Keys To The Kingdom
How Do Affiliate Cookies Work?
Becoming a smart and successful affiliate marketer means understanding cookies. This has nothing to do with the favorite treat you like to dunk in your milk as a nighttime snack. It has everything to do with how a website or business you are an affiliate for ensures you get credit for any sales you generate.
What Is a Cookie?
How Do Cookies Work for Affiliate Marketers?
As an affiliate marketer, cookies are your best friend. When someone clicks on an affiliate link on your blog or website, a cookie is placed in their browser. This includes information that says you are the person that recommended the destination website to that visitor. This is how companies know which affiliate to pay commissions to, and cookies can have very different lifespans.
Amazon is not only the largest retailer in the world, but it is also the largest company that predominantly uses affiliates to generate sales. The company will drop a 24 hour cookie onto the computer of a visitor that clicks through one of your affiliate links. Other companies allow for 30, 60, 90 day or even 1 year cookies.
This means that from the first time someone clicks on one of your affiliate links, you can earn commissions for the designated cookie length. This is why you should choose the companies you want to work as an affiliate for very carefully. Some companies offer lifetime cookies! This means that if you are the first person to send someone to that website, if they make a purchase 20 years from now, you will receive a commission!
Shawn Hogan is the founder and owner of the Internet Marketing forum Digital Point. He faced charges of defrauding eBay by sneaking cookies onto the computers of his forum visitors without their say-so. It is this type of cookie abuse that cannot only cost you an affiliate marketing agreement, but could end up with you facing legal charges.
Always openly state that you may receive a sales commission if someone clicks on a link on your website and makes a purchase. This transparency will keep cookies working for you as an affiliate marketer, and will keep you out of possible legal trouble.
In your affiliate marketing journey, it’s very important to know that you’ll encounter 3 different groups of people. Knowing who they are is very important because you need to know how to deal with them.
Each group is different and poses its own type of challenges. By understanding how the different people in the groups behave, you’ll be better prepared to handle them and be in their good books.
Let’s take a look at our 3 types of people in affliate marketing:
The ‘publishers’ refer to affiliates just like you. These are the people who create niche sites or run YouTube channels or Facebook groups. Even the affiliates who use paid ads can be considered as publishers.
The goal of most publishers is to put out relevant content or ads that attract people who will click on their links and buy their affiliate products. The publishers are your ‘competition’ and you must watch them closely.
If you have a niche site on fishing tips, where you promote fishing-related products, the other sites that show up on the first page of the search results are your competition. They could be affiliates or actual brand name companies selling their products.
You’ll notice that there can be an overlap here because affiliates can sell their own products too. Let’s look at the next group to get a better picture.
The ‘advertisers’ refer to the companies who create the products you promote. They recruit affiliates to do the selling and they also advertise on their own to boost their sales.
An affiliate who promotes other vendors’ products but also creates his/her own products to sell, now finds himself/herself in the advertisers group. Similarly, the company that’s selling fishing rods and publishes lots of fishing tips and content on it’s official blog is now a publisher too.
So, the groups can overlap. What’s important to know is that while fellow publishers can be your competition, you can also network with them to promote their products if they’re vendors too. So, now your competition has become a mutually beneficial relationship.
At the same time, the vendor whose products you were promoting, might end up ranking for a lot of keywords that you’re targeting, because their marketing is on point. So, the vendor you were trying to support, has now become your competition.
Alas, the tangled webs we weave! Generally, companies try not to compete with their affiliates. But if you notice that the one you’re supporting is posing competition for you, you’ll need to reassess your marketing strategy and see if you wish to still support them.
This group is without a doubt the most important of the three. The consumers are the people who come online looking for information and solutions to their problems. Most of them don’t come looking to spend money or buy stuff.
They want help. Your job as an affiliate marketer is to give them enough information to help them a little and whet their appetite for more information that will help them solve their problems faster and easier.
If you have a website on back pain, the content in your site can talk about the different causes of back pain and natural remedies that could help. However, if they wish to bring much needed relief, you can mention that the special ‘Pain Away Pulse Massager’ has been shown to help many back-pain sufferers.
Now, not only is the visitor better informed about his condition and has a choice of home remedies that he or she can try, but they have been subtly introduced to a product that brings much needed immediate relief.
What do you think they’ll do?
Soak in that Epsom salt home bath which is a home remedy… or get the pulse massager to ease their pain quickly?
Most of them will get the pulse massager. The content you provide is a vehicle that not only helps them become better informed, but also transports them through the invisible journey that they need to traverse to go from reader to buyer.
Understand the different people who are involved in this affiliate marketing circle and you could be much more successful in your marketing efforts.
