After the success of creating my first digital product, I wanted to start thinking about diversifying my income streams so that I wasn’t relying heavily on one source.As all Mothers across the globe would say, “Don’t go putting all your eggs in one basket.” And so over a two month period I decided to execute this by introducing affiliate marketing to my monetization plan.

The first month was about setting up the systems, implementing my affiliate strategy and then testing them throughout the month. I finished the month at earning just over $500 in affiliate income.
On the second month, I deliberately let my systems run on their own without changing or adding anything to see if the earnings would continue, and I went and doubled my income.

While it’s not hundreds of thousands, that is a NICE amount of money to make completely passively in a short amount of time!

And with that I thought it’d be a great idea to share how you can get started with affiliate marketing too!

 

THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO AFFILIATE MARKETING

 

SO.. WHAT EXACTLY IS AFFILIATE MARKETING?

The simplest way to explain it is by earning a commission through promoting and selling a company or individual’s product.

Depending on the type of affiliate program you join (a network or independent program) there are usually four core players: the seller (the person or company that created the product), the network (a place that holds your affiliate links), the affiliate (you!) and the customer who purchases the product.

How it works is that you typically find a product you love through the seller or network, promote it through various mediums like your blog, social media, ads etc.. and if a customer purchases the product after clicking your link (within a certain time period – called an affiliate cookie), you earn a commission for that sale.

AN AFFILIATE COOKIE? THEY SOUND DELICIOUS!!

Slow your row love, they’re not THOSE kinds of cookies! An affiliate cookie is the information that gets transferred when someone clicks your affiliate link. If the customer purchases the product, the information transferred is a your unique ID which ensures you get the commission for that purchase.

There is a set duration for the an affiliate cookie, meaning after a certain amount of hours, days or weeks, the cookie will no longer be valid. The cookie duration is completely dependent on each program and product, make sure you find out what it is when you sign up.

 

HOW DO AFFILIATE COMMISSIONS WORK?

There are three types of ways you can earn your commissions:

  • Percentage of the Sale: This is when you receive a set percentage of the sale of the product. Before you join the affiliate program, it will tell you the percentage amount. You’ll find that percentages will be higher for digital products (around 30% – 50%) as opposed to physical products (around 4% – 8%). i.e Abby from Just A Girl & Her Blog offers 40% on her Ultimate Blogging Handbook which has a $27 or $97 price point.
  • Commission Per Lead: This is where you get paid a fixed amount when the company or product you’re promoting acquires your customer as a new lead i.e signing up for an account. get paid a fixed amount, usually low (think one cent to a few dollars) when someone uses your affiliate link to sign up for an account, but didn’t necessarily purchase. i.e Shareasale pays you $1 for every lead you refer that signs up to the company.
  • A Fixed Amount: This is where you will receive a set commission regardless of how much the product cost. This agreement is made in the beginning when you join the program, and is usually quite a good amount. i.e Bluehost offers $65 commission on any hosting plan that’s purchased through your link whether it’s 12 months or 3 years.

 

6 PROVEN STRATEGIES
HOW TO MAKE OVER $500
WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING
Enter your email address to download the guide!
YES PLEASE!

 

the PROs & CONS to affiliate marketing

PROS

  • It’s the quickest and most cost effective way to get started with generating income in your business.
  • Your earning potential is uncapped! Meaning you do the work once and can continue to make commissions on the product for years to come.
  • You have full control over what kind of products you want to promote.
  • The products fill in the gaps of what you don’t offer and rounds out your business nicely.
  • You’re selling a product that is already popular in the market, therefore proven as sellable.
  • You can track what, when, where & how you made the sale helping you to focus on those avenues.

CONS

  • The affiliate program or network could suddenly discontinue the product your promoting, change platforms they host their affiliate program on or cancel their affiliate program altogether.
  • There’s always the possibility that the seller won’t pay you your commissions.
  • You can’t control the payout frequency or threshold.
  • If it’s a popular product you have a lot more competition to work with, especially if they’re promoting on the same platforms that you are.
  • Some programs don’t allow you to track extensively where you get your sales from which can be a nightmare.

 

HOW TO chooSE the right affiliate programs

AFFILIATE NETWORKS

Affiliate networks are the middlemen between the companies and the affiliates. They host a collection of programs under their umbrella rather than just a single program. Each programs commission rates differ depending on the advertiser. i.e ASOS offers 8% while Boohoo offers 15%.

These are the affiliate networks I’m currently using below:

  • Skimlinks – easiest program to start with, user-friendly website, pays out via PayPal with a $10 threshold (WOOP!!!)
  • Shareasale – lots of awesome programs, site is a bit difficult to navigate, pays out via check or bank deposit with a $75 minimum threshold.
  • CJ by Conversant – lots of crap to wade through but has some great programs, pays out via check & bank deposit with a $100 minimum threshold.

Note: Don’t be afraid to shop around to find the best rates. Some companies host their own affiliate programs from their own website as well as using the bigger networks, but they can offer a higher percentage on their own programs.

