It absolutely blew my mind when I learned people around the world use affiliate marketing to make money online. How could it be possible that normal people made money online simply by partnering with advertisers to market their products or businesses?
So I researched it. I read other bloggers’ income reports and saw the potential to start a side hustle blogging in order to make extra money online.
And because of affiliate marketing, I earned nearly $75 my first month blogging (read about it in my first income report here). And then the growth continued (you can find my other income reports here). It was remarkable to see the true potential of earning extra cash by recommending products I used or believed in.
Don’t get me wrong: I worked hard and put in plenty of hours towards my blog. I figured out what doesn’t work (through many, many categorized failures), and, in turn, what works.
And you will put in a lot of work when implementing affiliate marketing. It can be confusing. Grueling. Stressful. But once you build a system into place, the income you earn from affiliate marketing truly becomes passive.
Here is the system I use to ensure I’m consistently getting affiliate conversions (i.e. successfully receiving commissions from affiliates) on my blog.
(Psst. Do you want to know the affiliate marketing basics? Check out this beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing that lists affiliate programs you can join today!)
This post contains affiliate links to help keep this blog running.
To learn more about affiliate links, click here.
1. Be professional: get self-hosted.
There are several reasons to invest in a self-hosted WordPress blog if you plan to use affiliate marketing to make money online:
- You can make your blog more search-engine friendly by going self-hosted.
- Which means your posts are more likely to be seen by a wider audience.
- Self-hosted WordPress is far more customizable (themes, plugins, widgets).
- If you are self-hosted, you own your content.
It is possible to make affiliate income without a self-hosted blog. However, having your own blog is a huge +1 for your platform because:
- You can write in-depth product reviews.
- Your blog posts can pop up in search engine searches.
- Through your blog, you establish a relationship with your readers.
Plus, it’s pretty affordable to start your own blog. Siteground’s hosting plans start at a mere $3.95 per month, and I can confidently say they’re the best host on the market. Click here to sign up for Siteground.
Or, click here to read a step-by-step guide on how to start your very own self-hosted WordPress blog.
Related Reading: How to Start a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog
2. Select a variety of low-paying, mid-paying, and high-paying affiliates.
Consider these three rules when you choose an affiliate program:
- Choose affiliates based on your readers’ interests.
- Partner with affiliates you truly believe in and can answer questions about.
- Select a variety of low-paying, mid-paying, and high-paying affiliates.
By selecting a variety of low-paying, mid-paying, and high-paying affiliates, you diversify the type of income you receive.
Readers aren’t always ready to commit to the high-paying affiliates you recommend because that requires more commitment (like a payment) from them. However, the low-paying affiliates you recommend probably require a smaller commitment (like an e-mail address).
Most importantly, partner with affiliates you truly believe in and can answer questions about.
3. Perform keyword research.
You should write about what people are searching. To do this, perform keyword research based on what you want to write about.
This is an important step that shouldn’t be skipped. Should I repeat that?Do NOT skip keyword research (and other affiliate marketing tips) Click To Tweet
I accidentally discovered the power of selecting the right keywords this past month. One of my top posts brings in regular traffic from Pinterest, and thus brings me affiliate conversions. It’s all because I selected the right keyword with low competition.
Selecting a low competition keyword means I had to compete with fewer bloggers to rank high for my keyword.
So, how do you know if the keyword you select for your post is what people are searching? And then how do you know if the keyword has low competition?
I use the keyword researching tool Jaaxy. With Jaaxy, you type in a specific keyword. Then, Jaaxy gives you the following information:
- other similar keywords
- how often each keyword is searched
- the number of other competitors for that specific keyword
When you can see how often a keyword is being searched, and if the keyword has a low or high amount of competitors, you can decide if you chose the best keyword for your post.
By choosing the right keywords, you are directing long-term traffic from search engine searches to your blog.
4. Write phenomenal content.
Your content should strive to be:
Write shareable content you would want to share. This way, the people who read your post will be blown away by the epic-ness and potentially share it with their own audience or friends. When this happens, your potential for affiliate conversions multiplies.
Your content should also be well-written. To avoid minor grammar and spelling mistakes, download the free web-application Grammarly. Or, click here to read about how using Grammarly improves your writing and captivates your readers.
And as much as possible, write evergreen content. Evergreen content is content that will be relevant all year. When I first started my blog, I was excited to publish my Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Him (fun fact: this is the post that earned me my very first $0.46 commission). But I can’t necessarily promote this post all year long. So while these holiday-centric posts are fun, they won’t generate many views (and thus affiliate commissions) throughout the year.
5. Tell your readers. Then guide them.
Don’t go for the affiliate sale or conversion immediately. Tell your readers about a product first.
- Explain as much as you can about something. Don’t just assume they know everything.
- At the same time, talk about the benefits of the product or affiliate.
- Focus on how your affiliate, or the product, will benefit them.
Don’t just assume readers are going to click every affiliate link you put out there. First, explain the benefits of selecting a particular affiliate. Then, guide them to “click here” or “sign up here” using your affiliate link!
But don’t just tell your readers they need something. Show your readers why they need something. You can do this by writing a tutorial or explaining the benefits of each product on a list.
