What is Affiliate Marketing? A blogger and a brand get together and reach an agreement where the blogger promotes the product and the brand pays the blogger based on new sales that result from that promotion. It’s basically product placement, except companies only pay for the ad space based on what consumers buy through your affiliate links. This allows you complete control of what ads you place on your page; makes you look less spammy, and probably makes you a little more money over time. For some bloggers, affiliate marketing is a key part of profitability and can become a fruitful passive income stream.
Affiliate Marketing Ads Look Better
See? I chose this audible banner because I write about books all the time and I love audible for new releases that I can’t get at the library. It looks nicer than most blog ads and if one person clicks through and signs up for audible I’ll make more commission than I would in a month in those ads.
Breezy Afternoons has a great affiliation with Bookshop.org. Basically, they give me my own online book space, and I can recommend the books I review here. If you click through the link, I get a cut of the price you pay for the books. It works for both of us. I can tell you the exact order in which to read Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and you get a good deal on paperbacks. Everyone wins here.
Bookshop.org supports brick and mortar book sellers, so every book you buy from this website not only sends me a cut of the proceeds, they send a cut to an independent bookstore who is also affiliated with them. This is why I promote their books. I believe in the “why” of what they do.
As such, the books purchased from them cost more than Amazon. Most people click through to the Bookshop.org link, see the price, and skedaddle on over to Amazon. I don’t blame them – everyone’s out here trying to make a living, friend. I have placed several examples of the bookshop.org ads I use when I’m writing about books. These ads are available for all affiliates.
I’m also an Amazon affiliate, and I find that handy to create links to products I’m recommending or using when I talk about my hobbies. Amazon’s commissions are very very teeny tiny, but, that’s ok. If I’m recommending a product here it’s because I liked it. The eventual goal with any blog or website like this is to build brand recognition and traffic over time. Start with ten pages on book reviews and somewhere down the line, rank for a few good keywords and then create some type of passive income. Many blogs make their folks a lot of money!
How it’s done
I’m going to start by sharing with you the number one selling item in the Clothing category on Amazon, as of today. It’s a Men’s Hanes branded hoodie.
This sweatshirt sells like hotcakes over at Amazon. Now that I’ve joined their affiliate program* I am free to use their affiliate tools to recommend this to you anyway I might want. I can promote it by telling you how much I love the softness of these amazing hoodies and put the link right in there so you feel compelled to click. Or- I can include the ad, showing you how ridiculously low the price is on this amazing hoodie so you’ll click and buy right then and there. Here are some ad examples:
So now, I’ve told you about the amazing soft hoodie. I’ve shown it to you. And that price! Irresistable, right? Hoodies not your thing? That’s ok. If my blog was always about clothing, Amazon would still have me covered. I can give them a banner ad right here in the middle of the site.
This banner ad will change from time to time, to update, so no matter when someone comes and visits me they can click through and spend some money. The audible ad at the top of this page is an Amazon banner, as well.
Banner ad example:
*Amazon does not offer an affiliate commission on recommending their affiliate program. Believe me, I tried.
Share A Sale
Shareasale.com is like a superstore of merchants that will give you a cut if you advertise their products. No matter your interests, you will find something here you have the authority to sell. Each merchant has rules one must follow – for example, you can’t outbid them for a top spot on Google. If you join ShareASale, use my link. If you’re successful, I’ll get a bonus. 😉
Share A Sale works similarly to Amazon. Lets say that I’m writing a blog post about ice cream. There is a great new company out there that will ship amazing ice cream to your door with personalization on the packaging. In this hypothetical scenario, I’m going to write a blog post about how I sent my sister some Ice Cream for her birthday. She lives in San Antonio. It’s always so hot there, so lets help her cool off.
Now, I want YOU, my reader, to be able to click through and buy this ice cream. I have to apply and be approved to be an affiliate for this vendor. I’ve done so, so now I can go look at what ads and banners they have available. Once I decide, the website gives me the code that I need, and I just copy and paste it into my site’s HTML and we move on to the next thing.eCreamery Sprinkles – $4.99
Retail Price: $10.00
You Save: $5.01
from: eCreamery Ice Cream and Gelato
This company, eCreamery Ice Cream and Gelato, offers affiliates a coupon to pass to their readers to try the ice cream. This will not expire so I don’t have to worry about coming back and updating the website later. This is important. You will lose readers and credibility if you have expired banners and ads all over your site.
Take a look at the link I was able to copy and paste as a text ad below this paragraph. Normally, I would get in there and add a little HTML code to make it look nicer – larger font, custom slogan, etc. I am leaving it as is to show you that it is good to brush up on your basic HTML when you’re running a blog, even if you’re using the easiest blog platform ever. See the difference between the two? Is mine perfect? Nope. Is it better? Yep.
Hey, you! Want to make some money on your hobby blog like I do? Check out ShareASale.com. They make it super easy. Even I figured it out!Find a sponsor for your web site. Get paid for your great content. shareasale.com.
Note: Pay attention to the size of the ads and banners that you choose.
Valentine’s Day is coming up! Check out eCreamery Ice Cream & Gelato and surprise your loved ones with an ice cold shipment of smooth, creamy goodness. Buy through this link for 35% off personalized ice cream! No coupon necessary.
Hopefully by now you have a solid idea of how affiliate marketing works. If you already have a website with significant traffic, this is a huge opportunity for you to take it to the next level. Do not think that money is going to just start falling from the sky, however. Good content is always the tried and true way to build a web property that will rank higher in search engines and bring you more traffic. Unless you’re using paid advertising and are really good at targeted ads, this is going to take some time before it becomes profitable.
I almost forgot: never join an affiliate marketing program that requires you to pay money to them upfront. That’s called a scam. Affiliate marketing has taken off because it is a true win-win situation for bloggers and brands. Done correctly, affiliate marketing can be great passive income. Do not think this is easy or that it will happen overnight. There is a lot that goes into ranking websites and bringing traffic to your blog. Stick to what you know, and create a good website.
Kelly Haynes is a professional blogger and is highly experienced in SEO. She is also an affiliate marketing specialist and can retrofit your website to boost its profitability. Contact her at email@example.com
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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