If you’re like me and you love handmade items (but maybe don’t have a crafty bone in your body), perhaps you would better enjoy supporting other Etsy seller’s by promoting their products. To do that, you just have to become an Etsy Affiliate. It’s so easy and so, so worth it (seriously, the majority of my affiliate income is thanks to Etsy).
AWin (formerly Affiliate Window) is the company that manages Etsy’s affiliate program. I’ve greatly enjoyed working with them. They are always helpful and they even take out time to get your feedback to help make their services even better. Their user interface is clean and simple, which I like because I can actually understand my stats!
I’m going to show you the sign up process for AWin, how to create your own links, and how to view your reports so you can understand what’s working for you and your blog! Obviously, I’m already an Etsy affiliate, so I will be showing you how to sign up with a different company, but the steps are exactly the same.
Let’s Get Started!
To create a publisher account, you will need some information at hand:
- Your Mailing Address
- Credit / Debit Card Info
- Your Social Security Number
Don’t get scared. I know that when people see words like “credit card” and “social security number”, they tend to freak out. These are basic tools you need for any affiliate program. Think of affiliate programs like an online job you are applying for. Every year, AWin will need to supply you with tax forms so that you can report your earned income to the IRS. That’s why they need your social security number.
The process of joining AWin will take several minutes… possibly 10-15 minutes depending on how quickly you type. So get comfortable, and let’s get started!
The Account Creation Steps
There are 4 major steps to creating a publisher account with AWin. They make it really easy to follow, but I will be providing you with screen shots along the way and an explanation of what information and details they are asking you for so that sign up is easy! Here are the 4 major steps:
- Account Details
- Promotional Details
- Website / Campaign
- Verification Method
STEP 1: ACCOUNT DETAILS
The first step is super easy, but also understandably still a little confusing for some. It involves filling out your account details.
Here is an example of what the form is asking for: Your company name (blog), legal name, telephone number, date of birth, and an email & password for logging into your account.
Here is an example of the section for your address. I entered my personal mailing address. You will need to provide either your home/apartment address or whatever address you receive mail associated with your blog.
STEP 2: PROMOTIONAL DETAILS
This is probably the most daunting step. You will be choosing your Promotional Type – that is to say, the way by which you will be promoting the content of each program. You will be choosing from 4 major categories, and an even longer list of sub-categories. Don’t worry – I am going to give you some examples, and fortunately AWin has done a nice job of giving basic examples of the promotional types as well.
There are 4 major categories of promotion to choose from. I’ve listed them below and a very general idea of what those types of promotions mean and how you could use them.
- Content – Editorials, Blog Posts, etc.
- Display – Banners or widgets placed on your site.
- E-Mail – Using affiliate links or banners in Newsletters
- Search – Utilizing a search bar on your blog or Domain Parking
The kind of promotion you are interested is up to you. As a blogger, there are a few types you may want to consider selecting as you will most likely utilize them. These are the ones I personally selected for my blog, but you may be promoting your content differently or have other ways you are utilizing affiliate networks. My selections will suit most blogs.
Bloggers & Social Content – Publishers active in driving traffic through personally opinionated content blogs and/or social media platforms.
Media Content – Media Content publishers will produce video, music and pictures with publisher links included where appropriate
Contextual Targeting – Publishers who display advertising relevant to the content of the web page the user is browsing.
Direct Traffic – A publisher that displays creative to their audience in the form of banners, pop-ups and exit traffic adverts.
Newsletters – Newsletter publishers produce a content rich email distributed to an owned, shared or rented database.
STEP 3: WEBSITE INFORMATION & SECTOR
This step is quite important because it lets AWin and most importantly, the companies and brands you may apply to work with know all about your website. This section lets you explain what your website is about and your plans for utilizing the programs. Try to be to the point. You’ll be more likely to be accepted to programs more quickly if you are detailed, but straight to the point.
Choosing a Sector may seem like a difficult task. There are very few options and if you’re a lifestyle blogger like myself, you probably don’t really fit well into any of these categories. My advice is to choose a sector that best represents the kind of affiliate-based posts you’ll want to publish. For example, if you are interested in primarily posting about clothes, jewelry, toys, etc – you probably fall best in the Retail & Shopping sector.
Other sectors include Finance & Insurance, Telco’s & Services, and Travel. Depending on your website, you may find some of these other sectors apply to you.
STEP 4: VERIFICATION METHOD
Remember earlier when I told you that you would need a debit or credit card? No no, don’t freak out on me. I want to make it very clear to you at this point that this isn’t one of those “spend money to make money” schemes. Just hang in there with me.
Affiliate Window is going to ask for $5. You will get that money back. Upon approval, AWin will credit that $5 to your account with them and when you earn enough for your first payout, they will send it back to you.
So what’s up with the fee? The sign up fee acts as a deterrent, helping to prevent bogus affiliate applications. This means genuine publishers like yourself are promoting products and services without the fear of sales being overwritten by non-compliant activity and advertisers. Your information helps AWin match the details provided and if they have questions, they will contact you to let you know. It’s a way to keep everyone safe and to be sure that you are protected just as much as other affiliates and the programs are.
After entering your card information and submitting your application, all that’s left to do at this point is wait. AWin usually doesn’t take long to approve you, but can take up to a few business days. Most are approved within 24 hours and then you can begin joining other programs and making money! Yay.
