Since the emergence of affiliate marketing, there has been little control over affiliate activity. Unscrupulous affiliates have used spam, false advertising, forced clicks (to get tracking cookies set on users' computers), adware, and other methods to drive traffic to their sponsors. Although many affiliate programs have terms of service that contain rules against spam, this marketing method has historically proven to attract abuse from spammers.
Affiliate marketing involves a long-term strategy, so it’s important to have consistency and credibility. Do not sign up for too many affiliate programs. Promoting too many products may cause your audience to doubt your authority. When you include affiliate links to certain products in a post, tell your audience the reason for recommending them and don’t forget to track your links. You should be able to see what links have the most hits and which one don’t. This will let you know what your audience is most interested in.
Carolanne Mangles is the Digital Marketing Executive for Business Memberships at Smart Insights. She has worked on numerous channels across the full customer lifecycle including, search engine marketing, social media, email engagement sequences, CRO and planned and managed fully integrated campaigns to boost new customer acquisition and current membership retention. She has also spoken on search engine marketing and content marketing at the B2B Expo in London where she gave masterclasses on Transforming Social Media and Transforming Search Marketing. When she’s not in the office you’ll find walking her dog to tire him out so she can enjoy a big glass of red wine. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.

Don’t exhaust all the information about the product with your link. Offer enough information to your readers so they know what the link is, but I don’t recommend giving too much detail on your own site for a two reasons. First, product information, like price, often changes. If you mention the price on your site and someone clicks over and finds a different price, it’s confusing. Second, many times, the product details and features are better explained by the makers of the product. It’s best to stick to your own experience on your site.

The moment you step into the world of affiliate marketing, the key skill needed to make you succeed is expertise in digital marketing. While it may take some time for you to figure out whether email marketing works for you, or is it SEO, it is a good idea to begin by knowing all fields of digital marketing and then deep diving into one particular subject. You will learn about topics including Facebook Marketing, Twitter Advertising, Quora Marketing, Google Adwords, Google Analytics and even EMail Marketing, SEO Fundamentals as well as WordPress. The lectures will show you how to define your audience, create your unique selling proposition, perform market research, drive traffic from all major marketing channels and build a world-class WordPress website.


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. 
The problem with affiliate marketing, like many other home business options, are the so-called gurus and get-rich-quick programs that suggest affiliate marketing can be done fast and with little effort. Odds are you've read claims of affiliate marketing programs that say you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month doing almost nothing ("Three clicks to rich!"). Or, they suggest you can set up your affiliate site, and then forget it, except to check your bank deposits.
Mistake #2: Using the “They must not be my people” excuse to be spammy. I’m not a fan of this common tactic. Here’s how it works: people send a huge number of sales/promotional emails to their list with no warning and with no easy way to opt out. When people complain or unsubscribe, they put it on their subscribers (“Oh well, they aren’t my type of subscriber anyway…”), instead of taking responsibility for the spam (let’s call it what it is). What ever happened to “treat others the way you want to be treated”?

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of marketing publisher and learning platform Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ digital marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. To learn about my books, see my personal site Digital marketing books by Dr. Dave Chaffey. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.
In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent[18] on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.[13]

So whenever you mention a product or a brand, add outbound links to where people can find them. Language is important to, the difference in conversions between the phrases “click here” and “buy here” is 60% in the latter’s favour. You can also compare prices adding in similar products at a range of price points, to cater for readers’ of all budgets.

Once you sign up for affiliate marketing with a site like CJ or Pepperjam or maybe even utilize an agency, you are supercharging your affiliate marketing. However, often coupon sites like RetailMeNot and Coupons.com will become part of your affiliate network and will likely drive the largest chunk of revenue. On paper, the numbers look great. They’re your top performers. The reality is a little different.
Always be on the lookout for eye-catching affiliate ads as you browse the web. Keep a document or Pinterest board of great ads that you can reference. This helps you in many ways — you’ll stay current on design trends, you’ll see what competitors are creating and you’ll be inspired. Plus, when the time comes to create an amazing ad, you’ll be ready.

Hey guys. Great post with detailed, actionable content. I would like to add my ‘2 cents’ if that’s ok. You are absolutely right with offering a ‘free gift’ in exchange for someone’s name and email address but I have found short reports have worked best for me. If you give away too much information for free they don’t tend to get consumed so the trust isn’t built with your subscriber. Your free gift is the first point of contact with your prospect so it’s unlikely they will read an entire ebook but if you give them a short report which they are able to consume in about 20 mins and they get tremendous value from they are more likely to listen to you in the future and buy your recommendations. A big mistake i see a lot of affiliates make is the content they use for their free giveaway. They think just because it’s given away for free that they can just throw together some PLR material and use that. Unfortunately that doesn’t cut it these days and will damage your relationship with your prospect rather than strengthen it. The best way is to carry out some research in your marketplace and see what pains and frustrations your prospects have and create your free giveaway around that.


Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another. 

One last note. I’ve been asked what I think of other affiliate marketing resources, both free and paid. I’m familiar with some of them, not all. I’ve read ebooks, watch videos, bought courses and more. So far, the only paid-for course that has impressed me enough to recommend is Kayla Aimee’s Affiliate Acceleration: Impactful Strategies To Increase Your Passive Income.


Some good tips. I fully agree that it’s all about trust and it is always good to recommend an affiliate product that you have actually used. Why risk your reputation on a product you don’t know if it’s any good or not? If people buy one dodgy product from your site, they will probably never make that mistake again. That it why my blog strongly advocates ethical affiliate marketing. It’s the best long term stragey for affiliate marketing success.
Take advantage of affiliate program freebies when available. Many affiliate programs provide free printables, guides, webinars or other lead magnets designed to get potential customers in their sales funnel. As an affiliate, you can share these freebies with your audience using your affiliate link so if they eventually make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission, but if they don’t they still get value upfront.
Many voucher code web sites use a click-to-reveal format, which requires the web site user to click to reveal the voucher code. The action of clicking places the cookie on the website visitor's computer. In the United Kingdom, the IAB Affiliate Council under chair Matt Bailey announced regulations[46] that stated that "Affiliates must not use a mechanism whereby users are encouraged to click to interact with content where it is unclear or confusing what the outcome will be."
Tweetdeck -  This is great for monitoring Hashtags. If you don't want to pay for social media scheduling software like Buffer or Hootsuite, Tweetdeck also allows you to manually schedule in Tweets (Facebook also has it's on scheduling feature) but it's great to have one tool that scheduling in social content across all your available social channels.

Many voucher code web sites use a click-to-reveal format, which requires the web site user to click to reveal the voucher code. The action of clicking places the cookie on the website visitor's computer. In the United Kingdom, the IAB Affiliate Council under chair Matt Bailey announced regulations[46] that stated that "Affiliates must not use a mechanism whereby users are encouraged to click to interact with content where it is unclear or confusing what the outcome will be."


Affiliate marketing is also called "performance marketing", in reference to how sales employees are typically being compensated. Such employees are typically paid a commission for each sale they close, and sometimes are paid performance incentives for exceeding objectives.[25] Affiliates are not employed by the advertiser whose products or services they promote, but the compensation models applied to affiliate marketing are very similar to the ones used for people in the advertisers' internal sales department.

Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates. You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don't be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you. 
I find that everything you need for AdWords can be given to you by using the Adwords Campaign Management dashboard, keyword planner tool, and other search engine keyword tools. Essentially, you're looking for keywords to target on search, but instead, you're paying for it. What tools you use depends on your paid search strategy - you may want to target paid keywords that you don't / can't organically rank for (which would be a wise decision). However, if you want help chosing the best keywords and reporting on campaigns, other tools that you can use include:
Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of marketing publisher and learning platform Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ digital marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. To learn about my books, see my personal site Digital marketing books by Dr. Dave Chaffey. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.
Beginners in affiliate marketing should first work through partner networks — do not try to directly contact advertisers. Young sites are often ignored. In this case, partner networks, in turn, provide the ability to connect to many major sites. You can collaborate with several partners since the stakes are generally the same but not always. With partner managers, you can agree on higher rates.
Some of the most successful content in our network is repurposed for email, social media and other channels to enable publishers to share their expertise as widely as possible. If you’re an expert in your area, it only makes sense people will want to discover your content, get advice on purchases they’re making and act upon them in a channel of their choice. So think about how you can generate interest in your content from other avenues than search alone.

What kind of commission do they offer? One-time commissions or recurring commissions? For example, many programs pay you one time for sending a customer. On the other hand, some programs like membership sites or SaaS (software as a service) programs will pay you a commission as long as the person you referred is a paying customer. Recurring commissions are great when you can find them!
Start by experiencing the product for yourself. You’re now going to be representing it, so you need to know what benefits it has to your audience. Offer the product to your readers in the way you think they would be using it. Photos and videos of you using the product in ways readers relate to will help build trust with you. Always keep your users’ experience in mind, and they will feel like it’s a recommendation just for them and be more willing to buy.

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.

Traffic exchange users are comparatively low quality, but they’re still real humans. You’re getting real people to view your site, you’re just not bringing them in organically the way Google intends. You can make money from these users, but your conversion rate will be typically lower than what you might see from organic traffic. Of course, it’s also much cheaper and faster to find this traffic than it is to invest in SEO and content marketing.
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