Shareasale is sponsoring this intensive session about affiliate marketing with Karen Garcia, Greg Hoffman, and Joe Sousa. They have a combined 45+ years of experience in the field.
Influencers and affiliates have many options when it comes to monetization:
- sponsored posts
- product reviews
- paid placements
- social media
- Google Adsense
- individual affiliate programs
- email sign ups
- podcast sponsorships
It is always best progress to diversify and have multiple streams of income.
Influencers and Affiliates
- goals are focused on impressions and brand awareness
- usually a one-time flat fee payment or free product in exchange for content creation
- occasional long-term ongoing campaign partnerships
- goals are focused on clicks and sales, as well as customer acquisition
- payments based on sales, usually with no upper limit
- payments are ongoing: a post with evergreen content can continue to drive commissions for years
Affiliates should expect managers to…
- process applications in a timely manager
- provide updated campaign assets (links, banners, info, etc.) on a regular basis
- communicate regularly with affiliates
- be easy to contact directly
Affiliate managers should expect affiliates to…
- place links on their sites, social media, etc. appropriately
- follow program and network terms and conditions
- adhere to FTC guidelines (seriously, this is a big deal)
- contact us for help and clarifications
Common Questions about Affiliate Marketing
How do you find good programs to join?
Google, sites like Shareasale, brand pages
What matters more, commission or conversion?
Conversion is what you should care about, as it’s what gets you paid.
Why did I get declined?
Most of the time, it’s because there’s a typo in your application information. Other times, it’s because you have old blog information, or your blog is completely irrelevant to the brand.
What should I do so my application will be accepted?
Update your blog information. Contact affiliate managers individually to talk about it. “Greg told me to apply for this.” Personal relationships matter.
What do affiliate managers look for when reviewing prospective affiliate partners?
Does your site actually work? Is your .htaccess information set up properly? Oh, and affiliate marketers talk to each other. If you are performing well, they may pass your information along.
What creative works best?
Product pictures work best with a call to action. The banners get people’s attention, but the text links are what people click. Contact affiliate managers if you don’t see banners in the size you need for a certain space. Using three text links and a banner or product placement is ideal.
Can’t I just promote everything through Amazon?
They have a very low commission rate, and cookies only last 24 hours. Other programs may have cookies that last for 120 days. Also, many brands are pulling their products off of Amazon because of counterfeiting and other issues. You can keep working with Amazon, but if you work with other programs, you can have a higher earning potential.
Successful Promotion Strategies
- tutorials (great example of how to cook the perfect steak)
- resource pages
- gift guides (use different price points, don’t stress about the specific product)
- product reviews (merchants often can’t send product, but they can send gift cards; pointing out flaws is a good thing)
- comparison posts (many managers love this, but some merchants don’t)
- contextual links (FMTC.co)
Go to your top posts and add affiliate links to those manually. Then you can use things like Skim Links to add affiliate links
Additional Technical Jargon
- Cookie duration – how long you’ll get paid for a sale after your reader clicks your link; the bigger the brand, the lower the cookie duration
- EPC – earnings per click
- Attribution – if you as a content affiliate were the first point of contact but a coupon site closed the sale, affiliate managers will protect you for the effort you put in and make sure you get more of the commission than something like RetailMeNot
- Nexus – interstate commerce laws can make merchants have to charge sales tax, and some affiliate programs will have to cut people out because the state you live in makes it too difficult to work with you. (it’s not your fault!)
If a merchant doesn’t allow you to put other affiliate links on the page with theirs, you don’t want to work with that merchant. Similarly, merchants with products on Amazon don’t like it when you promote their affiliate program and link to the product on Amazon.
If you were declined by a merchant a few years ago, reapply. The manager probably isn’t still there. Even if they are, if your site has grown and flourished, you can talk to the affiliate manager and ask them to take another look.
Instagram doesn’t last. If you take photos of products you use affiliate links for, link back to a blog post you’ve written on that, and have your affiliate links there. Your Instagram pic will be gone in days.
Use link shorteners in social media because some platforms mess up your affiliate links. Pretty Links is the top recommendation here. Pretty Links will also prevent sites like Pinterest and reddit from overwriting your affiliate code.
P.S. Update your media kit. (This is definitely a note to self, too.)
There was a lot of information in this session, and I wasn’t able to capture all of the nitty gritty tips. Sometimes you just have to be in the room where it happens, but these were the main points!