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Picture it: You’re a new blogger coming right out of the gates. You’ve read other blog posts about how to make income with affiliate links and thought, “They make it sound so easy! I want to do that!” So, you finally implement a strategy, start including affiliate links in your posts and months go by without any sales. You get really DEPRESSED. I’ve been there….but….
I bet you never stopped to think about the thousands, maybe millions, of other bloggers doing the same exact thing you are doing. It’s a very saturated market, which is why you have got to find a way to get the edge over the competition.
Today, I’m going to give you some insight as to why you aren’t making many, if any, sales from your affiliate links. Take notes, because this information is vital to understanding what makes affiliate links work well for blogging income.
WHAT ARE AFFILIATE LINKS?
I’ve answered this question in earlier posts. Essentially, affiliate links are provided to you when you join an affiliate marketing platform, or if you join a merchant’s affiliate program directly. They are special links just for you so that the merchant can track your activity and sales. Any sales resulting from your links being clicked end with you receiving a commission.
The one thing you need to know about affiliate programs is that the commission rates for merchants won’t be the same. You’ll see wide ranges of commission percentages. My suggestion is to target those with a higher commission percentage. Not only are there those merchants that give you a certain set percentage, there are some, like Candy Club, that will give you a set dollar amount per sale. I made 2 sales for Candy Club in one day and earned over $50 in commission – pretty sweet!
HOW DO YOU POSITION AFFILIATE LINKS WITHIN THE POST FOR THE BEST EXPOSURE?
Here comes the tricky part. Not every blogger is skilled at placing affiliate links in the right spot to attract traffic. To be honest, it’s not always easy, and there’s no real black and white answer I can give that will work for every post every time.
There are three basic places where affiliate links can go on your blog post.
- Top of post: Most people don’t use this method because they feel like it’s selling out the product right away, but you can get around this by creating a “Recommended Products” section at the top, and the include the affiliate links to the products that you are talking about in your post.
- Inside blog content: Merge your affiliate links inside your content and make the links appear natural. If you have 20 instances of the word to which you are tying to an affiliate link, do not link to it 20 times. Link to it once. Having too many links in a post is bad for SEO and will make your post appear spammy.
- Bottom of post: If you are recommending products after a long blog post, it’s good to write a “wrap-up” section and then break out a few bullets with recommended products. This can also be a good spot to drop in a banner for your affiliate link.
DON’T MAKE YOUR AFFILIATE LINK POSTS TOO “SALES PITCHY”
I hate going to car dealerships. I know if I go just to even browse for a dream car, some salesperson is going to walk up to me and start nagging me to buy a car. Sometimes I just want to be left alone to browse and shop.
Did you know that your blog posts can feel the same way to your readers as car dealerships feel to me? If you come across as only wanting to make a quick sale, your readers aren’t going to trust you. They will feel totally annoyed, and will blacklist your blog to never return again.
I’m sure you’ve landed on a post you thought looked like the perfect post to answer the question you had, but when you arrived there, it had pop up ads, links all over the place, and what’s worse, that large ad covering the entire page. It’s entirely too much and is obvious you are fishing for sales. Don’t be that blogger!
BUT, HOW DO I GET AROUND THIS PROBLEM?
Believe it or not, there is a great way to write a blog post, throw in affiliate links, and your readers will never get the feeling like you are trying to sell them on something. If you craft a blog post that serves a purpose, such as a “how to” post, you are giving your readers a reason to come to your blog, read your post to find a solution to your problem, and the affiliate links serve as recommended products to help with the problem they are trying to solve. Brilliant!
Tutorial posts are great ways to get your post SEO ranked because search engines love to index posts that help people solve problems. You can use tutorial posts in many different ways.
Look at your affiliate merchant list right now and see if there are any programs you’ve joined that sell products you could write a tutorial post about right now. Look at my post, “How Tailwind is Helping My Blog Traffic” as an example. I wrote a post about how I use Tailwind to bring in blog traffic, but it’s not really a tutorial post. It’s time for me to take it and turn it into a highly-profitable tutorial post. The tutorial post will have step by step directions telling readers how to sign up for Tailwind, how to create a pinning schedule, and more about how to use the features that come with Tailwind.
You can write opinionated posts all night and all day as to how great a product is, but these are NOT tutorial posts. Leave your opinions out of the tutorial post and stick to the facts as to how the product works.
DO KEYWORD RESEARCH AHEAD OF TIME
Just because you are using affiliate links for a certain product doesn’t mean that all you have to do is type out the name of the product and link to it. Using sites such as Google’s Keyword Planner is a great starting point. 9 out of 10 successful affiliate bloggers will tell you they get most of their traffic from proper use of keywords inside the blog post.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical in driving traffic to your site, and you must do this before you publish. Make sure you are incorporating the most searched keywords inside your blog post so that your post ranks better in the search engines.
DON’T STICK TO JUST WRITTEN PROMOTION
I know, I know, the reader must click on your affiliate link and make a purchase for you to make income off of that sale. But, you can promote those affiliate links in creative ways – more than just in written form.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Create a video tutorial of how to do something and then recommend your affiliate products at the end of the video. You can even drop the affiliate link inside the video’s description.
- Write a creative social media post asking a simple question you’d like your readers to respond to, and then direct them to your blog post for the answer. While I don’t necessarily share a lot of affiliate links inside of social media, directing them to my blog post that contains affiliate links seems a lot cleaner to me and makes me feel less salesy.
- Create a resources page on your blog to list all of your favorite tools. You can create a section solely for your affiliate products. Don’t forget to disclose the presence of your affiliate links.
- Email awesome deals to your subscribers to tell them about great sales and coupons your affiliate partners are offering. Many times, affiliate program managers will send direct emails to their affiliates announcing new deals and promotions. Use those opportunities to turn them into email campaigns to your subscribers. Again, disclose at the top of the email that the links are affiliate links.
Sales for me didn’t happen overnight, and even still today sales aren’t consistent. I’m still working towards creating the perfect strategy for my own blog. You need to do the same for your blog too.
Implement a consistent approach to marketing your affiliate links and find what works best for you. Keep going back to the drawing board until you find something that you like.
Be patient. The best thing you can do is not give up after a few months of $0 income. Keep writing quality content and implementing a solid approach to affiliate marketing and you will eventually see sales come in. Never get up, never surrender!
DO YOU NEED MORE HELP?
I’m here to help you succeed with affiliate marketing, so if you have a question about anything I’ve talked about today, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. I take pride in writing quality content, so if there are things in this post you’d like to see, I’ll be more than happy to add them to it!
I do recommend you read the following posts I’ve written in the past about affiliate marketing. You can also subscribe to my free 7-Day email course, How to Create a Profitable Blog, and learn all about blogging.
- How You Can Get More Clicks On Your Affiliate Links
- How I Made My First Sale With ShareASale
- Is Affiliate Marketing For Real?
- Can I Share Affiliate Links On Facebook And Twitter?
- 20 Secrets To Affiliate Marketing Success
- Amazing ShareASale Merchant Programs You Must Join