When I started my first “public” blog, making money as an affiliate marketer wasn’t really what I had in mind.
I had moved to Peru, and I wanted to have a way to document my life… but I also knew that I was a terrible “chronicler” and would be lazy about documenting very frequently. So I called it “What We’re Eating”… because that was the only thing I could think of that would give me something to write about every day.
Before long, rather than just writing a quick report about the food we ate that day and posting a picture of it, I started adding in info about the ingredients in Peruvian dishes we were eating… and then giving recipes. And people started asking me “where do I get these ingredients?”
I found out a lot of them were available on Amazon.com – so I started sharing the links to them….
It wasn’t long before I found out that Amazon would actually PAY you for sending people to their site to buy… and an affiliate marketer was born!
So – what IS affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a performance based marketing – you get paid based on how well you do. You place a link to a product or service on your blog, and when someone purchases the product after using your link, you get paid a commission. There are other types of affiliate programs where you get paid when a customer performs another type of action – like some companies will pay their affiliates for customers who fill out a form, or take a survey. But generally, we’re talking about selling something.
If you’re looking to create a profitable blog, affiliate marketing is the best way to go, in my opinion. It’s a great way to build an online income and work from home. It’s extremely low risk and it’s easy to learn.
Here are a few tips to get you started making money as an affiliate marketer.
#1 Choose a niche topic that you’re interested in.
If you really plan on growing this thing, you’re going to be writing, thinking, planning and talking about your topic for a very long time – so it helps if it’s something you enjoy.
I know there came a time with my “What We’re Eating” blog that I started writing less about food and more about what my life was like living in Peru – so I changed the name of the blog to “My Life in Peru”. When I started writing less about food though, I wasn’t able to share those same links to ingredients on Amazon… So I started linking to other things that I thought people would be interested in.
But the problem was – I hadn’t really thought about a niche – so I had a lot of different people coming to the blog. I had other foreigners who were living in Peru looking for information, I had people looking for recipes, I had people looking for travel information. So it made marketing kind of hard – I never knew who I should be marketing to!
My point is – pick a niche that you love, and that you can really focus on for the long haul.
#2 Choose affiliate programs with solid reputations
You should take time to research any company you affiliate with. Make sure they have a good reputation for:
- Paying on time
- Converting visitors into sales (you’re sending visitors, it’s their job to make the sale)
- Providing excellent customer service
- Providing a superior product or service (one you can feel proud to represent)
- Making sure their affiliates have all they need to succeed
Amazon is a GREAT place to start – it’s easy to join their affiliate program and they rank pretty high in all the key features mentioned. It’s also really easy to promote their products on your blog, especially with their native shopping ads.
Another excellent affiliate program is ShareaSale – They work with around 2500 different merchants, so you’ll have plenty of product lines to choose from. They’ve also got a solid reputation for click and sales tracking, as well as on-time payment.
Another thing you can do is visit the page of products you like, and see if they have affiliate programs.
For example, as an American living overseas, I missed a lot of my favorite TV shows. So I found this site called USTVNow that lets you watch live TV from the US – they’re associated with a cable provider, so unlike a lot of TV-viewing options, it’s completely legal.
Through all my “expatriate” connections, I realized this was a service that a LOT of overseas-Americans could use, so I wrote a post about using the service and linked out to it with my affiliate link. I’ve earned several hundred dollars over the years just for that one post!
#3. Spend time researching your audience, researching keywords and building a solid content foundation.
It’s not your milkshake bringing the boys to your yard… It’s your content! Or in this case, it’s what drives your traffic. Find out what information your readers need, and find out what keywords that they’re using to search. This is what will increase your search engine page ranking, and it’s what will bring visitors back time and time again. The better your content foundation, the more affiliate sales you’re going to make. There’s all kinds of content you can use –
* Case studies
* Audio and video content too!
#4 Base your strategy on realistic goals
As your blog grows, you may start moving into paid marketing, in which case you’ll need a realistic budget and to have testing and tracking strategies in place to measure success. Your marketing strategy will change and grow as your blog changes and grows, so you also want to create a plan to regularly assess and fine-tune it. Tactics you may want to consider include:
* Banner and text advertising
* Social networking
* Article marketing
* Newsletter/ezine marketing
* Joint venture partnerships
#5 Create profit goals and a plan to make them happen.
Planning is one of your most important responsibilities as an affiliate marketer and internet entrepreneur. Plans include making goals, creating steps to make them happen, and developing a system of measuring success. Plan to plan – it’s essential for your success.
#6 Never stop learning; just make sure you take action too.
Continue to learn about affiliate marketing because internet marketing is a continually changing field. There will be new strategies to try, new products to represent and new forms of content to create. Your audience may even change as you grow.
But don’t make the mistake of spending so much time reading about making money as an affiliate marketer that you don’t put any of the techniques into action! New things are scary, I get it – but you must take action. You can’t make money with a post you haven’t published!
#7 Be patient.
The internet is full of get rich quick schemes – making money as an affiliate marketer is NOT one of them. While it’s an excellent way to build a business and make good money, it takes time, work and patience. (This is the voice of experience talking!)
I’ve been guilty of spending money on people who promised a “fast/easy” way to make it happen. There’s really not. Blogging and making affiliate sales isn’t “hard” like digging a ditch – but there is a learning curve, and it does take time.
Follow the advice of legitimate affiliate marketing experts (like the gals over at Pajama Affiliates!), plan and take action – you’ll be making money as an affiliate marketer in no time!
Thanks to Alexander from TrendoGraphic for this awesome infographic that you can pin or share to social media!