Episode 29: On Episode 29, we’re going to talk about how you can start rocking affiliate marketing with your blog!
Affiliate marketing is something that we weren’t super successful with at TOTS in the past. I just couldn’t’ figure it out. It turns out, it really isn’t that difficult. We’ve made a few changes and have seen HUGE improvements! It took doing a few things differently. These are the tips I’d like to share with you.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when you act as a sales person for a company. In exchange for selling the product, or exposing it to your fan/follower base, the company will give you a percentage of the money made. One large example would be Amazon. You’ll see people do round ups of Amazon links or products that are on Amazon. More than likely, they have affiliate links. If you see something you like, click the link and purchase it… the blog that referred you there will get a small percentage of the sale. With Amazon, it’s usually about 4-7%. Not a huge amount of money, but it’s something. It’s also fairly passive income, which means you aren’t actively always trying to make money that way. You still need to do a lot of work (get traffic so people can see the product in order to buy it), but on a day-to-day basis the links are there and people decide whether or not to click on them.
Disclosure: The FTC, that governing body that tells the American bloggers what they can or can’t do says that you must disclose. I do have a disclosure page on mine. Some bloggers, like coupon and deal bloggers, may have it posted on every page. If you’re interested in learning more about the FCC regulations, I did a podcast on them here.
How Do You Make Money At Affiliate Marketing?
What we did at TOTS was place link where they made sense, when we remembered. This was our downfall. When you want to make money at affiliate marketing, you need to be including your links in every post where you have an opportunity. I’ve noticed the percentage of sales vs. the percentage of clicks is hugely different. At least for us. You might be in a niche where people are expecting to buy or more ready to purchase (for example, “Top 5 DSLR Cameras”) vs. a post where they aren’t ready (for example, “5 Ways To Bundle Your Kids Up For The Winter”). Always have links available, however, in case they would like to buy.
Make Post That Are Geared Towards Affiliate Marketing
Everything is geared towards your focus and niche. For our Thinking Outside the Sandbox page, which is all the business side of blogging, I could do a “Top 5 DSLR Cameras for Food Photography” post or “Top 5 Cameras Under $300.” By creating content that serves my audience and allows me to incorporate my affiliate links, I can make more money with affiliate marketing.
Take Advantage of Holidays
We just had Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Although these aren’t big days in Canada, the majority of our readership and listenership are American. I made a black Friday and cyber Monday list for bloggers. It was kind of time intensive, but the money we made off that post was worth it. I didn’t use all affiliate links. If I saw a small business that didn’t have affiliate links, I added it in. The purpose was to serve my audience with good deals. You can make most like that and take advantage of times when people are actively shopping. Another example that I’ve done is a round up of discount codes and sales that bloggers may find useful.
Maybe you have a seasonal blog and you know that a certain time of year is most important to you.. That’s a great time to optimize affiliate links. You should also make sure they’re included in any post where you are getting a lot of daily traffic. Or, at the bottom you can include a link that says something like, “For the best baby products, I recommend these brands…” or something natural like that.
Make Sure People Can Find These Post
Be sure to put pinnable images. If Facebook is a big driver, make sure you have a Facebook optimized image. We have quite a few gift guides and they’re affiliate post. I just linked them all within one page. I made a post called Gift Guides For The Whole Family. In there, every gift guide post will pop up. I used a plugin called digital recipe index for the recipes on that site, but because it’s category driven, I made a new category called gift guides. Every time a new post is published within that category, it will automatically update to that post with the short code I put in. We might only have 7-8 gift guides right now, but in the next week I have even more coming up. They’ll auto populate on there.
Some gift guides I wrote last year that are on there. This year, I started seeing sales on the autism gift guide back in early November. It wasn’t anything I did. People found the links on Pinterest and started buying through there.
Where Do You Find Affiliate Links?
There are some companies that have affiliate programs. Amazon is one of them, although some states in the U.S. can’t use them due to regulations. Check and see if you can, because they’re very popular. There are plugins that you can use that will direct your readers to the proper Amazon (U.S. vs. Canada, etc). I haven’t used them yet, but if you have write me a message and let me know!
Another of my favorites is ShareASale. They have quite a few different companies there. We also like Commission Juncition (CJ.com). They have a quite a few companies as well. Rakuten is one that we’ve started using recently and have really enjoyed. If there’s a company you really like, and wonder if they have an affiliate program, search them. Just search the company name and “affiliate program” and see if they have one.
For the “How To Start a Mom Blog” ebook, we also have an affiliate program, (our own in house) that we use. With affiliate programs like ShareaSale and Amazon, you might be looking in the 4-7% commission range. For smaller companies, however, the commission is higher. For “How to Start A Mom Blog,” you receive a 50% commission when you refer someone to buy our ebook. It’s the same thing with our sponsor; Submit Owl. They’re an SEO service where for $24.95 you put in your web address and they will submit it to all of the search engines for you and search online directories so you don’t need to do all that work. If you go there affiliate program, you’ll receive $5 per sale that you refer to them that’s successful. Not a bad deal for just a little bit of extra work, and for companies that are awesome and want to work with anyway!
If you have any tips, tricks, questions with affiliate marketing definitely let me know. I’d love to hear them. I’m going to be really focusing on affiliate marketing in the beginning of 2016, so I’ll keep you updated on how it goes!
Until next time, thanks for listening to the Sandbox to Success podcast, with your host: Katrina M. Thom. If you like what you just heard, leave us a message at iTunes or Stitcher. We would also love to hear what you have to say. Use the hashtag #totspodcast to connect with us on Twitter. Don’t forget to check out the show notes, which can be found at www.totsbusiness.com. Join us next time for another edition of the Sandbox to Success podcast. Have an AWESOME day!