28 Expert Affiliates Reveal How to Make Serious Money Online Promoting Other People’s Products

round-up-2-collageAffiliate marketing is not dead. In fact, it is alive and kicking it. One of the experts we featured inside this post created a specific type of site that made him $800,000 in profit within 4 months.

Here’s why I believe NOW it is the best time to make money online promoting other people’s products and services: the web is growing on a daily basis, like never before. Just look at how many new comers are entering Facebook and Twitter and blogging.

It is important you gain momentum. Why spend months creating your own product and thousands to get the ball rolling when you could join an affiliate program, grab your unique ID and promote it right away. You can generate your first sale within hours not weeks.

Take for example, blog commenting. One can spend 20 minutes posting useful quick tips on a few niche relevant sites, and generate enough traffic to convert visitors into affiliate commissions in the next day.

This is just one method. There are plenty others. My partner Codrut Turcanu has located some of the best affiliate marketers online and interviewed them over e-mail.

You will learn what type of affiliate programs and products they promote and more importantly, how they are doing it.

It is essential you learn directly from the experts in the field, and do what they recommend, instead of lurking in the forums and never apply the new found information. Does this sound familiar?

Anyway, I invite you enjoy the read – and if you like what you find – please spread the word about it. Together we can make a difference in the world.

Francisco-PerezFrancisco PereziBlogZone.com Twitter

This could be the “chicken and the egg thing”, but when it comes to product selection, perhaps the best way to go about it is to do a small due diligence about the program/network you chose to work with. Do you have to pay to be an affiliate? What are the payment options? What is the threshold, if any? Review the product and view their landing pages and see if they are worth promoting (too much promises could hurt). Where can you promote it? What marketing materials are reporting capabilities are available to you? These are just but a few key points that I look at when choosing and affiliate program. There are literally millions out there, and it is one of the reasons why I prefer working with “networks” than individual programs. Networks have their own policy and normally have better affiliate management platforms.

As for the products itself, again, it depends. Depends on whether you are a blogger or a pure affiliate marketer. Pure affiliates tend to not be so worried about building a blog, Rather, they focus on building their list, and making use of traffic sources to direct potential “buyers” to a landing/capture/squeeze page and hopefully perform an action. In my case, I choose products that are related to my niche, things I´m passionate about and in certain occasions products that are trending, e.g., products related to the Brazilian Olympics.

debunking-email-marketing-mythsThere is no such thing as one size fits all. Learn the ropes, see what other affiliate pros are doing, get educated, and test, test, test.

Sometimes, paid traffic is the best way promote a product, but great care should be done in order to make the campaign profitable. If there is a platform that I use often to promote is FaceBook. Laser focus audience targeting is by far one of the reasons why it works well for me. Plus, if done right, the cost is minimal. In addition to FaceBook, I also recommend AdWords, and working with social networks to promote stuff. Pinterest, Twitter, Scoop.it, and “specific” verticals (e.g. forums).

If there is one thing I do tend to steer away from is to promote products that are “make money systems”, get rich crap quickly, #1 in Google, etc… I focus on products that enhance people lives, helps individuals, small business owners increase productivity, capture leads and make sales, provide products that people are looking for. For the latter, I make use of sites like Amazon, eBay, Google Trends, etc..

nick joelsonNick JoelsonNoobWarrior.com Twitter

When building sites that are purely for affiliate sales or lead generation, I nearly always lead on the product that offers a balance of both good commission and professional landing page that looks likely to convert.

I tend not to bother with commissions much under $20 unless they are on a monthly service, in which case I don’t mind, as the payouts tend to build up nicely over time. They also tend to be low competition.

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When investigating a new niche, I like to do lots of research and look at what other affiliates promote, especially if the niche is a competitive one. You can assume that whatever products they feature, are the best converting ones.

My #1 marketing technique for promoting products is to write about the things I am genuinely interested in, creating honest reviews. I like to take some good photos, write a solid piece of copy, maybe a how to guide and perhaps make a video if suitable.

It’s better when I am writing about things that are either a passion or a hobby. It makes it so much easier to sell it as people connect with the passion. Some of my longest running profits come from things on my personal blogs that I did for fun. These types of sites have also been immune to search engine updates.

My top strategy for making money online at the moment is churn and burn sites, followed by 301 redirects when a penalty hits them. I tend to stick to a few niches and get to know them well, building sites very quickly on a WP template that’s simple and adaptable and looks authoritative.

I lead on a homepage that does all the selling, normally a product matrix and some supporting copy to get it to rank. For me, the less clicks to an affiliate product the better for these types of sites.

I then build links using PBN’s, blog networks and GSA Search Engine Ranker to get the site to rank. Not all rank well, but the ones that do can make good money and it’s easily scalable.

Venchito TamponVenchito TamponDigitalPhilippines.netTwitter

There are so many things that I consider when looking for affiliate programs that fit for my brand and industry, including:

  • Relevancy of the affiliate program to my brand (close connections are better).

