Best-Kept Secrets to Making Money with Affiliate Marketing

Are you ready to take your affiliate marketing strategy to the next level? I chatted with Jessica Turner, master of affiliate marketing and she shared her best-kept secrets to making money with affiliate marketing. This is one of the best ways influencers can make money on Instagram. If you’re wondering how you can actually see that happen for yourself, these secrets will help you get started and thrive on it every day after!



Jessica is an OG mom blogger who started blogging in 2006. Now, the bulk of her business is done on Instagram. She’s also a Wall Street Journal bestselling author and is finishing up her third book. Focusing on affiliate marketing, Jessica partners with brands almost every day. She loves the fact that her job is talking about things that she loves and uses in real life. 

If you want to follow along with Jessica, check out her Instagram HERE! A lot of times Jessica’s audience will say that they came for the killer deals, but stayed for her stories. She is super open and vulnerable with her audience which makes it easy to connect with her and even feel inspired by what she shares. She’s basically your new girlfriend who you’d go to about a good deal at Target AND the same girlfriend you’d go to for advice about the challenges in your relationship. Anyway, let’s get into those affiliate marketing secrets! 


how to become a pro at affiliate marketing.


What Are Affiliates and How Can You Find Businesses Who Use Them?

The most well-known affiliate programs are Amazon and Like to Know It (LTK). However, pretty much everyone has an affiliate program. You can find them in a couple of different ways. The first is by signing up for a lot of networks. Some of Jessica’s favorite programs she recommends are:

  • Mavely
  • Howl
  • Commission Junction
  • ShareASale
  • Brand Cycle
  • Cactus Media

All of these programs have brands within them. From an accounting perspective, partnering with these programs is a plus because you’re not having to chase a bunch of different brands. Instead, you’re getting paid from one source. All you have to do is simply sign up and then look for the affiliate programs within them.

Affiliate Pro Tip: Brands will pay different rates depending on who’s managing their program. For instance, you might find that Nike is 12 percent in one place and 15 percent somewhere else. It’s really wise to look at the rates for whatever brand you’re looking at promoting or partnering with so you can maximize your revenue. 


the best tips and tricks for affiliate marketing on Instagram.


Sponsored Content vs. Affiliate Links

As your Instagram account has grown, you may have done some sponsored content already or are looking to do some soon. If the brand you’re working with has an affiliate program, it is worth asking if you can use a commissionable link or an affiliate link in conjunction with that sponsored post. Oftentimes they will say yes. If you don’t ask for the link, you could be missing out on more money.

If a brand says no to giving you the affiliate link, it could be because they’re paying a fee to an agency and the agency is taking a cut and it’s just not in their budget. However, it’s definitely worth an ask!  

Over time, as you start to increase the amount of people who use your link you’ll start to not care as much about sponsored content. And that’s because you know you can make a lot more money with affiliate links than what your flat rate is. 

Affiliate marketing is also a great opportunity during your slower months. For instance, January-March is usually slower since it’s right after the big spending holidays. This would be a great time to fill the gaps with affiliate-only promotions. 


Best-Kept Secrets to Making Money with Affiliate Marketing

Zulily used to be a huge client of Jessica’s. Back when she was posting content for them, she had about 70K followers and was their #1 affiliate. The second highest-ranking affiliate had 3.5 million followers. That is a huge difference, and somehow Jessica was selling more than this other influencer who had more followers. What’s her secret?

Jessica believes the biggest thing is authenticity and trust. People have followed Jessica for a really long time and they’ve grown to trust her at her word. The other factor that plays a part in a huge conversion rate is selling people on something small that they are going to love. 

“There is value in selling things that you are not making a lot of money on if it is serving your audience really well.”


Bonus Tips for Making Money with Affiliate Marketing


4 tips for converting people to use your affiliate links.


Bonus Affiliate Tip #1: Have the product in hand.

This is the biggest one. You have to spend money in order to make money. In other words, you have to be willing to buy a product with your own money, test it out for a good amount of time, AND THEN start talking about it on Instagram. That way you have a real experience to talk about and it’ll be that much easier (and more authentic) to sell the product to your audience. 


Bonus Affiliate Tip #2: Look at your data and pay attention to what’s working and then lean into that. 

Prime Day is HUGE for affiliate marketers. Jessica’s team noticed that her biggest selling items on Prime Day were all products she created reels for in the past 3-4 months. Jessica’s audience was already familiar with these products because she had already talked about them. If you’re unsure of how to analyze your Instagram data, check out my post HERE that’ll tell you everything you need to know. 


Bonus Affiliate Tip #3: Create really good content and leverage it in several ways. 

You could create a reel for a product and then talk about that same product in your stories. Newsletters (email marketing) are another great way to leverage the content with your affiliate links. You want to have multiple touchpoints when you’re trying to sell something because it’ll get you more sales!


Bonus Affiliate Tip #4: Disclose your affiliate links.

Always, always disclose your affiliate links. You don’t want to make a post about a recommended product and not let your audience know that your link is personal and can make you money by them clicking on it. There are laws that require you to be ethical and let your audience know when you are using affiliate links and posting sponsored content. 

It’s not weird or unattractive to announce to your audience that you are using an affiliate link. It’s actually promoting more trust between you and your audience because you are being honest about it. You don’t need to be ashamed of how you make money. You should be disclosing your affiliate links whenever you use them, no matter the format. This means posts, reels, DMs, etc. 


best-kept secrets to making money with affiliate marketing.


Best-Kept Secrets to Making Money with Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can truly be so expansive for your business. It is so important for creators to have multiple streams of revenue that they are comfortable with. So much so that if one of those streams of revenue went away you would still be OK. Affiliate marketing is such a great choice as an additional stream of income. It’d be wise to invest time into understanding affiliates and finding ones that are a good fit for your brand. And now that you know these best-kept secrets to making money with affiliate marketing, you can get started!

If you loved what you learned here, but still want some guided help, check out Jessica’s course, Affiliate Marketing for Influencers. You can also find Jessica on Instagram @JessicaNTurner and myself @iammichellegifford. We can’t wait to get in touch and help you become an affiliate marketing pro! 

Best-Kept Secrets to Making Money with Affiliate Marketing

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