Can I Share Affiliate Links on Facebook and Twitter?

Can I Share Affiliate Links on Facebook and Twitter?

All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means I’ll receive a commission for any products/services you purchase through them. It’s not a lot, but enough to help keep this blog up and running!  Thank you for your support!

Earn up to $7500 for one sale!

The short answer to this question is YES. If you’ve decided to start sharing your affiliate links with your followers on Facebook and Twitter, you can.  There are a few steps you have to take to ensure you are disclosing your affiliate links properly so that you are in compliance with FTC rules.

What Are Affiliate Links?

I’m assuming by now, if you searched for and are reading this article, you have already signed up with great affiliate programs such as ShareASale, and are looking for guidance on how to properly share your affiliate links on social media. In case you are completely new to it, affiliate links are links provided to you by merchants to place on your website, blog, social media, email campaigns, etc. that promote their products, and in exchange, reward you with commission every time a lead or sale is generated. Many bloggers use affiliate links to make a lot of extra income! For more information on how to make income using affiliate marketing, read my post, 20 Secrets to Affiliate Marketing Success.

How Do I Get Started Sharing My Links on Facebook and Twitter?

Become a member of an affiliate marketing platform. If you aren’t a member anywhere, I highly recommend ShareASaleRead my review of their affiliate marketing platform. It’ll give you step by step directions on signing up for individual programs and choosing the best links for your campaigns.

Sign up for merchant programs that interest you. You are going to be able to search for so many merchant programs to join, and you will be tempted to join them all. Let me stop you right there:  Be picky. Be selective.  Be smart. Only join affiliate programs to promote products you believe in and use yourself. If you go with ShareASale, here is a list of a few programs I joined just to get you started:

Candy Club

Tailwind

Book Outlet

Gymboree

Little Passports

The California Wine Club

Grab a link. Now that you have signed up for merchant programs, you have access to all of their creative materials. You will want to grab a text link from the merchant’s affiliate marketing page that you will use to guide your readers to that merchant’s page. Before you throw the link out on Facebook or Twitter, I highly recommend using a URL shorter.  Google URL Shorter is a very popular and free service you can use to do this.  DO NOT manually try to shorten your affiliate link, or make any other changes to it. Doing so will prevent proper tracking of traffic to the merchant’s site, and more importantly, you’ll lose out on income!

Write a compelling post. Don’t just throw the link out on Facebook or Twitter and hit publish. Statistics show readers are more likely to engage with affiliate links if there is valuable information shared with them. Share how you use the product and all of its benefits you love.  The more personable you make it, the better.  Oh, and don’t forget to throw in that shortened URL at the end of your post. Many times Facebook will automatically include an image, but if not, you can save images from the banners inside the merchant’s affiliate site, or find some of your own to include.

Disclose your affiliate relationship. Now that you have a post written, don’t hit publish just yet. You must clearly indicate that your post is an affiliate link. What does this mean?  You must state that you will receive compensation for any purchases made through the affiliate links in your post. If you want more information on what the FTC considers proper disclosure, I recommend their very own FTC Endorsement Guide.  For Twitter, using #ad or #sponsored is acceptable.

Tag your merchant in Facebook. Facebook requires you to “tag” merchants whenever sharing affiliate links as they are considered “branded content.” You must sign up through Facebook to do this. For detailed instructions on this process, see Facebook’s Branded Content Policy and Tool.  Failure to properly tag branded content in your post will cause it to be rejected.

Share at an optimal time. Do your research on the best times to share content on Facebook.  I use Hootsuite to do this for me automatically.  Scheduling your posts at the best times increases the chance of post engagement.

Don’t over share. You are going to be tempted to over share your links in an attempt to increase clicks and sales. Resist!  Find a balance that works for you and your readers. The more links you share at one time, the less valuable your content will become.

Are you ready to get started? Go ahead and have fun!  I’d love to hear your affiliate marketing success stories – especially ones that deal with social media sharing!

Interested in more about affiliate marketing?  Maybe one of my other posts can help!

 

Are you looking for the best affiliate marketing secrets and tips? Here are my 20 best tips for you to become successful at affiliate marketing today.

20 Secrets To Affiliate Marketing Success

This post contains affiliate links

Hey there!  Are you looking to monetize your blog through affiliate marketing and have no clue how to start?  Does it make you feel like a sleazy car salesman? Today’s post is all about understanding exactly what affiliate marketing is and how you can get in the know about the secrets to making a solid income with it.

20 Secrets To Affiliate Marketing Success

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing, at its most basic definition, is offering a merchant’s products and services on your blog or social media in exchange for a set commission. Some merchants offer a set percentage of the sale, while others offer a flat dollar amount. One of the most popular affiliate marketing companies (and my favorite) is ShareASale. Now, you’ve read my posts about ShareASale in the past, and hopefully know how much I love working with it.

Affiliate marketing can be a win-win for both you and the merchant you’re promoting. Their products get promoted and sales come in, and you earn cash for simply recommending and advertising their products from your site.  Cool, huh?

