How to make money with affiliate marketing from the word go
Making money through affiliate marketing is one of the ways most bloggers use to monetise their blog. But if you are a new blogger there are two questions you’re probably asking yourself:
1. Should you monetise your blog with affiliate marketing from the beginning or should you wait until you have a large following?
2. Can you actually make money with a small following?
To me, the answer to both is yes. It takes a while to make enough money through affiliate marketing to make a difference, so you might as well start from the beginning. And yes, I have already made some money. I only have 7 blog posts but got my first income with the second blog post.
In this blog post, I am going to tell you the resources I used to start making money online.
[Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may include affiliate links. This means that I get a commission if you purchase the product through my link at no extra cost to you.]
Before we go any further, do you want to be more productive with your affiliate marketing efforts? Then check out my Affiliate Marketing Tracker and Planner here and use coupon code 30MOM50OFF to get your discount.
What is exactly affiliate marketing?
Think about your friend, let’s call her “Hannah”, she sells Avon products and gets a commission every time you buy a mascara from her. Affiliate marketing is basically the same idea but you do it online with people that you’ve never met.
The easiest way to do it for beginner bloggers is to add affiliate links (special links that contain your referral information) to your posts. When somebody clicks on your link and buys something you earn a small commission.
When I started looking into Affiliate Marketing, it was taking me ages to go through all the information I needed. There are so many blog posts and articles that I was filling up my Evernote and never had time to go through all of them, plus keeping notes and trying to organise them for myself was driving me mad.
That’s when I discovered the following three resources that have made a huge difference to the way I approach Affiliate Marketing for myself and other profiles I manage.
This is an ebook + Tasks and Worksheets written by Carolina King from www.mamainstincs.com.
If you want to make more money using Amazon affiliate links in your blog, this is a must-read book, though the strategies also work for other affiliate programs.
Amazon affiliate is one of the main programs bloggers join because everybody knows Amazon, it works in lots of different countries and people trust them, so your readers are more likely to buy from them. What’s more, you get paid for EVERYTHING people buy on that day, so you might have a link to an ebook for $.99 but if they also buy a laptop worth $1000, you also get a commission for that. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen.
What’s not as good about Amazon affiliates is that the commissions for some of the stuff are actually quite low. Also, Amazon offers only a 24-hour cookie. So if your readers don’t buy on the day, you don’t get anything.
That is why a lot of people think that only blogs with massive followings can make lots of money with them.
But you don’t have to have a massive blog to make money with Amazon affiliates. Carolina’s tips and strategies work for small blogs too. It’s just a matter of including the links in the right places, maximising the chances of getting people to click and picking the right products. And this is what Carolina teaches you in her book.
Here is a list of chapters of the book and what I think about them.
Not just the basics of affiliate marketing but some rather important information on Amazon rules. You really don’t want to spend hours going through Amazon Affiliates’ website. Their terms and conditions are quite awkward. So I found Carolina’s summary very useful. Obviously, if you have specific questions check Amazon Affiliate’s resources or ask them directly.
Know your Audience
The best thing about this book is that Carolina gives you lots of examples and links. She also gives you tips for when you are starting to make sales.
There are several topics included in this part: Native Ads, Secret Strategies, some social media advice, blog post ideas and how to get around some of the restrictions in Amazon (there are many). These will help you maximise the money you can earn with your blog because Carolina shows you how to use these. With lots of screenshots!
There are some great ideas here and pardon me if I decide to keep them a secret too! All I can say is that I have been putting them in place and I already have a tiny income from this blog. And I mean tiny, but every little helps.
You can buy the book alone or buy the book+ get access to her Facebook group, which is great.
It’s up to you which option you get, but having support from not only Carolina King but the other people in the group can be quite good, especially if you are a bit lost.
CONS: If you are in the UK, like me, or somewhere else other than the US, it gets a bit more complicated because you need to consider where your traffic is coming from, if it’s worth it for you to monetise traffic from other countries, etc.
If I were really picky I’d say that videos would be useful, but there are some videos in the Facebook group and some great ideas that work particularly well for mom bloggers.
TIP: Go through the tasks and worksheet to improve your past blogs!
Who is this for? Great for mom-bloggers that like to go through a step by step plan. Beginners to affiliate marketing. Anybody needing tips on how to increase Amazon affiliate’s earnings.
Does it work? Yes, I have put Carolina’s strategies in place and I got my first links and commission with Amazon affiliates with only a couple of posts. Obviously, it was only a couple of quid but it’s a start. I am now also getting some income from Amazon affiliate sites in other countries too.
This is written by Ana Savuica from the www.thesheapproach.com.
