At the beginning of the year, one of my business goals was to build up my affiliate income. I was a part of a few affiliate schemes but had never made a sale. Not. One. Sale. 🙈
Now, I know that I’m definitely not the only blogger that has been in this position.
How many of us have signed up for affiliate schemes but never made an effort to promote the product? 🙋🏽
Or made a futile attempt at promoting without really knowing the best affiliate strategies to use? 🙋🏻🙋🏿
Or maybe you haven’t even tried because you have no idea how to start affiliate marketing in the first place? 🙋🏽🙋🏼🙋🏾🙋🏻
I know people throw out the phrase “I’ve been there” a lot but, seriously pal, I’ve been there. At the start of the year, I literally had NO idea what I was doing in the big scary world of affiliate marketing until I took the time to figure my shit out.
Once I started to implement a strategy, I went from $0 in affiliate income to a total of over $2,000 in a matter of months. It wasn’t a shortcut or a ‘quick-fix’ - it took some work and even more strategy - but it was worth every step.
In this blog post, I’m going to walk you through:
🤔 The fundamentals of affiliate marketing for beginners
🎉 The benefits of adding affiliate marketing into your income stream
📆 Why you need to set-up affiliate marketing sooner rather than later
🎯 How to find best-fit products to promote on your blog
🖥 The affiliate marketing training I took to help me get started
So, keep reading to learn all about affiliate marketing and start earning yo’self some extra cash! 👇
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What is affiliate marketing?
If you’re completely new to the world of affiliate marketing, let me fill ya in!
Affiliate marketing, from a blogger’s perspective, is where you promote a product to your audience - if they purchase the product through your unique link (your affiliate link) you’ll receive a small commission.
For example, let’s say you’re a mummy blogger and you have a blog post coming up about eco-friendly baby clothes. You reach out to an online boutique that focuses on eco-friendly clothes for babies and they ask you to join their affiliate team! Woohoo!
They give you a unique link and a login for your ‘affiliate portal’ where you can track clicks and commissions. You add your affiliate link into your new blog post and make sure your post is up to standard regarding SEO, shareability, images, etc.
As your pageviews start rolling in, you see readers starting to click your affiliate link and someone even buys a babygrow through your link! Amazing! The clothing brand rewards you for sending a customer their way by giving you 10% commission on the sale (i.e. if the babygrow were $15, you’d receive $1.50).
Why should you bother adding affiliate marketing into your income stream?
You might be thinking “why bother if ALL I get is $1.50?!?!” - if you can actually ‘think’ in exclamation points and question marks?
Let me break this down for ya:
- Everything adds up. The way I see it is that even if it’s an extra $50 a month to begin with, it’s $50 a month you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t have affiliate links set up. If you’re a member of multiple affiliate schemes, every little commission counts towards your monthly income. Some affiliate programmes for digital products (i.e. courses) will offer much larger commissions, some up to 50%, and allow you to make a heftier contribution to your income stream!
- It’s pretty passive income. I say “pretty passive” because it does take a little work to get everything set-up, create strong evergreen blog post to promote your link, and take part in seasonal promotions for certain products. That said, it’s usually a couple of hours work for long-term passive income stream. For one promotion I took part in, I spent about an hour or two writing up 3 emails to send to my mailing list and made 7 affiliate sales totalling in $467 for me!
- Way less work than creating your own products. If you’re in the market of creating your own digital products (e-books, e-courses, etc), then you might want to take a look at being an affiliate for some similar products first. It helps you prime your audience for purchasing digital products and also takes you WAY less time. It’s a good step in the right direction!
- You can build up connections. I love collaborating with fellow business owners by being an affiliate for them! Not only do I get to bring them new customers but I get to learn more about them and their business as well as learning more about how they promote their products.
- You’re helping your audience. I don’t become an affiliate for anything that isn’t relevant to my niche or that isn’t helpful for my audience. Sure, I get a small commission for my promotion, but I genuinely believe these products will HELP them on their mission. I’m opening their eyes to new products, new businesses, and new strategies to help them succeed in their own blogs + businesses!
This all said, there are couple of things to bear in mind with affiliate marketing before you get started.
- Payout period. You could put in a lot of work promoting an affiliate product but you have to wait to reap the rewards. There’s usually a payout period of 30 to 60 days for affiliate commissions, which can be painful but you’ll get your mullah in the end!
- Clashing promotions. You’re not in control of when your affiliate schemes have big ol’ promotions, so sometimes you’ll find multiple sales and promotions overlap. You don’t want to overbear your audience so sometimes you have to pick a favourite. On the other hand, you can segment your email list and promote your affiliate products to custom groups of your audience!
