Written by Daniel Awde
Are you an Instagram user? Are you looking to make money from your followers, but don’t know where to start? If so, then this instagram affiliate marketing guide can help you!
Instagram has over 1 billion users and is growing at a fast and steady rate.
Building a business on Instagram could’ve been daunting a year ago but now it’s easier than ever.
No matter whether you want to make money from e-commerce or selling subscriptions, there are many different ways of making money on Instagram.
This guide will walk you through the exact steps I took to increase my earnings from Instagram by 30% last year and grow my brand into multiple profitable businesses.
A recap of affiliate marketing history
Instagram has brought all the fun of social media marketing into the hands of even the most inexperienced of marketers.
It is, undoubtedly, among the most popular platforms for online marketing today. What used to be a platform restricted to showcasing pictures for your family and friends is now a powerful tool you can use to take your business to new heights.
Today we’ll take a look at a few interesting facts about affiliate marketing and how it has evolved.
In the past, bloggers were paid by the click, (via paid Ads on their blog).
Today, many bloggers are paid for the sale. This means there is a significant difference in how bloggers approach their work and content.
Affiliate marketing began in 1989 with a man named William J. Tobin, who holds the title of the world’s first internet marketer.
The founder of PC Flowers & Gifts, Tobin conceptualized the idea of affiliate marketing and launched his program on the Prodigy Network. This model involved paying the Prodigy network a commission on every sale.
Amazon came quite a bit later to the party, arriving in 1996 with their associate’s program. Although not the first to start an affiliate program, they were the first to attract global interest.
Their model involved paying a commission as a percentage of the sold product, and this became the model for many affiliate networks that followed.
The basic components of an affiliate marketing business
The science behind affiliate marketing is simple. Some people put their name on things simply because they think it will generate sales for them.
After the merchant places an order with your affiliate program, you can then earn a referral commission for each sale your product or service generates.
This commission can then be used toward a real purchase or used toward future marketing campaigns.
Also recognized as a seller, creator, retailer, business, or individual, the merchant, in the affiliate marketing scheme, is the party that offers a service or sells a product.
The merchant can be a large company or a single individual such as an entrepreneur or a social media influencer.
Sometimes the affiliate is also recognized as the publisher.
Same as the merchants, an affiliate can be anyone starting from brands and companies, to individuals.
In the affiliate marketing equation, affiliates are the companies or individuals that promote the merchant’s service or product and earn money from the people who will use their link for online purchases.
There are two main types of commission models: pay per click and cost per acquisition.
A pay-per-click model pays a tiny amount for each click you provide to a website, but a cost-per-acquisition model only pays when a sale is achieved.
The customers, in affiliate marketing, are not much different, than the customers in any other kind of marketing.
Customers, as we all know are people who use products or services to meet their own needs. So, this makes us all customers.
You might not realize it, but Instagram is an excellent place for promoting your affiliate products.
More than just a way to promote products, it’s also a powerful tool for driving traffic to your store and creating new sales.
And why shouldn’t it be? With more than a billion users in over 180 countries, Instagram is a powerful tool for marketing your products or services.
With that power comes responsibility. You need to use it wisely, as certain features can enable you to drive far more sales than you realize and create a higher income for yourself.
Here are a few of the main affiliate networks to choose from:
The importance of finding the right niche
Finding your niche is vital for your marketing efforts.
To succeed, you need a product or service that appeals to those who already know and trust you and that strongly resonates with their interests. Or even better, solves a problem for them.
There is no such thing as a right niche, but you need to find one that will enable you to do a good job selling your products and services, to an audience you can connect with.
Are you passionate about it?
In my mind, being passionate about an activity means I take it very seriously and will do everything I can to achieve the best results.
It’s not about just signing up to hundreds of targets, it’s about understanding the function behind each piece of content, understanding the psychology behind sharing campaigns, and determining how best I can use the tools at my disposal to improve the quality and impact of my affiliate marketing efforts.
Create a content strategy
Create a content strategy that converts for affiliate marketing. That means writing stuff that people want to read.
Basically, any content that would help promote your affiliate program, while still providing great value to your audience, is a good start.
Creating regular content will help bring in traffic to your website/blog, help people in their purchasing decisions and help them to take action on something they might not have done otherwise.
How to create the perfect Instagram profile
Choose a good username!
The first is to choose a good, memorable username so when people are tagging you in their photos on Instagram they don’t have to search hard to find you.
It’s best not to have any strange characters in your username as it can make it more difficult for people to find you.
If you have a Twitter account, keeping the same username as your Instagram account can help when people are looking for you. Brands should use an Instagram handle that is the same as the brand name.
Pick a relevant profile picture
Next, make sure your profile picture reflects you. If you are a business it should include your logo and not a photo of yourself. If you’re an individual, generally speaking, a headshot will do the trick.
Create an informative bio
Make sure your bio includes some good information about you or your company. You have 150 characters to show off what you’re about – to have made them count.
Be sure to include your website/blog link and a way of contacting you as well.
This is important for influencers and also for brands. At the moment, it isn’t possible to search bios for keywords and hashtags. So don’t worry about using those in your bio.
Use captions and geo-tagging
Include relevant information about the photograph and ask a question of your followers. This is important to drive engagement to your posts and it gives people the information they are searching on.