  • The product/tool has a free trial so new/existing visitors of my site would be able to try it out first before deciding to purchase its premium version.

  • Does the product/tool have a unique value proposition that can stand out against its competitors (if it has the same features like other products, it won’t be a good program to promote).

  • Does the program have significant sales percentage every time a buyer purchases the product?

  • Is the program can give you recurring passive income or just one time off money?

There are a lot more things to consider here but the above points are enough to see if the program is fit for my brand and if I’d be happy to promote it on my blog.

Publishing product reviews on the blog. This is pretty basic but is one of the most challenging techniques to market a certain product/services. A few reasons why it is so challenging:

  • You need to understand the UVP of the product and its benefits to your readers before actually creating the outline of the post.

  • The product review must provide actionable points on how the product can help you achieve a certain goal or get you to take an action.

  • The product review must focus on the value the readers would benefit from the post rather than just simply promoting it for the sake of earnings.

It is important to understand that in order to make a sale, you need to educate first your readers. It’s easy to convince others to buy the product when they know the value that they will get from it.

Blog-Post-Ideas-300x172Writing product review is not actually a strategy but it’s a tactic that you can use overtime. Reasons why product reviews are so powerful in persuading visitors to buy the product/service:

  • Adds value to the readers (new information or data).

  • It reveals new uses of the product and new features that existing subscribers (free users) haven’t thought of.

  • Can rank for branded keywords and non-branded keywords (features of the products – e.g. link prospecting tool) which is a good way to drive consistent organic traffic to the review/post.

Adam-RoselandAdam RoselandNicheSiteu.comTwitter

Payout Payout Payout!!  What is the point of doing this if not to maximize profits?  I am not suggesting you go with someone that looks shady, or has only 1 offer… but typically when looking at this, its all about the payday.

Creating effective landing pages that convert. Conversion is the most underrated thing when it comes to marketing, and most people don’t invest the time to see what converts best.  To quote from the movie Contact… why build one when you can have two at twice the price? 

In reality, it doesn’t take much extra effort or expense to build a second page to test conversion rates.

I think the key is to not think too big. So many marketers try to be like Walmart and reach everyone. The best strategy I can recommend is to be like a boutique and really understand what your specific target audience is looking for. Men and women want different things, so do single and married people, kids and adults… so rather than try to create a marketing message for everyone, craft a highly focused message for your specific target and give them what they are looking for! 

Zac JohnsonZac JohnsonZacJohnson.comTwitter

When I first started making money online in the mid to late 90s, affiliate marketing was fairly new and there wasn’t much for you to choose from. The big players were Amazon, Commission Junction and ClickBank with a few smaller networks in between. Now there are affiliate and ad networks all over the place, so you have to be careful with what you are running, and especially with WHO.

With that being said, I’ve made a big switch in affiliate marketing practices over the past few years and I now mostly focus on my own branding and promoting products and services that I actually use. This allows me to use my brand to back up the products, while actually promoting something I know and use. It’s also a huge plus when the product or service is through someone I already know personally, which makes it even more effective, profitable and safe. (meaning I don’t have to worry about the network or offer disappearing)

A great example of this can be seen in my Long Tail Pro review. Not only is it a great product and one that I often use, but I’m also good friends with the creator of the product as well, Spencer Haws.

There are two methods I use for effectively promoting affiliate products. The first being demographic targeting through Facebook Ads campaigns, and the other is through the use of my own brand.

With over 1.3 billion users on Facebook, it’s quite an attractive audience to tap into. Throw in their self serve advertising platform and the process is even easier. This means I can create an ad campaign and target any demographic audience I want (such as single men who speak English that live in New York, USA and make over $50,000 per year). You can also zone in on individual interests and much more. It’s an older article, but you can see an easy to understand breakdown of a profitable Facebook Ads campaign here.

The other method I use for promoting affiliate program is by using my own brand and sites. Since I already have a large following through my sites at ZacJohnson.com and Blogging.org, I can tap into these audiences to promote offers and services I am already using. I’ve also been able to use my connections to bring in industry experts to increase the value of these products as well. This works very well because they are real services that I already use and the people who come to my sites are very interested in learning how to make money online or build a profitable blog.

The best way to make money with affiliate marketing is two fold — you can either promote ad campaigns and continue to make a good profit margin, or you can take what you’ve learned from running ad campaigns and eventually create your own product/service while also having your own affiliate program.

I’ve been on both sides of this spectrum and they are both very profitable. Affiliate campaigns are great because you can set them and forget them — as long as they remain profitable. With product/service creation you are actually running a business and have to deal with support, billing and customers — which you never have to deal with when running ad campaigns.

zacyahoocheckIn either case, the best way to find success with affiliate marketing is to know your audience and understand what they are looking for and how you can make money with them… even if you aren’t actually selling anything. A good example of this would be with a resource site that I created that made over $800,000 profit in just 4 months. The concept here was how to monetize a massive audience through the use of affiliate marketing and only needs to focus on how to increase traffic and growth to the site.

