Affiliate marketing isn’t a new trend. It’s been around for years. In fact, Amazon Associates, which is one of the first online affiliate marketing programs, has been in use since 1996. However, with advances in technology like the rise of mobile devices, affiliate marketing is evolving extremely quickly.
This means that if you haven’t considered affiliate marketing in the past, it may be time to give it another look.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Before we go any further, what exactly is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a way for a blogger or anyone involved in online marketing to make money by promoting products and services in exchange for a commission from the sales or leads they drive. This is usually accomplished when a merchant or web advertiser places a banner ad, button, or link onto a website site. The webmaster will be compensated when a visitor clicks on that link or makes a purchase through that link.
The Pros of Affiliate of Marketing
While making some additional income sound great to most of us, affiliate marketing does present some appealing benefits.
- It’s quick and easy to set-up. Find an affiliate program that fits within your niche, sign-up, and paste the tracking code onto your site. That’s not to say it doesn’t involve any sort of effort, however.
- You don’t need to be a marketer. Don’t worry if you don’t have a marketing background. Most programs provide you with all the materials and handle all of the marketing and transactions.
- Reach a larger audience. Affiliate programs already come equipped with a built-in audience.
- Small investment. You don’t need to purchase an inventory and most programs are free to join.
- Steady income. Once you understand affiliate marketing you can earn a steady income as you have an internet connection. Best of all? It’s something that you can do on the side.
The Cons of Affiliate Marketing
That’s not to say that are some problems with affiliate marketing. And here are some of the most common concerns.
- You’re not in charge. Since the program is running the show, you really have no control of the offers and products or services.
- High commission. Since affiliate marketing involves a middleman, they get a cut of the money you make.
- Lots of competition. There hundreds, if not thousands, of affiliates. This means that it can be difficult to stand out from everyone and you’ll be competing against seasoned marketers.
- Pay on sale. You could drive a ton of traffic to the merchant’s site, but you only get paid when a sale is completed. Even worse, if the merchant loses a sale because of a bad offer, you still miss out on the sale.
- Scams. There are a lot of fraudulent affiliate programs out there. So you need to be careful when choosing a merchant.
If you’re still interested in affiliate marketing, you may want to check out the advice from the following ten bloggers, in no particular order. Each of them have years of experience and success with affiliate marketing, so you can definitely learn a thing or two from them.
Disclaimer: These bloggers are not affiliated with Search Engine Journal.
1. Pat Flynn
In 2007, life was pretty good for Pat Flynn. He was a senior drafter in a Bay Area architecture firm, a job that he loved. When the economy slowed in 2008, Pat was laid off and forced to think of another way to make a living. He took his experience of studying for the LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – and launched a blog (GreenExamAcademy.com) that shared his study notes. This lead Pat to publish his first e-book, which resulted in $8,000 of income during its first month. Since then Pat has launched the Smart Passive Income Blog and the popular Smart Passive Podcast.
Pat believes that affiliates, and businesses as a whole, should be both ethical and transparent. This means that Pat only recommends products that he’s passionate and familiar about. He also uses four concepts when working with affiliate networks: provide massive value, earn massive trust, learn and understand the needs and wants of your followers, and lead and teach by example.
2. John Chow
John Chow has had one interesting journey. At the age of seven he moved from China to Canada, survived the dot-com crash, launched TechZone in 2008, and started his first blog in 2005. By 2008, John figured out how to monetize his blog which went from a monthly income of $353 to $300,000 annually.
Today, John pretty much blogs about how you can make money from blogs. He’s also recognized as a leading authority figure, a best-selling author on Amazon, and founder of TTZ Media, Inc.
John’s success can attributed to teaming up with the right affiliate programs and staying on top of the services that can help you monetize your blog. For example, in 2007 he made approximately $3,800 by writing reviews through ReviewMe. In 2012, he joined MOBE and became their biggest affiliate after only six months.
Shoemoney was founded by Jeremy Shoemaker back in 2003, but Jeremy had already proven to be an innovative businessman. While he was attending Western Illinois University, he started his first business which sold Macintosh games, which was followed by NextPimp.com. By 2006, he was named the Best Affiliate Marketing Blog by a little publication called Search Engine Journal. In 2007, Jeremy teamed up with David Dellanave to start the eBay affiliate service AuctionAds – which was named the “eBay Most Innovative Application-Buyer” at the 6th annual eBay Developers Conference.
