If you’re reading this, I presume you’re looking for ways to make money online. You’ve probably considered a variety of options, from taking online surveys to selling your photos on stock photography websites. There are numerous ways to make money online but perhaps the most direct route is through affiliate marketing.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing, also known as performance marketing or performance-based marketing, is a type of marketing in which a business rewards someone for performing an action (e.g., clicking a link, making a purchase, etc.). When someone performs an action as part of being “rewarded” for doing so, that person is deemed an “affiliate.”
Here’s how it works.
You’re a business that sells designer clothes online. You set up a website with a few affiliate links, like Amazon.com or Bloomingdale’s. When a user clicks one of these links and makes an online purchase, you’re rewarded with a commission.
Amazon.com is one of the largest affiliate networks and the world’s #1 online marketplace, with over 150 million active buyers and an affiliate program that pays out over $5,000,000 per month. If you’re just entering the affiliate marketing world, it’s important to understand how important performance is in earning money online.
The Power Of Generated Traffic
The most successful affiliate marketers are some of the biggest names in business. They understand the importance of generated traffic and have built entire businesses around it. They get millions of visitors each month through a combination of SEO, content marketing, and affiliate programs.
To give you an example, Amie Cobb is the owner of the well-known beauty blog AmieCobb.com. She’s been a featured guest on the Rich Dad podcast and has been recognized by Forbes as one of the country’s top 30 under 30 influencers.
What does Amie do to generate such massive amounts of traffic? She runs a massive social media presence across platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Every week she posts a new video, sometimes containing product reviews but mostly focusing on social issues.
Amie’s videos get hundreds of thousands of views and she earns a large amount of money from affiliate sales.
If you’re curious about how Amie’s traffic stack up, you can use Google Analytics to track the sources of her website traffic. You can also use Hitwise to track her social media traffic.
How To Make Money With A Blog
Now, let’s say you want to try your hand at making money online through blogging. When you sign up for a blog platform like WordPress.com, you’ll typically be given a free domain and access to a blogging platform. You can then use the platform to build a blog around any topic you choose.
If you decide to focus on financial topics, you can use your blog to educate and inspire your audience with in-depth articles about investing and saving.
From there, you can choose to promote affiliate products that you think your audience will value. You decide if you want to focus on branded products or free products, in which case you’ll need to pick a side. You can also choose to review products or offer tips and advice on how to use those products effectively.
As you start to grow your audience, you’ll find it easier to earn money online with a blog. If you want to try your hand at making money with a blog, you can use affiliate marketing to start. Don’t worry – if you want to dive deep into blogging and want to learn more, you can find a wealth of resources online.
The Benefits Of Promoting Affiliate Products
You may be wondering why you’d want to promote affiliate products. Let’s explore the benefits:
- Highly Targeted Audience
- Great For Building A List Of Buyers
- More Trustworthy Than Advertising
- More Relevant To SEO
- More Leads (For Marketers)
First, you have highly targeted audience. When an interested party (e.g., a user in your audience) clicks one of your affiliate links and makes a purchase, you know they’re exactly who you hoped to reach (i.e., wealthy fashion enthusiasts who spend a lot of money on luxury goods).
Second, your audience will appreciate and value your affiliate links. When someone discovers you and starts to rely on your recommendations, they’ll appreciate your transparency and understand the value you bring.
Third, promoting affiliate products is a great way to build a list of buyers. When you receive a commission after promoting a product, you can be certain that person (or audience) will want to receive your future recommendations. Your audience will appreciate and value your recommendations.
Fourth, promoting affiliate products is more trustworthy than advertising. When someone clicks an ad, they may believe they’re visiting a blog that doesn’t have a close connection to the product (e.g., a marketing blog that posts about brands). However, when an interested party (e.g., a user in your audience) clicks one of your affiliate links and makes a purchase, that party can be confident that the connection between your blog and the product is transparent.
Fifth, promoting affiliate products is more relevant to SEO. When someone performs an action (e.g., makes a purchase) on a website, the action will contribute to the “ranking” of the website in search results. To give you an idea of how SEO-friendly affiliate marketing can be, Amie Cobb’s blog, AmieCobb.com, gets over 10 million pageviews per month and the majority of those visitors come through affiliate links. Because she uses the right keywords, articles, and backlinks, her site consistently ranks in the top three results for “Amie Cobb” on Google.
Sixth, more leads (for marketers). When you promote affiliate products, you’re essentially marketing a business account. For marketers, this is a great way to gain access to potential customers.
How Do I Find Products To Promote?
As a blogger, you may have considered reviewing products. While this is a viable source of income, keep in mind that you’ll need to approach these products with a critical eye. It’s always preferable to purchase your own products to use as shels for your reviews (e.g., cameras, tripods, etc.). In this case, you’ll need to do additional research to make sure the product is of good quality before you put it through your critical review lens.
To provide you with an example, if you were to visit a clothing website and click on a link to an online store, you’d be taken to that store’s website. However, if you visit the clothing website and click on an affiliate link to an online store, you’ll be taken directly to that store’s website where you can make a purchase.
Therefore, consider carefully before you commit to reviewing any given product or service. Think about whether you need the product physically or just want to know more about it. If you choose the latter, then great! You can find a variety of in-depth articles and resources online that can introduce you to a product you might not have heard of.
Ultimately, when you promote an affiliate product, you’re not just promoting that product but also sharing the brand or site that directly correlates with that product. When someone clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you’re essentially telling them that you trust this site enough to recommend them to purchase a given product. If you want to recommend a product that you’ve never heard of, then great! You can use a service like Google Alerts to keep track of any new developments in your chosen niche. As a blogger, trust is essential and earning that trust through honest recommendations is a great way to make money online.
Setting Up The Affiliate Links
After you’ve chosen your affiliate products, the next step is to choose an affiliate program. This is basically the company that will pay you each time someone clicks one of your links and makes a purchase. There are a variety of affiliate programs to choose from but perhaps the simplest and most popular one is Amazon.com.
When someone clicks one of your Amazon links and makes a purchase, you’ll typically be rewarded with a commission that’s paid out once or twice per month.
This is a great option since you can get paid quickly while also avoiding the bank account fluctuations that come with some other forms of income.
The Final Step
When you’re ready to start promoting affiliate products, simply follow the steps below: