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6 More Tips for Affiliate Marketing on Blogs

Posted By Darren Rowse 2nd of June 2009 Affiliate Programs 0 Comments

Almost four years ago I wrote a post here on ProBlogger with 10 Tips for Using Affiliate Programs on Your Blog.

In that post I suggested the following tips:

  1. Consider your Audience – start with your reader when considering what to promote. Relevancy is key.
  2. Genuine Recommendations and personal endorsements always work best – recommendations of things you personally genuinely like are always best.
  3. Link to Quality Products – the better the products that you recommend the more your readers will thank you for suggesting it.
  4. Contextual Deep Links work Best – in general you’ll have more luck promoting a product from within a post than on a sidebar
  5. Consider positioning of links – links/banners that are in parts of your post/blog that where readers look work best (top of posts for example)
  6. Traffic levels are Important – the more eyeballs your promotion gets the better
  7. Diversify without Clutter – some products work better for some audiences than others – so promoting a variety of products can be good – promoting too many is of course not good.
  8. Be Transparent – don’t try to trick people into clicking your links. I’ve changed my stance slightly on this – I used to put (aff) next to any affiliate link but in the end found readers were just annoyed by it or didn’t understand what it meant. Now I use site-wide disclaimers to talk about it.
  9. Combine with other Revenue Streams – every blog is different, some will work better than others with affiliate marketing while others will work better with adveritising. However I find on many blogs advertising and affiliate marketing can work well in tandem.
  10. Track results – if you don’t have some way of working out how your promotions are converting you could be wasting your time.

As you can see – I’ve changed my opinion a little on the way that I express #8 but apart from that I still subscribe to all of the advice in that post. However I’ve also learned a lot more about affiliate marketing. In fact over the last four years the revenue that I make from affiliate marketing has continued to grow – to the point that it now probably makes up around a third of my online income (it varies from month to month).

So I thought it might be time to build upon the 10 tips above with some more lessons that I’ve learned.

11. Build Your Network Before You Need It

Perhaps the biggest thing that I’ve learned about affiliate marketing is that it works best the bigger and stronger your network is. I mentioned in my first list that ‘traffic levels are important’ – this is true, but connected to it is your ‘network’.

Whether it be loyal blog readers and subscribers, your email list, your Twitter connections, your Facebook friends or some other social network – the better your network the better you’ll do at driving affiliate sales.

It’s not just about size – the size of your network is only part of what I’m talking about here. Also important is the depth of relationship that you have with your network/readers and the amount of trust that they have in you. If you have consistently helped people and been useful to them over a long time they’re probably more likely to respond to your recommendations.

Relevancy/Focus counts – The other key part of your network is how relevant it is and how focused it is upon the topic that you’re doing promotions on. For example – I see some people on Twitter running competitions to build their follower numbers in a way that just brings in any follower that they can. The problem with this is that they end up with a large but unfocused network. I personally would rather have a smaller network who all shared the one interest than a large one who just signed up to get a prize.

Lastly, a network takes time to build – if you think you’ll be doing some affiliate marketing at some point in the future – start building your network now, before you need it. This gives you time to build the depth of relationships, trust and focus of your network before you begin promoting affiliate products.

12. Try different Mediums

I’ve alluded to this above already but one of the things that I’ve noticed over the last few years is promotions work differently on different mediums.

For example: some affiliate promotions seem to convert best in a blog post, others work best when you send an email to a list you’ve been building while others seem to take off on Twitter or other social media sites.

The key is to try different approaches, to have build up your network before you need it (see above) and to track the results for each promotion so you can check what is and isn’t converting.

13. Multiple Promotions of the same Product

I spoke about this at Blog World Expo last year in a session but don’t think I’ve written about it here at ProBlogger. Here’s what I’ve found:

If you write a single blog post promoting an affiliate product you’ll have a certain percentage of readers buy the product (the % varies a lot). If you are able to follow that up with a different type of post a few days later it can reinforce the promotion.

Here’s how I’ve done it on my photography blog:

  1. Blog Post 1 – a post announcing a new product, giving some benefits, sharing who the product is relevant for etc.
  2. Blog Post 2 – a post a few days later that is an interview with the person behind the product – exploring why they made it, expanding upon what it includes, who it’s for and giving the product context. I’d try to also include some tips or suggestions for readers who don’t buy the product in such an interview so it is a useful post for everyone.
  3. Email List – later in the week email out the subscriber list linking to the previous posts and reinforcing the promotion.
  4. Tweets/Followups – I would also include a few Tweets about the promotion through the week and would consider a 3rd blog post a week later – perhaps some reader reviews of the product.

