Many bloggers say affiliate marketing is their biggest income source.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money from blogging.
If you’re new to affiliate marketing – read my Beginners Guide to Affiliate Marketing.
Affiliate Marketing Secrets
Tip #1. Learn SEO
There’s a strong correlation between traffic and affiliate earnings. The more traffic you have, the greater the chance of visitors clicking on your links.
Search engines drive visitors to websites 24/7.
If your blog ranks high in search engines, your affiliate income can become somewhat passive. If you learn SEO, you don’t have to rely on manual tasks, like social media posting and email marketing to make money.
Google has said it “likes to rank high-quality affiliate sites” and “we like showing them in search”. They have also said they “don’t like low quality affiliate sites”. If you learn SEO and create unique, high quality content, you’ll rank higher in search results and drive more traffic to your blog.
More clicks = more bucks.
See my post on Blog SEO to learn more.
Tip #2. Promote ‘Hot’ Items
Get involved in promoting consumer items in high demand. Keep your ear to the ground for new toys, fashion trends and products that are flying off the shelves.
New products have less affiliate competition. You need to get there first and start affiliate marketing them.
Tip #3. Promote Digital Items
Digital items like eBooks, online courses and webhosting, generally have higher commission percentages.
Commissions can be as high as 50% per sale. This is because once the item is produced, the cost of producing another unit is zero.
Tip #4. Use Google Trends
Affiliate marketing is labor intensive. Invest your time wisely.
Use Google Trends to check the search volume for your affiliate item. Be careful investing your time promoting items in shrinking markets.
Tip #5. Promote Expensive Items
If you start a niche site, I recommend promoting expensive items.
Generally, higher priced items have less product reviews, for example items on Amazon over $1000. Yet people still want to read product reviews.
You need to be familiar with the products you promote on niche sites. Be very specific and detailed in your review. If the product is too expensive to buy, you need to get creative. For example, if you promote yachts, go to a boat show. Take pictures and videos of the yachts you want to promote. Search the web for other people’s comments. Add ideas of your own. What makes a good review? What do people want to know about?
Tip #6. Have a Blogger’s Mindset
If you want to be successful at affiliate marketing, you have to serve your audience. The better you serve your audience, the more they will trust you, and the more likely they are to click on your affiliate links.
On the other hand, people who ‘throw up’ an affiliate marketing site, just to add affiliate links, will likely fail.
Start a blog and provide value to your readers by helping them in practical ways.
Tip #7. Make your First Dollar as Easy as Possible
I always tell people making your first dollar with affiliate marketing is the hardest.
I made my first dollar using Amazon Associates. I wrote a 3000-word blog post and added a single affiliate link to a product on Amazon.
The blog post was entirely personal, so it was completely original. It was based on a problem I was facing, and how this one product solved that problem. Because my post was a ‘real-life story’ it was loaded with information, pictures and videos. Visitors spent a lot of time on the page, telling Google it’s valuable content.
The price of the product was $29.99, so the commission was quite small, however, I learned a lot from it. Most importantly, I earned my first dollar. That spurred me on to keep going with affiliate marketing. Making money is motivating.
Make your first affiliate marketing dollar as easy as possible.
Tip #8. Diversify your Affiliate Portfolio
Your first goal is to make money from one item. Your second goal is to diversify your affiliate portfolio.
A merchant can stop their affiliate program overnight, so don’t be reliant on just one stream of revenue. You need to make money from multiple affiliates.
Tip #9. Start collecting emails straight away
There’s no warmer lead than a subscriber. Start collecting emails straight away.
Make your subscriber opt-in box is easy to find – put it at the top AND bottom of your site. Get more subscribers by sending them a free eBook in return for their email address.
Tip #10. Promote Items that Align with your Niche
It’s tempting to promote items with high paying commissions, or items other bloggers are making money from. But you’ll be wasting your time if your readers aren’t going to buy them.
Instead, promote items that align with your niche.
What’s the first thing your readers need? AND – what’s going to be most useful to them?
Tip #11. Ask your Affiliate Manager for Discounts
Once you’ve made some affiliate sales for a merchant, contact your affiliate manager. Ask them if they can give you a better offer for your readers, such as a lower price. You’ll need some decent sales history but it’s worth asking. Also ask about any special offers or coupon codes they have. Use all the affiliate banners, images and content they provide you.
Tip #12. Explain the Benefit before the Affiliate Link
Before every affiliate link, tell the reader why they should buy the product. Explain in a concise but compelling way how the item has helped you. Make it personal and tell them what you achieved after buying the item. Readers are more likely to buy the item if they understand the benefit.
Tip #13. Make a Recommendations Page
Get paid for your recommendations. Create a ‘My Recommendations’ page and add it to your navigation bar. Not every product and service you recommend will have an affiliate program, but for those that do, add your affiliate link.
Tip #14. Hone your Writing Tone
When you’re promoting affiliate product, you aren’t writing a commercial. Be personal when you promote affiliate products, don’t be salesy.
Write like your writing to a friend – write like you’re giving them a recommendation to buy something. Be extremely knowledgeable about the product, and be yourself.
Tip #15. Cloak Affiliate Links
Affiliate links are long and ugly.
