Today it has become quite a big industry. But it’s still a powerful option for EVERYONE who wants to make money from home.
The Amazon Affiliate Program called Amazon Associates is one way to do just that. There are many more.
All you need is a blog and an audience.
How does Affiliate Marketing work?
The four parts of affiliate marketing are:
- the affiliate website
- the affiliate network
- the advertiser (That’s you!)
- the consumer
Okay, but why choose a blog as a content format?
Blogs are a SUPER useful stepping stone into affiliate marketing. Because if done right, they are more authentic than anything else.
Authentic blogs convert users into frequent readers and later customers.
Let’s take this quote from Oprah Winfrey.
“I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.”Oprah Winfrey
If you want to do successful Affiliate Marketing, you have to talk about something you truly LOVE.
Otherwise you’ll create nothing more than simple advertising.
That’s precisely why blogs have such a potential for strong organic rankings in search engines.
People trust real bloggers. So they also trust their product choices and are more likely to click through to a seller’s page.
Now, let’s take a closer look to see why affiliate marketing may be right for you and your blogging and/or social media business!
Commissions & Sales in Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing works by sharing the workload of product marketing between you and the actual seller.
Did you know? 81% of brands and 84% of publishers work with affiliate marketing, including through blogs.
In other words: Affiliate marketing is HUGELY successful.
There are three basic ways of sales in Affiliate Marketing today. Let’s take a look.
1. Pay Per Sale
This is the most common affiliate marketing framework.
The seller/creator pays the affiliate a percentage of the profits after the consumer has followed the advertiser’s links and buys the product.
To sum up, a sale needs to be made before the affiliate receives any income.
Let’s take an easy example from our own affiliate program.
If someone buys a book on Amazon through your affiliate link, you receive 5% of the sale as commision income.
These rates vary strongly depending on the type of product you want to promote.
2. Pay Per Lead
This system is a not as common as the previous one, perhaps due to its less straightforward structure.
Paying per lead means the affiliate receives a payment based on how leads from their site convert. Here consumers are required to complete a specific action at the merchant’s site, rather than just clicking through and buying a product.
In this situation, guests may be required to sign up for a newsletter or download a particular program or file.
The Amazon Bounty Program is a good example of creating commission income this way.
So if someone signs up for Amazon Prime following your recommendation, you receive a fixed fee.
3. Pay Per Click
Rather than direct a consumer to buying a specific product on a shopping platform like Amazon, paying per click instead rewards affiliates for directing consumers to their own branded site.
The affiliate must produce content that is engaging enough so consumers will click to the seller’s site – thereby increasing web traffic.
This sales type is less about high quality content and therefore far more competitive.
Now you know the basic payout models. Rates may also vary depending on where you’re located. So let’s briefly focus on the European market for affiliate bloggers.
Market Potential: Affiliate Marketing in the UK and Europe
Europe is a heavily segmented market with a wide variety of languages and currencies. So the affiliate network you choose has to have a solid base in the regional markets you want to target.
If you’re in doubt or aiming at multiple markets, choose an affiliate program that is well-established and multinational.
Amazon has the biggest affiliate network in this market. Its popularity in Europe and the UK can largely be attributed to the sheer scale of the products available. Affiliates are able to promote any item that is sold on their platform.
Next up, you’ll learn how to actually find a topic that can turn your blog into an Affiliate Marketing business model.
Put differently: There’s A LOT of competition.
So finding YOUR personal niche is absolutely essential before kicking off any Affiliate Marketing activity.
Parallels between the content and the items being recommended not only enhance your [personal branding], but also ensure that your audience is already predispositioned to click through on promotions or products.
When it comes to blogging, we’ve collected some Do’s & Don’ts for you. They are most suited for Pay per Sale and Pay per Lead types of Affiliate Marketing.
|Pick a topic that you LOVE. Otherwise it will be hard to create authentic content.||Don’t rush. Creating commissions can be tough at the beginning. So you should scratch out your blog’s strategy for a few years in advance.|
|Choose middle-priced products. Cheap products have a very low commission and super expensive ones are bought less frequently so it might be hard to get commissions at all.||Don’t be too transactional. Affiliate marketing is not advertising. Openly inviting people to buy your product isn’t trustworthy.|
Evaluate competitors. If there are already dozens of blogs covering the exact topic, it will be hard to muscle yourself in.
|Don’t promote just one brand. If you’re only writing about products from one brand people are more likely to think that they are paying you|
|Objects that people might use in their household are always a good choice||Be upfront. Make people aware that you’re doing Affiliate Marketing by putting a disclaimer on your page. This will increase your authenticity.|
|Create a content calendar. The main factor for a blogger’s authenticity is a regular posting schedule.|
What Makes a Good Niche?
