Affiliate marketing is one of the most known (and most lucrative) ways to earn money online.
However, not every blogger can generate a good income from affiliate commissions.
I tell you more, with almost 2 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 as 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 turns 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.
You need to consider some points 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 Does It Work?
It’s a relatively modern form of marketing with 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 partner’s 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 the commission can be up to 50% or even 70% for specific products.
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 for affiliate programs, you will get a unique affiliate link that you will use when promoting that specific product.
This is a tracking URL, which companies (or affiliate networks) use to record if your referral generated the sale.
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, if your visitor uses your affiliate link to check a product web page but decides to buy it within the next 30 days, 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 to generate income.
- Affiliate Marketplace: 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 will get for each sale of the specific product or service you promote. 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 will 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 in affiliate marketing.
Soon, you will learn about coupons code, URL shorteners, landing pages, and so on.
Study and Research
Getting the right information is crucial for affiliate marketing, like any other online business.
First of all, it’s about learning SEO and copywriting. Select a niche, make keyword research, target specific terms and write relevant, useful, informing content for your users.
There are tons of courses available on the internet and you should make your research before choosing one. I suggest this one, hosted by The Second Wallet and presented by Vick Strizheus, 8-figure internet entrepreneur and digital consultant.
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 skincare and have a routine you want to share with millions of people. Direct sales for organic skincare companies have been increasing recently with the trends toward organic healthcare products. If you already know about 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, the BlueHost affiliate program gives a $60 commission for each sale.
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. Still, 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 lose not only 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 that runs the program will be the ones paying you, so make sure that you do as much research as possible into the companies rates compared to their competitors and ask around to see if the company you’re considering has 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. With PPS, you’ll only get your commission if the visitor eventually purchases 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 you’re most comfortable with.
Produce HIGH-QUALITY Content
Do you know your audience?
Be sure to promote just those specific products or services 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, like any other task online, if you are going to use the right tools, everything becomes much simpler.
First of all, you want to have a blog.
Do you need a completely 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 a tool to suggest to you.
It’s called the Pretty Links plugin, which will make your affiliate marketing work much easier.
Basically, it helps manage all your affiliate links under one dashboard, making it easy to add them every time you create new content.
Also, you can create groups for your links, cloak, and customize them.
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, 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!