Before you dive into the slimy and skeezy world of affiliate marketing…wait, what?
You see affiliate marketing has a bad rep because there can be some shady characters and products floating around but believe that this blog post doesn’t cover such things. Affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money with your blog because you don’t have to worry about making a product or touch customer service.
But maybe we should back up a bit more. What is affiliate marketing?
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Let’s say you like to shop at Target (who doesn’t?). You buy a wonderful laundry basket at Target.
You love it.
It’s your most favorite thing in the whole wide world.
You love it so much you decide to write a blog post about. That’s right. You’re going to write a whole blog post about a laundry basket.
Because your blog does a decent amount of traffic and you are writing an awesome recommendation about a laundry basket, Target should benefit from these actions. However, shouldn’t you benefit from them as well? You’re helping Target make money and you’re not an employee of theirs!
Fortunately, you can join an affiliate program that will allow you to make a little bit of money whenever someone buys that laundry basket.
All they have to do is click through on the link from your blog post and make a purchase.
That’s affiliate marketing in a nutshell.
Companies pay you to send people their way and when they make a purchase you get a commission.
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing
Right away you should be able to see some of the benefits of affiliate marketing.
- You don’t have to create a product
- You don’t have to worry about setting up an online store
- You don’t have to worry about refunds
- You don’t have to worry about product updates
- You don’t have to worry about customer service
- You don’t even have to worry about a website if you don’t want
Affiliate marketing can be one of the most hands-off ways to make money online and it is certainly how I recommend every blogger gets started with making money.
It allows you to start making money from day one. All it takes is a little bit of work.
The Difficulties of Affiliate Marketing
By now you might be thinking that affiliate marketing is pretty easy.
You simply get a link, post it, get people to click on it, and then wait for the money to come but unfortunately, it isn’t that easy.
As you know, most people don’t just randomly buy stuff.
How often do you go out for a drive and stop at a store to make a random big purchase?
Most purchasing decisions are based around two things:
Without those two things, the price of the item has to be so small that the person is willing to take the chance.
This is why if you want to make money with affiliate marketing you need to have a solid approach.
Educating Your Audience
The most important aspect of getting someone to buy something is to provide them with some knowledge.
People won’t buy something until they know that they have a problem and the item is offering the solution.
When you read about blogging you’ll probably see links to web hosts and people telling you that you need to purchase web hosting to be a successful blogger.
But if that’s all they are telling you then what are the odds you are going to purchase the web hosting?
What has to happen first is you need to know why successful blogs require web hosting. Once you know that then the idea of purchasing web hosting becomes a lot easier.
You might have noticed that trust hasn’t been mentioned yet. The wonderful thing about educating your audience is that you are gaining trust at the same time.
Use this blog post as an example. The more information that is shared with you, the stronger my authority looks and therefore I am able to gain more trust. You might even decide to click on an affiliate link and make a purchase based off of my recommendation.
The problem most people have with affiliate marketing is that they don’t want to take the time to educate and gain trust. They want to simply post their affiliate links all over the place and hope that some people decide to make a purchase.
If you have enough traffic some people will make a purchase but your numbers won’t be nearly as high as someone that takes the time to provide value to their audience.
Passive Income Is Rarely Passive
You’ll read some people say that affiliate marketing is a passive way to make money.
The only reason it can be considered passive is that you don’t have to be sitting at a computer 24/7 to make money.
In some fashion you have to find a way to generate traffic to send to your affiliate partners, otherwise, you aren’t going to make any money.
And that’s the big catch of affiliate marketing.
To make money, technically all you need is an affiliate link. However, to make really good money you need a whole affiliate system in place and building this system takes time.
How I Make Money With Affiliate Marketing
As you can see I run a blog. In fact, I run a number of different blogs but before your eyes roll in the back of your head you don’t need to have multiple blogs to make good money with affiliate marketing.
Plenty of bloggers only run one blog and make much more than I do with affiliate marketing. I run multiple blogs because I teach people how to be successful making money with blogs.
For the sake of this blog post, I will focus on how I make money through affiliate marketing with Dare to Conquer.
Every penny that I earn starts with my blogs. I’ve put together a free 12-day blogging bootcamp for you that goes through every step that I take to build a successful blog.
1. Finding Affiliate Products
First, to make money with affiliate marketing you need to find affiliate products that apply to your audience.
I could join Amazon’s Associates Program but if my audience is concerned with blogging then I’m not sure I could find relevant products to sell.
Instead, I need to think of products and services that will help my audience succeed.
In the case of blogging, this means blogging tools and web hosting.
Yes, those are affiliate links. See how easy it is?!
2. Providing Value
However, you must remember that simply posting those links probably isn’t going to make me much money. I need to offer some type of value around them.
So how do I do that?
The content in those two resources isn’t centered around the affiliate links. Instead, it is centered around things that those products can help with.
For example, I talk about the importance of using Pinterest to generate traffic. To do well on Pinterest you have to pin consistently but you don’t want to spend all day on Pinterest so you should use a pin scheduler. Tailwind is one of the best in the business so I can easily recommend it.
When it comes to making purchases, people buy the end result or what the product will do for them, not the actual product.
3. Create a System
Finding affiliate products and providing value is great but they aren’t effective unless you have a system in place to drive traffic.
Just because I wrote an epic guide on blogging that doesn’t mean it is going to make money. I have to find ways to continuously drive relevant traffic to the guide.
Besides having links in blog posts, some bloggers set up email sequences that attempt to sell affiliate products. This is a great way to make money with affiliate marketing because once everything is set up, you don’t have to touch anything.
So the two systems I have in place for making money with affiliate marketing are content marketing (blogging) and email marketing.
While it’s important that I work on generating traffic daily to my sites, once these systems are in place they allow me to focus my time elsewhere.
Affiliate Marketing Requires Patience
One of the more frustrating things about affiliate marketing is that it can take some time to ramp up.
While it’s great to see yourself making that first sale, from there you want to make more. Much more and a lot quicker but it takes time to build an audience and get the right systems in place.
You also are depending on your affiliate partners to do a good job of converting the traffic you send them.