As a full time blogger at Socialbuzzhive.com, I started SBH with the intention of sharing strategies and techniques I learned about how to earn money from home. As a Mom, content writer and a social media consultant, I was seeking a creative outlet and got bitten by the blog bug! Now I write content about strategies for people to succeed and profit with affiliate marketing and other website strategies to make money online from home.
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I really didn’t have any intention of blogging to make money. However, once I made a $100 commission from affiliate marketing I was into it.
About Affiliate Marketing
You may of heard some various things about affiliate marketing like it’s too hard or the market is too saturated but that’s simply not so.
We are just beginning to touch on the digital expanse of online influencers. Bottom line is there will ALWAYS be advertisers out there seeking ways of promoting their products and services. Future opportunities for making money through affiliate marketing is only going to INCREASE.
Digital Advertising is not going anywhere. According to Forrester Research “the affiliate marketing industry is now a $6.8 billion industry”.
I’m able to earn a living online largely due in part to discovering Affiliate Marketing.
My affiliate earnings since that first $100, has been excellent thanks to various partners I’ve connected with, and this post is to share with you some of the best networks and programs out there so you can do the same.
Affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick scheme of any kind but a legitimate way to earn extra money through advertising.
I’m not going to say it’s easy either. It requires diligence, consistency, laser focus and determination.
But once implemented properly these methods can earn you a means of passive income long after they are set up.
To give you an idea of what some of the top earners in Affiliate Marketing make here you go:
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income makes over $150,000 per month with Affiliate marketing
Michelle Schroeder Gardner of Making Sense of Cents $150,000+ per month
The Penny Hoarder $20,000,000 last year…yes, that was Million…
Just to name a few…
There are many others. Some make $50K a month, some make $5,000 a month, some make $1,000 per month.
There’s various levels of income you can earn depending upon whom you partner with and your level of dedication.
With the right techniques and systems in place it is a highly lucrative form of ‘passive’ income. I prefer the term flexible.
It’s called ‘passive income’ because you can earn money from anywhere, at any time even while you sleep.
The great thing is that even if you don’t have a blog or website it’s still possible to implement affiliate marketing.
But for this article we’re going to assume that you have a website.
There are many different ways to earn from your blog such as:
- Ad revenue
- Sponsored posts
- Affiliate Marketing
- Direct Sale of product i.e. digital download, eBook, PDF, physical product etc.
Each type is important, but affiliate marketing is my absolute favorite way to earn money because it results in the quickest return in relation to the time I put into it. Not to mention ‘repeat’ income.
I’m going to provide some tips on how you can get a jump start on earning more in affiliate sales with your website.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is the process by which you earn a commission by promoting other merchant’s or company’s products.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work For Bloggers?
If you have a blog or website, Affiliate marketing works perfectly for blogs – it doesn’t matter which niche you are in because you can easily find products to recommend and share links to things that you love and use yourself.
It is best to recommend products that you yourself have tried and are relatable to your niche.
You do have to put a disclosure statement on your blog pages to stay compliant with the FTC, when you use affiliate links letting your audience know that you are getting a commission from the products you’re promoting.
It’s simple to get all the legal requirements you need for your website with these templates:
It’s the law and your audience will appreciate that you are being forthright about this. Even though it costs them nothing additional to make a purchase from you.
Affiliate Marketing works for you, your reader and the company. Everyone benefits! Here’s how:
- Your reader will not be charged anything extra to purchase using your affiliate link.
- Your audience and social media followers like you and they are also interested in what you like. If you can provide value to them they will be happy that you shared it!
- You provided FREE advertising to them and perhaps something that they needed at that exact moment in time.
- You earn a commission for the free exposure you’ve given a company or brand.
Sometimes affiliate marketing has gotten a bad rep because some folks promote products they haven’t tried or don’t believe in or isn’t even related to their niche. I don’t recommend that you do this because people can see through this right away.
All of the products I promote on my pages have been tried or sampled by me. Companies send me products or free subscriptions and if I like them then I feel good about giving them extra exposure. If I don’t like them I don’t choose to partner with them. It’s pretty simple.
Check out this post for 100 of the top paying affiliate programs for bloggers.
