Did you know that many merchants allow you to buy products through your own affiliate links and reap the commissions that result? If you began your affiliate marketing career with an extremely large merchant such as Amazon, like I did, you may have the preconception that you should not attempt to save money by clicking your own affiliate links — as this is Amazon’s policy. One can see Amazon’s logic; they are enormous, their profit margins are razor-thin, and people will buy from Amazon with or without your promotional efforts.
However, many merchants see things differently. Have you ever seen a retail store that doesn’t offer an employee discount of some kind? These stores understand that they do not lose money by offering an employee discount, and in fact are likely to gain sales on the back end because the most effective promoter of a product is one who uses and enjoys it.
The same is true of affiliate marketing. In my opinion, there is perhaps no more effective way to promote a product than to use it and tell readers about your firsthand experiences. To this end, buying a product through your own affiliate link is akin to receiving a salesman’s discount; the more products you can afford to purchase for yourself, the more you can review and promote.
Always read a merchant’s affiliate policies before using your own link to purchase a product. If you don’t see a clear answer, ask the merchant directly. Many merchants allow affiliates to obtain discounts in this fashion, but some do not, and you would not want to run afoul of a merchant’s policies for the sake of a small discount.