This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated for purchases you make through them.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve written several posts about affiliate marketing. Today, let’s talk about how to really make the most of the time and effort spent on affiliate links. Many bloggers fail to make any money off of affiliate marketing, but there are ways to maximize the opportunity.
Affiliate Marketing Definition
You see the term all the time, but what is it? Basically, affiliate marketing, also known as affiliate advertising, is the promotion of products and services in exchange for a commission. As an affiliate marketer, your goal is to push traffic in direction of a merchant’s website. You earn commission whenever someone makes a purchase through the affiliate link on your site. The amount of commission varies depending on which program you join.
How do Affiliate Links Work?
Each time you use an affiliate link inside a blog or social media post, there is a tracking cookie that is stored in the user’s browser to track sales. Merchant program their cookies to track a user’s purchase activity for different lengths of time. For example, I may have a link with Candy Club that tracks a user’s activity for 30 days, while Cricut may track for 45. It all depends on the merchant. This information is disclosed to you up front when you apply to a specific affiliate’s program.
Driving Traffic to Merchants
The key to driving traffic to your affiliate merchants is by producing quality content. Writing quality blog posts, along with dropping in an affiliate link if there’s a product or service that relates to your post, will show your readers you are truly supporting what you write, and will prevent readers from thinking that all you are trying to do is sell something. Once you stop writing genuinely, you will lose credibility, and your subscribers won’t be far behind.
Ways to Share Affiliate Links
There are so many creative ways to share affiliate links. Just because you are sharing them on your site doesn’t mean anyone is going to click on them and buy them. Here are several ways to creatively and effectively include affiliate links into your blog posts.
- Banner Ads: Banner ads are easy affiliate links to include on your blog. Simply paste the html code into your post and you’ve got a nice visual creative linked directly to your affiliate’s product. I usually use banner ads in addition to regular text links in my blog posts.
- Tutorial posts: Find products you want to promote, then write a post showing your users step-by-step instructions on how to use that product.
- Persuasive posts: Write a post comparing several products, persuading your readers to choose your affiliate’s products over a competitor product.
- Product reviews: Product reviews are one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to affiliate products. I wrote a review about Candy Club last week, and have already seen income from that post. The key to product reviews is to only review products you would (and do) actually use. Readers can spot a fake a mile away. Again, the key is to be genuine about what you post.
- Social Media: Social media is a great way to share affiliate links. Most of the sales I have made have come from clicks originated from my social media posts.
Becoming an Affiliate
There are many different affiliate programs out there. Here’s a list of popular ones:
When you log on to ShareASale or any other affiliate network, you get to see a grand list of all of the merchants that have signed up to participate in that network’s affiliate marketing program. Each merchant will set its own terms, conditions, and commission rates. It is your responsibility as an affiliate to read the fine print before you sign up for any program.
Once you have signed up for a program and the merchant has approved you, you now have access to all of that merchant’s coupons, discounts, banners, text links, and datafeed files. How you promote these links is totally up to you, but there are some guidelines set by the FTC that you must follow:
Disclosing Affiliate Links on Your Blog
The FTC requires bloggers promoting affiliate links to disclose this relationship to its readers. What does that mean? Let’s explore in depth:
You’ve most likely been in a situation where you’ve had to sign a legal document. A good example of this is when you buy a home. The seller is required to disclose certain conditions by law to you as the buyer so that you can make an educated decision. It’s the same concept with disclosing affiliate links. Because we are making a commission off of a reader’s purchase through those links, we have to tell our readers this information so that they know. Consider it the “fine print” of your blog post.
The FTC’s purpose in requiring this disclosure is to continue to protect consumers when making online purchases. Consumers have the right to understand what they are buying. It’s a good thing. If I were buying a car, I’d want the dealer to tell me if the car I’m buying has ever been in an accident. If they didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t be able to make the best educated decision because I’m being left in the dark about the condition of the car.
Bottom line: Always, always, always include a clear disclosure in every post that contains affiliate links or banners. Don’t link to a separate disclosure page on your blog, don’t put it within the body of the post, and definitely don’t put it at the bottom of the post. None of these methods are acceptable. While you can have a separate disclosure page for your blog, it is not sufficient for the FTC. You must disclose affiliate links BEFORE the first link appears on your post. If you haven’t been disclosing, go back to old posts and add it. The FTC can fine you for violating this rule. Don’t take that risk!
Being Genuine Is The Key
Over everything you do to promote affiliate links, being genuine is the absolute best way of all to gain your readers’ trust in a product. I make it a practice of only recommending products I believe in and would/do use myself. Don’t waste your time just trying to make a quick buck by throwing up any affiliate links. If you promote high-quality products and services you find useful, chances are, your rate of return will be much greater.
Some of the affiliate products I love and recommend you join include:
Over to You
How have you succeeded with affiliate links? Was this post helpful in your quest to earning affiliate income?