I regard affiliate marketing as one of my top blog monetization strategies of all time.
It’s accessible, scalable, and has the potential to make heaps of passive income.
However, we should not view affiliate marketing with rose-tinted glasses.
The truth is, a lot of bloggers struggle to make affiliate marketing a sustainable business.
That’s why I decided to write this post — my complete guide to maximizing your affiliate marketing earnings.
But first, allow me to clarify a few things about affiliate marketing.
Affiliate Marketing Tips To Increase Sales
What is Affiliate Marketing — Do You Need It?
If you’re doing research on blog monetization strategies, chances are you’re already familiar with advertising.
With programs like AdSense, you simply need to add a single piece of code to your website. Google will take it from there and automatically display ads that are optimized for your site’s layout.
This leads to the question:
Do I really need affiliate marketing if I already earn money with ads?
The answer is a resounding yes.
Affiliate marketing is the practice of promoting another company’s product through an affiliate link on your website. You then earn commissions whenever a sale is made from customers who used your affiliate link.
Granted, affiliate marketing involves a lot more work than showing ads on your blog to generate revenue. But if you really want to carve your way to financial success with blogging, you just can’t rely on ads alone.
Affiliate marketing, along with selling your own products and services, is the way to go.
Here four reasons why affiliate marketing beats advertising:
- Affiliate marketing demands you to be value-oriented towards your audience — Let’s face it, ads rarely do something positive to the user’s experience. Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, requires you to prioritize valuable and informative content to your readers to be profitable.
- You make more money with affiliate marketing — The profits you can make with a strategy is, of course, a deciding factor. Affiliate marketing yields bigger and more reliable returns if you play your cards right.
- Users tend to ignore ads anyway — Every now and then, you’ll find statistics on how internet users hate online advertisements. That’s why advertising isn’t ideal for the majority of bloggers who don’t get thousands of traffic per day.
- Affiliate marketing is beneficial for brand-building and networking — Lastly, affiliate marketing comes with the perk of building connections with relevant brands in your niche. Other than product manufacturers, they can also be other authoritative bloggers and influencers who developed their own products.
Now, ready for the awesome affiliate marketing tips that will bring your blogging income to new heights?
Then let’s begin.
How to Win in Affiliate Marketing — The Basics
When it comes to affiliate marketing success, there are five crucial tips you can’t afford to miss:
1. Pick Your Niche With Absolute Care
It doesn’t matter if it takes you days or weeks to pick a blogging niche. Whatever you do, don’t rush your decision.
In fact, it’s better to not start a blog at all than start one in the wrong niche.
If you choose a blogging niche that doesn’t align with your expertise and passions, you’ll only waste time and money. Your blogging tasks will also get harder and harder to stick to while being less rewarding at the same time.
You can learn more about the delicate art of niche picking from my previous post called How to Choose a Perfect Blog Niche.
2. Get To Know Your Audience
In marketing, you can never get to know your target audience too much.
Understanding their pain points is a step in the right direction. From there, drill down to the fine details like preferred content types, social media channels, and search engine keywords.
Leverage the information you have about your audience to formulate the perfect content development and distribution strategies.
Remember, in content marketing, it’s all about building bridges between willing readers and the information they need and want. I explained the nitty-gritty of writing quality blog content in this post.
3. Select The Right Affiliate
Want to know how to write brilliant content for affiliate marketing every single time?
It’s simple: you need to believe in the affiliate products you’re promoting.
An affiliate product worth selling is something you’re excited about. It must be an item that you genuinely want to talk about and recommend to your readers.
If you’re ready to hunt for your first affiliate product, your next stop is a trustworthy affiliate network. And throughout the years, the following names consistently make it to the top list:
You may discover affiliate programs being offered directly on a brand’s website. So, if you’ve been following a particular brand for some time, check if they offer an affiliate program.
Alternatively, search for the brand you’re interested in on Google and add the phrase “affiliate program” or something similar. The resource page you want should pop right up in the top results.
4. Up Your Marketing Game
To be an affiliate marketer, you need to get your hands dirty in several areas of online marketing.
SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, influencer marketing — grab every opportunity you can get to garner readers.
If you haven’t yet, feel free to scan my website for guides that can help you hone these skills. I suggest starting with on-page SEO strategies that you can use on your website without any outside help.
Being an expert online marketer isn’t something you can achieve overnight, which leads us to the next tip:
5. Be Patient
Even if you perfectly execute your marketing strategies, it’ll take some time before your blog starts to generate recurring traffic.
That said, don’t expect to start pulling in thousands of dollars a month anytime soon.
Blogging, just like any traditional business, can take a long time before it becomes profitable. As I’ve mentioned in this post, it may take you six to twelve months before you make your first $1,000.
