Signing up to an affiliate network is a brilliant way to boost your income if you’re a blogger or influencer with an audience.
Whether you create newsletters, blog posts, videos for YouTube or TikToks, you can use affiliate schemes to make money in the UK!
My affiliate earnings are an important part of my blogging income and have been steadily growing. They bring in several hundred pounds a month.
But I know of people pulling in thousands of pounds a month in affiliate revenue.
It’s a wonderful way to make money from home in your own time.
Want to know how to start a blog? You can check out my guide to launching a money-making blog here.
Whatever subject you talk about to your audience, there will be some kind of products or services you can recommend to them through affiliate marketing.
This post contains affiliate links.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is where you recommend/sell other companies’ products to your audience and receive commission for any sales you generate.
There will be a pre-agreed percentage of the sale given to the affiliate marketer (you), and sometimes a bonus is given if a particular sales target is met.
Your sales are typically tracked through affiliate links or through a unique code your audience is asked to enter when they checkout.
The type of products people sell through affiliate links are absolutely endless.
For a start, you can use affiliate links for every product available on Amazon. Including Prime membership!
And it’s not just big companies like Amazon and other large brands such as John Lewis and M&S that offer affiliate schemes.
Small companies often have their own in-house programme or sign up to one of the large affiliate networks in order to bring on affiliates who will champion their amazing products.
So you could be selling ebooks, clothes, stationery, cars, holidays, caravans, flights, toys, gadgets, ovens, a new kitchen, tools and courses. The list goes on and on.
You will typically wait one month or more to receive the money you’ve earned through affiliate links.
Many of the networks have a payout threshold – typically £20 to £50 – that you must hit before you can receive your funds.
The key to being successful in affiliate marketing is to understand your niche, only sell products you really understand and that will actually help your audience, and to make your affiliate links prominent.
I’m signed up to multiple affiliate networks in the UK, so let’s take a look at the best ones.
Best Affiliate Programmes in the UK
Based on my experience I prefer AWIN and Amazon Associates for the sheer volume of products and brands that you can promote.
They’re also both reasonably straightforward to use compared to the dashboards of other affiliate networks.
I would also say Skimlinks and eBay Partner Network are worth signing up to if you want to sell a wide range of affiliate products.
Here’s a guide to the best affiliate programmes and how they work.
AWIN is one of the biggest affiliate networks with over 21,000 advertisers signed on.
The brands you can sell via AWIN include Etsy, Marks & Spencer, Joules, Majestic Wine, MoneySupermarket, Fat Face, Preloved UK, TalkTalk Broadband, Papier, Ocado and Carphone Warehouse, to name just a few.
You sign up to an account and will need to pay a sign up fee of around £1 deposit in order to get started. This is returned once you pass the payout threshold – which is £20.
Once you have joined AWIN you need to apply to join the individual affiliate programmes within AWIN. You’ll typically write a short pitch to the brand saying why they should accept your application.
I’ve very rarely had a rejection. Sometimes you wait a few months to hear back, sometimes you hear back within 24 hours.
Many of the brands have marketing materials you can use in order to help promote their products.
I mostly use the AWIN link builder tool, which allows me to create affiliate links to specific product pages on the company websites I want to promote.
So for example I want to promote a baby product on Etsy UK, I go to that page, cut the link from the browser, paste it into AWIN’s link builder tool and then create my own personalised affiliate link.
I can then use that on my website.
There is also an option to automatically convert links on your website into affiliate links with the Convert-a-Link tool. This means any links on your sites to brands you are partnered up with through AWIN will become affiliate links.
Skimlinks operates in a similar way to AWIN but there is a very important difference, which makes your life much easier.
Once you have your profile set up on Skimlinks you are signed up as an affiliate for all brands on the network.
This is handy as you won’t have to search for your favourite brands and go through an application process.
Like AWIN, Skimlinks also offers a system where you can manually create affiliate links or add their automated plug-in to your website, so that all relevant links become affiliate links.
Most bloggers have an Amazon Associates account because there is such a huge range of products on offer AND it’s an international business.
This is handy when your audience that visits your blog comes from all over the world. For example, my main website has a lot of US and UK traffic, as well as some visitors from Canada and Australia.
With Amazon I can link to one product, and when the customer clicks that link they are directed to the relevant Amazon website for their country.
Now, it may mean they get diverted to a slightly different, but relevant product, if their country’s Amazon does not sell it.
But mostly they just get redirected to the same product, just shipped from their country’s Amazon store.
Signing up is easy but you will be required to make a minimum of three sales in the first 180 days after joining.
I personally find the Amazon Associates dashboard and link building tool one of the easiest among all of the networks.
And when someone clicks your Amazon affiliate link you get commission on anything they buy within the next 24 hours.
The biggest downside is their commission is pretty low compared to other networks and brands out there.
