Affiliate marketing is one of the most known (and most lucrative) ways to earn money online.
However, not every blogger is able to generate a good income from affiliate commissions.
I tell you more, with more than 1 billion websites out there (source “internet live stats“), many will not even be able to generate a single sale.
But let’s look at the glass half full.
Indeed, many bloggers have taken affiliate marketing a step further and have devoted their entire professional lives to working online.
I’m sure it’s the dream of many of you.
But what turn a good affiliate into a great affiliate?
In truth there is no easy answer, as the range of potential products and services that can be promoted through affiliate marketing means that there has been an equally diverse range of practices and methods used to exploit it.
If you’re completely in the dark about this whole affiliate marketing though let me fill you in.
Here are some points you need to consider when choosing the path of making money online with affiliate marketing (this post contains circa 1500 words and takes around 7 minutes to read).
What is Affiliate Marketing and How It Works?
It’s a relatively modern form of marketing that has its roots in the early nineties, when companies would hire members of the general public to direct people to their stores.
The reasoning is that people are more likely to trust ‘one of their own’ than a company drone.
The affiliate marketing of today is essentially the same practice, only online.
Essentially everything boils down to uploading links that direct your viewers to your affiliate partners site.
If some of them are going to purchase that product or service, you’ll get a commission out of it.
Generally the standard is 10-20%, but for specific products, the commission can be up to 50% or even 70%.
So basically the commission amount can fluctuate from as low as $1 up to greater sums, like $1.000, $2.000 or even $10.000, depending on what product or service you are recommending.
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Now, when you register to affiliate programs, you will get a unique affiliate link, that you are going to use when promoting that specific product.
This is a tracking URL, which companies (or affiliate networks) use to record if the sale was generated by your referral.
Every affiliate program you are going to register to, has its own terms of service like, for example, the cookie period.
If this time is set to 30 days, this means that if your visitor use your affiliate link to check a product web page, but decide to buy it within the next 30 days period, then you will still receive the affiliate commission.
Here are some important affiliate marketing terms you should read about.
- Affiliates: people (webmasters, bloggers) who will use affiliate programs in order to generate an income.
- Affiliate Marketplace: networks you can sign in, to find different affiliate programs in a specific niche (for example, ShareASale, ClickBank, Amazon, etc).
- Affiliate Link: the unique tracking link you will receive when signing up for an affiliate program.
- Commission: it’s the amount of money you are going to get for each sale of the specific product or service you promote.
- 2 Tier Affiliate Marketing: another source of income for you. Basically, if you recommend registering to an affiliate program and some of your readers will do, you will get a percentage of the commissions this user is going to generate (for a certain amount of time – generally one year). Some examples? SeedingUp, ValuedVoice.
The above mentioned are just the basic terms you need to know to start your journey as affiliate marketing.
Soon, you will learn about coupons code, URL shortener, landing pages, and so on.
Choose the Right Partners
Obviously if your blog adheres to a specific niche, you’ll want to use partners whose products reflect that market.
For example, if you’re running a blog that deals with health and fitness you should be looking for affiliates that deal with products such as health supplements and gym equipment and services such as personal training. Maybe you even love skin care and have a routine you want to share with millions of people. Direct sales for organic skin care companies have been increasing in popularity recently with the trends toward organic healthcare products. If you already have knowledge of skincare, then it makes selling much easier.
If your blog is less focused of course you’ll have potential options, but it’s always best to have a clear, defined focus.
Also, try not to focus on affiliates that only sell small ticket (inexpensive) items and services.
For bloggers who write about WordPress or websites creation, HostGator affiliate program gives a fair commission for each sale.
Signups per month:
- 1-5 ……………..$50 /signup
- 6-10 …………..$75 /signup
- 11-20 ………….$100 /signup
- 21+ …………….$125 /signup
And when you receive an email in your inbox, announcing that you made a sale, you can party!
Find a Balance
As a blogger, affiliate marketing can potentially create an enormous amount of revenue for you and whomever it is you’re partnering with, but if you’re too heavy handed with it, your blog could lose its credibility.
As your blog loses credibility it will lose viewers and that will send it spiraling down the search engine results ranking, leading your partners feeling like they’ve backed a lame horse.
Be sure to keep your blog stocked with content that isn’t affiliate marketing based or people will soon see through you and you’ll not only lose your blog but also any potential revenue you could earn through it.
If your content is not worth reading then nobody will read it, it really is that simple.
Research Affiliate Companies
Unfortunately as an affiliate, there’s very little chance you’ll be going it alone.
If you really want to make a decent amount of revenue you’ll need to use an affiliate program.
The company who run the program will be the ones paying you so make sure that you do as much research as possible into the companies rates in comparison to their competitors and ask around to see if the company you’re considering have a good track record with their users.
Most affiliate programs will operate on a ‘pay per click’ or ‘pay per sale’ basis.
With PPC, you’ll get a commission for every person who visits your site and is referred to your affiliate partners site through your links and with PPS you’ll only get your commission if the visitor eventually ends up purchasing an item or service from your partner’s site.
Obviously you’ll generally gain more commission from a PPS system, but the commission will be far more infrequent.
Whether you decide you prefer PPC or PPS depends very much on your own personal preferences but make sure that the company you choose to work for uses the payment arrangement that you’re most comfortable with.
Produce HIGH-QUALITY Content
Do you know your audience?
Well, be sure to promote just those specific products or services which are relevant to your users and strive to create content that solves their problems or needs.
This is a good article from MarketingLand, that explains 7 big mistakes that new affiliate marketers make.
The first mistake is “Selling, rather than helping”.
Be sure to write genuine posts to help your audience solving one of their needs or issues, and you will be right on your way to finally generate an income with affiliate marketing.
Use the Right Tools
When it comes to affiliate marketing, as any other tasks online if you are going to use the right tools, everything become much simpler.
First of all, you want to have a blog.
Do you need a complete FREE guide to help you create your first blog and make money with it?
How to Start a Blog (And Make Money With It) – Step by Step Guide
If you use WordPress, I have two tools to suggest you.
The first is called MBP Ninja Affiliate plugin, which is going to make your affiliate marketing work much easier.
Basically, it helps managing all your affiliate links under one single dashboard, making easy to add them every time you create new content.
Also, you can create groups for your links, cloak and customize them.
Here’s a guide I wrote last year about MBP Ninja Affiliate plugin.
The second tool I suggest you is WP Product Review plugin, which allows you to create nice graphics with different options for your reviews (with pros and cons of the product or the ability to easily insert affiliate links) and offers you a fast and easy way to add different interesting functionalities to your blog content.
Here’s the link to the WP Product Review in NoPassiveIncome blog archive.
I hope this small guide to affiliate marketing is going to help you to get started.
There are many possibilities to earn money on the web. Most of them have in common that you need high quality content. In fact, check these residual income business opportunities.
To generate truly high class journalistic content an education is the best way. Open School of Journalism offers a distance education program in journalism with many electives including online journalism, content marketing etc.
And you, are you making money with affiliate marketing?
Do you have any other suggestions to add?
Please share your experience in the comments below, thanks!