Do you feel lost in a sea of affiliate sales advice? A blogger says something and it sounds good, so you try it, but you never quite see the results you want. So you try another bloggers best advice, and again nothing.
By time you’re done, you’re left with a huge disdain for affiliate sales.
You feel that your blog is different and you can’t possibly make money from affiliate sales. For some reason, it’s just not for you.
You feel like you’re doing it wrong. That there’s some secret key that all the bloggers making good money know, that you don’t, and you don’t know how to learn it, since they seem to be unwilling to teach it.
I get it!
I get it because I’ve been there, for the past year and a half. I tried EVERYTHING they said. Nothing worked. I figured it was just my audience and gave up. Yep, I totally gave up.
But I came across help and when I applied those methods, I started seeing results. So not only did I start applying the couple tricks I learned for one specific affiliate program, I started to take serious everything I already KNEW about affiliates.
Wanna know what happened???
My affiliate sales have gone up nearly $4,000 (!!!) in the last 45 days as a result of THESE tricks and tips because I started taking them seriously. And because I take it personally when other bloggers don’t share secrets, I’ve gone on this Rambo-style mission to teach all the secrets and hold nothing back. Today, I’m going to open up about affiliates and everything you need to know about how to ROCK your sales and let me just say,
NO!!! It’s NOT your blog. ANYONE can do this no matter WHAT kind of blog you have….IF you take it seriously.
The only question is….are you willing? Are you willing to throw out all preconceived notions you have and give this a chance? I was and my income has flown and I know yours can to or I wouldn’t waste your time on a post. I don’t write posts for traffic, I write posts to change the world. THAT’S why I’m here. You will find no complacency in me. This stuff is REAL and this stuff IS life changing! $4,000/month increase within 45 days, uhm, yes please!
I’ll let you in on a little secret. A lot of the money that I earn on my blog is either by ads or affiliate commissions. I’m not really all that fond of sponsored posts and I turn down most of the ones that come my way. I try really hard to put my readers first and think of things that would help THEM, more than myself.
This is how affiliates can come into play in a major way. If I’m posting or talking about something on my blog, my brain remembers, “Oh yeah, there’s an affiliate program for that,” and so I’ll post a quick link.
If I’m posting a DIY or something, how easy is it to just add a link. It’s simple, effective, it helps my readers, and it helps compensate me for the time that I spend on this blog (it truly is a full-time job). It’s a win-win.
Over the past year, I’ve really tried to become a queen in the area of affiliate links. I know what works and what doesn’t for my readers. Ultimately, it’s something that you will need to figure out for your own blog. You need to figure out what they respond to the most and how, but there ARE some tips that can get you started in the right direction.
First, never, ever link to something that is not useful or purposeful for and to your readers. Don’t just throw a link in there and call it good. It has to make sense. It has to make their lives easier or better and it has to be what they are interested in. If I’m writing a recipe post, I’m not going to throw in a jack-hammer affiliate link because it has a great commission on it. My audience probably wouldn’t ever even be looking at jack-hammers. It has to make sense.
Link within posts of like articles. If you’re posting a DIY recipe, link to the pan you used in the recipe on Amazon. Link to the book that you got the recipe from.
Make articles specifically for affiliate links that your audience is interested in. Let’s say I write an organizing post about how to organize your closet. Within that post, in 2 spots, I’m going to link to this post here. Why? Because I purposely wrote that article to do just that. My audience loves organizing as much as I do and so I write many posts on organizing.
I don’t want all my organizing posts to have links laden all over them, but I put a few affiliate links, a few links to others, and a few links to that particular article. That article is something they will enjoy reading. It has a lot of good, solid content….and a TON of affiliate links. And it does very well for me. That article took more than 7 hours to create! So, you need to make sure that it’s something your readers are truly interested in, otherwise, you could end up wasting a lot of time!
Within articles, link one link at the top of the post, in the first paragraph, and another link in the bottom of the post, in the last paragraph. In the last paragraph, put a call-to-action. “Click here to get this pan on Amazon.” It tells readers exactly where the link will take them and a lot of people like to know where they are going before they will click.
Be completely genuine and transparent. Don’t try to hide anything. Just be honest in your linking up. In doing so, you’ll maintain your trust with your readers, which is very important.
Another equally important thing is to tell your readers WHY they should give that link the time of day. Remember that everyone has the mentality, “What’s in it for me?” Tell them exactly why they should care about the link or the product that you are linking to. Don’t just drop a link in and expect people to click. This #1 trick has really helped improve my affiliate conversions by leaps and bounds. I was just putting in links, but not telling my readers why I think it’s a good fit for them.
