Affiliate marketing has been around since the dawn of the internet. People were figuring out how to earn money promoting other people’s products back when AOL was giving away CDs hoping you would dial in and hear the words “You’ve got mail.”
While affiliate marketing has had a bad rap at times, it’s a great income strategy when done properly. It can allow you, as a blogger, to earn both passive income through blog post reviews and instant income through affiliate launches.
5 Must Know Affiliate Marketing Tips for Beginners
If you are just getting started with an online business, then I want to share with you a few affiliate marketing tips I wished someone would have shared with me when I first started.
Tip #1: Promote Before You Produce
Before you go and launch your first full-scale online course or membership site, you might want to do a “test” run first. One great affiliate marketing tip is to first discover what resonates with your audience is by promoting someone else’s “already made” product or course.
Last year, I promoted 14 different affiliate launches. These were courses or coaching programs from trusted sources I believe in. While I did earn business revenue from supporting their launches, I also learned something even more valuable…
I know what resonates with my audience.
One of the ways I do this is to create “interest tags” in my ConvertKit account.
Inside ConvertKit you can create a tag and then have a tag added to a subscriber when they take a certain action. I like to set up interest tags when subscribers click on a certain email of mine.
Here’s snapshot for an example.
Based on this one screenshot (by the way I have hundreds of tags not shown), I know two things:
- My subscribers have an interest in memberships sites (Tag: BYP: Interest: Aff: Stu Tribe)
- My subscribers have an interest in writing or blogging (duh?)
The point is before you go a create a product, promote someone else’s product as an affiliate and find out what resonates with them. Then, you won’t waste time when it comes time to create your own online course.
This year, I have a few new initiatives on my promotional calendar based on these insights.
Tip #2: Only Promote What You’ve Vetted First
Early on in my blogging journey, I was guilty of promoting things I had not personally used. It’s easy in the busyness of building an online business to get lazy in certain areas. I changed my approach to only promoting tools and courses I had personally used.
An amazing thing happened next. I earned more money as an affiliate. You don’t have to try hard to sell something you already believe in.
I earned more money as an affiliate. You don’t have to try hard to sell something you already believe in.
“But, Jonathan I don’t have the money to buy all of this stuff…”
That’s what you are thinking, am I right?
Many times you can ask for either free or trial access. Many developers and course creators are happy to give you access in exchange for an honest blog post review or an email promotion.
Over the years I’ve received free books, free courses, free physical products in the mail, and free lifetime access to software programs.
When someone reaches out to me about being an affiliate, I’ll typically ask: “I am interested in this, but I don’t typically promote something I haven’t used first. Is there a way for me to get access to it? In exchange, I can write up a blog post review, capture screenshots and maybe even record a tutorial video for my audience on how I’m using the tool.”
An email script you can use:
Try it, and you might be surprised!
Tip #3: Promote Along with a Disclaimer
It’s basically law now that you disclose your affiliate relationship. How far you take that is up to you. Some bloggers put a disclaimer by every affiliate link (which I personally feel is overkill) while other bloggers post a disclaimer in the sidebar of their website. To be on the safe side, make a disclaimer in some way.
I use affiliate disclaimers in 3 ways:
Method #1: Bottom of the email – If I’m promoting via email I will paste some extra text at the bottom of the email letting my subscribers know that I am an affiliate of this program.
Method #2: Bottom of the blog post – over on my other blog, JonathanMilligan.com, I have an affiliate disclosure that is automatically added to the bottom of every post 9see below). This can be easily done with most blog themes. I’m using the GetNoticed theme.
Method #3: In the sidebar of your blog
Here on Blogging Your Passion, we’ve added our affiliate disclosure to the bottom of our sidebar. That way it appears on every page of our blog (see pic).
Tip #4: Value People Over Profit
These next two affiliate marketing tips might feel like they contradict one another, but it’s important you feel the tension on both sides. First, never promote something solely based on your own potential financial gain. It never works out well.
If you’re uncomfortable promoting it face-to-face, then you shouldn’t promote it via email or social media. Your promotion must be based on the fact that it will bring transformation and results to your customer.
Value people over profit. People will keep coming back, while profit is short lived.
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Tip#5: Don’t Be Shy About Life Changing Resources
I left this affiliate marketing tip last on purpose. The #1 reason most bloggers fail with affiliate marketing, or affiliate launches are because they don’t promote it enough. We think everyone on our email list is paying attention to everything we send them.
We believe everyone on our email list is paying attention to everything we send them.
Psychologists have actually coined a term to this phenomenon. It’s called the Spotlight Effect.
For example, a Major League Baseball player might feel like everyone in the stands is watching him at bat. But if we pan the crowd at any baseball game, we find a different story. People are buying hot dogs, taking selfies, going to the restroom, texting on their phone and doing a thousand other things.
The Spotlight Effect is when you think people are paying closer attention to you than they actually are.
Even if you have a 20% open rate, 80% of your email subscribers know nothing about this awesome life-changing resource you have for them. Don’t be shy about sharing life-changing resources. One email to your list is never enough. With all of
Don’t be shy about sharing life-changing resources. One email to your list is never enough. With all of today’s communication channels, you can get creative on your promotion as well. You can share on Facebook Live, Snapchat, Periscope and more.
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As you can see, affiliate marketing can be a great avenue to help you segment your audience, understand what resonates with them, and create new resources with a higher chance of success.