Content Marketing / Monetization

11 Crucial Ways to Promote Affiliate Links That Actually Work

There is an infinite number of ways to monetize your website. This post covers how you can promote affiliate links and generate more revenue.

Sean Brison July 14, 2022
When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn about affiliate disclosures.

Have you run out of ideas on how to promote affiliate links? Let’s fix that. Yes, text links in a blog post are one way, but there are a variety of alternative options you may not have considered.

This post shows you strategies we’ve used to monetize our websites along with popular methods we’ve seen others pull off with wild success. Not every approach listed here will make sense for you, so take it with a grain of salt.

But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page.

cowboy yelling through bullhorn with links coming out of it

An affiliate link is a URL with a unique tracking ID that tells the seller who sent them the sale. It’s the only way you’ll get attribution for sending the merchant qualified traffic.

They’re a string of numbers, letters, and characters that contain specific product information that’s baked into the link.

For example, below is an illustration of an Amazon Associates link. Typically, these links contain the:

  • Merchant’s domain
  • Product info
  • Affiliate ID

a color coded url breakdown of an amazon affiliate link

Further Reading:

There are various elements at play regarding how much affiliate links pay. That will depend on the program you join and its payout structure.

Some programs have a higher commission rate than others; some have one-time payouts while others are recurring.

The industry also dictates how much you’ll earn in affiliate sales.

Digital products tend to pay more than physical ones because the overhead is lower. While platforms like Amazon pay more to Associates in particular niches (e.g., beauty at 10% versus home improvement niche at 3%).

Further Reading:

11 Ways How to Promote Affiliate Links 

Here’s a shortlist of tactics you can try to boost income beyond simple text links and banner displays on your affiliate website.

1. Product Reviews & Comparisons

Establishing trust and authority through informational content is one part of the equation. The other is targeting keywords where your audience is in “buying” mode.

The best way to attract qualified readers to click your links is to create content for people in the “commercial investigation” crowd.

These are people who have narrowed their search but haven’t made a decision yet. That’s where product reviews and comparisons come into play.

Whatever your website is about, I’m sure there are a few products you could write reviews for that would provide valuable insight for your audience (while adding your affiliate link in the process).

For example, our co-founder Matt runs a blog about homebrewing and creates detailed guides linking to relevant products that his audience finds useful.

Product reviews account for over 20% of our affiliate commissions on our personal finance site, Listen Money Matters.

Showcase Your Affiliate Links In Single Product Displays

Simple text links and sidebar widgets aren’t enough. When we tested our site to learn how visitors interacted with it, we found that many times, people would scroll right past our affiliate links.

But, when we started promoting those same links using product displays, they’d stop and click. When using Lasso, you can create custom product displays to match your site’s theme.

For example, let’s say you wrote a product review about WP Rocket. Instead of promoting your affiliate link in the text, you could showcase it like this 👇

Or, if you wrote a product comparison, you could showcase the winner like we did in our WordPress vs. Wix post.

Winner and Best Overall
WordPress
4.8

WordPress comes out ahead thanks to unlimited flexibility, powerful themes, and awesome plugins (like Lasso) available through the community. There's a bit of a learning curve for new WordPress users but the platform's raw power more than makes up for it.

Pros:
  • eCommerce & SEO-friendly
  • Flexible hosting options
  • Extensive template library
Cons:
  • Lacks "official" customer support team
Explore WordPress.org

Once you’ve pasted your link into Lasso, you can create your display while seeing a real-time preview of it.

Below is what building the WP Rocket display looked like in Lasso’s dashboard (aka its Link Details page).

wp rocket link details page in lasso

Further Reading:

2. How-to’s & Beginner Guides

Another way to serve your audience is to write tutorials on using a specific product (aka step-by-step guides). For example, we wrote about how to start a blog on our other site, detailing everything you’ll need (and what to expect), including:

  • Getting started (with tools)
  • Website monetization best practices
  • Your creation strategy
  • Its growth trajectory
  • How you will fail
  • Takeaways & FAQs

We also include affiliate links of the tools we use to run our online businesses in that post because it’s relevant, useful, and provides value.

For example, we use WP Engine for website hosting, so we promote them in a Single display with our affiliate link in that post. You can also create beginner guides and then link to specific affiliate products.

Tip: Try writing a guest post for a site that shares a common audience with yours. You can reference your affiliate links to potential customers.

Further Reading:

3. Email Marketing

Using your email list is the BEST way to connect with your audience and is superior to any other platform (e.g., social media). We’ve found it’s also the quickest way to get customer feedback with the most volume.

As an affiliate marketer, you can reach your subscribers and direct them to your blog, a landing page, or an affiliate product.

Plus, your email list isn’t affected when social networks crash. Why? Because your list belongs to you and nobody else (e.g., not Facebook’s). It’s a simple process:

  • When people visit your blog, they can opt-in to your email list using a form on your website
  • You stay in touch with thank you and welcome emails, website updates, affiliate products, digital products, and more

The trick is to be strategic and not include affiliate links with every email you send — that’s spammy.

