Affiliate Marketing 101: How To Start Generating Affiliate Sales In 2019
Just last week I generated my biggest affiliate sale ever.
Someone paid over $200 for a something I recommended and I made over $35 for just that one sale.
That’s more than someone buying my ebook!
As soon as I found out, I did a victory lap around the house and thanked the Universe.
These days, I’m generating around 2 affiliate sales a day.
Sometimes it’s just a lead. So I’m not really sure if I can call that one of my affiliate sales a day.
But I’m typically earning commission on 2 affiliate actions a day.
Does that make sense?
Now it wasn’t always that way. I wasn’t always making money every month from affiliate income.
But over the past 2 years, I’ve started to figure out the affiliate marketing world without buying a paid course to help me get there.
These days, I feel like almost all of the affiliate marketing blog posts on Pinterest are promoting 1 specific course.
And if you’re anything like me, I’m a little bit sick of hearing that I have to buy something to get access to the basic strategies that I’m looking for.
I’m more than willing to buy a paid course. I’ve already done it twice!
But for basic strategies to get you going, I think they should be offered for free. And if you want to take it to the next level then, of course, look for a course to get you there.
So today, I want to walk you through the basics of Affiliate Marketing and help you to generate more sales this year.
Are you ready?
Let’s get into it!
This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you! Thank you for supporting TheContentBug.com so I can continue to provide you with free content each week! You guys are amazing!
WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING
If you haven’t heard of affiliate marketing before, then you’ve definitely seen it.
To be honest, affiliate marketing is all around us!
And before I started my blog, I had no idea what affiliate marketing was. But now that I’m on the inside, I see it being used all the time.
And I’m sure that there are many other people that have profited from me buying something they recommended without knowing it was an affiliate link.
So what is affiliate marketing exactly?
Well, companies have pretty elaborate marketing plans. Most of them include digital marketing and traditional marketing tactics, and of course, ADS!
Companies can buy commercials, ads on social media networks, ads on Google, ads in magazines, and the list goes on. They can even pay an influencer to create a post around their product and share it for a certain price.
That’s why you see the #ad going around.
It means that they got paid to post about that product!
But another great way for companies to get their name out there is through affiliate marketing.
They build a database of influencers, bloggers, Instagrammers, and just people in general and give them a custom link to share their product or service.
Then whenever someone then clicks on that custom link and signs up for something or buys something, the person that recommended the company will receive a small commission!
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO BECOME AN AFFILIATE
Do you notice that you talk about the same products or services?
Are there companies that you are loyal to that you like to share with your audience?
Well, wouldn’t it be awesome to get paid for talking about the companies that you are going to talk about anyway?
I mean… come on!
Affiliate marketing is a great way to get paid for doing what you are already going to do. And it’s an easy step into the passive income world.
It’s a ‘set it and leave it’ strategy.
You write the blog post including the affiliate link. Promote the blog post as you normally would. And continue writing amazing blog posts!
Of course, the more traffic you get to the post the better your chances are for generating affiliate sales.
But you also might want to think of it like the more posts you have that contain affiliate links the better your chances are for generating affiliate sales.
So let’s talk about how you can become an affiliate of the companies you love!
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING
Before you even get started, I recommend you sit down and brainstorm what companies you would like to become an affiliate of.
When I was getting started, I turned to the products and services I was already using.
So make a list.
Then there are 2 main ways to get started with affiliate marketing.
1. Apply to the company directly
You may not have known this before, but a lot of companies actually have their own affiliate program that you can apply for right on their website!
Simply Google the name of the company and “affiliate program”. If they have a program, then it should appear! And if they don’t, then you might find some other websites that talk about what’s going on.
But from there, just apply to their program!
You will most likely need to share your blog, what you talk about, and maybe even your follower count to get started.
2. Work with an affiliate network
Affiliate networks are great because they give you access to companies that already have affiliate programs! And all of your links, stats, and resources are all in one place!
I like to use ShareASale.
I first joined this platform before I was ever an affiliate of anything. And this is where I actually joined my first affiliate program and where I made my first affiliate sale!
If you have no idea what companies you want to become an affiliate of, I recommend you start with ShareASale.
They are home to hundreds of companies and they break them down by category. So finding possible programs is easy!
But I have to say, I joined this platform almost 2 years ago at this point. And since then, I’ve heard that it’s gotten harder to be accepted into programs!
So make sure you make yourself look as amazing as possible when applying so you get accepted.
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR AFFILIATE LINKS
Once you’ve become an affiliate and you have your trackable links, there are a couple of strategies you can use to generate sales with your links!
So let’s talk about those.
Create a page with all your affiliate links
For almost any blog, it’s easy to create a page with the products or tools you love that relate to your niche.
But let me explain how I did it to give you an example.