Tobias-MegathorTobias MegathorGrowthHackking.comTwitter

1. The product has to be ethical. For me, helping to hack growth for these products means them giving me something back that is more than just money. I need respect for my web hubs, and I need respect from them in the sense that they do not use child labour to make their SEO tools, nor do they invest in companies in Africa where they rape their staff.

2. Belief in their product. I have to feel their passion. I have to smell the fear that they have for failure, as most of these products fail. But if they are fearful of it, then that’s good. That’s natural. And I want nature to be the main force in why people want to use the product to help growth hack their web hubs.

3. Effort to money ratios have to be aligned to my expectations. I spend a lot of time and effort building out web hubs and pointing web credits to the hubs in order to growth hack the serps which would lead to affiliate cash for me and a respectful and successful client for the product I’m pushing. If the reward for this isn’t there, then I’m out!

I’m the king of Growth Hacking in Norway, and have made people and companies millions of euros from my skill and gifts in marketing.

tobias-megathor-logo1

My main thing is to take the online offline. By that I mean using online skills and translating them into real life situations. I once promoted one of my affiliate products by paying prostitutes to shave the logo of the company into their fitters. The company I was working for said they saw an increase in profits by 6969%.

Another marketing technique I use is guest posting. That works really well on high authority web hubs.

Find a product to promote where you make good commission on each sale. Generally, you will get the biggest commissions on digital products. Cross that over into digital sexy products and you’ll be a millionaire like me in less than a year.

I always say this to my students when I’m teaching them about affiliate marketing:

“Always know what you own, and know why you own it” by this I mean, know why you want to own this niche, own the space, own the market, then you will own everyone within it.

Digital products are defined as something that is downloaded directly to a customer’s computer after purchasing, like electronic books or software. So there’s no overheads for the producer, so that is why commissions are much greater than on regular “physical” goods. The most common commission on digital products is 50%. Leverage this data, this info and become wise to the world of making money. Remember, a wise affiliate marketer should always have money on his mind, but never in his heart.

Devesh SharmaDevesh SharmaWpkube.comTwitter

I promote products that I have used and found useful. I also look if the product is providing any real value to my audience. Since I am in WordPress niche, I also have to look for the quality of the product, and how regularly the author is providing updates.

You should only promote products that are useful to your audience, even if you’re not getting paid for it.

The number #1 technique would be writing honest reviews that help users make the right choice – this may seem very obvious, but it’s where a lot of marketers fail. The thing about writing honest reviews is that you should be able to cross the line, even if it means not recommending the product to your audience.

Another thing, you should do when it comes to reviews, is to disclose your relationship with affiliates. This is not only a good practice, but the FTC now requires bloggers to disclose that they are receiving money for their endorsement.

I think it is working well for me, because it helps users make the right choice when purchasing a product.

Use your email list to promote products. It requires some efforts for building an effective email list, but it makes the whole process of promoting products much easier. If you are struggling with building an email list, you can use popup plugins like OptinMonster and SumoMe to fast-track the list building process.

It works well because you get the chance to directly talk with the audience.

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Matt WolfeMatt WolfeGrowthhut.comTwitter

I only ever promote products that I’ve tested and have used myself. For me, that’s mostly tools to make my life more simple. Anything that speeds up the creation of sales pages, squeeze pages, or automates a repetitive task that I’m already doing. I will occasionally promote an information product if I feel that it’s a good compliment to the training that I already provide. I will never promote competing affiliate products to make an extra buck and I will never promote an affiliate product that I have not spent some time combing through and vetting it first myself.

My #1 affiliate marketing technique is, hands down, content marketing. I create blogs around a product that I’m promoting and then create multiple blog posts teaching people how to properly use that product. I will make multiple videos teaching about the product and giving inside looks of the product and then share those videos everywhere, YouTube, Facebook, the blog, Tumblr, WordPress.com, LiveJournal, Squidoo, etc. All of these posts on all of these platforms all lead back to my blog with training, inside looks, and some sort of bonus for purchasing the product through me.

I make myself and my blog the #1 authority on whatever product I’m promoting. This works so well because people begin to trust your opinion. They realize that you aren’t only an affiliate but a customer as well. This also works well because it’s got SEO baked in to the strategy. Over time, on evergreen affiliate products, you’ll see sales continue to roll in on the product month after month. I don’t believe websites or content should ever be made for the sole purpose of generating income. Content should always be created to add value to the reader first and allow the income from the promotion to be a bi-product of the value you give.

Jamie KnopJamie KnopSeoweather.comTwitter

That can depend on which website of mine I am working on. If it’s for my personal website SEO Weather then I don’t write my articles based on “how can I fit some affiliate links in here”. I base them on what I want to share with people. Then I check the post to see if there any opportunities to include affiliate links which there usually is.

