*This article was originally published on KristaAoki.com.
It absolutely blew my mind when I learned people around the world use affiliate marketing to make money online. How could it be possible for normal people to make money online simply by partnering with advertisers to market their products or businesses?
So I researched it. I read other bloggers’ income reports and saw the potential to make money blogging and give my monthly income a little oomph.
And with huge credit to affiliate marketing, I started making money from my lifestyle blog within just a couple of months (you can read how I made over $2,000 in my first six months of blogging here). And then the growth continued (you can find my income reports here). It was remarkable to see the true potential of earning extra cash by recommending products I used or believed in.
Don’t get me wrong: I worked hard and put in plenty of hours towards my blog. I spent plenty of time figuring out what doesn’t work (through many, many categorized failures), and, in turn, what works. In retrospect, I approached learning affiliate marketing like an entrepreneur – I failed fast. But, in turn, I also learned fast.Approach blogging like being an entrepreneur - you need to fail fast & learn fast. Click To Tweet
You will put in a lot of work when implementing affiliate marketing. It can be confusing. Grueling. Stressful. But once you build a system into place, the income you earn from affiliate marketing truly becomes passive.
Here are the 10 affiliate marketing strategies I use to ensure I consistently get affiliate conversions on my blog.
(Psst. Confused by all this? Just want to learn the affiliate marketing basics? Check out this beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing that lists affiliate programs you can join today!)
This post contains affiliate links to help keep this blog running.
To learn more about affiliate links, click here.
1. Start professional: get self-hosted.
There are several reasons to invest in a self-hosted WordPress blog if you plan to use affiliate marketing to make money online:
Related Reading: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
It is possible to make affiliate income without a self-hosted blog. However, having your own blog is a huge +1 for your platform because:
- You own your content, and decide what can and cannot go onto your blog.
- You can customize your website using themes and plugins.
- It’s possible to make money blogging… even with a few amount of page views.
- You can track your page views and audience behavior after installing Google Analytics.
- Your blog becomes easier to optimize for search engines, and thus easier to be seen by a wider audience.
If you want to make real money blogging, you need to treat your blog like a business. The first step to that is investing in your own website host so you can customize your site, and track your audience behavior using Google Analytics.If you want to make money blogging, start by treating your blog like a business. Click To Tweet
We personally recommend you use Bluehost to start your blogging journey. All of our web design clients use Bluehost. They offer 24/7 customer service, and with your purchase, you get a free domain! Plus – Bluehost gives our readers a special price of $2.95/mo hosting. Click here to start your very own website with Bluehost!
Related Reading: How to Start a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog (and make money online)
2. Select a variety of low-paying, mid-paying, and high-paying affiliates.
Consider these three rules when you choose an affiliate program:
- Choose affiliates based on your readers’ interests.
- Partner with affiliates you truly believe in and can answer questions about.
- Select a variety of low-paying, mid-paying, and high-paying affiliates.
By selecting a variety of low-paying, mid-paying, and high-paying affiliates, you diversify the type of income you receive.
Readers aren’t always ready to commit to the high-paying affiliates you recommend because that requires more commitment (like a payment) from them. However, the low-paying affiliates you recommend probably require a smaller commitment (like an e-mail address).
Most importantly, partner with affiliates you truly believe in and can answer questions about.
Related Reading: Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
3. Find out what people are searching using keyword research.
Another affiliate marketing strategy to increase your overall conversions is to write about what people are searching. To do this, perform keyword research based on what you want to write about.
One of my top posts brings in regular traffic from Pinterest, and thus brings me affiliate conversions. It’s all because I selected the right keyword with low competition.
Selecting a low competition keyword means I had to compete with fewer bloggers to rank high for my keyword.
So, how do you know if the keyword you select for your post is what people are searching? And then how do you know if the keyword has low competition?
I use the keyword researching tool Jaaxy. With Jaaxy, you type in a specific keyword. Then, Jaaxy gives you the following information:
- other similar keywords
- how often each keyword is searched
- the number of other competitors for that specific keyword
When you can see how often a keyword is being searched, and if the keyword has a low or high amount of competitors, you can decide if you chose the best keyword for your post.
By choosing the right keywords, you are directing long-term traffic from search engine searches to your blog.
