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Howdy guys and gals! I’m back again with another great post on affiliate marketing. Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you know the basics of affiliate marketing and how it works. If not, check out my post on how I made my first sale with ShareASale to learn more about how it all works. Once you’re read about how I made my first sale, learn more about how to get more clicks on your affiliate links.
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What are Affiliate Programs?
Simply put, affiliate programs are individual merchants offering a commission to participating bloggers for each sale he or she makes through the merchant’s affiliate links. Each program has its own terms, conditions, and commission amounts. Be sure to review all of the information for each merchant’s program you join so that when the first sale rolls in you aren’t surprised.
What are Affiliate Networks?
An affiliate network is a website, such as ShareASale or CJ, that brings together bloggers and merchants. The merchant creates their affiliate program through the network and uploads all of their promotional content (affiliate links, banners, etc.). Bloggers get to pick from the list of all affiliate programs the network offers, and once approved by the merchant, can begin including the merchant’s content on their blog or website. Whenever someone clicks on this content and makes a purchase, the blogger earns commission.
How do I join an affiliate program?
There are several ways to go about joining an affiliate program. The most common way is to join an affiliate network site like I mentioned above. Once you’ve joined the site, you can search for and register to participate in the affiliate programs you like.
Another way to join affiliate programs is to join directly through a merchant’s main website. For example, I joined the Target affiliate program by going to Target’s main website. Most of the time, the affiliate program link is in the page footer.
Why spend time putting links on my website?
There’s a BIG difference between putting links on your website versus promoting products you believe in and use to your readers. If you are just trying to make a quick buck, throwing up a few banners or links and hoping someone clicks on them is one way to go, but it will decrease your readers’ trust in you. I hope this is NOT the route you’ve chosen to take.
Those who succeed in affiliate marketing understand the needs of their readers and only promote high quality products. I highly suggest writing regular product reviews of those products you use every day. You’d be surprised as to how many products you use that are affiliate links.
If you are going to spend a lot of time inserting affiliate links on your site, do it the right way the first time. By using the right keywords, creating valuable content, and being honest with your readers, you’ll see affiliate income start to creep up in the right direction.
Will I earn $50,000 in my first month?
Hell no. It’s not realistic unless you have dozens of blogs designed solely to earn affiliate income. I tell all of my readers that affiliate marketing takes time, just like anything else. Just because you are throwing up banners and links doesn’t mean your readers are going to click on them. It will be slow for a while. Don’t give up. Keep writing quality content and promoting great products. The income will eventually start rolling in. Do not expect high numbers in the beginning. It’s just not realistic.
I followed all of the steps but am not earning money. What gives?
It can be frustrating to do all of the work the right way only to not see the results start pouring in. Don’t worry. Many bloggers give up after a few months, but this is a mistake. You have to be in it for the long haul to really see results pay off. If you are only writing posts about affiliate products, try expanding your reach by promoting products through other mediums, such as face-to-face, social media, videos, and more.
Affiliate marketing is not something you’ll succeed at overnight. It takes time, experience, and perseverance. If you have all 3 of those things, there is no reason why the sales won’t start rolling in soon. Here are some quick tips:
Write consistently. Most bloggers who see increases in affiliate sales are writing 2-3 quality posts per week (more or less).
Write with your readers in mind. This goes without saying, but your blog posts shouldn’t be about you. You are writing for your readers. Write with their best interests in mind. Put it this way, would you recommend a car with flat tires, a burned out engine, and no windows to your mom? Probably not. The same holds true with your readers. Treat them like you treat a family member!
Your blog posts should be reader-centered at all times. I’m definitely not saying you should never write about yourself, though. If you are looking to make someone’s life easier, solve a problem, recommend a valuable product, or talk about how something works, these types of posts must be geared around your readers.
Choose the right products to promote. Don’t go to ShareASale and start applying for everything under the sun. Just because a product may have good commission rates doesn’t mean it’s the right product for your readers. Choose wisely and limit the programs you join.
Example: Don’t sign up for Tailwind’s affiliate program if you have never used it. Tailwind is one of those products that has a lot of great tools for bloggers looking to promote on Pinterest. If you use BoardBooster or other pinning products, don’t join the Tailwind affiliate program!
Focus on building your traffic. If you don’t have a lot of subscribers, and traffic just isn’t flowing to your site the way you’d like it to, chances are your affiliate sales aren’t going to be anything to write home about. Hopefully by now you have implemented a strategy on how to increase traffic to your site.
Continue to focus on building relationships, networking with other bloggers, and work to build traffic continuously. Your rate of return will be much higher with higher traffic volumes. If you are only getting 100-200 views per month, chances are less than 1% of those are clicking on affiliate links.
Be willing to try new things. Banner ads may work for some posts, but in others, text links may be better. In other situations, images with the affiliate link attached to them may work better. Find what works best for you and be willing to try new tactics if you aren’t having success.
Try taking one of your most-viewed blog posts and turn it into a video. You can include the affiliate link under the video, or tell your readers how to get to the product link on your site.
Learn from others. One of the best ways to learn tips and tricks for affiliate marketing is to research what other bloggers are doing. Every blogger does it differently, but there are tried and trusted strategies that you can learn and implement on your own blog. Interview others, ask questions, get to know how they operate.
What types of posts convert well with affiliate marketing?
- Product reviews
- List posts
- Tutorials/how-to guides
- Tools/resources page
Remember when I was talking about how it’s better to promote products you believe in and actually use yourself? Share them with your readers through a detailed product review post. If you’d like to see an example of one of my product reviews, check out my Charbroil review I did a few months ago. This isn’t an affiliate link, but it’s a good example of what makes a good product review.
A quick tip on product reviews: You’re not always going to have a positive review of a product, and don’t write one just to solicit clicks on your affiliate links. You’re not building trust with your readers this way. If a product isn’t a good one, write a negative review. Sure, you probably won’t see a lot of sales convert from it, but you were honest and built trust with your readers (this is key!).
Are you a food blogger? Why not create a list of helpful products you use to cook every day? Each item can be an affiliate link, or you can include several affiliate links at the bottom of your post. Make sure to not only include a list, but a brief statement as to why it’s a must-have tool (after all, you put it in your list!)
Blogging about how to use a product is a great way to not only teach someone about how to use it, but you can teach them why the product is valuable. When readers see step-by-step instructions, they learn how easy/hard a product is to use.
A tools or resources page is a critical page every blogger should have! It’s a great way to get the word out about the products you use every day. Not every product on this page needs to be an affiliate link, but do include them every chance you get. My blog has a “Tools I Use” page. Check it out if you want an idea of what this should look like. This page should always be growing as you use more products. Make it a habit to update it at least once a month.
Ready for some of my favorite affiliate programs? Here they are!
Are you having success with affiliate marketing? I’d love to interview you! Simply drop your contact information into the comments section and I’ll reach out to you! I’d love to feature you on a future blog post about affiliate marketing!
Share your wins below! I can’t wait to hear about your affiliate marketing success stories!