Perhaps the only piece of advice I can impart at this stage is to never stop learning.
You may think that you have everything figured out upon launching your blog, but you really don’t.
Affiliate Marketing Best Practices
That’s about it for the affiliate marketing basics that every blogger needs to learn.
What comes next is the fun part: actual, repeatable tactics that can increase your affiliate marketing sales.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Write A Stellar Review
Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably come across a number of product reviews on the web.
Chances are, the majority of those reviews include an affiliate link to the product in question.
Writing comprehensive product reviews is the go-to content strategy for most affiliate marketers. However, only a small percentage of those marketers know how to write a stellar review that compels readers to buy.
My number one rule for this is to heavily emphasize the problem that your target audience is trying to solve. More importantly, you need to explain how the product solves it.
I do this in two ways: providing an introduction of the product and showing readers how to use it.
For example, in my Grammarly review, I started off by discussing how it can solve the reader’s problems:
As I delve into Grammarly’s features, I explained the step-by-step process of how users can take advantage of them. There’s no shortage of useful information that will help readers maximize their investments right away.
How can you write all these details in a convincing manner?
Easy — just use the product yourself.
A great product review is an honest one. Don’t make stuff up about a product you haven’t even tested yourself.
At the same time, don’t forget to mention the advantages an affiliate product has over its competitors.
Normally, I focus on three angles for this: usability, price, and features.
If you have firsthand experience with the product, it should be easy to identify and write about its strengths.
2. Spice Up Your Review with Star Ratings
Star ratings do more than make your affiliate product reviews look cooler.
With star ratings in place, it’s also easier to stand out in SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages.
Here — let me show you what I’m talking about by Googling “HostGator review.”
The best part is, you don’t need to do intensive coding to have a star ratings system on your blog. If you use WordPress, just slap on a plugin like Star Ratings and you’re done with most of the work.
3. Use Email Marketing Automation
A lot of bloggers nowadays underutilize email platforms in their affiliate marketing campaigns.
Sure, sending an email blast may send a spike of traffic to your affiliate marketing content in a snap. Email marketing platforms, however, have so much more to offer under the hood than content distribution tools.
With email marketing automation, you can optimize the timing of your campaigns.
This will allow you to send the right kind of content to subscribers — just when they need it.
For example, you can automate a “welcome” email that sends new subscribers links to your top recommended resources. Naturally, it should include links to content that contain your affiliate links, be it a review or an in-depth guide.
Top-tier email marketing platforms like ActiveCampaign can help you configure a welcome email automation workflow within minutes. You can also utilize its site and event tracking features to re-engage visitors who lost interest in your content.
Let’s say you published a video review of your affiliate product on your website. With ActiveCampaign, you can automate a follow-up email to viewers who left your site after watching 75% of the video.
Other than welcome emails, here are other email automation workflows you can use for affiliate marketing:
- Birthday emails
- Automated emails to users who tried to claim a coupon code
- Upselling and cross-selling emails to recent customers
- Follow-up emails to users who completed an online course module
4. Promote Two or More Affiliate Products in One Post
Want to maximize the ROI of your content? Try promoting multiple affiliate products in one post.
It’s not a strategy you can always apply in your content development efforts. But when you can, it will not only reward you with more sales, but also more engaged and dedicated readers.
Here’s an example: suppose you are an affiliate of a hosting service provider, keyword research tool, and a premium theme.
Looking at these products, you can write about “improving your site’s SEO-friendliness” — a topic where all of them fit.
You just need to structure your content logically and figure out the right way to introduce each affiliate product.
If I had to decide, I’ll write a listicle of on-page optimization strategies. I’ll then add recommendations to important sections — that’s where the affiliate products come in.
It’s all about finding content ideas where your affiliate products can prove valuable to readers.
5. Create A Comparison Post with Your Affiliate Product on Top
A crafty way to put affiliate products in the best possible light is to compare it against a competitor.
Writing comparison posts is a great way to highlight the pros of any product. Additionally, it gives you the opportunity to win customers who are considering a different brand.
To create a killer comparison post, you need to focus on four things:
- Readers — Who will read your comparison post? Be sure to use a writing tone they will understand and enjoy.
- Their priorities — What do they want to accomplish? Explain how the affiliate product does it better than the competitor.
- The products’ pricing — Which option is more cost-effective? If your affiliate product is more expensive, justify its cost by emphasizing unique features and benefits.
- Results — How effective are the products in terms of delivering results? At this point, you can put up a side-by-side comparison of results and let your product speak for itself.
If you can, use a transparent scoring system to make the comparison post as unbiased as possible. I did this in my post about the best…