You can also use the search functions for Google, Pinterest, and Amazon Books to see what’s popular – and related searches similar to what you’re writing about.#BloggingTip: Use search functions for Google & Pinterest to find niche-related searches. Click To Tweet
4. Write phenomenal, creative content.
Write creative content. As a reader, it’s disappointing to be drawn in by an appealing headline… only for the content to lack depth or clarity. Go all in with your posts. Cover as many bases as possible and write at least 1,300 words (without filling your blog posts with fluff).
Overall, write content that is:
Write shareable content you would want to share. This way, the people who read your post will be blown away by the epic-ness and potentially share it with their own audience or friends. When this happens, your potential for affiliate conversions multiplies.
Your content should also be well-written. To avoid minor grammar and spelling mistakes, download the free web-application Grammarly. Grammarly’s paid application is actually, like, a total genius. So if English isn’t your first language, or it wasn’t your strongest subject in school, it’s much more affordable to pay for the monthly Grammarly plus membership than a proofreader.
And as much as possible, write evergreen content. Evergreen content is content that will be relevant and shareable all year. When I first started blogging, I loved writing seasonal posts. But find a way to turn your seasonal content into something that you can share all year. For example: instead of writing a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Him, write a Gift Guide for Men that can be shared year round.
5. Personalize your sale.
When you promote a product, you need to personalize your sale. Don’t go for the affiliate sale or conversion immediately. Instead, write down as much as you can about who you’re selling to. What is their day-to-day life like, and what problems do they face?
How can what you’re promoting solve someone’s problems?
Tailor your sale to the person who’s on the other end.
- Explain as much as you can about something. Don’t just assume they know everything.
- At the same time, talk about the benefits of the product or affiliate.
- Focus on how your affiliate, or the product, will benefit them.
Don’t just assume readers are going to click every affiliate link you put out there. First, explain the benefits of selecting a particular affiliate. Then, guide them to “click here” or “sign up here” using your affiliate link!
But don’t just tell your readers they need something.
Show your readers why they need something. You can do this by writing a tutorial or explaining the benefits of each product on a list.
Even better, talk about your personal experience with the product and how that product changed your life. Your own personal experience will go far with your readers, building trust in you and the product.
Related Reading: 3 Lessons from Sales to Increase Affiliate Sales on Your Blog
6. Create a marketing plan.
Unless you’re a super established blogger or a celebrity, after you hit publish on a post, people won’t flock to it magically. For every post you write, think about how to market it in the long term.
There are many ways you can market your post:
- Tweet your new post. When you publish a new post, schedule promotional tweets to go out at least three times during the day. Change up the way you promote the post by tweeting something different each time. Add the tweet(s) with the best engagement to your mix of promotional tweets.
- Pin your post on Pinterest, and add it to your Pinterest schedulers.One way to ensure a post gets maximum exposure over time is by adding it to a Pinterest scheduler. This way it remains in your “pin rotation” and gets pinned while you’re at work or sleeping. We use Tailwind to schedule our pins.
- Participate in Facebook group re-pin threads. This helps you establish a few re-pins on your pins, thus having a larger opportunity of being shown at the top of certain keyword searches. (Click here to join our Facebook group. We host repin threads on Wednesday!)
- Send the post to your mailing list. You can also send the post to your mailing list. Naturally, your mailing list is full of people who want to receive your emails and updates. So get them excited and let them know when there’s a new post up on your blog! (Haven’t started your mailing list? Click here to read how to use Mailerlite to set up your mailing list.)
- Let your followers know on Instagram. Post an Instagram story, or a new photo, letting your readers know about the new post on your blog! Your fans will enjoy the update of something new to read on your blog.
There are so many ways you can hype up your newly published posts! And you can’t make money blogging if no one’s reading your work. So always think about ways you can get more eyes to your posts.
If you’re looking for tested and creative ways to boost your blog traffic, Ana from The She Approach wrote a phenomenal, easy-to-read guide for both newer and more seasoned bloggers to boost their blog traffic numbers.
7. Attract readers with an engaging headline.
So you wrote a phenomenal post. You interwove your posts with affiliate links to products. You explained all the benefits to anyone who comes across your post.
But like we already established: in order to make money from affiliate marketing on your blog, you need to somehow attract people to visit your post.
One of those ways includes writing a headline that will make people want to read your writing.
There are plenty of ways to grab someone’s attention from a headline. A few tactics include:
- Make them curious.