It’s not a requirement for you to purchase the products that you are promoting on your site, but it REALLY helps provide trust to your readers when they see you using a product you are promoting. The more you use the products you promote, the more knowledge you have that can be taught to your readers to help them become more informed and educated about those products.

My 20 Secrets to Affiliate Marketing Success

20 Secrets To Affiliate Marketing SuccessBe Selective About The Products You Promote: Promote products that are relevant to your blog topics. I wouldn’t promote health food if I run a technology blog, would I?  Don’t just sign up for every program based on the commission rate. If you wouldn’t use the product, don’t promote it

Incorporate Keywords: Most merchants will provide you with special keywords you can use in your posts to help drive search engine traffic your way. If you are having trouble identifying the best keywords to use, contact the representative in charge of the merchant’s affiliate program. More times than not, they will give you suggestions, techniques, and lists of keywords you can use to help you.

Don’t Flood Your Posts With Affiliate Links: Be careful of how many affiliate links you add to your posts.  Adding too many will make you come across as a desperate seller who is not interested in anything else but making a quick buck. My suggestion is no more than 1 affiliate link per 1,000 words.

Do Routine Checks On Your Links: Like any website, URLs can change. Performing routine checks to make sure your links work is crucial to maximizing your income. I highly recommend creating an Excel spreadsheet outlining all the posts that contain the links as well as the URL. Organizing your links makes it much easier to make corrections when the time comes. There is also a nifty online broken link checker you can run to give you a list of all the broken links on your site – not just the affiliate links.

Write More Product Reviews: Product reviews translate very well into sales. Google and other search engines really love reviews because they give readers insight into what they are looking to purchase. Reach out to some of your merchants and ask if they have any sample products they can send you for review and giveaway purposes. All of the affiliate sales I have generated have come from products I’ve reviewed and recommended.

Be Patient: Just like with anything, patience is a virtue. Do not expect immediate results. Keep sticking with your business plan and marketing strategy, and you’ll eventually see sales come through.  This will not happen overnight. Give it time and it’ll happen.

Add Affiliate Links To Old Posts: Don’t forget about your older blog posts. Look through them and find opportunities to insert affiliate links.

Be Aware Of Marketing Trends:  Keep an eye on what’s popular in your niche and what’s selling.  Different products perform differently.  Some may not sell very well, while others tend to sell quickly. If you find the products you are selling aren’t generating into sales after a while, don’t be afraid to make adjustments to your marketing plan.

Increase Your Audience Size:  Reader and subscriber growth is very important in developing a following on your blog.  The more readers you convert into subscribers, the more eyes that are going to read your posts. If you are writing high-quality blog posts, those views are going to translate into more sales down the road. Look for ways to promote your posts in the right places. For example, I am a member of many blogging Facebook groups.  I also run my own group, Blogger Share and Promo Group. Pinterest is also a steady traffic source for me.  I recently invested in Tailwind to manage my pins and ensure I am repinning appropriately.

Network: Affiliate marketing can be intimidating to new affiliates. Look for ways to network with more experienced bloggers to get advice and share tips with you for success. Blogger groups on Facebook are great for networking. Not only do you get the chance to share your own posts, but you get to read other posts and see what’s working for others.

Be Authentic:  Nothing is worse than stumbling upon a blog post where it’s clear that the author is just trying to sell you something. You know, those posts that say they are giving you 10 tips for something, but the whole article is split up with ads, teasers, and affiliate links. Don’t be like this guy! Establishing authenticity is very important.  If readers don’t see you as genuine, it’ll be the last time they ever visit your blog, and you won’t ever get a sale from them.  Be authentic in your product reviews. If you are reviewing an online graphic design service (like I did with my FotoJet review) and you find the service to be terrible, don’t pretend to like it just so that you can convince your readers to purchase it. Be honest, be open, and be trustworthy.

Don’t Promote A Product Only Once: If you really want to establish a solid income from affiliate marketing, you can’t set a link or a banner on a post once and never promote it again. Promote your posts over and over again to get a sustained level of exposure.

Be Creative: Promoting affiliate links is more than just putting a bit of code into your blog, or throwing up a few banners on the sidebar. Get creative with promoting your products. Have an email newsletter? Use it to your advantage to get the word out about your products. Find new and unique ways to get the word out there, and don’t be afraid to shift gears if your current methods aren’t working well.

Tell Your Story:  As is true in anything you are trying to promote or sell, making a connection with your readers is critical to gaining their trust. When you are promoting a product you truly believe in, tell your story.  Make the product’s value to you as personal as possible. For example, if I were trying to sell someone an iPhone, I would talk about how it’s long battery life keeps me from having to lug around my charger every where, or how awesome the camera is (yes, most of my personal images on this blog come from the iPhone 6!). Giving your personal testimony to a product’s value helps your reader understand how purchasing that product can add value to their life as well.

Be Cautious With Banners On Your Sidebar: If you use WordPress, it’s so tempting to throw a bunch of affiliate banners onto the sidebar. I urge you to be very cautious when doing this. The more ads you place on your site, the slower it will be.  You will also come across as only trying to make a quick buck. I have 3 Google Ads in my sidebar and that’s it. When I want to use banners, I put them inside my blog posts, include them in Facebook posts, and use them as images in Pinterest.

