What is affiliate marketing? It’s the very first way I start to monetize my blogs. You can earn passive income on your blog through affiliate marketing and this brief affiliate marketing training will show you how to get started making money online.
What is affiliate marketing?
The simple meaning of affiliate marketing is the making of a commission by sending traffic or sales to an external party’s website, product or service.
In order to do so, you will highlight a product or service on your blog, in your emails to your subscribers or on your social media channels, using a unique link given to you by the company that you are marketing for.
When someone clicks on this link and makes a purchase or completes some other task, you are paid a commision for sending that sale to the company.
Therefore, you can link to a product once in your blog posts and it is clicked hundreds of times while you sleep, causing you to earn income without doing anything else after having written that post. Oh sweet, passive income.
The absolute best course in the industry for learning everything about affiliate marketing for beginners is the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents.
If however you have the basics down pat, and reading this post will give you a solid beginner foundation, then I would recommend the Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers: Everything You’re Missing course. It is an advanced course focusing on strategies to get more conversions and it is brilliant! I can’t sing this course’s praises enough as my income on my lifestyle blog went on a serious upward movement as I began implementing what I learnt. (And it’s affordable too!)
How to Get Started With Affiliate Marketing as a Blogger
The steps that you will take begin affiliate marketing are simple:
- Identify a product that you want to promote.
- Join the affiliate program for the product.
- Add disclosure notices to your blog and marketing channels.
- Promote the product on your blog or through your email and social media channels.
- Get paid!
Identifying the product
It is likely that you already have blog posts on your blog recommending products that make your life easier in some way. How awesome is it to be able to receive a commission for recommending a product that you already use and love to your audience?
In this case, you’ve already identified the product that you want to promote.
This is the best way to start off with affiliate marketing, by promoting a product that you are familiar with. This way you can give an honest review of the product and speak to the benefits of the product.
This is more convincing and readers are more likely to click through after reading your experience with the product.
Join the Affiliate Program for the Product
Oce you’ve identified the product, the next step is to joint he affiliate program for the product. The easiest way to do this is to Google product + affiliate and see what comes up.
For example, if you want to promote a particular brand of blenders for smoothies, simply google the brand name of the blender plus the word affiliate and see what comes up. The two likely options are that they have their own affiliate program or they are a part of an affiliate network.
In the two examples above, Vitamix has their own native affiliate program that users can join on their website. Ninja, on the other hand, is a part of the affiliate network company Flex Offers. You would have to first join the affiliate network company and then join the Ninja affiliate program within the network to be a part of the Ninja affiliate program.
Affiliate Network Companies
Affiliate network companies offer the benefit of housing multiple programs and companies under one roof. This means that you could potentially join one network company and then join multiple affiliate programs within the company.
This makes it easier to track your affiliate income since all the programs you have joined are now pooled into one company. This also makes it easier to get paid since most affiliate programs will have a minimum threshold that you must meet before you get paid.
Promoting multiple products means you may reach the threshold quicker than promoting each product individually.
An example of this is the Amazon Affiliate Associates program. Imagine the hundreds of thousands of products sold on Amazon and what a pain it would be to join multiple affiliate programs and keep track of all your income trickling in from each one.
With an affiliate network company such as Amazon, you can promote multiple products across multiple networks and have it all count towards one minimum threshold for payment.
Other affiliate networks to check out:
Disclosure Notices For Your Blog
A disclosure notice is an announcement to readers that the products and services that you are recommending are affiliates and you will be paid for recommending them. It’s a legal requirement by the US Federal Trade Commission and you can get into serious legal trouble for not disclosing that you’re affiliated with the products and services that you’re promoting.
You can read up on exactly what is required in your disclosure but the long and short of it is that you’re to let people know, before you drop your link, that you’re affiliated with the products you’re recommending and will get paid if they choose to buy the product using your link.
I have a disclosure notice above every post on my blog automatically, to cover all of my posts as I am most likely going to link to a product in each and every post that will make your life more lucrative as a blogger.
Some themes include this setting in their integration options, like mine, the Divi Theme from Elegant Themes, while others do not. For those that don’t, you can use the WP-Insert plugin to add a disclaimer above every post automatically.
It is important to note that your notice should be written in very clear language, making it easy to understand that the products recommended in the post are affiliates. Simply saying This post contains affiliate links is not enough. You need to explain what that means and you should not link to a disclaimer page to do so.
You can link to a disclosure page to explain further, but it should be immediately clear that you benefit from the reader clicking and purchasing through your link. This also goes for emails that you send.
On social media, simply using the word #ad or #sponsored in the post is usually acceptable for brevity, however, it must come within the first three lines of the wording and cannot be buried deep within a string of hashtags.