According to SEJ founder Loren Baker,
“Shoemoney has taken affiliate marketing to the next level by publishing his real life experiences on his Shoemoney blog and his Webmasterradio.fm Show, Net Income. He’s become the unofficial talking head of affiliate marketing, arbitrage, and monetization among the search community and at the same time developed a business around it.”
Matthew Woodward began his career at the age of thirteen when he started reviewing games for a site NintendoPhiles. This lead to Matthew launching a web-based community where people could share demos of their games. After a stint as the head of online marketing for a large distributor in Europe, Matthew went into business for himself to develop and rank websites. His blog has since been recognized by the following: HubSpot Top 5 Internet Marketing Blog March 2015, Affiliate Summit Best Affiliate Blog 2013, Technorati Top 100 Business Blog July 2013, and The Best Of Search Engine Journal 2012.
Matthew’s blog provides quality advice, tutorials, and case studies based on his experience with online and affiliate marketing that can help you achieve your goals, as opposed to just sharing the offers that bring in the highest commissions.
5. Rae Hoffman
After her son suffered a massive pediatric stroke in 1998, Rae Hoffman founded a non-profit website that served as a support group for parents and families of pediatric stroke survivors. In 2001 Rae discovered affiliate marketing as way to support the site. And, she’s been involved with affiliate marketing ever since. Today Rae, also commonly known as Sugarrae, is one of the leading figures in affiliate branding and is co-founder/CEO of the SEO/PPC agency PushFire.
With her Sugarrae blog, Rae is now showing others how to make money online legitimately as a way to give back to the industry. If you’re looking for some get rich quick schemes, you should look elsewhere.
Luke Kling started blogging in 2004 and is now the Affiliate Manager for PeerFly, Inc. PeerFly is an affiliate ad network that uses custom-built software. His blog is separate from PeerFly, Inc. but it still provides more than enough advice for affiliate marketers. For example, Luke has created The Affiliate Marketing Guide that shares tips on getting started and how to successfully run marketing campaigns on Facebook.
What’s appealing about Luke’s blog is that he discusses how you can make money online by selling shirts to capturing the attention of your site’s visitors through tools like Engagifire.
Having been involved with affiliate marketing since 1997, Shawn Collins is one of the most influential minds in the industry. During his career, Shawn co-founded the Affiliate Summit, is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, host of the 7 Minutes in Affiliate Heaven show, and a best-selling author.
Shawn’s Affiliate Marketing Blog provides the latest industry news and advice on how to make money online. Like many other bloggers on this list, Shawn is honest in saying that you won’t get rich through affiliate marketing, but you can make a little extra cash on the side. He also only endorses the products and services that he uses himself, so you can rest assured that these are quality products/services.
8. Finch Sells
Martin Osborn, better known as Finch, is a high school dropout who discovered affiliate marketing in early 2009 while employed as a web developer. Within a week he was making more than £1000 per day and decided to quit his day job. He hasn’t looked back since.
Finch Sells is a great resource if you’re new to affiliate marketing, since Finch describes how he got started with affiliate marketing, explains how the industry is segmented and provides advice on how you can begin in an easy-to-understand and comical way. He also provides a priceless Survival Kit and a list of resources that ranges from blogs to events to tools.
9. Charles Ngo
Following his graduation from Georgia Tech in 2007 and stuck in a cubicle, Charles gave internet marketing a chance. However, after learning the hard way, Charles stumbled into affiliate marketing.
After a few months, Charles was able to convert $4,000 into $1,000,000+ in profit. Of course, there were some hiccups along the way. Charles launched 14 unsuccessful campaigns and lost $4,000 before he found success. What makes Charles unique is he’s open about his failures and uses that to help advise anyone interested in affiliate marketing. Not only does his blog offer affiliate and marketing tips, Charles also shares lifestyle and career advice.
10. Missy Ward
Missy Ward has been involved with affiliate marketing since 1999 and co-founded Affiliate Summit with Shawn Collins in 2003 on a mere $400 investment. Affiliate Summit is now a multi-million dollar company that produces conferences, tradeshows, FeedFront Magazine, GeekCast.fm, and AffStat.com. Missy is also the co-founder of itsaWAHMthing.com, founder of AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com and is in charge of a number of her own niche affiliate websites.
Her blog offers practical advice to affiliate marketers, such as 5 Tips to Successful Affiliate Recruiting Emails, where she shares what she has learned from personal experience.
Are you an affiliate marketers? If so, which blogs do you turn to for advice?
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