Priceline, J.Crew and Overstock.  

I haven’t made any sales with CJ.  After six months with no sales my account was deactivated.  I had to reactivate my account, but still no sales yet.

Impact Radius like CJ has a network of different companies, like Walmart, Best Buy, Adidas and Target.

Unfortunately I have been declined by the couple of stores I applied to through Radius Impact.  It seems my website doesn’t get as much traffic as they would like.

ClickBank is a little different, they offer lots of products you can promote as an affiliate.  Most of them are digital products.  You have to weed through the products, some are good, while others are not.

I have now branched out to promoting legal templates for your blog, web hosting companies, email providers and other courses or products for blogging.

Some other affiliate programs to consider include:  Awin, ShareASale, JVZoo and eBay Partner Network.

Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing

Once you have your niche picked and your blog setup find some products or companies you want to promote.  

Fill out an application and probably tax information, because you will want to get paid for any commission you earn.  Some companies pay through PayPal, others need your bank account..

In networks like CJ and Impact Radius each company will approve or decline your application individually.  I admit I have been declined more than I have been approved.  I don’t let it get to me, I just try to do my best for the ones that do approve me.

The merchant will provide you with an affiliate link to promote the product.  Some also offer images, banners, email swipes and lead pages to help you sell.

Writing product reviews is a good way to promote a product on your blog.  You can also do a “how to use” a product article.  Create valuable content that doesn’t sound like a sales page.

Then share those articles on social media and other places..  You need people to see and click on your affiliate links.  Another option is paid traffic, running advertisements.

A Resource Page on your blog is a great place to promote products you use and trust.

Bottom line…  Don’t give up!!!  It took me about eight months of blogging before I started to make a little money.  It takes time to see the big payouts and I can’t wait!

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