4. Podcast Show Notes

You can promote affiliate links in the show notes of podcast episodes. When you complete the recording, revisit the transcript and add affiliate links of the tools or resources you referenced on the show.

For example, if your episode was about productivity, and you mentioned how you use ToDoist and Headspace to help manage your day, link to them at the end.

Check out how Pat Flynn adds affiliate links in the show notes of his podcast episodes with a full disclosure.

pat flynn affiliate links in podcast show notes

Another trick is using easy-to-remember (and say) URLs.

For example, if you were promoting your show through a referral sponsorship with Betterment, you’d say, “This episode is brought to you by Betterment. Visit listenmoneymatters.com/betterment for a link in the show notes.”

See how easy that was to say?

That’s an example of a cloaked affiliate link. Cloaking your affiliate URLs makes them both memorable and shareable.

If you’re using a tool like Lasso, it’ll cloak your URLs automatically. I mentioned referral sponsorships, but you can also try selling your guest’s products (as their affiliate).

Further Reading:

5. Digital Products & Online Courses

Creating digital products (e.g., online courses or ebooks) is great for adding affiliate links and another way to generate passive income.

For example, if you run a photography blog, you could create a beginner’s photography course with an affiliate link for a Canon DSLR camera that’s perfect for beginners.

It’s not salesy if you approach it with a “serve-first” mentality and your offer is relevant.

Your audience will see your authenticity as you’re creating high-quality material (as opposed to just trying to clock another referral).

Sidenote: Our personal finance site has multiple courses with affiliate links of the tools we use (more on that below). People are willing to pay for things that make their lives easier.

Your courses could be about anything from creating a successful e-commerce site to digital marketing to dressing better, and people will pay.

6. YouTube Videos

YouTube video content does insanely well as a promotional engine for just about anything. It’s still on our shortlist of something Lasso could do.

Our co-founder Matt has had outstanding results using only basic animated videos in generating course sales and affiliate income.

Check out an example of how he does it here. Notice how he promotes his offers in the comments below the video 👇

youtube swim u affiliate link placement

Placing your link in the comments can also help to start a conversation with your customers. The more comments a video has, the more YouTube sees people like it (potentially helping increase visibility with its search engine).

The opportunity on YouTube is more significant than search SEO, but the drawback is it’s more labor-intensive.

Google owns YouTube. So, you could potentially increase your SERP real estate by doing well in both Google AND YouTube’s organic search engines – an SEO win.

For example, when I enter the keyword phrase “how to do keyword research for YouTube”, Ahrefs occupies multiple spots on page one for both video and blog posts.

serp real estate blog and youtube

Tip: If you’re looking for more ways to share video content, try TikTok.

7. Webinars

Webinars are similar to your email list in that it’s intimate. These are people who have already signed up to hear what you have to say.

And much like remote work, you can lead a webinar from your sofa. You can also create a sense of urgency for it by telling your customers it’s a one-time-only event.

Other ways to increase FOMO could be exclusive content for your attendees in the form of:

  • Tutorials
  • Guides
  • Product reviews

You can build a landing page solely for your attendees with a special access link (equipped with a course or affiliate offer).

Or, link to it for those who can’t attend on another date with an “in case you missed it” link. This quote from Ry Schwartz sums it up best:

Hard sell the TRANSFORMATION so you can soft sell the thing that provides it

A benefit of webinars is you’ll get to the attendees by answering their questions, which can make it an attractive medium for affiliate promotion.

Our Lasso co-founders held one with a small but highly engaged audience. They had a ton of great questions, ideas, and suggestions for Andrew and Matt. It was a colossal win, and we want to do more of them.

8. Ads

Leveraging ads on social media platforms is another useful approach. These can include:

  • Facebook ads
  • Quora
  • Linkedin

Many digital marketing strategies are leaning more towards native ads to drive traffic.

They blend seamlessly within the content you’re already reading (you may not even realize what you’re reading is an ad). Here’s one example from Quora’s site:

quora native ad

The only distinguishing factor here is that it reads “Sponsored” at the top. But make no mistake, it’s an ad. Native advertising is less intrusive than a banner displaying across your site.

This stat reveals consumers view native ads more than display ads while also having:

  • A CTR 8.8x higher compared to display ads
  • 53% more views than display ads

If you want higher conversion rates, native ads might make more sense.

You can also access the same social media forums listed above and promote affiliate links when it makes sense. The trick is to be selective about where you place your link and to use it sparingly.

9. Resources & Tools Pages

Tools and resource pages are HUGE. Our toolbox page on our personal finance site generates 10% in affiliate income – and that’s only from a single page.

