A post I wrote a few days ago on affiliate marketing, Remedial Course on Affiliate Marketing, seemed to be very popular with my readers. I received a large spike in my traffic, much coming from StumbleUpon, as well as a large number of clicks in originating from the post. Because my readers seemed to have enjoyed that particular topic so much, I decided to expand, taking it a bit further then the basics.
About six months ago, I too was very new to affiliate marketing, and had a lot of questions, and nowhere to turn. I’ve put together a few FAQs I had when I first begin experimenting with affiliate marketing. If you have any unanswered questions, please submit it in the comments section below and I will be sure to answer it for you in a future post with more FAQs!
How do I get started with affiliate marketing?
Once you decide to become an affiliate, you should search for an appropriate affiliate network. Begin researching networks to find which others prefer, and which would be right for you depending on the types of companies available in the network to partner with. For example, if you run a blog about cool new gadgets, you may be interested in using Clickbank, an affiliate network that works with many companies that offer these types of products.
What are affiliate networks?
Affiliate networks are groups of companies that offer a percentage of the sales you bring to them. Affiliate networks are more convenient than having different accounts for each affiliate you are associated with, as you will have only one username and password to remember, your monthly payment or check will be combined so you have one large check rather than several smaller ones, and all of the links you need will be in one central location.
Affiliates Tip! many affiliate companies will contact you with special promotions, free gifts, and sales they are having. In these emails, they often include banners created specifically for that promotion so that affiliates can advertise most effectively, increasing affiliate income.
Affiliate networks worth checking out include:
Who do I partner with?
Deciding which companies you would like to be an affiliate for is directly related to the audience of the medium you will be placing your affiliate links on. Is it a blog? If so, what type of blog is it? Cupcake blogs should partner with a company that sells kitchen ware. If you’re a marketer, perhaps you should partner with an email marketing company such as Constant Contact.
Affiliates Tip! not all individual companies are part of networks. Companies such as eBay and MarketingSherpa run their own affiliate marketing operations, so you will have to sign up directly with them if you wish to promote their products and gain a percentage of the sales. I would suggest checking out eBay‘s affiliate program, as it has a lot of great new tools that make the whole user experience much more pleasant.
Where do I place my affiliate links?
Technically, affiliate links can be placed anywhere so long there is text or images. However, the key is to find the most relevant location to place your link so that it will not be overlooked. This will most likely be different for each individual. You should experiment to find your ideal location. I find the most successful affiliate links are in product reviews. However, the mediums where links can be effective include: blogs, email signatures, e-books, white papers, websites, etc.
I find affiliate links to be quite effective in personal emails so long as the offer is relevant to the people receiving the emails. The fact that they know you and trust you may also help with the click through.
For example: You are an Apple affiliate. You receive an email from them announcing a FREE $15 iTunes Gift Card with the purchase of a refurbished iPod Nano. A few of your friends have been talking about how they need new MP3 players, and most of the people you email are techies. Because you’re offering your friend a free gift, as well as a lower priced iPod (because its refurbished), they may be inclined to click through and purchase. A sample of what the banner / text ad may look like are seen below:
How do I post affiliate links?
Most affiliate programs you sign up with will simply offer you the banners or text links available, and directly give you the HTML needed in order to publish the banner. This way, you’ll simply need to copy and paste the HTML directly into your publication, whether it be your blog or your email.
Affiliates Tip! Not all email servers will correctly send out HTML included in messages. For example, Gmail can receive HTML message, but can’t send them out. So, if you put an affiliate banner in the signature of your email, it will simply look like a block of coding by the time your recipient gets it. In this case, you should use text linked to your affiliate link.
How much do I get paid?
Every affiliate company is different. Amazon Associates pay about 4%, although they have promotions that allow you to earn more if you sell a certain type of item, such as Amazon Giftcards. Companies that offer electronic resources as products, such as ebooks, generally pay higher, sometimes 30-50%. Other companies, such as Apple, are going to be on the lower side, between 2-3%.
How do my partners know when purchases are made?
Each time your readers click on one of your affiliate links, a “cookie,” is placed on their web browser, allowing their purchase history to be traced.
What is a “cookie”?
“Cookies” are chunks of text stored on a web browser when you visit a certain server. The cookie is then sent back by the browser each time it accesses that server. They are most often used for tracking, and maintaining specific information about users, such as site preferences the contents of their shopping carts, or, in this case, purchase history.
How long does a “cookie” stay active?
It depends on your affiliate partner, however most companies allow the cookie to stay “active” for 30 days. If, in those 30 days, the individual makes any kind of purchase from that company online, whether it be the product you suggested or something completely different, you will receive an income. Remember that this 30 day cookie is the average. Some companies will allow it to be active for 60 days (although rare), and some will keep it active for only a few weeks. When you’re signing up with a partner, these questions will be answered for you.
I hope these FAQ’s have answered some of the questions you may have on affiliate marketing. There’s a lot I didn’t cover, as I’m not sure what exactly everyone would like to know. Please submit any unanswered questions in the comment section below, and I will plan on answering them in an upcoming post with more affiliate marketing FAQs. Thanks!