Affiliate Marketing For Dummies
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Success for the affiliate marketer boils down to lead generation and finding as many targeted eyeballs as possible for the offer you want them to see. Here, you discover the top ten methods to get those eyeballs onto the affiliate link you’re offering.

here are literally hundreds of ways to market your affiliate offer, but the marketing strategies you find here are generally easy to do and essentially cost-free strategies. More importantly, they have been used profitably by successful affiliates. Drum roll, please . . .

Guest blogging

The advice you frequently get from marketing folks about your affiliate business is to do blogging to some extent. But for beginners that usually means starting from scratch and with no audience. Is there a way to short-circuit this process?

Don’t get us wrong — blogging is good, especially for beginners. But you might consider doing some guest blogging, which entails providing content (an article or perhaps a video or audio) to someone else’s blog.

Why do this? You’re doing an exchange: You provide them with content, and they, in turn, give you a ready-made audience. If you have an affiliate link to a great pet product, for example, then why not give some good content to a pet blogger who may have thousands (or more) readers (or subscribers) for you to get some great exposure? If thousands see you and (especially) your affiliate link, then this will be a tremendous boost to you (and your potential affiliate profits)!

The best way to find guest blogging opportunities is to go to your favorite search engine and do a specific search for “guest blogging” + “[your topic].” There are also great blog directories and listings online such as Blogarama, Bloghub, and Best of the Web’s blog directory. If you want to drill down on blogging as a serious component of your affiliate marketing business, check out the latest edition of Blogging For Dummies by Amy Lupold Bair (published by Wiley).

SEO strategies

Having people do a search online and find you and your offering (in this case your affiliate link to a suitable offering) is an important approach for you. When people are searching for a product or service, that signals possible intent to purchase the product or service.

Search engine optimization (SEO) helps you by maximizing the content on your site so that visitors have a much easier time finding you when they are doing their searches. The better that affiliates perform SEO strategies on their blogs, sites, opt-in pages, and so on, the greater the chance that customers will end up clicking on the affiliate offers you present.

Getting a “pre-sold” prospect — a prospective, prequalified buyer for the product or service — coming to you is indeed the holy grail of affiliate marketing. After all, if they are going to buy anyway, they may as well do it through your affiliate link.

Social media marketing

In recent years, social media has become the ubiquitous beast that it is today. Just about everybody (including the Pope) is on social media. It’s generally free to get an account with venues such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and other popular social media platforms. Being on social media is now a natural part of the communication environment, and affiliate marketing is really about communicating the value of your affiliate link or offer to as many folks as possible.

Here are some examples of affiliate marketing on social media:

  • You’re in a Facebook group whose members are pet owners, and you’re active as an affiliate for merchants in pet products and services.
  • You’re on Pinterest posting books on nature and the environment, and each picture is accompanied by an affiliate link to that book on Amazon.
  • You are a skier and are in a Meetup group for skiers, and you’re an affiliate for a skiing products merchant.
  • On LinkedIn you post a great article on job-hunting strategies, and this article has your affiliate links to job-hunting resources.
  • As the latest controversy on Twitter rages about, say, organic umbrella stands, you chime in
  • (Your idea goes here.)
The only things limiting you here are your enthusiasm and creativity!

Don’t be overpowering or too aggressive with your affiliate marketing on social media. Constant, pushy salesy-ness is a huge turnoff on social media, so figure out how to do affiliate marketing in a soft-sell, friendly, and judicious manner. Presenting the right offer to the right market in the right way results in greater affiliate success. The last thing you need after you painstakingly build a large following on Twitter or LinkedIn is to see them “unfollow” you in droves over what your audience perceives as obnoxious sales pitches. How quickly can you say “backfire”?

YouTube marketing

On YouTube, you can find millions of videos on virtually any topic ranging from bacteriology to that guy wearing gorilla suits jumping off roofs into tiny pools. Fortunately, there are plenty of affiliate marketing opportunities here for you. Here are some YouTube marketing points to ponder:
  • Get a YouTube channel (free!) and create a video on your topic with your chosen equipment (video camera or smartphone), and then place affiliate links in the description.
  • Some affiliates do a review video on the given product or service and have the affiliate link posted in the description.
  • If there is a popular video on your affiliate topic, think about how you can take advantage. Some affiliates do joint ventures (JVs) with the video content creators and split the profits.
  • Some affiliates buy advertising on YouTube so their offer is made available on popular videos.
The point is that YouTube has powerful marketing features that savvy affiliates have consistently profited from, so consider this venue for your marketing efforts as well.

Email marketing

Email is typically the foundation of communication for millions of folks. Since email marketing is essentially sending a (hopefully persuasive) message to someone’s inbox, it is indeed fertile ground for affiliate marketing. That is truly an understatement.

Email marketing for affiliates ranges from that initial email soliciting the reader to visit a landing page to sophisticated email campaigns making multiple offers or simply staying in touch with e-zines (“electronic magazines” or newsletters sent via email).

The great thing is that sending an email is essentially free, and for mass email distribution, free or low-cost services are available for you to “scale up” your email marketing efforts.

