Every day, thousands of publishers benefit from a recurring cash inflow by partnering up with other companies via affiliate programs.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize your blog, especially when you don’t sell products or services. Joining an affiliate program can get you exclusive access to new content and special deals for your audience — all while earning you more money.
To further understand affiliate programs, let’s consider an example — ThemeDev, a New York Times company, is a website that lists product recommendations for shoppers. Wirecutter largely earns a commission based on affiliate relationships with retailers.
What is an Affiliate Program?
Simply put, an affiliate program is an agreement in which a business pays another business or influencer (“the affiliate”) a commission for sending traffic and/or sales their way.
This can be achieved through web content, social media, or a product integration. The affiliate gets a unique link (an “affiliate link”) from which clicks can be tracked — typically using cookies.
You will often come across the terms “cookie length” or “cookie life”, which simply define how long the cookie will be tracking the user’s online activity.
For example, if a cookie has a 30-day life, your referral needs to make a purchase within 30-days of clicking your affiliate link in order for you to get paid — otherwise, the lead will no longer be trackable.
A B2B audience can be particularly valuable since they are the same customers who are willing to drop hundreds of dollars for a product or service that will help them make money. How could you not capitalize on that?
Of course, there are different types of affiliate programs, and you’ll want to ensure you pick the one best suited for your business. Let’s dive into types of affiliate programs, next.
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Types of Affiliate Programs
If you’re looking to promote your products or services, there are a few affiliate programs you can consider. When choosing an affiliate program, you’ll want to keep in-mind the avenues or platforms your audience spends the majority of their time — for instance, does your buyer persona typically read blog posts, scroll Facebook, or use search engines when researching new products?
Alternatively, is your buyer persona someone who’s always looking for a good deal, and would appreciate a link on a coupon site? Or are they more interested in doing tons of research before purchasing, making your promotion efforts more worthwhile on a review site?
While those are questions you’ll have to consider for yourself, let’s take a look at some general types of affiliate programs so you can begin brainstorming potential avenues for your own marketing efforts:
Search affiliates: With this program, you’ll have freelancers or entrepreneurs pay their own money to promote your offer on search results or other online advertising platforms like Facebook Advertising. While you’ll want to ensure your partner is following search and advertising guidelines, this could work in your favor if your partner has an SEO background and wants to A/B test to see which ads result in the most referrals for you — and most ROI for them.
Bloggers/influencers:If there are impressive bloggers or social media influencers in your industry who engage with your ideal buyer persona on a regular basis, you might consider partnering with them. For instance, if you sell kitchen appliances, it might be good to reach out to bloggers or YouTube influencers who post recipes, and ask if they’d feature your product as a “recommended tool” in their next recipe post. Ideally, this would result in your target audience taking a look at your website, and if they like the products you offer, could provide additional revenue for the influencer.
Review sites: If you offer a product or service that is more expensive or niche, it’s likely that most of your buyers need to conduct research on that topic before purchasing — if that’s the case, it might be a good idea to research the top review sites related to your product or service, and reach out to the business or writer who published the piece, asking whether they’d be interested in providing an affiliate link to your product or service in the text.
Coupon sites: If you’re offering a new product or service that isn’t popular in the marketplace, you might try creating an affiliate partnership with a coupon site for a limited time. While you don’t want to lose money by giving your product away at a discount, it could be effective at getting some first-time buyers to check out your website and become brand advocates.
Email marketing: This is best in small doses. You don’t want any partners sending out bulk emails to customers who aren’t interested in your products or services, but with proper consideration for who’s receiving the email, this could be an effective method. For instance, if you sell design tools, you might reach out to marketing agencies and ask, if they’re working with a specific client on a design project, whether they might consider sending a URL from your site within the body of the email. This could help their clients leverage your tools to create higher-quality content, while giving agencies an added source of income.
Next, let’s explore the 45 affiliate programs that pay the highest commission.
21 Real Life Examples Of Successful Affiliate Marketing Websites In 2021
So for this post, we’re going to look at 21 examples of affiliate websites that “get it” when it comes to marketing 3rd party products while delivering value and try to learn from them.
I hope that looking at these affiliate marketing examples will give you some inspiration with your own sites and will show you that affiliate marketing doesn’t have to be cheesy.
Stuff You Need To Know About AWIN
AWIN is a very comprehensive affiliate network and works in all verticals. That being said, it is most heavily oriented towards financial, retail shopping (fashion), sports, beauty, home and garden, and travel products.
AWIN works with both digital and physical products, including from some very big name merchants like Hyatt, Etsy, AliExpress, and HP (Hewlett-Packard).
Average Commission Rate
Everything depends on the campaign and the merchant/advertiser. Price information is only disclosed on the dashboard after the application to join AWIN is approved. AWIN offers aren’t tracked by Affscanner and OfferVault, so it’s really hard to gauge commission rates and earning potentials without being an approved publisher.
Cookie duration is set by the advertiser.
Who Is it for?
AWIN is probably best for experienced affiliates who can hit the ground running without a lot of guidance or feedback from the network. There is a $5 fee charged to apply to become an affiliate, but if you’re approved, the $5 will be added to your account. If your application is denied, however, you will lose the $5 fee. AWIN operates globally, but it is most heavily concentrated on British and EU merchants.
AWIN has a lot of powerful tools, including an “Opportunity Marketplace” where you can pitch merchants on unique one-off deals (like sponsored posts). AWIN also has its own WordPress plugin that makes it really easy to convert a link into your affiliate-specific link. There’s also a Google Chrome extension as well.
AWIN includes Etsy as one of its merchants, making AWIN an excellent choice for bloggers who want to promote Etsy products.
A quick round-up of the pros and cons of this program:
Pros of AWIN:
- Pays out twice per month ($20 minimum).
- Real-time reports.
- Publishers/advertisers are heavily vetted.
- Very easy to use dashboard and lots of plugins available.
- 900 staff in 15 offices around the globe.
Cons of AWIN:
- Sign-up requires paying $5 in advance.
- Accounts that do not get approved do not have $5 fee returned.