Related Post: 
4 Affiliate Networks I Used to Make $1486 Dollars

AMAZON ASSOCIATES

Amazon Associates is the easiest program to get into that houses pretty much every product ever in one place. Everyone starts off on a 4% commission rate until they sell 7 or more items and your commission rate goes up to 6% and so on until you hit the highest tier of 10%. Amazon Associates is a great place to start because it’s a worldwide trusted company. People know it and use it.

The only downside is that you can only make commission on the products you sell to people who purchase in your country. Meaning if you live in the US and Sarah from the UK clicks your link and purchases the product you recommend, you don’t receive a commission for that purchase. For someone like me living in New Zealand this is a royal pain in the ass!

However there is a way around it! If you use GeniusLink, it overrides the country restrictions and allows you to earn commission through Associates on purchases made all over the world. But with all the awesome shortcuts, it does cost $9 a month to use on the lowest tier.

To be honest, it’s only a worthy expense if you’re making a lot of sales through Amazon. If you’re not, I wouldn’t bother. In my eyes it’s way too much effort for minimal results. Use the free 14 day trial to see how you do.

CREATIVE MARKET

Creative Market has an awesome little affiliate program offering 10% commission on every purchase a new member makes for an entire year. That means if a customer clicks your link and buys a graphics pack for $40 in Jan, then buys 20 stock photos for $7 each in June, a font pack for $30 in July and then a WordPress theme for $85 in September, you get 10% on each of those sales. It’s a pretty unique incentive.

Another thing I thought was cool is that you can use your earnings as credits to spend on Creative Market. It’s a great way to cut down or eliminate your business costs altogether.

INDEPENDENT AFFILIATE PROGRAMS

Bloggers and entrepreneurs like ourselves host affiliate programs for their own products. Whether thats digital products, services, memberships, software or physical goods, these programs tend to have higher commission rates solely because there’s no middleman between the seller and you.

This is how I run my own affiliate program and it’s honestly my favourite way to make money and to pay others for their hard earned efforts. I don’t have to worry about paying a network which keeps my costs low and allows me to give a higher percentage of commission to my affiliates.

The easiest way to join independent affiliate programs is to check the website you purchased a product from. Do they have an affiliate program for that product? If so, go on and join up! You can also search Google for affiliate products related to your niche or if there’s a product you loved but doesn’t have an affiliate program, contact the seller and find out if they’d consider letting you be a partner with them.

 

6 PROVEN STRATEGIES
HOW TO MAKE OVER $500
WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING
Enter your email address to download the guide!
YES PLEASE!

HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR AFFILIATE LINKS

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is literally one of the BEST places you can promote your affiliate links. Why? Because there are a shit ton of people using these platforms and you get waaaaay more exposure to those people than through your blog – especially if you’re starting out. Not everyone is going to find your blog immediately, but social media is where a much bigger chunk of potential customers hang out. And once you figure out where your customers are you can make really good money from social media alone.. just like me!

I make a really decent amount of affiliate income from Pinterest (I show you how to do the same in my ebook How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours) and the best part is that this strategy is totally automated. Meaning now that I’ve set it up, I don’t have to put in much effort to maintain the affiliate sales.

There will be some platforms that limit you from full automation like Facebook and Instagram, but the ones that you can fully automate will more than make up for the effort required for the others.

I recommend trying different things out on social media. Share in Facebook groups, try them on Twitter, use Pinterest and get pinning, give Instagram a go and any other platform you use for your business. Just make sure you’re adhering to the rules for each platform or group and not coming off spammy.

Related Post: How to Start Using Affiliate Links on Pinterest

 

CREATE A RESOURCES PAGE

A resources page or tools post is a great way to share with your audience what you’re currently using for your business and projects. You can do them a few ways, either as a page or a post. You can create a page on the tools you’re currently using, a list of tools on a particular subject or an all-around guide.

Here’s some examples:

  • Mom Blogger – favourite kid-safe products, toys, cleaning products etc..
  • Fashion Blogger – favourite online stores, discount hacks & rewards programs etc..
  • Business Blogger – favourite courses, software & hardware products, books etc..
  • Food Blogger – favourite kitchen tools, recipe books, photography class etc..

CREATE A tutorial, LIST OR ROUND-UP POST

These types of posts can be very valuable resources for your audience. Make sure they’re giving away a lot of helpful information, otherwise it’s just going to look like you’re link dropping without giving anything of substance first.

Tutorial posts are one of the best types of affiliate marketing posts because they show your reader exactly how to do something step-by-step. What have you learned that you can lay out step-by-step for your audience? Is it a tech hack? A simple and delicious recipe? A decor item that can be DIY’ed? Maybe a system you follow in your business? Whatever it is, outline it and get to work!

Melyssa Griffin does this so well with her post on how to create your own resource library and she now makes thousands from that single post. My post How to Start A Profitable WordPress Blog also makes a good amount of income too.

When it comes to your lists and round-ups, make sure they’re relevant and unique. They are the most common type of post but they can be really useful if you spend some time on them.

