In the world of affiliate marketing, it all revolves around affiliate links. It’s the key instrument for affiliates to promote products and services and earn commission whenever a user makes a purchase by using that specific link.
So it’s fair to say affiliate links deserve a bit of attention and a post of its own.
Our intention with this article is to show you how to properly use affiliate links, and how to promote them in order to generate more income. But first, let’s start by explaining what affiliate links actually are and how they are built.
When talking about affiliate links we refer to specific URLs that contain the affiliate’s username or ID. This allows the merchant to track all the traffic that comes from the affiliate’s website.
Also, when clicked on, every affiliate link creates a cookie on the visitor’s browser which additionally allows merchants to follow all purchases and clicks that came from the affiliate’s specific link.
Note: Usually, the cookie placed on a visitor's browser lasts 30-90 days, so as long as the prospect makes a purchase in that time frame, and based on the affiliate's link, the affiliate will earn a fee.
Every partner program has its own vision of how the link should look like, but most affiliate links contain pretty much the same elements:
- Affiliate tracking domain – the domain created by the affiliate network that points users toward the advertiser
- Affiliate identifier – shows the affiliate that’s sending the referral
- Advertisers identifier – recognizes the merchant as the one receiving the referral
- Variable – part that can be customized
Note: The infographic above showcases a link of the CPA network that aggregates partner programs, but in the case of direct affiliate program links, tracking domain can also belong to the initial seller.
Now that we have established what affiliate links are, it is time to move on and define how to use them correctly, and most importantly how to create affiliate links.
Among the first steps is you deciding on the product or service you want to promote. At this point you need to think about how your audience will respond to a specific item, whether there’s a high market demand for such a product, what’s the competition like, what’s the product’s price and your potential commission rate, etc.
You need to assess if it is worth investing time, and possibly money in promoting the product.
Along with this process, you need to join an affiliate program of your preference and get a unique affiliate code. Adding this code to your website will automatically lead to having your affiliate ID embedded in the link.
From this moment on, you can place your affiliate link wherever you want – you will always earn a commission after the target action is made through that link, thanks to the code that detects who’s the affiliate behind it.
There are many ways of how to encourage users to click on affiliate links. Some of these methods are free, some are paid but worth investing in due to the fact they can lead to more conversions.
We will soon tap into all of them in more detail, but what’s important to point out is that you will need to combine several methods of promoting affiliate links in order to achieve the best possible results.
It all comes down to creating higher traffic volume, and focusing only on one method is not the best way to approach this matter. But the traffic must be targeted and relevant, otherwise your efforts might be in vain, not leading to desired results.
#1 The basics: Product reviews and tutorials
One of the best places to share affiliate links is your own blog, or more precisely, product reviews and tutorials as a type of blog post. Review posts target people with purchase intent, so your links have a higher probability of leading to conversions, while tutorials are great for building your site’s authority and generating organic traffic.
With this type of content, it is of great importance to develop a deep understanding of the topic you are writing about, and of the product or service you are promoting. This will add to your credibility. Also, good keyword optimization is a must, especially regarding titles and subheadings.
When it comes to the structure of this type of blog post, you need to make sure to include everything you think a potential buyer would like to know about the product.
One of the widespread ways to sound more trustworthy is to mention some product weaknesses, but don’t focus too much on the negative. Make sure to underline all the benefits the product has to offer.
Note: It’s always better to share a first-hand experience and to offer nothing but useful information to readers.
The final step – include at least one affiliate link per page, and use it quite early in the text. Attach the link to anchor text that’s attractive and points to the crucial part of the product or service.
Advice: Review products with high conversion rates and good keyword volume to make sure you have solid revenue. And bear in mind that digital products often come with better commissions since their production cost is usually lower than the cost of creating physical goods.
#2 Logical sequel: Email marketing
If you already have a decent base of subscribers, it would be good to use it and promote your affiliate links through emails. If not, make sure to create an email sign-up form on your website as soon as possible.
Sending newsletters to your audience can be very fruitful for your affiliate efforts. They are a useful tool for creating a bond with your readers + a good platform for incorporating affiliate links = the perfect combo.
Statistically speaking, not a great number of visitors will convert the first time they find themselves on your website. So building an affiliate marketing email list is a great way to at least turn them into your subscribers, nurture them and later on market to them through email.
What’s important here is that you tend to send useful content to your subscribers, something that can be of value to them, and not try to oversell whatever you want to promote through these texts. It’s all about building trust. Once you manage to do that, the chances of your audience following your recommendations and suggestions will be much higher.