Disclose Every Time: You can’t include affiliate links in your blog posts, Facebook posts, or Twitter tweets without disclosing to your readers that they are there, and that if they click on them and purchase a product, you’ll make money off of it.  I know that sounds unnecessary, but it’s actually required by the FTC. If you are promoting an affiliate link in a Facebook post, you can write “Sponsored Post” or “Contains Affiliate Links” in parentheses. For Twitter, I usually use #ad or #affiliate. You must disclose each and every time!  The FTC can and will shut your blog down.  They are focused on protecting the rights of consumers, so if they suspect you are not disclosing, expect for your site to get shut down.

Promote To Family And Friends: Some of the best people to promote your affiliate links to are your own friends and family. Not only will they support you by sharing your posts, or maybe even purchasing something, they are usually very good about talking about it with their friends too. My mom recently bought some books through my Book Outlet affiliate link (this is an affiliate link – BOOM!  See how easy that was?!). Who knows, they may share so may times that your post will go viral!

Pay Attention To A Merchant’s Commission Structure: When you sign up to become an affiliate for a merchant’s products, you will have access to its commission structure.  Will you get paid a flat rate per sale, a percentage per sale, or only for leads? ShareASale’s affiliate application will tell you exactly what to expect.  So read it, or better yet, write it down.

Take Advantage Of Data Feeds: Product data feeds are simply files, usually in a format such as Excel, text, html, etc., that contain all of the information about your merchant’s products. The purpose of these files is to help you promote and sell products.  You, the affiliate, can take the information from the data feed and build individual pages for each product, or put more than one product on a page.  The advantage to having the data feed information is that you can get your site more exposure through search engines.  Most of the merchants you will find on ShareASale will have a tab containing their data feed products.

Have Fun: The more fun you have being creative in the promotion of your affiliate products, the more the fun will translate to your readers. Don’t be boring! Make each blog post interesting and find interesting ways to make your affiliate links fun. I know this is a challenge, but the better you present your information, the better the result will be in the end.

If you have more questions about affiliate marketing, feel free to email me at jeremy@goaskyourdaddy.com

For more information on Affiliate Marketing, see my other related posts:

Shop Blurb Online

Amazing ShareASale Merchant Programs You Must Join

Amazing ShareASale Merchant Programs You Must Join

This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase through them. 

If you are new to ShareASale, it can be overwhelming to figure out which merchant programs to choose. Every merchant offers different commission and bonus structures, but ShareASale makes it easy to read and understand all of the fine print before you even sign up. I’ve compiled a list of many of my favorite merchants along with their commission structure. Hopefully this is a helpful tool for you if you are just starting out with affiliate marketing. 

1stinCoffee – Sale Commission: 7.00%

A Gift Personalized – Sale Commission: 15.00%

Animoto – Sale Commission: 20.00

Avahost.net – Sale Commission: $50.00

BaseballRampage.com – 9% depending on store

Blurb – Sale Commission: 15.00% new customer transactions, 5% returning customer. $1 per book for any book store sales (http://www.blurb.com/bookstore), $10 affiliate referrals: Invite your website-owning and blogging friends to join Blurb’s affiliate program and earn $10 for each friend who’s approved

Book Outlet – Sale Commission: 10.00%, Lead Commission $0.25

Buycoolshirts.com – Sale Commission: 10.00%

Candy Club – Sale Commission: $23.50

CellSavers – Commission Rate: $10.00 per lead, $10 affiliate referrals: Invite your website-owning and blogging friends to join the CellSavers affiliate program and earn $10 for each friend who’s approved.

Checks Superstore – 25% Commission,VIP Commission Available. 2-Tier Bonus – $2 for Referrals Using the Join Text Link

ComboInk – 25% Commission on all products

Cricut – Earn 12% base commission and 15% on orders $100+, $10 affiliate referrals: Invite your website-owning and blogging friends to join Cricut’s affiliate program and earn $10 for each friend who’s approved.

Custom Ink – Sale Commission: 7.00%

Dancewear Solutions – Sale Commission: 6.00%

Dealflicks – Sale Commission: $2.50

FMTC – Sale Commission: 10.00%, Lead Commission $1.00, Referring users to FMTC’s Publisher Toolkit will earn you commission of either 100% of the first month’s payment (one time) or 15% of their annual payment (one time), by referring other qualified affiliates to their program you can earn $1.