The key is to not spam your network but to find interesting and useful ways to draw attention to the product multiple times over a week or two so as to reinforce it and give those who take a little longer to make a decision the opportunity to get the product.

14. Bonuses Work

There are many techniques that internet marketers use to increase sales of their products. I find some a little ‘cheap’ and ‘nasty’ but many do work. Two that I’ve found less offensive and/or manipulative are where you add value to the affiliate promotion by either adding a bonus of your own to the offer and/or getting the person behind the product to offer a bonus or discount just for your readers.

I’ve done this a number of times on my blogs and have found that conversions are significantly higher.

15. It takes Time

A theme that regular readers of ProBlogger will recognize is that making money from blogs (through any method) takes time. While an affiliate program does have the potential to make you a lot of money very quickly – it almost always comes after a lot of work and once you’ve spent a lot of time and effort building out your network.

The early days of building your network may see very little (if any) results. I personally earned very little from affiliate marketing in my first year or two of blogging but as I mentioned above in the last year or two it’s really begun to exponentially increase – partly as a result of getting smarter with my promotions but partly just as my network grew in size and quality.

16. Timing is Important

One of the things I’ve learned over the last week of launching my own product is just how much difference there can be in the rate of sales at different times of the day and week. It would vary depending upon the location of most of a blog’s readers but for me sales have been significantly up during business hours in the USA and on weekdays. No real surprises there.

The lesson translates to promoting products – unless the product has a real focus upon the type of people surfing the web on the weekends or late at night you’ll want to time your promotions to those times of the weeks that your audience is online. Similarly – avoid public holidays – this last week even though we launched the workbook 3 days after Memorial Day in the US I suspect we lost a few sales as some people took the week off.

What Would You Add?

I know that many readers of ProBlogger have experimented a lot with affiliate marketing. What advice would you add? What techniques have you used (or seen used) that work?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Nice post, really interesting! I think that the first tip is to have tons of u.v. then you can sell almost everything!

  2. I really liked the part about twitter following. It seems better to have a connection with those who you follow

  3. nice post… I earn more in affiliate marketing compare to adsense.

  4. This post is great! Mostly newly web marketer can learn from this post.

    Good luck to your posting further….

  5. Some handy tips. I find it can be hard when setting up networking is where to be most effecting and keeping things organized when I go about posting online and sparking community interests. Any good methods to streamline such a process?

  6. Great post Darren!

    I’ve been focusing towards my blog subscription for affiliate marketing that I forgot about other channels such as Facebook and Myspace.

    Something to add to: we shouldn’t leave out the address book from the webmails such as gmail, yahoo & hotmail. There are potential sales that can be made from them too. Although the marketing needs to be more subtle.


  7. I tend to track when I get the most response from my Twitter friends and automatically post my latest post during those times. It’s a great way to find the best time for your particular network. :)

  8. Great post Simon and thanks for your insights. I manage alot of blogger outreach programmes for high profile clients within the UK.

    In my experience, most brands that are already active within this space will have an allocation of sample and or compeitition products available for collateral through promotion in blogs. If you’re not sure, ask their PR department or online communications team to ask of you can have a small handful of these for competitions as these can work really well if the entry mechanic is simple and involves your readers leaving comments in your blog on Twitter etc.

    They’re also a great strategy for re-engaging exisiting readers while attract new ones.

  9. Thanks for the tips.

  10. W.o.w!!! (my anagram-Way Out Wisdoms)

    I just had to tell you, your advice is haunting me, as I am a “noob” to online Marketing, but have applied similar principles throughout my entire life.

    I’ve been self-employed since age 17, and had the pleasure of hearing Zig Ziglar speak at an Amway convention in N.C. back in 1989, and although I didn’t “see” the affiliate demographic which Amway was built upon, I was self-employed 2 months later.

    My point being, I just wrote a post 10 minutes prior on a forum, and it hits on 80% of what you are teaching people. It’s amazing, and great information, as it leads me to believe I was directed to your sight as confirmation this is the “right path” -Thank-you for doing what you do, and I look forward to reading more of your insightful knowledge.