Tip: One link per newsletter is more than enough, and it would be great if you could offer your subscribers some sort of special deal if they decide to purchase through your affiliate link. Also, exclusive content, intended only for them, could be an additional plus - it would make them feel special, and more likely to convert.
You can send emails that focus on advertising the products or service, create a roundup email that contains more than one product (and naturally more affiliate links), or make things more organic and place the link in the quality content, to be more subtle. It all depends on your strategy.
Note: Some affiliate networks and email services do not allow the link placement. In that case, you can incorporate the link to the page where readers can find links to products.
#3 Always a good idea: Resource page
The resource page is a page that offers valuable information about a specific topic. It is usually presented as a list (recommended tools list, for example, or favorite brands, services, etc), and should contain nothing else but a product name, a short description, and a link.
Readers like to believe this list of products or tools is the one you have a personal experience with, and that they represent your first choice. So be careful with the selection of items you want to place on the resource page.
Note: We advise you to add a disclosure at the very beginning of this page, explaining that if readers purchase something through these links, the site owner will earn an affiliate commission. That way you will reassure your audience that you are not trying to trick them into buying anything, but that you only present products and services you believe are worth recommending.
Resource pages might not attract a lot of organic traffic, but they are a great option for email promotion.
Relying on a push notifications service to let your push subscribers know what’s new on your website is a super practical way to re-engage your visitors. BUT more importantly, it’s an opportunity to share your affiliate links and increase your CTRs.
Push notifications are short and concise messages you can use to inform your audience that subscribed to receive push about pretty much anything you want. So why not let them know about a product or a service that might be of use to them.
This could be one of the methods to promote affiliate links, and therefore increase your revenue.
Note: Notix push system has some great features that could be useful in terms of collecting subscribers – customized opt-in prompt, for instance, many targeting options, as well as advanced settings for sending push messages.
#5 Not to miss: Video content
When deciding where to promote affiliate links, don’t forget about video content. According to RankTracker, videos have the power to increase conversion rate by 86%, so you don’t want to miss an opportunity and not include videos in your link promotion strategy.
As for how to use affiliate links in videos, we suggest you simply add them into the video description part, so the viewer can use it right away. But you can mention it verbally, in the video, as well.
Affiliate marketers can choose to create a product review type of video, and in that case, the affiliate link can be the very first thing the viewer sees under the video title. Or, for instance, an educational video within you will just briefly mention the product you are promoting. The link in this case should be incorporated a bit later in the video description.
Also, there are ways of adding a link to external pages in the video, in a way that it pops during the video broadcast. With this type of affiliate link in video content it’s all about timing and presenting the link at the right moment.
Another thing that could lead to a higher number of conversions is offering your video audience a special offer (with a discount code maybe), for each purchase made through your link. And you put a time frame on it.
Advice: Make sure the links are easy to see and clickable. Also that their loading time is not more than 3 seconds because people will lose interest in seeing what’s behind the link if they need to wait for too long.
#6 Best targeting options: Paid ads
For affiliates, a specific and targeted audience is what they dream of. Trying to sell a product to people who are not interested in what you have to offer is simply a waste of time, money, and energy. Which is why investing in paid advertising can and should be on the top of your list of how to promote third-party products or services.
PropellerAds has multiple ways of helping you reach people who are most likely to purchase the product behind your link. There are several ad formats you can use for that purpose:
- Popunder ads – a whole website page or landing page presented under the user’s active tab, in a new browser window; it’s very effective, especially due to its size and the fact it can support a significant amount of content, images, and CTA button where you can place your affiliate link
- Push notifications – a premium advertising tool that comes in the form of short alerts that pop on user’s devices; by placing an affiliate link as the CTA button, you will automatically send every push subscriber who opens the notification to the merchant’s page
Note: In the case of Notix push notifications, your messages will reach only those who subscribed to receive push from your own website, while with PropellerAds only the sky’s the limit – you can send notifications to subscribers of thousands of websites worldwide.
- In-page push (IPP) – looking like a Classic Push, IPP is actually a traffic type that appears on the website instead of device, and doesn’t require subscription; its biggest benefit lies in the fact that it works for all platforms, including iOS, and can be customized easily
- Interstitials – a fully visual ad that will maximize audience engagement; it is a banner that partly overlays the content, and has the power of increasing CTR significantly; it performs best within some verticals, like Utilities and Sweepstakes.