GlassesShop.com – Earn 12-17% commission on each purchase plus performance incentives

Grammarly – Sale Commission: $20.00, Lead Commission $0.20, receive up to $20 per premium account upgrade

Gymboree – Commission: 8%

Hardware World – 6% Commission, 2-Tier Bonus – $2 for Referrals Using the Join Text Link

Identity Guard – Sale Commission: 35.00%, Lead Commission $.01

Just Shoes for Kids – Sale Commission: 12.00%

Kidorable – Sale Commission: 10.00%, Get 10% off on all orders

Little Passports – $15 PER SALE commission rate on all monthly payment and 12 month plans, $8 PER SALE commission rate on all 3 month and 6 month plans

Mixbook – Sale Commission: 15%

My App Builder – Sale Commission: 100.00%, Lead Commission $10.00

Pen Boutique Ltd. – Sale Commission: 5.00%, up to generous 20% commissions per sale

PicoBrew – Sale Commission: 10.00%

StuffedAnimals.com –  15% commission

Swap.com – Sale Commission: 15.00%

Tailwind – 15% recurring commission, $0.25 per lead commissions for current Tailwind users, volume-based bonuses + first sale bonus, commission bonuses for high-impact actions (writing reviews, creating a video, case study, etc.)

The California Wine Club – Sale Commission: 15.00%

Virtual Sheet Music, Inc. – Sale Commission: 25.00%

Wyzant – Lead Commission $6.00

How I Made $256.39 With My Blog in April 2017 [Income Report]

How I Made $256.39 With My Blog in April 2017 [Income Report]

This post contains affiliate links. 

April 2017 Blog Stats

I’m really happy to share my monthly blog and income reports with all of you today. I’ve been blogging since November of 2015, and it’s been a roller coaster ride ever since.

April has been a busy month.  In addition to my normal post frequency, I’ve been receiving more sponsored posts as well as products to review. I enjoy doing different things and trying new ideas with my blog, so I have been very welcoming to new challenges that come with these types of posts.

Top 5 viewed blog posts of the month:

Highest referring social media outlet: 

StumbleUpon– 475 views

Link clicks:  

ShareASale.com – 16 clicks

Total unique visitors: 

1,928 (-295 from March)

Total page views: 

2,677 (-1,060 from March)

Total likes:

1 (-2 from March)

Total comments:

5 (-30 from March)

Total Facebook Likes:

1,431 (+ 4 from March)

Total Instagram Followers:

1,684 (-10 from March)

Total Twitter Followers:

 1,856 (+79 from March)

Total Pinterest Followers:

7,446 (+294 from March)

Total Google+ Followers: 

38

Blogger Share and Promo Group Members:

124 (+ 31 from March)

Blogging Tools and Tips Pinterest Group Board Collaborators:

52 (+10 from March)

INCOME REPORT

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links
Save 10-20% on select Majestic Cool Base and Flex Base jerseys + Free Shipping on Orders over $50 at MLBShop.com through 3/17

Have you ever wondered how all of these other bloggers are becoming so successful with affiliate marketing? If so, this is the post for you. Affiliate marketing can seem so overwhelming at times, but it doesn’t have to be.  I’ve put together a detailed guide on how to sign up with ShareASale so that you too can be on your way to success.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

To keep it simple, affiliate marketing is when bloggers like you or me sign up to promote a merchant’s products and services in exchange for a commission.  When I place a merchant’s links within my blog post (or use banner ads), I get commission when a reader clicks on the link and that click leads to a purchase.

There are all kinds of merchants available for promotion. The good thing is that there are so many merchants that we have the ability to only sign up for programs that interest us.  As a daddy blogger, I look for merchants that sell products related to my niche.  I never promote or recommend products I don’t believe in or use.

Why Would I Want To Spend Time On This?

Affiliate marketing allows bloggers and site owners to earn income based on their sales performance with their merchants. While starting off can be a little slow before you start seeing income roll in, it’s a great method to earn extra passive income.

I won’t lie to you today about the work needed to succeed in affiliate marketing. It takes a lot of time to craft blog posts in such a way to make your readers not feel like you are just trying to sell them something. Trust me, the first time they feel that way, it’ll be the last time they visit your site.

Hopefully, you started blogging because you are passionate about something. You want to share that passion with others. From time to time, you have products or services to recommend your readers that will be a value for them.  This is where affiliate marketing is at its best. By blending in the links with your blog posts, you can make your readers feel like you are truly offering a product or service to them that will better their lives.

Throwing up banner ads like there is no tomorrow, or putting a million affiliate links all over a blog post may eventually lead to sales, but it won’t lead to reader loyalty. Be smart about when and where you place the links.

I didn’t receive my first commission until November of 2016.  I spent months perfecting the best ways to introduce those products to my readers. I will say that persistence pays off with affiliate marketing – just like anything else in life.

How Do I Join An Affiliate Marketing Program?

Joining affiliate marketing programs is easy.  The first step is to choose which affiliate marketing site you want to use. You don’t have to narrow it down to just one, but for the purpose of this post, I’m going to talk about ShareASale’s Affiliate Marketing Program (see my recent review of ShareASale).  

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

Once you have signed up to be an affiliate with ShareASale (join here using my referral link), you can select from thousands of merchants and apply with the click of a button. Most of the merchants manually review applications and usually respond within a few days. Some of them automatically approve you. Aside from a few occasions, you should receive approval for every program for which you apply. Don’t be surprised, or discouraged, though, if you do get declined from a program. Many programs have minimum guidelines you have to meet for them to accept you, but these are few and far between.