When you are linking up, don’t be afraid to LINK UP. Link one link in every paragraph if you want. It doesn’t really matter AS LONG AS…you link to other places BESIDES JUST affiliates. DO NOT be one-sided. Do not just link to an affiliate and forget about other links. Link up to help the reader, not yourself. This was another problem I used to have. I was only taking the time to link up when I was getting something out of it (I say ashamedly). Now, I link up everywhere to everyone I can. Not because I’m trying to get some credit or make my affiliate links be a certain percentage of my overall links, but because my heart just wants to be helpful. Since I KNOW those resources because I’m blogging all day, I need to do my due diligence and link up when I can and where I can, regardless of whether I get anything out of it or not.
Remember that the #1 to earn money is to be helpful and serve others. NOT having an attitude like, “I’ll help you, you help me.” But just honestly and genuinely wanting to make your readers lives better and less time-constrained.
Don’t be afraid to link up to other blogs. Yes, you will lose traffic, but as long as you make those links all open up in another browser, it’s actually a GOOD thing to link to others for many, many reasons:
- You are seen as a team player, and you want to be
- You are helping your readers find the best content all the time
- You are seen by your readers as a leader, as someone who knows and can back up things with other social proof
- Blogging is NOT (I repeat NOT) a competition like so many think it is. You don’t HAVE TO kick and scream to get to the top. You can be kind and loving and just be your own personal best and make it to the top just the same.
- If you are able to help another blogger or get them traffic, why WOULDN’T you?!?!
Use bullet-pointed lists. They can help convey a message quickly and easily. Put an affiliate link or two in there and it can be quite effective!
Re-do the top 25% of all your articles with affiliate links. This means that if you have 100 posts, you should know (by Google Analytics) which your 25 most popular, most trafficked posts are. Always have 1-5 affiliate links within those posts, maybe even one image link as well, but if you do an image, be sure to describe it. Don’t just plug it in there. Tell them WHY you are putting it in there.
Be sure your links on your site are underlined. Most are, but I found that mine actually were NOT on my site and once I fixed that, my income went up a little bit.
Only link to quality products and services. If someone buys that piece of junk vacuum and it breaks down on them, you lost trust with one person, and I guarantee you, they are going to tell their friends too!
Make a video or tutorial and link to the affiliate product. People love to see how things work and a tutorial takes all the guesswork out of signing up for an account. It makes them feel more confident and comfortable. Example, if you are selling a printable package, you want to show them how they can use them. How will this printable package help them? Make their life easier? Help them solve a problem? Show them!
Don’t clutter up the page. Be sure you’re keeping your site clear of clutter so that the focus is on your content and not on everything going on around it!
Never be afraid to link up several similar companies at once. Sometimes whole lists of companies can be pretty effective too, like my Top 25 Best Survey Companies list. Now, if you go to that post, you notice that Pinecone Research is #1. It does get the most traffic, but there’s no affiliate program on that one (at least, not at this time). So why is it still #1 on my list? Because it’s #1 on MY list. The company is superior in my opinion and money can’t sway or buy that spot!
Give extra things away. I know a lot of successful affiliate marketers who, when they are trying to sell something, they give away a freebie when the person purchases. The truth is that freebies work, so if it’s an affiliate that’s worth it, do it! Create your own printable if you have to in order to go along with the affiliate, but do something to set yourself apart from everyone else who is selling that same affiliate!
Don’t have anything you can give away? Provide social proof. Create a case study, document your own results with graphs, charts, and data, giving clear examples. Ask your friends and colleagues to weigh in on the topic as well. Get quotes from other bloggers. Do what it takes to show proof that what you’re saying is true. In a world where so many fakers and liars out there are saying this and that, you want to go about your business, proving yourself at every turn you possibly can. You may still get called a liar, but if you are continually showing that you stand behind what you say, it won’t have as much merit as if you weren’t.
Related: Looking for content ideas? Here’s What To Do When You Run Out of Content Ideas For Your Blog
True and personal story…this month, I had someone or rather, a few people bald-faced call me a liar. But, I know that I’m not lying. There’s a lot of things that I’m not perfect in, but lying is kind of a strong point for me, always has been. After being publicly called a liar, a few other bloggers directly emailed me telling me they know I’m telling the truth. I was shocked. To see that kind of honor and integrity of other bloggers to simply email to let me know they knew I wasn’t lying meant a lot to me and helped me get through the situation with a lot more ease. I know who I am. I’m not perfect, I mess up all the time, but when I mess up, you know about it, because my conscience doesn’t allow me NOT to tell you. Prove yourself when you can, in as many things as you can. There ARE too many fakers and spammers out there for people who don’t know you, to know if you’re one of them or not.
