By: Rita Cunha | January 5, 2021
Affiliate marketing might be one of the best side-hustles out there for freelancer bloggers. It is relatively easy to start with and has the potential to make you a lot of money. With enough hard work and time put into it, you could even make a full-time income just with this online marketing strategy!
Today, let’s take a look at how affiliate marketing works and how you can make money with it. With the help of our tips and resources, this won’t seem like a difficult task. Not to mention that your returns will be quite worth it.
What Is Affiliate Marketing and How Does It Work?
There are tons of different digital marketing strategies and affiliate marketing is one of them. It’s special because companies can advertise their products more subtly. They don’t have to pay for a large banner to be displayed on a blog. Rather, they ride on the popularity of blogging.
When a blogger mentions digital or physical products in a post, they can add an affiliate link. If a reader clicks on that link and purchases the product, the blogger will then get a commission. This is called cost-per-action (CPA) marketing. In other words, bloggers get rewarded for recommending products, but only if someone buys them.
In a way, affiliate marketing is an easier route than e-commerce. The blogger doesn’t have to carry any stock or coordinate manufacturing processes. All it takes is writing product reviews and getting a payout.
Is Affiliate Marketing Lucrative?
Affiliate marketing is almost passive income, really. A blogger will continue to make a referral or affiliate commission per sale, even if they linked to products months prior.
This type of digital marketing can be really lucrative if you have a large readership. The more people buy things you recommend, the higher your conversion rates, and the more money you’ll have in your account.
Who Can Make Money from It?
Everyone! While there are some barriers to starting an e-commerce business, getting into affiliate marketing is worlds easier. You don’t have to come up with your own products, keep track of inventory, handle shipping and payments, nor deal with factories or the middle-man. Just writing quality blog posts and working on expanding your reach will get you to a place where you’re making good money.
How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing in 5 Steps
Does all this sound like a good side hustle for you? If so, it’s time to dive into how to get started with affiliate marketing. This step-by-step guide is perfect for any new affiliate marketer, no level of experience required.
1. Have an Established Blog That Works
For influencers to make money with affiliate marketing they first need readers. You can’t have a steady influx of readers if you don’t have an established blog. So the first step will be to step up your blog game (WordPress is very beginner-friendly).
Make sure to set out a clear vision of what you want to achieve with your webpage. Who will you be writing for? And what topics will you cover? This will be your niche.
2. Sign Up for an Affiliate Network
Then, choose an affiliate network to start with. Further down in this article, you will find our top 21 recommendations. Don’t just settle for a network with high commissions payout if it only promotes products your readers wouldn’t buy. There would be no point in that.
3. Weave Your Links into Your Blog Content
Remember, content marketing always comes first. In other words, you need to ensure you are putting out high-quality content. Then you can worry about linking to affiliate products.
Ask yourself “what would my audience like to read about?” Then take that answer and find a way to tie it with affiliate marketing. So, for instance, if you have a blog all about web designing, you could write a product review for a new designing platform.
4. Promote, Promote, Promote
You should promote every piece of content you publish. Social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on) can be a great way of spreading the word. Your followers can then visit your blog and hopefully purchase something through your affiliate links.
Moreover, there is email marketing. When you create an email list, your subscribers will get a notification whenever you have a new post. Thus, they will go to your page and possibly buy your affiliate products. Hint: if you want to build an email list, offer something to your readers in exchange for signing up. This could be a landing page offering a free webinar, informational e-books, white papers, video tutorials, and more.
If you want to take things even further and boost your affiliate marketing sales, try paid ads. You will be charged a “pay per click” (PPC) rate but you can get quite a lot of loyal readers from them. Moreover, search engine optimization (or SEO) is well worth investing time and effort into—plus, in many cases it’s free!
5. Keep Track of Your Affiliate Sales
You want to make sure your affiliate website is having good results, right? It’s the only way to tweak things in your strategy and start making even more money. As you experiment with this side hustle, keep a spreadsheet or notebook with your weekly affiliate sales. Then, look back on it and change whatever needs improving.
Top 7 Tips for Making Affiliate Marketing Lucrative
These are the simplest steps to making money with an affiliate webpage. Are you ready to take your side hustle to the next level? If so, move on to these savvy tricks that every successful affiliate marketer has up their sleeve.
1. Pick the Products You Promote Wisely
You should only pick affiliate products you genuinely like. Otherwise, if a reader buys a poor-quality product at your recommendation, you will lose credibility. And in the world of affiliate marketing, credibility is everything.
