How to start with affiliate marketing
Did you set up your blog and now you’re wondering how to start with affiliate marketing?
Because if you want to monetise your blog with affiliate marketing you are picking the easiest way to make money with a new blog.
There are several ways you can make money with your blog, but affiliate marketing is by far the quickest and easiest, especially when your blog is still in its early stages.
Because with affiliate marketing you don’t need tons of traffic (like you do with ads) you just need the right traffic.
Affiliate marketing doesn’t cost anything to set up and it’s super easy to do so let’s get to it and find out how to start with affiliate marketing!
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I may earn a small commission for affiliate links in this post at no extra cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for more information.
WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING?
Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other people’s products in return for a percentage of the profit.
When you’re a blogger this means you add affiliate links to your blog posts and when someone clicks on that link and buys the product, you earn a commission.
There are a few different kinds of affiliate marketing:
- Pay per click; you get paid when someone clicks on your affiliate link.
- Pay per lead; you get paid when someone clicks on your link and signs up to their email list.
- Pay per sale; you get paid when someone clicks on your link and buys something.
Most affiliate programs use the ‘pay per sale’ option, and this option also pays the highest commission.
HOW TO START WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING
Technically you can start with affiliate marketing without a blog and create Pinterest pins that lead straight to your affiliate products.
Is this going to lead to a lot of affiliate sales?
I guess that depends on the product you’re selling. This method probably works for things like clothes, where all you need is a visually appealing photo on your pin that will convince buyers to click through to the website to check out the product further.
Some products, however, need a bit more of an explanation and consumers for these products will probably need more convincing that the product you’re sending them to is actually the best product for them.
This is where your blog comes in.
If you write a post about a product and tell your audience how it helped you achieve A, B and C, they will see the benefit of this product and are more likely to buy it.
Through your blog you will be able to build a following that will trust your opinion on your recommended affiliate products. And if they subscribe to your email list you will be able to keep sending potential customers to your blog and to your affiliate links.
So to increase your sales with affiliate marketing you need a blog.
If you don’t have a blog yet, you can learn how to start one here:
WHEN TO START WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING
A lot of new bloggers start their blog and think they need to create lots of content first before thinking of monetising their blog.
Using this approach will only delay the opportunity to make money from your blog. There is no need to wait with affiliate marketing, it is perfectly fine to add affiliate links right from the start.
Example: I was reading this blog post recently and it included a list of products and reasons why they were so good. I was surprised to see that these products came without a link. I asked the blogger why she didn’t add affiliate links and she said that her blog was only 2 months old and she would do this later on.
There are a few problems with this approach:
- I was frustrated that I could not check out the product
- I was confused why it wouldn’t include a link to make my life easier (If you recommend something, always include a link, even if you are not an affiliate of this product.)
- No one knows how old your blog is, so don’t hold back!
- If she was to add affiliate links later on, she might find that her recommended product doesn’t have an affiliate program but a very similar product does. Now she will have to rewrite her content to match this new product.
In other words, it is a good idea to sign up for affiliate programs early on, so it can actually help you write your blog posts. Make sure to find products that you like and that you know are suitable for your audience.
Related reading: 25 High Paying Affiliate Programs for 5 Popular Niches.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
To be successful at affiliate marketing you need to know who you are writing your blog posts for. You need to know your audience.
When you know who your target audience is, you can figure out what products you can sell to them.
Use the following process to find suitable products for your audience:
- What problems does your audience have, what are they struggling with?
- Create informative blog posts that answer this audience’s questions.
- Choose affiliate products that will help your audience solve these problems.
- Recommend these affiliate products in your blog post where relevant.
you can reverse engineer the sales process.
- What affiliate product do you love and would you like to sell?
- What problem does this product solve?
- Who has this problem?
- Create a blog that targets the audience that needs this product.
- Create informative blog posts that answer their questions.
- Offer them the affiliate product as a solution.
HOW TO FIND AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
When you know what product you want to promote, you need to find their affiliate program and sign up for it. Most businesses and brands that have an affiliate program have a link in their footer like this:
Sign up for several programs and make sure to read their Terms & Conditions so you know what is or isn’t allowed.
You can also sign up for affiliate networks. Affiliate networks are like the middle man between the blogger and the brand that sells the product. Affiliate networks are great to sign up for, because they have affiliate programs for any blogging niche.
Some affiliate networks are:
Once you’ve signed up to a network you’ll be able to browse tons of affiliate programs and find products that are suitable for your audience. When you join a program, they will supply you with your own personal affiliate link for this product. All you have to do is add their affiliate link to your blog post and promote your post.
Always make sure to read the Terms & Conditions of every affiliate program you sign up with. Some programs won’t allow you to send affiliate links in emails or add them to pdf’s or ebooks. Some won’t allow you to use link shortening services like bit.ly to cloak your links.
When using affiliate links you always have to include an affiliate disclosure to let your readers know that you are promoting a product and you will receive a commission if someone buys something through your link.
This is my affiliate disclosure:
I may earn a small commission for affiliate links in this post at no extra cost to you.
Make sure to put it:
- Near the top of every blog post
- In your emails
- In your Pinterest pin descriptions for pins that go straight to an affiliate product
- In social media posts promoting an affiliate product
- In your optin freebie like an ebook or digital download if using affiliate links
Must have blog pages
When using affiliate marketing to monetise your blog, you need to add the following legal pages to your blog:
- Terms & Conditions
It is important to set these pages up properly to protect yourself from possible lawsuits. Contact a lawyer to get these pages tailor made to your business, or check out the Contract Shop which has packages available especially for bloggers.
THE BENEFITS OF AFFILIATE MARKETING
Compared to selling your own product, affiliate marketing has several benefits.
- No upfront production cost. If you are selling a physical product through affiliate marketing, you don’t have the up front cost of creating this product.
- No risk. Because you don’t have to invest money into producing a product, there is no risk if you don’t sell anything.
- No extra work. If someone buys through your affiliate link, you make money but you don’t have to send the product or deal with returns or complaints. You can literally make money while you sleep.
You can also use Affiliate Marketing as research for your own business.
Let’s say you are considering creating your own digital product like an ebook or an online course. How will you know if there is a demand for this? You could sign up as an affiliate for a similar course or ebook and see how often it sells.
PROMOTING YOUR AFFILIATE PRODUCTS
The best way to promote your affiliate products is by adding links in your blog posts and sharing your posts with your email subscribers and on social media.
The posts that tend to convert the most are the posts that review the affiliate product. Let your readers know why you love this product. Show them how it works and how it will benefit them. Try to add a photo or a screenshot of the product, or if it’s a physical product and you own it, take a photo of yourself using the product. This will create trust in your readers, and readers that trust you are more likely to buy from you.
For more tips on promoting your blog read:
QUICK TIPS FOR AFFILIATE SUCCESS
- Target your post at a specific audience
- Address a problem in your blog post
- Add affiliate links in relevant spots throughout your blog post
- Focus your blog post on one product only to get more clicks and sales
- Optimise your blog post for SEO (read how to do this here)
- Promote your blog posts
I hope this post has answered your questions and you now have a better understanding of how to start with affiliate marketing.
If you don’t have a blog and you want to start one now, you can get my free Ultimate Blog Planner Workbook below and plan your blog for success.