If it is for one of my niche websites then it is based on what affiliate programs are on offer in that niche that are going to convert and bring me the highest amount of income. I often test between different affiliate products / networks to see which works best for each site.

This largely depends on the niche of the website. For example a food related website I would recommend Pinterest where as a DIY website I would recommend building up a presence on poplar DIY forums. These both work well as you are bringing in relevant traffic that is likely to convert.

Still my number one strategy for affiliate websites is based around organic search. This involves heavy keyword research, on page SEO and off page SEO. It works so well because it brings in tons of targeted traffic for very little cost.

DanStelterDan Stelter FreelanceWriterinChicago.comTwitter

I would have to be able to buy the product myself. I don’t buy much of anything these days. So whatever it is that you offer, it’s gotta be awfully good and actually work.

For me, it is definitely building a long-term relationship with your audience. When you sell people what they actually want, they trust you and buy more in the future. Honesty is the best policy.

Right now, I have great content that shows my audience I get their problem. And that’s true because I do in fact have the same problem they do, but have overcome it to a greater degree than most of them have. That allows me to deliver precision content they love.

Shane MelaughShane Melaugh ImImpact.com/blogTwitter

Selection criteria:

The only things that matter are the quality of the product and its relevance to my audience.

Marketing:

I’ve gotten the best results from very detailed reviews, providing more information and going into more depth than you typically find in a product review. I tend to write roundup reviews, comparing many products in a market and my most successful affiliate promotion ever was a massive article that was the result of several months of research and testing, all to compile the most useful possible roundup review.

One of the advantages of doing this is that the result isn’t really promotional. A roundup review like this is a far cry from the typical, overly enthusiastic “review” that really only tries to convince the reader to click the link and make the purchase. Instead of trying to get the click and the commission, this method relies on providing massive value.

ferrari-postAnother advantage is that because this method is so time consuming and takes so much effort, practically no one is willing to do it, so you don’t have to worry about competition and copy-cats too much.

Strategy:

My greatest advantage is that I sell my own products. It’s rare that I promote something as an affiliate, but when I do, I think the fact that I create and sell extremely high quality products really helps. I’ve noticed that being a product creator and vendor is a great way to gain authority, trust and attention within a niche.

Rohit PalitRohit Palit RohitPalit.comTwitter

These days I mostly go for programs that are reputable, especially about their payouts. When it comes to products, I now a days prefer to go after low-competition ones with medium search volume, in almost untapped markets. I used to fight in the more popular affiliate niches and for popular products before, but I quickly realized (and Patrick Coombe, who’s got years of experience in affiliate SEO helped me realize that) that even though I was making a bit of money, it wasn’t enough to yield a nice enough ROI, because my link building and content expenses were way too much as well. I was even trying out my luck in foreign affiliate SEO lately, because of the easier nature of it.

My #1 marketing technique for promoting affiliate products is publishing extremely relevant guest articles on authoritative sites. I prefer to increase the domain authority of my affiliate sites this way. But for this, I usually get a blog up on the affiliate site and make it look and feel just like an authority site dedicated to the topic. I feel this is very important because awesome landing pages alone don’t really convert well from my own findings, unless you back it up with secondary pages of your site, and prove you know what you’re talking about. This works so well for me because I have a knack for writing, and even when I’m short of time, I can always get someone else to do the writing and leverage my outreach skills to get the posts up and get some authority links to my affiliate site.

I also do some infographic marketing side by side for my ambitious projects, though it’s not usually my main strategy, though it can vary a lot by industry. For example, there are certain industries, like Fashion, where an infographic might actually get your site much more exposure and links than you’d be able to get from just guest posting. Infographics like this one prove that infographics are far from being dead when it comes to their link acquisition prowess, no matter what some others claim.

My #1 affiliate strategy for making money online might actually shock you. It is – building authority sites instead of typical affiliate sites. I moved away from building typical affiliate sites because every site I work on, I have some emotions attached with, and it feels devastating to get your site wiped off Google just because you built some risky links to it. Matthew Woodward’s Blog is a good example of an authority site that earns heavily from affiliate marketing. I typically try to build sites that look nice, provide real value to the users, and won’t just get de-indexed tomorrow. They’re really worth it in the long run, because even when you’re out of time to manage all your affiliate sites, you can sell some for a hefty price on Flippa.

Lisa IrbyLisa Irby 2CreateAWebsite.com Twitter

The two most important criteria for me is my experience with the product and commission. Maximizing your earnings with affiliate marketing has a lot to do with product commission, but what really convinces people to buy is credibility.

I like to show that I’ve used the product and more importantly HOW I use the product. Anyone can say “This product is great!” but if you can show how it’s worked for you that’s even better.

spreadshirtEarnings

Since I started with affiliate marketing, the strategy that has always worked best is using contextual links. I’ve had minimal success with banners and almost zero success with paid ads, but mentioning products I use in relevant articles works so much better.

