SPI 022: Affiliate Marketing Strategies, Tips, and Techniques from Real Life Experiences with Chris Guthrie

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In this session of the Smart Passive Income Podcast, special guest Chris Guthrie and I discuss several affiliate marketing strategies, tips and techniques drawing from real life examples from our own websites and experiences.

Affiliate marketing has been huge for me lately. Last month, I earned $18,638.24 from affiliate marketing and Chris has pushed over 1.5 million dollars in product sales from Amazon.com alone, which is out of this world.

You may remember Chris from Session #10 of the SPI Podcast, which was more of an interview style type podcast. This time around we do more of a “round-table” type discussion about affiliate marketing and throw tips back and forth that have worked for us in the past. There’s a lot of little golden nuggets in this session, so whether you’re just getting started with affiliate marketing, or you’re already experienced with it and want to increase your conversions, there should be something here for you.

In this session, you’ll learn:

  • The first experiences that both Chris and I had with affiliate marketing.
  • How to find the perfect products to sell as an affiliate on your site.
  • Our thoughts on promoting a product that you haven’t used yourself yet.
  • How to get products for free from companies to review and promote on your site.
  • Rules for long-term success with affiliate marketing – especially if you have an existing audience or following.
  • The best tips for affiliate marketing if you have a product-based niche site.
  • Detailed information about one of Chris’s niche sites that he recently sold for a lot of money.
  • The mindset that you need to really crush it with affiliate marketing.
  • The most important factor that determines your success with niche site affiliate marketing.
  • Why and when you should become a “sales rep” for a specific product.
  • Interesting and unique places to add affiliate links to increase sales and conversions.
  • Specific types of posts that work best for affiliate marketing.
  • Websites that we built that totally failed, and why.
  • How podcasts, videos and webinars can be the best way to promote products as an affiliate.
  • Where the affiliate links on your blog or website should really be.
  • Plus a lot more…

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Click Here to Download the Transcript (PDF)

  • Matt Sauls

    Looking forward to listening to this on my drive home. Just started my keyword research for my first niche site in Market Samurai. So excited to take BOLD action today. Thanks Pat!

    • Pat

      Nice Matt – I think this wil be helpful (and motivational) for you. Congrats on the new site, and definitely spend some time doing thorough keyword research, it’s the most important part of the process. Keep doing it dude!

  • http://www.icrayons.info jaymee paul

    I have been trying to be an affiliate, but its really difficult! gtrrrrrrrr.

    • Pat

      It can be very intimidating and frustrating at first, but take it one day at a time, and use the tips in this podcast session to help you out. Cheers!

  • http://optima-lifestyle.com Cristina

    Perfect timing Pat!

    I was really missing your podcasts.

  • http://www.makemoneyontheinternet.com Chris Guthrie

    I’m back baby!

    • http://www.makemoneyontheinternet.com Chris Guthrie

      Joking aside, I think this podcast session turned out great. Nice talking to you Pat and hopefully everyone listening learned some good tips on affiliate marketing.

      • http://bygresults.com Duane Ray

        Thank you Pat and Chris for great information as usual! Did you start asking for free review versions of the products right away, Chris, or did you wait until you had established a presence and had some success?

      • Ruben

        Chris I would love to join your program but I heard that Amazon is dropping Associates in certain states due to the new Tax Laws… I live in Texas any advice on how this law wont affect me?

  • http://startworkingonline.blogspot.com/ Rory Mullen

    Listening to this Right now, I am so interested to take my affiliate sales to the next level. Thanks Pat and Chris for allowing us to learn from your information you have provided. Thanks for a detailed explanation of affiliate marketing.

  • http://www.makemoneyonlinewithvic.net Make Money Online with Vic

    Sexy podcast guys – a testament to the power of asking!

    When you guys (everybody) create niche sites, what’s your most effective way of linking to your affiliate product? Do you use sidebars with graphics that go straight to the product offer or do you have an intermediate page where you presell the product?


