Everything that you need to know about how to start using affiliate marketing for bloggers… even if you stink at sales, how to make it work for you!
Let’s talk about one of the biggest ways to earn money from blogging: affiliate marketing.
Before you run away because “sales just isn’t for you,” it isn’t really for me either. Famously (or infamously) I couldn’t even sell Girl Scout Cookies when I was growing up! Sales has NEVER been my thing.
Tell me if this sounds a lot like you:
- Don’t want to be pushy.
- Hate trying to sell to people.
- Don’t want to sound like you’re always trying to leverage a sales pitch.
- Hate when you see people trying to “get people to join their teams” on social media.
- Feel like you just don’t even want to get into blogging if you need to sell things.
Sound familiar? Yeah, I know what you mean.
Affiliate marketing doesn’t have to be scary. It also doesn’t have to be sleazy, overwhemling, and painfully desperate.
The beauty of having a blog is that you can control how you choose to make income. You can make a great deal of income in other ways from your blog. And each blogger makes money in different ways. But there are a few main ways that bloggers make money:
- Ad placement – These payout with a per thousand pageviews with different ad networks. This can range from $2 from Google Adsense to $15 with Adthrive. I make $1,200-$2,500/month with Adthrive, but there are others with Adthrive who earn $10,000+!
- Selling your own products – Self-explanatory; you make a product and sell it. This also takes the most time and the most risk (what if no one likes it and you’ve spent all of this money on it?). Your earning potential is limited only by you. You could earn $100k/month on your own product, but you could also earn $.99. It all depends. Here’s the ebook that I use to make more than $800/month.
- Sponsored posts – A company will pay you to write about their product or their service. You have control over the content, but you still need to include their desires links, phrases, messages, etc. These can make you $50 (brand new blogger) – $300 (intermediate blogger) or even $1,000 + (advanced blogger). These are all estimates and can vary from place to place and blog to blog. I make more than $1,000/month on sponsored posts at this point. You can get the exact email templates that I use to work with brands that I want.
- Selling ad space privately – If you’d like to place ads on your site without needing to go through an ad network, you can always sell the space privately to other companies. I’ve seen people who sell space in their sidebar for advertising for $500/month for just one square ad. You have complete control over this kind of ad as well. No need to worry about questionable ads that show up when you don’t want them to.
- Affiliate marketing – This is what we’re talking about here: this is earning an affiliate commission (whether it’s 1%, 50%, or a flat fee) from when someone buys a product from a link that you publish. There are bloggers who earn $1/month and then there are some who earn $75k/month from affiliate income alone (yeah, I know right?!).
The ratios of how much of a blogger’s income comes from each type of income “stream” from their blog, but these are the most popular 5 ways. Some make all of their income from ads, others don’t use ads at all and just sell their own products. It all depends. And you have the control over it all! (Isn’t that nice?!)
Affiliate marketing is a HUGE part of earning money as a blogger or as an online entrepreneur. I make about 50% of my income from affiliate marketing, but my friend Michelle from Making Sense of Cents makes more than $50,000/month from affiliate income! In fact, my affiliate sales have skyrocketed since I learned all of Michelle’s tips and tricks for affiliate marketing in her course.
So what is affiliate marketing?
“Affiliate marketing” is another way of saying “sales.” If you’re thinking “I can’t sell anything,” I hear you! I’m not a natural seller. Actually, I epically failed at sales and just tried to take it out of my business model altogether.
But it didn’t work. It’s really tough to make a substantial income without affiliate income. You could make a substantial income from selling your own product, but now you need to actually make a product that people want and you still need to sell it to people!
So when people ask what the quickest way to make money from blogging is, I always tell them that it’s affiliate income. You can start right away with many large affiliate programs before you even have a substantial following.
Where can you find great affiliate programs to join?
I made a full list of affiliate programs that you can join depending on the niche that you are in. You can pick up the full list here.
First, the general ones to join for almost every niche:
- Amazon Associates – This is always the first affiliate program that I recommend a new blogger sign up for. This is because Amazon sells almost everything, so there is probably something that you’d be able to promote on your blog from this affiliate program. Amazon works for nearly every single niche, so you should sign up for it if you are able to.
- Ultimate Bundles – You’re going to want to sign up for the Ultimate Bundles affiliate program ASAP to get in on their huge sale next week! This is one of my favorites because they have something for everyone. Whether you’re niche is healthy living, essential oils, finance, blogging, business, and almost everything in between, there is an Ultimate Bundle for your to sell. It’s a great and really easy way to start working to sell to an email list or mess around with Facebook ads. You get 40% commission for each sale and they have a great affiliate portal that has pre-made sales info for you to use. They have one almost every month to sell, so it’s a great and easy way to make a nice chunk of change each month.
- Ebates – Anyone with an Ebates account can promote this service, so you don’t even need a blog. Ebates can be great for many niches and many different types of purchases, such as finance, parenting, lifestyle, travel, and more.
- Digit – Anyone with a Digit account can promote this service, so you also don’t need a blog. Digit is a savings app and is better suited for finance and parenting niches. You could use it for a travel blog as well and promote it to your readers as a way to save for a vacation.
- Ibotta – Ibotta is a grocery shopping cell phone app that gives $5 to $10 per valid sign-up.
- MaxBounty – Maxbounty is an affiliate network, but you are paired with an affiliate manager who may be able to find some affiliate programs for you, even as a new blogger. Remember, if you succeed, then they do as well, so they want to help!
- Shareasale – Shareasale is another affiliate network, and it’s one of my favorites. There are many, many companies that are listed within Shareasale, and you can probably find at least a few companies within your niche that will allow you to promote their product, even as a brand new blogger.
- Courses and ebooks – If there are any courses or ebooks that you took, then you may be able to sign up and start promoting them. After all, someone like you is exactly who potential buyers want to hear from about these specific products!
There are many options for even brand new bloggers when it comes to affiliate marketing. Plus, by starting with these easy options, you can test your affiliate marketing skills and get the hang of affiliate marketing from the very beginning!
Affiliate marketing really doesn’t have to be scary. Remember, you have complete control over it!
If you still don’t want to use affiliate marketing, that’s totally fine. But if you want to make money from your blog, I really urge you to give it a try. I promise that you won’t regret it!
- How I Made a Full-Time Income From My Blog in 2016
- The Blogging Class that Made Me a Full Time Blogger
- Everything I Learned in My First Year Blogging
- How to Rock Affiliate Marketing When You Stink at Sales (Plus an Interview with Michelle Schroeder-Gardner)
- The First Pay Day I Got From Blogging
- Best Tips for a New Blogger From a Blogging Pro
- 5 Signs Blogging Isn’t for You (& 1 Sign You Should Start Today!)
- What The Heck Am I Doing?! First Month Blogging Lessons
- Don’t Let Fear Stop You From Starting Your Blog!
- Best Blogging Podcasts to Follow
- My latest blogging income report
What’s your favorite affiliate program to join?
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(PS - NONE of them have to do with sales!)