    Art Moran

  11. ehm. i learn something new for affiliate marketing. Thanks. Its great.

  12. But some times marketers over do the email list part. Too many email pitches is kinda irritating.

  13. I really like the tip you gave about adding bonuses so what I did for a recent promotion is add some relevant and valuable bonuses and found my conversion has already kicked up. If you have time please visit my blog to have a look at how I might do this better. I am currently doing a Review of PPC Bully 2 and would like to if you think there is a better way of structuring my post on my blog and the bonus page for the promotion.

  14. Nothing much new… but good to see everything at one place. I agree with your outlook abt focused communities

  15. I just started blogging this year. The website above shows only one of them. I didn’t expect to gather a huge following immediately, but if your book offers ways to increase the numbers “exponentially” I would be willing to purchase it and to follow your advice. Also, your offer GREAT advice on this web site, so I will definitely be checking back often.

  16. By posting honestly in your reviews about products you build authority and respect in your blog. Once you have that you can easily ask the Product’s creator if they will provide the product to you free so that you can do an accurate assessment of the product and write an accurate review.

    These types of reviews, built with first hand experience work well for affiliate sales. Hype works sometimes, but if your blog is filled with hype, it comes off as fake. Don’t be afraid to write a negative review and recommend a different product within the review. Do it briefly, without hype. I have had a lot of success with this type of Affiliate Marketing in my blogs.

  17. By posting honestly in your reviews about products you build authority and respect in your blog. Once you have that you can easily ask the Product’s creator if they will provide the product to you free so that you can do an accurate assessment of the product and write an accurate review.

  18. It really helped me a lot .

  19. I have been reading your affiliate articles, which I think are great. I completely agree that if you are going to do affiliate marketing, I believe it needs to be personal and you need to have had experience with either the product or the person promoting the product. Otherwise it is inauthentic.

    For example, a friendly recently had a strategic partner call her and say that I am their number one choice to refer clients to in her industry, Naturally she was flattered, but then the strategic partner followed it up with, “But I am not going to refer to you anymore unless I get an affiliate commission.

    Since when did referring clients to other professionals become more about a commission, than doing what’s best for your client?

    I am all for affiliate marketing done right – done when you are promoting something or someone you truly believe in or like. But it seems some are just in it for the money grab. In the end, with that approach, your client/subscriber/prospect looses.

  20. Affiliate marketing is so simple! As long as you solve your readers problems then the money will come!

    To your success,
    Bryan Hee

  21. I do enjoy reading established blogger’s personal blog, you’ll be in my reading list!

  22. As usual, great advice, thnk you.

    And talk about over-delivering; 6 tips becomes 16! And the comments give some great tips too.

    Looking forward to what else you come up with for this topic.

    Thanks again,


  23. Awesome tips. Definitely bookmarking this one.

    I think the hardest part for a lot of people especially newcomers to understand is that it takes time as you pointed out. In the world of “I Want it Now” patience really pays off.

    Thank you for the insights.


  24. Thanks for the post!
    get Money Blogging Tips and be a successful blogger

  25. mmmmmm nice article man i had started blogging on this niche just before 2 months and m satisfied with mah success till now . Only thing dat count is traffic so i m working for getting more and more traffic thanxs for sharing tc cya hab a gr8 time……..

  26. Thank you for the great tips. I think affiliate marketing does depend on the relevant and quality content ,traffic volume and appearance of the site. Its always a big challenge to increase the traffic to a site, it depends on the niche competitiveness.

  27. Excellent tips ! In the beginning when I make a new blog, I usually focus on affiliate marketing with many affiliate links on my blog. But I know these not so good right now. Thanks for the tips guy..happy blogging.

  28. Good tips. Just keep blogging before we monetize our blog. Do more gives than take to our blog visitor. Anyway thanks for the tips.

  29. Like #13. Sites like Twitter has helped our company follow-up on current promotions and news.

  30. I think far too many people see the internet as a way to make a quick buck. As this article suggests, you need to be in it for a long run and do things properly to really benefit.

  31. Love it! I love the feeling of hearing that I’ve genuinely helped or inspired someone from something I wrote. I’ve been thinking about trying to actively get more feedback here for this reason: to make sure I’m providing value in some form. These are some great take-home points I’m sure we can all use.

  32. I guess I am too early stage to make much from affiliate marketing, but I have been training the guns.

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