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!
It is important to note, however, that StudioPress is now a subsidiary of WPEngine which is the company that actually does the web hosting on which StudioPress’s Genesis framework runs. The affiliate program only works with choosing the StudioPress framework and themes, not the actual hosting on WPEngine. WPEngine has a separate affiliate program for its hosting services, which yes, is a bit confusing.
I would like to add that for information products, a lot of the time it’s pretty easy to rank for “information product review”. I recently did a review of a popular ebook that is a month long discipline program. I went about it by doing the actual program and documenting everything. At the end of the month I wrote up a 2700 word article summing up the whole experience.
Finally, your email marketing campaign can only succeed if you have a relevant list of quality consumers to target with your messages. Building a quality email list helps your marketing campaign succeed because it targets consumers already interested in your product. Many people end up on email lists because they sign up voluntarily. With a list of relevant consumers, you are putting ads in front of the eyeballs of consumers with an expressed interest in the products and services you promote.
Until you have cash, your king is content. The more you publish articles product reviews, visitor feedback and information on your website (or in your blog), the more chance you get visitors to your website. Search engines like to show newly written content. Therefore, we advise you to add new pages to your site at least every few days. Make sure your site is easy to find by visitors by using a good site navigation or site nap.
It’s understandable that affiliate marketers may have a number of different lists of people that they need to send different campaigns to. At EmailOctopus, all the lists and campaigns you create are treated separately, allowing you to do just that. We also allow you to send from unlimited domains, perfect for if you run multiple marketing websites.
I’m sure you have heard it many times but providing the value to your readers should be a priority. Don’t send them an email full of ads. Any advertisement should be relevant to the content. Remember that content comes first, ads come second. Talk about the benefits, not features. If you have a product you want to promote, think what value it can bring and add relevant info.
Just as a chain of sales persons market and sell your product for commission, using affiliate marketing services you can get many websites to sell your product in exchange for commission, which ultimately makes it a cost effective yet profitable practice, which any business must make use of. Affiliates provide links to your products on their websites or through email marketing for commission based on cost-per-sale, cost-per-click or cost-per-lead.
For DeHerrera, offering a three months lead time — even in other quarters — is something that helps him land the affiliates he wants. “You have to understand that they build out their campaigns and offers just like you do, and schedule things sometimes months in advance. We would host an offer calendar for our affiliates that would show promotions for up to three months out. This increased take rates, for the affiliates, were able to easily access our calendar, and therefore build out their campaign schedule on their own. The easier you make it for them, the more they will love you,” he said.
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.

That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!

Third, successful affiliate marketers measure beyond just money. How will you know that you’ve become a successful affiliate marketer? The number cruncher in you may raise your hand and say, “When I make X dollars per month every month for a number of years.” Hard to argue with that, since making money online is a strong motivator. However, why not measure success by the number of lives you touch in a positive fashion by introducing them to your affiliate products? Chances are that the money will follow…
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