What are Referral/Affiliate Links?
That's a good question. Referrals and affiliate links are when a business rewards you for sending customers to them.Sometimes this is paid in a point system that can be redeemed for prizes, other times direct payouts are issued.
Can I Actually Make Money with these links?
The amount of money you make is entirely up to you based on what you are willing to put into it, as well as the strategy you put in place.
Does this cost anything?
Not at all, although a few sites (like investment sites) require you to make an investment to open accounts. These can be skipped if you want to keep your operation cost-free.
Where do I Post these Links?
This is where you really want to sit down and draft your strategy out. Spamming links in every direction will not only waste your effort, but will have a low conversion rate (when someone you send to the site actually spends money). Forums are a rich and smart place to post, but you want to make sure that with each post you also create a genuine and personal explanation on why someone should click the link. Think of yourself as a salesman. A good salesman explains why you should buy something, they don't just point you towards the shelf.
A personal blog or website is a great place as well. Write compelling articles that explain the use of the service. Go into detail and use keywords that pertain to the site you're linking to.
Using the Link Table
Click on the Referral Zone link at top of screen to get started. Using the table to find the right links for you is easy. Simply click on any arrow at the top of a field on the table to sort all items according to that field. If you are interested in high % payouts you can sort that way. If you want to refer people to a certain product or service sort by TYPE.
The table is updated everyday, sites that move or no longer exist will be removed as RR becomes aware of this. If you find a link that is problematic in anyway please use the contact form to email me and it will be fixed as soon as possible.
Speed is key
So you've found a few affiliates you want to use. The first thing you will notice is almost all of these require you to register with the site first before you can reap the benefits. This is where many fail. They see long form after long form, or they miss a field or hit the wrong button and poof! They have to start all over. Here are some tips to avoid that...
Chrome Browser. My method is to have my email (gmail works amazing here) in the far left tab, ready to go. Then I keep the next tab as Referral Realm so I can get on to the next link when I'm finished. Registering can be made easy by chrome auto-fill extensions like RoboForm.
Even better is to register with Facebook when its an option. For this purpose, I made a secondary gmail account and a Facebook account that is solely for the purpose of business. You may think this is difficult, but both gmail and Facebook allow for you to add accounts to your main account, allowing from easy switching back and forth between your normal persona, and your take-no-prisoners-affiliate-warrior self. This also keeps your business life and personal life separate, and keeps all your affiliate emails in one place.
Once registered, most times you will then have to confirm your email. This is where it's handy to have push notifications enabled for Gmail. Sometimes there is a delay from when these confirmations are received. During this time, you should jump back to RR, find a new link, and begin filling out that form. By the time your finished you should have the confirmation from the last one, and in this business, managing your time is paramount.
Next you have to find your referral/affiliate link. Some sites make this easier, others it takes a bit of searching. Googling something like "SurveyMonkey Affiliate Program" will often show you several top results that are actually not associated with the real website itself, and add more time and effort to your goals. Instead of doing this, go directly to the site, register, and then 9 times out of 10 the "refer your friends" button can be found either on your profile drop-down menu, or on your "earnings page."
If the site doesn't have a direct referral link and instead offers buttons, or banners, right click the image and chose "copy this link," and you have the direct link copied, leaving the clutter behind (unless you want the image).
Finally, go to your "earnings" page (ignore the zero's you will change that quickly!) and bookmark that page in its own folder in the chrome browser (preferably in your top left!). This way when you want to check your earnings outside of your combined revenue in PayPal, you can check each source individually. Naming convention is important here, most bookmark suggestions from the site are awful. You can rename them at anytime with a right click, changing iBotta The worlds best yada...yada to: iBotta. These extra seconds save you minutes later when your trying to decipher a hot mess of information.
You now have your link, and are ready to put it out there.
UHHH where do I put this thing?
This is where you have to get a little creative and motivated. You now have a product or service you are a representative, so ask yourself, who would actually buy this? It's a question salespersons ask everyday. Here are just a few ideas, but remember this: be a pioneer. Often the best ideas in marketing are bold.
My personal view on affiliate marketing is to first say something that matters. Write something useful, and then link from it. I bet you didn't notice that the RoboForm link from earlier was my referral link? It's harder to notice these when the link complements the article, and not the other way around.
Forums: Make sure you read the T.O.S about affiliate linking. Often forums discourage this, but a work-a-round would be to instead link to an article on your blog that pertains to the conversation, once there your prospect will be exposed to the referral link, which should be offered after detailed information about the product/service.
Emails: If you're like me, you definitely don't want to spam out a bunch of links to your family and friends about a Vacuum cleaner you are trying to push. There are millions of people outside your circle who need that vacuum and wont complain about it at Christmas when it breaks. This is where targeted emails become your weapon of choice. These addresses are essentially your leads. Gmail allows for easy set up of email groups. You can get your "vacuum" email list from forums and blogs where people are passionate about suction. Get clever. Email someone who has a store that sells them and ask if they have "this particular model" with your link (knowing they wont have it!) Maybe they fall in love with that model and order a dozen of them. Remember: it's just an email! Worst-case scenario is they tell you to bugger off and you move on.
Craigslist/Other Direct Sales Markets
More than a few times I searched endlessly for a cheap alternative on Craigslist only to realize nobody had one to sell and then I end up where everyone ends up. Amazon. There is no extra cost to me as a consumer to have arrived to Amazon through a referral link, although the affiliate gets paid just the same.
You have the TOOLS.
You have to stop telling yourself its just not going to work out. Companies pay out billions in referrals every year. This money is going somewhere and you deserve your share. But you have to keep trying new things. Read about SEO (I know its boring!) but do it anyway. Be social, even if your an introvert. Don't be bashful about your enterprise, drop that link everywhere you go with no regrets.
Eyes on the Future
This site is a good reference point. I will be updating the links on an almost daily basis, and writing articles about any information I think will help boost your revenue. My goal is to streamline RR to the point where it becomes a Swiss Army Knife of affiliate marketing.
But I'm not stopping there...I also have plans to re-think how online contests are entered. I believe this can be achieved by categorizing them better, constant purging of "time-vampires" and presenting the important information users need.
In the "Hustles" section I will be putting new ideas for real "side-hustles," forgoing the obvious "you could like...uber or something" articles. I've talked to many young people who are making money on their own without expensive car leases!