An Insider Look: My Affiliate Links and Exactly Where They Convert

In the Details of my Affiliate Link ConversionsI received an interesting email from an SPI reader over the weekend:

“I don’t get it Pat. You make all this affiliate income (your June income report was off the hook!) and you have never come across as being pushy or aggressive with your promotions. I read your blog and am subscribed to your newsletter and you have never sent me anything but content, and somehow you’re earning a CEO’s income. I hope this isn’t rude, and it’s not that I don’t believe you, but how exactly are you doing this?”

To answer this question I can break it down into 4 key concepts:

  1. Provide massive value.
  2. Earn massive trust.
  3. Learn and understand the needs and wants of your followers.
  4. Lead and teach by example.

Combining these 4 concepts together allow me to share products (some of which I am an affiliate for) without being hawkish, and instead of worrying about losing readers, subscribers and potential customers, I’m actually strengthening the relationships I have with them.

For many of you, this isn’t groundbreaking news – and some of you are already putting these concepts into practice, which is fantastic.

Today, however, I wanted to provide you with a more detailed and concrete example of how I earn an income from affiliate programs, specifically illustrating where on my site (and “off site”) sales are coming from.

Getting Into the Details

In my June Income Report, you can see that I am an affiliate for nearly 30 different products and services – for SPI and for other niche sites and businesses that I own.

The most profitable product/service was BlueHost, a domain and hosting company that I use and recommend to anyone looking for a relatively inexpensive, quick and easy way to setup a website. In June, I referred 79 people to Bluehost, earning over $7000.00 in commissions.

Although June was a record month of affiliate earnings, for Bluehost and overall in my business, Bluehost has consistently been one of the top contributors to my monthly affiliate income.

Lets analyze.

Honest Recommendations Work

My most important rule for affiliate marketing is: I only recommend products as an affiliate that I’m extremely very familiar with – preferably products that I’ve used and have helped me achieve something. If I’m not confident in the product and I don’t feel it will positively help people, I will not promote it.

Although affiliate products are created by others, the moment you promote something you become a representative of that product and it reflects on you and your brand.

My second most important rule for affiliate marketing is: I never directly tell anyone to buy a product. I always recommend products based on my experience and in the context of what I’ve done or what I’m doing.

There’s a huge difference (on several levels) between:

“Buy [product] now because you need it to grow your online business…”

and

“This is how I used [Product] to help me achieve…”

I obviously have used Bluehost, and I still do (on all sites except for SPI, which needed an upgrade due to traffic and activity), and I am very familiar with how it works so I can be there for some support if it’s needed, which makes people much more comfortable with their investment.

Show ‘em How It’s Done

As I just mentioned, affiliate product recommendations are much stronger if you actually demonstrate how the product works and how it’s used.

I do this many times on several different platforms for Bluehost:

  1. The Infamous 4-Minute Blog YouTube Video: This is a video I created that walks people through how to setup a domain and hosting account (and install WordPress) – in less than 4 minutes. The “less than 4 minutes” part is important because it’s differentiates my tutorial from the thousands of other tutorials out there, and also that it can be done quickly. This video has been viewed over 10,000 times.
  2. The Niche Site Duel Posts: In this series of posts I take people through my transparent journey of building a niche site from scratch and turning it into a business that now earns over $1,000.00 per month. During this process I show people exactly how I built an SEO optimized website.
  3. My Getting Started Page: This is a page that I recently created for people who are brand new to my site. On this page, I talk about some of the first steps to take, which include setting up a domain and hosting account, and I embed the 4-Minute Blog video to go along with it. You’ll see later in this post exactly how this page converts.
  4. The SPI Podcast: On a few of my sessions on the SPI podcast, I’ve mentioned Bluehost as the hosting provider that I use. To make it easy for listeners to use my affiliate link, I created a short link using the Pretty Link plugin which make my affiliate link on audio much easier to remember.
  5. My Resources Page: This is second most visited page that is clicked on in my navigation menu (My Income Reports is first). Here, I include products that I’ve used during my online journey that have helped me get to where I’m at today.

So Where Exactly Are My Commissions Coming From?

This is for Bluehost only in the month of June 2011:

  • The SPI Homepage – 20 referrals: These are from clicks on the 125×125 Ad in the sidebar. Part of this comes from the 4-Minute Blog video, which instructs people to click on that ad in my sidebar. If I could go back into time, I would have instead done a video-specific short URL, like I did for the podcast. Then I could better track how the video performs.
  • My Resources Page – 20 referrals: Like I said, this is one of the most visited pages on my site. If you’re not utilizing a resource page for your niche on your site, you’re crazy! It’s the ultimate non-aggressive way to earn money leaving all parties happy in the end.
  • How to Setup a Niche Site – 10 referrals: This is one post out of several in the Niche Site Duel series.
  • My Income Reports – 9 referrals: In each of my income reports, I include links to each of the products and services that have generated an income. These 9 referrals were even distributed through March, April and May’s income reports.
  • Getting Started Page – 9 referrals: This brand new addition to my site, which introduces myself and my blog to new visitors, is definitely paying off for the time invested to set it up. You can learn more about why I setup this page here.
  • Other Pages on SPI (10 total) – 11 referrals: Several other pages that briefly mention Bluehost have converted for me as well. Each only have one or two conversions, which is why I didn’t write them out individually. People may arrive on these specific pages from Google searches, from exploring on SPI, or from a direct link from a podcast or referring website.

The beauty of all of this is that it’s virtually 100% passive income. The 4-minute video, all of the blog posts, the podcast sessions, and the resource and getting started pages have already been published and are up for anyone to view at anytime, for now until the Internet dies.

I can work on providing more value and real life experiences to share, and as a result more people will be exposed to these affiliate income opportunities – and that’s really what it’s all about when it comes to this kind of affiliate marketing, specifically from a blog.

Plant seeds, nurture them and watch your income grow.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this insider look at one specific piece of my affiliate income pie, and remember that I have over 30 different products that I promote with a similar, non-aggressive approach which doesn’t upset my followers and allows me to sleep at night knowing I’ve provided some value and help along the way.

I’m interested – what are your thoughts are on the non-aggressive vs. aggressive promotion approach online, especially since most of you are probably familiar with both as a content consumer. Does the aggressive approach still work? Is it all about getting the “low-hanging fruit” and that’s it? Or, do you feel this passive approach to marketing provides for a more long-term internet business?

Please let me know what you think. Cheers!

  • http://debtsnowballcalculator.net Eric

    Great post, Pat.

    I agree about building massive trust. You help build that trust through 100% transparency. It’s awesome that you seemed to start that in the blog world, from my perspective, as others are now posting their income, exposing affiliate links, etc.

    Free is key. When you give away free items, people are more than willing to come back for more.

    Keep up the great work!

    Eric

    • Pat

      Thanks Eric. It’s weird to me that being transparent is new in this industry. Isn’t that the way it should be?

      • http://debtsnowballcalculator.net Eric

        Agreed, 100%.

        It’s just great that anyone can benefit if they just speak from the heart and involve only the truth. No gimmicks. Great for both ends.

        Too many scams and hustlers out there, I think we have a great community of individuals here who are changing that!

        • http://livethewritelife.com STRONGside

          @Pat and Eric. I also agree 100%. I think the main snag that internet marketers and bloggers run into online is they feel that being 100% transparent will somehow damage their ability to earn income, and force them to be held accountable. I would submit that being accountable is the entire point!