The reason this method converts is it’s very subtle and doesn’t scream “I AM PROMOTING SOMETHING.” And to make the strategy work even better, offer helpful information in the article as well. The key is to provide balance between informing and promoting.

The best strategy is to start by building yourself up as a credible person that people trust. That takes time and it’s something many new affiliate marketers fail to do.

It’s tempting to just throw ads and links up on your site, but remember, people come to your site thinking “How can you help me?” Make helping your reader your number one priority and you will find that you will convert at a much higher rate.

patrick-coombePatrick Coombe PatrickCoombe.com Twitter

For the past 6 years I’ve been in the same niche. For 5 of those years I have been running the same offer. When you develop a relationship with the advertiser and they are transparent about their systems, payouts, etc it makes for a very long-term and lucrative relationship.

I generally look for offers that do a good job of qualifying the customer in a landing page. I am not a fan of doing pre-sales or landing pages for my offers, so I try to find offers that wrap this up in a neat little package.

ABT – Always Be Testing. For the most part, I haven’t changed my strategy over the years however as far as creatives go, that is something that always needs to be testing. New ad formats are coming out everyday almost for so many different ad networks so you need to constantly evolve. Even for direct media buys formats and delivery is always changing so you need to constantly test to see what works and what doesn’t.

One of the biggest mistakes I see new affiliates making is copying creatives from other campaigns. Yes affiliates might be able to figure out a successful creative but what they don’t realize is that creative makes up 5% of an overall campaign and only works successfully if implemented correctly and the targeting is nailed down to a T.

The most successful affiliate in the world could send me all of his ads today and they wouldn’t be worth squat if I don’t know how to target this from a demographic standpoint. What works for 20 year old college kids in the USA will not work for 35 year old employed moms in the UK.

I’ve remained successful at this by keeping this answer to myself. I am a very big believer in sharing information and being open, but certain things you need to keep to yourself especially when it is paying your bills and supporting your family.

I will say this: I don’t do anything fancy. My setup is extremely basic. I don’t use any tool that costs me over $50 / month (with the exception of servers and equipment) and I don’t use any kind of new methods or fads.

Affiliate marketing is very simple: find an offer you think you can promote, then find a traffic source that has the right demographic of people that will convert. Everything else in between that is details.

Nauf SidNauf Sid AffPayday.com Twitter

Here’s my criteria for selecting affiliate products:

  • I am looking for at least $20 per sale.

  • Decent reputation of the merchant (no history of scammy products).

  • Sales/Landing Page.

  • Adequate amount of promotional tools (banners, CTAs, etc)

  • Support.

If any program fits these, I usually go for it.

My #1 marketing technique for promoting affiliate products is to create informational (not promotional) content with a genuine recommendation. It works so well because users are very well aware of CPA offers and affiliate products now and recommending a genuine product establishes trust.

Going overboard with promotions and flooding the users with offers often backfires and is a strategy of the past in my humble opinion.

Niche sites. They work very well as I create a mix of informative and promotional content. With niche sites, getting traffic and SEO costs involved are minimal and ROI is high if done right.

Luke KlingLuke Kling LukePeerFly.com Twitter

My audience will determine what affiliate programs and products I decide to promote to them. I prefer to try to build an audience before I choose what to promote to them. For example, I have many Facebook Pages in quite a few different niches. One of them is for the TV show It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. I search for products and programs directly related to It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and then I’ll do a small test through one of my channels I’ve created for that audience. I have multiple Facebook Pages in that niche, Twitter accounts, email lists, Tumblrs, etc.

I typically start my test on Twitter because although Twitter will usually bring in the least amount of sales, the users on Twitter are quick to reply to my tweets and tell me exactly what they think of them. So, if I find a cool new shirt from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia or I want to promote the latest episode using Amazon Instant, I’ll post a tweet on Twitter about it and track the response (engagement, replies, and clicks). If the response is positive then I’ll start to promote that product on my other channels. I’ll post it on the Facebook Pages, send out an email blast, etc.

I don’t force my marketing material on my entire audience unless I know that the response is going to be good. It doesn’t matter what the payout is because if the response is good then it will get sales and even if it doesn’t get sales, the next product might and I’m still providing my audience with the content they want, not what I want to sell them.

My #1 affiliate marketing strategy is probably marketing products through social media like I mentioned above. I like building social media audiences in niches that I enjoy because I can get feedback so quickly and I know if I enjoy the content I am publishing, it’s likely my audience will as well. I have been able to make a lot of money from my social media affiliate marketing and at the same time created provided a ton of value to my audiences I’ve created.

The-Rock-Facebook-Page-CoverThis has worked well for me and it can work well for you to. Whatever your product or sales strategy is, you will have a much easier time making money if you build an audience that you provide value to. Provide value, provide value, and then find a way you can continue to provide value, but make some money as well.

