For those new to this powerful online merchandising concept, affiliate programs work as intermediaries between the affiliate marketers who will sell products and services and the merchant who provides those products and services as well as the affiliates programs.  Merchants work with affiliates to help get their products or services to their consumers.
Provide the most accurate information about the products you promote. Never exaggerate to quickly make a sale. Your audience will see through it and they will turn their backs on you. Instead, if the product you are promoting isn’t perfect, say so! It never hurts to explain the downsides to a product because this just proves to your audience that you are being completely honest with them. Also–this is very important–be transparent about your relationship with the merchant! It is legally required that you disclose your affiliate relationship, so any time you share an affiliate link you need to let your audience know.  Make sure you are following the latest FTC  guidelines here.
Subject to the terms of the Agreement and solely for the limited purposes of participation in the Associates Program in strict compliance with the Agreement (including this License and the other Program Policies), we hereby grant you a limited, revocable, non-transferable, non-sublicensable, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to: (a) copy and display Program Content solely on your Site; (b) use only those of the Amazon Marks (as defined in the Trademark Guidelines) we make available to you as part of the Program Content, solely on your Site and in accordance with the Trademark Guidelines, and (c) access and use PA API, Data Feeds, and Product Advertising Content solely in accordance with the Specifications and this License.
There are numerous printing companies that will print your designs onto not just T-shirts, but also hoodies, hats, posters, cushions, bags, and phone cases, to name a few items. These businesses also offer fulfillment services. This means that you promote the merchandise on your own site and once you sell a product the printing company will not only print your design but also send the item directly to the buyer. So all you have to do is concentrate on the marketing and selling of your products, and the fulfillment company will take care of the rest.

Equally, you can charge businesses to ‘claim’ their listing, a method used by many large directory sites like Google Business and Yelp. This involves companies paying to upgrade their listing and adding information such as their web address, social media links, images, and more. Other revenue streams include charging for ad space, adding affiliate links and even charging for services and products on your directory site.


Hi, Nice article. I am not sure about the process though. I can understand, finding a niche. But, when it comes to affiliate programs I get a little lost. Would I be promoting someone else's products? If so, no problem. I know I need to research high end products with gravity, are these products ones in certain stores, or companies, etc.?? If so, do I need to get permissions to be on an affiliate program with that company? Also, if it is products with a company, then how do I offer promotions on their products since they are not mine? Thank you, Nanette Vlahusich
Hey. Yes you can use just one website to promote multiple affiliate programs, but I’d say that your website should focus on just one niche. So you mention, SellHealth, that would lead me to believe your site is about health and fitness. I would then advise you to stick to that niche rather than promoting unrelated products like dog leashes and fashion accessories.

Furthermore, carefully consider your likely attendees, and what schedule would be attractive to them. For example, if you’re planning on teaching a tutoring class, you obviously couldn’t schedule it during school hours. Likewise, a class aimed at mothers of young children will either have to include babysitting services or be scheduled at night, when they’re more likely to have help with the kids. Find the delicate balance of times that fit your prospective students’ schedules as well as your own.
Great stuff here Sean – thanks for all of these insights and sharing some best practices when it comes to affiliate marketing. I’ve never been comfortable giving it a shot, but after reading this post and your perspective on how and when to do it, I may just have to give it a try. Especially considering I’m already mentioning and recommending services and products on my site, I’m just not getting the potential rewards associated with doing so. Thanks again.
New prospective users often ask me how easy it is for their affiliate to share their link. It’s “stupid simple.” Here’s how it works… When your affiliates sign up with you, they’ll automatically receive an email from you welcoming them to your affiliate program. This email will contain their unique referral link. It will also contain a “one-click” login link to their Affiliate Dashboard. The Affiliate Dashboard is where your affiliate can share their link via email and social media with a single click. For example, when they click the Facebook button, they’ll automatically be forwarded over to Facebook, with a new post pre-populated, and their affiliate link already embedded! They can add a personal note or recommendation if they’d like – or they can simply click “Post” to get the message up on their Wall immediately. This “convenience factor” is huge. Affiliates are able to share their link early and often with their friends and colleagues. It really couldn’t be any easier. The Affiliate Dashboard is also where they can grab marketing materials like banner ads for their website or blog. The banners will already have their affiliate link embedded. So, your affiliate can simply copy the HTML and paste it to their site – or they can have their web developer do this for them.
Affiliates should utilize cross-channels as a way to build up their audience. For example, having a website following as well as an active email list. People who choose this career path must be relentless about creating content that is unique and eye-catching. But they'll have to do it such a way that doesn't overwhelm or frustrate their audience.  
Same here, this post kind of fell from the sky at such a great time. Been building a great community of readers over the years but reached a point where I’m losing money maintaining the site and newsletter. As you said, the ads don’t bring much -ironically I use Adblocks too but affiliate marketing always seemed like a weird and opaque subject. I’ve read many of Chris Guillebeau’s books in the last few months (this is how I discovered your site actually!) and I didn’t realize he had affiliate links for instance. Your post opened up a new window of possibility for me. Still need to process everything and do the work behind but a big thank you to you Sean!
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[19] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[20]