Content marketing

Lots of folks are looking for free stuff — right now, as you’re reading this. Free stuff includes content that takes the form of online videos, audios, e-books (Kindle or PDF formats), how-to reports (typically in PDF or .doc formats), infographics, PowerPoint-compatible presentation files, and so on. Content marketing is so varied that it could easily be its own book or course, so here you find a batch of ideas of how content marketing can have a great impact on your affiliate marketing business:
  • You just wrote a five-page report titled “17 Tips for a Healthy Dog” that you make available for free to dog lovers. There are affiliate links inside the report to dog products/services. This report can be made available on your blog or website or through email marketing.
  • You do a brief, free course as a presentation slide such as “Six Steps to Great Tomatoes,” and each slide includes affiliate links to gardening products relevant to tomato enthusiasts. The presentation can be provided free at sites such as Slide Share.
  • You do an infographic that provides an informative chart such as “The 12 Most Important Facts about Your Liver,” and you embed an affiliate link to product offerings for liver health.

E-book publishing

Publishing an e-book is certainly a form of content marketing (see the preceding section), but it has its own unique characteristics that are good for affiliate marketers. Think of the possibilities.

What if you had a 20-page e-book on fashions (because you are an affiliate for a merchant that sells fashions, of course) and each page had your affiliate link? And what if that e-book were a Kindle book on Amazon, with the potential to reach thousands or millions of potential buyers? Some people give away e-books for free hoping that the book will spread like wildfire, meaning more folks clicking on the affiliate links inside those digital covers.

Still others put in extra content to make that e-book worth buying plus the e-book has those affiliate links inside (double profit potential — sweet!). The marketing potential here can be great. Given that, go to the major e-book platforms and see how others are marketing their e-books and how they are including affiliate marketing.

The main e-book platforms/formats are as follows:

  • Kindle e-books: Find out how to create a Kindle e-book at Kindle Digital Publishing.
  • Apple Books: Publish e-books through the Apple network and other platforms. Find details at Smashwords.
  • Adobe Acrobat: Publish your book as a PDF using Adobe Acrobat software and other services.
  • NOOK: You can find this format at venues such as Barnes and Noble.

Joint ventures

When you think about it, affiliates and merchants are really one of the most basic forms of joint ventures (JVs) — two or more parties that join together to share in the profits of a mutual venture. In this case, as the affiliate, you are the lead-generation JV partner being paid with affiliate commissions, while the merchant is the content provider (product or service) JV partner paying you commissions while keeping a portion of the sales amount for their costs and their portion of profits.

Meanwhile, it behooves the ambitious affiliate to consider becoming a merchant so that you, in turn, can take JV opportunities to a more powerful level.

Media interviews

There are plenty of radio, TV, audio, and video programs that have an ongoing need for content, many primarily through having interesting and compelling guests for the benefit of their audience. So why not you?

If there is a program on gardening and you are an affiliate specializing in marketing garden products (and of course you know something about gardening), you would make a natural guest. They have an audience interested in that topic, which means you have a targeted audience to whom you can introduce yourself and your offer.

The most obvious approach here is to find those programs that specialize in your topic, which is easy using your favorite search engine. Use terms such as “podcast + [your topic]” or “radio program + [your topic].” You can also explore sites such as iHeartRadio, iTunes, and Podbean.

When you’re interviewed, it will be too difficult or awkward to provide an affiliate link during (or at the end of) your interview. Given that, a memorable website domain name tied to your topic is essential. If you’re being interviewed about the benefits of sleep, for example, then mentioning your website with the same name works, and if that site is loaded with sleep-product-related affiliate links, you can then count dollars in your dreams instead of sheep.

Smartphone apps

The idea of creating a smartphone app may sound like it might be out of reach for most folks, but not anymore! Yes, some years ago it was too “techie” to do, even for a programmer, but today’s app-building tools and services now bring it within reach for any marketer — even for those with modest budgets and those who can’t even spell “app.”

The concept of a smartphone app is quite simple. It’s really a batch of content such as news and posts typically including a collection of software programs. The app usually has a particular topic or theme, ranging from hobbies to business topics.

A pet-care app issued by a local pet store, for example, may have the latest news and views from the pet-care industry along with tips and how-to posts for pet enthusiasts. In addition, it may have a reminder calendar for the pet owner for events such as veterinarian visits and other pet events.

In the midst of all this content in the app are your affiliate links, of course. Since so many people are moving their computing and shopping needs to the smartphone, affiliate marketing becomes as easy as a few taps on the screen.

With this affiliate marketing strategy, you can turn your smartphone from a cost center to a profit center (without the need to do a selfie)! To find out more about how to create smartphone apps and the latest marketing strategies, go to

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Ted Sudol is a longtime affiliate marketer who has developed and sold several affiliate marketing websites over the years. His current sites focus on affiliate marketing and precious metals investing.

Paul Mladjenovic is the bestselling author of Stock Investing For Dummies. He’s a Certified Financial Planner as well as a national speaker and home business specialist.

Paul Mladjenovic is a renowned certified financial planner and investing consultant. He has authored six editions of the bestselling Stock Investing For Dummies and is frequently interviewed by media outlets including MarketWatch, Kitco, OANN, and more.

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