    • http://www.makemoneyontheinternet.com Chris Guthrie

      I’m more about simple text links. Over 50% of my earnings have come that way. People are more likely to click a simple unassuming text link than they will click anything else (including banners)

  • http://www.susancabezas.com Susan

    Looking forward to listening to this — I find you and Chris my favorite resources as far as affiliate marketing goes. I’ve been working on my own niche sites using Chris’ Niche Profit course and viewed your Market Samurai webinar as guides to help me and they’ve both helped a lot. :)

    • http://www.makemoneyontheinternet.com Chris Guthrie

      Hey Susan,

      Thanks for the positive feedback 😀 and I hope your niche sites are doing well. It can be tough to do niche research but if you try enough markets you’ll eventually start getting more successful sites rather than failed ones. (I still make some that flop these days).

  • http://www.webbusinesstoolbox.com Monja

    Looking forward to your Session, love your Way of writing and of course you two provide great content

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

    Downloading this now to listen to on the way home.

    On another note, earlier this week my main earner got penalized by Google. It’s dead last for all the terms that I used to rank for. :( Somehow I came across your blog yesterday and read through almost the entire site from the beginning. (If you had a visitor the other day with 300+ page views, that was probably me….)

    Anyways, reading your story gave me the motivation to get back on the horse and keep going. I started up my old blog again to record my journey. I would love for someone to come across my site down the road and be inspired as you have done for me this week.


    • http://www.makemoneyontheinternet.com Chris Guthrie

      Hey Jeremy,

      I just read your most recent blog post and I’d suggest you try and do a re-inclusion request to Google.

      In any case, hope you enjoyed the podcast :)

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

        I did enjoy the podcast. The part where you spoke about previous failures hits home. I know that this most recent speed bump is part of the process and I will no doubt come out stronger in the end.

        I have filed for a re-inclusion request. We’ll see what happens.

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

    Really great podcast with Chris, Pat!

    This podcast is truly informative and based on what Chris says I think going the niche site route is the best way to make money from affiliate marketing. Having an authority site is great, but can sometime take time and it is even better if one has both, like you do (an authority site for the long run – and a niche site that will be bringing in income on the short term, and that can even be sold).

    • http://www.makemoneyontheinternet.com Chris Guthrie

      Authority sites are also really fun though because they’re less effected by Google though (generally) and I sold my netbook website in a deal worth six figures so it was well worth the time and effort I put into it… 😀

      • http://www.standoutblogger.com Thomas Sinfield

        Hey Chris,

        I’ve been meaning to ask about your netbooks website. How much was it pulling in a month/year to get the 6 figures? Are we talking 10x monthly earnings, or once you start having sites making more money do the multiples people are willing to pay increase?

  • http://www.websitehostpro.com Anya

    You guys make it sound so easy!
    I loved the tip about asking affiliates to send products to review, and I’m going to try a webinar of sorts to promote some products. I got a few take aways, thanks for the ideas.

    • http://www.makemoneyontheinternet.com Chris Guthrie

      Yes, I’ve had dozens of companies send me products to review for free and some of them have allowed me to keep the product and/or give it away to my readers as well so that’s something to think about.

  • http://techatlast.com Olawale Daniel | Tech Blog

    This audio is super epic @Pat, thanks a lot for sharing this information..

    I love it and I will be making an attempts to do all what I learnt from it.

  • http://howimakeextramoney.com Chris

    Chris G,
    I bought your course a few months ago and have been building sites. I like that you keep an active dialog with the users within the content modules. This adds a lot of value to the overall product. The problem is that I am based in California and if I’m not mistaken, I believe you are as well. Today I received an email that the Amazon Affiliate program is likely to be shut down in CA. I’ve heard about people from other states that have been banned relocating their business to Delaware or Nevada under an LLC. What do you recommend for those of us in CA and does anybody know of a good tutorial on how exactly to make it work? Thanks.

    (P.S. Pat – Long time reader, huge fan.)

    • http://www.scanyourentirelife.com Curtis B.

      Oh no… potential of being banned with an LLC in Nevada. That was going to be my next plan after getting the Amazon email as well. Really!??

      • http://howimakeextramoney.com Chris

        Sorry for the confusion. That’s not what I meant. I was referring to the banned state not the person being banned. Let me rephrase the sentence: I’ve heard that one way to get around the ban is to relocate your business to Delaware or Nevada under an LLC. What do you recommend?…

        • http://www.scanyourentirelife.com Curtis B.