So I have a Tools I Love page. And on this page, you’ll find the services and products I recommend to my readers for running their blogs, social media, email and more.
So if someone is looking for my recommendation on what social media automation platform to choose or what domain provider I recommend, that’s all on my Tools I Love page.
AND almost all of the links on that page are affiliate links!
You can do the same thing if you’re a wellness blogger.
You can create a page with the Products You Love, become a member of the Amazon affiliate program, and then link to all of your favorite products from your blender to your favorite supplements!
But this is just the start…
Write blog posts about how you use the product or service
If you really want to start making affiliate sales, then you need more than 1 page on your blog that has the affiliate link.
So let’s talk about your blog posts!
One of the best places to get started is to create a tutorial or a How-To post about the product or service.
Like I did with this blog post about Tailwind & Tailwind Tribes!
And if you don’t share that kind of stuff on your blog… let’s say you’re a beauty blogger and that wouldn’t really make sense. Well, you could always create a special blog post featuring that 1 thing!
Whatever will work with your current blog strategy, do it! But make sure you have 1 whole blog post dedicated to just that 1 thing!
Write a testimonial about the product or service
Then move to a bit more of an advanced strategy… testimonials!
This is what has worked best for me to generate the most affiliate sales.
I love to create blog posts about how I did certain things.
- How I Gained 1.1k Instagram Followers in 2 Months
- How I Doubled My Email List in 1 Month
- How I Improved My Site Speed by 2 Seconds in 1 Hour
- How I Grew My Pinterest Account from 100k to 600k Monthly Viewers
These are all blog posts that share my experience and how I achieved certain things with the exact steps I followed.
What I’ve learned is that my audience loves this kind of blog posts. And that they are an amazing way to promote my affiliate links.
If there is a product or service that helped me to achieve what I achieved, of course, I’m going to include it in that post!
And because I’ve proven that it brought me results, people are more willing to click through the link and sign up.
Share it on Twitter or Facebook
If you want to really pick it up a notch, you can always promote your affiliate links on social media!
Go ahead and schedule some tweets on Twitter and some posts of Facebook promoting the link. But make sure that you have an obvious disclaimer letting everyone know that it’s an affiliate link!
Send emails about it
Now, this is a strategy that is proven to work.
Your email subscribers already believe in you and your brand. So when you send them an email recommending something, they are more likely to sign up for it compared to a first-time website visitor!
So I highly recommend that you write some emails about the companies that you are an affiliate of.
If there is a sale going on, share it!
If you wrote a relevant blog post and you want to share a corresponding email, send it!
This is only going to help to increase your sales. So don’t be afraid to get creative.
HOW TO STAY LEGAL
Whenever you get paid to promote something, you legally have to share that you are doing so.
If you don’t, you could get into some serious legal trouble.
So with every page on your blog that contains an affiliate link, you need to have a disclaimer.
With every email you send with an affiliate link, you need to let your subscribers know!
And with every social media post you share, you need to be clear that the link included is an affiliate link.
On social media, it’s easy! Just include the hashtag #affiliate. Or include ‘(affiliate)’ right behind the link.
But on your blog, it’s a bit more complicated!
On the page that you are including your affiliate link, you need to include a disclaimer before any link is included.
For me, I like to include it after my Twitter image at the top of the blog post. Did you notice that this blog post had a disclaimer?
And you should have a Terms and Conditions page that goes over more information about your affiliate links.
This will cover your butt legally so no one can say that they bought something from you and didn’t realize that you would be paid if they purchased it.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Before I leave you, I think it’s important that I tell you a little insider tip.
It takes a while to make money with affiliate marketing.
I was promoting companies and including links on my website for MONTHS before I saw any money.
And most affiliate networks and programs have a minimum payout. So you have to reach a certain amount for the money to be released into your bank account.
For ShareASale, it’s $50. But for other companies I work with, it’s $100.
Some of which I haven’t even received a payout yet!
So yes, affiliate marketing is great.
And it made me a good chunk of change over the last year especially. But it’s not the only income stream I have flowing my way.
But don’t let this discourage you!
Because affiliate marketing is a ‘set it and leave it’ strategy, you never know when your affiliate sales are going to take off. And money could start to consistently start trickling in any time!
So stick with it.
Continue to include your affiliate links.
And only become an affiliate of companies you truly love and use.
Cathrin (Cath) creates content that encourages bloggers & online entrepreneurs to be themselves, chase their passion, and create their success online. 1 year after started her blog (TheContentBug.com), Cath left her full-time position working in the digital marketing industry to pursue her dreams of being her own boss. In weekly blog posts, sporadic YouTube videos, and constant talking on Instagram stories, Cath hopes to spread her story and be an inspiration to others who desperately want to change their lives.