In ShareASale, click on the Merchants tab and then Search For Merchants

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

The Merchant Search will allow you to search for merchants based on popularity, age, sales volume, etc.  You can either type in a keyword into the search field, or click on any of the links.  I like to look at the Top 100 PowerRank on occasion and see if any of those high performers fit my blog’s niche.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

I performed a search for Major League Baseball because opening day is a few weeks away and I wanted to see if there were any affiliate programs with great deals on merchandise to coincide with opening day.  When I hit search, I get a list of 41 affiliate programs associated with Major League Baseball.  The list tells me if the merchant is in the Top 100 PowerRank, when they were activated on ShareASale, their merchant ID, commission structure, and more details about the program.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

I’m interested in joining MLBShop.com’s affiliate program, so I clicked on the link to the left that takes me to their program’s affiliate application.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

A pop-up box will appear with the merchant’s affiliate program agreement. READ THIS!  It is important information you will need to know in order to remain an active affiliate for this merchant’s program.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

Once you’ve read the program agreement, you will need to click the radio button that confirms you agree to the merchant’s agreement and then hit Join This Program. This particular merchant also requires that I agree to release my email and phone number as a part of the program application.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

Once you have submitted your information, you will get another pop-up that tells you your current approval status.  Most of the time, it will say Pending.  If an affiliate automatically approves you, it’ll say Approved in green.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

Once a merchant has approved you as an affiliate, you get access to promotional tools you can use to promote the merchant’s products in your blog posts, social media, or email campaigns. Promotional tools include banners, coupons, or promo codes. Adding links is as easy as copying the special tracking URL assigned to you and pasting them into your blog post.

Let’s take a look at one of my existing merchants that I promote – NFLShop.com.  I really love this particular merchant’s program because they almost always have great deals and coupons to offer readers.

Once I’ve opened up the program from my dashboard, I see several tabs across the top of the page – Text Links, Banners, Deals/Coupons, Datafeed Products, Product Showcase, Make-A-Page, and Create Custom Link.  Not all merchants will have the same tabs at the top.  It all depends on what they have chosen to offer to their affiliates.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

Text links

This is the tab the site defaults to when you open up the merchant in your dashboard. It is just what it says. As you can see, I get the text link’s individual ID, the description of the text link, its category, a preview of what the link will say, when it was modified, and a link to get the html code.As I look through the list, I try to find a link that fits within the blog post I’m writing. For this example, let’s say I am writing a post about Eddie Lacy. He’s been in the news lately so I want to talk about it with my readers.  I see that NFLShop.com has a 2017 NFL Free Agent Class Seattle Seahawks Nike Game Jersey.  You can either do what I just did – add the link to custom text, or use the html link and plug it into your html editor in your blogging platform (for me, that’s WordPress) to have the link automatically show up.  You can do it either way. I love this because it allows me to be creative in how I promote this product to my readers.

The custom link that I copied and pasted as a hyperlink inside my custom text is the link that will record any clicks, and more importantly, sales, that have been generated by readers who have clicked them. This is why it’s very important you copy and paste EXACTLY how they appear on the merchant’s site. You don’t want to lose any potential sales!  Here’s what the actual hyperlink looks like when you copy it from the merchant’s page. Don’t ever paste this link by itself in a blog post. It looks unprofessional.  Always, always, always embed the URL inside custom text!

http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=983219&U=1350177&M=52555&urllink” rel=”nofollow”=

When you click on Get HTML Code, you’ll open up both links. If you are familiar with HTML code (you really don’t need to know much more about it other than how to copy and paste it into WordPress), choose the first code in the top box.  Note: If you want to add your ShareASale hyperlink to custom text, this is NOT the code to use for that. The key to knowing whether or not it’s a hyperlink is to look to see if there is http:// in front of it.  Notice how the first code starts with “<a href=.”  This will let you know that it’s html code and you should copy and paste it into the html editor of your blogging platform.  I did NOT choose this option. I chose the 2nd option, which is the hyperlink version I showed you above.

How to Skyrocket Passive Income Through Affiliate Marketing

Banners

Banners are good visuals to use in addition to text links. I like to put some of my affiliate banners in my blog’s sidebar, and if a banner corresponds to a blog post I’ve written, I’ll stick a banner either at the top, middle, or bottom of my post to draw my readers’ eyes to it.  Banners work the same way as text links, in that you have to copy and paste the code into your html editor to get them to appear on your site. NFLShop.com has 302 banners available for me to choose from. Left-click on the banner that you want and it’ll take you to the same code as before. So easy!

Deals/Coupons

Some merchants offer deals/coupons to their customers, while others do not. As we can see from our tabs, there are 8 current deals/coupons offered by NFLShop.com.  When we click on this tab, it takes you to the detail list. It’s important, above all, to look at the start and end times of the coupon.  We definitely do not want to offer our readers a coupon that has expired!  We see that this merchant has some that never end, and some that have an expiration date. These links work almost exactly like our text and banner links work.  I like to offer these coupons to my social media followers a lot of times, so I’ll customize my message about the coupon and then provide them with the tracking link they click on to get the deal.  You can also use custom text inside your blog posts and embed the tracking link as a hyperlink behind the text.  Again, make sure you copy and paste the code exactly as it appears.