WRITE A REVIEW ON THE PRODUCT

Writing a review about the product, service or software you’re using is an awesome way for your audience to learn about the things that are helping you in your business or projects.

The key to writing a good review is full blown honesty. That means not holding back on the things that annoy you about the product and really expressing the things you loved about it. A review is your opinion, and people want to hear non-biased opinions about products or services they could be interested in purchasing.

Related Post: My Ebates Review: How to Get Cash Back for Shopping Online


Three ways to find out what people want to know about the product:

  • Check the comments section on other blogs and websites who sell or use the product to find out what questions their audience is asking about the product.
  • Use Google Trends to find out the popularity of the product.
  • Check the reviews section on Amazon of the product to learn what people think about the product to help you round out your review – they might pick up things you haven’t noticed yet.

MONETIZE OLD POSTS WITH YOUR AFFILIATE LINKS

The easiest way to monetize your blog quickly is to go back through old blog posts and add your affiliate links where it’s going to be relevant. Is there a product you mention that you could now add an affiliate link to? Is there more information you could add to a post with affiliate links? Go and add them! Check out this post and this post for examples. Also, some of the those posts might be outdated and so I’d recommend that when you do go back over these posts you re-edit them to either be evergreen content or relevant to the current time.

PROMOTE TO YOUR EMAIL LIST

And last but not least, one of the most profitable ways to make money from affiliate marketing is through your email list. This is where you promote directly to your subscribers by sending them emails about the affiliate product.

However I want to warn you that you should not abuse this strategy. Your email list subscribed to you to learn about you, the value you give and what you have to offer. If all you’re doing is promoting affiliate products, your audience is going to lose trust in you. You have to balance it out with valuable free content with the odd product promo sprinkled in. But even then you should be promoting your own products over someone elses.

Personally I don’t promote affiliate products to my email list. I find it inauthentic. Especially when the affiliate product creator is running a promo of their own and the affiliates are all promoting the product to their lists and you wind up receiving multiple emails promoting the same damn product from different people. And it’s even worse when they use the same template emails the creator provided for them. 😫

But I won’t rule it out altogether, if in the future there is a product or service I believe my audience NEEDS, then I might promote to my list. Never say never right?

 

 

6 PROVEN STRATEGIES
HOW TO MAKE OVER $500
WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING
Enter your email address to download the guide!
YES PLEASE!

 

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN STARTING TO ADD AFFILIATE MARKETING TO YOUR BUSINESS

 

  • Try to promote your affiliate products less and recommend more
  • Recommend products that you love and use and believe in
  • Use PrettyLink Lite URL cloaker to make your affiliate links prettier!
  • Put an affiliate earnings disclosure on each post and in your disclaimer
  • Make sure you click ‘nofollow’ when adding an affiliate link to your post to keep your page rank high
  • Be honest, authentic and genuine when recommending these products!

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN:

In the comments below, please share with us..

  1. Have you started affiliate marketing?
  2. In what areas are you struggling most with it?

Elise xo

  • Kaitlyn Rose

    Thank you so much for this post, it answered a lot of the questions I had about affiliate marketing! I am just getting started and was feeling a little overwhelmed with everything, but this post along with your ebook that I purchased is really helpful! Have you ever used the Affiliate Window network?

    xo Kaitlyn
    thepeachyrose.com

    • Aw no worries Kaitlyn! That’s what I’m here for! 😀 I have heard of Affiliate Window and from what I remember they carried Etsy in their affiliate network? I don’t use it though. Cheers!

  • Merry Conner

    Wonderful post, thank you. I learned so much in just a few minutes of reading. I have been trying to do this for some time but without a ton of success. More than motivated now.

    • Aw thank you Merry! Glad the post helped you understand more and that you’re motivated! It’s not as hard as you think though. I think people look at affiliate marketing like a foreign language but really it’s just like learning a single letter in the alphabet. You got this! <3

  • Jason Cardona

    I purshased this guide yesterday, gained access to it, read a bit and put it down for the evening. When I tried to open it up again via the original email I was told access had been revoked by seller. Can you please tell me why this is?

  • AdventureDawgs

    I got to this post through ‘Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours” book. I have been blogging since Jan 2017 and learning as I go. It is an extremely slow process lol. So far I’ve made nothing in affiliate sales. I’ve made zero dollars in 9 months of blogging. I’m an Amazon affiliate and I’ve done some “best of” and “gift” posts, but I get very little traffic and no results. I’m totally lost and not sure what I’m doing wrong. I’m hoping your book will help me! I love Pinterest and feel like I understand it better than the other platforms, so hopefully that will be my ticket. I’ll keep you posted on my results! Have a good weekend.

    • Hey there, totally feel you on the amazon affiliates thing. I tested out a strategy last year with amazon and made a whopping 50 cents. For the amount of effort and the lack of rewards I chose not to pursue that strategy. I’d recommend promoting digital products as an affiliate like ebooks or course or services you use for your business. You’re promoting something with more substance and payouts are WAY better. <3