You heard people talking about affiliate marketing but you are not sure how to start? Then this is the place to be.
Affiliate marketing is a blogger’s promotion of a particular product that contains a specific link with a tracking code. Once someone clicks through from your tracking link or makes a purchase based on your recommendation, you get a commission for that sale.
Pretty simple, isn’t it? Affiliate marketing is increasingly considered as one of profitable monetization technique for bloggers, and by following these three steps, you can start implementing it on your blog as well.
In one of our previous articles on this topic, we discussed several affiliate marketing payment methods. The most commonly used one is pay-per-action, which means that a blogger gets paid only if a reader undertakes a particular action, such as asking for additional details on the product, clicking on the ad, registering on the marketer’s website and, of course, making a purchase.
In order to motivate your target audience to do so, you need to constantly provide it with fresh, interesting and product-relevant content. The more related the ad to your blog post is, the greater the chances visitors will click on it and perform the action. That’s why, your first step should be…
Step 1: Choose a Reliable Affiliate Program
Once you manage to integrate your affiliate marketing efforts with your regular content strategy, you need to choose a reliable affiliate program. However, this all depends on your area of expertise (what niches your blog actually covers). In other words, if you are posting niche-specific articles, you would probably want to connect with the industry experts.
For example, if you are writing about natural cosmetics, you should apply to be an affiliate with an organic cosmetics company. Precisely because of this, you need to choose an adequate and reliable program that would back up every aspect of your affiliate marketing strategy.
- Amazon Associates. We all know that today, Amazon.com is one of the most prominent online shopping brands. The main reason why the majority of bloggers starts with its affiliate program lies in the fact that it sells millions of products that fit almost any niche. Another reason would be the platform’s interactive interface, which makes it perfect for both rookies and pros alike. Finally, Amazon Associates guarantees that, once the product is sold, the commission will be sent to the affiliate blogger within 24 hours of the sale. The only thing you need to be aware of is that the higher your range, the higher the commission you receive. Depending on the type of a product, Amazon pays commissions of 4% to 14%.
- Google AdSense. AdSense is a Google program that isn’t actually affiliate marketing program, but it is commonly used by affiliate marketers nevertheless. It offers advertisement units to bloggers, who need to register for the program first. This enables them to use their accounts to make money through the ads posted by Google on their blog. Similarly to Amazon Associates, AdSense provides its users with numerous benefits, including several monetization options (through search, mobile sites, videos, feed or online games), multiple language support, country-specific payment methods and various ad formats.
- Commission Junction. Anyone who dives into the waters of affiliate marketing will sooner or later come across this affiliate network. One of its most authentic programs is pay-per-call, which provides individual users with the commission for creating further leads of products. One of its major pros is its wide network of over 3000 merchant partners, as well as the flexibility of affiliate links (with this program, you will definitely find an ad suitable for your blog) and payment reliability. On the other hand, the greatest disadvantage of this program is oversimplified customer support that includes only a contact form.
- ShareASale is one of the most popular affiliate programs, with approximately 3800 registered marketers. It presents you with a plethora of useful statistics, such as Average Commission, Average Sale Amount, Reversal Rates and Earnings per Click. Apart from its comprehensive network, ShareASale is also popular for easy-to-compare offers and prompt payment.
- Neverblue is a pay-per-action affiliate program that pays its affiliates for lead, download, and sale generation, as well as for new affiliate referrals. What sets it apart is the fact that it works on a yearly basis. Its major pros are simple sign-up, amazing UI, personalized tracking system, affiliate manager follow-up, as well as a wide selection of offers. Still, getting accepted is pretty difficult, since the platform is specifically designed to prevent any kind of black-hat marketing strategies.
Step 2: Integrate Affiliate Links Properly
Another important thing you need to keep in mind is that each and every affiliate link you add to your blog needs to be integrated properly. Only this way will you be able to keep the balance between user experience and your blog monetization. Here’s what you shouldn’t do
- Don’t over clutter your posts with affiliate links. The more links you have, the more you earn, right? Wrong! Every serious blogger needs to keep their blog organic and every link you add makes this more difficult. In fact, Google penalizes websites with too many affiliate links. Spencer Haws from Niche Pursuits mentions that getting penalized in 2013 got his rating to drop from 24 to 237 in just one day. Luckily, after he optimized the number of affiliate links on the website, his rating stabilized in less than nine hours.
- Don’t add banners to the sidebar with an affiliate link. While there are those who still claim the opposite, banners are not the most effective way for you to incorporate an affiliate link. First of all, their lack of design will on its own make them seem malicious. More importantly, there is a phenomenon called banner blindness – no more than 14% of consumers can remember what the last ad they saw was about. For these reasons, it might be smarter to go for sidebar image instead of banner.
- Don’t forget to mention that you’re using affiliate links. One last thing, honesty really does go a long way. Staying silent about your affiliate links gives away an impression of you trying to hide something from your visitors. This rarely ends well. Be honest about your affiliate links, but don’t brag about them either. The most elegant way to go about this is to have an affiliate disclaimer at the bottom of every page.
Step 3: Adapt your Efforts to Mobile Users
Due to the constant rise of mobile devices in use, it is necessary for affiliate bloggers to invest in mobile optimization. Since January 2015, there have officially been more searches on mobile than on desktop. This massive shift in favor of mobile has projected itself on affiliate marketing as well.
Namely, according to Internet Retailer survey from the same month, 36% of all affiliate sales were conducted via smartphones. In fact, the numbers grow more and more in favor of mobile users. According to Statista, by the end of 2017 there should be over 4.77 billion mobile users worldwide. This is why it is imperative that you manage to incorporate mobile users into your efforts.
The most popular affiliate networks for mobile
The most important thing about picking an affiliate network is that you take all the relevant parameters into consideration. While verticals may be important in the short-turn, there are other things to think about, as well. For example, you need to think about the regions they cover, since this might open a whole new market to you which would otherwise stay closed.
- App Store Affiliate Program. This Apple affiliate program allows you to advertise all iTunes content and get the share of the revenue. Its great advantage is a fact that it offers advanced link generation tools like Link Maker, RSS Feed Generator, Widget Builder.
- Amazon Mobile Associates API provides you with offers of both physical and digital products published on Amazon as well as other Android stores. This offer is quite lucrative since it provides affiliate to earn up to 6% of the purchase made.
- Yeahmobi is a performance-based mobile advertising company from China. Seeing how it is one of the best established in-app affiliate networks, it might be an extremely valuable engagement tool for your website. Its support of verticals is quite versatile and it promotes offers with the help of several types of traffic like display, incent, push, email, redirect and, of course, app discovery.
- MobPartner is a platform which can help you acquire and engage customers with the help of mobile performance marketing. This crossover between native ad formats and sophisticated targeting technology promises to maximize conversions as well as revenue.
Finally, there is one more thing to have in mind. What good is even a 90% fee on a six figures sale if no one ever clicks on it or makes a purchase? You need to think about your website first and whether it is possible or not to approach your target audience in this particular way. Blogging business is like any other industry, and being successful at it takes time. Losing your credibility for some quick profit is never worth it in the long run. Still, those who play their cards right and approach affiliate marketing in the right way have a lot to look forward to.
Note from the Editor:
This post initially listed AdSence as an affiliate program. After one of our readers kindly pointed out our mistake, we edited the post accordingly. – Sanja