DISCLOSURE: THIS MESSAGE MAY CONTAIN AN AFFILIATE LINK, MEANING I GET A SMALL COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE USING MY LINK AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO. Not legal advice.
In this article, I share essential knowledge on affiliate marketing, specially tailored for bloggers wanting to make the most of their blogs. From the basics of affiliate marketing, programs, strategies to long-term monetizing plans, everything you need to know. So let’s jump right in!
Like most bloggers, I had no services or products to offer at the beginning of my blogging business. Hence, making my blog into a business was nearly impossible without products and services. That’s until I heard about affiliate marketing. In my second month of blogging I started promoting products and services that I used and helped me with my blogging business. With affiliate marketing, beginner bloggers can start to earn money with zero page views.
- What is affiliate marketing?
- How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
- How much money can you make as an affiliate marketer?
- Do I need lots of traffic to start affiliate marketing content?
- What are some of the most popular affiliate networks?
- 7 Steps to find your top-performing affiliates
- Requirements and Disclosures
- Strategies to Promote Affiliates
- Making money from affiliates long-term
- Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
- Additional resources
- Final Thoughts
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is making money via commissions by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products and services. As a blogger with an audience, you have an influence that companies highly value. Advertisers and companies actively seek out bloggers because you have a captivated audience that knows, likes, and trusts you. To put it simply, you have influence that companies would struggle to reach on their own.
“81% of brands and 84% of publishers leverage the power of affiliate marketing, a statistic that will continue to increase as affiliate marketing spending increases every year in the United States.” (bigcommerce.com)
Companies are looking to partner with you to promote their services and products. From your end, staying open to these partnerships can lead to a thriving business and brand presence.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
To start, you need to obtain a sales link from the merchant. This link is unique to you and will be used to track any purchases. Once you have the link, you can start to promote affiliates. When the link is used to make a purchase, you receive a percentage of the sale with no impact on the buyer. This percentage will be your commission (income).
The benefits of affiliate marketing are huge in terms of time and investment.
- Pay-per-sale. You can make money from each sale without managing the product or service. Pay-per-sale is the biggest perk of affiliate marketing.
- Passive income. Once you have your affiliate links set up correctly, most of the work is done. Relax and watch as the commissions come in. One blog post can bring in money for years because of the affiliate links. Over time, income becomes passive. Passive income is invaluable as it frees up a lot of time, so you focus on things that matter to you.
- No customer support. Not having to follow up with customers is a benefit for early business owners. With refunds, shipping, and customer emails to manage, selling your products is complicated. Newbie bloggers greatly benefit from focusing on growing their business instead. Affiliate marketing allows for this as there is no need to actively manage the product.
- Low start-up costs. Many lucrative business ventures require lots of money to get started. However, you can start with affiliate marketing with no money down. You can promote affiliates on your website, newsletter, and social media (depending on the affiliate).
- Highly flexible. Affiliate marketing can be anything you want it to be. If you like, it could be a booming full-time job that brings in top money. If you have other commitments, it could be a way to make an extra income with very little work. Either way, it is a highly flexible gig. You get to choose the products, the affiliate programs, the promotions, and your working hours.
There are multiple ways to promote services and products. Here is a shortlist:
- Blog. Embedding affiliate links to your content is one of the best ways to promote products and services. You can educate your audience on using the product and how it would benefit their business/ hobby.
- Online Comparison Shopping. Comparison shopping is when competing services or products are reviewed on one post. Providing reviews is an excellent method for multiple products or services that all work in the same niche or serve the same audience. Often, comparison shopping is used in the technology niche with phones, watches, and others.
- Newsletter. Use your email newsletter to send out high-quality content with affiliate links included. Leverage the power of your newsletter to promote your affiliate links.
- Social media. As a blogger in 2021, social media is a must. Through social media, you can share different content types with your audience. Use this flexibility to promote your affiliate products in different and exciting ways. One effective method of promoting affiliates is through videos or live streams. Offer promo codes or freebies to get your followers interested, including your affiliate products in the video.
As you can see, affiliate marketing is not complicated. There are plenty of benefits, many different ways to promote your affiliate products, and a lot of potential commissions to be earned.