          Chris ~ Hopefully someone more qualified than myself like Pat will chime in soon and let us know how to revive our Amazon Aff. Programs for us Californians (should it come to that). My gut tells me to lean towards Nevada. Any state that protects what makes Vegas Vegas seems like a good bet to protect a few guys trying to make a few bucks recommending some products.

        • http://www.dreamsofincome.com Greg M

          I believe Nevada has a similar law on the table, so it may be better to form the LLC in Delaware. I’ve been scrambling a little today trying to figure out how to keep my Affiliate business going. In addition to Amazon, I’ve been fired today by a couple other affiliate programs I earn money from. Such a hassle…

        • http://www.makemoneyontheinternet.com Chris Guthrie

          Hey Chris,

          Yah I try to add a ton of value in anything that I sell online because most online courses are really crappy and the product creators don’t even respond to their customer’s emails.

          In any case thanks for the kind words re: Niche Profit Course

          Getting onto the bad news stuff: Amazon Associates / California

          I don’t live in CA I’m actually based in Seattle, WA where Amazon is so unless we see a law come down from the federal level on the nexus tax issue I think I’ll be ok in WA.

          People have moved their businesses as a result of the affiliate nexus tax laws being passed in various states (just search “Coupon cabin moves” in Google to see how that coupon site moved out of state)

          My suggestion is if you aren’t already making a few thousand dollars per month just use another companies affiliate program. There are ways around this issue of shutting down the affiliate program in your state, but I can’t legally advise you on how to do it. My only suggestion would be to talk to your accountant and/or lawyer (I’d love to tell you what I suggest but I really am just not qualified so I’m not actually sure if it’s illegal to just set up a new company in another state even if you still live in CA etc.)

          Hope this helps

    • J. Dees

      Yeah, what great timing for this podcast! Some things to note:

      1) Pat, for example, makes less than 1% of his income (see his reports) from the Amazon Associates program so I don’t see him relocating his business anytime soon.

      2) Google strategically unveiled their affiliate program (http://www.google.com/ads/affiliatenetwork/) this week/last week. They have big name partners like Barnes and Noble, Target, Cabela’s, Verizon, Kohls, etc. This might be an opportunity for Amazon Associates in CA who can sell products on those sites.

      3) Chris is probably safe in WA, but Internet marketers in other states who rely heavily on Amazon for income should really start to diversify now with some of the affiliate programs mentioned in this podcast. Now that CA has made this move, I can see many more state legislatures jumping on board.

      • http://www.youcanworkless.com Dean Soto


        Yeah, I was definitely looking to move to Google since the Amazon revenue is now dead. Good point. As Chris also pointed out, if you aren’t making a thousand or more with Amazon, it’d be wiser to find another way to get the same items promoted via commission junction, linkshare, Google’s affiliate program etc.

        Yup, diversification is key.

  • http://www.coveringthemortgage.blogspot.com Shobir

    I will definitely clear some room in the hectic diary for this one. Affiliate marketing has been given a bad name and if the process is done correctly can make you very rich as you have shown us time and time again. Thanks Pat, really appreciate it.

  • http://www.howtosavemoolah.com Gerald

    Nice podcast, Affiliate marketing in the holy grail of IM. It seems.

  • http://www.learnwithtim.com Tim

    Hurry up with the transcript already! haha j/k.

    Can’t wait to “read” it…I saw my first Amazon site make it’s first dollar the other day and itching for more!

    • http://www.makemoneyontheinternet.com Chris Guthrie

      Yes it’s very exciting. I remember my first $100 month, first $1,000 month and then my first $10,000+ month during the holidays. It’s a lot of fun.

  • Mike

    Well, unfortunately for us Californian’s, Amazon just emailed to state the bill was just signed and they’re terminating the affiliate program for us. Bummer.

  • http://www.whysoblu.com Gerard Iribe

    Yep. Jerry Brown has signed the law and Amazon will no longer be working with Californians with regards to affiliates. I’m sure they will also be charging sales tax with every purchase.

    Bummer. Pat, I’ll be anxious to hear your thoughts. One of those other bloggers made a comment saying “this is why you diversify when it comes to IM (internet Marketing).