And the fact the buyer only has 24 hours to complete the purchase or you lose the commission is also a big negative.
I only use Impact for a couple of brands that are both related to blogging – BlueHost and AppSumo.
I’ve had issues with setting up payment, however Impact was very responsive to my messages and helped sort out the problems so they’re very professional.
It works very similarly to AWIN and Skimlinks in that it has a dashboard and options to create specific links to particular pages or products.
Other brands signed up to Impact include Miss Sixty and Cineworld.
With partners including River Island, Whistles, Clarins, Hunter and Net-A-Porter, there’s a lot of potential for fashionista bloggers to make some money with Rakuten.
There are also a variety of other types of brands signed up to this network.
This is one of the platforms I use the least, but it is very similar to Impact and others in how it works.
eBay Partner Network
Just like Amazon, becoming an affiliate for eBay opens up a huge selection of products for you to promote to your audience.
There’s pretty much everything you can think of on there!
The biggest downside is purchases need to be made fast, within 24 hours, in order to be a tracked as an affiliate sale for you.
The amount you can make varies depending on the type of products you will promote, as commission varies between categories.
And of course you’re going to make more money if you’re in the motors niche than if you’re selling smaller items such as accessories.
Payment is to your bank or via PayPal and the threshold for when you can get your money is pretty low, around £10.
Other affiliate networks
Another platform that is similar to AWIN, but with a user dashboard that’s a little easier to navigate.
Although I like JVZoo because it is the affiliate network for one of my most used products – the keyword research tool Keysearch – I also found signing up to the network a little frustrating.
And payment options are a bit of a problem. You can be paid via Trolley, Wise or Payoneer.
If you’re a blogger you may have a Wise account as it’s one of the easiest ways to receive payment in US$, but if not then you’ve got to set one up and it’s an extra step.
Another platform that works very similarly to AWIN. I find the selection of brands on this one isn’t quite as good as AWIN.
However it is easy to use, once you’re familiar with how any affiliate network dashboard works, and it’s reliable too.
Tips for success with affiliate networks
Now that you know what affiliate networks are available for you to work with, here are some tips for successfully working with these programmes.
You might also like my beginners tips for making your first affiliate sale.
Build an audience
It’s hard to sell something if no one is there to listen to you speak about how amazing the product is.
In order to build an audience you need to add value to people’s lives. That will be in whatever niche you have decided to pursue.
For example, if you are in the cleaning niche then you need to be sharing the best cleaning hacks and techniques, not just flogging products in every article and post.
All of your affiliate content needs to sit alongside valuable, helpful content. It’s that helpful content that will build your audience up and create a relationship between you and them.
Choose relevant products
The products you sell via affiliate links should be relevant to your audience and your niche, as well as things you actually use and can testify work.
I’ll give you an example. My first blog is about parenting and mainly babies.
If I were to start writing posts about the best cross trainers to buy for your home, it would stick out like a sore thumb.
Relevant products for my audience include toys, clothing and breastfeeding gear.
Show knowledge and experience
Only sell products that you can speak from experience with and so really explain to people why they should purchase it.
This sort of content – whether it’s on social media, your website or YouTube – will mean people are much more likely to find you AND then make purchases through your affiliate links.
Your content is more likely to rank in Google if you show yourself handling the product, demonstrating it, explaining why the potential customer would like it.
Create valuable content around your affiliate links
You need to add value when trying to make money through affiliate marketing. If all you do is sell, then you’re not giving your audience enough of a reason to follow you.
Provide tips, helpful information and entertainment in order to keep your audience engaged and give them something of value.
Always always disclose
It is a requirement that you state very clearly in any social media posts, articles or newsletters that a link or referral code will earn you money.
The Advertising Standards Agency is very clear on the rules around this. Even if a specific post refers to a product without an affiliate link, if you are signed to an affiliate scheme then you will need to declare this as an ad.
Declaring your affiliate links is easy – simply pop in a line before any links appear in your content that states that the content contains affiliate links. “Ad” in a social media post or story is what most people use.
Consider negotiating a direct partnership
One of the key downsides of using an affiliate network is they are a third party in your relationship with a brand.
This means they’ll be taking their cut of any sales you make.
However if you negotiate an affiliate deal with the brands you love direct then you’ll be able to keep more of the money.
Think about which brands you regularly promote to your audience and the ones that really work for your niche.
Send pitch emails to those brands, showing them the content already on your blog or social media that demonstrates what you can do for them.
It’s not as scary as it may seem
All of the above may seem like a lot, but the truth is lots of us may have taken part in affiliate marketing without even realising it.
Many companies offer you an incentive for referring a friend to their service or products, and this is basically the same thing.
If you’re doing it to a large audience on social media it’s just on a bigger scale and you’ll need to be aware of your obligations to declare your affiliate relationship with the brand.
If you’re just getting started begin with just one network and get used to that one before branching out.