How you ever wondered how bloggers really make money online? Especially those that are not big enough to collaborate with name brands or don’t have enough traffic to earn anything substantial through ads?
Well, I’m here to reveal that it’s through Affiliate Marketing and affiliate sales.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
If you’re not already familiar with the term, affiliate marketing is a way to make money online that entails the use of affiliate links in order to promote certain services, products or brands, and to earn a commision when your links are being used to make a purchase.
To learn more about affiliate marketing and to get started with it right away, check out my free Affiliate Marketing course for bloggers.
But let’s say for example that you choose to place an affiliate link to an office chair that is being sold on Amazon in your new blog post about “Home Office Decor Essentials” and that one of your readers clicks on your link and purchases the chair and a lamp from Amazon.
Because they used your link (and Amazon can track that) you will receive up to 10% of the value of the entire cart (so not only the chair but the lamp as well!).
Considering that you didn’t have to make, store or sell the chair yourself, and you still make a cut of the sale, I would say that’s a pretty sweet deal.
In fact, the beauty of affiliate marketing is that you choose what to promote, how to promote it and how often you want to mention it. You don’t have a brand breathing down your neck, asking you to place 20 links in a blog post. You have sole creative control, which means you get to decide.
But the biggest decision you need to take in order to make money with affiliate marketing is to choose the right affiliate programs to join.
What are affiliate programs?
Affiliate marketing doesn’t happen magically. In order for brands to know that you are the one who referred them the sale, they need to create special links for you to use.
For that to be possible, companies use a special software and they devise a process to filter, accept and establish affiliates. And that’s all possible through an affiliate program.
To continue with the example I gave earlier, you can’t just pop Amazon links on your blog and make money from it. You first have to apply to join their Amazon Associates Program, and once you’re accepted, you will have access to your custom designed affiliate links.
Today, all major retailers have an affiliate program established and it’s easier than ever to apply and get accepted. The issue is that bloggers tend to apply to everything under the sun, and that’s one of the main reasons why they never end up making quite as much money as they should.
The solution is simple: the better you pick your affiliate programs, the more you will earn from affiliate marketing.
How do you find the best affiliate programs to join?
There are no magical affiliate programs either. While there are of course some that pay better (for example, you will always be offered a bigger commision for digital products than for physical ones), the best affiliate programs for bloggers will be different depending on your blog niche or audience.
To help you find, pick and join the best affiliate programs that you can promote on your blog, I put together a few steps you need to take first:
Affiliate programs from brands you love
First and foremost, you want to start with companies and brands that you know and love. Affiliate marketing isn’t about being sales and recommending products you’ve never heard of. It’s about sharing your favorite products, resources or tools with your audience.
So, for example, if you’re a beauty blogger, you need to look at the make-up brands that you currently use, go on their website and see if they have an affiliate program (or simply Google it by typing the name of the brand + “affiliate program”!).
Regardless of the niche of the website, most online stores will have a link with instructions on how to apply to their affiliate program at the very bottom of the homepage, under “Affiliates”, “Affiliate Program” or “Referral Program”. (Some brands might not advertise it, which is why it’s best to Google it as well sometimes.)
By starting with brands you love, you will develop a natural “selling voice” that won’t be about selling at all. You will be able to speak from the heart, share what you love with your readers and earn a commision for it.
Affiliate programs for brands your readers will love
But here’s the deal: affiliate marketing isn’t about you. It’s about your readers and their problems, needs and preferences.
So when looking to join affiliate programs, the best ones you could ever join are the ones that are offering a solution to your reader’s problem.
You can promote 20 types of make-up brands on your blog if you want, but if your readers come to you for skincare tips instead, you will be losing out.
So survey your audience, pay attention to questions they ask you, consider how you can recommend products that will actually improve their lives, and you stand to make real money with affiliate marketing!
Other high-paying affiliate programs
After you’ve made a list of affiliate programs from brands you and your readers love, you can research some more relevant affiliate programs for the niche you blog in.
Ideally, you would want to find programs that have a high commision and that pay well.
You need to get creative at this point and keep your eyes open for opportunities. Look to see what other bloggers in your niche promoting, what new affiliate programs have just launched and what your blog readers loving lately.
If you’re stuck on finding affiliate programs that fit the first 2 criteria, or you feel like you’ve probably joined them all by now, you can check out my Affiliate Programs Masterlist.
I created this masterlist to help bloggers like you find brands and products that you might not know about and I have listed over 500 affiliate programs in 17+ niches that you can choose between.
In conclusion, every blog is different, and the same affiliate programs are never going to work the same for two different bloggers. That’s why you have to do your homework and be very picky about the things you promote on your blog.
But once you do that, I have no doubt that you’re going to start earning money with affiliate marketing. In fact, that is the main way I make money blogging and I couldn’t recommend it more for bloggers who are just getting started and that don’t have the traffic or social media following to work on sponsored posts for example.
Are you satisfied with the affiliate programs that you’ve joined so far, or are you hunting for more? Let me know your thoughts and ask me anything in the comment section below!
About the Author: Ana is the creator of The She Approach and a blogging growth strategist & coach that helps bloggers increase their traffic and income so they can make a living doing what they love. If you’re in need of a solid strategy to grow your audience or guidance when it comes to monetizing your blog, check out her blog and join her email list here for more exclusive content.
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