Peter SandeenPeter Sandeen PeterSandeen.com Twitter

I only promote products and services I’ve used. I also have to trust the people behind the offers because I’m recommending them. Also, I don’t promote anything if I know of a better option on the market. And, of course, I only promote things that fit my audience and business model.

I almost always promote them with emails. And typically I host a live webinar, which is what I’m actually promoting with the emails. Email is the best way to keep in touch with people and webinars reach higher consistent conversion rates than any other sales tactic.

What makes affiliate stuff worth the hassle is the ability to “sell” things your audience wants but you don’t have. In other words, look at affiliate promotions as a way to fill the gaps you’d otherwise have to fill with your own products. If you do that, your audience will feel almost like they’re buying directly from you.

steve-scottSteve ScottDevelopGoodHabits.com Twitter

There are lots of things that are important parts to finding affiliate marketing programs.

  • A high commission

  • A quality sales page

  • Decently high gravity (if it is on Clickbank)

All of those things matter and are important (specifically a good sales page), but for me they are not the most important factors.

The first is question I have to know is will a product will resonate with my readers and email subscribers:

  • Does it answer a specific question that they have?

  • Does it help them solve a problem that they may be having?

If the answer to any of these questions is “No”, I stop considering the product—regardless of how good everything else looks.

The next step is to buy and peruse the product myself. Does it provide valuable information?

Does it answer everything it claims to?

Perhaps most importantly — if I knew nothing of the topic that I would feel the program was a worthwhile investment?

Again these all need to be “Yes” answers.

For me, my readers and my email list is far more important than any sales. This means I promote few affiliate programs. But when I do—they convert, because many of my readers understand that I vet the products I endorse.

I have three top promotion techniques, for both affiliate products and any of my books:

  • Email list

  • Email list

  • Email list

I hope that drives the point home.

email-blogging2I started Affiliate Marketing over 10 years ago. Long before I ever started writing eBooks. The single best piece of advice I ever received was about the power of building your own email lists.

I cannot stress enough how powerful an email list can be. Specifically when you treat them with respect and caring. Give lots of good stuff for free, search for really good deals, and be careful about the quantity and quality of the promotions you do send their way.

Over the past few years I have made a pivot away from AM. I started writing eBooks as a way to build my email list and drive customers. Ebook writing quickly became more profitable than my marketing, so my primary AM strategy is now not really affiliate marketing at all, but writing and marketing my eBooks.

I will say that my AM past has helped me to make my eBooks a success. My almost fanatical zeal for building email lists, has allowed me to grow a responsive list for my books, which helps to make most of them successful out of the gate, and can allow me to invest a few thousand dollars in each books production (covers, editing, audio and print editions), knowing that I will easily recoup this cost.

So while writing eBooks is not “really” an affiliate marketing strategy, I would say that my success has been strongly influenced by my marketing past.

Evgeniy GarkaviyEvgeniy GarkaviyProject4Hire.com Twitter

When I am selecting an affiliate program, I tend to use these five checklists:

  • How much commission is the merchant paying? If it is too low, I pass. If it is too high, it strikes me as suspicious so I pass on that as well.

  • Reviews, check out what existing affiliates are saying about the program I am thinking of joining.

  • What is the reputation of the brand? These days brand reputation is very important. People are more likely to buy a brand they have heard of.  

  • Is the affiliate partner’s website user friendly? People will not sign up if usability is poor.

  • What reporting system do they have? If they have a nice, simple to use reporting system, that is great.

First of all, I create a good review of the product on my site so that my readers could be sure that it works well for me and hopefully, it will do the same for them. I tend to use newsletter to promote my affiliate products.

I strongly suggest choosing what you promote carefully, only very high quality products are worth promoting. This way, you get a good commission and your reader/followers get a good product. Win win for both of you.

My preferred techniques are:

Article marketing. This will help you build credibility, you will also get good links to your site and probably better site rankings in Google.

– Paid advertising. I’m certified Adwords specialist and I can say that good PPC campaign can bring you a lot of quality traffic. Which means it will convert into good commission for you.

– Free advertising. There are some forums where you can promote your affiliate program. You just need to have a trusted account so other member give a fair hearing to products you are promoting.

Temitope OdurindeTemitope Odurinde Temi.uk Twitter

The product has to be one that I know something about. With my knowledge of the product, I can write about it and recommend it with some authority.  When you have deep knowledge about the product you are promoting, you will not just talk about it authoritatively, you are also likely to find a sub niche within that product/industry you can exploit to your advantage.

Search marketing has always worked for me. This is where it is important that you have some knowledge about the product you are promoting. I tend to create a website or a section in one of my existing website for a new affiliate product. I then populate the site with quality contents relating to the product in question and target keywords people looking for that product are likely to use to search for it online.

This significantly reduces you cost of acquiring customers compared with PPC. It’s a much slower process than pay per click but when your get the site ranking well, it rewards you for a very long period.