Datafeed Products

Whoa! There are 86,992 data feed products for NFLShop.com. What in the world is this? And do you need to be concerned with it?  Data feeds are files provided by your merchant to help you better promote and sell their products.  (IMPORTANT!).  We all want our content to show up at the top of search engine results, right?  Well, data feeds are there for that purpose. Data feed files are changed over into individual products which contain descriptions about those products, links for the images, visitor links, pricing, etc.  What does this mean for you and me?  We will take this information and build individual web pages for these products, or even combine them all into each page.  We want to use data feed products if they are available because they will help give our site more search engine exposure.

Product Showcase

The next tab over is the Product Showcase tab. Product Showcases are dynamic creative that show product results for a search term or category. Whenever a search is performed, it provides real-time results and will differ each time the creative is viewed. ShareASale allows you to create a showcase either for a single merchant, a group of merchants, or for all of your merchants.  I haven’t really played around with this feature yet, as I almost always use the links within my blog post to refer readers to products that may interest them. But, this feature is there, and may be worth checking out.

Make-A-Page

Make-A-Page is a feature that allows you the ability to easily find relevant products and create pages for them. You can either search by keyword, or select from the category list.

Create Custom Link

If you want to create a custom link for a product, ShareASale gives you a tool that allows you to do just that. Again, I just use the URLs provided in the text/banner tabs, but if you want to create your own you can do that as well with this feature

Tracking Your Activity

Now that we have a good idea of some of the tools merchants can provide you to promote their products, how do we know when someone has clicked on one of our links?  And, how do we know if that click led to a sale?

ShareASale’s Reports tab at the top left corner of your dashboard is the place to go to get your individualized stats. Let’s take a look at what it has to offer.

If I hover my mouse over Reports, it’ll give me a lot of options to choose from:

Activity details

This report tells you your sales history.  You can filter down to a certain time period, or view all transactions.  You can also drill down to a specific merchant, transactions, paid date, etc.  I like this page because it tells me when a link or banner was clicked, what the total sale amount was, and what my commission was.

Merchant Timespan

If I want to see my commission totals for a specific merchant, or all merchants, within a specific time frame, I can do that with this report.

Today At A Glance

I check this report daily, sometimes hourly, if I’ve pushed posts out with affiliate links recently.  It tells me if there have been any clicks on those links, who the merchant was, my status with the merchant (approved), any commission that I may have earned from that click, unique and raw hits, sales, manual credits, conversions, reversals, and earnings per click.

Traffic Report

This report is useful if I want to see my traffic levels for my merchants. Again, I can filter down to a time frame, individual or all merchants, and sort by several categories. I usually sort by Unique Hits, then high to low. This tells me which of my merchants get the most traffic, which is useful because I can focus on them more to try to drive in more sales.

Download CSV

If you want to download your transactions to a .csv file, you can do that with this feature.

Payment Summary

Shows any recent payments that ShareASale has made to you.  In your account settings, you have the option to set a payment trigger. I chose $50. Whenever my commissions reach at least $50, it’ll automatically perform an ACH Direct Deposit to my bank account.  Go to your account settings to adjust the trigger level and method of deposit.

Merchant Status

I love this report because it gives you a run-down of your merchant status.  This report gives me the option to quit a program, tells me what status I’m in (Approved, Declined, etc), my commission totals, hits totals, sales totals, conversions, EPCs, merchant info, links to contact that merchant, and a link that takes me to get links or banners for that merchant.

More…

I won’t go into detail about the More section, but it does have additional reports you can run to help you with your affiliate marketing.

How to Make the Most Out of ShareASale

It’s easy to drop in a few links, promote links through social media, and add a few banner ads to your site, but there’s a lot more to it than this. Don’t sell yourself short by promoting products you don’t believe in just to make a few bucks. Focus on promoting only those products you use.

Be creative!  Don’t be afraid to try new promotional methods. For example, I will be making a video tutorial of this blog post in the near future.  I can add these links to YouTube to drive traffic to my merchants.

The amount of income is only limited to the amount of time and effort you set aside for it. It may seem like a long shot to hit in the thousands per month, but it can be done.

FTC Requirement: Disclosing Affiliate Links

Before you hit the publish button on that fancy new blog post with shiny affiliate links, you have to clearly disclose that there are affiliate links on your blog.  Put your affiliate disclosure at the top of your blog post before the first affiliate link appears. If you are sharing your affiliate links on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, you can disclose them by stating #ad or #aff. I’ve also seen bloggers write “Disclosure: Affiliate links.”  As long as you clearly disclose the presence of affiliate links, you’ll be compliant with the FTC.

Here is how I disclose affiliate links on my blog:

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links

Some Amazing Programs You Need To Join

I’m very happy to share with you some of the programs I’ve joined and their commission structure. Please note that merchants change their commission structure on occasion, so be sure to review each merchant’s full profile on ShareASale. ShareASale is also very good about emailing you about commission changes as well.

