Affiliates are a funny thing. In fact, for the longest time I wasn’t the hugest fan of them. When I started blogging about 6 years ago I joined some programs in hopes of making money and nothing. Zip. Maybe 30 cents … a month. It was so discouraging. Plus it took SO MUCH TIME to sift and sort through all the links to plug into my blog post and I just felt defeated. I moved on to other things, figuring that affiliates were not worth my time. Especially when I had such little time to devote to blogging.
Flash forward to now and I’ve been on a crazy journey. I blog full time and am able to make an income off of it! Brand sponsorships is my main income driver, but believe it or not, affiliates sales are also in my top income producers! You may already be in some affiliate programs right now but not really seeing any thing come from the effort you put in OR maybe you are part of too many programs that you forget your logins and don’t remember to use links OR maybe you just think they look like too much work so you haven’t tried using them yet OR maybe you are making money off your affiliate programs and want to make even more – no matter where you are at, these five tips will help you focus on creating content and using affiliate links to your advantage.
TIP #1 JOIN FEWER (YET INTENTIONAL) PROGRAMS
This one is hard because everyone has an affiliate program these days and everyone wants you to join theirs. When you are involved in too many groups, you get overwhelmed & burnt out. No one has time to search their email for a login to a program for one affiliate link in a blog post. I recommend picking a couple (5-10) to be a part of and invest in those ones. When choosing what to be a part of, think about:
1. What you already use, love, & support frequently.
2. Programs where you can find a lot of things you share on your blog (Amazon / RewardStyle.)
3. Classes and E- Courses that you have already taken and want to share with your readers to help them grow. Most of these have an affiliate program you can join after you take the class so that you can share what you learned with your readers and get a kick back for all that promotion! Some of these are even 50% commissions!
4. Programs that you use for blogging and think other people will enjoy using too. Most of the programs you use to help your business have referral or affiliate programs. Sign up for the ones you love.
- Amazon (almost everything is on Amazon)
- RewardStyle (Connects to a lot of websites & stores. You can install a link ninja and link directly from websites you are on! So helpful. It even works on Etsy!) and/or ShopStyle
- 3-5 products you use all the time and already share all the time on your blog (Artifact Uprising, Minted )
- Flodesk (email marketing!) & Honeybook (Contracts & Invoicing)
TIP #2 CREATE QUALITY CONTENT AROUND SPECIFIC AFFILIATE LINKS
Quality content is key here. Don’t just blog about random crap to link to a million affiliate links. It is spammy, unauthentic, and one of the fastest ways to lose followers. Instead, plan content around things that will be beneficial to your readers. Say you just switched to Flodesk and you are loving it. So you created a blog post called “How my email list took off and why it matters to you” where you share about why it is important to have an email list, how it has benefited you, and how you grew your email list directing them to the site you use to make your emails so darn pretty and clickable (and using your affiliate link!) This post is not only helpful content for your readers but a great way for you to make money with your affiliate links. Content like this is also evergreen and if paired with a great image, can do really well on Pinterest too!
It is important that you mostly only share links for things you have used or already own. There are occasions where it is okay to link to other things but your recommendation speaks louder when you have actually used /own the product. Sometimes you may buy something for a specific post that you can link to (say a post on why you used Minted for your baby announcements) or other times you buy a new Patagonia sweater, take photos for your blog while wearing it, and link to it in the post.
Other quality posts that can be created around affiliate links could be:
“How to Send Contracts & Invoices to your Clients” (Honeybook Affiliate Link)
“Stocking Stuffers for Him” (Amazon Affiliate Links)
“DIY Instagram Print Display for your Office” (Artifact Uprising Affilite links for prints with Amazon links for supplies)
“My Workout Uniform” (Style post with RewardStyle links )
TIP #3 ASK YOURSELF IF ANY AFFILIATE LINKS WOULD STRENGTHEN THE POST
If you are part of Reward Style and Amazon, you will most likely be able to link to a couple things in every post. Do not try to make things fit when they don’t. Not every post needs a link – sometimes quality content can still be valuable to your audience without pointing them to anything else. But you will find that you can include links more than you realize. Maybe add a “Details:” section at the bottom of your post where you link to the mug, the pens, and the coffee table in the photos you took for the post. Other times you can weave in that you’ve been reading The Magnolia Story and link it right there without calling any attention to the link or making it a big deal.
TIP #4 THINK OUTSIDE YOUR BLOG – AND INTO SOCIAL MEDIA
Your blog is not the only place to use affiliate links. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are all other great places to share your links. So is your mailing list! Use these communities to share your links! Just like in blogging, keep your content relevant and quality. Don’t link drop in your social media accounts and hope people click through to buy everything you are telling them to. Make sure also that you are disclosing your affiliate links to meet FTC requirements. For example:
“I’m a chapter into The Magnolia Story & already in love! Grab it too so we can chat about it!! #bookclub http://amzn.to/2kU41aZ #afflink “(or #affiliatelink , #ad, or #spon )
TIP #5 LINK TO SIMILAR STYLES WITH DIFFERENT PRICE POINTS
This one is more specific to outfit posts but can be used in other situations if the opportunity arises. Often I buy my clothes on sale or I wear clothes from seasons past. Not all of the clothing items in my style posts are for sale at GAP per se anymore. I know I am not the only one who wears clothes from last winter 😉 Don’t miss out on the opportunity to use an affiliate link because you can’t find the exact dress at GAP anymore. Look online for other similar styles and share them as similar options. Sometimes you may be wearing a new dress that you feel is more on the higher end of the price range. You may want to link to some more affordable styles as well to help your readers in different budgets. You can either make a list of similar styles or use a widget to share similar styles and embed it in your post. By giving your readers more options to achieve the look you are sharing, they may be more inclined to make a purchase.
These are five tips for strengthening your affiliate game this year. The most important thing to remember is to stay true to you and your blog. Focus on content that fits you and your style. Don’t let the endless supply of affiliate programs woo you, but stick to your guns and pick out the best ones for you. You’ll find that when you focus on the few that really mesh with your content best, your affiliate income will increase!
What are some of your favorite affiliate programs? What are some of your favorite ways to use them?