          If you are transparent and accountable to your readers, you will create a loyal following who will be willing to support you. Rather than relying on slimy embedded links, you can rely on recommending quality products. Your readers will pick up very quickly on this!

      • http://forexpipster.com/ Chris

        It’s that you are transparent that makes all the difference. I appreciate that you are… as do thousands of others.

        I don’t work in this niche. But I do appreciate that you help people understand the web in an honest way. I think that’s where value is online… honest sharing. That sharing info can lead to an income is fantastic.

        In fact, I reference this site for the technical info. I’ve learned about setting up a site through you. I hate to say it, but I use the site for free. I’ve never purchased anything you’ve showcased, and I had a hosting acct before I landed on your site.

        That said, that you can help me ‘for free’ is of value to you because I reference your site any time anyone asks me about setting up a blog!!!

        Thanks Pat!

  • Tony

    Thanks for the insight pat! To be honest, I will only purchase products online from those that I trust. I feel that you are one of the very few people who has built that trust and has shown that your goal is actually to help people. In return this has made you the income and the brand you have today.

    It was also interesting to see where your referrals were coming from on your website. For your getting starting page, do you think those people would have become referrals anyways or do you think the sole reason they purchased the product was because of your getting started page?

    • Pat

      Thans Tony, I really appreciate that. I’m very happy with how I’ve approached my business online. It sort of happened because I was already making an income from GreenExamAcademy.com, and didn’t feel the need to be pushy here, and it totally worked in my favor.

      For the getting started page, that’s an interesting thought that I didn’t think of. Not sure though. At least the page helped to convert them there, without possibly losing their conversion later on.

      Cheers, and thanks for the support!

  • http://www.iwouldcoach.com Dan

    Pat,

    As if your Income Reports could not get anymore detailed – you take it one step further! With this post and the exact affiliate numbers this will silence any nay-sayers who question the legitimacy of your site. I always look forward to reading your blogs – keep up the good work!

    • Pat

      Thanks for your support Dan! :)

  • http://shoplivdolls.com Wes

    The only type of aggressive promotion that truly annoys me are sites that immediately try to sell me a product or obtrusively try to make me download an ebook. When I say obtrusively, I mean all of the sites that dim the screen and ask me to download something.

    • Pat

      That’s pretty common now, thanks to some plugins for WordPress that got spread around the blogosphere. I purposely choose not to use it because I feel the same way about them.

      • Ruben

        To be honest I was thinking about adding that plugin into my next website.. lol Because I heard you can get about 50% of your visitors emails and of course send them emails with affiliate links but now after reading this I’ll probably try a different approach…

        Thanks for advice… :)

        • Ruben

          I almost hate to ask this but how do I put a picture next to my comments???

        • Pat

          Head on over to Gravatar.com and setup an account. There, you can connect an image to an email address, and wherever you leave a comment using that email, your image will show up. No worries – it’s definitely one of the more common questions asked here in the comments section :)

  • http://www.sweetsfoods.com/ Gera

    Hi Pat,

    Achieving trust online from others isn’t easy on this world, where you can find marketers promoting any type of products, only for the sake of the commission, no matter if it’s useful, has a good support or suits the necessity of the buyer.

    The important thing isn’t the first purchase, are the subsequent ones :)

    Have a great week,

    Gera

    • Pat

      That’s a fantastic point Gera, but to add to that – if the first purchase isn’t good nobody is going to buy from that person ever again.

  • http://iwings.net Cal

    Thanks for this information Pat.

    I’m interested in the referrals to page views ratio.

    For example if you have 20 referrals from you SPI Home page, how many page views did it receive for that month? I would guess it is a very high traffic page?

    I totally support the non-aggressive approach. I’m sure it’s safe to say that nobody likes the hard-in your face sale. All the hard sale does for me whether it is online or in real life is turn around and walk away.

    If using the non-aggressive approach costs you a few sales, so be it.

    Great work! Something for me to strive for.

    • Pat

      The homepage is definitely a very high traffic page, so the number will be ridiculously low, but conversions for these things are not the primary purpose.

  • http://www.seobasicsandstrategies.com TomL

    I think its an interesting way to market, however finding out that it is the hosting that is the biggest seller… didn’t see that one coming.

    • Pat

      Thanks Tom – what did you expect would be the biggest seller?

  • http://www.kellenbryantlaw.com Kellen Bryant

    If you weren’t totally up front about who your affiliates were, I would have never have realized what affiliates you are associated with. Because you are fantastic on demonstrating value of each tool you use, it would not matter to me if you used a super aggressive call to action. Showing the value in the affiliate product produces a strong subliminal urge to check it out. The more you show value in the product, the more aggressive you can be in the call to action.

    • Pat

      Thanks Kellen, that makes sense – but even still if I show how valuable a product is, I feel like I can’t push too hard and I’d rather let the product or service speak for itself.

  • http://www.matsholmvik.com Mats

    Great and detailed post Pat. I think Bluehost is a great provider, I will test them out in my next site. :)

    • Pat

      Cheers Mats, thanks!

  • Kacey Klaus

    I just found your blog, and I absolutely love it. I agree wholeheartedly that soft sales and adding value to a product will garner trust from customers and your base customers will continue to grow. I came from a fitness background where “hard-selling” was taught and considered the norm. I remember feelign “weird” because I would enter into a relationship with people and my sells were still great. I have some of the same clients from a decade ago. Goes to show that people want to be heard and understood and are happy to buy from someone they trust. Good job!

    • Pat

      Thanks for sharing your experience in the harder selling fitness industry. I know exactly what you’re talking about, and that’s really cool that you’ve had clients for so long. i hope to do the same with the relationships I’ve built here with my readers on SPI. Welcome to the blog and I hope to hear from you again soon!

  • http://forensicpsychologysalaryhq.com Manspaugh

    Wow Pat! Way to look ahead and create another great post that will lead to even MORE affiliate commissions. I know this post will help people trust you more and even lead to a greater amount of affiliate sales because of the amount of links and the explanations throughout.

    Great stuff to look up to.

    • Pat

      Hey Manspaugh – that’s obviously not my objective in writing this post, but I was wondering if anyone was going to point that out that it is indeed another blog post that mentions the value of the service, hehe.

  • http://readingdojo.com joe

    Nice breakdown. I am always amazed how much detail you put into your posts. this post defiantly inspires me to create related posts as I see you do a lot. Thank you! Also, I love your podcasts, I am going trough about 2 episodes a day so far just taking in the knowledge. Thank you!

    • Pat

      Thanks Joe, and thanks for listening to the podcast! Which episode has been your favorite so far?

      • http://speedreadingzone.com joe

        Pat,
        My favourite so far is is the episode 15 to 17 series where you share your types of passive income generated. So far I have listened from current back to 14 and continuing, amazing stuff!

  • http://www.thefinancialblogger.com The Financial Blogger

    I’ve always had a hard time making the difference between suggesting a product/service and promoting it. I sometimes find that suggesting products isn’t enough while promoting the product annoys my readers.

    Your example on talking about which product you use and how you use it makes my life much easier! I think that instead of suggesting a product, I’ll just talk on how I use them to build my online empire.

    I like your technique as you find the perfect affiliate recipe as you know how to put the product on the spotlight without bugging your readers.

    I’ll give it a try in August!