2. Make Sure to Target Your Audience
Additionally, your affiliate website should advertise products your readers would be interested in. This is how you cultivate your niche and grow your audience. For example, if you blog about digital marketing, don’t start recommending rice cookers on your page.
3. Recommend Truly Useful Products
All the affiliate products you recommend should be useful. That is to say, your readers should see a reason to buy them. If you link to cheap products that rely on a gimmick, it’s safe to say your readers won’t trust you as much. And like we said, if they don’t trust you, you will lose money.
4. Diversify Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy
Don’t just settle for one affiliate network. If it makes sense in your niche, branch out! You will be able to recommend different products, which means you will likely pique the interest of more readers.
Moreover, having different affiliate marketing networks to rely on ensures you will always get paid, even if something goes wrong with one of them. More networks mean you have a better chance of making even more money online.
5. Perfect Your Blog’s Search Engine Optimization
We mentioned search engine optimization, but what is it all about? In a very simple way, SEO is all about making sure your blog shows up higher on the Google search results page.
Imagine this: I want to buy a rice cooker but don’t know which model to pick. I will type “best rice cooker” and click on the first two or three Google search results. If I find one I like, I will click the affiliate link and purchase it.
Bam, that means the blogger just made a commission. Wouldn’t you like to be that blogger? Thanks to SEO you can be. There is a lot to it, but you can get started for free today. Plus, if you have a WordPress blog, there are dozens of plugins to help you. It’s all about doing the right keyword research and then creating awesome content readers will love.
When done right, SEO can be just as lucrative (if not more!) than having a long email list and a great email marketing strategy.
6. Be Ready to Stand Out from Competitors
It used to be that only a hundred blogs did affiliate marketing, but those days are long gone. The competition is fierce now. For your online business to stand out you need to offer readers something different.
7. Be Transparent, Always
When you do affiliate blogging, there are some regulations you must follow. The Federal Trade Commission (or FTC) states you must warn readers that you may get a commission from their purchases. You can include this disclaimer at the top of your blog posts or on your landing page, as long as it’s made clear to your audience.
10 Best Affiliate Marketing Programs to Consider
Now that you know all about how to make money with affiliate marketing, let’s look at some of the best affiliate programs out there. We have made sure to include a few options for different niches, so take notes.
ClickBank is incredibly popular, and for good reason. This affiliate network functions as a marketplace for all kinds of products in need of promotion. Over the past twenty years, ClickBank affiliate bloggers have made over $4.2 billion in commission!
2. Commission Junction
Commission Junction is yet another giant in the affiliate program world. They, too, focus on all sorts of products in different niches, so you are bound to find something worth your time there. They successfully set up 4.8 million affiliate opportunities every year.
For the past twenty years, ShareASale has helped bloggers monetize their content. When you sign up, you will see all the affiliate opportunities available at that time. Because there are new affiliate deals uploaded daily, there is potentially a lot of money to be made.
4. Amazon Associates
Who hasn’t heard of Amazon Associates? Maybe you haven’t, but you have most certainly clicked on an Amazon affiliate link before. It is one of the most popular programs today. The commission rates vary from 1% to 10%, with luxury beauty products among the best-paying out there.
If you write about business topics, you may want to check out the Shopify affiliate program. This Canadian e-commerce giant helps business owners streamline their day-to-day activities and boost sales. You will get over $50 for every person that subscribes to a paid membership using your unique link.
Swagbucks helps people make money from the comforts of their home. Whether it is by answering surveys or watching short videos, your readers can make a few bucks just by being on their phones. Who wouldn’t want that? If you sign up for the affiliate program, you will get a commission every time your readers create an account with Swagbucks.
Are you a blogger writing about how to make money blogging? Then you could sign up for the Bluehost affiliate program. By recommending it to your readers you will help them set up their online business, and make money at the same time!
HubSpot is another great product to recommend to readers of marketing blogs. It’s a helpful tool that has a very attractive affiliate program as well.
SEMRush is one of those tools incredibly important to the world of online marketing. If you often write content about SEO and other digital marketing strategies, sign up for SEMRush affiliate. Both you and your readers have a lot to gain from it.
Are you a travel blogger? If so, why haven’t you signed up to do affiliate marketing with TripAdvisor? Not only is it a well-established brand in the vacation rentals market, but it also offers pretty sweet incentives to bloggers wanting to partner up.
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