6. Create a marketing plan.
It’s not sufficient to write a post and let it sit there. For every post you write, you should think about how to market it in the long term.
- How are you going to market your post after publication?
- What tweets are you going to post on Twitter, and how often?
- How will you bring this up to your audience on Facebook every now and then?
- Did you select the right keywords for your post to show at the top of Pinterest searches?
One thing I do after I publish every post: participate in Facebook group re-pin threads. This helps me establish a few re-pins on my pins, and thus have a larger opportunity at being shown at the top of certain keyword searches.
- The Ultimate Pinterest Strategy to Increase Page Views
- How to Use Facebook Groups to Drive Traffic to Your Blog
7. Attract readers with an engaging headline.
So you wrote a phenomenal post. You interwove your posts with affiliate links to products. You explained all the benefits to anyone who comes across your post.
But remember: in order to make money from affiliate marketing on your blog, you need to somehow attract people to visit your post.
One of those ways includes writing a headline that will make people want to read your writing.
There are plenty of ways to grab someone’s attention from a headline. A few tactics include:
- Make them curious.
- Immediately let them know what’s in it for them.
- Appeal to their emotions.
I like to use Pinterest images with different headlines, so I can ultimately see which one is better written and gets people more engaged with my posts. With Pinterest’s new algorithm, you can easily do and track the same!
8. Don’t just deliver. Overdeliver.
Do you ever click on a post with an incredibly captivating, engaging headline…
…and feel disappointed by what you read?
Yes, you should attract readers with an engaging headline. But if you’re not delivering, you’re disappointing.Attract readers with an engaging headline. But if you're not delivering, you're disappointing. Click To Tweet
Your blogging reputation is on the line with every post you put out there. So make sure that when someone is directed to an article on your blog, you strive to put out new, exciting and helpful information for them.
There are a ton of different posts out there. And in order to stand out from your competition, you need to overdeliver what you’re promising in the headline.
9. Go the extra mile to ensure your posts are seen.
Be consistent with your promotion both on, and off, your blog. I’m not trying to hit you with rocket science. But, to make money from affiliate marketing, you do need to have some kind of an audience.
There are many ways to find and build your audience.
- Use a Pinterest scheduler like Tailwind or Boardbooster to ensure consistent Pinterest promotion.
- Schedule tweets and Facebook posts via a platform like Hootsuite.
- Interlink posts to consistently direct your readers to older posts!
I just finished reading The She Approach to Boosting Your Blog Traffic. Ana from The She Approach wrote a phenomenal, easy-to-read guide for both newer and more seasoned bloggers to boost their blog traffic numbers.
This book was written so well, and packed with so much information, I couldn’t stop reading it. I finished reading it in one sitting. And the second I finished it, I seriously felt so impressed with the advice, I tweeted about it.
Use the code ‘JUNEPROMO’ to get $4 off your purchase in June 2017! The price for this eBook is rising to $25 on June 20, so I definitely recommend purchasing it while you can get your hands on it for only $15. Click here to find out more about The She Approach to Boosting Your Blog Traffic.
10. Build your e-mail list.
Lastly, work on building a targeted e-mail list. To do this:
- Think about your audience. Who are you writing to? What kind of person would look forward to reading and opening your emails? (to learn more about targeting your audience, I definitely recommend reading The She Approach to Boosting Your Blog Traffic)
- Next, create an irresistible, free opt-in for designed for that specific type of person who will love reading your e-mails.
- Nurture your e-mail list. Send them e-mails related to the opt-in they signed up for (that’s obviously what they’re interested in!).
- Select affiliate programs or products your audience would be interested in.
- Send occasional e-mails promoting those products, special deals, etc.!
- Emphasize why what you’re promoting is the perfect match.
If you’re not looking to spend money on an e-mail service just yet, use Mailerlite. You can use Mailerlite for free for your first 1,000 subscribers. Mailerlite’s free version gives you access to all of their features including e-mail automation and landing pages. It’s definitely a step up from other free providers. Sign up for Mailerlite for free and start building your e-mail list!
The secret to using affiliate marketing to make money online
The secret is: implementing successful affiliate marketing strategies is no easy feat (womp, womp).
But by following these steps outlined above (going self-hosted, making the time to perform keyword research, overdelivering, preparing a marketing plan), you are setting yourself up for success.
If you truly take the time to figure out what your audience is searching for, you are bound to create a phenomenal article they will want to read. And if you’ve found an affiliate that will solve all their problems, and explain to them how this affiliate will solve those problems, they will only thank you for the remarkable recommendation you make.
And like I said, it’s not sufficient to just write a post and let it sit there. Writing a post is only a small fraction of your job as a blogger. This is affiliate marketing after all, so you need to come up with an effective plan to market that post in order to get conversions!
If this post helped you out, please pin or share!
Want to read more?
- Affiliate Marketing 101 (and affiliate programs you can join today)
- Free Tools to Build a Successful Blog
- How to Make Money on Your Blog in 30 Days
Now I want to hear from you! What do you find the hardest part about affiliate marketing? What do you do to boost your affiliate conversions?