If you’re selling an eBook or something of that nature, keep all those pins in a secret board and go through and pin them all to the appropriate boards once a month. Likewise, promote them all on Facebook, Twitter, and whatever social media you use the most, once a month.
Create your OWN audience. If you REALLY like a product and its good money, start creating well-written, solid content that you can plug that affiliate in easily and effortlessly. That’s the beauty of having a lifestyle blog. I can blog about a recipe one day and organizing the next, yet even blogging and making money the next day. I’m not a one-dimensional person, my blog isn’t going to be either!
Use Pinterest’s ranking system to tell you what they consider you popular in, what you have sway in. You can find this information by going to your Pinterest Analytics, (on Pinterest, click the gear button, then Analytics). On the top navigation bar, click Your Audience. On the second navigation bar, click Interests. There are 12 square boxes there that are topics. Those topics are what Pinterest considers you to rank in…what your audience values you for.
When you’re thinking of affiliates, think of those first few topics and find affiliates in those topics to share on Pinterest and on your blog. They will make you more money! Thus the reason I created the organizing post. I may be a saving and making money site, but believe it or not, Pinterest considers me to rank most on organization. Every site is different, but let’s say you rank on recipes…find cookbooks, find recipes that have affiliate programs and start linking to them and see if your audience responds.
And remember, that if an audience likes it on one form of social media, chances are, they will like it on another form. Let’s say you ROCK sales from Pinterest, it may be worth it to pay to promote a post on Facebook. Be sure to track your results, make sure you earn your money back for the ads in sales.
Another thing to consider is price point. When I first started trying to make money from affiliate programs, I focused on the big-ticket items. But for me, I’ve found that the affiliate links that get the most sales, are the ones under $10. Perhaps, it’s because I run a saving money blog and we are all just cheap (myself included).
Maybe it would be different for you, but if I set up an affiliate link ONCE for a book that is $10, I’ll get a LOT more sales for that, then I would for an item that is $50. So, I tend to personally go after the cheaper products, keeping my audience in mind. People are just more willing to spend 5 or 10 bucks, than they would be investing $50 into something.
With that said, don’t promote anything that isn’t worth your time. I’ve done a lot of affiliate promoting and several of the eBooks I’ve promoted made me $10 or less. After 2-3 months of promoting, even if it’s only 5 minutes of work, it’s NOT worth it to me. So, I stop. You want to set the limit for yourself…what’s worth it and what’s not, but just remember that every time you are promoting an affiliate that isn’t making you money, you’re NOT able to promote and find one that WILL.
Whatever type of blog you have, you’ll want to have some sort of resource page that is linked in your navigation bar somewhere. Of course, it has to make sense. My resources page is on blogging, because many of my readers want to know more about blogging and I could seriously talk about it all day…perfect fit, right?! 🙂 I didn’t know it at the time I created that page, but it’s come in handy so much, especially with all the blogging questions through email I get. Instead of linking them all in the particular email, I can refer them to the page when it is helpful.
Not only can they see that resource they were wanting, but more links to things they may like AND…get this…I get another pageview added!
If you can’t make a resource page, what about a getting started page? Or an income report? You can get creative, but the more lists you make, the more affiliate sales you see. That’s why I do a lot of gift guides….lists do extremely well for my blog. I’m not sure if that’s just me or not, but it’s certainly worth a shot…and that’s key. What works for one person, won’t work for another. Keep shooting arrows until you hit the bulls-eye, because I promise, it IS there.
For me, it took like a year and I was SOOOOOO frustrated I could pull my hair out. I kept saying, affiliates don’t work for me. They do, in fact, I was just doing it wrong. If you’re tempted to throw in the towel, be patient, just keep shooting those arrows until you hit something. Then shoot a similar arrow. Find out exactly what works through trial and error, because honestly, that’s all good blogging is…a lot of success all by trial and error! Any top blogger can tell you that!!!
It is ALL ABOUT finding the RIGHT fit for your audience, coupled with being 150% genuine in promoting them.
Whatever you do, don’t give up. The more links you have and the more popular your blog gets, the more and more income you’ll make and you will be so glad you took the time to link up. It takes a long time to link to all your posts, redo your top posts, and find new affiliate programs. Give yourself grace and know that it does take time. Nothing in the blogging world is overnight. Join the affiliate programs that you can and if you like a company and they don’t offer an affiliate program, email them and ask. I did that with PicMonkey a long time ago and they set one up. I helped them with the beta of it and now it’s this huge thing. I’ve done that several times now with different companies, just because I simply ask.