I am so excited to finally be sharing my tips and tricks on everything affiliate links..at least what I know. Considering I’ve been researching this for the last two years, I like to think I have some knowledge on the topic to share!
I’ll be sharing these tips monthly with different topics each month, so don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to receive notifications when they go live!
Let’s get started, shall we?! This is going to be jam packed with information, so don’t forget to pin it to refer back to later!
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is promoting products or services and earning a commission when someone makes a purchase through your unique affiliate link. It does not cost anything extra to the customer, but allows you to earn money by promoting products and services you already use and love on your blog or social media.
Do You Need A Blog To Use Affiliate Links?
You don’t have to have a blog. While having one will help you leverage your content in a more creative way and may make it easier to get approval for some affiliate programs, there are several affiliate networks which don’t require a blog. For example, if you are simply an instagram blogger, many affiliate networks will still accept you, so no worries if you haven’t quite decided to launch a blog yet! And if you don’t have the swipe up option on Instagram, no worries there either. I’ll be sharing several ways to share your affiliate links while you’re working on getting to 10k followers to access that nifty feature!
I Don’t Have A Huge Following, Should I Still Use Affiliate Links?
Yes! Affiliate links success does not rely on how many followers you have, but instead on how loyal and engaged your following is. You should also start using affiliate links early on so that you can learn to do it right, and grow your income as you grow your reach. This will help you figure out which programs and techniques work the best for your particular niche. You may not make much money up front, but the longer you stick it out while you grow and figure out what works, the better. I promise!
How Do I Find Affiliate Links?
I will be sharing some of the top affiliate programs that I have found successful. However, if you’re every looking for a particular store or brand’s affiliate network, try typing into the google the name of the brand with “affiliate program”. You can also visit a company’s website and look for affiliate program in the footer.
Where Do I Share My Affiliate Links?
Affiliate links can be used on various platforms and networks. Mainly, anywhere you can post a link is acceptable. However, make sure you’ve researched FTC disclosure and know what is required of you for disclosure purposes.
I share my affiliate links on the following channels:
Social Media Platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
Promoting Affiliate Links On Your Blog
The top place I use affiliate links is in my blog posts. Whenever I’m writing a post, if I can find an affiliate network that pays for a certain shop or product I’m using, I will link it either in the text or below the photo for my readers to easily find. If I’m doing a tutorial, I will create a materials list at the top of my blog post with all materials linked with affiliates.
If you’re a WordPress blogger, you can purchase a plugin that will allow you to literally create a shoppable photo with clickable price tags. Sometimes I will create a shoppable image for the bottom of my blog posts, so everything in that post can be shopped on one easy to find image.
You can also create blog posts centered around your finds at a certain store. For example, I recently wrote a blog post about “farmhouse finds at Walmart”. This is an easy way to quickly come up with a blog post idea, while also still fitting your niche. Since I center around farmhouse and DIY, I was able to incorporate Walmart finds that I might typically buy that would fit my home and believe it or not, this is one of my most clicked blog posts on Pinterest!
I’ll be sharing some apps that make this process easier and allow you to customize shoppable images later on in this blog post!
Promoting Affiliate Links on Instagram
This is where that handy “swipe up” feature we’re all so eager to gain comes into play. You guessed it. Affiliate links used well in a swipe up, can bring in good money! I’m not going to tell you how to use them, because you know your followers better than I do. However I will say, that I try to not make it spammy. I tend to create stories once a week with finds from a certain shop. I also have created a shop my home highlight where I will continuously add a photo and link to a favorite new product I recently purchased that you can find in my home.
Probably the most well known place to promote affiliate links on Instagram is that “link in profile”, especially if you don’t have the swipe up yet. It used to be that you were able to put one link in this spot in your Instagram settings, and have to change it each time you wanted to share a new link.
However new apps and website have found a way around this. Probably the most well known is called “LinkTree”. This is a free website where you can create your own custom linktree that creates a link for you to place in your bio . Then in your linktree, is where you will add all the affiliate links you want, and give them titles. This has minimal customization, but it allows us to put more than one link in your bio, with one single url so you are not constantly changing this.
There’s many other ways around placing a single link in bio, and another popular one is called “link in profile”. They run a free trial, but after this you pay $9.99 per month. It’s extremely customizeable though and will create a dedicated landing page with your Instagram photo and name, as well as allow you to add link to Instagram media captions and will show your Instagram photos in a clickable form with your links.
The other option you have, is if you have a blog. You can create a page just for your Instagram links and place that URL in your bio. I prefer this option as I own my website, therefore this is a free option and is completely customizable as well as since it’s just a branch of my website, it matches the overall theme that I am going for.
At the end of this blog post, I did link several apps/websites that will come in handy when promoting your links on Instagram!
How Do You Get Paid?