Blurb – Make your own professional-quality books, magazines, or eBooks. They offer 15% commission per sale and a 120 Day Tracking Cookie.

Book Outlet – Book Outlet has been in business for over 10 years selling books all over the world.  Books are offered at 50-90% off the list price. Book Outlet offers 10% commission, a 45-day cookie, seasonal and monthly promotions, performance incentives, full data feed, and dedicated program management

Candy ClubCandy Club is one of my newer merchants, but offers a monthly subscription service to deliver the freshest candies right to your door. They offer $20.50 commission on all 1, 6 and 12 month subscription sales, $30.00 commission on all 6 and 12 month prepaid subscription sales, one free Candy Club package to review on your blog/site upon request, and a bonus commission structure based on your performance.

Canva Press – Provides canvas prints, photo paper prints, and wall murals customized for each customer. They offer commissions between 10-14%,  a 30 day tracking cookie, discount and dollar off coupons, an auto-deposit feature, and dedicated program management.

Corner Stork Baby Gifts – Affordably-priced baby gift company founded by moms from Atlanta who seem to get invited to a baby shower or birthday party every week. Corner Stork offers the best of bath toys to room decor, personalized gifts to clothing, etc. They also price-match! The offer sales commissions of 10%.

CellSavers – CellSavers is a convenient device repair service.  Their technicians can meet you at your preferred location and time to repair damaged cell phones.  All repairs come with a lifetime warranty and high rated customer service. See my earlier blog post about CellSavers. CellSavers offers a $10.00 commission per lead, a 15 day cookie, $10 affiliate referrals, award-winning affiliate marketing management service, and monthly newsletters with updates on promotions, contests and sales opportunities.

Cricut – Cricut.com offers Cricut® machines, 50,000+ images to cut, and project supplies ranging from cardstock to iron-on film—plus inspiration, ideas, and a creative community!  The Cricut Explore™ machine lets anyone create amazing DIY projects. With world-leading technology, we make it easy for novices and professionals alike to make something they can feel proud of. Cricut offers a 12% base commission and 15% commission on orders $100+, a 45 day cookie, $10 affiliate referrals, award-winning affiliate management team from Acceleration Partners, and weekly newsletters with promotions, incentives, and the latest offers designed to help affiliates earn higher commissions.

Dancewear Solutions – Dancewear Solutions offers a large selection of the latest dancewear, dance shoes, leotards, dance shorts, tights and dance accessories. They carry most of the major dance brands such as Balera, Bloch, Capezio, Danskin, Sansha, Urban Groove and more. Dancewear Solutions offers a 6% commission rate and their average sale is $70.

Gymboree, Crazy 8, Janie and Jack – Gymboree’s clothing and accessories are created to celebrate kids being kids in unique, head-to-toe looks. Gymboree clothing is designed with colorful, high-quality fabrics and detailed touches throughout. Crazy 8 offers fashionable outfits at a great value for girls and boys, sizes 3M to 14. Janie and Jack offers classic children’s clothing rich in fabric, design and detail for girls and boys up to size 12 online. Heirloom-quality looks feature finely-crafted details such as hand-embroidery, hand-smocking and special prints. They offer 8% commission, a 30 day cookie, product datafeeds for both Gymboree and Crazy 8 that are both updated daily, and regular newsletters with updates on promotions, contests, and sales opportunities

Little Passports – Little Passports delivers a travel adventure right to your door! Choose from the Early Explorers (ages 3-5), the World Edition (ages 6-10), or the USA Edition (ages 7-12). Each subscription will have your child rushing to the mailbox, waiting for packages highlighting a new global destination or US state. They’ll receive letters, souvenirs, pop-out models, activities, stickers and more. Inspire a life-long interest in travel, language and world cultures with Little Passports! Little Passports offers $15 PER SALE commission rate on all monthly payment and 12 month plans. as well as $8 PER SALE commission rate on all 3 month and 6 month plans, a 90 day cookie for conversion tracking, regular newsletters with promotions, incentives and content, and a dedicated affiliate team.

NFLShop.com – NFLShop.com is the official online store of the National Football League and offers the biggest selection of officially licensed NFL apparel and merchandise online. They offer up commissions of up to 6% of sales, a 7 day cookie, 50,000+ product datafeed, top name brand products including Nike, New Era, Mitchell & Ness Cutter and Buck and more + authentic collectibles from Fanatics Authentic, great tools for bloggers and social media affiliates, great selection of text links and banner ads as well as “build your own” capability using Product Showcases, Make A Page and Custom Link builder, and dedicated management by Wade Tonkin.

 

How to Use Affiliate Links On Your Blog

How to Use Affiliate Links On Your Blog

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a commission. 

One very popular method of monetizing your blog is through the use of affiliate links. Affiliate links can appear to be complicated on the surface, but once you learn how to do it and implement a strategy for your blog, you’ll be surprised at how easy it really is.

So, if you are a new blogger, welcome to the wide, wide world that is blogging. I’m sure over the next few months you are going to hear and read about so many ways to monetize your blog. Affiliate links are the easiest way to monetize if done correctly.