  • http://lifeandmyfinances.com LifeAndMyFinances

    Great info Pat! Thanks for the breakdown of your affiliate income! I’m finally starting to get some consistent visits to my site, and I think I could benefit from this information. Thanks again! :)

    • Pat

      Awesome news Derek, congrats and I wish you all the best!

      • http://lifeandmyfinances.com LifeAndMyFinances

        Thanks, Pat. I’ve learned so much from this site. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank you enough! I’ll make sure to report back with my progress.

  • http://SecretMarketingPlaybook.com Nivin

    Did it again Pat…. you made it look so much simpler… great work.

    Customers are too savvy to have products “forced” on them, which makes relationship building absolutely critical.

    And your strategy of showing them “how its done”, is an incredible way to highlight the quality of your offerring.

    Love your work.

    • Pat

      Thanks Nivin! I appreciate the kind words. Cheers!

  • http://www.strayblogger.com Nate @ Strayblogger

    Great post Pat. I still need to put a resources page on my blog. I am busy building niche sites as I want 10+ that are each doing a $1,000 per month- thanks for all the tips.

    PS- Looking at the layout of your security guard site has really helped me optimize my own Adsense placements on my niche sites.

    • Pat

      Nate – I highly advise doing so (re: the Resource page). Set it up once, and let it work it’s magic, although you can always update it at anytime as you wish.

      Glad to see the niche site helping your own niche sites too. I’m actually about to change the theme (it’ll include similar ad placements), so it’ll be interesting to see how it affects the ad revenue.

  • http://www.plrinternetmarketing.com Warren

    Great post Pat, I’ve wondered how your affiliate income was being generated, and this sheds light on it!

    I keep meaning to do a post about the bloggers who inspire and motivate me, and your name will definitely be on there!

    Cheers bro!

    • Pat

      Thanks Warren – I’m honored, and I look forward to reading your post. Cheers!

  • http://www.treatguides.com Kok Siong

    Hi Pat! This is an amazing post! Honestly, I am not doing well in affiliate program. I will follow your step to do my promotion. Thanks for your sharing!

    • Pat

      Thanks for support Kok, and good luck on your side of things! Cheers!

  • http://peggybaron.com/blog Peggy Baron

    Thanks for the detailed look, Pat.

    I’m also a big believer in the non–confrontational approach to affiliate marketing. I like to show how I’ve used a product, what results I’ve gotten, and maybe even how I could have done it differently or will do it differently in the future.

    People do like case studies. :)

    Transparency with experiences = trust.
    Trust + seeds planted = sales.

    Thanks,
    Peggy

    • Pat

      That’s a great way to put it Peggy, thank you! I think showing what could have been done differently is an excellent idea!

  • http://samyuk.org Sudarshan

    Thanks for this wonderful information… I now understand how much trust matters…I do create affiliate websites from scratch and promote products,now I know that the conversion will be better once we provide more insight and be honest with whatever we provide.

  • http://homeremedieshq.com Jamie

    Hi Pat.
    I totally agree with your passive manner in referring these links. In fact your 4 minute blog vid led me to purchase through you a couple days back, you made it look so simple and clear to start trying my hand at an online blog and Im really enjoying it. Thought id go for a niche and then something I wanted to try so I got a home remedies site and also epic celeb news….im hoping that domain name has value in itself so I have an investment too =)
    When im writing this theyre literally 2 days and 1 day old respectively so dont judge how they look to harshly haha.
    Thanks for the inspiration and education Pat.
    (p.s. get the security site updated, dying to see what changes you make and how it will change your hit rate)
    Regards
    Jamie

  • http://www.wallerblog.com Jeremy Waller

    I totally agree with your viewpoint on this Pat. A soft sell almost always works better than a hard sell. People don’t like to be told what to do. They don’t want to feel like a product is being forced down their throats. But people will happily buy a product that’s recommended by someone they trust.

  • http://www.daniellemcgaw.com Danielle McGaw

    Your transparency is the exact reason why people believe in you. And it is the reason why I have been reading your blog for…a long time. It’s the method that I am using for my new site and I can only assume that it will work for me, too.

  • http://thebargainingbride.com Steve

    Great timing on this article! I just got an email from bluehost announcing changes to their FTC requirements – basically how affiliate disclosures need to be more clearly displayed. Looking through your site, especially the resources page has given me plenty of ideas about how to do this in a tasteful and honest way. Thanks pat.

  • http://www.blogging24h.com Trung Nguyen

    Thank for a detailed report about where is your commission coming from, this is great for those who want to start a business online. I appreciate your honest. Thanks so much, Pat.

  • http://www.allwebmaster.com/ Dana Duncan

    Pat, the 4 key concepts you listed really hit the nail on the head. That has to be the most concise, accurate description I’ve ever seen on how to be successful at affiliate marketing. One trick I use for selecting products to promote is the “friends and family” test. Basically, I won’t recommend anything on my site unless I would feel comfortable recommending it to a friend or family member while having a face to face conversation. It’s amazing how following this simple rule builds trust with your visitors, and at the same time increases conversions. Not to mention how much better it feels to really help someone out (instead of going for a hard sell and feeling like a pushy salesman)

  • http://www.internetentrepreneurconnection.com Hector Avellaneda

    Pat -what’s going on brother!?

    Definitely love your philosophy and approach to sales. Not to long ago I wrote an article where I mentioned that when it comes to sales, 85% of people buy emotionally. These are the people that buy according to an emotional attachment.
    The other 15% buy logically – the people the want to see the numbers and the results and want to make sure the a business deal “numbers sense”.

    What I love about your approach (not sure if you’re doing this on purpose or not) is that your ability to do the video and share the resources and tools about how those resources are, in fact contributing to the overall growth of your blog and income, paints the picture and in a away generates that emotional attachment for 85% of those people that buy emotionally. In other words, at a subconscious level, those people that buy from your direct links do so because they have seen the level of success that you have generated and in a way feel that they will be able to generate that same level of success if they buy from you (this is also the case for all other successful bloggers).

    Additionally, the fact that you DO show the numbers (i.e. your income reports) and the results that you generate from using those tools and resources also address the other 15% of buyers who buy logically.

    The fact that your able to address both of those types of buyers along with your authentic, no pressure kind of personality makes for an excellent salesmen! :)

    I think what you;re doing is great and it’s obviously working! We all have much to learn from your technique and style.

    BTW – this was yet another excellent post!

  • http://theaveragegenius.net jamesthejust

    Pat –
    I haven’t really commented or read you much, but have recently found you through YouTube giving a Facebook tutorial (which you were kind enough to keep updated 300 times!), since then I’m hooked. Your transparency is one of the qualities that flies in the face of typical aff marketing, sadly – and I have to admit I’m not comfortable sharing as much as you are re: income, etc. for various reasons.

    But having said that, this post and your blog in general is definitely one to emulate and lead the community. Sharing this information is priceless for your readers, and I’m happy to have found your site.

    I just wish more people would have told me about it a while back – your honesty is contagious. Keep up the solid work, Pat. Definitely one of a kind.

  • http://www.BYGResults.com Duane Ray

    Pat,

    Thanks for another great post! Ironically, it came not long after a lengthy email from Bluehost warning that the FCC required a relatively specific way of indicating that we are compensated (as affiliates) for our recommendation. I’m relatively new as an affiliate. Are they getting tougher on their stance about this, or is this a regular warning?