The best affiliate strategy from my experience is to spot an up and coming brand and get in there before it become too popular. When companies/products are new or are just starting to use affiliate marketing, they tend to be very generous with their commission and give you a lot of help including marketing help.

Once a company/product becomes well known and successfully, they tend to make their commission less generous and you get less help. That is usually the time to leave that product and look for the new kid on the block.

Dave UrsilloDave Ursillo DaveUrsillo.com Twitter

I will only recommend programs and products that I’ve not only personally used and enjoyed, but have paid for (or that I’m still paying for). It’s a matter of personal opinion and taste, but I don’t want to recommend products and services to my readers and clients that have been given to me at a discount or for free. 

My favorite marketing techniques for promoting affiliate products are the most natural, organic and helpful to readers. I enjoy writing occasional blog posts on my site, DaveUrsillo.com, that recommend a set of interest-specific tools, services or products. As a writer who works with writers, one of my favorite techniques (which is also very organic, not forced pure affiliate purposes) is to create a round-up list of books (with Amazon affiliate links) that might help the reader in a direct and specific way (ie, for getting deeper into one’s yoga practice, or for setting new creative goals for the New Year, etc.)

My top affiliate strategy is to be extremely sporadic and sparing with what I recommend and when I recommend it. In a very noisy, cluttered online world, I don’t believe it’s helpful or necessary the best strategy to constantly refer readers to tons of products, services and tools. Less is more. Affiliate marketing relies upon the referred party having a level of trust and confidence in the referrer, and so it’s a quick and slippery slope to over-recommend things when all you see is dollar signs. But it comes at the cost of trust.

Suzanne BaranSuzanne Baran ContentStrategist.CarbonMade.comTwitter

Typically companies I’ve worked with and for tend to seek a. ease of use, b. network access, c. full support, d. customized analysis insights and recommendations.  Hard rule: look for Commission at 60% or more — that’s the ideal to shoot for.  The juice isn’t worth the squeeze unless you earn a high minimum per sale.

Creating a strong message map, copy which is clear and articulates takeaway value and the free WordTracker (or similar tool), to check up on the number of niche search terms. 

A good market has plenty of niche search terms with relatively little competition. Find the sweet spot or angle in promoting and packaging a product or service thoughtfully — stand out among competitors

There is no one hard and fast rule or formula to crack the psychological code of knowing each persona’s intent. 

Hire an experienced content strategist with omnichannel chops and SEO savvy. Someone who can include each piece of the puzzle and know which pieces to exclude, move or integrate into the whole digital strategy/landscape. This will save money in the long run – investing in the right person so you can focus on meaurement and management. Work with CRO experts and content strategists. ABA – Always be asking “would you click on this?” Poll immediate friends and family who may be out of the market scope. Any intel is valuable feedback.

Rohan AyyarRohan Ayyar E2mSolutions.com Twitter

The first and foremost criteria is that visitors to your site must want to buy and expect to be sold the products that you’re promoting. I ask myself this question every single time: “Does the target audience want this product?”

Without innovation, there is no marketing. Before I start marketing an affiliate product, I do my best to differentiate it.

Most products are boringly similar to many others and most marketers are employing the same (or even better) techniques as you. So the only way to beat them is to add uniqueness and value to the products’ existing proposition. This will give you cascading benefits when you utilize online marketing channels. As Rae Hoffman said, “Google doesn’t hate affiliate sites. Google hates shit affiliate sites.”

Caveat: Unless you’re Amazon, you need to be super-interested in the niche and have first-hand experience with the products to keep doing this.

The #1 affiliate strategy that no one really talks about is building relationships. You can have the top products, the best deals with the merchant, and an enviable website and readership, but without endorsement from industry influencers, you’ll never rise to the top. I constantly cement my relationships with influencers in the verticals I’m working on to keep gaining more referrals and credibility.

Erik EmanuelliErik Emanuelli NoPassiveIncome.com Twitter

First, you need to understand your audience, discovering what are their needs and problems.

After you know why your readers are visiting your website, you can start promoting affiliate programs that are relevant.

You should only promote quality products, after you have personally used or tried them.

I find writing honest and clear reviews the best way to generate revenue from affiliate marketing.

Be sure to understand the product first and then offer it to your audience, because you know it will be interesting and useful for your readers.

Don’t look for high paying affiliate programs, but for relevant products for your users.

Promoting your posts via your social media accounts is a great way to market them.

Also, optimizing your content for search engines can bring you good traffic, which converts.

But your blog readers and your mailing list subscribers should be your first base of fans to offer the best affiliate products.

Don’t fool your readers. They trust you.

So offer them just relevant products, in response to their needs.

You worked so hard to establish your good reputation and you want to promote affiliate programs that your audience will like

It’s your personal experience with the product that makes your offer so attractive to your readers.

Writing detailed tutorials and how to guides is the best strategy for me. Also WordPress plugins like “Maxblogpress Ninja Affiliate” works really well, by adding keywords which will be converted automatically in affiliate links within your content.

