Free Class: Successful Affiliate Marketing Secrets
Free Class: Successful Affiliate Marketing Secrets
Do you have a blog full of great information and entertaining posts your readers love? Do they look to you for ideas and recommendations? You have already laid the foundation for a successful affiliate marketing income.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money with your blog - no matter what your niche. It allows you to earn a commission when readers click through affiliate links placed on your site. Super simple, right? But how do you get started, and how do you make sure YOUR affiliate links are standing out from the crowd in the very busy online space? This free class will answer those questions and more!
Meet our instructor: Devon is the writer behind MamaCheaps.com. Now in its 7th year, her blog's cumulative affiliate earnings have funded her Starbucks addiction, annual family trips to Disney World, and more.
SUCCESSFUL AFFILIATE MARKETING SECRETS
DAY 1: LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR EARNING AFFILIATE INCOME
What blogs are a good fit for affiliate earnings? Most blog niches see success with affiliate earnings. Quality, original content is key. You should strive to place links that flow seamlessly with your content, making reader click-thru potential a natural occurrence. Links tossed into a post haphazardly stand out like a sore thumb and ultimately turn readers off bigtime.
What are some examples of great product/niche affiliate link placements?
▪ Food Bloggers: baking tools, supplies, cookbooks
▪ Healthy Lifestyle Bloggers: activity trackers, water bottles, workout gear and programs
▪ Travel Bloggers: luggage, travel journals, camera equipment, airline/hotel travel booking sites
▪ Parenting Bloggers: toys, baby gear, pregnancy and parenting books
What should you do before placing your first affiliate link?
1. Familiarize yourself with the legal requirements that come with earning money from your blog. If you do product reviews, sponsored posts, or earn ad network revenue, some of this will already be familiar to you.
▪ You will be required to submit a W-9 and possibly banking/Paypal information to the affiliate companies you join.
▪ You have independent contractor status as far as tax reporting purposes go. It is your responsibility to report all earnings.
▪ Companies are required to mail you a 1099 if you earn more than $600 in a calendar year. This does not mean you do not have to report earnings under $600, just that you will not receive a 1099.
▪ Earnings paid via Paypal are almost never reflected on a 1099. It is the blogger’s responsibility to keep track of earnings paid via Paypal.
Important note: Always consult a professional tax expert for specific questions.
2. Consider opening a business bank account to keep your personal and professional finances separate. Many banks do require a minimum amount of money be kept in the account at all times. Shop around to find the bank that will give you the lowest fees.
3. Consider applying for a Tax Identification Number (EIN) for your business. In most cases, bloggers join more than one affiliate program and as you turn in a W-9 to each company, out goes your Social Security Number.Apply for a (free) EIN number from the Federal Government and you will not need to worry about your SSN floating around various company files.
Day 1 Assignment
Think of 5 possible products you could monetize in blog posts that would fit well with your niche and content.
Day 1 Handout
DAY 2: SIGN UP WITH REPUTABLE AFFILIATE COMPANIES
There are MANY affiliate companies out there to join, but there are several main players in affiliate marketing programs. Most require you to apply for membership, and then (upon approval) you must apply to each individual store or business you would like to post links for.
Do not be discouraged if you are not approved to join individual store affiliate programs (ie Old Navy, Target, Walmart). Some stores are extremely picky about who they accept. Move on to the next company, and in a few months, try re-applying to the companies that rejected your application.
Day 2 Assignment
Download our Popular Affiliate Companies printable, and apply for two affiliate companies with products that would be a good fit for your blog.
Day 2 Handout
DAY 3: ANATOMY OF A SUCCESSFUL AFFILIATE POST
You've laid the groundwork for implementing an affiliate strategy on your blog, but how do you write a post that actually converts sales? Devon has been blogging for more than 7 years, and her site has tens of thousands of posts. Over the years, she has been able to watch reader patterns to learn what content they gravitate towards and what links they like to click. She keeps this historical data in mind as she creates new content. Today, you are going to get the benefit of that knowledge as Devon walks us through her affiliate strategies.