Visitors can be skeptical of long links, which can decrease your click-through-rates. The solution is to use a URL cloaker. This makes your affiliate links more user friendly. I use the Pretty Link WordPress plugin.
If you’re an established blogger, you might want to consider the paid Pretty Link version. The paid version auto creates affiliate links and auto-links your keywords. This can save you a lot of time if you have a lot of blog posts. See prices here.
Pretty Links changes affiliate links that look like this..
..into links, that look like this..
Even better, give your readers an incentive to click on the link:
Tip #16. Add Affiliate Links to Images
People are used to clicking on images on Pinterest and Facebook. Increase your click-through-rate by adding affiliate links to your images.
Just like your regular affiliate links, image links should also be ‘no-followed’.
Tip #17. Only recommend what you Know
When you make recommendations to your readers, make sure you have intimate experience with the items. Yes, I said intimate.
Be extremely detailed when you make recommendations. Most importantly, explain the benefits. Get into the nitty gritty with features, functions and how you use the item. Readers appreciate candidness. Give them your personal and inter-dimensional perspective.
Tip #18. Don’t make recommendations just to make Money
Just like in ‘real life’, when you make recommendations to friends, from hair salons to electricians, you’ll be judged on your recommendation.
Don’t give readers bad advice for the sake of a high commission. Make one bad recommendation and your readers will never trust you again.
Tip #19. Treat Subscribers with Respect
Your readers will unsubscribe if you bombard them with emails, or make it all sales.
Keep your subscribers engaged by drip feeding them. Send important or helpful updates, or let them know when you publish a new post.
If you do send them a specific call-to-action to buy a product, make it a good one. It should be related your blog’s subject theme and help them solve a problem, or benefit them in a practical way.
Tip #20. Promote a Limited Number of Affiliates
When you start blogging, it’s tempting to promote a lot of items. But if you do, you’ll jump from one item to another. It’s important to choose a small number of affiliate items, and promote them well.
Trust me, when you start affiliate marketing, you’ll want to earn your first dollar as soon as possible.
Choose products or services that:
- You have a lot of experience with
- Are relevant to your blogging subject
- You know you can create in-depth, valuable and original content around
- Don’t have too much competition
Once you’ve made some money, build up your affiliate portfolio to generate multiple streams of income.
Tip #21. Keep Experimenting
The average click-through rate for affiliate links is around 2%. Make small adjustments to increase your click-through-rate. See how your audience responds to the changes. Track the effects of your changes. Keep analyzing and improving.
Tip #22. Double-down on what’s Already Working
Once your blog is up and running, you’ll have some data to study. Get granular with your tracking:
a) Track where your Sales are Coming From:
Use unique tracking affiliate links for every post, and every email marketing campaign. Also use unique tracking affiliate links on different positions on the page – beginning, middle and end. Then track where your sales are coming from.
b) Create More Posts like your Most Popular Posts
Use Google Analytics to find your most popular posts.
Go to: Google Analytics –> Behavior –> Site Content –> All Pages.
Brainstorm other types of posts that are similar to your most popular posts. Some bloggers publish books, or write eBooks based on their most popular posts.
c) Know your Best-Selling Affiliate Products
What products do you earn the most money from? What type of products do your readers respond to? Promote similar, or complimentary products.
Tip #23. Use Multiple Types of Content
- Product reviews
- Product comparison reviews
- Instructional guides
- How to guides – e.g. ‘How Sarongs can be Worn’, with links to websites that sell sarongs
- Lists – e.g. Top 10 lists – with ‘Buy Now’ buttons with affiliate links
- YouTube videos – product reviews and tutorials. Add your affiliate link as a ‘card’, and in the video description
- Email newsletters
- Social media posts
- Banner ads
- ‘My Recommendations’ page
Tip #24. Drive Traffic from Multiple Sources
Use multiple sources to drive traffic to your blog, including:
- Search engines – organic traffic (learn SEO) and paid traffic (Google AdWords)
- Social media sites – organic traffic and paid traffic
- Email signature – add affiliate links
- Subscriber list – email campaigns
- Automated Marketing Programs – place banner ads on other blogs and websites
Tip #25. Do Google AdWords Campaigns, Carefully
Only experienced affiliate marketers should run Google AdWords PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns.
I know people who have spent thousands of dollars on AdWords and got nothing in return.
Before you start PPC campaigns, make sure:
- Your blog post is proven to naturally convert visitors into sales
- You’re making enough money from affiliate marketing to support the campaign
- You can justify the ‘cost per click’ of the campaign
Advice: Experiment with a very small budget – kill every campaign that loses money
Tip #26. Patience, Perseverance and Persistence
Just like starting any business, affiliate marketing takes time and effort.
This is especially true if you’re a new blogger. When you start blogging, keep persevering, stay positive and be patient. Push through the difficult times and don’t give up – especially in the beginning. Remember every blogger started at zero – no audience and no subscribers.
To make money from affiliate marketing you need to keep learning and keep writing. Be patient, persistent and keep persevering.
Tip #27. Keep Learning about Affiliate Marketing
People say to master something, it takes 10,000 hours. That’s the same as working 40 hours a week for 5 years.
I decided to master affiliate marketing. I think you should too. Spend time learning affiliate marketing. Learn new techniques and stay current with market trends. Start a blog and keep writing.
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