It also earns income through digital courses, which we’ve placed on the same page.

lmm toolbox

Further Reading:

10. Instagram

Many bloggers and influencers use Instagram to connect with their audience. While you can’t link to products with each image you post, there are a few ways of bypassing this.

First, you can add links to your bio. If you’re a brand ambassador and always link to the same product, then you can set it and forget it.

If every post features something different, you’ll have to update your bio with the link that’s most current. The drawback is that someone clicking an older post will wind up on a different product page, so, this method isn’t perfect.

The way around this is by creating a shoppable Instagram gallery with a link in your bio. This is similar to creating a Resources page on your blog. You can include all of your affiliate links in one place.

instagram link in bio

Solutions like Bazaar Voice’s Like2Buy let you build a virtual storefront where your followers can see your recommended products.

If you have 10k followers, you can add affiliate links to Instagram stories.

This method can have a high ROI because you’ve taken the time to build trust and authority with your followers who you’re now leveraging at scale.

11. Facebook Pages

Create a Facebook account (either personal or business) to engage with your audience. Then, when it makes sense, include affiliate links to products and tools you recommend.

To qualify your readers, try creating a Facebook group focused on a single topic. You’ll find this audience segment more engaged with what you’re promoting.

Don’t make the mistake of using Facebook as a “selling” platform.

Focus on creating value for your readers with every post, build trust, and don’t spam them with irrelevant links.

If you’ve already built a large community but haven’t considered promoting on the platform, now’s the time.

Include Your Affiliate Disclaimer

We wrote an in-depth blog post detailing the numerous ways you can include affiliate disclosures (with scripts). You must show your audience that you’re in a paid relationship with your website’s products that earn you affiliate commissions.

affiliate dos and don'ts comparison side by side green and red columns

It’s also vital to comply with the FTC. Why?

Because you don’t want to get fined, violate its terms of service, and get kicked off of an affiliate program.

Tip: Add your disclosure before you start adding affiliate links.

Further Reading:

You’ll need to join an affiliate program to get your links before you can get paid for promoting products on your site. There are several large affiliate networks you can start with, including:

  • ShareASale
  • Clickbank
  • Impact Radius

Here’s what that looks like…

Let’s say you joined Impact Radius and want to monetize your affiliate site with a merchant link via their platform. You’d simply copy the link from the merchant you’re promoting and paste it into Impact’s dashboard.

Here’s a screenshot of what it’d look like to paste the product link from Drizly (a merchant found on Impact’s network) into Impact’s dashboard. Impact generates an affiliate link for you.

drizly dashboard on impact affiliate network

Then, for example, if you’re using Lasso to promote your links, you’d click “Add New Link.

lasso dashboard adding new link

Then paste your Impact link into the dashboard.

lasso pasting new link

Lasso will then give you the option to choose a display type.

choosing a lasso display type

Finally, select how you want to promote your link and you’re set (be sure to keep reading to see our “Single” display in action).

You can also bypass large affiliate networks like Impact and sign up for the merchant’s program directly. For example, if you wanted to join Lasso’s affiliate marketing program, you’d sign up on our website.

Tip: Befriend your affiliate managers. A healthy partnership equals a healthy marketing campaign.

Further Reading:

It’s a best practice to track your affiliate links because you need to know what’s performing well and what’s not. There are many ways to do it.

We’ve found the best success with connecting Lasso to Google Analytics (GA). Once you’ve copied and pasted your GA tracking ID into Lasso, you can see metrics like your click data.

connecting lasso to google analytics

Then, head to GA and view your top Events by page or product. To do this, go to:

  1. Behavior
  2. Events
  3. Top Events (shows the most clicked products on your site) or Pages (top-clicked products in each blog post)

viewing top events in google analytics

You can also append sub IDs to your affiliate links for enhanced tracking.

Further Reading:

Promote Affiliate Links Ethically

Your success as an affiliate marketer boils down to trust. The more informative your content is, the more trustworthy you appear.

And the greater the chances that a reader clicks a link and buys a product. Approach your customers with a need to serve them as if your life depended on it.

Use Multiple Strategies to Boost Affiliate Commissions

When you diversify your affiliate channels, you’ll increase the odds of getting clicks. If that sounds like too much, focus only on one before moving on to a second (then a third, etc.).

Don’t make the mistake of only using one method indefinitely.

For example, you might want to only concentrate on writing product reviews for your blog before creating videos and then moving to Facebook ads.

Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Yes, affiliate marketing works. When looking at the data for the term “affiliate marketing” over the past five years, it’s trending up.

google trends affiliate marketing

And these below stats confirm that the industry is still on the rise with high income potential for creative, hard-working individuals.

Last Words

You don’t need to use every method on this list. In fact, we advise against that because you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. The alternative is to focus on one channel, test, and track your results.

This will help you eliminate methods that don’t work.

Promoting affiliate links doesn’t have to be complicated. Ready to find out how Lasso will help grow your business? Try a 14-day FREE trial.

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