Selling your products isn’t the only way to make money with the world’s most popular marketplace for independent artists. Thanks to the Etsy affiliate program, you can also generate regular income by promoting some of the 60 million products sold by the platform’s 7.5 million active sellers.
In this comprehensive review, I’ll show you exactly how to do that by outlining everything you need to know to sign up as an Etsy affiliate, including how to promote products, how to get paid, and, of course, how much money you can make with Etsy.
What is the Etsy Affiliate Program?
Etsy is a global online marketplace that enables artists, creators, and makers to sell various handmade and vintage products.
Boasting 96+ million active customers in 2022, the platform generates 2.3 billion dollars in annual revenue.
Unlike fellow marketplace Amazon which operates its own in-house program (the popular Amazon Associates platform), Etsy’s affiliate program is operated by Awin, a third-party affiliate network similar to Clickbank or ShareASale.
As I’ll outline later, you’ll need to create an Awin account to join the Etsy program.
This will allow you to take advantage of the platform’s other affiliate offers while taking a slice of Etsy’s multi-billion dollar pie by promoting the site’s extensive array of products via your blog, website, or social platforms.
You can promote these products via links that you add to your content. Every time a customer clicks on one of those links and makes a purchase on Etsy, you earn a commission fee.
Ultimately, this is a great way to generate recurring income from your website.
You could, for example, create a compelling blog post on vintage fashion, link to a handful of relevant products you found on Etsy, and keep driving traffic to that post, you can keep earning over and over again for every click.
What Products Does Etsy Offer?
Etsy focuses on enabling creators to make money by selling a vast array of one-of-a-kind items in 15 top-level categories and no less than 3,000+ sub-categories, including everything from original artwork and custom-made fashion to homewares, electrical items, and more.
This means there’s a huge selection of products for almost every niche, though some sell better than others.
According to the latest available data I could find, the company’s top best-selling categories include:
- Homewares and home furnishings
- Jewelry and personal accessories
- Craft Supplies
- Paper and party supplies
- Beauty and personal care.
How Much Money Can You Make as an Etsy Affiliate?
As with all top affiliate marketing programs, your earning potential is only limited by your effort to deliver quality content and grow your blog.
The more you work at providing valuable information and insights for your customers, the more relevant Etsy products you link to form that content, and the more work you do to successfully promote your blog, the more likely you are to make a decent income.
Still, that doesn’t answer the fundamental question – how much does Etsy pay its affiliates?
The answer is a standard, flat-rate 4% commission on each sale you generate from what the platform calls ‘standard publishing’ but what you and I call blogs and web pages.
If you promote Etsy via social media, the company classes this as ‘user-generated content’ and pays a 2% commission for those referrals.
While that may not seem like a lot, especially considering that the Clickbank mentioned above pays up to 75% for some of its products, it’s worth remembering that some major big-ticket items are on Etsy.
For example, if you’ve chosen weddings as your blogging niche, you’d only have to sell one of these wedding rings once to earn a significant commission.
Alternatively, let’s say you’re blogging about home decor. Plenty of products clocking in at several hundred dollars could net you a tidy profit as long as you promote them properly.
In other words, Etsy may not have the greatest per-sale commissions of any affiliate network I’ve seen, but when you consider how much some artisans price their items for, 4% could still be a substantial revenue generator for you.
What are the Eligibility Requirements for the Etsy Affiliate Program?
In theory, anyone is welcome to apply for the Etsy affiliate program regardless of their niche (there are a few exceptions).
The platform notes that each site you submit as part of your application will be judged on its own merits according to the following criteria:
- Site type
- Site quality
- Quality and variety of site content
- Brand identity
- Alignment with Etsy’s values.
However, on closer inspection, I discovered that Etsy’s official affiliate program eligibility requirements are pretty tough.
To be considered for the program, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old (or of the age of majority in the region where you live if that’s over 18)
- Declare any Etsy shops you run or run by people close to you.