- Immediately let them know what’s in it for them.
- Appeal to their emotions.
Protip: Use different headlines across multiple Pinterest images to ultimately see which one gets more engagement and clicks.
8. Don’t just deliver. Overdeliver.
Do you ever click on a post with an incredibly captivating, engaging headline…
…and feel disappointed by what you read?
Yes, you should attract readers with an engaging headline. But if you’re not delivering, you’re disappointing.Attract readers with an engaging headline. But if you're not delivering, you're disappointing. Click To Tweet
Your blogging reputation is on the line with every post you put out there. So make sure that when someone is directed to an article on your blog, you strive to put out new, exciting and helpful information for them.
There are a ton of different posts out there. And in order to stand out from your competition, you need to overdeliver what you’re promising in the headline.
9. Add a clear call-to-action with your affiliate links.
At first, it feels weird typing “click here to purchase (this).”
But you should add a clear call-to-action for your affiliate links.
If you want your reader to click a link and sign up for something, tell them. Tell them to click your link! Of course, strategically do this after showing them how valuable a product or service will be to them.
Here are a few ways you can make your call-to-action for affiliate links clear:
- BOLD those links and make them a different color from your text.
- Give your bolded call-to-action its own line, and center it.
- Create personalized and branded images that promote an affiliate.
Clearly telling someone, “if you use my referral link to sign up for this site, you will receive (this)” will remind them the value they get by using your affiliate or referral link.
10. Build your e-mail list.
Lastly, work on building a targeted e-mail list. To do this:
- Think about your audience. Who are you writing to? What kind of person would look forward to reading and opening your emails? (to learn more about targeting your audience, I definitely recommend reading The She Approach to Boosting Your Blog Traffic)
- Next, create an irresistible, free opt-in for designed for that specific type of person who will love reading your e-mails.
- Nurture your e-mail list. Send them e-mails related to the opt-in they signed up for (that’s obviously what they’re interested in!).
- Select affiliate programs or products your audience would be interested in.
- Send occasional e-mails promoting those products, special deals, etc.!
- Emphasize why what you’re promoting is the perfect match.
If you’re not looking to spend money on an e-mail service just yet, use Mailerlite. You can use Mailerlite for free for your first 1,000 subscribers. Mailerlite’s free version gives you access to all of their features including e-mail automation and landing pages. It’s definitely a step up from other free providers. Sign up for Mailerlite for free and start building your e-mail list!
Bonus: think outside the box.
Additionally, think outside the box with how you promote your affiliates. Always think about how you can stand out above and beyond your competition.
These are just a few ways you can promote your affiliates:
- Promote affiliates in tutorials, but also promote them in a “how I achieved ______” post.
- Address a problem your readers’ have through an automated email sequence and promote an affiliate along the way.
- Create a totally niche directory on your website promoting affiliates (think BringFido.com‘s dog-friendly hotel and travel directory or the Remote Jobs Directory by Hobo with a Laptop).
- Add a banner of your favorite affiliates to your sidebar.
- Write an in-depth post, and promote affiliates under a relevant sub-heading.
The income is “passive,” but it’s also hard work.
Although money earned from affiliate marketing is technically “passive income,” it takes a lot of thinking and implementation to build a strong foundation for that passive income.
- Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
- 10 Ways to Make Money Blogging This Month
- 3 Lessons from Sales to Increase Affiliate Sales on Your Blog
But by following these steps outlined above (going self-hosted, making the time to perform keyword research, overdelivering, marketing your posts), you are setting yourself up for success.
If you truly take the time to figure out what your audience is searching for, you are bound to create a phenomenal article they will want to read. And if you’ve found an affiliate that will solve all their problems, and explain to them how this affiliate will solve those problems, they will only thank you for the remarkable recommendation you make.
Trying to figure out what affiliate programs to join so you can start applying these affiliate marketing strategies? Sign up below for access to our free list of 35 affiliate programs organized by niche for bloggers.
And like I said, it’s not sufficient to just write a post and let it sit there. Writing a post is only a small fraction of your job as a blogger. This is affiliate marketing after all, so you need to come up with an effective plan to market that post in order to get conversions!
If this post helped you out, please pin or share!
Now I want to hear from you! What do you find the hardest part about affiliate marketing? What do you do to boost your affiliate conversions?