September 20, 2014

“Quick Start Guide to Affiliate Marketing” Is Realistic, Not Hype

Quick Start Guide to Affiliate MarketingIf you’ve ever thought about earning money from a website by including affiliate offers on it, but have been confused or have had limited results, you will want to read “Quick Start Guide to Affiliate Marketing.”

This compact Kindle electronic book is just 93 pages.  It packs a lot into those pages.

Easy to Scan

The book is organized as a long series of FAQs.  This is a great format because it lets you skip over the questions you already know the answer to, and jump ahead to those you’re just dying to know.

For example, it starts from a basic first question:  “What is affiliate marketing?”  Now, if you’re reading the book, chances are you already have some idea what that phrase means.  I’ll bet you’re going to want to jump ahead a question or two.

If you’re like most of us, you will probably be salivating to read the section “How much do affiliates earn?”   And that section is indeed very interesting.

There’s a comprehensive section listing affiliate networks. These networks are where you can find multiple affiliate programs to apply to be part of.  Once approved, you can pick  and choose from among hundreds of merchants and start placing affiliate offers in your website, to start earning commissions.  The list is not limited to the United States.  Included are many country-specific networks.

And there are a lot of other excellent questions answered in very helpful ways:

  • You will find a section on “What are the most profitable niches?”  What you’ll learn is that common wisdom on this question may overlook one important fact: reversal rates on affiliate commissions.  What looks like a profitable niche, with high payouts, may not be once you factor in high rates of reversals (i.e., backing out of commissions for various reasons).
  • There’s a section, “Can I forecast my future affiliate earnings?”  The author gives a formula for calculating what you “could” earn on your website.  Your mileage may vary, of course.  Nonetheless, the calculation gets you thinking about the potential of your website, and the elements that could make the biggest difference if you improved them.
  • Included are several questions that help you evaluate whether a merchant’s affiliate program is worth applying to in the first place.  The author gives very good insights into what you should look for — and what you should avoid.
  • You will learn about such things as recommended affiliate marketing plugins for WordPress.
  • There’s an interesting section on the 10 types of affiliate sites (coupon, data feed, display ad-based, and more).
  • You will discover what “link cloaking” for affiliate links is.
  • The author advises against paying a fee to enter an affiliate program. If you’re approached to pay merely to join, you’ve just met a con artist, he says.
  • And — this was illuminating to me — some affiliates actually ask for and get an upfront payment from merchants to place their links.  Of course, you have to be an experienced affiliate marketer with a track record to get these types of payments.

These are just some of the things covered in this book.

About the Author

The book is written by Geno Prussakov (@ePrussakov on Twitter).  He is the founder of the Affiliate Marketing Days conference.

Prussakov is an expert in affiliate management.  What that means is, he usually works for the merchants that set up affiliate programs, not the Web publishers who run affiliate offers on their websites.

And that’s actually a good thing.

His background and experience both give him a bird’s eye view into thousands upon thousands of affiliates and their websites.  He knows, also, what makes a great merchant and how to choose one if you are an affiliate.

Realistic Expectations, No Hype

There’s a lot of sales hype out on the Web — the get-rich-quick type of hype.  You see it quite a bit around affiliate marketing.

You won’t find any of that in Quick Start Guide to Affiliate Marketing.  Prussakov goes to great lengths to point out that education and effort are critical to affiliate success.  Every so-called “super affiliate” gets to that exalted state only after a lot of hard work.  They try, they fail, they learn, they improve.

You get solid, informed advice.

This book doesn’t give you a step 1, step 2, etc. approach to getting started in affiliate marketing.  Rather, it gives you “insider” tips and resources that will be crucial to your monetization strategies and success.

The book is ideal for Web publishers who already know a bit about affiliate marketing, but are determined to do better at it.  I strongly recommend it if affiliate marketing is in your plans.

14 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

14 Reactions

  1. Anita,
    I just finished reading Geno’s book, and I’m in agreement with everything you wrote in your review.

    If any Small Business Trends community members are thinking about entering the affiliate marketing space-this book will give them a great head-start.

    The Franchise King®

    • Joel,

      Gotta read the book. I’m very interested in growing my knowledge in affiliate marketing – as, to be honest with you, I suck at affiliate marketing – big time :D

      Geno’s book might be the one which will shed some light. You have no idea how many ebooks, articles and posts I read online, recycling things I have read numerous times throughout my entrepreneurial career… and they offer you near-zero new insights.

      • Ivan, one of the best parts of this book is the sections on how to choose an affiliate program that you want to be part of. I have to say that we’ve had widely varying results.

        We’ve had dismal results with some programs, despite giving hundreds of thousands of impressions to each program.

        I would have to say that 85% of what we’ve tried in affiliate marketing has failed miserably. Another 10% has been so-so. But that final 5% has worked pretty well, and that’s where we’ve made the bulk of our affiliate revenue.

        Some programs that I would have bet on being a wild success with our audience, were the worst possible failures. And a few programs shocked me by doing well.

        We’ve learned a few things about how to promote affiliate programs. We’re in the process of learning which programs to avoid because even though we send traffic, it doesn’t convert. There’s a lot that goes into achieving success at affiliate marketing.

        – Anita

    • Joel, I am sure Geno will appreciate the vote of confidence from you. :)

      I’ve seen other books about affiliate marketing, but most are either outdated now, or have been too general to be much help.

      I like being able to cut to the chase, and read the same question I have and get an up-to-date answer on the precise question.

      – Anita

    • Anita, Joel, thank you, both! Honored to learn that you have enjoyed the book so much. Thanks again.

  2. Trust me. I’ve had my share of affiliate marketing books that offers nothing more than rehashed content from PLR products on the Internet. They offer no real value and it certainly does not make me a better marketer. Hopefully, this will be an exception.

  3. I am so glad to see something that presents affiliate marketing in its proper perspective. Before arriving at this site, I saw an article identifying affiliate marketing as a scam. It is definitely not a scam. There are scammers in it, but affiliate marketing, in and of itself, is not. I have a feeling this book takes this approach.

    • Exactly, Charles. There are scammers and fraudsters in every industry. Unfortunately, affiliate marketing is no exception. And while the bad apples do spoil the bunch’s reputation, they should by no means be viewed as “the bunch.”

      There is plenty of examples of ethical, value-added affiliate marketing. Multiple IR Top 500 merchants rely on affiliate marketing for (as much as 40% of their sales), several affiliate marketing-oriented companies made the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America this year, I could go on an on.

  4. I am going to get a copy of this book. The “hit and run” approach that I have tried on my blog to get people to purchase products has not worked very successfully in the past. I am hoping that this book will show me a better way to promote good content, and by this, hopefully people will be more likely to purchase the products offered on my blogs. Thank you for this information.

  5. Wondering about a book for merchants? Slowly moving my way into Affiliate Marketing and need a guide – suggestions?

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