  • http://www.toddlerbackpackhq.com Brent | Toddler Backpack HQ

    I am actually someone who signed up to Blue Host through the SPI blog (back in December) so I can go through my (personal) reasons for why I chose to use your affiliate link.

    The key reason for me why your site doesn’t need to come off as hawkish in promoting affiliate link is purely the trust your site gave to me as I spent many hours absorbing your content. But first, a little history.

    I started my online passive income journey by writing content on Infobarrel and it was on their helpful forums that I first saw Pat’s name mentioned. The forums at Infobarrel were (and still are, though I don’t visit there often anymore) extremely helpful and friendly, especially to people like myself who were just starting their online IM journey and a key group of people there that I trusted were heavily recommending Pat and the SPI blog, so even before I ever ventured to this site, I already have a high level of trust built from other people that I had had a positive online relationship with.

    Even before I ventured to SPI I had aspirations of creating niche sites rather than continuing writing on revenue sharing sites. So in some ways the info on SPI was right place, right time, but more importantly it was a case of “Ok I need a webhosting platform, I already trusted Pat, he personally uses Blue Host, has detailed explanations as to why so that is good enough for me”. It is exactly the same as you are going to react more positively to a good friend mentioning just how good the new pizza place down the road is because they have been there themselves in comparison to a site that doesn’t carry any authority with you reviewing the same pizza place. You might still follow the websites recommendation, but it isn’t going to have the same strength as someone you trust vouching for it.

    I have purchased other items through Pat’s links but only because I had already decided I needed a particular product/service to fill a need and than went and checked what Pat recommended but have never felt pressured to purchase. In fact, if the model changed and SPI started becoming more hawkish, I would probably be significantly less likely to purchase any of Pat’s recommendations as I would no longer have the same level of trust.

    I realize that’s a catch 22 and there are niche’s where you can’t review every product and than make recommendations. For instance in my Toddler BackPack HQ niche site, there is no way I can afford to purchase the 50+ backpacks I have there, have them personally sent all the way to Australia and than write an objective and independent review on each one of them, especially when I don’t have any children of my own. I therefore have to take the consequence of that – which is that I am not going to have the same level of engagement and trust that Pat has with this blog and therefore am not going to have the conversion rate that he does (and deserves). Bloggers therefore have to make a decision of if (for whatever reason) they can’t/won’t have that level of trust and engagement, can they still add value to the end customer in and make enough money doing it, knowing that they are not going to have the optimum level of conversion. Neither approach is right or wrong, but the synopsis is, the greater the trust and engagement, the greater the end conversion is going to be, products end up selling themselves rather than the blogger having to convince the customer to buy your product or service

    • Pat

      Thank you for your detailed and personal response, Brent. You make some excellent points, especially about how there is a difference in one’s ability to promote for a specific product or products based on the niche.

      The pizza analogy is spot on, and I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks for being an honest fan and supporter of what I do, and I don’t plan to change anything. If you do see me heading in a different direction, please call me out on it so I can get back on the track I’m supposed to be on.

      Cheers, and all the best to you! And of course, thank you for the affiliate love :)

  • http://www.buildinternetbusiness.com/ Yayson Potter

    Pat,
    Your form of marketing with affiliates is as a customer far less invasive and makes me want to use the products you are affiliated with far more than an aggressive marketing strategy. Additionally, after starting to read your blog and listen to your podcast I have found that your transparency on who you are affiliated with, knowing that you have used them, and the complete lack of being a pushy affiliate sales person is far more effective. Because of this, I know that in the future when I’m ready to start using an affiliated product of yours I’ll make sure to go back and click on your affiliate link and this I think shows how well your passive approach works since it creates customer loyalty that make someone want to give you credit at the moment or in the future for a sale.

  • http://www.darrylburma.com Darryl Burma

    Hey Pat,

    You impress me more each day, sincerely. Your work ethic, strategic approach and the way you educate is very impressive. You should work online full-time for a living, have you ever considered that? lol, my apologies, just another lame attempt at humor. Jokes aside though I found this article to be very useful. The way you break it all down into simple and easy to follow steps is priceless. Of course a lot of hard work is required but you help lead the way. Most of us can only dream of generating the type of income you do, but you show us each day how it can be done. Thanks again!

  • http://www.consultnb.com Will

    I personally can’t stand an aggressive sales pitch. Your method is much better.

  • http://www.mikecheck.ca Mike Greig

    Hello Pat,

    You put others first. And they return the favor. We trust you because you offer much and sell little. It surprises me how many sites try and sell me something (sometimes with an irritating popup), 2 seconds after I’ve come to their site. They have established no trust and still ask me to buy. That type of business will never be as effective as SPI. Build trust and authority, be patient, and the financial reward will follow.

  • http://www.bradrickerby.com Brad Rickerby

    Pat. I think your approach is utterly brilliant in that it differentiates you from every other blog and web site that I have seen. In my former business (as a photographer/photojournalist) I was always transparent and that transparency paid me back many times over. Good Karma or great business? Either way works for me.

    As for an aggressive sales approach, unless it is for something terribly unique and that I cannot live without, it turns me off to the point of immediately leaving the site.

    I look forward to more great posts from you. Best. Brad

  • http://www.youngprepro.com/welcome Onibalusi Bamidele

    I really love your point about planting seeds, nurturing them and watching them grow Pat! I also love this insider look into how affiliate sales are happening on SPI!

    You’ve taught everyone of us that on the long-run, the best approach to follow isn’t the aggressive affiliate marketing approach but the passive approach that focuses on what is in it for the readers first.

    Thanks a lot and have a great day!
    -Onibalusi

  • http://webthesmartway.com Siegfried

    if you look at that 79 ppl as percentage of your traffic, is it constant value? it theory it should be with those massive numbers
    regards

  • http://www.gothipedia.net/ Brett

    I bought some WooThemes using your link. I actively went out of my way to use your link.

    Two things I am now doing on my sites:

    1. Using WooThemes to show that my site is professional looking and people can trust my sites.

    2. Injecting more of my own personality into my sites. There will be no more hiding behind pseudonyms and pen names.

  • http://www.mypregnancyworkout.com Sharon

    This is a great post. Finding your website a couple of months ago has inspired me to start my first niche site which is fast turning into an authority site. I will certainly be following your lead to give as much as I can, build trust so hopefully I can start to earn a living from the site. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • http://www.jamienorthrup.com Jamie Northrup

    Nice! Really happy you shared exactly where the sales were coming from, I think that’s a great way for people like me to learn what needs to be done.

  • http://www.theplrboutique.com/ Tiptopcat

    Hi,
    I remember when I first got started. I signed up through a blogger who produced a step by step guide to using wordpress. The explaination was nice and easy to follow so I was happy that that person got/gets a commission. I am still with Bluehost and they are fantastic. Great customer service.
    As you said, if you tell people that you use a product and then how to use that product, people will happily buy because there is no fear of failure.
    Thanks
    Tiptopcat

  • http://teeballbaseballblog.com Tom

    I really dislike the aggressive stance some bloggers use. It’s an immediate turn-off when their link, email, or “are you sure you want to cancel” comment tells me to buy something.

    You’re stance is great! Keep it the way it is.

  • http://www.trentfowler.com/ Trent Fowler

    Thanks Pat for the information. Your transparency has helped me a great deal in figuring out how it is that money is made through blogging. I can only hope to achieve a similar level of success someday.

