Affiliate marketing is a hot topic in blogging and one of the best ways to make passive income with your blog.
There are four main ways to turn your blog into a business; having your own products or services, advertisements, sponsored posts, and affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing can feel overwhelming at first, like everything with blogging, but once you get it set up, your links can continue making you money for years without much work.
This post contains affiliate links. This means if you purchase a product through one of my links I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
What is affiliate marketing?
Companies, big or small, love to use you to get their products in front of more people. When you apply to be an affiliate for a particular company, they will give you a unique link that tracks who comes to their site from you. Then you will be compensated in some way for bringing them a customer. This may be a percentage of the cost, a flat fee, or a free product. In any event, it is money in your pocket and doesn’t cost the customer anything extra.
Affiliate marketing works because you have already built trust with your audience so the company doesn’t have to. It is one of the cheapest forms of advertisement, and you work hard to promote products you love because you benefit from a sale. It really is a win win and a legitimate way to create a substantial revenue stream.
There are a few things you need to know about affiliate marketing to ensure you have everything set up legally and don’t turn away your readers.
Let’s go over these first steps and get your affiliate marketing plan set up so you are ready to get started.
FTC regulations for affiliate marketing
First, make sure you know all the laws regarding affiliate marketing. The FTC has regulations put into place to protect consumers. If you are promoting a service or product, your reader should be aware you are being compensated. In order for a consumer to make an educated decision all information needs to be provided, including that you are an affiliate for the product. There is SO much important information that you should make sure to understand. The FTC website gives you everything you need to know. It is a lot to take in and legally written, so if you look at it and still have no idea what the regulations are, then I suggest Michelle’s amazing course. She breaks all the legality down into understandable and useable chunks as well as teaches you her affiliate marketing strategy. If you don’t know Michelle, she makes over $100,000/month with her blog, makingsenseofcents.com, and half of that monthly income comes from her affiliate sales. Read more about her and the class here.
How to find affiliate marketing programs
- What problems are you solving for your reader?
- What services and products do they need, that will make their lives easier and more enjoyable?
This will be different for every niche. Answering these questions is an important first step to developing a successful affiliate marketing strategy.
- Open up another tab in your browser and create a google spreadsheet or other table.
- Create three columns with these headings,
- guestions my audience is asking/problems they have
- products/services that will help
- products/services I love that they will too.
Here’s an example:
- Now, list some questions and problems that you are trying to solve for your audience.
- Think of as many products or services that you know can help and write them in the next column.
- Continue by writing down products or services you love and know your readers will love too.
All you need to do now is find out if there is already an affiliate program for these products and services.
Go to Google and type in the search, [product name+affiliate program] and you will likely find the info needed to get signed up. If there isn’t a program established, the company may still be willing to compensate you. You can email them and ask about setting up an affiliate program or compensation plan.
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Finding out what is important to your readers is crucial in your affiliate marketing strategy.
If you promote items you don’t personally love or that are way off topic, your readers will lose trust in you and your conversion rates will suffer greatly. As you build trust with your audience and continually give them amazing content and resources, they will buy what you are promoting because they will KNOW it must be amazing. Don’t promote a product just to make a sale. In the long run, you need to be authentic and honest in all your reviews in order to be successful with affiliate marketing.
Michelle’s course, Making sense of affiliate marking, goes in depth on how to find the right programs that will build trust with your audience and get you the best conversions.
What to do once you have your affiliate programs chosen
- Get signed up.
- Some Affiliates programs are housed within a larger network, such as Shareasale, CJaffiliates, etc.
- Others will have you sign up with them independently.
Either way, the process is usually very similar. Here’s what to expect.
You will enter some personal information, some payment information, and answer a few questions about your blog. Some programs will ask you about your followers, which might sound scary at first, but don’t let it scare you off. Most of the time, your following won’t keep you from getting accepted into the program and if it does, you can apply again at a later date.
You will also be asked how you will be promoting the product/service. I suggest reading the terms and conditions to see what kind of promotion is allowed before answering this question. If email marketing is not allowed, then don’t include that in how you will promote and then make note of that so you don’t accidentally break the rules later.
You can keep your description brief. Explain who you are, who your audience is, why your site is a good fit, and how you will promote the product or service.
Here’s an example of what you could write.
[Product/service name] is a perfect fit for my audience at [your website name]. I write about [main topics from your site] and provide [product/services/resources] for [your main audience and/or problem you are solving]. I will promote your product/service by [add main promo types- be sure to match them to what is aloud with the product]. Please take a look at my website [provide link]. Thank you for your consideration. I am excited to work with you.
[your sign off]
- Get familiar with the FTC regulations on affiliate marketing
- Take Michelle’s course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing– optional, but highly recommended if you are looking to make a substantial income.
- Brainstorm the best products/services for your audience- products you know and love
- Apply for affiliate programs
- Add links where appropriate on your website, social media, through email, etc.
Affiliate marketing can be a great way to create passive income when blogging. Take your time as you get started with affiliate marketing. Planning out a strategic strategy will pay off huge in the future so be intentional about the products/services you promote.
Keep me posted with your progress and any questions you may have!
You can do this!
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