Note: you can listen to this episode above or load it up in iTunes.

My Tips for Making Money As a Blogger Through Affiliate Marketing

Today’s episode is all about how to make money as a blogger through affiliate marketing. Making money through affiliate marketing is not easy money, but there are things you can do to increase your chances of earning a regular stream of income from it. I share insider tips about what’s worked for me in making money through affiliate marketing on my blogs.

Dollar sign on a puzzle with missing piece by Alexey Zobov on 500px.com

In This Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). In today’s episode:

  • What is affiliate marketing?
  • Why affiliate marketing works
  • Why the rewards from affiliate marketing can be greater than advertising
  • Real-life examples of affiliate marketing
  • 3 different types of affiliate programs you can use
  • 3 things you can do to make sure affiliate marketing will work on your blog

Further Reading and Resources for Making Money As a Blogger Through Affiliate Marketing

What is an affiliate promotion (infographic):

What is an Affiliate Promotion, ProBlogger infographic

The affiliate sweet spot graphic mentioned:

The affiliate sweet spot, How to Make Money As a Blogger Through Affiliate Marketing, ProBlogger

Here’s the Promotion Sequence mentioned:

Promotion Sequence, How to Make Money As a Blogger Through Affiliate Marketing, ProBlogger Darren Rowse

Best Seller List Examples:

Affiliate Networks Mentioned:

How did you go with today’s episode?

What did you learn from today’s episode? Do you already use affiliate marketing on your blog? What works for you? What will you do next to explore affiliate marketing on your blog?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Finally, if you have a moment we’d love to get your feedback on the ProBlogger Podcast with this short survey which will help us plan future episodes.

 

  • Thanks, Darren. That was very informative. I’ve dabbled in affiliate sales with mixed results, probably I haven’t treated it as an event or campaign. I’m curious, do you have thoughts about selling your affiliates from a store type page on your site, or do you do it exclusively from blog posts, or both? I can see the benefit of just selling from your posts as native advertising, but I can also see how it might be helpful to have a specific place for readers to go when they are in a buying mood.

    Thanks again! I’m really enjoying your podcasts.

    Lyn

  • WarrenGOpheim

    Just started listening to your podcast series, Darren. Thanks so much for all your insights today! I’m just getting started with an iPhone-centred photography blog and have been approved as an iTunes affiliate. WordPress doesn’t like the div code necessary to render affiliate “Download in the App Store” buttons on individual posts or pages—just the sidebar, apparently. It always ends up getting stripped out. Are you aware of any plugins that might resolve this? I don’t know enough to mess around with style sheets or anything like that.

    (I’ve Googled for an answer with no success. I’m usually pretty good at these things.)

    Again, many thanks. Looking forward to your Amazon affiliate episode!

  • Hi Darren,

    I love your sequence.

    As for the knowing and trusting mention you are spot on. Readers need to know and trust you for them to buy into your affiliate product. You build this trust over time, through sharing helpful content and through building connections with niche leaders. I have patiently grown my network through writing posts, through publishing eBooks and through connecting with pros. This takes time, and it takes patience, and it also takes a willingness to help other people out.

    I have only promoted a few affiliate opportunities. Right now, I am slowly beginning to roll out my eBook affiliate program through Amazon. So far, it’s OK considering that I have barely touched the program, or that I have barely promoted it. When I did offer a few affiliate products I only partnered with my buddies, folks I have known and trusted for years. I sold a handful of products per blog post, which was OK considering the size of my list at the time, and also, the size of my network. I figured that partnering with my friends – who I know, like and trust – and offering something relevant to blogging tips bloggers was the quickest, easiest way to give my audience something super useful.

    Be relevant. I was an idiot in the past because I promoted anything under the sun. Or I promoted stuff that my audience was not interested in. Patiently sift through affiliate offers. Any thing that I have sold with a modicum of success was fully aligned with the needs, hopes and dreams of my audience.

    BTW, congrats on the $500 K of sales dude. Awesome.

    I’d say that getting down the nuts and bolts of the networks, and the strategies, helps a ton BUT you really, really want to focus on creating helpful, thorough content and you also want to build connections with blogging pros to make things pop on an affiliate level. Guys, Darren has seen massive affiliate success because he created a bunch of helpful content and he established connections with pros for years, growing his blogging community steadily. As those numbers of loyal, interested, targeted readers grew, and as he inspired his audience to trust him, more of these folks are going to buy your affiliate offers. As you said, taking the relationship with your readers seriously is the key to boosting affiliate sales, and no way in hell can you keep their trust if you try to rip people off, or if you sell something just to make money. You may earn a quick buck but you’ll lose people’s trust. Don’t promote crap. Don’t promote anything. Promote only what is fully aligned, what helps your audience and what you feel really, really good about.

