How I made over $100,000 through affiliate programs

Over the years, through affiliate links, I have made as much as $4,000 in one day and up to $20,000 over the Black Friday Cyber Monday season. How did I do that? I found some techniques that really help in propelling affiliate link sales. It is not as simple as just calling a product the best. Good affiliate profits come from compelling writing, providing good reliable information and constantly look for deals and at the numbers.

I learned how affiliate links work the hard way. I spent years crafting articles to see what worked the best and what made the most money. Here of the few of the things I have learned.

Provide a service for the consumer. You do the research so they don’t have to. You tell them the pros and cons of each product and you give them away to compare.

Tell the truth. Readers know when you’re making something up. Your writing has to be confident and show that you know what you’re writing about.

Know the market. It’s all about specifics and what readers need help with. When a new smartphone went on sale that everyone wanted I contacted the cell phone company and found out how their pre-order system worked. I let readers know exactly when pre-ordering started and also gave return information as well as when the smartphone would be delivered.

Know what people want and their price point. Some items may be priced too high for most people until the price becomes affordable. For many years it was near impossible to get a 9-inch tablet for around $100. Every time I saw a tablet around $100 or free from a wireless carrier I would link to it because I knew that is what people were looking for.

Compare. Compare. Compare.  Buyers want to be confident that they have made the correct decision. People like to compare items – apples to apples and oranges to oranges to see the pluses and the minuses. One of the most successful tools for affiliate sales are charts of comparisons of different products.

Keep numbers simple. It is very difficult for most human beings to hold more than a few numbers in their head when making a decision. When you keep your pricing the same and simple, it is easier for consumers to make a decision. That’s why car dealers and Realtors downplay the actual price of the house or the car and continually point out how much a person pays a month.

Freebies sell. People like getting something for free be it a free case, free earbuds or free shipping. That free item could be enough to get the sale.

Make clean links. The link should take the reader at the point in the information to the sale site when you think they are ready to buy. Putting the affiliate link in the wrong place is not helpful. Links too early in the article make no sense. If the links are really ugly and big people don’t click on them because they think of it as advertising. The link must be clean, simple and easy for readers or they will not click on the link.

Summarize. For people who don’t have enough time to read the entire article or review, always have two areas of summarization. A summary at the beginning entices the reader to read more. A second summary at the end with links in it get the reader to the sale. You can be very technical in the meat of the article but then give a summary of what is good or bad about the item. People want to know what they should like about the item.

Use data wisely. Most affiliate programs show you what kind of profits are made from the top-performing links. Look carefully at what the information is being portrayed and why that link might be working well as far as writing and design. Also look at what links are working the best and you may see a pattern about the links to see why they are working so well or not working. After testing,  I found that the lengthy descriptions supplied by the affiliate programs were ugly and too long. I had to keep with the guidelines of the affiliates however I found ways to make it prettier and more sale-friendly.

Know your competition. If you notice your competition is not covering a certain product, and you know there is a high demand for the product then cover that product. Sometimes there is a niche that you can carve out that brings in readers and affiliate sales because your competitors are not covering that product line.

Avoid copy and paste. If you copy copyrighted material from other websites, Google and everyone else knows it. It may be hard to be creative but it really helps to have original writing about the affiliate product.

No follow. It is also really important that your software embeds “no follow” links and your audience knows that your company makes money from affiliate sales. Be sure that you research what is required and that you also maintain the guidelines of your affiliate programs.

Things to look for:

  • Quality products that you would want to buy. It is very likely that if you’re willing to buy something that other people would like it too.
  • New affiliate relationships. Sometimes you can sell an ancillary item to something that you are already selling.
  • Trends. If there is a trend towards some kind of service that is burgeoning and you think there is a need for that service or product, there may be an affiliate program for it.
  • Special/bounties from your affiliate program. Your affiliate program may offer special bounties. At one point for Wireless and Mobile News, we were getting 50 to $75 per sale per item due to bounty programs. Unfortunately, the affiliates stopped offering the bounties.

As long as you are honorable and help people find and buy the things they really want at the best deal, you will see your affiliate balances grow.