Coffee is an excellent example to show you why it’s important to find a niche.
Because a coffee machine can look like this.
Or like THIS.
In other words, you can buy yourself a coffee machine between £ 5 or £ 5,000. If you’re a restaurant or café owner you might even spend £ 50,000.
All those machines pour out a brownish liquid that we would call coffee.
But we all know that coffee’s not automatically coffee, right? 🙂
So just starting a ‘coffee blog’ because you’re passionate about coffee? That is a BAD idea.
Instead, become the Lord of the Beans by picking one small but interesting and not too competitive niche in this amazing world of coffee!
- Why not set up a blog on the best Moka pots NOT manufactured by Bialetti?
- Why not write about the fanciest cappuccino cups available?
- Or the coolest milk frothers?
If your content covers 10 of the 20 best-selling milk frothers on Amazon – you’re in the game. And your blog is probably gonna rank well in Google too.
It’s plain easy: People will trust you when it comes to milk frothing. Because by creating detailed content you can prove that you have REALLY tried 10 different machines or more.
Be careful though that your blog topic doesn’t step in a total niche! If you’re planning to write exclusively about the best 100 % Arabica beans from Guatemala you might end up not having enough products to actually be linked.
Note: Not every single content piece of your blog has to contain affiliate links. Increase your authenticity by creating tutorials and informative content! For example, on how to make the best milk foam with a certain type of machine.
Need a good example?
Take a look at this site called Little Gourmet.
It’s all about the philosophy of Baby Led Weaning. Which basically means to let your baby decide itself when to start with solid foods and what to eat. This is the niche.
On “Little Gourmet” you can learn A LOT about Baby Lead Weaning. But there are also product recommendations for baby supplies.
As you can see, it’s about “Easy-Clean” High Chairs. That feature seems quite important when letting your baby decide how to eat. ?
There are affiliate links to Amazon. But it’s only a small part of the whole site.
Here’s the thing: As there is so much non-commercial information about Baby Led Weaning, this product recommendations seem perfectly natural.
Promote Your Niche on Social Media
Just creating a website and hoping for the best? That’s definitely not enough.
Instead you should invest A LOT of time in seeding your content right from the start.
Best outlets are obviously social media platforms like Facebook & Instagram. But you should also consider traditional e-mail marketing using automation tools like Mailchimp.
Take a look at this Facebook page of the famous Affiliate Blog ‘This Is Why I’m Broke’.
Their niche is kind of funny. They promote unconventional and sometimes hilarious products that didn’t exist before. And they have thousands of Facebook followers.
It’s centered on
- recommending Amazon products
- If someone buys a product following your recommendation, you receive commission income
- promoting Amazon services
- If someone signs up for an Amazon service, you receive a bounty, which is basically a fixed fee.
Breakdown of Affiliate Commission Rates
A lot of affiliate marketing programs work with a commission fee schedule.
Amazon uses flat commission rates for specific product categories. They’re called commission income.
Unless specifically outlined, most Amazon categories are based around a 4.0% commission rate, with exceptions like gift cards or some alcohol brands.
Ok, understood. 🙂
But why are there different rates when it comes to commission income?
Commission Fee Structure
A common framework for commission rates is a volume-based fee structure. Amazon Associates is also based on a volume model.
After you’ve sold enough products to move to another advertising rate, the next round of sales you make will give you a commission of the new rate.
This goes on over a series of commission tiers.
However, it is important to remember that some products are exempt from this program.
Affiliate links will take you to the advertised product. But there’s a lot of technical tracking behind it to make the whole thing work.
Information is saved to the browser and the device you’re currently using. This shows the path leading you to the item page and lets the merchant know that you have followed the advice of a blogger.
Depending on the payment structure, your user’s activity on the merchant site can now technically generate money for you.
To be concise, affiliate links are used to assess the source of sales and help the merchant identify which of their consumers have found their product via bloggers.
If you want to know more, check out this video.
Types of Affiliate Links – Which Is the Best Choice?
After deciding to include links in your blog, there are a number of ways to go about it.
1. Text Links
If you’re writing a post about a product or service you want to promote, include links every time you mention the product.
