Blog income – its what we strive for as bloggers, right? But DANG! It can be so difficult getting those links to convert to actual sales so you can earn affiliate commissions! As a new blogger, your affiliate marketing strategy probably is as simple as joining every affiliate program that will accept you and dropping affiliate links like its hot!
I'm guessing that strategy isn't working too well, right? I can totally relate because I did the same thing when I started my first blog. It can be frustrating but if you follow these tips you'll start seeing those commissions! These are the exact things I did to begin generating substantial monthly affiliate marketing income.
Please note this post may contain affiliate links and ads, read my full disclosure HERE.
Side note: If you happen to have landed on this post and haven't quite yet started your blog, you definitely want to read this post on How to Start a Blog which includes video tutorials and a comprehensive course to walk you thru the steps!
An Affiliate Marketing Strategy That Works
There are several key factors that affect your success with affiliate marketing. You must come up with a solid affiliate marketing strategy that works for your products. Randomly dropping links in a blog post or adding random banners to a sidebar won't result in the affiliate income you are hoping for. The following affiliate marketing tips will help you formulate a plan so you can begin earning those affiliate commissions!
Start with Pinterest Affiliate Marketing
Did you know that you can make money using affiliate programs on Pinterest? My advice to every new blogger is to begin with Pinterest affiliate marketing. Why? It may take you some time to build your blog audience, hone your SEO skills, and really figure out what your audience wants. By starting with Pinterest affiliate marketing, you are getting your affiliate links out there circulating in an actual search engine. I started earning affiliate marketing income from my Pinterest pins long before I made a commission from a link on my blog!
Pinterest is quickly becoming the go-to place for making purchases in nearly all niche areas. Using Pinterest also enables you to branch out from the confines of your particular blog niche and promote other products as well. It also enables you to promote many different products without having to draft a blog post around them. I have a free basic course on Pinterest affiliate marketing that goes over the basics of how to make money using affiliate programs with Pinterest.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work on Pinterest
In a nutshell, you can simply create vertical images using Canva (or other programs), add your affiliate link for the particular merchant, and pin the image to a board. When someone searches for that type of product and comes across your pin, you will earn a commission if they make a purchase after clicking through your linked pin. Just think of all the things your search for on Pinterest and pins you've clicked on to get to another website. If you ended up making a purchase, you just helped another blogger earn affiliate commissions! Why not get in on that action? By the way, be sure to follow me on Pinterest so you can see all the cool affiliate pins I'm pinning!
Most Pinterest affiliate marketers start out with pay-per-click programs where they earn a very small commission when the pin is clicked on (regardless of a sale being generated). ShopStyle Collective has been the most popular, however, they are slowing rolling into a CPA (cost per action) format where you must generate a sale to earn a commission. Magic Links provides a combination of both PPC and CPA. I started out with those but found better success by joining affiliate programs directly. You can check out my list of top affiliate sites to find ones that relate to your niche. Many of them provide their own images for you to use which makes it even easier to promote them. The majority of my affiliate marketing income is generated from Pinterest!
How to Drive Traffic to Affiliate Links in Blog Posts
Now that you have those affiliate links out there floating around Pinterest, you can focus on your affiliate marketing strategy on your blog. Most new bloggers are quick to apply to Amazon but I highly recommend against that! With Amazon, you must generate three qualified sales during the first 180 days after being approved or they drop you. It can often take that long to begin generating decent traffic to your blog and build a following. Also, the cookie for Amazon links is only 24 hours.
I'm not saying don't ever join Amazon, but you should definitely wait until you have a good idea of your audience. I see so many new bloggers freaking out because they get the notice from Amazon about not having made any sales and being dropped from the program. Start with these affiliate marketing tips and you'll begin seeing affiliate income in no time.
1. Know Your Target Audience
Do you really know who your target audience is for your blog? Or are you just writing to a general audience and hoping they'll follow? The most important step for any blogger when getting started is to research and define their target audience (aka – Avatar).
2. Use a Plugin
The first thing you need to do is get the Pretty Links plugin. Most affiliate links are a long, random sequence of numbers, letters, and characters. With identity theft on the rise, shoppers are very hesitant about using their credit cards on websites when they see a weird URL. As a blogger, YOU know it's an affiliate link, but the general shopper doesn't know that. Pretty Links enables you to change the random sequence to a “prettier” and shorter URL.
For example, my affiliate link for Tasty Pins looks like this:
But with Pretty Links, it looks like this: https://girlbossesrock.com/tastypins
The second one looks much more “legit” than the first one and will result in higher conversions because the shopper will be more inclined to trust the link. After I installed the Pretty Links plugin, I went back to my older posts and switched out all the affiliate links with a Pretty Link and began seeing more conversions! Get Pretty Links now (FYI- if you are using Amazon, they don't allow the use of cloaking plugins so be sure to leave the Amazon links as they are!).
Be sure you take a peek at my Top Affiliate Programs for Bloggers which lists affiliate programs broken down by niche.
3. Make sure it is relevant to your audience
Ensure the affiliate linked product is naturally used in the post and actually relates to your overall blog niche. All too often I see bloggers of a particular niche (such as parenting or travel) randomly publish a post to promote a blogging tool or some other cool thing they like and wanted to share. The problem is that it literally had nothing to do with their normal content!