How much money can you make as an affiliate marketer?
The popularity of affiliate marketing is steadily increasing and continues to rise. Some of the most successful affiliate marketers, such as Pat Flynn, have grown their affiliate business to a whopping $100,000 per month!
Earning with affiliates depends on your knowledge of affiliate marketing and promotional skills. Beginners can start to make a commission at the beginning of their blogging business. The average affiliate marketing salary is around $5,000 per month.
Tip: Make content that promotes your affiliates with an emphasis on search engine optimization.
On the topic of affiliate marketing, be aware that the niche you choose matters a great deal. While you can make money with most niches, some niches have a higher likelihood of making money. These are typically products that are always in demand and have enthusiastic fans. Some popular niches include online dating, gaming, travel, fitness, and finance.
Affiliate commissions of 50% or higher are very common with digital products because you have no cost of replication.
Payments are usually a flat fee or a percentage. In most instances, selling big-ticket items gives you a higher chance of making more money (if commissions are paid based on rate). So, bigger purchases will potentially provide you with a higher income.
Do I need lots of traffic to start affiliate marketing content?
If you are just starting with blogging, there is no need to wait for your audience to grow. Affiliate marketing is for everyone, from newbies to experienced bloggers. Make money on day one by writing product reviews, promoting services, and publishing content. Focus on posting content and promotion that convert from readers to clients.
What are some of the most popular affiliate networks?
Affiliate programs are everywhere! Once you have a product in mind, you can sign up directly with a company or with an affiliate network.
An affiliate network gives you access to a wide range of products and services.
Signing up with a company or affiliate network starts with submitting an application. The benefit of an affiliate network is that once you are approved, you have access to a long list of companies that you can apply to without having to go through the same lengthy process as when you signed up with the network.
Many affiliate marketers choose to sign-up with networks because of the ease of adding affiliates to their sales strategy. It is far easier to manage as you do not have to keep track of individual affiliates separately. An affiliate network is a one-stop method to review your revenue as all transactions are in one place.
Some of the most popular affiliate networks include:
- Amazon Associates. This affiliate program is highly popular with a wide range of products and good customer service. Plus, Amazon is a high-converting shopping site, so there is a good chance of purchase after your site visitor clicks on the affiliate link. One potential issue with Amazon – their Terms of Service are strict. Be sure to read the fine print to avoid getting banned.
- ShareASale. For newbie bloggers, ShareASale is an excellent choice. It is easy to sign up, simple to use, and payments are monthly. ShareASale brands are primarily small and medium enterprises (SME). On ShareASale, there are fewer big brands. SMEs are often more open to partnering with less established bloggers.
- Commission Junction (CJ). CJ is one of the oldest affiliate networks out there. With CJ, your analytics are always up to date. For established bloggers, CJ is attractive because you have a chance to become a Content Certified publisher. Becoming a content-certified publisher connects you to over 600 premium brands. There is one downfall, though. Bloggers that have too little traffic and don’t produce results after six months might get deactivated.
Choose a network that suits your needs with compatible brands, commission rates, and ease of use.
7 Steps to find your top-performing affiliates
You can find affiliate programs on individual company websites and agency or network websites. To identify which affiliates will work best for your niche, consider the following.
Step 1: Review products in your niche.
Think about your niche.
What are the must-have products or critical services?
Is there a particular type of product that is essential?
Reflect on the products and services that you use. After all, if you use and love a specific product, it becomes much easier to recommend it to other people.
Step 2: Validating your idea.
Next, take a look at your competitors and which affiliates they promote on their website.
Are these the same as the affiliates you have in mind?
If yes, are these products well-received on your competitor sites?
Or perhaps, you will consider a different affiliate that is yet to be promoted by your peers.
Step 3: Visit the website.
Once you have decided on a product, it is time to get signed up. To do so, go to the company’s website to find their affiliate program. Affiliate programs are typically listed at the bottom of websites. If you do not see an affiliate program link, connect with the company personally. Send them an email or message and offer to promote their products and services.
Step 4: Apply.
