Hi friends! Today’s post is a guest post from Amanda of The Happy Arkansan and Amanda Cross Co. She writes amazing posts on everything from college, lifestyle, freelancing, and blogging, and in this post she’s written 7 Tips for Crushing Affiliate Marketing as a Blogger. I’ve personally been blogging and using affiliate links since 2017, but after reading this guest post, I’m going back and re-working my entire affiliate marketing strategy! She has so many great tips here that you’re sure to crush your affiliate marketing goals after reading this post. If you’re interested in guest posting on This Girl Knows It too, just click here to contact me.
There are a plethora of ways to make money as a blogger. One of my favorite ways to make money with my blog is affiliate marketing. There are so many affiliate marketing gurus out there that it can be challenging to understand the role your blog plays. I recently started making more consistent income with affiliate marketing, and it’s been such a blessing in my life. It is possible to earn affiliate income in 2019 and beyond, and I am here to share my best tips with you. Whether you are a new blogger or a veteran, listen up for tips to help you crush your affiliate marketing goals.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Before we get started with today’s topic, let’s start with the basics. Affiliate marketing is a type of marketing based on relationships. You create a relationship with a brand that allows you to get a commission based on products you help them sell. This relationship is usually established with the help of trackable links or coupon codes. Once someone makes a purchase after being referred by your link or coupon code, you get money based on a percentage of their sale or a flat rate.
Now that we know what affiliate marketing is let’s talk about how to crush affiliate marketing as a blogger.
1) Join Programs For Products You Already Love And Scout For New Programs Often
If you want to make affiliate marketing work, one of the easiest things to do is start with what you love. If you are promoting the products you already love and use daily, your enthusiasm will shine through in the content you create.
Most companies understand the value of affiliate marketing in today’s age. Even the smallest businesses are creating affiliate programs. Make a list of the products you love and search for affiliate programs for the brand.
If you can’t find the brand’s affiliate program, consider programs that allow you to link to those products you love. For example, maybe you can’t find a specific lipstick manufacturers affiliate program, but the lipstick is on Amazon or another makeup retailer.
After you’ve joined programs for products you already know and love, scout for new programs often. I am always looking on ShareASale, Impact, and CJ for new programs to join. You never know when a program might catch your eye.
2) If You Don’t Know Where To Begin, Start With Your Popular Content
Starting your affiliate marketing journey can be challenging. How do you make the greatest impact right away? One quick affiliate marketing win is going through your top ten posts. What’s already bringing in traffic? Make sure you add affiliate links to those posts.
If you want to get super specific, think about your top posts every month for the last year. If something was trending last December, there is a chance it’ll trend this December. Make sure you have affiliate links in the top posts for the year as well as each month.
3) Invest In Your Blog To Make Affiliate Marketing Work
Next, we have to talk about the investments you make in your blog. Besides the blog investments that Charlotte recently mentioned, I want to talk about some affiliate specific investments you can make.
One of the biggest investments I made in my blog within the last year or so was moving to WordPress. Ultimately, I love Blogger and Squarespace, but the affiliate tools WordPress provides thanks to plugins are unmatched.
Here are a few plugins I use consistently to make affiliate marketing work for my blog:
- Title and Nofollow For Links: I hate coding nofollow links for affiliate and sponsored content. Life’s easier when I can just check a box and go. This plugin saves me so muchÇ time and headache by creating a nofollow checkbox when I add a link on WordPress.
- Pretty Links: Sometimes, you need a vanity link. You don’t necessarily need this plugin to create vanity links, but it’s far less messy to let Pretty Links do the coding for me. I can use these links on social media and track clicks through the Pretty Links dashboard.
- Yoast SEO: SEO is a massive part of my affiliate marketing strategy. I’m not a very salesy person. I love that I can get new people on my site to view my affiliate content, and then they decide whether they want to purchase or not. Yoast SEO isn’t the end all be all, but it helps me to check the readability and potential searchability of my content.
- Ad Inserter: Another thing I hate doing is adding disclosures to every affiliate post I make. Sometimes I straight up forget to do so, but FTC rules are there for a reason. I was recently looking for a way to automate this process, and I came across a tutorial for using Ad Inserter to share affiliate disclaimers. It’s not perfect as it blends with my blog text a little more than I’d like, but it’s a start.
You may also want to invest in things like courses to grow parts of your blog that you are unhappy with. Take a Pinterest course or an affiliate marketing course. If you want to make the most impact, don’t go for general classes. Pick a specific thing you need help with and find an expert who can help you crush it with that topic.