Use niche-relevant tags and hashtags
When you are posting a photo make sure you use relevant tags. To choose the best tags for your content, you need to research your audience to find out what hashtags they are using on their posts. Posting the most popular tags won’t necessarily help you in the long run.
Be responsive to comments
If people comment on your picture make sure that you like their comments and reply to them, especially if they are asking a question so you can start a conversation.
Include your URL in the comments
When people are following you, they will usually find your images on their news feed, instead of going directly to your page.
This is why it’s important to include your affiliate links below the picture so that you can drive more traffic to your page, or to a specific product page.
Include Videos and Other Media
Creating eye-catching banners is an effective alternative to text-based ads in affiliate marketing campaigns. Users tend to process visual data faster than text-based data, so banners may inspire more of them to click through and convert.
There are a handful of tools you can use to create banner ads, such as Canva, Fotor, and Pixlr.
Remember, it’s best to keep your banners as simple and direct as possible. Each needs just five main elements:
- A background image
- An attention-grabbing title
- Textual information
- Your logo
- A prominent Call to Action (CTA)
- Follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Best Practices
The metrics used when measuring affiliate sales performance are not very different from the metrics one normally takes into account for the rest of online acquisition channels such as paid search, social media, or email marketing.
At the same time, integrating the affiliate channel into your online marketing performance dashboard by determining the customer acquisition cost will serve you in defining the priorities and resource allocation for your marketing mix.
Here is a quick guide to the metrics you should track to determine your affiliate sales program’s success.
- Number of sales actions
- Conversion rate
- Return on ad spend
- Cost per click and cost per sale
- Type of active affiliates
- Reversed sales rate or chargeback rate
Traffic generation techniques
We’ve explored some of the most effective ways publishers can generate traffic for their affiliate offers and are sharing our top nine methods below.
1. Create a page on your website to share your Instagram and include it in your Instagram bio
One of the most effective ways for influencers (and micro-influencers) to turn their visitors into sales is to use social media.
If you have a lot of great lifestyle photographs on Instagram that people are interested in, letting them know where they can buy these products is crucial.
2. Utilise coupon codes
Coupon codes have always been an effective way to get people to buy something. If it is an exclusive coupon code, then it has more draw because the discount is better than a normal coupon code.
For example; you may be able to offer 20% off on a certain product, when someone uses your unique link.
3. You don’t always have to make selling products a focus point
Selling products is a huge part of my business, but not always the most kick-ass part.
I’ve found that sometimes selling more products can be a distraction from focusing on my own strategies and progress in building a solid business.
To work on my mission every day means ignoring minor annoyances that will likely go away once I’ve chosen a different marketing plan and put in the work required to set up a system that prevents them.
4. Shoot your images
This may seem obvious, but it looks better if you can do your photograph in your own style – it’s all about word-of-mouth marketing after all.
5. Use Instagram stories to highlight the brand you’re working with
Since its launch in October 2016, Instagram stories has grown in popularity as a way to get a glimpse into the daily lives of some of the most well-known Instagrammers.
6. Work on a niche and use Instagram to bolster your community
If you focus on a niche that has a highly engaged following it is more likely to be successful.
7. Create a blog post that works alongside your Instagram post
A blog post can help you make the most of your following and boost the chances of someone buying from you – this is especially true for beauty or travel and lifestyle blogs. It can be used in an Instagram story or as part of a product promotion post.
8. Run a paid search and direct it to your Instagram page or post
If you want to obtain more followers or hits on a certain post, you can use Google Adwords or Promote Instagram posts to conduct a paid search on your Instagram profile.
To accomplish this, be sure to keep your conversion rate and budget in mind, as well as to conduct thorough keyword research.
9. Video and Instagram TV (IG TV)
If you want to increase the number of followers on your Instagram page or the number of hits on a certain post, you may use Google Adwords or Promote Instagram Posts to conduct a paid search.
To do so, you must consider your conversion rate and budget, as well as to conduct thorough keyword research.
10. Where to use affiliate links on Instagram
Because you can’t insert links when you upload photographs on Instagram, it’s not immediately evident how to use it for affiliate marketing.
This isn’t surprising, given that social media sites seek to keep their users on their platforms and that postings with fewer links receive more views.
Instagram intelligently allows purchases to be made without ever leaving the app, which is the most effective way to increase revenue.
11. Always use #ad or #spon per legal requirements
Keep yourself out of legal trouble by adhering to the Australian ACCC / American FTC disclosure rules at all times (or equivalent in your country).
Affiliate marketing is a powerful tool to reach your audience at all costs.
You will never know until you try whether or not your affiliate marketing technique is paying off until your promotion grows into something more substantial.
Instagram can be a brilliant way to grow an audience and to build affiliate relationships and generate sales. Indeed, some people have build entire businesses on Instagram alone.
That being said, it’s not wise to put all of your eggs in one basket. Having your own website/blog in the long term is a great way to ensure that you build your own business, that is not purely reliant on social media platforms.
There have been cases where people have lost their accounts for example – on Instagram, or YouTube and lose their businesses overnight. Having a website or blog can also be an excellent way to generate affiliate sales in the long term.
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