    • http://www.makemoneyontheinternet.com Chris Guthrie

      I know this is also sort of “too late” but this just shows all the more reason why it’s important to research the people you vote into office. I haven’t looked into seeing if Democrats are signing more of these affiliate nexus laws than Republican governors (and I know the state legislature has an impact as well) and I’m not looking to start a political debate but this nexus law could be a very serious blow to affiliate marketers…

  • http://www.ilporyynanen.com Ilpo Ryynänen

    Yey! I really look forward listening to this podcast during my train travel.

  • paul

    thanks for this.
    quick question about podcasst. The advantage over audio v a video podcast? Chris alluded to fitting the medium your niche. For example if videomaking was your niche and you wanted to review videos and discuss them with the directors a video podcast would mean people can see the videos as you discuss or see the video gear they used. But is there a big downside in terms of building a big audience – the fact that people like to listen to audio when doing other things, driving etc which is the disadvantage of a video podcast. Audio is easier to consume on the go. So would it be better to do an audio podcast and then just mention links to go to your blog to see the videos/gear you are talking about?

  • http://thedealergeek.com Ryan Thompson

    Pat -I loved this podcast , really helped me get through my daily grind in the car. I do some affiliate marketing for products that are related to Car Dealers. Starting small but getting some great ideas. Cheers from Canada.


  • http://www.ilovebluesea.com Andrew

    What insight do any of you readers out there (and you too Pat!) have about the future of online affiliate marketing? How do you see it evolving? Would love to get a brief discussion going on this.

  • http://www.bloggingdiabetes.com Tony


    I want to contact companies like you describe, but who is the contact you would try to find at large companies to call about 1) products or 2) advertising

    Great podcast!

  • http://www.websitehostpro.com Anya

    Chris I just found out today that amazon is ending their affiliate program in California and will no longer give payouts to California residents because of taxes. Do you think this will last?

  • http://www.hiphopmusicnow.com Ryan

    Great advice, you guys. Interesting stuff. Got a long way to go to get anywhere near where you’re both at, but certainly working towards.


  • http://www.kidsiphoneapps.net Pavel

    Great podcast, thanks!

    I was just barely starting with Amazon affiliate, but because I’m in California I will not be pursuing it further, it just doesn’t seem worth it at this point.

    Pat, Chris – are there any other sites besides CJ and Clickbank that have strong affiliate presence?

    Also – what are the chances that CJ and Clickbank will follow Amazon and get rid of us Californians?

    Does it even make sense at this point to attempt any affiliate strategy at this point if you’re in California??


    • http://www.dreamsofincome.com Greg Marcum

      CJ is located in CA so they would never cut us off, however it is up to the individual companies as to whether they cut ties with affiliates in particular States.

      As far as Clickbank, I think digital products are immune to these taxes(at least currently).

      So, yes, affiliate marketing definitely still makes sense for us in CA.

  • http://therenderq.com Harlan Yee

    Looking forward to listening to this on my commute home tonight. I learned a lot from session 10.

    And Chris, hopefully I’ll run into you at Seattle Dot Com Pho one of these days. I haven’t attended in few weeks.

  • http://lifeoflyman.com Eric Perrine

    Looking forward to listening to this pat. I haven’t gotten back into the niche marketing world in a long time (– like 3 years :-0 –) I just picked up some awesome tools: Instant Article Wizard and Niche Finder keyword tool.

    There is so much opportunity out there but I’ve been slammed pack doing Marketing for local business and I just launched my new site: http://localtized.com

    Oh on a side note I have a question for you lol. Pat have you ever thought of applying your knowledge and talent to local business in your area? I think it’s such an untapped niche for people to get into as I have been doing it for awhile now and the competition is so much easier in my opinion.

    Any who I’m going to make some coffee, sit back and get my dose of SPI’s new podcast.

    Cheers Pat.

  • http://overlookedcincy.wordpress.com Brian C.

    Another great and informative podcast, Pat. Thanks!

    Just wondering if anyone here, especially you Pat, has seen the affiliate page for Woot.com? I’d really like to hear your take on it Pat, or Chris or anyone else! They call them minions. It’s funny, but is this what we’re getting ourselves into? hehe


  • http://www.fromdreamstolifestyle.com/the-power-of-having-a-great-story/ patrick

    Awesome! I will definitely check out the podcast this weekend.