  • http://trumpdabeast.com Jordan

    This is all so true Pat, especially the part about providing MASSIVE value! Even though your Insanity post wasn’t along the lines of your normal blog posts, I found it to just as useful as anything else on your site.

    Of course, you already know this, but your post inspired me to make a change in myself that I LOVE. I am already in the best shape of my life. I feel amazing , and I can’t wait to see what the final month of Insanity will bring me. I had no problem buying a web hosting account or Insanity from your links that day, and I definitely don’t regret either purchase. The fact that you were able to refer me to the 4-minute blog video just made everything so much easier!

    Then Insanity led me to the Beachbody coaching opportunity. Even though I’m very new at it, I’m very excited to get involved with it, and I think it will be a great opportunity.

    Even though you never really pushed any of these products, sharing your own experience gave me the confidence that it was money well spent.

    Thank you for everything Pat!

  • Kevin

    Pat, I think this approach is the best way to sell affiliate products. I’m so tired of getting limited time offers that are only good for the next 24 hours, etc…

    The other great thing is that I remember your affiliate link for hosting when I have an idea for a website because you have personalized the way you use the product. This make it stick in my mind like when a close friend tells you about how great “X” product is and where they got it.

    Thanks for being so upfront and honest. Cheers!

  • http://www.deadlydog.com Steve Kinsey

    I’ve been meaning to ask what plugin you use for the short links to affiliate products, thanks for posting it here. Now I’m off to download pretty links :)

  • http://themileshighlife.com Andrew

    Ever since I first read the Art Of Non-Conformity I have loved this way of soft-selling. The idea of giving away so much stuff for free yet still providing so much value seems so counter-intuitive yet makes so much sense. I was very happy when I discovered your blog and found that the same principles worked for you. I am modelling my own work on you guys (btw Pat you said to let you know when my eBook was done – it’s called How To Be Good At Everything and is a freebie to all my subscribers).

    I actually got Bluehost on your recommendation, and they have served me incredibly well so far. It must be pretty cool to be in a position where people will trust what you have to say implicitly because you have already done so much groundwork.

    As part of my research I am signed up to many email lists and the really pushy ones have just turned me off – you know the sort, the ones that have something to sell EVERY email and it’s always the BEST THING EVAR.

  • http://www.conqueredriches.com Jamie Hudson

    Very interesting! So true about nicely recommending stuff compared to buy this right now. Still, I’m shocked at the affiliate income you’re making. Goes to show the power of a single blog. Thanks for the info!

  • http://www.moneycrush.com Jackie

    You are the poster child for “help people and do what you love” — with the money following :)

  • http://techatlast.com Olawale Daniel

    Pat, thanks for all the knowledge that you have been impacting in us for all these days about Affiliate marketing. Thanks a lot :)

  • Ruben

    Great Blog Post! This is definitely my favorite blog Ive told my brother about this blog also… But Im just wondering can you earn your customers trust without having to create a blog? Im asking because from listening to your podcast I know it takes a while to build a fan base with blogs. In fact I created an MMA Blog and it went down in flames… :( So whats another way to build customer trust and sell affiliate products? Ebook?

    And thanks for earlier comment I figured out how to add a picture next to my comments. :)

  • Alison Fishman

    Hi Pat,
    I’m working on my site and use Bluehost per your recommendation and I really like it. The representatives are really helpful.
    I think the non-aggressive approach is better for building a long lasting relationship with customers.

  • http://www.pharmacytechnicianhq.com/ Rob N

    Pat, this is still the best dang internet business site around. Every time I visit, I learn something I can apply to my website. For the record, 10 months ago when I first found SPI, I watched your 4 minute video and read some of your posts and decided I not only wanted to use Bluehost, I wanted to make sure you got paid when I signed up (I was one of your affiliate sales in September 2010), because of the great free content. Thanks again!

  • http://www.millionaireacts.com Millionaire Acts

    Hi Pat, I would like to ask what plug in do you use for your affiliate links? Sample for your bluehost, it’s your URL/bluehost. Hope you could answer this question. Thanks!

    • Ruben

      I think he uses pretty link…

      http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/pretty-link/

      • http://www.millionaireacts.com Millionaire Acts

        Thanks Ruben! I think that’s one of the best tactics that he implemented, the way he cloaks his affiliate links…

        And of course, his transparency of the steps his doing and the overflowing free information in this blog.

        Keep it up Pat!

        P.S. As I compare your Alexa ranking to other famous bloggers all over the world, you have surpassed ShoeMoney, JohnChow, and Yaro Starak’s Entrepreneurs-Journey. Way to go Pat!

        • Pat

          Thanks Tyrone! I didn’t even realize my Alexa ranking had surpassed the blogs that you mentioned. So cool!

          Regarding the link cloaking, I don’t really do it for cloaking purposes, primarily. I mean, I tell people when they are affiliate links so there’s no point in cloaking it. However, I like to make the links look nicer and so they are easier for me to A) remember if anyone ever asks about a particular post, and 2) say via audio, like on a podcast. Plus, Pretty Link will keep track of the number of clicks too, which helps me understand how the links are being used.

          Cheers, and thanks for the support!

  • http://www.wordpressitnow.com Stephanie

    What a passive way to sell other products without selling other products. I think the fact you don’t push hard on any particular product and it just sounds more of a recommendation is what makes you seem much more real. It’s when a website has “BUY THIS NOW” is when I start getting leery.

  • http://www.trustedaffiliateprograms.com John Murphy

    Hi Pat,
    Really like your article. I think that selling on the internet is not all that different from selling face to face because at the end of the day people buy from people they respect and trust – or at least they will repeatedly buy from people they respect and trust! That respect and trust must be earned and it will only be earned by adding value. Your approach is subtle, but it does build that relationship with your readers which is critical. Your recommendations are then in the context of adding value – not flogging products! Excellent.

  • http://blogtipswriter.com/ Tho Huynh

    I think that nowadays, the trust approach would be an exellent way to make passive income. Pat built trust with his useful articles, then when he recommended a product that he used and found it useful, people follow his path and use that product.

    Yes you can earn money by using aggressive approach will tons of banners and links, however building truth is far more profitable.

  • karlo

    Hi Pat,

    I think it would be better if you can also offer discounts on the affiliate programs you offer. For example, I would love to get Bluehost with you as referrer but a quick search online for “bluehost coupon” shows me so many other better offers.

    With the amount of sales you are generating for these affiliates, it shouldn’t be hard to get special discounts for SPI readers. People still want to shop around for the best deals before purchasing and you can easily capture this market with some pricing tweaks.

  • http://productively.tumblr.com/ Dror

    There is no doubt that in order to truly succeed with affiliate marketing via blogging you need to deliver value and gain trust.

    And you Pat deliver mass amounts of value and you have the highest level of trust from your readers and followers so i’m not one bit surprised at your results from affiliate marketing.

    On a different note, I hope you will write a post about the BIG move you made last week when you moved your blog to run on Thesis. I would love to read about why you made that change and how you managed to do it so smoothly.

    Thanks for another great post.

  • http://wilsonusman.com Wilson Usman

    You definitely set the bar when it comes to trust and transparency. I don’t believe that everyone getting into internet marketing/blogging/social media have the same goal of helping people at first.
    I don’t think it’s their fault I just believe that some internet marketers/guru’s are teaching them that.
    Just keep helping people bro, you’re a pro when it comes to that.