The easiest way to use an affiliate link is by doing a product review of something that your audience would use or that would make their life easier. Talk about how YOU found it useful or helpful and what makes it so great. You can also recommend a product in a post that isn't necessarily a product review by simply mentioning that you used it. Don't just drop links!! You need to tell them how this product will benefit them. This is why knowing your Avatar is so important! You will make money using affiliate programs and products that your audience wants or needs.
4. Don't Waste Your Sidebar Real Estate
Your sidebar is prime real estate so use it with intention. Don't add banners for every affiliate program you've joined! Also, don't overdo it! I've seen a few blogs that had banners stacked on top of each other and just looked messy and unorganized. Pick a few that are related to what you write about. If you are a mom blogger that writes content for moms with new babies, having a banner for your web host isn't going to help you. Instead, think about what places your (parenting) audience would want or need to shop.
Possibly 1 or 2 popular merchants for baby products and clothing – these should be places most moms would shop, such as Target, Kohls, etc and not high-end stores. When adding these banners, put them all on the same widget and title the widget something like “My Favorite Baby-gear Shops” or something catchy like that. Just remember, when choosing the merchants, consider your audience. Most parenting blogs talk about budgeting and saving money so a banner for a high-end merchant probably won't convert well. Make sense?
Be sure to also read:
- Top 10 Affiliate Programs for DIY and Craft Bloggers
- How I Make $1000 each Month with Pinterest Affiliate Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing Made Easy – Become a ClickFunnels Affiliate
- 6 Ways to Monetize Your Blog and Boost Your Monthly Blog Income
5. Gift Guides, Resource Pages, and Reading Lists
This is one of the most overlooked ways to earn affiliate commissions! You can create these using the “page” template so they don't show up in your regular blog feed. You simply link the page URL to a header menu, sidebar image, in a blog post, or a Pinterest pin.
- Gift guides are easy – just relate the products to whatever holiday is coming up. Again – ensure the products that you are recommending in the guide relate to your audience! You can use a gallery plugin such as Gallery by Supsystic (free) to keep the products nicely organized on the page or to create multiple groups of products on the page. Make sure you have text on the page and use proper SEO and format for it so that it will rank on Google. Don't forget to create pins for Pinterest so the gift guides will continue to generate affiliate commissions long after the holiday!
- Resource pages are great because you can create them specifically for things your audience would need. For a parenting blog, a resource page could include things such as places to shop on a budget, homeschool resources, things to help mom get and stay organized, etc. A Christian blog could have resources for Christian women. Pretty much ANY niche could have a recommended reading list. Just get creative and think of all the things to make life easier for your audience. Create more than one resource page if you need to! Check out one of my blogger resource pages which contains free courses and resources for new bloggers! Think beyond your blog audience and create resource pages specifically to promote on Pinterest! And always SEO the page!
- Reading Lists are another great way to increase affiliate marketing income. There are books for every niche out there. By creating a list of your favorite recommended reading materials (related to your niche), you are providing a great resource for your readers. If you do book review posts, you can link to your Reading List within the posts so your readers can find other reading material. Don't forget to make Pinterest pins for the individual books, the Reading List page, and the book review posts!
6. Go Live on Facebook and Instagram
The most successful affiliate marketers understand the value and importance of going live on Facebook and Instagram to talk about products they recommend. It's one thing to recommend an affiliate product in a blog post. But when you can get on video and talk about the product and how it has helped you or really show how it works, there is serious power in that. Here is a great example of a Facebook Live from Angela at The Truthful Tutor talking about a product for her audience.
7. Promote on Social Media
Is social media a part of your affiliate marketing strategy? Most top affiliate sites make it super easy to share your affiliate links on social media. Don't just spam your social accounts with affiliate linked posts! It is important that you have an even mix of content to share on each platform.
Most successful affiliate marketers share images (or videos) of themselves actually with or using the product they are promoting. When you can show your audience that you are truly a user of that product, they are much more likely to buy it than just sharing a link for something. Make sure to use your Pretty Link and not the full affiliate URL when sharing affiliate links on social media.
Don't overlook the power of your personal Facebook (not your blog page). If you have a product that you really love, share an image of you with it on your personal Facebook. For example, I found this Sermon Journal that I absolutely love. I shared an image of me holding the journal with a caption about it and how much it has helped me throughout the week. I didn't even include the link to it. Many friends and family reached out asking me where I got it (and I sent them the affiliate link via Facebook Messenger).
If you are brand new to blogging or maybe you've been at it a while and are still struggling, be sure to get on my email list because I send out weekly tips and resources, as well as deals and sales on your favorite blogging tools. You can also join my private FB community Girl Bosses Rock Blogging Bootcamp (women only) and get in on daily blog training threads and live weekly training!
If you are serious about trying to figure out how to earn a significant income with your blog, you might want to check out Blog Income Boot Camp. After taking several really expensive courses on affiliate marketing, I decided to write my own course that was more affordable to those who need it most. This course walks you through the steps that I took to earning 5 figures in less than a year with a new blog. In addition to mastering the art of affiliate marketing, it also discusses the many other ways bloggers earn money (with and without their blogs). You can read more about Blog Income Boot Camp here, and start earning that money!