I have been blogging since 2009. Even way back then, the big bloggers I was following were earning the majority of their income from affiliate marketing. Today, this is a multi-billion dollar industry taking work-at-home folks like you and me to income opportunities we could have never imagined in our 9-to-5 lives.
But what does it take to really turn the corner on affiliate marketing – the corner from putting up a link here and there and praying for the best and the day when you will know if you promote something to your audience they will buy or the first month you bring home five figures from your blog? That’s a big day after all! The good news is it doesn’t require luck just great insight and strategy. Those are things you can learn.
At the end of the day, if your reader doesn’t trust you they won’t buy from you. Period. End of story. And I’ll be the first one to admit relationship building can be hard and uncomfortable in the beginning. Especially for us introverts. Show a little personality. Let them learn a little bit more about you and the struggles you have had with what you are trying to teach.
Think about those people you DON’T trust. For me, it’s usually the people who try to convince me they have the “Midas touch.” Everything they touch is gold. They’ve had this figured out since day one. Who believes those stories? Even when we experience success fast, it’s usually because we are failing fast on the other side. Right? Share those failures on occasion. That’s what makes you relatable.
When choosing things to promote, it’s all about value. Not price-wise, but how much value this thing will bring to your reader’s life. There are a few really expensive things I promote, but I am confident in doing so because I know they can change someone’s life. I know they will get back more than they spend in some way whether that be money, time or happiness. When you are the person that introduces someone to that thing, they will thank you. On the other hand, if you convince someone to hand over $7 for a total dud they are going to remember that too.
If it’s something you believe in and truly believe is going to make a difference to a good chunk of your audience, go for it. If you know something is maybe just a little more this side of useless – – but hey it’s just $7 – forget it.
And a good reason why…
There are a million courses out there that teach people how to make money blogging, there’s less than a handful I ever promote. You’ve likely heard that it takes “seven touches” before a person is ready to buy. If you promote every course, subscription box, meal planning service, etc. that comes along only one time your reader may never get to that point. Not to mention they may just get overwhelmed with options to the point of making no decision at all. You’ve been there. Analysis paralysis.
Especially when you are getting started, pick that one product in each topic category that you love and love it to death.
For years I spent all of my time creating new content, creating new content, creating new content trying to convert something – anything. It was only when I started working backwards that I saw big results. Take a look at what content on your site is already doing well. The stuff that’s getting traffic month after month on its own. Now find a few affiliate products that are a good fit and write them into the post. Never forget that you can update your posts anytime you want. Today, I spend more time updating older content than I do writing new. It’s a total 80/20.
Take a look at what content on your site is already doing well. The stuff that’s getting traffic month after month on its own. Now find a few affiliate products that are a good fit and write them into the post.
Concentrate on Emails
There’s no better place to build those relationships or complete those “seven touches” than email. In there, you can share those things that maybe you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing on your blog for eternity. You can talk about your week or kids’ field trip or dentist appointment without it feeling weird for some random visitor to your site.
The people receiving your emails want to know more about you. They already trust you enough to give you their email address so they are one step closer to making a purchase as well. And let’s not forget we live in the era of the launch and short-term sales. If a product or service you love, love, LOVE is available today but not tomorrow, your chances of converting sales in a new blog post is minute compared to the instant communication that comes from an email newsletter. That’s why you rarely ever see those successful bloggers you follow writing posts about short-term sales. They know where their time is better spent. Email.
That’s why it is so important that you start collecting those email addresses early. You may not have a second chance!
People Over Profits
At the end of the day, choose your people over profits. The bigger you get, the more offers you are going to receive. You have to learn to say no for the sake of your self and your community. There will also come a point when you learn how crucial timing and scheduling are as well.
Most six-figure bloggers plan out their affiliate promotion schedules far in advance to ensure campaigns aren’t overlapping and burning subscribers out. Many companies with affiliate programs will let you know well in advance when a launch or special sale is coming so you can start preparing. For some bloggers, this calendar may simply include holidays and special shopping events – ex. Black Friday, Valentine Day, back-to-school shopping. For others, it will be the sales cycles of the individual things they promote. And don’t be afraid to reach out to your affiliate manager to ask if anything special is coming up – or that you would like something special to be coming up – they truly appreciate the affiliates who go the extra mile and put in some additional focus.
Knowing what you are promoting and when will not only keep you from feeling rushed and frazzled, it will also allow you to better present the products or services you are sharing. You can write a review, share your personal story with the product, schedule emails in advance.
There will always be things that pop up unexpectedly, but choosing not to fly by the seat of your pants will allow you to see more success with less struggle.
Another benefit to affiliate marketing is that it lets you test out the waters of selling without it being as personal as it is when you are trying to sell yourself. Once you learn how to sell someone else’s stuff, it gets a lot easier to sell your own.
Angie Nelson has been a virtual assistant and blogger since 2007 when she took her future into her own hands and found a way to escape the corporate cubicle farm. Today she shares her passion for all things making money from home on her blog The Work at Home Wife. Stop by her site to pick up your free Affiliate Marketing Worksheet to help you start earning more money today.