So, what is affiliate marketing and how do you get the links?

Affiliate marketing involves the promotion and selling products from merchants that sign up to an affiliate marketing platform. Bloggers who sign up to promote these products are called “affiliates” and earn income from registering with an affiliate marketing platform, such as ShareASale (read my review of ShareASale here) or AvantLink, and then with the individual merchant. The merchant’s page in the platform will provide the affiliate with links (text, banner, etc) as well as any promotions or coupons they have to offer customers.

Once the blogger has been approved to promote a merchant’s products and has placed the links onto their blog, any resulting sale from a customer who has clicked on the affiliate link will result in a commission for the blogger.

Commission rates for each merchant vary. Some provide income for sales, while other provide income for leads. It is crucial to read the commission details up front so that you are not surprised in the end when you make your first sale.

I’m approved as an affiliate – now what?

Once you have become an approved affiliate and you have access to the merchant’s links, the next (and most important!) step is to put the links on your blog. I use WordPress, so the easiest way to insert the link is by highlighting the text in your post where you want the link to go and click the link button.  It’s as simple as pasting in the link and then you are good to go!

You should be very careful using these links and definitely do not bombard your readers with them.  Your content is what drives your blog.  To get readers interested enough to click on your links, you have to have quality content. Throwing up a few blog posts whose only goal is to entice readers to click links will lose you readers every time. Be smart about it, be creative, and be willing to try new ways of promotion.

Legal requirements for you as a blogger

The FTC requires bloggers to disclose affiliate relationships any time affiliate links are included in a blog post.  You must include a statement such as:

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a commission. 

Do not forget to disclose this information to your bloggers.  The FTC can and will shut your blog down.  I recommend this article at Bloggy Law for more information on how and when to disclose.

How to make money

So you’ve signed up for an affiliate network, received approval from merchants, placed your links on your blog. When does the money flow in?

I can’t give you a specific time frame as to when you will start seeing money flow in, but as long as your blog is optimized for SEO, has valuable content, and the links are appropriately placed, you are guaranteed to start earning money.

Don’t be stressed if you don’t make money for a while.  It takes time to build up your blog followers, but the sales will eventually come.  Keep at it and be willing to try new ways to get readers to your blog.  The higher amount of visitors that find your blog, the better chance those views will convert to sales.

Affiliate link pointers

Take it from me, once you get your first merchant approval, you are so tempted to throw your link around all over your blog.  Here are some tips I have learned along the way to make the best use of affiliate links:

  • Use hyperlinks:  The links must go into text as hyperlinks. Your blogging platform should make this easy to do. Do not copy and paste the whole affiliate link into the body of the post. Make the links appear naturally. Use links within the phrasing of the words.
  • Review older posts: Take the opportunity to add affiliate links to older blog posts. Maybe you talked about a product that got a lot of attention, or maybe you mentioned a book that’s on Amazon.  Old posts still deserve your full attention.
  • Aim for one link per post:  Try to make it a goal of adding at least one link per post.
  • Write more product reviews: Product reviews are amazing spots to add affiliate links. They go into detail about a product or service and they are great finds for search engines.
  • Promote products you believe in: Promote those products you would recommend to your readers. Don’t try to sell yourself out just to make a quick buck. Look for products that tie in with your niche and work them into blog posts.

A few of my favorite affiliate products and their current deals:

  • NFL Shop:  NFL Shop usually has some great deals to pass along to your readers. Right now, they have their spring outlet sale going on.  Save up to 50% on sale items through March 9, 2017.  It’s a great time to stock up on your favorite NFL gear and be ready for next season!
  • Gymboree: Gymboree has always been one of our favorite places to buy our kids’ clothes. They usually have AMAZING deals!  Right now, you can get 40% off of your entire purchase through March 26, 2017.
  • Cricut: Cricut is a great site to visit to create professional-quality personalized products.  Whether your project is for home décor, parties, events, weddings, or fashion, Cricut makes it simple.  Their March Mystery Box is $34.99 through March 21st.
  • Precious Moments:  My mom has been collecting Precious Moments since I was a kid. She must have bought 30 of them just for me and my brother.
  • Bitsbox: Bitsbox is a really cool idea!  It’s a subscription box for kids to learn how to code. Although they don’t have any deals right now, I highly recommend checking them out if you have a child interested in coding.
  • StrollerDepot.com: StrollerDepot.com is a family-owned stroller, infant car seat, and baby product company.  If you are in the market for one of these products for the first time and have no clue which one to select, their knowledgeable customer service can lead you in the right direction. Their current offers include 20% Off Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat and $150 Off Phil & Ted’s Sport Double Strollers (Black Only) 5 In Stock, Now $499

Conclusion

I hope this post is helpful for you as a blogger looking to make some extra money through affiliate marketing. It’s fun when you see a sale go through, and all of the work it took to get to that point makes it all worthwhile in the end. If you have any other questions about affiliate marketing, drop me a line at jeremy@goaskyourdaddy.com

Here are other blogging-related posts I’ve written: