How to Be a Successful Affiliate

First, let me thank you for signing up to become an affiliate for my products! In this document, I will share the ways I’ve learned to become a successful affiliate. First and foremost, remember that we are required by the FTC to make it completely clear that we are promoting an affiliate product. Please read this post for more information. The easiest way to comply is to always mention your affiliate partner, and on social media use the hashtag #ad at the beginning of your posts.

Being an affiliate is a great way to earn passive income. Even though I have my own products, there are other products I promote since they are one more income stream for me.

When I think “passive” the first thought that enters my mind is “I don’t need to do anything at all.”

Some bloggers are popular enough that that works for them. But if you are a small or medium sized blogger, you will probably need to work on your promotions. “Passive” for you initially might mean “BIG FAT ZERO”. Let me share my experience with you.

When I first started out as an affiliate, I put a banner in the sidebar of my blog and sat back anxiously waiting for the money to roll in.

{sound of crickets}

Nothing happened. After a few weeks, I thought, “I suck at this affiliate business.” I left the banner up for months.

And still nothing. One little problem was that I had no way of knowing what was happening. For all I knew, people were clicking left and right but not going through with the sale.

Maybe as an affiliate, you did the same thing?

Eventually I learned about Pretty Link (a WordPress plug-in). There is a lite (free) version, but I liked it so much I upgraded to Pretty Link Pro.

Before I go on, here are my affiliate links for this very helpful tool:

Free Version Pretty Link Lite

Paid Version Pretty Link Pro

I set up Pretty Links to my banners, and then I could tell when and if the banners were being clicked on. Very helpful. I do keep banners on my site, but I know not to slap up a banner and forget about it. I need to see what is happening with the banner. Maybe it is in the wrong place. I’ll talk about that next.


One day I learned that it mattered where I put my banners! There are HOT SPOTS where you can place your banners and people will be more likely to see them, and click on them! This link to Google Adsense will tell you a little more about placement. Best practices for Ad Placement

On my food blog, GAPS Diet Journey, I have placed my own product banners in the hot spots, because I earn more money if someone buys a book of mine, than if they click on a Google Adsense Advertisement or another affiliate product.

I started out as a personal finance blogger. I placed a tiny Google Adsense ad in the sidebar way down at the bottom. I earned one penny that year. One penny! Then I made friends with another personal finance blogger who is still a very dear friend, and she told me she was earning a payment at least every 90 days. Google Adsense’s payout requirement is $100 – for little bloggers like us, that was big money! After I moved my banner to a more prominent placement, I too started to earn a payment.


Is the product you are promoting pertinent to your niche? I am in a very narrow niche, GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) so I have to be very selective about which products I promote, simply because they won’t be of interest to my tribe. It took some trial and error, but eventually I found a few products to promote that are of interest to my GAPS followers. I’m always looking for more that will fit perfectly. In addition, my tribe tends to be transitory. By that I mean people don’t stay on GAPS forever (you aren’t supposed to be on GAPS forever), or they try it for awhile and decide it isn’t for them. I lose some but I am always gaining new followers.

So make sure the product you are selling fits into your niche. Give the product some time, I would say a good six months, before you give up on it. And I don’t mean just slap up a banner and call it done! 🙂

Next, let’s do some real promoting.


A review post is an extremely helpful tool. You can tell your tribe all about the product, why you like it (which is most likely why they will also like it) and why it helped you. And then, it’s there, ready for you to use it for promotion any time you want.

I have three affiliates who earn truly passive income from my products every single month just because they wrote a review post that still gets a lot of traffic from search engines.

But don’t just sit back and assume Google is going to send people to your post. Send yourself traffic, and in the process, affiliate earnings. Here are ways to send traffic to your review post:

  • Regularly scheduled posts on social media. Consider scheduling a post on your business Facebook or Twitter every other week, or once a month. It is said that people need to see a product 7 times before they make the decision to buy it. Or maybe they are like me, and they mean to buy it, but forget. So a gentle reminder is always good!
  • Post to your personal Facebook page.
  • Link to your review post at the bottom of your newsletter every few newsletters.
  • If you have a followup series, create a newsletter that highlights your review post.
  • Put a post up on Craigslist once a month promoting your review post.
  • Bottom line: Don’t forget about your review post. Keep using it every chance you get.


This is a great way to draw attention to your review post. I am always willing to participate with my affiliates and offer two e-books of your choice to give away. I like to use Rafflecopter for giveaway posts.

Please note in order to remain compliant with United States sweepstakes laws, please do not make any of the giveaway entries (with regards to my information) mandatory. I’m totally okay if you make any of these an option – but please don’t make mine mandatory for entry. Read more on my post here: Social Media Links / Giveaways

The easiest way to handle this problem is to have an entry which states “No purchase necessary”.


In addition to promoting your review post on social media, also post direct affiliate links (using Pretty Links) to any of the social media apps that you use. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and whatever else is out there now.


This is the BEST time to sell products, when they are on sale! If you have been regularly promoting, your tribe has been seeing this item for awhile and they recognize it. Maybe they have had their eye on it. Now it’s on sale! Whoot! Time to put on your promotion cap and get busy.

Go back to your review post, and make sure it is up to date, AND at the top of the post, write a little something about how this product is on sale. Be sure to share all the details. The day and the date the sale is running, the amount the product usually costs, and how much it is on sale for. Here is a sample blurb:

This super helpful e-book, Mastering the Art of Baking with Coconut Flour written by my affiliate partner, Starlene Stewart from GAPS Diet Journey is on sale for a limited time only! The sale runs from today – Monday June 13, 2016 to Friday June 17, 2016 at midnight EST. This book has changed the way I bake with coconut flour!

It is 50% off. Normally it is $18.95 but for a LIMITED time it can be YOURS for just $9.48. Don’t wait, click the link now!

Put up daily or every other day social media posts: “#ad Did you get yours yet? Mastering the Art of Baking with Coconut Flour is on sale today, save 50% and get yours for just $9.48. Sale ends Friday 6/17.”

And your best customers will be your newsletter subscribers. Sent a short and to the point email about this product being on sale, being sure to mention it is LIMITED time only, and the duration of the sale.

Be aware that you will probably always lose a few subscribers every time you send out a newsletter, but as long as you aren’t being a pest, try not to worry about it too much. It happens!

You’ll get new subscribers to replace the ones who left. And, you want your subscribers to want to hear from you. Those that leave, were no longer interested, so that’s good. They don’t need to stick around. Especially if you are paying for subscribers, let the ones go that don’t want to be there, so you can fill up those slots with the ones that do want to be there.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Feel free to contact me directly with any information.


Now go forth and promote! You can find your affiliate links by following these instructions:

1. Go to
2. Click on SIGN IN at the top right
3. Log into your account with your username and password
4. Click on Affiliate Admin
5. Under “Your Affiliate Programs” click on “Select Merchant”
6. Find “HQ Productions – Starlene Stewart”
7. Use the “Common Hop Link” for the main sales landing page or grab a specific link for a specific product from “Product Specific Links & Info”

Click here for Affiliate Toolkits to find banners and promotion materials.

Links to helpful articles on becoming a successful affiliate:

Skip McGrath’s Ten Tips for Successful Affiliate Marketing

Smart Passive Income’s Smart Affiliate Marketing Strategies

The Best Six Strategies to Becoming a Successful Affiliate