This is not just an ebook but a bundle of resources: An ebook, tech tutorial videos, a masterlist of affiliate programs including a tracker, and access to a Facebook group. The tech videos are just introductions but if you are intimidated by technology, they’re a start.
Here’s a list of chapters and what I think about them.
Chapter 1. Understanding What Affiliate Marketing is Really About
Very clear explanation of the key terms, so great for beginners.
Chapter 2. Picking the right affiliate program for you.
Ana goes into some detail about which programs to choose. For me, the MasterList with tracking spreadsheet and affiliate programs organised by topics and all the information you get with it that is the most helpful. If you have to build your own and search for all the affiliate programs, it will take you a lot longer to do. I know cos I have been building my own for weeks.
Chapter 3. How and where to insert your affiliate links.
Ana goes through some of the affiliate programs dashboards to show you how they work. If you find technology intimidating, getting somebody to guide you through the dashboards is a plus. You can also view the videos Ana has created if you prefer.
Chapter 4. The Legal Implications of affiliate marketing.
Why is this important? Three reasons:
a) you must comply with the local regulations or you will be in trouble,
b) even if you are not required by the laws in your own country to do it, your readers might expect it and
c) doing affiliate marketing the “right way” will get you more money in the end.
Chapter 5. How to send more Traffic to your affiliate posts.
Basic chapter on how to send traffic to your posts. There are some good articles linked in the chapter, though but it’s a bit brief for me.
CONS: I would have liked more info on how to use social media with some examples on how to make the most of affiliate marketing opportunities in each. In my opinion, the last chapter is a bit short and Ana could have gone into more detail here. Absolute beginners might need a bit more information on the tech videos, for some of the more complex affiliate networks.
Who is it for? Mostly for beginner bloggers that want to monetise their blog. It works for any topic area. Bloggers outside the US get a little bit more info about how to do things.
Does it work? Yes, the explanations are clear and will help you get started with affiliate marketing in no time. No more time wasted looking for resources.
This is an online course created by McKinzie Bean from www.momsmakecents.com and is hosted at Teachable, an online course platform. It’s mostly video-based, but there are also some documents for you to print and read.
What’s different about this course is that it is not just about affiliate marketing for bloggers. It goes into a lot of detail into how to use Pinterest. As a newbie to Pinterest, I got this course because I could kill two birds with one stone.
Here are the sections of the course:
Fundamentals of affiliate marketing
Again a clear explanation of what affiliate marketing is for most bloggers, including legal considerations.
Optimise your profiles and pins
Great explanation to help you set up your Pinterest profile, boards and pins so that you can make more money. One of the first things I did after going through the course is set up McKinzie’s #1 board to make more affiliate sales. It works and it works in any niche!
Branding and Design
How to brand and design your pins with some design tips to increase your clickthroughs.
There is a lot of detail in this section. McKinzie teaches you how to use Pinterest and also how to get organised with your affiliate marketing. This course also offers a list of affiliate programs according to niche most bloggers will find useful.
Pinterest affiliate tips for bloggers
Some extra ideas and tips for Pinterest for bloggers. If you are new to Pinterest, you need these (I did).
Bonus: Canva Templates for your pins.
CONS: It’s a video course. If you cannot find the time to get in front of the computer, it’s not for you. If you are confident with Pinterest you might not find it as useful as I did. No info for people outside the US.
Who is it for? This is not just for bloggers. It’s good if you want to use it as a side hustle. Also if you want to sell your own products or your services through Pinterest. You don’t even have to have a big following on Pinterest to start to make money with these methods. And the best thing is that you can set it on auto-pilot. So you don’t have to wait until you have a large list or thousands of views to start making money.
Does it work? Absolutely yes. I put in place McKinzie’s #1 board for making more affiliate sales not only on my profile but other profiles I manage and got the first few sales with less than 200 followers in one of them, so you can start making money with a small following and even without a blog.
BONUS TIP: Most of my sales are happening on a weekend ;).
UPDATE (Septemer 2018): It is still a great course but when it shows you how to schedule your pins with BoardBooster, which is no longer available. As far as I know, the course has not been updated yet. If you want a similar book that will guide you through most of the same steps to help you make your first sale on Pinterest, you can have a look at How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours, though it might take you a bit longer than 24 hours ;).
Are these resources worth it?
Yes, if you are serious about affiliate marketing and/or blogging, they are a great investment. It can take you forever to find out all the information you have in these three resources.
If you want all the information in one place and you want strategies that work from the start, picking one of these resources is the right choice. You don’t have to do them all, though, just one of them will make a huge difference to how much money you make.
What’s more, all these three resources are very affordable, not like some other resources I have seen that cost several hundred dollars. So you can make your money back and start making a profit quite soon.