Earn Extra Cash with Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn extra holiday cash. It can be something where you make money as quickly as two weeks after you begin, but some options don’t pay for two months after you start earning, so if you’re gearing up for holiday income, you need to get started early.
There are several ways you can make money as an affiliate. We’re going to go through your options so that you can start preparing your own campaign to earn money promoting other people’s products!
Cash in By Promoting Information Products
Information products are just like this one – the marketer has found a need for a target audience and creates an ecourse that solves their problem. For instance, your need is more cash around the holidays – and this information product is guiding you toward a solution.
There are information products in a wide range of categories! You can promote things such as:
· How to cure a health problem (weight loss, acne, GERD – you name it)
· How to excel at a craft (like sewing or knitting)
· How to improve relationships
· How to gain confidence
· How to make money
· How to garden
· How to be a better parent - or pet owner
So the best thing you can do is launch your own blog where you discuss one of the topics that interests you. When you act as an affiliate, you’re getting a commission whenever someone buys a product through your link, which has your ID in it.
The first step is to go through and figure out which niche and topic you want to write about. Go sign up as an affiliate at a site like ClickBank.com and go into the marketplace to see what’s there.
Once you choose a niche or topic, grab a domain name that you can promote products on – through reviews or informative content that tells what the products are all about.
If you’re writing a review, many marketers will be willing to send you a complimentary review copy. This should never mean that you give them a positive review just because they gave you a freebie.
Your goal is to guide your target audience toward the best products, and help them steer clear of products that you see as a waste of money. When you make sales, you’ll be paid two weeks later through ClickBank.
Some other sites pay instantly to your PayPal – and some marketers, who have their own self-run affiliate program, take much longer to pay, so you want to know the terms and how fast you’ll be paid for your holiday needs.
In addition to writing reviews on your blog about these products, you’ll want to start building a list of subscribers so that whenever your next review comes out, you can send out an email to let them know it’s ready!
Send traffic to your blog to read the review, and on your blog, you can have banner advertisements that promote other information products. You can place them strategically below your blog header or in the sidebar of your blog.
You can look for upcoming products that are releasing soon and get invited to be a Joint Venture partner – or an affiliate – so that you capture some of the early sales to help with your holiday expenses.
Get Your Christmas Paid for Promoting Tangibles on Amazon
Around the holidays, sales spike enormously online – especially on sites with household names like Amazon.com. Consumers often get free shipping when they order something from there – plus, the store sells everything from movies and music to workout equipment, furniture, and more.
The great thing about being an Amazon Associate (which is what they call their affiliates) is that shoppers don’t usually just buy one thing – they tack on tons of items.
They might go there for a blender that you review on your kitchen appliances site – but they also tack on that new book they’ve been wanting, a toy for the birthday party their child’s been invited to, etc.
When Halloween and Christmas seasons roll around, sales soar! You can see hundreds of dollars in commission coming through each day. Your commission grows in percentage as you level up with more items sold to consumers, so you might start out near 4% but quickly be earning 7%.
As for payment, though – Amazon pays two months out. Now if you start earning early, like in September or October, you’ll get paid in November and December. But even if you start late and don’t get paid until January and February, it will be a relief seeing those Christmas bills quickly and easily paid off.
What does it take to become an Amazon Associate? Well first of all, they want you to have a site. This part is super easy. You can go to a site like www.godaddy.com and buy a domain for about $10 (for a dot com).
Then get some hosting from a company like HostGator.com (this should cost under $10 a month). They have an easy blog platform publishing button in there called QuickInstall.
You just push that button, fill in the information it asks for, and it will install a WordPress blog for you that you can write your Amazon product reviews on and link to the product to make some sales.
There are many ways to write reviews, but basically, customers are looking for things like:
· The best quality
· The best value
· The best ingredients or materials
You can give them a list of specs about the product, but a consumer who goes online looking for more information wants more than just what the manufacturer details are.
They want to know what real customers have to say, and you can gauge that from the reviews you read on Amazon. Sometimes the customer reviews have a wealth of information about the product that can help you decide which products you should promote on your blog and which ones you should avoid.
You never want to promote items with an average star rating less than 3 – and even then, a 3 is iffy at best. It’s better to promote 4- and 5-star products, because that shows consumers have a certain amount of confidence in them – and you don’t want to make sales, only to have a bunch of returns show up in your commission statement down the road.
Make sure you follow all rules as an Amazon Associate because you never want to wake up one morning and discover that your entire account has been shut down.
There are many guides that specifically teach you about how to be an Amazon Associate – just make sure you don’t follow any shady advice that might get you into trouble.
Check out the Deals Amazon has going inside their Associate Center, where they will tell you for instance, if the toy department has a 20% off sale going on, or if there’s a special event, like a release of the Football Kickoff items for the current year, you can get a link to that promo and write about it on your blog.
