When I first started on my online-preneur journey I read SO many income reports. Easily over a hundred.
I noticed how every. single. blogger. talked about making money through ‘affiliate marketing.’ And it wasn’t peanuts, some made over $10,000 a month easily just from that one income source.
How can someone make SO much money without selling their own goods and services?!
Hello Affiliate Marketing
But First, What IS Affiliate Marketing?
The official definition of affiliate marketing is ‘a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to an external website for traffic or sales from its referrals.‘
But what does that mean exactly? And how can you use that in your own blog?
Basically, affiliate marketing is when you get paid money (a commission) from a product or service you recommend to your readers.
Let’s say you have a fitness blog and you really, really love a specific jump-rope. You can recommend that jump-rope to your readers and when they purchase it, you get a commission for that sale.
It’s a win-win because you are helping your readers discover amazing products and services they may need while the company gets exposure plus sales (as do you).
That Sounds Awesome... How Do I Get Started With Affiliate Marketing?!
If you want to incorporate affiliate marketing into your monetization strategy (and I highly encourage you to do so!) you first have to find affiliate programs to join.
There are affiliate programs and products for every niche!
If you want to find an affiliate program just google it! It’s that simple.
Let’s say I want to promote Nike. I would head on over to google and type in “Nike Affiliate Program.” Nine times out of ten, you will find the affiliate program this way.
Sometimes you may have to dig a bit deeper and maybe even email the company, but most likely it will be on page one of google.
Some companies manage their own affiliate programs directly on their site and many others are part of Affiliate Networks.
What Are Affiliate Networks?
Affiliate Networks are basically a platform between the merchant and the affiliate (you) who promote them. They basically act as the middleman.
Affiliate Networks have hundreds (if not thousands) of merchants you can partner with and promote.
Example of Affiliate Networks
The biggest, most popular ones are:
You can join any of these and signup for affiliates to promote. When joining affiliate networks, just make sure they are free! There is no reason for you to pay a sign-up fee for joining as an affiliate.
I’ve seen affiliate networks that have asked for a ‘deposit’ and will pay it back once you’ve reached a minimum amount of sales. You can do as you wish, but I would NEVER sign up for those.
You’re selling their product and you would never pay someone to work for them, right?
So, How Does Affiliate Marketing Work Exactly?
Once you’ve signed up to be an affiliate, you can generate ‘affiliate links’ that you will use to promote your products. These affiliate links are unique to you and your affiliate account.
If you don’t use affiliate links there is no way to track your sales and get a commission.
A regular link would be something like:
While an affiliate link for that same site would look something like this:
If you click both those links, they will take you to the exact same page, but the second one generates me a commission if you book a flight.
But you know what the most amazing thing about affiliate marketing is? If someone clicks your affiliate link to, say, Reebok shoes, but they purchase a different item on that site, say a t-shirt, you still get a commission!
Once someone clicks your link, a cookie gets saved to their device. That cookie can last anywhere from 24 hours to a year!
An Example: let’s say a cookie lasts 30 days. You recommend a product to your readers. Your reader clicks the link but decides to exit out. If that same reader goes back and makes a purchase on day 29, you will get a commission for that sale because the cookie hasn’t expired. See how awesome that is?
A lot of the time your readers will take some time to decide whether or not they want to make a purchase, especially for BIG products, a longer cookie length is encouraged.
My all time favorite affiliate, Amazon, only has a 24-hour cookie and you can STILL make a lot of money.
Just because the commission or cookie-time is low doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote it.
Amazons cookie is only 24-hours and the commissions can be quite small, take a look..
The right hand column shows the commission I get for each item.
Notice a lot of these commissions are under a dollar!
Perhaps you’re thinking, why waste my time promoting products for cents and a 24-hour cookie.
Well, simply because Amazon is SO dang powerful and everyone uses it.
And like you already learned, it doesn’t matter WHAT they purchase after clicking your link.
Look at what those ‘cents’ add up to on my 9th-month blogging
That’s right! Those cents made me $2,678.08 in one month with brand new sites.
That’s why you shouldn’t roll your eyes at small cookie windows and low commissions.
They add up! Especially if you are producing great, high-quality content.
I’m going on a bit of a tangent, but I just don’t want you to chase and only promote big payers or long cookies.
A healthy monetization strategy includes multiple affiliate streams of income.
How Do I Promote My Affiliate Links?!
There are SO many affiliate strategies and they can vary depending on the product or service you’re promoting.
You will want to try out a variety of them with your blog to see which work best for you.
Ways To Promote Affiliates:
1. Write A Review
This is a great way to promote an affiliate product! if someone clicks on a review for a ‘lawnmower’ (for example) it is because they are in the market for a lawnmower. Very few people would read that review if they weren’t.
Thus, you have a very high chance of converting that reader into a buyer if you do a good and thorough job reviewing the product (or service) you’re promoting.
2. Create Informational Blog Posts
Let’s say you are a mom-blog and are writing a blog post about your breastfeeding experience. The ups-and-downs, the nitty-gritty struggles, etc.
I’m sure your readers would be interested in knowing the breastfeeding pillow you used and recommend. Or the pump you bought and loved!
You can sprinkle those affiliate links throughout your article explaining how you used them and why you recommend that product.
3. Email Your List
Your list wants to hear from you! They signed up to hear what you have to say, what products you love, and what you recommend.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to them when you find a really cool new product you want them to know about.
Talk about the product in your email or link them to your blog for a review.
This is probably one of the best strategies because your email subscribers already have an established level of trust with you. A subscriber is much more likely to sign-up for a product than a first-time visitor.
(Note: Amazon doesn’t allow affiliate links in emails and can ban you if you do so.)
Important To Remember..
It’s important to remember that making money with affiliate marketing doesn’t happen overnight.
It takes a while for you to generate any income.
Yes, Affiliate Marketing is amazing.
But it can take a couple of months to start seeing the money coming in.
My first three months blogging, I was making less than $200 a month.
However, since affiliate marketing is a fairly passive income stream (in the sense that you can write a post today, publish it, and have it make money for months and years to come!) you never know when it will pick up and really take off.
So don’t give up if you aren’t making much money in the beginning!
lf you keep creating amazing content, promoting affiliates you LOVE and BELIEVE IN, you will increase your commissions.