Once you have identified an affiliate program, the next step is to apply. If the company takes some time to get back to you, don’t get discouraged. Many affiliate programs are manually analyzed, which may delay the process. So, be patient, thorough in your application, and be sure to add a payment method.
Step 5: Read the Terms and Conditions.
The fine print is essential! Affiliate programs have different terms and conditions, and it is crucial to stick to the rules to avoid getting banned. So, be sure to read the terms and conditions and make an effort to abide by all guidelines. Be aware that some affiliates do not allow for email marketing or sharing via social media.
Step 6: Learn about the product and service.
When promoting a product or service that is not your own, you need to know the product well. Understanding the product and service includes knowing the product features, ways to use it effectively, benefits, and the drawbacks of the product. Look for training and powerpoints on the company website to learn about the product and service.
Step 7: Promote.
At this point, you should be well-prepared to create an irresistible affiliate promotion post. You are well acquainted with the product, familiar with the competitors, signed up with an affiliate program, and know the terms and conditions. All that is left to do is create your content. Within guidelines, promote the service and product.
Promote what you love
Those are your seven simple steps to get signed up with an affiliate program for a product of your choice. It may be slow to start, but affiliate marketing is not complicated once you get the hang of it.
To make things even simpler, here is a tip for you: promote what you love. If you love a product, it becomes much easier to sell it to others. Plus, it is quicker to create good content if you use it yourself since you won’t have to dedicate time to learning about it.
Requirements and Disclosures
As an affiliate marketer, you are required to disclose when you will make a commission off a sale. To put it simply, you have to let your readers know that you will be making money if they use your affiliate link. Website Policies is an excellent website to help with affiliate disclosures for your website (including sales).
In addition to disclosing on your disclaimers page, it is a good idea to announce at the beginning of each message when affiliates are present. You can do this by simply stating, “this message contains affiliate links,” or you can add a longer statement. I use the following comment on my emails and posts.
DISCLOSURE: THIS MESSAGE MAY CONTAIN AN AFFILIATE LINK, MEANING I GET A SMALL COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE USING MY LINK AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Find language that resonates with you and your readership. Again, it can be simple or long; the key is to disclose that you will be making a commission.
Strategies to Promote Affiliates
Now that you are signed up to an affiliate program, it’s time for the most exciting part of affiliate marketing – product promotion. Promoting an affiliate program takes time and effort. Luckily, there are many different ways to promote an affiliate, so there is something for everyone. Below you will find a list of strategies to promote your affiliates.
Let’s take a look at some of those promotion strategies.
Link in your blog posts
Linking your affiliate to your posts is one of the best ways to promote affiliates. You can make entire blog posts dedicated exclusively to one product. Alternatively, you can also embed products and services in related blog posts.
When writing a blog post, think of genuine ways to embed your affiliates. To keep it appealing to readers, focus on being helpful and informative.
Tip: Seamlessly embed affiliate links into your posts to avoid stuffing.
Here are tips for embedding your affiliate links:
- Internal linking. Link to a pillar post that explains the benefits of the affiliate.
- Educate. Create a how-to blog post that explains a concept related to that affiliate. This way, your content remains informative and high-value.
- How-To. Educate your readers about how to use the product and service with a step-by-step guide.
- Call-to-action. In your writing, including a summary of how the service or product helps your audience.
- This or that. Offer solutions for free and fee-based services.
Select your top 10 affiliates
Once you have been doing affiliate marketing for a while, you might end up with tons of affiliate promotions. At this point, it would make sense to reorganize and prioritize to get the most profit for your effort.
Select one article to help Google rank that article higher; this article is also referred to as a “pillar post.” Posts that talk about one aspect of the affiliate can then link to the pillar post and so forth.
Tip: Pick one pillar article for each affiliate.
For example, one of my top affiliates is ConvertKit. As a supporting post, I have an article titled “5 Easy-To-Follow Steps to Create Your Landing Page with ConvertKit” which focuses on one aspect of ConvertKit, which are the landing pages. As a tutorial of one of the many services that ConvertKit offers.
Tip: Here are steps to organize your affiliate:
- List your current affiliates and include a short description.
- Select the top 10 affiliates that your audience can most find the most beneficial.
