Introduction to Affiliate Marketing (Tricia Meyer Session)

I’m so excited to have Tricia speaking at BlogIndiana—this is what we need. Tricia has made a successful work-at-home career through internet marketing. She has fun & brilliant ideas for niche content sites.

Working with large brands

How in the world is a small blog going to get Target & Amazon to sponsor them? Advertising is painstaking but you can utilize affiliate marketing programs to earn income from major brands.

Types of Affiliate Marketing Sites

  • Coupon & Deal Sites
  • Cash Back Sites
  • Comparison Shopping Sites/Directories
  • Paid Search
  • Newsletter Marketing
  • Toolbars
  • Mobile Ads
  • Facebook & Twitter Ads
  • Virtual Currency
  • Most importantly—blogs!

How Does It Work

Customers visit an affiliate website. Affiliates (affiliate = blogger/publisher) direct customers to partners/brands who complete the sale. Partners pay the affiliates a commission for the referral.

Network’s Role

The network is your directory of merchants to find brands/partners to promote. They handle payment processing (get money from the merchants & send the commission to you), host datafeeds & creatives, negotiate commission contracts with merchants and facilitate communication. Sometimes they will manage programs as well, but you’ll often have an affiliate manager or OPM (outsourced program manager).

Affiliate Manager’s Role

They create the text & graphics (a good one can even create graphics specifically for your website), negotiate custom commission rates & coupons, communicates with network & affiliates, finds new affiliates for merchants, advises affiliates on placement (talk to them about what might work best for your site) and educates affiliates about their merchants.

Steps to Making Money on Blogs

  • Sign Up for Networks
  • Find Merchants
  • Load Creatives to Your Sites
  • Drive Traffic to Your Sites

Finding Merchants

  • Search network directories by category or keyword
  • Search for products in Google (check shopping results)
  • Visit Your Competitors’ Sites
  • Ask Network Reps for Suggestions

Choosing the Right Merchant

Products need to fit your site—it should make sense for your content & readers.
Evaluate the EPC (earnings per click)—tells you how well the merchant’s ads convert.
Site leaks—if the merchant website has adsense or links to other merchants, you’re less likely to make a commission on your referrals.
Return Days—how long the merchant will recognize the cookie that tells them your reader visited the site from your link.
Reputation of Network or Manager
Freshness of Creatives—choose merchants that are updating their graphics regularly
Reversal Rates—how often a merchant cancels an order after they’ve already given you credit (happens a lot in shoes, especially with Zappos who have free returns).
Responsiveness of manager

Google AdSense

It’s a bit of an intro to making money on your blog—it is a great way to get started but it has some downsides.
Great for a place that is hard to monetize.
You’re making pennies on the dollar and sending readers to someone else who may be making a commission on that sale.

Banner Ads

Standard sizes (square/rectangle—as small as 120×60 or large as 728×90)
Features name brands & products
Choose rotating banners that the merchant automatically updates.

Product Links/Images

You can use product images & text links to feature specific products. (i.e. product reviews)


Merchants & Plugins canl create widgets that autoupdate with content that is popular or fits a keyword.


They are on Pepperjam, but we prefer the partner network.
phpBay Lite Plugin generates the items closing soon based on keywords you provide.


Conversion rates are high on video. You can create your own, but some networks also provide video for affiliates. I need to find the link of Tricia’s oldest eating vomit-flavored Jelly Bellies. Too funny!


Generates product/shopping pages for your own site. They have a free version, but you’ll get more functionality from the paid options. The only downside is everything goes through their links (with your affiliate id) so you don’t have the tracking abilities you would.


Has coupon directory & search options that will create widgets/pages for your site. They run on a 4th-click system so every 4th click changes to their affiliate id. However, many merchants are now paying to get into GoldenCan so they are “free of 4th click” & you receive full commissions.


No direct merchant affiliation or understanding of links needed.
Use the plugins for blogs or forums to convert standard links to affiliate links.
SkimLinks keeps a portion of commissions but they negotiate such high rates that you may still make a decent percentage.

Legal & Ethical Issues

Adware—affiliates who install software/cookies on readers’ sites so their affiliate link overrides any other affiliate link in the future.
Cookie Stuffing—affiliates who require you to click something (i.e. click here to see coupon) are probably just getting their cookie onto your computer in case you ever go back to shop.
Ad Tax/Amazon Tax/Affiliate Tax—I’ve been watching this, especially with the Colorado mess, but we’re lucky this hasn’t come to Indiana yet.

Learn More

Affiliate Summit
Forums (A Best Web)
Network/OPM conference calls

Speaker: Tricia Meyer, @SunshineTricia

This is a live blog—an unedited version of my notes. It is not meant as an exact transcript but I try to capture the highlights along the way (and, you know, add commentary). I’ll fix spelling errors & grammar later, when I get a chance to go back. Be gentle, until then.