One of the most challenging task as an affiliate marketer is to search for a profitable niche that has an affiliate program. Fortunately, you can find a lot of them through affiliate networks. In this review, I will explain what is Rakuten Linkshare all about and how you can use it to grow your affiliate business.
What Is Rakuten Linkshare?
Linkshare is an affiliate marketing service provider that was originally founded by Stephen Messer in 1996. After its acquisition in 2005, it was rebranded and it is now known as Rakuten Affiliate Network. This network is well known among advertisers and publishers for its reliable technology, great brands and good customer service.
How Does It Work?
To get started with Rakuten, you must first register for a user account. It only takes a few minutes and you should have at least set up your own affiliate website already. Ideally, you also want to identify your traffic sources and customer reach through Google Analytics as this will help to speed up your affiliate application.
Once your account has been approved, go to your dashboard and you’ll see something like the image below. Rakuten interface is very easy to navigate and here’s what each of the column represents.
- Name of your business.
- Your unique identity for Rakuten to identify different marketing channel.
- Notification when your account is not fully set-up.
- Messages on affiliate program offers.
- List of new advertisers that have just joined the network.
- Your affiliate stats reflecting impression, clicks, sales and commission.
- Affiliate payment information
- Your commission reflected in a timeline bar graph.
- List of advertisers that pay you the most.
Generally, there are a few ways to search for an affiliate program. Under categories, you’ll find a wide range of niches to participate.
Under each category, there will be a list of advertisers. From here, you can either browse manually, or use the ‘filter’ system when selecting an advertiser. Here are some of the criteria to help refine your search.
Alternatively, you can also look under ‘new advertisers’ or ‘premium advertisers’ as they help to keep your niche blogging content crisp and fresh. Be sure to read through the advertisers information to know what products that they are selling and affiliate details to see if they fit some of the prerequisites of a good affiliate program.
You would also want to check on their policies to see what you can and can’t do because breaching these terms will cause you to loose your affiliation as a publisher.
Once you have decided on an advertiser, click to apply for the affiliate program. If your account meets the advertiser’s requirement, you’ll be approved within 1-2 days. The next step is to start linking your site to these products. To do this, go to “Links” and get links from the advertisers. There are different type of links that you can find.
- Dynamic Rich Media
- Search Box
- Individual Products
Not all links will be available for all advertisers, but most of the time, the first two (Text and Banners) are more than sufficient to help get you started on your online business, granted you write good quality content to promote these products.
For example, when promoting Fiverr through my affiliate website, I have these choices of affiliate links to use; text, banners and images promotion.
Some links are provided in the form of code formats. Obviously, to get this to work, you have to have access to an HTML editor on your website. If you are using a basic drag and drop kind of website builder, it’s going to be a bit hard to create an affiliate banner through this method. Hence, a better platform to use is actually WordPress.
So if you haven’t already got one, simply head over to SiteRubix and build an affiliate website with WordPress.
Another method for getting affiliate links on Rakuten is to create one using ‘deep-linking’ technique. For instance, when you found a page on your advertiser’s site that you wish to link to. Simply copy the URL and create a new link that has got your specific ID. However, this technique only applies to certain advertisers.
So there you have it. A few simple ways to look for affiliate programs and incorporating the links to your marketing strategies.
How Much Does It Costs?
Rakuten Affiliate Network is free to join by anyone. However, most advertisers will look through your website before approving your application.
What Do I Like About Rakuten?
- The affiliate dashboard is more user friendly than other affiliate networks (my personal opinion).
- It offers some well-known advertisers that you can work with such as Starbucks, The Body Shop and Monfrotto. Bigger brands tend to attract more audience to your site.
- The Publisher Help Center has a lot of resources to help you get started -FAQs, video tutorials and quick start guides.
So, Is Rakuten Worthy of Your Time?
In general, Rakuten is a great platform for affiliate marketers to discover profitable opportunities. In fact, if you know how to do proper keyword research on a particular niche, you can drive a lot of traffic to your site thus increasing your revenue. You can read more about the step-by-step process in this example on how to make money with Lego through this network.
Rakuten provides a variety of affiliate links that you can use, but there are some techniques to use them effectively. If you wish to learn more, the Wealthy Affiliate has some great training on how to write good quality content for your niche. By combining the training and the affiliate programs at Rakuten Linkshare, you’ll be running a profitable online business for many years to come.
I hope this review has given you some exciting ideas about affiliate marketing and if you want to know more, please leave your questions in the comment area below and I’d be happy to help you out.