- Have an active website and submit the URL
- Feature an ‘appropriate amount and type of content on your website.
Disappointingly, Etsy doesn’t divulge what it considers to be an ‘appropriate’ amount or type of content, only that the site uses its discretion.
That said, it goes without saying that if your site is thin on quality content, you’re hardly likely to generate much traffic or revenue anyway. Hence, it’s always worth building your site content before applying.
There are also a few practices that will deem you ineligible. You won’t be accepted into the program if you do any of the following:
- Run a cash-back, voucher, or price comparison site
- Use iFrame or similar code to embed media
- Run a site that sells or places advertisements
- Use pop-ups or pop-unders on your site
- Run a drop shipping website
- Run a website that exists primarily to promote Etsy products
- Password protect your website or use other ways to restrict content
- Promote unlicensed products or intellectual property owned by third-parties
- Run a site with sexual, religious, political, or other sensitive content.
You must have at least 500 followers and a minimum engagement rate of 3% for social media platforms.
How to Make Money With the Etsy Affiliate Program: A Step-by-Step Guide
Assuming you meet all of the above eligibility criteria requirements, getting started as an Etsy affiliate is as easy as completing the following steps.
1. Visit Etsy and Apply
Point your browser to Etsy.com/affiliates and click ‘Apply Now.’
This takes you to an overview of the Etsy Affiliate Program with options for joining the program on the right.
Of these two options, click ‘Signup and Join Program.’
From there, you’ll begin your application with Etsy’s affiliate partner, Awin, by entering your name, email, password, and location.
2. Tell Awin About Your Affiliate Strategy
On the next screen, the company wants to know how you plan to promote your products, including the primary region you operate in and the types of content you plan on using to send referrals to products.
Under content, you’ll have 11 different types to choose from. However, if you’re a blogger like me, you’ll want to select either ‘Editorial Content’ or ‘Content Creator/Influencer’ as your primary content type.
You’ll also find relevant options if you use display ads, email, or search. However, I strongly recommend that you stick with quality content published on a website if you’re going to have the most excellent chance of being accepted.
3. Submit Your URL(s)
Next, you can submit details of all the websites you manage that you want to use to promote Etsy products.
Enter your URL, a site description, and the central niche market you’re in, then click ‘Next.’
4. Add Your Address and Contact Details
Before you can proceed, you’ll need to give your address and phone number as well as choose which option you want to use to verify your account.
If you’ve been given an invitation code, you can enter it here though these are hard to come by, and in all probability, you’ll have to pay the signup fee.
5. Pay the Signup/Verification Fee
Before you panic, Awin charges no more than $1, and this is refunded to you the first time you get paid.
Although adding this nominal fee is helpful for the platform to stop affiliate scammers, it’s still frustrating.
6. Wait for Your Account to be Approved
Having deposited your dollar, you’ll receive a confirmation that your registration was successful.
Head to your email address to verify that registration, and then sit tight and wait.
Awin claims that it tries to process all new registrations within 48 hours, though it also offers the disclaimer that this could take longer.
Fortunately, I can tell you that it was approved in almost exactly 24 hours.
Right after I completed my application, I received an email informing me it was pending at 6.29 AM. The following day, the email confirming my approval landed in my inbox at 6.27 AM.
I only mention this in detail to highlight how quick the process can be, especially compared to some top affiliate networks, which can take several days or more to approve your application.
7. Complete Your Awin Profile
Assuming everything goes smoothly and your account is approved, you can click the ‘login’ link from your confirmation email to go straight to your Awin account.
This will take you to your dashboard, where your publisher account is listed in the box to the right.
Click on the name of your account to bring up a new menu of options, then, from this menu, choose Profile – Overview.
This will bring up the Profile Completion checklist, plus several options for improving your Awin profile to entice new advertisers and improve your chances of success at being accepted by Etsy.