  • Dakota Sutcliffe

    This is some great stuff. I am really impressed by the way you handle everything. Thanks!

  • http://www.enoughcashflow.com Alexander Guzman

    Thanks for the specific details. You are amazing!

    AG

  • Aaron

    Pat,

    In response to your question at the end of your post aggressive Vs non-aggressive selling – your current non-aggressive methods are, in my humble opinion, the most endearing of the two, and the definitely the preferred one.

    Aggressive sales instantly make me (and millions of others) unsubscribe, leave, and tell others to not join. However, your approach of “not-selling” salesmanship is like a friend recommending a product to another friend instead of a used car salesman trying to push a rust-ridden, rundown wreck down a potential buyer’s throat.

    Furthermore, perhaps this is an “AMERICAN” thing, which makes me like the United States of AWESOMENESS even more–only in AMERICA do you dudes talk about your income. In jolly old England, we are so reserved, we would NEVER do this, so it is SO REFRESHING to read how much you earn and more importantly HOW you do it.

    This has made me become a strong follower of your blog now. I will regularly every month eagerly await to see how you make money and how much you make. Your honesty and friendly blogging manner has made be a huge fan of this website. Although I first saw you on Yaro’s E-J website, I honestly would say your site now is the number 1 on the internet, much better than Copy Blogger, E-J, and even PRO BLOGGER – you are now number 1 for sure, by miles. Even if you are modest and don’t believe this, this is MY PERSONAL OPINION and I for sure think your site is NUMBER 1 on the entire internet for this industry.

    Keep the amazing info coming, and I’ll keep recommending this site to my friends more and more – it is simply the best at the current moment.

    THANKS FOR SHARING – really mean this as it helps A LOT – more than you realise – and I’m sure I speak for MANY of your readers that this site is AWESOME.

    THANKS!

    • Aaron

      P.S. your monthly revenue reports and breakdown of income are for sure one of the MOST useful and most amazing features of this site. Also, your Niche (pronounced NEE-SHH and NOT NIT-CH arghhhhhh!!!) is such an amazing “REAL-TIME” case study – thanks for this.

      Pps PLEASE pronounce it as NEESHH and not NITCH arggg!!! That is the only thing that drives us Brits mad when you dudes in the United States of Awesomeness say NICHE as NIT-CH argggg! 8)

  • http://seeminglyrandomevents.blogspot.com Nathan

    Awesome post and timing for me. I have just started promoting products and didn’t have much of a clue how to go about it. Your soft sell and value based approach definitely makes the most sense to me. Thanks.

  • http://durhamplumber.wordpress.com/ Steven

    This is an excellent post and really got me thinking. Not sure how I would implement a resources page in some of my niches though (though are not related at all to MMO)

  • http://www.diamondguidehq.com Richard Scott

    This is just mind boggling. If you weren’t such a likable guy I think I’d stop buying all my products from your links. :) ha, you have that affect on people. You are changing the way the web works. I really admire you and love the amount of detailed info you share. And from the looks of it, there is no end is sight. :) Congrats! Blue Host must love you.

  • http://byronscurse.wordpress.com Ashley Prince

    I am so excited that I found this blog! You truly have a wonderful voice in sharing insight. I can see why you are so successful.

    In the past year, I have maintained a blog followed mostly by my family and friends. in the past six months, I have fallen in love with blogging on all topics that involve writing and creativity. My husband has been encouraging me to do affiliate links and things to make a bit of pocket change, and I’ve debated the idea.

    Seeing you becoming so successful by being non-aggressive is truly inspiring. I can stand to learn a lot from you and am going to add you to my blogroll.

    I look forward to following you.

  • http://www.paulcaparas.com Paul Caparas

    That was great article with a nice break down. Your approach is the best way for readers to keep coming here and being loyal. If you were aggressive, you wouldn’t be as successful as you are now. Good stuff.

  • http://www.selfdefenselessons.co/ Jack

    Thanks for this Pat!

    I’m really learning a ton from reading your blog.

  • http://www.workonlinelegit.com/best-affiliate/ Work Online

    You just amaze me Pat, the way you present your content is simple unique. Now I have another perspective about affiliate marketing to consider. Your blog has made me get to the next level of working online. Thanks

  • http://www.theyouthministryblog.com The Youth Ministry Blog

    Pat,
    Thanks for the plethora of information. I have been reading the blog for some time now and it has helped me tremendously! Thank you for the simple step by step help for those of us just starting out. Blessings.

  • http://www.networkingInk.net Tammy

    Hi Pat,
    I wanted to share with my few readers I have about Market Samari but I wanted to do it on an affiliate link. Funds are very short for me these days and so I have not purchased the product but your endorsement and the great videos on the site convinced me that it is something that people can truly benefit.
    My question is do I have to purchase Market Samari to be an affiliate?
    BTW, what is a spammer?

  • http://www.melvinblog.com/ Melvin

    Hosting affiliate programs are really profitable up until today. Its amazing how so many people don’t realize how easy and lucrative it is to recommend your own host and have them sign up for your link.

    Flagship blogs like what we have aren’t the only ones who are capable of making it big with hosting affiliate programs. I see some clever people who do some kind of arbitrage in exchange for signing under their link and it has worked really well for them. (one guy in mind is Daniel of Dailyblogtips regarding his Onlineprofits membership).

    But of course as what you said, it wouldn’t be possible without the trust and authority. Obviously people just don’t randomly buy from someone.

  • http://onlinestudentincome.blogspot.com/ Harry

    I don’t know if you know Pat, but for the key term ‘Passive Income’ you have just come in at number one !!

    Congratualtions

  • http://personalpassiveincome.com Personal Passive Income

    Pat,

    Thanks for all the great info. This is very interesting, especially when you then take this information and compare it to your latest June income report. I noticed you listed out your GreenExamAcademy.com and your SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com websites. It appears that a lot of your affiliate sales also come from this site (which is still #2 on Google for “passive income” for me).

    My question is: how many other sites do you have? Do you have a mini blog empire? Or do you spend most of your time on 3 or 4 main sites? How many sites do you have other than the security guard, green academy and this one?

    I know you have ads on your YouTube videos, but YouTube isn’t expressly listed on your income report… Does that fall under “other adsense”?

    I currently have a bunch of little blogs and I’m doing okay, but I’m seriously considering changing my business model to be more “primary site” focused so I can do just a few things and do them really well…

    Thanks in advance!

  • Zirk

    Hi Pat,

    The reason why I keep on coming back to your blog is simple – You always add value. I learnt from the strategist Tony Manning that To make a difference, you have to matter. You do.

    Thanks

  • http://www.accounting-tutorial.com Online Accoutning Training

    This is great post pat. Last month I earned 1001$ and a significant amount comes from selling ebooks, the idea which i got from you. You are the most trusted man to me in this massive online world. We trust you because of you loyal writing. Please never give up this attitude only for money like some other so called marketing gurus. Thanks a lot for being so gentleman to all of us..

    Regards
    Tanjin

  • http://www.abidings.com sokun

    My affiliate links haven’t converted as much as i want but i think i have plenty of room for improvement.

  • http://www.online-erfolgreich.net Heiko

    Hi, I am following your income reports for several month and I am very happy about the detailed review of Bluehost income. You refered 79 people to Bluehost and got more than $7000? Thats amazing! Bluehost will pay more than $88 for a new costomer?