There are typically two options. The most common type of payment is CPA which is basically a commission percentage that you will make should someone click on your link and make a purchase within a set amount of time. Most merchants will give you a 24 hour limit. Anything ordered typically counts, as long as they reached that site via your affiliate link.
The section option is CPC which is where you get paid a set amount per click you receive on that affiliate link. This is personally my favorite and also the least common. So far I’ve found one affiliate network that operates this way and it’s where I make most of my income from affiliate links. Most of these pay around $0.10 per click so if you share a single product in your Instagram stories and it receives 40 clicks, that’s $4 you just made from sharing one single link.
Most networks that I’ve worked with pay with paypal. If you don’t have a paypal, it’s easy and free to set up, is security protected, and can deposit for free straight into your bank account. Many networks will require you have a paypal in order to get paid, or they can send you paper checks, but this takes a considerably longer time.
Most networks pay net 30-60 days but it’s all going to depend on the individual network and their set terms. When you set up your account, one of the first things you should do is update your payment settings on your profile.
My Favorite Affiliate Networks
LikeToKnowIt (Reward Style)
This one seems to be the almighty so I thought we’d start it off with LikeToKnowIt (known as reward style). By far the HARDEST one to get accepted into. Maybe you’ve seen the shop my post widgets on blogs, or seen the ltkit logo on some of your favorite bloggers Instagram photos? This is rewardstyle.
Once accepted, you are given a dashboard with access to features such as the link ninja which is a browser extension that can be used to link anything from LTKit’s pre-approved merchants. Once you’re accepted you’ll see these are mainly fashion brands, and if you’re in the home décor niche, LTKit won’t be as important to you as you may have thought it would, although it does have some good decor brands.
They also give the option to add the LTKit logo onto your photos to upload to Instagram, as well as a custom url or hashtag. Then when someone who has the LTKit app likes or screenshots your photo, they’ll receive an email as well as your photo will be saved in their app to shop from. Essentially every photo you like with this logo will be saved on your LTKit app.
LTKit also lets you create very attractive “shop my feed” widgets to display on your blog.
You are paid based on each sale you make, and when you use the link ninja to link a specific product, it will give you an estimated commission amount as every merchant will pay differently. This is solely CPA(commision), and no CPC.
Like I said, this is one of the hardest affiliate networks to get accepted to. They take a look at your engagement rates and all of your social media profiles. It took me three times to get accepted, and you can only apply once every three months. I have heard that it’s easier to get accepted if you have someone already on LTKit send you a referral. This is how I finally got accepted after 9 months of trying
Below is a photo of what your dashboard would look like should you be accepted. You can use this link here to apply!
Shop Your Likes
This is my personal favorite affiliate network and by far the easiest one to make money on.
They are a newer network, and very small with limited merchants available, but with their CPC structure, you are bound to make a substantial amount of money if you can get your followers to click on your links.
Because they are based on CPC, on average you are paid $.10 per click. If I post 10 images in my stories with affiliate links from SYL, just 40 clicks on one of those photos can bring in $4! Now multiply that by 10, and you just made $40 in one night from posting links to products you might like or own.
Because they are new, and still adding merchants, you’re only going to see a select few well known brands on here such as Ballard Designs, Groupon, Houzz, JcPenney, Kohls, Lulus, Macys, Poshmark, Rugs USA, Sams Club and Walmart.
I recently started using them in the last month, and posted three nights with links to a certain store from SYL. I currently have over $120 waiting to be deposited from SYL just from this one affiliate network over the period of one month!
They will also pay CPA, based on sales. And will increase your commission for each sale or click, if they see you bringing in more sales. So you can make money from the clicks you receive on your links as well as the sales you make from sharing their products!
Each merchant varies in commission, and when you create a link using their link generator, it will give you an estimated commission amount per click.
Here is a view of the link generator on Shop Your Likes! You can visit the site of any brands listed on their page, find the URL of the product you want, and input it here to give you a paying affiliate link! It’s so easy!
SYL also gives you the option to create an Instagram shop based off your Instagram feed to share with your followers. Just keep in mind you are limited to ONLY linking products from Shop Your Likes merchants. But don’t worry, I’ll share some apps later for creating an instagram shop!
Visit the link here to apply for Shop Your Likes! And SUPER IMPORTANT tip for this affiliate network! If you use the code bXgV9, one you earn $300 on here, you will automatically be paid an extra $100!! No strings attached! So when you sign up, make sure to enter that referral code!
Another amazing affiliate network that is well known is Amazon Associates. Maybe you just purchased a great new product, but can’t find an affiliate program for that store. Can you buy that same product on Amazon? Maybe Amazon has it for better price? Anything you can find on Amazon, can be made into an affiliate link using Amazon Associates!
Amazon pays CPA, based on the sales you make. You can earn up to 10% commission, but this varies based on department.
