Affiliate marketing is a great way to dive into earning with your blog – it’s beginner friendly, usually free to get started, and can blend seamlessly into your content. The concept is quite simple – you run a website and mention or promote product links across it. When someone clicks your link and buys a product, you get paid!
While it might be easy to get started, it’s even easier when you’ve got a helping hand! This post covers a few simple tips to keep in mind when exploring affiliate marketing, choosing a marketplace (and what that even is!) and promoting products.
Good SEO and affiliate marketing go hand in hand – a high traffic post or site will see higher conversions and more profits! Make sure your site is in tip-top shape as you grow!
A Quick Glossary
As you dive into affiliate marketing, you’ll hear a whole heap of swanky words being thrown around. Often, companies will have different names for the same things. It’s a little annoying, but easy to navigate when you understand the relationship between the seller and the promoter.
Advertiser / Seller / Merchant:
This is the person who makes the products – it could be a brand or individual. The customer usually buys the product through their check out process, they receive the funds, ship the product and reimburse the affiliate their commission.
Affiliate / Promoter:
That’s you! The affiliate is a third party that promotes a sellers products, and receives payment when a sale is made, should it meet the agreed conditions.
Commission is cash in your bank! It’s the portion of a product sale that you earn, for doing the hard work. Commission amounts can vary greatly depending on the product, program and brand. They can be based on percentage of a sale, or a set dollar value per sale.
Unfortunately not the kind of cookies you’re after – these cookies are digital ones, and they’re markers websites put on browsers to track user activity. Don’t think about it too hard coz it’s a little uncomfortable, but it’s how those damn Facebook ads keep following you everywhere once you’ve visited particular websites.
Cookies are anonymous codes attributed to a web browser (as in Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer) on a device. If you visited the same site on your desktop and phone, you’d have a separate cookie on each. Cookies can ‘expire’ in a matter of minutes, or even several months.
They’re important for affiliates, as they mark the window of opportunity for a sale. If say you include a link in a post and a reader visits that site, like the product but does not purchase it – cookies allow you to still receive a commission if that user goes back and purchases the product at a later date before the cookie expires.
Consider your niche
When searching for products to sell and marketplaces to join, think about your blog’s themes, and audience’s needs. What products make sense for you to sell? If you’re a lifestyle/fashion blogger, you could easily link to online dress websites, accessories and shoes on a daily basis. You could also realistically refer readers to beauty products, homewares, or reach even further – documenting your blogging techniques could easily lead to camera/gear sales, and posts on your latest holiday easily encourage readers to book their own adventure through travel sites, like Airbnb!
If you’re covering it in your content anyway, there’s a good chance there’s an affiliate product that will match the opportunities you already have on your site. DON’T go promoting products that don’t fit your blog, simply because the commission is high, they have fast turnover, or you’re just looking to make money any way possible – your readers will quickly get sick of this and turn away, and quickly any links won’t generate anything at all – not the outcome you’re after!
Keep It Ethical
While this one is really up to you, you should always be considering your users end experience – whether it’s with the advice you give to them or the products you recommend. If they trust your advice on how to dye their hair at home but end up with a burnt mess, they’re not going to be very happy. If you recommend a brand of dye and to follow the instructions on the bottle and it ends in disaster, they’re going to be pretty peeved. Recommending ‘dodgy’ products it’s a great way to lose your audience. A bad experience will lose their trust, and they won’t look to you for advice in future.
When recommending products, choose them for their purpose, quality and satisfaction. Begin working with products and brands you know, or do your research – find reviews, and see if you can get your hands on your own sample! It’s not always possible to try every product yourself before recommending it on your blog, your duty of care to your readers is to do your best to inform yourself, and present the best product possible.
Circling Back With Internal Linking
Internal linking is an SEO technique where you link to other pieces of content in your blog – just like at the top of this post where I linked to our Audience Persona post. Brainstorming internal linking opportunities is a great way to think of new content, AND a great way to find opportunities to slip affiliate links seamlessly into your content.
When we write a post, we consider all the prior knowledge a reader might need or further information they might like to explore – did we mention a related topic in our post that we could expand on? BOOM! A whole other post idea is born – and the same goes for affiliate marketing. Think of the experiences or requirements your readers might need (or want!) when reading your post – if you mention your beauty routine, you could link to your favourite product – OR, to a master post on your routine, and every product you use there! The possibilities are almost endless!
Choosing a Marketplace
There are several ways to get involved in affiliate programs, but the two easiest are through the company directly, or through a marketplace. Large companies are often able to manage and maintain their own affiliate program and cut out the third party. Smaller companies may not have the resources or experiences to run their own programs, so rely on marketplaces as a way to find affiliates.
ShareASale is a veteran marketplace, and still widely popular today. This is a great example where a blogger can get set up and start selling for free! All you’ll need to do is create an account, find products you’re interested in and start linking to them! Before joining a marketplace, check their terms and conditions, and watch out for hidden fees – the best options have none!
The other way to get involved is to find companies that run their own programs – simply Googling the company name with ‘Affiliate Program’ next to it will usually find what you’re after!
Think of brands and products you’d like to promote, find where they host their program (internal or through a marketplace) and get going!
This is only the beginning of your affiliate marketing journey, but we’re here to help you every step of the way!