It’s also important to note that merchant sites can have varying cookie periods. With some sellers, you can be credited with a sale from 30 to 90 days after a click.
Another way of including text links are newsletters.
2. Video Content
You can add links quite simply in your video descriptions, adding pop-ups or even text overlays. Video content is quite an effective way to discuss a product as viewers will get a better sense of how you interact with the item and can also see it in action.
3. Banner Advertisement
Some affiliates like Amazon Associates provide a code to include when you code your page.
Rather than click through from your blog post, this link functions as the header or footer of your page. This format is best for special one-off occasions like public holiday sales.
Once your viewers click on this banner, they’ll end up on the Amazon page for that item and if they buy it, you receive a commission.
4. Storefront (for Amazon Associates)
This is a unique page that lists all of your own personalised recommendations.
Blogger Laura Fuentes created such a page for her business MOMables.
Widgets are display sections that have a search bar or allow visitors to browse Amazon directly.
Additionally, you’ll earn a commission from all qualifying orders.
Just find the widget that suits your page best and paste it into your layout.
Always double-check that the link does work once you’ve published the post!
One word on SEO: Google and other search engines prefer a “no follow” tag in affiliate links. Otherwise you could produce misleading search rankings as paid relationships may begin to affect organic results.
What Is Affiliate Tracking?
As a performance-based framework, affiliate marketing relies on how effectively sales and web traffic can be attributed to each party.
All site activities such as sales, click throughs and other conversions are tracked with a specialised software.
This also allows the merchant to assess which affiliates are driving sales and which might need some fine-tuning.
There’s a wide range of tracking softwares on the market, but some affiliate networks use their own in-house programs.
Amazon is a notable example of this. Just as with software types, the styles of tracking methods also often vary.
- Cookies are probably the most widespread and commonly used tracking method for affiliate networks.
By saving a cookie to your browser and computer, merchant sites can identify consumer origins and whether they have visited the page before.
As long as the cookie stays active, the affiliate will be credited with any purchases made by the consumer during this period.
- Fingerprint tracking is less commonly used. By creating a digital signature from the end device, information on the
operating system, language and other details can be used to identify visitors of a page.
This saved signature also allows the users to be identified when they revisit the page with the same browser and device.
It might sound extreme, but there’s some truth to Buffett’s quote.
Now that you know the Affiliate Marketing basics, it’s time to sum up.
What’s our goal? To prepare you for your own Affiliate Marketing Adventure! ?
Getting started and finding partners you would like to work with really isn’t too difficult.
For all technical aspects of setting up a blog, we recommend our guide on Blogging Basics.
So when everything is ready, don’t forget to seed your blog on social media and start a newsletter for your subscribers.
Sharing your links via platforms like Facebook and YouTube can be a good start, especially in the first months of your Affiliate Business.
Stay up-to-date with the guidelines for social sharing, as up until recently, some networks like Pinterest didn’t allow affiliate links.
Doing a good job on social media will help you increase your blog’s performance in the first months. Because that’s exactly how long search engines like Google or DuckDuckGo take to rank your page organically.
It can take more than a few months until your blog finally gets a boost in traffic and conversions due to organic search results.
That’s precisely why so many people start Affiliate Marketing as a side job. To not be too dependent on it.
Don’t believe all those Affiliate Marketing videos on YouTube claiming that it’s super easy to make 50k a month within half a year. It is not. What it is: clickbait.
But here’s the thing: if your blog is optimised for SEO from the start, this will pay out later.
If you want to know more about SEO for Bloggers, check out our comprehensive SEO Guide.
Need some extra tips?
Here are two of them:
- Consider using joint ventures like webinars to create new sales and expand your consumer base. Paid collaborations are a great way of creating recognition among new audiences.
- As soon as your affiliate marketing has started to make money, it is a good idea to scale your growth by integrating pay-per-click
How to Get Started with Amazon Associates
If you’re up to promote products via Amazon Associates, just sign up with your Amazon account.
Next steps after signing up:
- Find the products on Amazon you like, and copy their links from the toolbar into a spreadsheet.
- Review your existing content. Identify where it would make sense to insert a product and then simply add the link.
- Once your sales reach £ 10, you can choose to be paid by bank deposit or even by an Amazon gift card.
Affiliate marketing is a great and budget-friendly way of getting into e-commerce.
With our ultimate guide to affiliate marketing, you now have all the tools you need to start.