Amazon provides a widget so you can create just a custom link for any Amazon product, you can create a clickable image of the product, or you can create affiliate search results on Amazon.
Amazon also has what is called an Amazon Influencer Shop that you can create by categorizing and picking out your favorite Amazon products. You then receive a custom URL to your Amazon storefront and can share this with your followers. Anything they purchase on Amazon within 24 hours of clicking on your Amazon shop, is commissionable to you!
They do not pay out until you reach $100 in commission and will close your account if you don’t make a sale within 90 days. However, if you’re actively sharing Amazon finds, there is a prime member out there who will buy so don’t let this intimidate you!
Below is a screenshot of what the link generators look like on Amazon Associates. As you can see there’s different options, depending on how you want your links to appear.
Share A Sale
Share a Sale is part of a much better known affiliate network called AWIN. I’m not going to get into this one as you pay a fee to join so I haven’t explored this one just yet. However I do use Share A Sale and they do have a few great merchants if you’re in the home décor niche like me.
This one is different than the others I’ve shared so far, in that you have to apply to each individual merchant in order to be approved to share their affiliate links. So you could get denied to some and approved to others.
Each merchant will clearly show the commission percentage that you would gain should you be accepted to their program. They do pay monthly with a minimum payout of $50.
Some good merchants provided under them are Birch Lane, Wayfair, Joss & Main, Décor Steals, Antique Farmhouse, Bits of vintage, Dollar Tree & Polo.
Rakuten is a lot like Share A Sale because you have to apply to merchants individually here. However, they have some great merchants that you just won’t find in any other affiliate network. Some of these include Joanns, Tempurpedic, Surefit, Ashely Homestore, Macys, Best Buy, Sams club, The Container Store, Dock A Tot, Baby Bjorn, Francescas, Ugg, Free People, Lululemon, Trunk Club, Motherhood Maternity, and Walmart.
I personally don’t use this one much now, but it had too many good brands to not share with y’all!
They have a minimum pay out of $50 and commission varies by merchant.
Linking on Rakuten works just like I showed you for ShopYourLikes!
This is one I don’t use that often and I really should use it more. This one is the most similar to LTKit in that you can build widgets to shop this look or create collections, or even create something similar to a “shop my feed” with clickable links.
Like LTKit, these are mostly fashion brands but they do have a few great home décor shops included. Some of the top ones I found on here are Alex & Ani, Aerie, Aldo, Amazon, Anthropologie, Coach, World Market, Express, Foot Locker, Forever 21, Francescas, Free People, Gap, Garage, H& M, Hunter, JcPenney, Joss & Main, Kohls, Levis, Lululemon, Macy’s, Nike, Nordstrom, Old Navy, Pier 1, Pottery Bran, Sephora, Steve Madden, Target, UGG, Ulta, Under Armour, Walgreens, Walmart and Wayfair. And the best part, you are accepted to ALL of their merchants. You do not need to apply individually.
Commission varies by merchant, and you only make money by commission.
My favorite part about this network is the ability to create a pinnable shop my look to monetize Pinterest! Your followers can easily shop via Pinterest without having to ever click out of the app and clicking on affiliate links on your blog or Instagram.
I shared a screenshot below of the option for sharing a “look” once created. A look would be any one image and linking all products shown in that photo. You can then share to several different outlets, but the Pinterest share is my absolute fave!
And below is a look at the dashboard and the many options you have for linking!
Lastly is Commission Junction. CJ has a TON of programs, you just need to sift through them to see which merchants would fit your niche. You also must individually apply to merchants, so you are not automatically accepted to them all. Some good examples are American Eagle, Pier 1, Hobby Lobby, Tj Maxx, Big Lots and World Market.
They pay commission and do pay monthly.
Below is a peek at what their dashboard would look like!
What If The Merchant I Want To Link Isn’t In An Affiliate Program?
There’s very few stores/brands that do not have an affiliate program. To figure out what affiliate program a brand is affiliated with or maybe whether they have their own, just google “Macy’s affiliate program”. If they’re in an affiliate network, it’ll be one of the first to pop up. Some brands may also have their own affiliate network for their very own brand such as Target, Etsy, Wayfair and World Market. They can also still be involved with these affiliate networks so it’s up to you to look at which one will pay the best commission.
Best Apps To Use For Promoting Affiliate Links
We talked about a few of these earlier but I wanted to put them all in one place so you can explore them all and see which one is going to suit you best! I’m not going to go into detail for each one, but rather link them so you can take a look at what each one would look like for you!
I will be updating this periodically as I do more research and receive tips from other bloggers who share more knowledge with me on affiliate links. If you have any questions at all about any of the above, please feel free to send me a DM on Instagram here!
I will also be doing a bi-weekly Saturday tip series from now on for all my blogger and insta friends, so don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter to receive this!