Affiliate link placement is going to differ post by post, the same way that the content will differ depending on the topic. That being said, there are several practices I try to implement on the majority of my posts for success with affiliate links.
1. Link Images – Many times I will not only link text to an affiliate link, but I also link the post images. This is especially true when I am including an image of a specific product. I will link the image with an affiliate link to purchase the item.
2. Use Your Own Images If Possible – Sometimes, this is not an option. Some affiliate offers require you to use a banner provided by the affiliate company and forbid text links. For offers that don’t require specific banners, I love to use my own images whenever possible. Your own images lend a lot of authenticity to your content, and make the post look and sound less like a sales pitch and more like a story.
3. Repeat the Link – If your post is quite long, consider adding the link again at the end of the post. Don't be afraid to use a “Call to Action” statement or question with your link.
4. What About Videos? We all know the value of video content, and that value continues to soar as blogs evolve. They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words, so I always joke that a video is worth 10,000 words.
However, when it comes to a blog post and affiliate income, video isn’t always king. Yes, an embedded video in a post can add to the great content you are writing. However, my video clicks tend to be minimal when comparing them to text link clicks.
Your best bet to monetizing on affiliate offers with video is to save those videos for platforms like Facebook and YouTube. On Facebook you can add an affiliate link as your “Call to Action” that pops up at the end of the video. On YouTube you can add affiliate links to the video description and also on the video as an annotation (found in the Video Manager area).
Examples Of Successful Affiliate Posts
Elf on the Shelf Ideas – The Master List: In this post, I've used personal images of the product with Amazon affiliate links. The other photos you see in this post are from my family member's elf adventures. This kind of post would not be appropriate with a round-up of other bloggers' images.
FREE Disney Parks Vacation Planning DVD: This post contains an affiliate offer that required use of a provided banner image and no text links. I made the post personal (and pinnable) by adding my own hero image.
Gifts That Promote STEM Learning: This post is a gift guide focusing on a current “buzz” word topic that contains Amazon affiliate links.
Kinsa, World’s Smartest Thermometer $19.99 with FREE SHIPPING (Was $25): This post promotes a great price on a product that I knew my audience would love. Depending on your niche, the type of product you feature could be something entirely different.
DIY Bathroom Mirror: A Re-Do for Only $18!: This post on The SITS Girls is a simple DIY project. Anytime you have a recipe or tutorial, you can use affiliate links for your supplies.
Day 3 Assignment
Identify old blog posts you could update with affiliate links. If you haven't already applied for affiliate networks that are a good match for your blog, do so today.
DAY 4: REVISE OLD CONTENT TO EARN MONEY
A good place to start with affiliate links is the content you already have. Do you have posts that mention (or could easily be edited to mention) a product that's available through one of your affiliate networks?
Day 4 Assignment
Download our Steps To Writing A Great Affiliate Post printable. Review those tips and edit two of the old posts you have targeted for affiliate income. Add in your affiliate links and promote them across your social media channels. This is a good time to spruce up old pictures or add a little SEO love to your posts as well.
Day 4 Handout
DAY 5: PLANNING AHEAD FOR AFFILIATE EARNING CYCLES
Affiliate links can be used successfully all year long, but consumers are statistically more likely to shop more often during Quarter 4 (October, November, and December). Devon starts planning for Q4 in the summer. She decides what topics her holiday gift guides are going to cover and what other holiday-themed posts she will write. Affiliate links are placed in most of these posts, and she publishes them on her blog throughout the fall.
Does the fall seem early to publish holiday content? It isn't! Remember that it can take several weeks for a pin to get indexed and take off on Pinterest. Publishing early gives you time to promote these posts for maximum exposure and maximum earning.
Some timing to keep in mind when planning your editorial calendar: use free time (or schedule time) to work on content for the future. It is advantageous to plan posts for holidays and other seasonal traditions and occurrences. When you are planning ahead, you have more time to write a quality piece that isn’t slapped together. It will also give you time to think about what products and services you might be able to include in your posts that can contain affiliate links.
Day 5 Assignment
Download our Blogging Seasons printable to start planning your editorial calendar to maximize your affiliate earnings for the rest of the year.
Day 5 Handout