  • http://doublestrollerreviewslist.com Sparkle

    I have been to this website a few times and I don’t feel like your trying to sell to me. I don’t like people who tell me to buy things and I don’t like a lot of products being push even if they have been used. I like to see examples of how a product was used by a reputable person because it will help me decide if I can use that product as well. I think you strategy uses the most common sense.

  • http://learnnichemarketing.com David Tong

    Like what others mentioned, Pat… You’re probably THE most trusted guy most people have in their browser bookmarks. Your honesty and integrity made it easy for us to ‘contribute’ to your success, and we feel great doing it as well!

    I was one click away from finally processing a purchase from Aweber and I literally closed my window, cleared my cookies, then came back here to click on your 125×125 ad before signing up…

    Did you ask me to do so? No….
    Do I feel obligated to provide you with income? No…
    Do I feel you DESERVE that affiliate earning? Hell yes! You’ve helped so many people with SPI and Niche Site Duel that even the most jaded IMer or greenest of noob will realize that there is an HONEST way to make money online without resorting to shady scams, fly-by-night operations, bold claims with fine prints that only a microscope can see…

    Mabuhay!

    Dave Tong

  • http://www.fsyaonline.com Financial Success for Young Adults

    I have taken your advice and redesigned the way I talk about any affiliate deals. I am only going to write about products that I have experience with or that a friend or family member has used. That way I can give an honest review about the product.

  • http://www.IanWilcox.com Ian Wilcox

    Hello,

    Looking for a host but read alot of bad reviews about bluehost… i dont want to be stuck for a year if i am going to experience problems.

    You come across as a good guy and not a scammy marketer so bluehost must have made a good impression just wondering if you have a review on your blog i can have a look at :) If i do go with bluehost i will sign up with your affiliate link… promise :)

  • http://blog.plicatibu.com Marcio Andrey Oliveira

    Hi, Pat.

    First of all I need to say that you’re one of my biggest motivation to keep going.

    I’m developing free apps / games for mobile (ads based) and in order to improve my online passive income I’m blogging and recommending some affiliate programs (but I recommend only services that I’m using and that I trust).

    One new affiliate program that’s going very well for me is an url shortener that show ads before redirecting users to target url.

    You can get more info here: http://blog.plicatibu.com/urlads

    Best regards.

    Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link. I hope you don’t mind I’ve put it here.

  • http://www.dineroconmiweb.com Dinero con mi Web

    Great Post. Thanks for sharing these great tips with us. Its hard to achieve these kind of success in spanish market but with a lot of work we can do something.

  • http://blog.outsourcefactor.com Chris

    Hey Pat – Very cool disclosure here. Can you tell us how you are able to track the source of the referral? Your links all take the same form, right? SPI.com/aff-link.

    Specifically, I guess I’m wondering:

    1) How do those links work – are they folders where you host an index.php redirect file?

    2) How do you actually know where the referral came from? Is this something you get from GA, or from the Bluehost affiliate program?

    • http://plicatibu.com Marcio Andrey Oliveira

      Hi, Chris.

      I hope you don’t mind if I try to explain it to you.

      You can manually create url redirections by modifying .htaccess file. It will work for any site you have access to this file.

      An easier way is to use a plugin so you don’t need to deal directly with .htaccess syntax (that is not that easy unless you know regex).

      For instance, Let me say you have an Worpress based site. You can install a plugin named Pretty Link.

      For each affiliate link you just need to provide the target url (the one with your referral id) and how you want to name the url you will present to the world.

      For instance, the following is the affiliate link I want to publish
      http://blog.plicatibu.com/urlads

      urlads is the name I want to call it. Every time anyone clicks in this link he/she will be redirected to my the target url.

      Referral is an information passed by browser to the web server. You can develop your own tools and read it but usually it’s better to use a tool like Google Analytics that will do this for you.

      By the way, Pretty Links get referrals for you but I prefer Google Analytics.

      I hope I’ve solved your question.

      Regards.

    • Pat

      Hey Chris – actually, Bluehost does a nice job of telling me where the referrals come from, specifically, which page the referral purchased from, on my site. :)

    • http://www.edgarmirambel.com Edgar

      Hello Chris,

      Actually, there is a plugin for wordpress name Pretty Link (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/pretty-link/) where you can customize the link. You can also track the number of clicks or even export in CSV file.

      Hope it helps!

      Cheers,

      Edgar

  • http://www.betterbloggingways.com Shamelle-BetterBloggingWays

    Hi Pat,
    Really admire the transparency you’ve given here.

    I can’t imagine how much time you must of have spent on putting this post together. So I am curious to know, do you use any tools to keep track of the no of referrals in each posts ? e.g is there a plugin that you use? Or is this all done manually?

    thanks
    Shamelle

    • Pat

      Luckily, Bluehost will tell me where the referrals come from (what page they came from on my site). That said, I still keep track of where most of the links come from using the wordpress plugin called Pretty Link, which can keep track of that for you. :)

  • http://www.startyoungfinishfirst.com Tram Tran

    I believe in creating trust based on honesty and transparency. I absolutely live your non aggressive recommendations. People hate being sold to, they want to make decisions for themselves and showing the benefits of products in a subtle way is an absolute win win. Keep rocking Pat!

  • http://www.seoservicesatlanta.com SEO services Atlanta with Jan

    Pt, I just found your blog and want to say- Awesome job! I really like how you talk about what you are doing, ho wit feels, what is working for commissions and what isn’t. Your style is so supportive and NON guru-ee. A breath of fresh air online
    and the info you share is really really great.

  • http://www.makingahealthychoice.com Jonathon

    This is excellent advice “””Although affiliate products are created by others, the moment you promote something you become a representative of that product and it reflects on you and your brand.””” that I think a lot of lazy affiliates, particularly in the IM niche should take note of. You know the ones who send spammy emails saying “This XYZ product is cool go check it out” followed by a link.

  • Chai

    Hi,

    Firstly, thanks for all the value you bring via your site :) I wanted to know how many referrals your YouTube video gets? You mentioned it as a source but didnt say what the conversion is like.

    Many thanks

    • Pat

      Hi Chai – it’s a source of traffic, traffic that comes back to the blog and the blog is where people click on the affiliate links.

  • http://dilankawettewa.com Dilanka Wettewa

    Pat,

    Does it concern you that most of the comments on this page talks about the mechanics of how you earn 6 Figures+ on SPI instead of the overall mindset (which I think is more important) and beliefs?

    ie:

    “..Pat, which tool do you use to do X..”
    “..Pat, is X plugin better than Y plugin..”

    Anyway, just to re-iterate – the following four points is the most important thing:

    1.) Provide massive value.
    2.) Earn massive trust.
    3.) Learn and understand the needs and wants of your followers.
    4.) Lead and teach by example.

    They are all very difficult to do and should be anyone’s #1 priority if interested in this game.

    Dilanka

  • Mario

    Greetings all. I am looking at a variety of methods to create nice affiliate links, Pretty Link being chief among them. I plan to place and embed affiliate links in my site (I sell books) and I also plan to place/embed links in my softcover books and in my ebooks. My question is this: In some cases I would like to update the URL target link if I can recommend better products than I was aware of at the time of publication. For example, let’s say that I am recommending the best reading lights and linking to an Amazon affiliate link that has been beautified by Pretty Link…. So my link might be http://www.bookseller.com/lights. But then I run across a better product six months later. Is there a way to change the target URL/affiliate link so I can route the reader to a better product? Or will http://www.bookseller.com/lights forever until the end of time point to the first affiliate link? (It would be nice to be able to “erase” the previous linkage just by Pretty Linking right over it, like you might with a Word doc. …Is that too much to ask or is that by any chance how it works?) Apologies in advance for any fundamental understanding of how this works.