I earn significant affiliate revenue simply by linking to products that I mention or picture in my posts or on social media.
Affiliate marketing, interestingly so, is NOT directly tied to page views. Sometimes you can earn more through affiliate sales during months when traffic is lower than when it is high.
I have found that I can share affiliate links in many different ways that are not so obnoxious and in your face. If you promote your articles on Pinterest those affiliate links that took me 5-20 minutes to insert into a post can earn money Indefinitely because the pins live on in Pinterest forever.
What’s better than that?
For SEO. Including links in your blog articles is very important for the search engines to index your page and therefore figure out what your content is all about. It gets a higher ‘ranking’ grade in the organic search and people can find it easily.
After all, no traffic, no business right?
I don’t link to EVERY single item. Each link is not necessarily an affiliate link either, I mainly link to what I think my audience may be interested in and want to click through and see.
Your audience who clicks on your Affiliate link may not even wind up purchasing what they clicked on originally.
They may wind up making another purchase and then you get a commission on whatever it is they wind up purchasing. The total purchase!
This is called ‘deep linking’. It’s very powerful and could lead to commissions in the hundreds or thousands!
How can a blogger get started with affiliate marketing?
It’s really simple to identify and apply to affiliate programs that include products and retailers you can promote on your blog in an authentic way.
Update – If you are going to partner with Amazon please note that you do need a significant amount of traffic and they have a pretty short cookie. Meaning you don’t have a lot of time to make a sale.
There are other programs that pay a much higher commission and have cookies that last a lot longer and some even for a lifetime!
Applying to a program takes only a few minutes! These are some of the affiliate networks I work with below:
- Amazon Associates
- CJ Affiliate
- Shopstyle Collective
- Affiliate Window
So, when you join the other affiliate networks, you will then need to search their brand directories and select those brands that you would like to promote. They’ll ask you simply how you are going to promote their products and send you an email saying you’re accepted.
If you are accepted, you will be able to get started grabbing the links and getting started right away! If you don’t get accepted into a company’s affiliate program don’t get discouraged! There are plenty that will let newbies in.
A popular company like Reebok for instance only caters to blogs that have a certain number of followers or session views. But that’s something you can always set your sights on if you don’t have the traffic now you will in the future!
It can be tempting to rush out and start adding affiliate links to your posts right away. But take a moment and slow down. You will want to approach affiliate marketing in an organized manner, or you will drive yourself crazy.
This course by Michelle Gardner is the one I took when I first decided I wanted to get seriously into Affiliate Marketing. It’s been updated recently and she goes through everything step-by-step.
Follow These Steps For Affiliate Marketing
1) Apply to all affiliate programs that interest you and become familiar with their respective dashboards and how to obtain links and banners from each of them.
2) I like to use Google Analytics and Pinterest to see which posts retain the most traffic and determine what my audience interests are. This way I can fashion the affiliate links to their interests as well. But remember to make sure you stand behind the company and products!
3) As you optimize each post, schedule that post for ongoing promotion. You must constantly promote on social media to keep them fresh in your audience’s mind.
4) As you draft new content, be sure to optimize each post with affiliate links going forward. It takes a lot of work but it’s so worth it!!
As your traffic grows and you continue to promote older posts, those links will still “be alive” and ready to earn you income. (Provided that there’s no expiration such as a special offer that’s only good for a certain time). It’s MUCH easier to add them each time you write a post as opposed to having to revisit old content and add affiliate links later. Which is what I did in the very beginning! Live and learn!
Food for thought…
Affiliate marketing takes time and dedication. The more you work on affiliate marketing, the more affiliate marketing will work for you. Affiliate marketing is one of the largest online industries and has become a key source of online income for many thousands of professional bloggers, webmasters, and entrepreneurs.
Remember the statement in the beginning of the article: “The affiliate industry will grow to $6.8 billion by 2020″ – Resource Forrester Research
This quick start guide barely scratches the surface of affiliate marketing!
Whether you are new to affiliate marketing or you simply want to increase your earnings I hope this guide will at least motivate you to get you started in this billion dollar industry.
For more information check out Michelle’s very popular course on everything you need to know about affiliate marketing!