Affiliate marketing is an effective way to earn money online with little or no financial investment, or technology know-how. All you need to have is content, an audience and time.
If you already have content (e.g. blog, editorial, social media content) with a decent number of followers or traffic but aren’t participating in affiliate marketing, it’s time to consider taking advantage of this lucrative revenue stream. The good news is that not only is it easy to get started with affiliate marketing, you decide which brands and products you promote and share with your community.
We spoke to Cate Rosales, a California-based blogger Sweet & Simple Life, on her experience with affiliate marketing and how she has been successfully earning a sustainable income from her blog. According to Cate, the beauty of affiliate marketing is that it allows people to earn money from simply filling a need for other people:
“You’re essentially making money from doing what we all do anyway – recommending products and services that help the people we care about. How many times have you encouraged a friend to purchase a certain kind of coffee, or laptop, or car, because you had a great experience with that product? How many times have you sent a link to your mom when she wanted recommendations for a new vacuum or television? How many times have you shared a coupon for a free product or a free trial of something? We all do it. We try something, and if that ‘something’ is awesome, we share it with other people so they can benefit from it too. That’s the beauty of affiliate marketing and that’s why affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to earn income online.”
Using Cate’s experience along with other successful Awin publishers, we’ve collated the below step-by-step guide to help new publishers to get started with Awin. This guide is also helpful if you’re an existing Awin publisher looking for some best practices on optimising your reach. If you are completely new to the concept of affiliate marketing, we recommend you start with our Affiliate Marketing for Beginners guide before signing up to Awin.
Step 1: Create an enticing bio on your profile page
Your publisher profile is your first opportunity to engage with retailers and brands, known as advertisers. This is where you outline who you are, what you can offer, and any other important information you want potential advertisers to see, such as your website. What type of information do advertisers normally want to see?
Cate pointed out that advertisers are usually focused on website stats (number of monthly visitors/ followers, demographic) and conversions.
“Even a new blogger with a small audience can bring incredible value to an advertiser if they have an audience that wants what they’re promoting. The best way to convince an advertiser to work with you is to show them that you have an audience that truly wants what they offer”.
Step 2: Find advertisers and products/ services to promote.
Next is to apply to specific advertiser programmes you want to promote. Awin works with over 15,200 advertisers offering millions of products for customers across the globe. While this vast selection means that you will most definitely find something for you/ your audience, selecting suitable advertiser programmes might be an overwhelming task. So how do you choose which advertisers and products/ services to promote?
Cate suggests you should start by asking yourself the following questions: what does my target audience want and need, and what Awin affiliate programmes provide those tools, products, and services?
“The beauty of Awin is that they provide all of the tools and resources you need to be successful. But you can only be successful if you are filling a need for your readers. If your target readers are searching for cleaning supplies, don’t partner with advertisers that are selling kitchen appliances. Only partner with advertisers that provide tools, products, and services that your target audience can benefit from”.
To make your search easier, use the search and filter function in the Advertisers > My Programmes. We recently launched a new dynamic Product Availability report (currently only for UK & US) that allows you to find alternative retailers for the products you’re promoting and quickly gather product links with affiliate tracking already applied.
Step 3: Start promoting your chosen products
Now that you have decided which products to promote and have the approval from those advertisers, you are now ready to promote your chosen offers on your website or social media channels.
In order to get commission from the sale you drive, you need to make sure affiliate links are displayed on your website. There are generally several promotional methods which you can use depending on how you’d like to display your promotion, whether via product feeds, display banners, vouchers and custom links/ deeplinks.
“The two promotional tools that I think every content creator needs to be familiar with are the deep linking feature and the promotional graphics and banners. These two tools provide everything you need to get started promoting products your audience will love – clickable affiliate links and clickable affiliate images”
If you are a content provider such as an influencer, blogger or have an editorial site, and would like to promote individual/ specific products, you need to take the product links taken from the advertiser’s website and transform them into affiliate links using the Linkbuilder tool found under “Toolbox” tab in your Awin account.
If you offer price/ product comparison or shopping directories and would like to link to numerous, different products without having to generate a deeplink for each, you can get an entire list of products and advertiser offers (includes the name, description, price, and a deeplink to that product page) via Create-a-feed or Product Feed List Download.
Additionally you can promote via banners and voucher codes which can be found under Toolbox > My Creative (for banners) and My Offers (for voucher codes).
Step 4: Take advantage of Awin plugins to automate and optimise your work
Awin offers variety of tools to help you automate your work and optimise your earning.
Cate’s absolute favorite Awin tool is the MyAwin web browser extension:
“It makes my list articles so insanely easy to write and link to my affiliate products. Essentially, you simply attach this extension to your web browser and then you can turn any of your Awin affiliate programme products into affiliate links with a simple click – you don’t even have to login to Awin directly."
You can skip the time-consuming work of creating affiliate link and focus on creating content by activating Awin’s automatic link conversion tool Convert-a-link. The beauty of this tool is that an affiliate link is created automatically when a standard link is clicked on (providing you have been approved onto the advertiser programme, otherwise it will create an automated application to the corresponding programme), hence it minimises the chance of expired or broken links. This means you can still earn revenue from your old content without having to updates links.
Another must-have plugin you should take advantage of is the Tracking Optimisation plugin. This feature enhances affiliate links on your pages by utilising the most accurate sale tracking methods possible to protect your commission. It removes any Ad Network redirects, therefore satisfying the needs of privacy-conscious browsers and consumers as well as creating faster load times for consumers. This results in less site abandonment and increased conversion rates.
Both the Convert-a-link and Tracking Optimisation plugins are part of Awin’s Publisher MasterTag, which allows publishers to access the best in class technology from Awin and our partners. To activate these, simply follow the two-steps integration described in the Publisher Mastertag tab in your Awin account.
Step 5: Track your performance
Awin offers various reports to help you better understand your performance, such as clicks, sales and commission per link, and to subsequently optimise your affiliate strategy. The Advertiser Performance report details the performance of advertisers you are promoting, which is useful for determining which advertiser partnerships are successful and which ones you may want to further develop to increase performance. The Creative Performance report details the performance of your creatives over a set period of time, which is useful for determining the effectiveness of individual banners, text links, or any piece of creative. Other reports include Performance Over Time, Product Performance, Device Performance and Payment. To learn more about the reporting on our platform, watch this YouTube tutorial here.
With various metrics to look into, Cate suggests to give an extra attention to EPC:
“I always focus on EPC (earnings per click). And I always want to make sure that my EPC meets or exceeds the average EPC of publishers in that programme. If I’m not meeting or exceeding the average EPC for that advertiser programme, that tells me that I’m either promoting a product that doesn’t provide value for my audience or I’m not thoroughly presenting the opportunity or motivation to click and buy.”
As a closing remark, Cate gave a piece of advice for those who just started their affiliate business:
“Think of your affiliate marketing journey like a business. Every successful business is focused on serving their customers and providing products or services that their customers want. With that in mind, we have to stop trying to write about what WE want to write about and start focusing on what our readers want from us. Find a specific target audience to focus on and then give them what they need. When it comes to business, we have to follow this process: see a need, fill a need, get paid. It’s that simple. If you treat your blog and your affiliate marketing strategy like a business, you can be successful!”
Feel free to check out Cate’s blog for various affiliate marketing tips and tricks.
To start your affiliate marketing journey with Awin, sign up here. Upon login in to your account, you can download a comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide for new starters (under the notification banner). You can also ask any platform-related questions to the Awin Publisher Success Team.