    Kudos to Pat for this blog post and for this forum.

    • Pat

      Hi Mario – yes! You can at anytime go back and change the link so that the link in your book (or whereever) stays the same, but the redirect changes.

  • http://www.webknowhows.com Joanne

    Hi, I would like to find out whether all your Bluehost affiliate sales are generated through this blog. If not, what other advertising method do u use?

  • J

    Pat, your honest approach is what will retain trust and integrity (for life:), with loyal followers.

    I’m so glad I found you:)

  • http://www.garyhuynh.com Gary Huynh

    Thank you for your transparency Pat. It’s refreshing to see this especially knowing that you could probably make 10X more by writing a course and promoting it using a hyped up sales page. You sell with style! LOL.

  • http://marketsecrets.biz Caleb

    Well sometimes when you need immediate cash flow to fund a project or take care of an emergency an aggressive approach would be highly beneficial as long as you have an audience of course. But all in all two separate channels containing one of each approach would be ideal ;)

  • http://eclecticdesignstudio.net K. Hill the Direct Response Design Diva

    I prefer the non-aggressive way and actually taking pointers from your approach Pat in that regard:) I think you’ve found a healthy balance between promoting products as an affiliate (i.e. making money) but still focusing on relationships with your audience as the primary focus.

    However, I don’t think it necessary to spell out affiliate links in every link that I would include on a website. Having a disclaimer seems like enough. All of the “this is an affiliate link here” and “this is an affiliate link there” gets distracting and eventually annoying.

    • http://internetpassiveincomehq.com PhuongLe

      on, based on the FTC Consumer Notice, If you buy something from a link or ad on this website, or based on my recommendation, either expressed or implied, Pat will recieve a small portion of the sale from the vendor.

  • http://www.factsonmakingmoneyonline.com/blog wilson

    I am in your list and are always looking forward to your massive value in the email.However,I don’t remember receiving any offers from you.

  • http://www.hcgdietrecipesmadesimple.com Toni Scott

    I need to figure out a way to track my own referrals. One product that I am an affiliate for shows that I sent 400 visits to their site without one sale. This is odd because their product is targeted to my visitors (good product, good price). When I emailed the owner, she said her links were broken. What was actually happening is that when a visitor clicked on my affiliate link they were taking to the main www. url without any affiliate info. Another company’s affiliate program only shows a total amount of commissions, nothing else. I’m not feeling very comfortable with this.

  • Chaseki

    The reason I refer people to your site as hands down the best affiliate marketing how-to site is because the completely free detailed guidance you offer are quite often far superior to all the other so called affiliate marketing secrets which they charge for.

    Pat you exude integrity and a genuine desire to help others to succeed. Even when the first time I checked out your site, I never got the impression that you were trying to sell me something. Instead you gained my trust, and I was confident in the products and services you shared or offered.

    I truly hope that many more extraordinary success come your way.

  • http://southernaffiliate.com/986/affiliate-marketing-hazards/ Jon@affiliatesouth

    Surprised you approved that comment from “top rated hcg drops” that added absolutely nothing to the topic and was obviously a “fishing for backlink” comment. I get hundreds of those every week and the “Antispam Bee” plugin deals to them very effectively.

    • Pat

      Yeah just didn’t get to them in time – but I come back and delete as much as I can. Thanks Jon, I appreciate it!

  • Steve

    Hey Pat.

    I’ve tried to message you in the past but it hasn’t gone through. I am interested in being an Affiliate Green/LEED product. I promote safety products and training material to 300k contractors each week. Half residential, half commercial.

    Send me an email and lets see what we can do. I think many will jump on this!

    Thanks.

    Steve

  • http://www.cataloguesforbadcredit.info Ryan Lester

    Hi Pat,

    Have you had any links (referrals) coming in from web 2.0 sites?

    Thank you

  • http://www.thuthuatwordpress.com/ PhuongLe

    uhm, thanks for sharing real tips to build trust and show exact benefit that suit the reader’s need , i will apply those for my site .

  • http://www.seopodium.com/ Mike

    You have given some excellent information in this post about affiliate marketing. I agree that we should add value to our target audience. It is also good to recommend products that we have used instead of just promoting a product that has a high commission and we have no clue about. When we do this, people will like and trust us :-)

  • http://www.bestdailyfantasysportssites.com AJ

    Well I guess I missed this post before… thanks for the new link to send us here. I’m glad that you drilled down into how this converts, and was glad to see that even the tiny little 125×125 is pulling its own weight. The trust, testimonials, and traffic combination is KEY! Great job, and best of luck with the new baby girl, and congrats your recent stellar earnings. [Pat or V.A. --- please delete this sentence before you approve MY comment: But Pat, please CHECK OUT my affiliate link to Daily Fantasy Football (FanDuel) at my site... it's seriously loads of FUN!! all best, AJ]

  • http://www.makingsenseofcents.com Michelle

    Ive always wondered how you are able to do so awesome with your affiliate links! Great post.

  • http://www.irinamilova.net Irina Milova

    You are certainly doing it with the right mindset and the results speak for themselves. We buy from you because by reading your posts and reports we get to know you, like you and trust you. It is great to deal with someone on the internet who is congruent and frank.

  • http://downloadthemefor.com Ashu

    great tips… hope these tips will also help me to increase my affiliate earnings.

  • http://effortlessenglishclub.pl/opinie-o-effortless-english-power-english-lesson/ Kamcio

    Welcome

    I would like to ask to check it. We have not access to thank you website if somebody buy product. Sometimes it is possible to put special link and we will know from which place was made shopping. But what made if every affiliate link is the same?

    Greetings
    Kamil

  • http://uitechblog.com/ Umer Iftikhar

    Trying to become like you. Can you help to do? I have started a tech related blog. Want to generate the same income you do with SPI. Looking forward to your assistance and kind help. I am really much confused and worried because of some personal problem. I need to be successful. I know and believe the hard work but right information and right tips can help me. Could you please give me some time?

    Thanks Pat
    Regards. Umer

  • please

    can you go to my affiliate link? http://www.clixsense.com/?6056728

    • http://www.myonlineincomejourney.com/ Dionne

      No

  • http://www.myonlineincomejourney.com/ Dionne

    I didn’t know trust was such a big factor, well gotta start being more trustworthy to my few readers.

  • Ben Tristem

    I’m just stating to use affiliate links, and I share them with my assistant in a Google Doc. I did have my assistant shorten them with Bitly, but I found a way to do this totally automatically using their API as per the attached screenshot.

    **Would you like access to the Google Doc so you can use it with your Bitly account?**

    What do you think of Bitly Pat?

  • Affiliate Android

    It seems like affiliate works! SO much savings to be had, especially from straightforward sites like http://affiliateandroid.com that make the links and deals all clear.

  • Techtomind

    nice post i read this post fully but didn’t find my answer how to get visitors to buy from my affiliate links havan’t get any referel . is it required to create custom link rather than default affilate links , how to create custom affilate link in bluehost affilates .