Let’s say that you’re running a company that specializes in shoes. Your customer base knows that you’re a shoe expert but also values your input on other high quality products — like handbags. Maybe your customers have asked you about handbags, and you find yourself recommending the same options over and over again. As a shoe vendor, you’re acting as a marketer for the handbag company.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you only promote one merchant’s products, you are stuck with their commissions, their landing pages, and ultimately, their conversion rates. It is important to work with many different merchants in your niche and promote a wide range of products. This affiliate marketing strategy will diversify the amount of commissions you make and create a steady stream of revenue when building an affiliate website. 
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But this “old school” method of making money online is still going strong because of all the benefits it offers to small-scale, solo internet entrepreneurs. And it’s an especially powerful business model to those without much experience doing business online. Many successful online business owners make their first dollar online with affiliate marketing.
Of course, this is a generalization, and there are some programs that have made themselves exceptions to the rule. For example, I’ve seen many affiliate programs that offer low commission rates on products that are worth very little. I’ve also seen a few programs with items priced into the hundreds or thousands of dollars that offer commission rates of 20-30%.
So I was like, “How many of you guys are affiliates, how many of you guys are networks, how many are both?” It was kind of split down the middle. I was like, “I come from a unique perspective, because first off, I’m a really successful affiliate. This is a Ferrari I won in an affiliate contest.” I showed them the Ferrari I won, “But I’m also a really successful vendor, network. In fact, that same Ferrari I gave away two years later. I won a Ferrari as an affiliate and I’ve given away that Ferrari to an affiliate. So I’ve been on both sides of this game. So I have a kind of unique perspective.” And I wanted to show them, this is how simple this business could be.
If you’re struggling to get affiliates, you can use coupon affiliate sites like Coupon Craze or Ebates to share a discount code for your customers while paying a commission to the brands. You’ll need to pick discounts and affiliate rates that allow you to stay profitable. You need to be making more than a couple of dollars after the fees have been paid to ensure that your business has long-term growth.

Online advertising started to take shape – Cost Per Mille (CPM) models and paid placements were important components of the marketing mix, but difficult to measure. An emphasis on quality traffic and conversion helped transition marketers from buying impressions and site visitors, to paying exclusively for traffic that resulted in a sale and affiliate marketing lead the charge.
First things first, choose a niche. You should choose something which interests you, you don’t mind learning about, or have the ability to pay someone else to write about. Consider the potential costs carefully before delving into something which you know absolutely nothing about. Another important aspect is to be confident that it will be a lucrative niche to work in. There needs to be an abundance of products to promote, and the commission levels need to be significant enough to give you a good profit each time a sale is made.
Are you an expert in conversion optimisation, sales funnels, SEO, website building, copywriting and proofreading? If so, you have a better chance than most newcomers. Chances are, if you’ve only just heard about affiliate marketing, you don’t have all or even any of these skills just yet. In this case, settle down for the long haul. This is going to take some time, but you will get there – as long as you don’t give up along the way!

Working alongside Awin's standard affiliate tracking and developed by our in-house technical and development teams, we offer easy implementation with multiple technical partners or solutions through the use of the Awin Mastertag, reducing integration times and increasing flexibility across your campaigns.  Awin's cross-device tracking solution allows advertisers to reward publishers for multi-device journey transactions, offering a true understanding of how the performance channel drives customers - where previously anybody interacting with the channel across more than one device was instantly lost. Our coupon attribution technology allows further flexibility to the traditional last-click model in the affiliate channel, letting advertisers fully reward publishers for exclusive coupon code campaigns. Payment on Influence provides another alternative to the traditional last-click model and opens up new avenues to encourage more collaboration with bloggers and content affiliates.
Tradedoubler was founded in 1999 by two young Swedish entrepreneurs. They have offices in the UK and multiple countries throughout Europe, including Sweden, Germany, France, Poland and Spain. Their focus has always been to provide smarter results for both clients and affiliates through technology. In 18 years, they’ve amassed an army of 180,000 active publishers, connecting them to over 2,000 merchants in Europe and the UK. Many of these merchants are household names.
Shopify has three different account types as well as standalone third-party products like themes and apps. Commissions are paid for sales of any of these products, including users who sign up for a 14-day free trial and then convert to a paid account. Shopify also has a wide range of blog posts, webinars, and video tutorials that can be linked to with the standard commission paid on any sales that are generated.
Leadpages claims that its affiliate program is not exclusively for affiliate marketers, which is true, but the narrow focus of this niche means that only professionals affiliate marketers will ever be able to earn significant income from the program. Leadpages’s affiliate program does offer quite a lot of different options (webinars, videos, blog posts, free marketing courses, etc.) to send referrals to, which can lead to higher conversion rates if done correctly.
(c) Recommendations Page. We reserve all right, title and interest (including all intellectual property and proprietary rights) in and to, and you do not, by virtue of this Local Associates Policy or otherwise, acquire any ownership interest or rights in or to, the Recommendation Page, the Recommendation Page URL, or information and materials on the Recommendation Page. You will not take any action that conflicts with our rights in, or ownership of, the Recommendation Page. Amazon reserves all rights to determine the content, appearance, functionality, URL, and all other aspects of the Recommendation Page, including through the display of (i) advertising materials on the Recommendation Page, without compensation to any Local Associate, and (ii) disclosure (by text, link, icon, or otherwise) regarding your participation in this Local Associates Program.

So then I get in this room and it’s set up so weird. There’s this stage, but there’s a pole, there’s all these chairs, it was so stuffy and corporatey. Ugh. I hate this corporatey, crappy stuff. So I start my slides up and jump down off the stage and come out in the front. I’m like, “I’m not standing behind there guys. We’re hanging out down here.” And I started it and give my whole presentation, and it was funny because I was trying to get this audience to be excited about life and the fact that we’re in the greatest time in the history of the world. I’m like, “You guys are affiliate marketers. Do you realize what that means? You can and should be making millions of dollars. And you don’t have to go to college, and you don’t have to have annoying bosses and all the crap that comes. You guys are living the dream.”

First off, thank you so much for this insightful blog post, it's exactly what I needed. But, my software vendor's affiliate program has a funnel of their own, requiring the prospect to sign up with their email address. Is it appropriate for me to collect the prospects email in the Opt-in page, and then expect the prospect to submit their email a second time in order to signup for the product free seven day trial? If appropriate, do you have any advice for how that should be structured?
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