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The Quick and Dirty Guide to Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers
Affiliate marketing is easily one of my all-time favorite ways to make money blogging. Here's what I love about it:
- It's easy to get started and won't take a large time investment
- You don't need to create the product or manage the customer experience afterwards
- You can make a full-time income from affiliate marketing alone (if you want to!)
So what exactly is affiliate marketing?
Glad you asked!
Affiliate marketing is when a company pays you a commission of each sale you refer to them. For example, let's say you have a fashion blog and you love shopping at Asos.
If you link to Asos in one of your blog posts, and a reader clicks through and purchases a bunch of clothing, you would receive a percentage of the sale! How cool is that?
This is why affiliate marketing is both one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to make money from your blog.
When you are only recommending products that you personally use and love, you are doing both your reader a favor AND earning money for yourself at the same time.
When done honestly, it's a win-win!
Okay, so how do you actually get started doing this?
1. Write down 5-10 products you use and love that relate to your blog topic.
If you have a blog or other online platform, the first thing you should do is come up with a short list of products that you personally use and love.
These products should be:
- Related to your blog niche
- Something your readers would find useful and valuable
- A product or company you know inside and out
So take out a piece of paper, and think of a few of your favorite products.
If you are a beauty blogger, this might be make-up, tools and supplies, mirrors, lighting, or personal care products.
If you are a parenting blogger, you might recommend your favorite baby supplies, kids activities, baking equipment, safety products, and things like car seats, strollers, and cribs.
You get the idea!
2. Apply to Those Affiliate Programs
Okay, once you've got a short list of products you adore, it's time to see if they have an affiliate program!
These days, most companies have an affiliate program so it should be fairly easy to promote most of the products you love.
The easiest way to find out if a company has an affiliate program, is simply to Google "company/product name + affiliate program" and see if one comes up.
A Note About Affiliate Networks-
Many companies actually outsource their affiliate programs to something called affiliate networks. Affiliate networks are tertiary companies that essentially run affiliate programs for other companies.
A few examples are:
- Flex Offers
The good news for you is that you only need to apply to these networks once, and then you will be eligible to sign up for all of the companies they manage with just a couple of clicks.
Once you have found your affiliate programs, it's time to apply!
But here's the thing.
Not everyone who applies to these programs will be accepted.
I know, bummer.
I talk a lot about the ways you can make sure you are accepted into your account programs in my Build A Profitable Blog course, but I'll give you a few tips here.
First, be honest about how much traffic you have. It's okay if you are just starting out and don't have a lot quite yet!
Second, be specific about how you plan to market their products.
The more specific your plan, and the more they feel confident in how you will market their product, the more likely you are to be accepted.
#3. Add Affiliate Links to Your Blog Posts
This one is super easy, and it's likely something you've seen before.
You can link to your affiliate products within your blog posts!
Let's say that you were writing a post about the best baby toys for infants. This would be a great opportunity to include affiliate links for some of those products!
Then, if your readers click through and purchase one or many of them, you'll receive a commission.
You can see how the more traffic you get, and the more quality blog posts you write, the more your income from affiliate marketing will go up.
Here are a few keys to successfully earning money from your blog posts:
- Don't include too many affiliate links. 2-4 depending on the length of your blog post is perfect!
- Make sure your links stand out. I like to put mine in a bright color with bolted font.
- Only linked to products you can vouch for.
A Big Word of Caution Here
Affiliate marketing is regulated by the FTC, and as such there are rules you must follow to stay legal.
It is extremely important that you follow these rules so that you don't get a big nasty letter from FTC compliance.
On top of that, the search engines want to see certain protocol followed to keep your blogs ranking in good standing.
I show you exactly how to stay both legal and favorable in the search engine's eyes in my Build A Profitable Blog course, but I just want you to be aware upfront that affiliate marketing isn't a free-for-all and you must follow certain rules!
That being said, the rules are pretty darn easy to follow, so don't worry too much
#4. Practice Affiliate Marketing Within Emails
Affiliate marketing within your email marketing campaign is a bit more of an intermediate process, but it's one that will revolutionize your income and how you make money from your blog!
Affiliate marketing within your emails is a great idea because:
- You have hopefully created a trust based relationship with your readers already
- You know that the people receiving your emails are people who want to hear more about your blog topic
- You can use affiliate marketing in a tasteful way to help your readers solve the problems they need answers for
So how exactly do you go about including affiliate marketing in your email marketing plan?
Oh, there are so many ways!
Here are just a few ways you can place your affiliate links within emails to increase your blog income:
- Let your readers know when a certain product goes on sale
- Create challenges that incorporate a few of your favorite products
- Create downloadable PDFs that include links to your affiliate products
- Share behind-the-scenes information of how you use certain products in your own life
- Create and share demo videos demonstrating how to start working with a particular product
- Share unboxing videos so your readers can know what to expect if they purchase an affiliate product
#5. Add Affiliate Links to Your Social Media
Did you know that you can also share your affiliate products on social media?
Now, don't get too crazy, there are a few more legal things you need to know to make sure your social media posts with affiliate links are legal.
However, earning money from your social media posts has never been easier!
Here's an example...
Here are a few tips for successfully adding affiliate links to your social media posts:
- Don't include affiliate links in all of your social media posts; it will get old and people will start to unfollow you.
- Talk about your personal experience with the product, it will help people connect with you.
- Make sure to follow the laws of affiliate linking within social media. You don't want to lose your platform!
How to Make An Amazing Monthly Income from Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is such a great way to monetize your blog. You can choose to use other monetization methods as well, or focus solely on affiliate marketing.
The thing that separates successful affiliate marketers from those who make pennies is that successful ones have built up TRUST with their readers.
Without trust, no one will want to buy through your link. This is why it's so important to only recommend products that you love and can truly recommend.
Of course, your traffic and the size of your email list also matters. The greater these are, the more readers you will be able to reach.
But seriously, I can't think of a more fun way to make money than to talk about things I like all day!
Let's recap! Here's how to get started with affiliate marketing even if you've never done it before:
- Make a list of related products that you personally use and love.
- Apply and get accepted into those affiliate programs.
- Add a few affiliate links to your top 10 posts with the highest traffic.
- Begin practicing adding affiliate links into some of your emails.
- Include affiliate links in a small handful of your social media posts.
- Make note of what works for your audience, and keep following that!
If you aren't sure which things you should be working on next in your blogging business, make sure to grab my Profitable Blogging Blueprint below!
It will walk you step by step through every action you need to take, in correct order, to make money from your blog.
How to (Finally!) Start Making Money From Your Blog
Tired of spinning your wheels trying to figure out this whole blogging thing? Ready to create an actual money making blogging business? I'll show you how.
Join the Full Time Bloggers Hotlist and receive the blueprint as a perk of becoming a subscriber.