Applying to programs is pretty simple and there are a LOT to choose from. My personal favorite is Etsy (duh), but there are many choices that may better serve your blog. While there’s no limit to the number of programs you can join and companies you can work with, you’ll probably find yourself working regularly with a handful. While I am affiliated with many companies, I find myself building a strong relationship with only a few of them that work well for me.
Unless you already know what programs you are interested in, you will need to find some. This is easy to do thanks to the search functions. You can refine your search based on key words, sector (remember how we chose a sector in the sign-up process?), region (if you’re interested in only working with programs based in your country), and more.
HOW TO APPLY FOR A PROGRAM
For the purpose of this tutorial, I am going to apply for The Book Depository affiliate program, one of the world’s largest dedicated online booksellers. Once you have selected a program from the list to sign up, you will land on a similar looking page with the company’s name, logo, description of their services, and probably a brief outline of their affiliate terms.
After clicking “Join Program”, you will see a similar pop-up shown at right. This is the application process for their program. It will outline the terms of their program and ask you to select a website or promotional type as an area of interest to indicate to the advertiser how you wish to promote them. For example, my drop-down menu shows my blog’s URL as it’s the promotional website I signed up to AWin with. If you have added multiple websites, you will see them listed in the drop down and will choose accordingly.
The nice part is the comment section where you can tell the advertiser about yourself, your blog and why you feel you would be a good match for their program. I like to give some background about the types of similar posts I have done in the past or give insight to the kind of audience I have and their likes. In this case, I can tell The Book Depository that a lot of my engaged audience are creative types interested in pop culture, reading books, cosplay, and photography – all things that an advertiser like them would find valuable.
Waiting time for program approval varies. I’ve seen it take hours just as often as I have seen it taken days before my website is approved. Once you are approved, you will be able to utilize the program’s banners and links.
Using Your Programs
Now for everyone’s favorite part – actually getting to use your affiliate programs and starting the real journey to making money from your website! There are so many ways to utilize the programs “creatives” as they are called. These are pre-made banners and links that the company asks (and often requires) you to use in order to participate in their program. Be sure you read the instructions and that you use them appropriately. We wouldn’t want you to not earn a commission because you failed to read the specifics!
The Links & Tools section is a good place to start. It’s where the magic really begins! From here you can access the latest banners, text links, and promotional codes created by your affiliated programs. Clicking on “Banners” for example will lead you to a page where you can narrow down a search for banners based on the program and size of the banner. Every banner will come with a code specific to you! The same is true of all pre-made links. But what if you want to deep link and make your own? Remember, we spoke of deep linking in my previous post?
For the purpose of this section, we will need to go to Links & Tools >> Link Builder which we will use to create a deep link.
It’s important to note that you can only create deep links related to the company’s website. Using Etsy as an example, the link must include the https://www.etsy.com in order to be considered an Etsy link. You cannot use the Link Builder to create links to other websites and hope to get paid from an unrelated program.
You aren’t limited to creating html text links. As shown above, you can also create a simple URL. I like to use these when posting pictures of products. I use the created URL and make product pictures clickable, which readers find useful and really enjoy.
Oh self-hosted WordPress users, do I have a wonderful toy for you! Okay, fine – anyone can use the Convert-a-Link feature at Links & Tools >> Convert-a-Link. But only WordPress users will find it truly user friendly.
What if I told you that by turning this feature on, your website will automatically convert every link related to any of your affiliates into an affiliate link for you? – even old posts! So long as it’s applicable, Convert-a-Link will do the work for you. So if you make a link and the url looks like this: http://www.etsy.com it will automatically turn it into an affiliate link. Yes, that’s a touch sexy.
Self-Hosted WordPress users rejoice, because there is a plugin you can download (and it’s located on that same page)! It’s SO easy and it will make your life so much easier. I don’t have to create deep affiliate links any more. All I have to do is link directly to a product and the plugin does the hard work for me. Genius, right? Because we want to be busy making money – not busy fussing over link creation. Pfft.
Viewing Your Reports
You have everything you need to get started and I bet you’re already seeing clicks and making money – because you’re savvy (you’re here on my blog after all). Now you’re wondering about what posts are working, what was purchased, and which programs are working best for you. That’s where the Reports section comes in.
There are many types of reports you can look at, all which can be narrowed down by Today, Week, Month, Year, or even a custom date setting. Here are the report types:
- Advertiser Performance – Allows you to generate a report detailing the performance of advertisers that you are promoting.
- Performance Over Time – Details your performance on all programs or particular programs over a set period of time.
- Link Performance – The performance of your links over a set period of time.
- Click References – Gives you the ability to track the sale back to the exact link the visitor used to find that advertiser (remember we specified a click reference in the create-a-link process?).
- Product Performance – Product level reporting on all relevant programs over a set period of time (Basically, it shows you what customers actually purchased – including items you didn’t specifically link to).
- Commission Group Performance – Allows you to see how each commission group is performing.
- Device Performance – Allows you to compare the performance of different devices (Example: Desktop VS Mobile).
- Transactions – Formerly the ‘Commissions Report’. This report details your individual generated sales and the commission you earn from them.
- Payment – A list to date of all payments received and broken down into self billing invoices.
You now have all of the tools you need to get started and earn money with AWin. I hope that this guide was helpful – especially the sign up instructions.
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Did You Know?
Etsy shop owners can now become affiliates too! Even if you are one of the crafty, talented few who sell products of your own, there is still great value in becoming an affiliate. You can affiliate link all of your own products and earn a commission if someone ends up making a different purchase! Turn a loss into a win!