Why you need to set-up affiliate marketing sooner rather than later
Back in January, I had a list of business goals I wanted to achieve this year. Between relaunching a course, creating a NEW course, and building up my client base, affiliate marketing wasn’t exactly a huge priority for me.
It wasn’t until I watched a free workshop by Mariah Coz that I realised how beneficial it would be to get my affiliate marketing standards up to scratch before starting on anything else.
Affiliate marketing, like SEO, is something that can take a while to kick-in and pay off. It’s much better to start your affiliate strategy sooner rather than later because:
It’s something that is super simple to get started with - low hanging fruit, yo!
Your affiliate links can begin to circle the web and start getting clicks from your audience
You can be earning from your affiliate commissions WHILST you’re making your new course/working with clients/building your empire
Before you start working on your next big project, get your affiliate systems set up!
Related post → The Ultimate Guide on How To Set Business Goals
How to find the best affiliate schemes for your niche
So, you want to get started with your own affiliate marketing strategy but you have NO idea what affiliate schemes to join in the first place.
There are probably a handful of affiliate programmes to join right under your nose - if you NOSE where to look 😉
Here are some ideas on where to find the best affiliate schemes to get you started:
- Have a nosey at other bloggers in your niche. You might notice they have a ‘Resources’ page on their website with a whole list of products/services they are an affiliate for. This is just a massive wish list of brands for you to get in touch with!
- Make a list of your favourite resources/tools. If you’re already using them, they make for AMAZING products to promote to your audience as your recommendation will be truly authentic. These products probably have affiliate schemes you can apply to!
- Take note of which products you use on a daily basis. For example, if you’re a beauty blogger and you’re using the same brand of skincare every day, you might want to see if they have an affiliate scheme. If they do, you can write up a whole blog post about your skincare routine and link to their website - then watch the commission roll in!
I'm going to be posting more in-depth blog posts about affiliate marketing for bloggers over the next few months so subscribe to my newsletter to make sure you don't miss any!
The course I took to help me get started...
Before I fully dived into the world of affiliate marketing, I decided to invest in a course to help guide me through everything I needed to know.
I invested in Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course to get me started and I was NOT disappointed!
I have a full review of the course over on this blog post but let me break it down for ya here:
After going through Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, implementing Michelle's ideas, and joining more affiliate programmes, I increased my monthly affiliate income from $0 to up to $300 per month. Some months are less, some months are MUCH more - in August, I made over $1,000 in affiliate commissions from an e-course promotion.
Seeing as the course only cost me $197, you could definitely say that I've made my investment back 😎
This course is not just about increasing your income, it will give you the clarity and confidence you need to actually succeed at affiliate marketing without pissing off your audience. If you've been thinking about affiliate marketing for a while, don't waste one more moment - take action with this course!
if you want something more affordable...
My pal, Ana over at The She Approach, is offering a brand new Affiliate Marketing Training Bundle! Ana's bundle is only $37 at the early bird price (price increases to $57 on November 5th), and includes:
- "The She Approach To Making Your First Affiliate Sale" - E-book
- The Affiliate Programs Masterlist - a collection of 200+ handpicked affiliate programs, carefully categorized by niche
- Quick Video Tutorials
- Private Facebook Community
Sign up below to get immediate access to my spreadsheet including a content calendar, blog post maintenance sheet, brainstorming help, and a way to track your affiliate schemes!
Affiliate Marketing Q&A
I’m going to be featuring questions from you folk in upcoming blog posts about affiliate marketing. So if you have any questions at all, please comment below and I’ll make sure to answer them in the next Q&A segment!
Here are a couple of questions I have already:
Lix asked: I'd love to know your thoughts on affiliate platforms and how many baskets (and which) to put your eggs in?
Great question, Lix! I personally haven’t used any affiliate platforms as I work directly with brands and business owners. BUT I feel strongly that you should start small and focus on products/brands that you wholeheartedly trust.
Try a couple of affiliate platforms if you think that’s the best way to go but try not to get overwhelmed by ALL the products on offer through them! If you find yourself writing about a brand you don’t have an affiliate link for, then you can easily grab it through an affiliate platform.
Gail asked: I still wonder how you actually place the ads in your blog. And, how do you track their successes?
Thanks for the question, Gail! I usually organically weave affiliate products into my blog posts, like the affiliate marketing course in this post (how meta!) but I do have a few affiliate products in the sidebar of my blog.
Each affiliate system will have a way for you to see how many clicks your link has received and how many commissions you have made through your link. I also have a free blog post planner spreadsheet with a tab to track your affiliate programmes so you can stay on top of it all!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through these links, I receive a small commission at no cost to you.