8. Apply Directly to the Etsy Affiliate Program
Yes, Etsy has a double barrier to entry for its affiliate program, as you first have to be accepted by Awin and also have to go through Etsy’s own vetting process.
First, choose Advertisers – Join Programs from your menu to start this process.
Then, in the search box in the top-right-hand corner, search for ‘Etsy’and then select it from the list of programs you’ll be presented with.
On the next screen, select the ‘+ Join Programme.’
After scrolling through the Terms & Conditions, you’ll be asked to select the website you’ll be using to promote Etsy products (the one you entered during the Awin application process).
You’ll also be asked if you’d like to leave a note for the people approving your account.
Although this is optional, I do recommend that you at least write something about your site and how you plan to promote Etsy products so that you can further boost your chances of acceptance.
When you’ve done that, submit your application. You’ll receive a notification confirming it’s been received, and then it’s time to play the waiting game again.
9. Add the Awin Publisher MasterTag Tool
The good news is that once your application to Etsy has been confirmed, you can start publishing affiliate links in your content immediately.
The easiest way to do this is to use Awin’s Convert-a-Link feature, which comes included in their Publisher MasterTag tool.
This tool takes any ordinary Etsy link you add to your website and automatically adds your affiliate ID tag to ensure you still get paid for your referrals without manually adding the tag for every link.
If you’re running a WordPress website, you can use this tool via the free plugin. Just go to Plugins – Add New and search for Publisher MasterTag Tool, then activate it, install it, and use the dashboard to sync it to your Awin account to get started.
If you’re working with a platform other than WordPress, you’ll need to add a small piece of code to your website and activate it through the Awin dashboard. Here are detailed instructions on how to do that.
10. Create High-Quality Content and Add Your Links to It
Signing up to make money with the Etsy affiliate program may seem like a reasonably long process, but other than waiting for your application to be approved, taking care of everything I’ve documented above should take no more than 30 minutes of your time.
The real work comes when it’s time to create posts that attract people to your site and the products you want to make money from.
To do that, spend some time researching the key terms and phrases your audience is looking for online, then use my step-by-step guide to SEO to ensure your content gets found by that audience when they search for those terms.
Finally, use Etsy’s search features to find relevant products related to your blog content, copy the URL of each product from your browser’s address bar, and add it to your content in a meaningful and natural way.
The Convert-a-Tool feature I just mentioned will do all the hard work of turning that URL into an affiliate link so that all that’s left for you to do is learn how to successfully promote your blog so that you can get visitors to your content, get them clicking those links, and get paid for any sales you generate.
Pros and Cons of Etsy
Frequently Asked Questions About Making Money With the Etsy Affiliate Program
Here are some common questions asked by people about making money in Etsy.
How long is the cookie duration for the Etsy affiliate program?
Etsy’s cookie period is 30 days, which means even if a visitor leaves Etsy after clicking a link for your site, you’ll still get paid if they go back and make a purchase within 30 days of clicking that link.
What payment methods does the Etsy affiliate program offer?
Etsy sends payments to its affiliates on the 1st and 15th of every month via check, bank transfer, or wire transfer, depending on your preference.
How much do you earn to get paid as an Etsy affiliate?
As an Etsy affiliate, you need to earn at least $20 to receive a payment.
How to Make Money as an Etsy Affiliate: A Final Word of Advice
There may be an abundance of opportunities to make money with the Etsy affiliate program, but ultimately, it’s down to you to make the most of those opportunities.
Sure, publishing a single post with one or two Etsy links might net you the occasional sale as long as you get traffic to it. Still, to make a success of your work as an affiliate, you need to keep creating and publishing regularly.
After all, the more high-quality content you have, the more your site is going to grow and, thus, the more customers you can drive to Etsy.
If you’re ready to start making money with affiliate marketing and you’ve decided Etsy is the platform for you, but you’re not yet confident about your content, this guide on how to create a winning blog content strategy and this one on how to write a quality blog post should both prove helpful.