- Write one pillar post for each affiliate.
- Write supporting posts that internally link to your pillar post.
Use a resource page
Having a helpful resource page on your blog is a must. You can list products and services that support you and items you think would help your readers on your resource page. The resource page is a great place to list your affiliates with a description of the product and service.
Teach a tutorial
Teaching with tutorials is a common way to promote your affiliates and one of the most successful. One of the most significant factors that people think about when purchasing new products is how easy it will be to use them. Teaching people how to use the product and service helps them understand the benefits and navigate the process. It makes the product or service so much more appealing to purchase.
As a content creator, finding value for my time is essential. Figuring products and services out by myself is a luxury in time and patience that I don’t always have. Having an influencer who I know and trust explain a product and service is a way to boost engagement and support sales.
Another great way to promote is by modeling. Show your community how you have used the affiliate to improve your business and reach your goals. Showing how to use a product can leverage features with tutorials can help convert a reader into a customer.
Pinterest is a platform that promotes traffic to your website. It is a great resource for promoting affiliates! You can use it to promote your DIY’s, recipes, tech gear, and so much more.
With the new updates of including video and story pins, Pinterest has expanded its reach to new audiences, and now there are additional ways to promote your content on Pinterest.
Facebook is the largest social media platform out there. By promoting your affiliate products on Facebook, you can reach a large audience and increase your sales potential.
Video marketing on social media is another effective way to promote affiliate products. A short video can be far more fun to watch than reading thousands of words, so use that to capture your follower’s interest. You can include product promotions in your Facebook live stream or on your Youtube videos. Just include your affiliate link in the description box (and don’t forget the disclaimer!).
Tips: Be aware of each of your affiliate policies. Some affiliates do not like promotions on social media. If this is the case, definitely do not post an affiliate link on the platform.
As a blogger, your most valuable marketing resource is your email newsletter. A newsletter is a direct line of communication between you and your audience. It has that personalized feel to it, and as it is an email, you can genuinely share your thoughts with your readers. Plus, a newsletter lands directly in their email inbox, so it’s attention-grabbing and hard to ignore.
You can leverage your email list to promote affiliates, posts, and sales. Just organically include links to affiliate products in your newsletter content, or even make the product the subject of that week’s newsletter. To keep your readers engaged, be sure to focus on producing authentic and valuable content for your email newsletters.
Tip: Be aware that some affiliates are not to be promoted via email, and some have specific requirements, such as having a double opt-in. The last thing you need is a hold on your funds or trouble getting payment, so stick to the rules and follow your affiliate merchants’ guidelines.
Making a campaign for affiliate marketing is a great way to promote products and services. The best campaigns are interactive and encourage action from your audience. Campaign focuses can be as simple as challenges, competitions, ask-me-anything sessions, and whatever it takes to increase engagement amongst your community.
The great thing about campaigns is that you learn more about how the affiliate supports your community by sharing experiences and listening to your readers’ feedback. User feedback helps you understand which affiliate programs have the most value. Use your audience’s input to increase the frequency of affiliates working and drop those that create friction.
Tip: Use feedback as inspiration for your next blog post.
As you can see, there are countless ways to promote your affiliates. Whether through campaigns, newsletters, or social media, you have the option to choose your favorite kind of content. To reach out to all segments of your audience, use several promotional methods at the same time.
Making money from affiliates long-term
As a business owner, it is essential to think long-term. Ideally, you want to channel your time and hard work towards projects that will stay lucrative for years to come. Affiliate marketing is one such project. Through affiliates, you can make money both now and in the future. To do this, be sure to:
- Stay updated with the company’s goals, products, and services.
- Update your blog posts with terminology
- Fix any broken links.
- Update promotional strategies to keep up with the latest trends.
Ensuring that your evergreen is always fresh with ideas is a great way to ensure that the information is relevant.
Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a list of tips and frequently asked questions.
What are beginner affiliates I can sign up with?
Here is the list of affiliates I signed up for within my first month of blogging with zero page views.
ConvertKit: ConvertKit supports small businesses with email marketing, e-commerce stores, and much more. I use ConvertKits free landing pages for months before starting my blog. It helped me start my email list and gave me a URL to start posting on my social media pages.