Use Squidoo if Amazon Associates Aren’t Allowed in Your State
Not every state has a green light from Amazon for its citizens to be Amazon Associates. There’s a big quarrel between Amazon and some state governments about taxes, so they sometimes pull their affiliate program.
If that happens, you can always incorporate in another state – or save yourself that hassle and start building what are known as Squidoo lenses to take advantage of the Amazon Associates program.
Anyone can sign up and use Squidoo.com for free. You can build as many pages (also known as lenses) as you want to. They are picky about making sure people adhere to their rules – and you need to stay on top of them when they make an announcement about a rule change.
For example, you can’t have more than 20 Amazon links on your lens. That includes links you place on there as text and links using their built-in tools, which we’ll go over shortly.
Once you sign up for the site, go through the rules and see what’s allowed and what’s not. The community does a good job of supporting each other and helping newcomers get the hang of making great lenses.
You can create accounts where, instead of blogging, you put your unique content right on the Squidoo lens – personalizing it with your own insight, stories, and ideas.
Mixed in with this great content you develop will be links that lead out to Amazon.com. There are two ways you can use Amazon links. First, you can create a text hyperlink that is placed right inside your article.
So for instance, if you were writing a lens about parenting made easy – and one section of your lens talked about easy lunches, you might mention the Bento Lunchbox Containers and create a hyperlink just like that.
To do that, you’ll use text hyperlink HTML code when you place it on your lens, like this:
<a href="url">Link text</a>
The URL that you place in there will be the link you get from Amazon for whatever page you’re promoting there. To grab that, all you do is click the “Link to this Page” at the top of the Amazon page and it will generate your codes with your affiliate ID in it so that you get credit.
The link text will be the name of the product. Or, you might link to a category by saying something like this: “View the entire section of Lunchbox Containers here.”
When you use a text hyperlink, you’re driving traffic straight to Amazon through your own affiliate ID, so you get 100% of the commission that you’re allowed. But there’s another way to use Squidoo for Amazon commissions.
The second way you can profit using Amazon on Squidoo is by using their built-in Amazon modules. A module is a section of the page, and Squidoo offers many of these content building blocks, like text modules, Amazon modules, video modules, and so on.
An Amazon module lets you pick products or paste the URL of a product into the module and it will present the reader with a thumbnail and some basic information about it.
It looks very professional and there’s a place where you can (and should) add your own bit of personalized commentary. For instance, you might show a picture of a set of satin or flannel sheets and add a comment like this: “I love these sheets because they keep you so warm in a chilly climate, and I live in Wisconsin, so I need all of the warmth I can get on a cold, winter night!”
Those little tidbits might not seem interesting, but it helps you develop trust with your reader because you’re not just spouting off cold, hard facts – you’re sharing credible details they like to know before they buy!
Many people love Squidoo because it’s easy to use if you don’t know how to build a website, and it’s 100% free for you to use, so if you’re on a shoestring budget around the holidays, this can help.
Since Squidoo will be earning the commission and then paying you, you still have to wait the obligatory 2 months to get your commission. They great thing is, these pages can earn you money for years!
Consider Other Affiliate Services as a Supplement
Amazon isn’t the only game in town, either. There are many other options for you, and let’s look at two of the major players when it comes to tangible items you can get a commission on to increase your holiday cash!
Commission Junction is also known as CJ and it can be found at CJ.com. There, you can sign up as a Publisher, which means you publish content and want to make money off of that content – specifically with links from Advertisers on their site.
You can have the money you earn direct deposited right into your bank. What they’re looking for, in order to approve you, is a domain of your own with good content on it – it’s as easy as that! So you can set up your blog and start adding good articles early so that your approval will be swift.
Once you get approved by Commission Junction, you can search the marketplace and apply for approval from their vendors. Their vendors will have the ability to allow you the chance to promote their products – but they can also decline if your site doesn’t live up to their standards.
With this site, you get paid for a current month’s sales the following month. So if you start promoting in September, you’ll get paid for those commissions in October – just in time for the holidays!
Share-a-sale is another program you might want to test out. They have major retailers like Gymboree, Adidas and more. You can find their program at ShareASale.com.
They’re similar to how Amazon and Commission Junction work. You sign up and wait for approval. Then you apply for approval from each merchant (which Amazon doesn’t require).
Whereas Amazon has a set commission rate based on the number of items you convert into sales, CJ and Share a Sale allow merchants to determine their commission.
So for example, you might see when you log in at shareasale.com, that Craftsy is paying 30% commission, $1 for all referrals, and has a 60-day cookie. Other similar stores might only offer 10% commission, no referral tip, and a 30-day cookie.