If you are a blogger, you should definitely have your own product to sell. This could be a simple e-book or information product, or it could be a complex and high-value monthly membership or video course. Either way, as a blogger trying to create a personal identity on the web, you need a product to sell, and it needs to have your name and face on it.
Maybe you just on the website, and not a blog. Whether you decide to create your own product or not, this doesn't mean you can't benefit from affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is the quickest and easiest way to make money online, hands down. So what is better, creating your own products or promoting other products as an affiliate?
There are pros and cons for both of these Internet marketing business models, so let's take a look at them now.
Why Would You Create Your Own Products
When you create your own product, you are in total control. You decide the price, you decide what affiliates will promote your product for you, and you choose the type of product you are going to create. Unlike affiliate marketing, you are not at the whim of some company who decides to change its agreement with you, or end the relationship for any reason at all.
Having said that, creating a product of your own can be difficult. E-books are very easy to make, and are a smart way to get started in the product creation process. However, you are in charge of finding potential customers, marketing your product, handling refunds, delivering the product, while also building and maintaining a good reputation in your niche or market.
On the upside, you can create as many products as you like, as quick as you can whip them out. Sometimes with the affiliate marketing model, it is difficult to find quality products you feel comfortable promoting. When you make your own product, you can make it as value-rich and beneficial to your customers as possible.
The Benefits of Affiliate Marketing
The biggest benefit of affiliate marketing is that it is easy, simple and probably the fastest way to make money online. What could be easier than referring someone to another website, and if that person makes a purchase, you get paid? With this simplicity comes some negatives though.
You are never in charge. Even if you enjoy a great relationship with a company whose products and services you promote, they can change their terms of service, commission structure or affiliate agreement overnight. This means you can go from making thousands of dollars a week to hundreds of dollars a month, and you have no say-so in the matter.
It only takes one person to complain to the company you are promoting for them to terminate your affiliate agreement. In many cases, the terms of service are lengthy and detailed, and if you slip up in even the smallest way, you can find your agreement with a company terminated without even being able to defend yourself.
That having been said, affiliate marketing is an attractive business model because you don't deal with customers. The company you are promoting handles customer service, returns, customer satisfaction and, in the case of large affiliate companies like Amazon, they work very hard to make sure that a sale is made once you get someone to their web property.
Product creation and affiliate marketing both offer pros and cons as Internet marketing business models. Whichever you choose, get started immediately. Fussing and stressing over whether you should create your own product for sale, or become an affiliate marketer, simply means you are putting off your path to financial and time independence for another day.
If you'd like to learn more about affiliating marketing check out this free webinar by John Thornhill: https://tinyurl.com/y3a4wbcx You'll find products already created for you.
This maxim pretty much hits the nail on the head. Many marketers fail to realize that you say more when you say less. When a blog post hypes up a product or you send an email that praises a product in a way that’s over the top, you actually repel potential buyers.
It’s obvious that you have a vested interest in getting them to buy the product just so that you earn an affiliate commission. One the reader detects that you have an ulterior motive, they’ll feel that you’re biased towards the product because you’re affiliated with it.
Your motives become suspect and you lose credibility and trust. Once those go, getting the sale can be very difficult. That’s exactly why you must be subtle in your marketing.
One of the best ways to do that will be to show how the product helped you and how you benefitted from it. While it may not be possible to do this for all the products you’re promoting, you can still be subtle in other ways.
For example, if you have a site showing how to build chicken coops, casually mentioning that ‘circular saws are much better than miter saws because they’re easy to use’ will get you more sales. You just need to hyperlink the words circular saws to the product you’re promoting.
Curious visitors will click on the link. After all, everyone wants to make things faster and easier for themselves.
However, if you say, ‘you need to buy a circular saw model XXX to do this job effectively. It is the best saw that we found for the job and only costs $YYY’, you’ve probably set off the reader’s Spidey senses. They can sense that you’re pushing the saw on to them because you were too obvious.
The goal is to use curiosity and strategically placed anchor text to get the clicks. They must feel like it was their choice. That is the key. When the reader is doing things on his or her own volition, they’ll not be in a guarded state and will be much more receptive to the sales copy, etc.
As an affiliate, your job is to get the click. The sales page should do the selling. While your content can gently pre-sell the reader, it should mostly be ‘benefits oriented’. You want to sell the solution to the problem and not the product. The best way to do this is by showing how the product solves the most common problems that your audience faces.
You’ll not even need to mention where the product is sold or the positive reviews it has. If your content convinces the reader that the product is the solution that they’ve been looking for – without blatantly telling them, the reader WILL click on the links to see how they can solve their problems.
Everybody is looking for solutions. You’re just the middleman who gently guides them down the right path. That’s all there is to it. Be subtle and get that "click."