    I am huge on promoting only what I have used AND what has changed my life. I marketed an SEO course as an affiliate because my buddy gave me a free copy, I took the course, and I absolutely loved it. I saw how quickly the product benefited me because hey I hate SEO, and if I hate SEO, and I loved the course, it had to be damn good. Since I bought into it, and since I believed in it, my audience bought into it. At that time, the sales were far from astounding, but hell, I figure the number was A-OK for my readership and for the fact that it was my first serious, aligned affiliate whirl.

    As for the price point thing I am offering lower ticket products to appeal to a larger audience. I price my eBooks at $0.99 because I want to give away my best stuff from an abundant space. I like adopting low barriers to entry for my Amazon eBook and audio book affiliate program. Low barriers to entry means more sales, and more sales means an increased online presence.

    Banner ads…..they do not seem to work too well. Readers are blind, indeed. I did the banner ad bit for a minute, on the affiliate side, and it did not work at all because of the blindness you note. Just build that list, gain the trust of your audience, and over time you will boost affiliate sales by emailing your list. Doing those personal reviews is gold because if you are honest, transparent and authentic, wow will people freely buy the product. Tell people who would enjoy the product, clearly, and folks will guy it. This is contrast, this is clarity, and this is the type of review that will increase sales….because you don’t need the sale. Meaning, you are honestly suggesting the product for folks who’d dig the product, and for nobody else. Your reader’s will appreciate you saving their time, telling them who would love the product. Then, folks who did not like the product can move on and the good matches can enjoy the affiliate product.

    Smart idea on the best seller lists. People may buy in to what other folks buy in to. Best sellers gain some real steam over time because folks prefer to follow the herd, largely.

    Overall, keep on creating that value and keep on building connections to gain the trust of an increasing number of people. Once you have that trust, you are golden, in terms of your affiliate promotions. If you continue to be honest, authentic and helpful, and if you clearly share who would dig the affiliate product, you will become an affiliate selling machine…..or you will just simply boost your sales over a steady period of time. Focus heavily on sharing something useful – for free – on your blog to become really likeable, trusted, and to prove that you’ll help folks for free, for a sustained period of time. Then when you add a price tag, folks will not even see the price tag and will buy the good old affiliate product.

    Always note affiliate disclosure. Let folks know that you’re making some coin on any affiliate product. I post this disclaimer in my footer bar and I usually note this through the blog post itself. This is key for your audience, and for us in the USA – at least, for the 2 months that I go home each year – an organization known as the FTC requires this disclaimer sharing, I believe. Yep, don’t want to skip out on that.

    Darren, I loved this podcast. Affiliate marketing is a sticky subject with many bloggers because they chase the money and they lose the trust of their audience. Start by gaining trust. Then, only share products you believe in, that you have used, and that have changed your life. This level of authenticity – combined with the trust you have gained through your helpful blog posts – can help any blogger generate affiliate sales over time. Focus on building your foundation: create and connect. Then, by following your helpful tips on the practical side of things, you can begin to generate a steady affiliate income while helping out your audience with some inspired products or service.

    Frequency is another critical topic. I only do affiliate offers once in a blue moon. Even for my eBooks, I give them away for free, frequently, and then I offer them for the price of 99 cents to keep the price point low, to keep the sales popping, and to focus more on adding value, and of course, to provide value at a bargain basement price. Ditto on affiliate sales. Do a promo blitz here and there and then move on from the promotion. Pop in a few months later if you want to promote something different. As you focus more heavily on creating value, you’ll generate steady sales through your products and services, and through affiliate sales, and you better believe that you won’t feel the need to promote an affiliate product. Do the affiliate thing from an abundant, generous space, to see the greatest return.

    OK, time to exhale. Another blog comment done. Now it’s time to spend the weekend on a volcano. I know, boring life, Blogging from Paradise.

    Thanks again for the inspired share and have a great weekend Darren.

    Ryan

  • Darin Scott Johnson

    I have always loved to listen to what Darren Rowse has to say. I have been on the other side of things and know exactly what Darren talks about as a reader when one gets too many offers you start to turn off any offers that come from a particular person. I am just getting into Blogging so this is very interesting information on what Affiliate opportunities exist.

  • Hi Darren, Thank you for this podcast. I always feel like I’m getting “honest” practical info, tips and suggestions from you which I greatly appreciate.

    Question: What do you think about promoting a product (from time to time) even though you don’t have an affiliate? Currently, I don’t really have sufficient traffic to get an affiliate. Still, I often run across products or companies I think may be of interest to my readers. And I sometimes mention the product or company within a blog. There are some products, such as books related to my blog for which I would love to write a review. Looking down the road when I do hope to have an affiliate, I’m thinking that I would have already honed my skills in promoting. What do you think? Thanks much.

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  • Really enjoyed reading that, you made some really good points. Brilliant podcast.

    Affiliate Marketing Australia