Marcus MillerMarcus Miller BowlerHat.co.ukTwitter

Our core business is search and online marketing so any affiliate programs we engage with have to add to value to our clients and naturally expand our own offering. Our clients trust us to provide them with the right services and help them understand what they need (and what they can ignore) so we are always looking for products & services that have a real reason to exist and remove some pain for our clients. 

Affiliate marketers all have the same (tired) techniques and strategies to push their products: email marketing, testimonials, squeeze pages, copywriting etc. The real strategy here is the targeting – if you have a product that is highly relevant to your customers / list then these techniques will all work so the best technique is to fine tune your lists and ensure you are preaching to the soon to be converted! 

As with marketing techniques the road is well traveled so our strategy is a little different – we only promote products that we use, are extremely happy with and our well experienced in the use of. This gives us the knowledge and heartfelt ability to recommend this product to our clients (and our clients clients etc). Ultimately, don’t just try and peddle any old junk to a list of random prospects. Look for products that can really help and that you are adding value to the recipients business by using. 

Sarah ArrowSarah Arrow Sarkemedia.com Twitter

The product must be worthwhile and not full of hypey claims or language that doesn’t resonate with my audience. As Brits we tend to think “if something is too good to be true, it generally is” and tend to steer clear of those kinds of product. The program itself must spell out how payments are made, how frequently and what their refund policy is. A guarantee and refund policy should also be made clear on the sales page.

Also my audience tends to like text as well as video, so if a sales page has both it will will start to align with my audience and therefore be more successful.

Email marketing with honest reviews. Again, reviews that are honest are the backbone of my affiliate marketing. I tell my audience if I’ve bought the product, why I’ve bought it and what my plans are for it. I mention products that are similar to the product and state that if they have these products they do not need the product I’m talking about.

I include video demos of me using the product or link to a page with the product in action. As I don’t promote everything I’m asked to, and I’m quite selective, my audience does take a look and listen to what I have to say. My list have been with me for some time, if I wasn’t honest they’d call me out on it, and I’d lose their respect all for a few quid.

I’ve been emailed quite often to by my subscribers to say they wait for my emails when a product goes live as they love to hear what I have to say, and then buy through my link. That never ceases to delight me

Building relationships is my number one strategy. Being respectful of my subscribers and not pitching them 7 days a week is a big part of my strategy. Getting to know them, getting to understand their business issues and then reviewing a product that can support them is what works best for me. A typical affiliate promotion will generate a lot of email interaction with me and the purchaser before they press buy, so I have to build good solid relationships before anything else.

jim-wangJim Wang MicroBlogger.com Twitter

They need to be a good fit for my site as well as reputable companies that readers recognize. When it comes to money, people are always on high alert and so it’s difficult to promote companies that aren’t well known. They need to be a great fit as well otherwise you begin to lose credibility with your readers. You have to act as a gatekeeper and if you promote everything, you’ll lose a lot of trust, which is your most valuable asset.

I use blog posts that answer specific questions and addresses pain points people have in that area. So if the product is an credit card, I might write a blog post that addresses features of that card that people might be interested in. I try to discuss topics that lend themselves to being shared on social media. The marketing technique would be the blog post but then I’d rely on social media to get additional reach.

The #1 affiliate strategy is to build an audience and then find products that work well for them. I think that if you go at it from the other direction (find an audience with a product in hand), you may come off as a salesman. It’s like infomercials late at night, it’s better to be like Oprah and build an audience before a product appears.

Reginald ChanReginald Chan WPChronicles.comTwitter

Relevancy and personal experience.

Affiliate marketing is all about selling a product to a person (in this case, readers) that relates closely to them. This means that that product need to be relevant enough to solve their problems.

Personal experience is important because all these are useless if you have not tested the products. The last thing you ever want to do is to promote a product which doesn’t solve the problem.

Authority is probably the best word here. There is absolutely no point sharing something that you know, no one is going to listen to you.

When you are authority enough, people will trust your words for it and give it a try. I would say affiliate sales affect phycology a lot.

For me, tutorials work best. While I made decent earnings from reviews, tutorials are usually the ones that score big.

My goal is point them to the right spot and go the extra mile by providing a step by step solution as well on how to use it etc.

I want to thank everybody who made this expert round up come alive.

Don’t forget to spread the love and take these golden nuggets to the bank. Just because you’ve found this information freely available on the blog it doesn’t mean it should be taken for granted. I could have easily asked a price for it, and make some money in return. That wasn’t my intend though.

Now, get out there and make a difference!

John Gibb.

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12 thoughts on “28 Expert Affiliates Reveal How to Make Serious Money Online Promoting Other People’s Products

  1. A fantastic roundup of experts here.
    There are so many interesting and useful affiliate marketing tips.

    I really appreciate you including me in this post.
    Thanks John and Codrut.

    Just shared via Twitter and Google+!
    Erik recently posted…AboutMy Profile

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