Content and media – If you have a knack for writing, or is good with photography or Photoshop, then you can save some money and do these yourself. But if for any reason (lack of skill or time) you can’t create content or media like photos and videos, there are people willing to do them for you. You can hire freelancers either by the hour or on a flat fee.

Sometimes you may have an affiliate agreement with a particular company. But most of the time, it is good practice to sign up for a large affiliate site which already has contracts with hundreds of companies. And you can then choose which of those hundreds of companies products you want to resell. Some affiliate sites you can register with are cj.com amazon.com or many others. I personally like cj.com and recommend it. I am not paid to say that. I just prefer that site.


JVZoo was founded in 2011 and has since rocketed to near the top as one of the most popular affiliate programs out there. JVZoo is unusual in that there are no upfront costs for either publishers or merchants (advertisers). JVZoo’s income is exclusively from charging fees (to both the merchant and the affiliate) after a sale has been made. It is also unusual in that it pays commissions “instantly” via PayPal rather than once a week/fortnight/month like other affiliate programs.


Even if it’s a mundane task like walking dogs, you could start the next (or only) full-service dog walking and grooming service in your town, where dog owners rave over your business and always refer you to others. You can hire other dog walkers as you grow, and turn your side hustle into a sustainable enterprise. You just have to do the work, and do it well.
Samples. You’ll need some samples before you can really begin marketing yourself. Figure out which market you want to approach first, and then find or create some related samples. For instance, if you want to try your hand at blogging, study some successful blogs, and then write a few posts of your own to use as samples. Do this for any and every market you’d want to write for.
Learn then selling guidelines. Each marketplace has guidelines that define what you can and cannot sell. State and federal laws also impact what items are prohibited. In general, you cannot sell alcohol, weapons, service contracts, animals or event tickets. Also, while not always prohibited, you may find restrictions on how you can sell items in some categories, such as art, gift cards and coupons.[27] eBay, Craigslist and Amazon publish these guidelines on their websites.

A website called AchieveMint gives you points for engaging in healthy activities, like exercise, tracking your eating habits, or even taking health related surveys. Points can be redeemed either for cash (10,000 points are worth $10) or for Amazon Gift Cards. The app actually connects with other health apps, like Fitbit and MyFitnessPal, to track your progress.
But don't make the mistake of thinking this will be a passive source of income—you're on call whenever you have a guest and you'll always need to keep the place clean for incoming visitors. On top of just renting on Airbnb, consider offering your guests paid add-ons, like Lauren Gheysens', Royal Day Out in London, England—where she gives visitors a local's only tour of the city, complete with bespoke 18th century costumes.
A website called AchieveMint gives you points for engaging in healthy activities, like exercise, tracking your eating habits, or even taking health related surveys. Points can be redeemed either for cash (10,000 points are worth $10) or for Amazon Gift Cards. The app actually connects with other health apps, like Fitbit and MyFitnessPal, to track your progress.
If you're a crafter, the internet is your showcase — and not only at auction sites like eBay. DeWitt Young of ObviousFront.etsy.com has had success turning her crafts into cash online. She has a booth at Etsy.com's Craft Mall, an amazing place where thousands of artisans and crafters offer their goods for sale. DeWitt turns salvaged parts from old TVs and VCRs into artsy necklaces, earrings, and figures. Colleen Jordan of wearableplanter uses 3D printing to create her necklaces called wearable planters.
Ebates is another cash back app, similar to DOSH, and right now they are offering a $10 signup bonus. There’s no rule saying you can’t have multiple cash back apps, so why not sign up for a couple just so you get the bonuses? Once you get your bonuses, then just use whichever app gets you the best deal on your upcoming purchases. Easiest money ever!
You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.  
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