Ad Inserter Pro: Ad Inserter Pro is an ad management plugin to customize the placement of ads on your website.
Frase.io: This is a blogger’s best-kept secret! This website gives free trials to make comprehensive outlines for your next blog. It is definitely worth a visit and I would love to know how it’s helped your business in the comment section.
Cloudways: This is a cloud hosting service that gives new users free trials to use their service. It is easy to scale your business and set up your website.
Grammarly: Grammarly checks your grammar as you are writing to improve readability. It is powered by a complex AI algorithm to support your writing.
SmashBox: Is a plug-in for your website to displays your Instagram feed.
As you start comparing different affiliates, you might notice a feature known as cookie length. A cookie is a small file that tracks your activities on the website for a determined amount of time.
From an affiliate point of view, longer cookie lengths are better. A longer cookie life gives the potential customer a long time to purchase the product while the cookies track the commission.
How much do established bloggers make from affiliate marketing?
The numbers vary greatly but one thing is sure, there is potential to make a lot. For example, Tom Dupuis from OnlineMediaMasters is consistently making $150,000 a year.
Even simple affiliate marketing strategies can give you a generous amount of revenue. Using a niche website and Amazon Associates, Doug Cunnington made more than $10,000 in 6 months. That was for his first Amazon affiliate site. Now, he consistently makes more than $70,000 a year.
You don’t need an incredibly unique niche either. Michelle from Making Sense of Cents makes over $50,000 a month!
Plus, growth can come quickly. With the right strategies, you can multiply your affiliate income significantly. In Jeff Proctor’s case from Breaking The One Percent, he went from $0 to $7000/month in just 6 months.
Affiliate Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide – Ever since the 4-Hour Workweek was released, everyone seems to have the same goal. To wake up in the morning, open their laptop, and look at something like this: (Image source: Top 5 SEO) Passive income. That’s the dream, right? Make money while you sleep. For 99% of people, affiliate marketing is h… (neilpatel.com)
Affiliate Marketing in 2021: What It Is + How Beginners Can Start – Affiliate marketing is the process of earning commissions for marketing another person’s or company’s products. Learn more about how it works. (bigcommerce.com)
Affiliate Marketing: How to Turn Product Recommendations Into Passive Income – Affiliate marketing is an online sales tactic that lets a product owner increase sales by allowing “affiliates” to earn a commission by recommending the product to others. (shopify.com)
The Power of Affiliate – Affiliate marketing is the only channel that reaches and influences consumers worldwide, at every part of their purchase journey, both on and offline. Experience the power of affiliate with CJ Affiliate. (cj.com)
How to Become an Affiliate Marketer: Step-By-Step Guide – Take a look at a step-by-step method you can use to learn how to become an affiliate marketer. It all starts with finding out which products to sell. (oberlo.com)
How Affiliate Marketing Works – Affiliate marketing is an advertising model in which a firm pays third-party publishers to promote leads to the company’s products. (investopedia.com)
What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does Affiliate Marketing Work? – Learn what affiliate marketing is and how it works with this helpful 101 guide. Perfect for beginners or those wanting to learn more about affiliate marketing. Only at Acceleration Partners, the world’s top affiliate marketing management agency. (accelerationpartners.com)
How to Make Money While You Sleep With Affiliate Marketing – Can you really make money with affiliate marketing? Yes, if you do it right! Get started with affiliate marketing and make money while you sleep! (optinmonster.com)
The Top 30 Affiliate Marketing Statistics Every Marketer Must Know. (2020). Retrieved 4 February 2021, from https://mediakix.com/blog/affiliate-marketing-statistics/#gs.lDcPsUI
Affiliate marketing is valued at over $12 billion globally. It is expected to continue to grow even more prominent from now on. As a blogger with an audience, you have the opportunity to be a part of this growth. You can use affiliate marketing to grow your business while sharing useful products with your readers. So give it a shot! Pick an affiliate, set up some content and as always, let me know how it goes.
Comment below and tell us which affiliates resonate most with your audience? If you found this helpful, please share with a friend. It helps get the word out ❤️️