A few months back, Grayson wrote a great post on the basics of affiliate marketing. If you haven’t read it yet, I’ll forgive you and you can go ahead and read it now.
Back yet?…Great! Now that you have the basics of how affiliate marketing works it’s time to implement it and start making some money! I’ve been asked by numerous people how to make money with affiliate marketing so I thought I’d just share some of my tips in the form of a post. 🙂
I will say that when I first started blogging I had basically no idea at all what I was doing, and still don’t on some levels, and was simply looking to get more traffic and talk with others about money. That said, I’ve been running a blog for nearly two years now. Over that time I’ve been able to teach myself a few things about making money through affiliate income and think it’s one of the best ways to make money from blogging.
Affiliate Marketing Means Knowing Where Your Traffic is Going
If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time you know that most of the time things don’t happen overnight. That is largely the case with affiliate sales. You need to build traffic to the site, which is really the base you need to work from. You don’t just want any traffic, but you want search traffic and targeted search traffic at that. Why is that? It’s because other bloggers generally will not click on your affiliate links.
Where do you go to see what kind of search traffic your blog is getting? My two favorite tools are Google Analytics and the Jetpack plugin for WordPress. Either will work, though Jetpack provides more of a quick glance while you can do a deep dive with Analytics. If you don’t know where to go in Analytics to see where your search traffic is going to, follow these steps:
- Select “Visits” in Analytics and then set your chosen time frame
- Scroll down the left side bar and click on “Acquisition”
- From “Acquisition” you want to then select “Channels”
- This will bring up all your traffic sources and you will want to select “Organic Search” from there
- The final, and most important step, is to select “Landing Page” as this will tell you what pages your search traffic is landing on
That last point is very important as it tells you exactly the pages your search traffic is landing on. Go through that information as it can be a goldmine. This is what you’ll generally want to use to help you further determine what kind of affiliate products you can promote. I’ll leave up to you whether or not you want to use said products yourself, I generally do, but that’s up to you. 🙂 From there, it’s generally trial and error to determine what products work best on your site.
Funnel Your Readers
Having search traffic to your site is vital to making money with affiliate marketing. But, what do you do now that they’re on the site – you want them to stay longer! What I begin to do as I see that visitors are regularly coming to specific pages is that I begin to think of other, less loved posts that fit the same general idea.
There are numerous ways you can do this from placing a simple link somewhere in the post to mentioning the post specifically. If it’s a “money” post, then one thing I like to do is offset the given post I want to direct readers to in a quote box. This helps it stand out more and catch the reader’s eye. It doesn’t guarantee it’ll get them to click on that post, but it does increase the chance.
The beauty of doing this is two-fold. The first is that it has SEO benefits because you’re doing internal linking, which you really want to be doing anyway. The second, is that you can likely have the same affiliate link, or a similar one in the other post and thus enable you more of a chance to make more affiliate income.
Make it Obvious to the Reader
My final trick to making money with affiliate marketing is to make it obvious, yet simple to the reader. Basically, this means not getting overly link happy and placing 20 affiliate links in a post. What do you do when you see an annoying flashy billboard? Yeah…you look away. It can be the same thing with links and affiliate marketing and generally not get the desired result.
Beyond that, make it obvious to the reader. For example, if I think you should open an account with Scottrade (yes that IS an affiliate link) 😉 you make it easier on the reader as opposed to something like simply hyperlinking “account”. I like to think of it as ‘what is going to get me more likely to click on the link?’ and go from there.
Like I said in the beginning, I knew nothing about affiliate marketing when I first started blogging. I’ve been able to teach myself a few things and they’ve been immensely helpful. The key, other than traffic, is determining what products you want to promote and making sure they fit with your traffic/readership. There are other ways to make money through affiliate marketing, such as with email that I didn’t cover but we very well could in the future.
What are your thoughts on affiliate marketing? What has worked for you and what hasn’t? Is there anything else you’d like us to cover on affiliate sales?
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