In the past, large affiliates were the mainstay, as catch-all coupon and media sites gave traffic to hundreds or thousands of advertisers. This is not so much the case anymore. With consumers using long-tail keywords and searching for very specific products and services, influencers can leverage their hyper-focused niche for affiliate marketing success. Influencers may not send advertisers huge amounts of traffic, but the audience they do send is credible, targeted, and has higher conversion rates. 
2nd tier.  If you are an affiliate for a particular program and you refer others to sign up for that affiliate program, a 2nd tier program will pay you when the affiliates you referred make sales. For example, I am an affiliate for Ultimate Bundles. If you join their affiliate program via my 2nd tier affiliate link here. I will get a small percentage of any sales you make going forward.
The fact is that most of the bigger companies that offer products and services for affiliates to promote use larger affiliate networks to position their offers. Some of the bigger affiliate networks include ClickBank, CommissionJunction, Rakuten's LinkShare, Impact Radius and countless others. Sometimes, like with the case of Fiverr for example, they run their own affiliate networks so you would apply directly to the company.
Great article, Zach. The one question I have is about hyperlinking the brand name with your affiliate link. Isn’t it a little annoying for the reader if the brand name is hyperlinked throughout the article? It may even seem obvious to the reader that the blog is promoting an affiliate product. In an article with 1000+ words, a brand name may be mentioned at least 10-15 times. Do you suggest hyperlinking the brand every time?

ClixGalore is a pay-per-action affiliate network that offers various types of programs, including PPL (pay-per-lead), PPC (Pay-per-click), PPM (pay-per-impression) and PPS (pay-per-sale). Several well-known brands use this affiliate program, such as Citibanks and Fox sports Shop. The program also offers a two-tier network, in which bloggers can refer other affiliates to the network and receive a portion of their earnings.
In effect, VigLink works as the middleman between a publisher (blogger) and merchants by scanning the publisher’s content and automatically creating links to publishers that are chosen “in real time” based on their payout/conversation rates. This makes VigLink a very hands-off affiliate program for publishers who prefer to focus on content instead of managing their affiliate links.
Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.
Two-tier programs exist in the minority of affiliate programs; most are simply one-tier. Referral programs beyond two-tier resemble multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing but are different: Multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing associations tend to have more complex commission requirements/qualifications than standard affiliate programs.[citation needed]
When beginning your affiliate marketing career, you’ll want to cultivate an audience that has very specific interests. This allows you to tailor your affiliate campaigns to that niche, increasing the likelihood that you’ll convert. By establishing yourself as an expert in one area instead of promoting a large array of products, you’ll be able to market to the people most likely to buy the product.
His blog became wildly successful. At roughly the same time, V2 Cigs informed him of their affiliate program where they paid out 50% commissions. That was Henry's "aha" moment. Almost immediately after adding those affiliate links onto his blog, his income exploded. He was making over $30,000 per month and it was passive income. He was on top of the world.
On Hotels.com, users can quickly and efficiently search for hotels and compare price, quality, rating, location, amenities and availability in real time. Hotels.com offers customers the best value for their hotel, and with Price Guarantee, if you find a cheaper price elsewhere, Hotels.com will match it. Our loyalty program Hotels.com® Rewards now has over 15 million members who can benefit from exclusive prices and get a free hotel night for every 10 nights booked (subject to Hotels.com Rewards terms and conditions as set out at www.hotels.com). With a fully responsive mobile site and mobile app with over 50 million downloads to date, customers can book on the go with access to 20,000 last minute deals.

Always make affiliate links nofollow. Google’s goal is to provide its users with the best possible search results to their search queries. One of the main ways they figure out which webpages are the best is through links. The Google bots crawl the web, reading text. When they come to a link, it’s like an open door. They follow the link (walk through the door) and explore the site you linked to.


Know when to wait. Some affiliate programs require a certain level of traffic, subscribers, etc. If that’s the case, I say it’s better to wait to apply for that program instead of applying and hoping for the best. You risk being labelled the person who can’t follow guidelines and you might also risk not be allowed into the program when you do meet the qualifications.
Said to be the largest affiliate marketing network in North America (though it operates globally) and claiming the number-two spot in the 2012 Blue Book of Top 20 Affiliate Networks for being “the best at balancing the relationship between the merchants, the network, and the affiliates,” California-based Commission Junction, owned by ValueClick, Inc., offers affiliate, media, and tracking services and provides either a self-management or company-managed option for your affiliate relationships.

However, be aware that you need to submit an application to most of these networks to be accepted. Once you're accepted in, you're often required to apply directly to the merchant afterwards. So there are two layers or gates that you need to bypass. That's also why it's important to build up your platform and create that emotional bridge between yourself and your audience before attempting to promote anything to them.


Content is marketing’s king but it is also the most difficult to create and manage. IVY rocks at creating, managing and promoting your custom content.  Ad copy, news and feature stories, blogs, newsletters, website content, direct mail, videos, social media and the many things you want to say about your organization need a compelling voice. We research it, write and design it, clarify it, then track to show how your magnetic content is being seen and heard.
Once you've built your platforms, you need to develop and nurture your audience. Reach out and connect with them on social media channels. Respond to their emails. Engage with them in comments. Don't make it difficult for them to reach you. You need to connect with your audience and develop that relationship over time. Henry tells me that if you succeed at creating this emotional bond or connection, people will follow you, trust you, and more often than not, buy whatever it is that you offer them.
There is serious competition in the affiliate marketing sphere. You’ll want to make sure you stay on top of any new trends to ensure you remain competitive. Additionally, you’ll likely be able to benefit from at least a few of the new marketing techniques that are constantly being created. Be sure you’re keeping up to date on all these new strategies to guarantee that your conversion rates, and therefore revenue, will be as high as possible.

You can sell affiliate stuff if you did not use the stuff but a high, high, high, really high level of clarity is required to do this. Most bloggers lack this clarity. I recall Tony Robbins selling/being an affiliate for a $25K coaching class. Never took it. Never sat in it. But the guy made millions. He had full clarity in selling without seeing. So he rocked out the selling.
Let’s say you have a promotions page where you’re promoting a product via affiliate links. If you currently get 5,000 visits/month at a 2% conversion rate, you have 100 referrals. To get to 200 referrals, you can either focus on getting 5,000 more visitors, or simply increasing the conversion rate to 4%. Which sounds easier? Instead of spending months on blogging, SEO, and social media marketing to get more traffic, you just have to increase the conversion rate by 2%. This can include landing page optimization, testing your calls-to-action, and having a conversion rate optimization strategy in place. By testing and optimizing your site, you’ll get far better results with much less effort. 

Win-win-win. The advertiser wins because they only pay when a purchase is made (as opposed to the shotgun approach of paying to advertise to the masses and waiting for a small percentage to actually buy). The affiliate wins because they make money while providing helpful advice. The customer wins because they get a trusted recommendation for something they might not otherwise have known about.

You always get Vovéo's A team because they don’t have a B team. From beginning to end, Vovéo is readily available and quick to respond. Not only did they deliver a beautiful, simple and intuitive website, but they displayed through their attention that they truly value our business. They are efficient, capable, creative and smart. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a strong marketing partner.– Geoff Koontz, GM Health Sciences & VP Corporate Marketing, PuriCore
Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.
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