Lastly, you’ll likely need to invest in purchasing products or software to be a great affiliate marketer. I try to budget about $100+ a month to product purchases. You can start small, by investing a small chunk of money. If you don’t want to spend any money at all, ask for gift cards to places you want to promote as gifts for birthdays or holidays. You don’t have to purchase everything you recommend, but I feel much better when I promote something I’ve tried before.
4) Create Content With Affiliate Marketing In Mind, Not As An Afterthought
When I first started my affiliate marketing journey, I would often add affiliate links as an afterthought. I would finish an article and exclaim, “oh yeah, let me go back and add a few affiliate links!” While this strategy can work for a few sales, the best approach is to create content with affiliate marketing in mind.
As a blogger who is primed to love valuable content, you may find it challenging to create content through an affiliate marketing first lens. Creating content this way is this is the best way I’ve found to create content that converts.
When I want to create affiliate first content, I tend to focus on one specific affiliate program. How can I create content around this company that’s interesting to my audience or interesting to someone considering their products? I end up creating a lot of reviews as a default, but there are a plethora of ways to create affiliate content. Which brings me to my next point…
5) Find Creative Ways To Promote Affiliate Links
While I tend to lean on product reviews, that’s not the only way to create content around affiliate products.
For example, I am an Erin Condren affiliate on my blog. I could go for an Erin Condren planner review, that would ultimately produce some clicks if I were able to generate enough interest. Erin Condren reviews are plentiful if you search for the term on Google, though:
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t write reviews when there are already a plethora of them. Many of my reviews are in a sea of other reviews, but they still work.
You might find that your time is best spent getting creative about the kind of content you post. If we continue the Erin Condren affiliate idea, I could write about organization and target my specific audience. Most of my Erin Condren affiliate content has revolved around ways to use the planners and other products to lead a more productive life in college.
Instead of going for the most obvious content, consider other kinds of content you could create around the products at hand. Have a creative brainstorming session where you go through all of your affiliate relationships and think about new post ideas. Shy away from ideas like product reviews and hauls to see how creative you can get.
6) Connect With Your Affiliate Marketing Manager Often
One of my best tips for crushing affiliate marketing as a blogger is to speak with your affiliate marketing manager often. You are in a unique situation to make an impact on your career. Affiliate marketing is about more than raking in some extra cash. You can create a genuine connection with the company beyond your wildest dreams, work on paid collaborations, increase your affiliate income, and more.
So, how do you do this? Go back to the welcome email you got when you first joined your affiliate program. This is an automated email, but it usually lists contact information for your affiliate marketing manager.
Write an introductory email to your marketing manager. Share some of the coverage you’ve already done whether it’s a social media post or a full-fledged blog. If you haven’t made any strides yet, tell them about an idea you want to work on in the future. Let them know about your blog and why you think your audience would love their products. You are trying to build trust and camaraderie here.
If you aren’t a fan of making the first move, try responding to affiliate newsletters. Companies tend to send out regular emails to their affiliates about product launches and company news. Express interest in what the email is about and share their enthusiasm about the news. One email could be the start of a long and profitable friendship.
7) If One Program Fails, Try Again
Last, but not least, I want to mention that if one program fails, try again. I see so many bloggers get discouraged when massive programs like Amazon Associates don’t work for their brand. I am going to let you in on a secret, I’ve only ever been paid by Amazon once, and it was for a little over $10. Do I let that stop me from working with other programs? No. Amazon Associates is a very tough affiliate program to crack. I don’t think Amazon Associates is worth most blogger’s time.
You never know what will take off and when. Keep trying and creating new affiliate content on your website. It takes time for new posts to gain traction, but it will happen. When I first started affiliate marketing, I got so down on myself. I told myself that maybe I had attracted an audience that didn’t like to purchase things I promote or support me. It was a toxic inner dialogue that stopped me from truly trying to make affiliate marketing work. No one is against you, you just haven’t hit your stride yet.
So, the next time you have a negative thought about affiliate marketing or any money-making strategy on your blog, deconstruct it. You should never take anything you think out of fear at face value.
Affiliate marketing can be challenging to grasp for new and veteran bloggers alike. It’s not as simple as a sponsored post where you get a set amount of money for a post. Affiliate marketing can be so much more profitable than traditional paid collaborations. I hope that these tips gave you something to consider as you prepare to tackle affiliate marketing as a blogger.
Have you started using affiliate marketing on your blog? What strategies have had the most impact on your affiliate marketing income?
Amanda Cross is a lifestyle blogger from Arkansas. She is living her dreams, writing content online, from the comfort of her living room. Amanda loves short walks to get ice cream and helping millennials figure out the random parts of adulting she’s somehow managed to grasp.