You sign up for an affiliate program (I’ll share some of my favorites in a little bit), you promote your unique affiliate link that the company gives you, and then you are paid if your readers buy the item or sign up for the item.
For instance, I promoted Amy’s Tell Your Time ebook recently. She has an affiliate program that offers 50% of the sales to the affiliate. Since the ebook is on sale for $2, I earn $1 for every person who clicks through my affiliate link and makes a purchase. So, if 100 people buy the ebook, I’ll make $100 in affiliate earnings.
In many cases, people have to make a purchase in order for you to earn money as an affiliate. However, there are also hundreds of other options that require no purchase. To give you an example, I’m an affiliate for Coupons.com, RedPlum, and SmartSource. If I post a great coupon that is on any of these sites, I earn anywhere from $0.02 to $0.80 per coupon printed (I have different agreements with each network, and some pay per coupon printed, others pay a flat fee per print session per user per day).
As you can imagine, one of the keys focuses on MoneySavingMom. com happens to be using coupons, the affiliate money earned from coupons printed is one of the highest revenue earners. However, it is a win-win situation, because I’m sharing a great deal with you, it’s hopefully helping you save money and get a great deal, and then we both benefit from it.
With that background in place, here are my top five tips for maximizing affiliate advertising.
- Don’t Compromise Your Values for a Quick Buck.
Affiliate marketing can be an incredible income stream for bloggers, but there are some definite pitfalls to be wary of. You want to be very careful that you don’t just give something a great review or post about something because you’re earning something for promoting it.
I always stop and ask myself before posting something that includes an affiliate link, “Would I post about this if I were not earning a referral fee from it?”
- Promote Affiliate Links in Your Posts Instead of Your Sidebar.
I’ve found that it’s much more effective to weave affiliate links into your posts, rather than to just put affiliate links on the sidebar. If you’re already going to be writing about a site or product, check to see if they have an affiliate program so you can use your referral link.
- Experiment, Experiment, Experiment.
It takes a while to learn what works when it comes to affiliate links. Don’t give up if you try it a few times and it doesn’t work or result in any sales or click-thru’s. Keep testing things out, tweaking your approaches, and learning what works for your audience.
- Be Up-front and Honest.
In the last few months, I started devoting all posts that contain an affiliate link with a simple note at the bottom letting you know that the post contains an affiliate link. This way, you know exactly what you’re getting here and when I’m getting something in return. Not only have I received a lot of positive feedback from you all about this change, but it also helps to keep me accountable in what I post to make sure I truly am following my policy to have your best interests in mind.
- Remember That Less Is More.
A few strategically placed affiliate links are almost always going to be more effective than hundreds of affiliate links all over the place. It’s better to wait and only promote affiliate links that really fit within your blog’s mission and purpose than to post every other affiliate deal and opportunity that arises.
Your readers trust your endorsement more if it’s not something you give as often. If you don’t feel comfortable with something, don’t promote it.
My Current Top-Earning Affiliate Advertising
(listed in order of their average earnings from the past few months):
Amazon.com would be higher up on the list, but Amazon recently bumped my affiliate earnings to a flat rate of 0.8% on all sales, no matter how many items affiliate sales I have in a month. Their reasoning was that I am sending too many low-profit sales to them so they had to change the terms of my affiliate agreement.
There are also many other miscellaneous programs I am an affiliate for that occasionally will have a really great deal or offer to bump them up to higher on the list.