  • http://financiallyeliteblog.com Dwight Anthony

    Here comes round 2, thanks Pat

    Dwight Anthony
    Financially Elite Blog dot Com

  • Shaun

    Nice podcast. I read the transcript though, there are a lot of mistakes such as whole paragraphs not making sense and lots of missing capitals. The transcriber is getting slack Pat…

    Other then that a good interview.

  • http://bygresults.com Duane Ray

    Thanks, Pat, as always, for sharing some great folks from your network with all of us.

  • http://www.blast4trafficnow.net Michael Chibuzor

    This will be a great addition to me. It will be helpful and I can’t wait to have all of them.

  • http://www.timhicks.com Tim Hicks

    Thanks for that wonderful podcast. It was excellent! Pat & Chris, you both know your stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  • eric

    I am getting started through click bank and found out the hard way that i could not post hop links to my free wordpress blog. What is a good way to promote click bank products without a website? I was thinking about doing product reviews on infobarrel.com and adding a hop link, but i am not sure i can add a hoplink there either. Please post any helpful tips. Thank you very much!

  • http://carefulcents.com Carrie Smith

    I just recently found your podcast and this episode is the first one I listened to. Wow, this is great! I am so glad to have found this site, and podcast. You’ve made a loyal fan out of me. Your advice is helpful, very informative and explained easy enough for someone who is a newbie like me.

  • matt

    Hey Pat and Everyone,

    Pat, thanks for the great blog. I’ve been listening to your podcasts for several weeks now. I was hoping that you could clear up some confusion? Maybe others here could help me out as well?

    I thought Keyword research was very important no matter what type of website I was going to start. But in this episode, Pat seems to say the there are two ways to go about creating a site. You can build an authority site or create a niche site. He goes on to say that a niche site is a “set it and forget it” site. One that is basically started by finding a product, doing keyword research, and getting the site up and running with affiliate links etc. Does that mean that if I’m going to start an authority site that I shouldn’t really worry about the STRENGTH of competition? Here’s why I ask:

    I’ve spent about two hours using Market Samurai doing keyword research for a couple of my passions. In every case, no matter how far I dig, the Samurai tells me that there’s too much competition. Here are the areas that I’ve done keyword research on so far: model building, martial arts, and camping. I’ve kept digging deeper and deeper for each of these keywords but competition is too strong no matter how much digging I do. Am I wasting my time with keyword research if my intention is to create an authority site?

    Thanks for all your help guys!

  • http://measuredmarketingmethod.profitworks.ca/ Chris R. Keller Author of The Measured Marketing Method


    I really like your idea of how to get products for free to review and promote on your site.

    If anyone is looking for a product to promote contact me and maybe we can work something out for my book. It is The Measured Marketing Method if you want to check it out.

  • http://goodfinance-blog.com WareVerna

    I think that to get the credit loans from creditors you ought to have a good motivation. However, once I’ve got a financial loan, just because I wanted to buy a building.

  • Nguyễn Thanh Hùng

    Pat, thanks for the great blog. I’ve been listening to your podcasts for several weeks now. Không gian đẹp , Tho tan gai , Nhung cau noi hay ve tinh yeu , Nhung vu an hiep dam , Chuyện tình yêu , Nha hang , Gia vang , Clip Aoe hay , Game dua xe , Du lịch Việt Nam However, once I’ve got a financial loan, just because I wanted to buy a building.

  • huyennhi

    There’s a lot of little golden nuggets in this session
    ẩm thực,giảm cân,giải mã giấc mơ,Tin trong ngày,chuyện lạ

  • http://kientrucae.com/thiet-ke-noi-that-chung-cu_c145.aspx ae kiến trúc

    It is The Measured Marketing Method if you want to check it out. Chuyên thi công thiết kế nội thất chung cưthiết kế nhà lô đẹp trong lĩnh vực thiết kế nội thất nhà, văn phòng cho thuê áo dài đẹp rẻ One that is basically started by finding a product

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    You can read nuoc hoa and thuoc kich duc in bo than with gravimax-rx and vipmax

  • http://bothan.vn/ Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan
  • Rachel

    Hey buddy, I tried to click on “Chris’s Amazon Niche Profit Course (with SPI only Discount)” but it wasn’t working for me. Just wanted to let you know.