Promoting the product on your blog
When creating content specifically to promote an affiliate, there are a few things you want to include to ensure maximum exposure and conversions (getting people to buy.)
- Include the link as early as possible in the blog post. People very rarely read down to the very end of your posts so try to include the link in the first paragraph.
- Include the link at the end, especially if your content is long, as it should be. People are lazy and may not scroll back up to grab the link so if they made it all the way to the bottom, be sure to place the link there again to encourage that click.
- Always be honest. Tell of your experience with the product and any cons that you’ve found, not just all the pros. You can include your workaround for the con but it gives the impression that you really know and love the product and help convince your readers.
Here’s a resource on getting more traffic to your blog posts. The more eyeballs on your posts, the more opportunities there are to land an affiliate sale.
Promoting the Product on Social Media
Sometimes, you won’t even need to create a blog post to promote products online. You could simply tweet about it, including your affiliate link to the product in your tweet, and get the commission if your follower purchases through your link.
I have had great success using Pinterest to promote my affiliate products. I teach all the strategies I use to make significant income using Pinterest affiliate marketing in my Everything Pinterest course.
Where to Get Affiliate Links
Once you’ve joined an affiliate program, you are given unique links specific to you to use to promote the company’s products or services.
On Amazon, after joining their Associates program, you will get access to their site stripe at the top of the pages where you can easily grab links to products. If I click on text, I will get the text link unique to me that I can use to promote this pillowcase. If I click on image or text + image, it will give me a snippet of code to include in my blog post where I want the image to show up.
Other affiliate programs will have a back-end where you can search for products and grab your affiliate link t the product once you’ve found what you’re looking for.
Optimizing Posts with Affiliate Marketing Links
In my free 5-day blog traffic growth challenge, I show you how to find and optimise your top performing posts for SEO and Pinterest traffic. These are also the posts that you will want to make sure you have affiliate links since they are your best-trafficked posts.
Which affiliate programs should you choose? Pay attention to the commission percentage and cookie length.
Amazon, for example, pays out only 4% commission on the majority of the products that you can promote on their site. There are however excellent reasons why you may want to stick with Amazon over other affiliate options which Carly discusses in her advanced affiliate course.
Cookie length refers to the length of time that the reader is stamped with your unique code in their browser. Once you click on an affiliate code, your browser stores a code called a cookie that stays with you for a number of days unless you clear your browser cookies manually.
There are lots more tips and tricks to affiliate marketing that you can use to begin earning income on your blog. It is one of my favourite ways to earn income since it can be done with relatively small traffic and is fairly passive. The advanced course I recommend above went in-depth into getting conversions from your emails to your subscribers and I was blown away!
The course is seriously worth every penny, I am so happy I took it. I’ve taken a lot of courses on my blogging journey and I only recommend the ones that actually helped to push me further along. Check it out here if you’re serious about making affiliate income online.
Please share this post or pin it for later if you found it helpful. Let me know in the comments if you’ve started affiliate marketing on your blog and how it’s going for you.
Awesome post and tips. Especially, the part where to put affiliate links in a blog post and the hint with the #ad in social media posts, etc. I´m still a beginner regarding affiliate marketing and appreciate every advice I can get.
Glad to help, Pia
Thanks for the tips! I am just getting started monetizing my blog with affiliate links so this was a super helpful read!
Just started out on affiliate marketing so far have not seen any returns but sure am hopeful! Thanks
Thank you for the detailed article, its very helpful.
This was very informative. I prefer posts with step-by-step details, so I know what I can customize for my own use and what is absolutely necessary to the process. So far, the stuff I’ve read on affiliate marketing is vague. Appreciated this post.
Really glad to hear that Lauren, thanks for visiting.
I need to study this article again and again! I have bookmarked it for reference. Thanks for the tips!
I’m so glad it helped, Joi!
Thanks. Great tips on affiliate marketing!
This is super helpful to me as I am a new blogger and really want to start monetizing my blog!! I’m excited to implement these things into mine!! Thank you so much!
I needed this exact guide because Im juts about to start doing this on my blog! So helpful, thank you!
This has been a really interesting read, thank you so much for sharing.
These are great tips and work really well. I love affiliate marketing, though it can feel overwhelming and confusing at first. A lot of bloggers hesitate because it requires you to sell. Yep it does! But if you’re offering up the right products/services for your audience, then they’ll be so thankful you let them know about something that’ll help make their life better. 🙂 Great post!
Thank you. I have been looking for a straight forward article since starting my blog back up. I will definitely be using this to monetize my blog more.