Last updated: 1/25/2018
All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means I’ll receive a commission for any products/services you purchase through them. It’s not a lot, but enough to help keep this blog up and running! Thank you for your support!
Are you a new blogger just starting out and need a way to monetize your blog? Are you a veteran blogger looking for additional income? ShareASale’s Affiliate Marketing Platform is perfect for bloggers looking for a way to bring in additional income from blogging. Making money as an affiliate used to be far-fetched, but these days, it’s very possible and is happening to bloggers just like me. I won’t lie – it’s extremely hard work promoting merchant content, but once you start seeing the money roll into your account, it makes it all worthwhile.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
If you are a merchant, advertising your product is very important. What better way to get your product seen than by allowing bloggers to advertise on their blogs in exchange for compensation. This is the basis for affiliate marketing. Bloggers can sign up for affiliate programs in many different ways. The most common way is through affiliate networks such as ShareASale.
Affiliate networks are essentially giant databases of merchants who have all signed up to participate. Each merchant agrees to different commission structures for bloggers who refer customers to their products and make purchases. If you are new to the affiliate marketing world, pay close attention to each merchant’s terms before agreeing to promote their products on your site. Some companies pay pennies for referrals, while others may pay a certain percentage.
Why should I care about affiliate marketing?
If you are looking for a great way to earn income on your blog, affiliate marketing can become a very lucrative option if done correctly. Affiliate marketing allows you the opportunity to write about products you know, love and use. If you write valuable content that contains affiliate links to products that your readers love, their is a good chance you’re going to see income from those clicks.
Affiliate marketing is a better way to earn income if you don’t have a lot of traffic yet. All you need is the right content, keywords, links and products. If you have only tried ads on your site (with low traffic), you probably aren’t seeing a lot of clicks or income from those ads. This is where affiliate marketing has its advantages.
How to get started with ShareASale
One of the things I really like about ShareASale is how easy it is to sign up, find programs to join and track performance. I’m a member of several other affiliate programs, but ShareASale is by far the easiest to navigate.
1. Sign up for an affiliate account
Click here to go to ShareASale and click on “Affiliate Sign Up.” Follow the registration instructions to create your account.
2. Log in with your user name and password
3. Search for Merchants
Once you’ve logged in, you now have access to all merchant programs and can apply for those that interest you. The easiest way to do this is click on “Merchants” at the top and then “Search for Merchants.”
Here’s where you’ll want to practice some control. Once I got to the list of all merchants, the temptation was there to apply to as many as possible. I recommend only applying for those who sell valuable products related to your blog content. If you start applying for and promoting anything under the sun, you’re going to come across as only wanting to make money, but you will only end up driving down the trust your readers have in what you say.
How to decipher a merchant’s terms
One thing all bloggers need to know is how to read and understand the terms attached to a merchant’s program. If you are aiming to making a lot of money per transaction, finding those programs that offer that type of payout is not that hard, but there are a few things to look for when making your choice.
Average Sale: The average amount customers spend on a merchant’s products.
Average Commission: The average commission amount paid out to bloggers.
Earnings Per Click (EPC): This is the average earnings that are generated per 100 clicks on an affiliate link.
Conversion Rate: The percentage of clicks that turn into sales. A normal range is usually .5% to 1%.
Cookie: If a link has a 120 day cookie, it means that a customer can return anytime within 120 days from the initial click and make a purchase. If this occurs, you can still earn commission. Each program will define its cookie terms and post them in its merchant page on ShareASale.
Product Datafeed: Think of datafeeds as all the information about a product, or a list of products. As affiliates, you have access to a merchant’s datafeed information. The idea is to take the data and create individual product pages or even one page with multiple products. The data feed gives you all the pertinent information you need to promote the product successfully. Please note – not all merchants will have a datafeed. You will see in the example above, there are no datafeeds available for this merchant.
Last Transation: When the last transaction (purchase) was made for this merchant.
Auto Deposit: If a merchant has auto deposit, it means that funds are automatically replenished whenever it reaches a certain threshold. You will see some merchants may go offline due to low funds. The auto deposit feature prevents this from happening.
Power Rank: Basically a rating system for ShareASale. The lower the number, the more popular and successful the program is.
One thing you will want to monitor regularly is your performance. How many clicks are you getting every day? Which links are being clicked? What banner ads are being clicked? How much money are you making?
All of these questions can be easily answered by becoming familiar with ShareASale’s reporting features.
Let’s say I want to see how my links are performing today. To do that, I’ll go to “Reports” then “Today at a Glance.”
This report gives me the sales amounts, number of clicks and commission amounts for the day, yesterday and a week ago.
Towards the bottom of this page, if you’ve had clicks on any links, you’ll see details on which link was clicked, how many clicks it got, how many transactions occurred, the conversion rate, voids and EPC information.
Another useful report I access on a daily basis is the traffic report. I love it because I can sort by merchant, date range, banner ID or creative type. I often look at this report monthly to see trends that help me know what’s working and what’s not.
There are many other reports available to you as an affiliate. Use them to your advantage and get to know them well. I use this data to make adjustments to the way I market my affiliate links.
My favorite affiliate products
Over the past 2 years, I’ve joined many great affiliate programs. Some have performed well for me, others not so well. Below is a list of some of my favorites. I was approved for all of these through my first application in ShareASale.
Candy Club: Candy Club is the best-performing affiliate product that I promote on my blog. I see great conversions every time I share my review post about it as well as affiliate links through social media.
Book Outlet: Book Outlet has lots of great discounts and regular deals to share with your readers. While the average commission is less than $3, it’s a well-known merchant that will get lots of visibility.
Gymboree: Gymboree is widely-known across the country as the go-to place for children’s attire. I promote them because I can attest to the quality, price and service I receive when shopping for my kids.
Tailwind: Tailwind is one of those products I use as a blogger to promote my pins on Pinterest. It’s a good example of how I promote something I actually love and would recommend to any blogger.
The bottom line with affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing can be a win-win situation for bloggers and merchants. One one hand, the merchant gets extra advertising and exposure for their products, and on the other, affiliates get rewarded for sales they send to the merchants.
The best word of advice I can give you is to stick with affiliate marketing and don’t get discouraged if you’re seeing zeros every month. Continue to focus on making changes to who, what, how and where you are promoting affiliate links.
You are ultimately responsible for deciding which affiliate program to join and which to pass over in your search. You must decide the best affiliate program to fit your niche, your readers and your knowledge.
What are your tips for successful affiliate marketing?
What tips do you have for me that I may not have shared today? Sound off in the comments and I will give you a shout out in my social media. Happy blogging!