Making Money with Affiliate Programs for Beginners by @JamesMartell at Affiliate Summit West 2012 #ASW12

James Martell, President, Net Guides Publishing Inc. did a great session at Affiliate Summit West 2012 in Las Vegas on “Making Money With Affiliate Programs for Beginners” on Sun 8th Jan 1230am:

A visually-rich presentation detailing the 5 industry players, 7 popular affiliate models, 5 tips for choosing profitable topics, 5 web development strategies and 10 tips to get on the fast track.

Here are some top tips:

5 Industry Players

  1. Advertiser / Merchant e.g. bluehost
  2. Affiliates / Publishers e.g. – party ideas based on any theme you could think of, Affiliate most exciting, as although work to set up, there is a lot of freedom and the customers are taken care of by the advertisers/merchants
  3. Affiliate Network e.g. shareasale, CJ – Provide third party tracking so you can rest assured you can get paid
  4. Agencies, provide setup and management of affiliate programs for companies that don’t want to do in house e.g. Forge, Shaaf, PMG, GTO Management
  5. Customers



7 popular affiliate models


  1. Coupon sites e.g.
  2. Shopping Comparison sites e.g.
  3. Niche Review Sites (James favourite) e.g. uses Amazon Associates Program, $3114.73 for 3 weeks before Christmas for December 1st-20th 2010 – 301 items shipped. Dan has played the Piano for 40 years.


E.g. Herbal Nutritionist does blender reviews


  1. Loyalty sites e.g., you get cash back on your purchases
  2. Email list e.g.
  3. Podcasting sites e.g. affiliatebuzz
  4. Hybrid sites e.g. – he recommends BlueHost to clients and makes $90 a commission, also sells WordPress Theme for Small Business, also has members area for people needing help $47 a month, and monetizing other ways as well


Niche Review Site with an Email list – good way to go


Every time they test, best to REMOVE clutter from side columns


Page was converting 2% – then cleaned up the side columns = 9%


Tips to choose profitable products


  1. Cost – look for over $150, e.g. amazon bose wave radio II – Platinum White $349.
    Find products that have a decent price point, it doesn’t normally take more work to sell the more expensive products, as you still need to set up all the pages
  2. Brand – well known brand better, don’t want to be selling visitor on the brand
  3. Reviews – check out the product reviews that are being written about that bose radio – on amazon, conversion with suffer if bad reviews on amazon
  4. Merchant – Amazon only has a 1-day cookie, but finds converts good still
  5. Search volume – don’t build reviews if nobody looking for product


e.g. Bose Wave Radio


Create a nice review about bose wave radio. Give all features, benefits, pros/cons, helpful assist them making the decision


Some affiliates from Australia, from Perth rank #1 for 14000 keywords – November – $19000 amazon commissions, almost $50000 in Nov/Dec. Just one nice product review


My Top 5 Website Development Strategies


  1. Use WordPress.
  2. Build pages, not sites
  3. Hire professional writers e.g. elance
  4. Avoid clutter at all costs, simple white background, black text
  5. Add YOU e.g. Add your face to the site increases conversions, have about the editor page.
  6. Automate Updates – RSS to Email feature from aweber, every time you add a post to your website it will automatically go out to their email list


James says don’t copy the big bloggers layout with all their clutter in the columns, they make money from their list, the way to go is dominate a niche.


Top 5 Traffic Building Strategies


  1. Google Natural searche.g. piano keyboards, dan’s site is usually 1 or 2, search for brand name dan is up, also Yamaha cp1 keywords.
    1. James says really only 2 things: build great content that is focused on helping visitor, then building great backlinks to those content. Google’s algorithm based almost entirely on other pages backlinks
    2. Press Releases –
    3. Podcasting – WP plugin called Can publish on other places like,, instantly you get your show infront of all other audiences, through RSS feed podcast goes to 25 sites on the net plus iTunes
    4. 4.      Email list
    5. Youtube – Keys to getting videos ranked, Use keyword phrases in the video description – most keywords based on what you write in description.
    6. 6.      Twitter
    7. 7.      Facebook – Put you and your website in your twitter/Facebook pic


Top 3 strategies to keep visitors coming back


  1. RSS to Email – if you don’t get people who visit your website to join your email, 70% you will never see them again
  2. 2.      Podcast
  3. 3.      Be helpful


3 Analytics Tools


  1. 1.      Google Analytics– Free, get it on your site, if using WordPress as easy as putting code on a box
  2. 2.      Crazy egg – lets you view where visitors clicking/ looking on page
  3. 3.      Clicktale– video tapes the users that come to your page, video of exactly what they are doing, free version you can get 400 videos of visitors free


Tips to get biz on right track:


  1. 1.      Give Yourself Time to Succeed
  2. Build yourself a virtual team – The biggest mistake people make in this business as they try to do everything themselves, try to do as little as possible. Outsource things that are technical, get someone to write, design graphics etc. If you are not a graphic designer, don’t become one, hire one!
  3. Learn how to outsource. If you can outsource, there is nothing you can’t do, as there is always a pro out there
    1. 15-minute rule – if James is working on something and can’t solve in 15 minutes, he uses the next 15mins to outsource it on elance or
    2. Do what you do best and outsource the rest
    3. Promote, Promote, Promote – 80% of your time shd be promoting your website not building it
    4. 5.      Track and measure
    5. 6.      Work hard and play hard
    6. 7.      No Hocus Pocus, Just Focus – how many websites do you need to really succeed in this business – just 1. Pruning it down was the smartest thing he has done.


During Q&A


About Google Adsense – James says adsense is not the poor cousin, in some cases Adsense if the perfect fit. If you are focused on a product or review – perfect place for affiliate link. If site is more general content and not a lot of focus, great place for adsense.


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