- Survey Exit – PropellerAd’s newest and exclusive ad format that targets highly engaged and focused users who are most likely already interested in your offer, and therefore probably will convert; you get the audience that’s already warmed up based to thematic surveys they completed
Note: Thanks to advanced optimization and up-to-date performance tools PropellerAds has to offer, you will maximize your affiliate’s profits and increase ROI.
#7 Inevitable step: Social media and forums
It’s hard to imagine being in the marketing business and not using social media. But how to get affiliate links to become part of Instagram, or Facebook posts? It’s not always as easy as just putting a link in a post description.
This is possible on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, but not Instagram. This specific social media does not allow adding any sort of links under the image post, but you can attach it to Instagram Story by using a “Link” sticker, or add a link to your profile description (same is for TikTok). The newest trick affiliates use is attaching a link to a classic post through the “Add Location” option, or they turn to Linktree by adding a URL in Link in Bio that branches out into up to five other links.
While we are at the subject, Instagram profiles that have more than 10k followers can also use a “swipe-up” option, and lead their viewers to the product page directly.
Note: For this strategy to work, you must have a quite large social media audience base that consists of potential buyers.
But even in that case, you need to be tactical. Because the social media audience is not very fond of promotional content, speaking in general. Instagram is an exception. In fact, their report says that around 70% of Instagram users turn to this platform to look for their next purchase.
Now, when it comes to any other social media channel, our recommendation is to lead your audience to your affiliate blog posts that contain affiliate links, rather than to the product or service page right away.
The situation with forums is quite tricky as well. For instance, both Reddit and Quora won’t allow you to place affiliate links in the post. In fact, your account could be banned for that move. However, you can use the forum space to generate traffic and direct it to your affiliate website.
Tip: Choose wisely social media for your affiliate links. Every platform has its own audience and style, make sure the product or brand you are about to promote is aligned with the social media you are about to use for link placement.
#8 Use all the channels: Podcasts and webinars
Webinars and podcasts are wrongfully neglected by affiliate marketers. And they shouldn’t be. These are direct communication channels between you and your target audience (potential buyers), and therefore a good place to promote your affiliate links.
The way to do it includes adding links to podcast notes. We recommend being fully transparent with your audience and adding a disclosure about you earning a commission if they decide to purchase a product through the link you provided.
Another way to promote affiliate links is by slipping them into chat sections. You can even mention it out loud and point listeners to the place where they can find this link, but this needs to be organic and natural. You mentioning this link has to be the logical step after you address some issue or start a new discussion that’s related to the product or service you want to present.
Note: The option to record and share the webinar allows your affiliate link to reach more audience. This way, you won’t be limited only by the time the webinar is live, which is one of its greatest advantages.
#9 Last but not least: Online courses
Online courses are a great way for generating revenue from your affiliate links, while staying in touch with your audience. Having an online course leads to a narrow-targeted audience that will probably be very interested in the products and services you are about to promote. Under the assumption they are closely related to a niche or topic the course is about.
Example: Instagram influencers often organize short courses on the subject of beauty and well-being, and they collaborate with some brands whose products they then promote through the course. Also, it’s not rare that photographers prepare courses on how to, let’s say, get good images for social media, and then they use this platform to present specific cameras, clothing brands, editing software/apps, etc.
Personal experience with what you promoting is of crucial significance here, as well as staying as objective as possible with your review. Try being as less salesy as possible, given the course attendees are there for your knowledge and your experience before anything else.
Tip: Don’t go overboard with affiliate links. Don’t make the course look like a resource page, you want to show your audience only products that can be of use to them in this specific matter. This way you will add value to your audience and increase the likelihood of them converting in the end.
- Only one type of link placement – as we already suggested, include at least three or four link-promotion methods in your affiliate marketing strategy; you need to diversify in order to maximize your profits
- Links that offer no value – you don’t want to lose the trust of your audience; so don’t serve them with links that don’t match their intent and are of no use to them
- Don’t exaggerate with links – no matter how good the content is, if you overdo it with affiliate links your visitors might lose interest and leave without converting; you need to be strategic here
- Promoting links for different niches on the same website – this will create confusion; make sure to stay true to the audience within one niche, and promote only products that are relevant to them; for different industries build a separate website
Now that you know what exactly affiliate links are, how to use them, and what are the best ways to promote them, it is time to step into the affiliate ring and test your luck and your skills. We hope we gave you enough insights to make the ride to first profits easy and smooth. But if that’s not the case, don’t worry, you just need a bit more time to master it all.