10 Tips for Using Affiliate Marketing on Your Blog

Affiliate programs are something that we all have probably seen or at least heard of. If you haven’t, you’ve probably been living under not 1 rock, but 74 different colored rocks.

A is for Amandaaaaaaa!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Justin Marty

I’d like to share with you my top 10 tips for using affiliate marketing on your own blog so that you can make more money.

  1. Consider Your Audience– As a blogger, you should already be aware of who your readers are and what makes them tick. No, it’s not 2 double A batteries or even a C battery, but a brain and some other organs ๐Ÿ˜‰ By knowing who is visiting your blog and who your daily/weekly/monthly readers are, you can help answer questions like: Are they shopping for specific products? Might they be looking for related products or accessories? What would get them to buy? By starting with your reader in mind rather than the product, you’ll be serving your readers as well as making a few dollars on the side. Win-Win ๐Ÿ˜‰
  2. Genuine Recommendations and Personal Endorsements Always Work Best- There are hundreds of thousands of products, services, and books that you can recommend to your blog readers, the problem is that it’s not as simple as randomly putting some links on your blog and hoping that someone buys. Your blog readers come back each day because something about YOU resonates with them. (For me, it’s probably my juggling skills and my ability to ride a unicycle…or maybe it’s my dashing good looks or my sense of humor? I don’t know, you tell me) Your readers have at least some level of trust and respect for you, and one of the best ways to lose that respect and trust is to try to sell your readers things that you don’t feel will benefit them.
  3. Link to Quality Products-We all like to buy the best products. Your readers are no different and are more likely to make a purchase if you’ve found the best product for them. Choose products and companies with good reputations and quality sales pages.
  4. Contextual Deep Links Work Best-It’s not all about just throwing up a banner here and hoping that people click on the stuff and buy it. Include links within your blog articles and mention these links within a video. Create a clear call-to-action.
  5. Consider Positioning of Links-One of the biggest things for adsense optimization is placing ads in your sites “hot spots” (like the top of a left sidebar, inside content, at the end of posts above comments, etc) The same thing works for affiliate marketing. *wink wink* *nudge nudge*Ben_winky
    Creative Commons License photo credit: senkiwboo
  6. Traffic Levels Are Important-You need to realize that traffic levels do have an effect on how many sales you make. The more people that see your well-placed, relevant, and well-designed affiliate links, the more likely it is that one of them will make a purchase. So don’t just work on building great links, work on building a readership for your blog. I recommend joining a Tribe for this. The best tribe to join is the Tribe Syndication Association on Facebook.
  7. Diversify Without Clutter-It’s just like when buying stocks or investing in anything, DON’T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN 1 BASKET! There are plenty of products to link to, so there is no need to just work on one. At the same time, you shouldn’t clutter your blog with too many affiliate program links. If you do, you run the risk of diluting the effectiveness of your links, and it could disillusion your readership.
  8. Be Transparent-Don’t try to fool your readers, unless it’s April 1st and it’s time for a good joke ๐Ÿ˜‰ Trying to hide affiliate links is something that we all have learned to do. It’s something that is recommended in all the courses and something that seems 100% right to do. There’s something I like to do though which is tell people when something is an affiliate link. Try putting a note above, besides, or below your affiliate links to let people know it is an affiliate link. Your readers will appreciate it and will a lot of the times end up buying from your link because you’ve been so transparent. To learn more about being transparent in social media, check out this post; Transparency in Social Media
  9. Combine with Other Revenue Streams-Affiliate marketing can be done along-side of adsense. While there is the potential for one to take the focus away from the other, there is also the potential for them to work hand in hand, as different readers respond to different approaches.
  10. Track Results-Not Track TEAM, but track your results. Most affiliate programs have some type of tracking or statistics package that will allow you to watch which links are effective. Some packages are better than others, but most allow you to see what is selling and what isn’t. Watching your results can help you plan future affiliate efforts. Keep track of what positions for links work well, which products sell, what wording around links works well, etc., and then use this information as you plan your future affiliate strategies.

There you have it. Tips to be a successful Affiliate Marketer. Now get out there and TAKE ACTION!

Chris Hughes

Chris loves learning, going on adventures, surfing and having fun. Chris on Google+

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Edward - May 22, 2010 Reply

Hey Chris,

Great post my friend. Thanks for sharing this valuable information with us.
I will consider this when I start to fill in the details of my blog and its positioning.

I just migrated over to a new blog last week. Check it out here: http://www.edwardrecommends.com/

Make it a great day!
God Bless,
-ed

theuns - May 24, 2010 Reply

Thanks Chris For the tips it make a lot of sens to me and will work on it

Christine Casey - May 27, 2010 Reply

Thank you for sharing these great tips Chris, especially about joining TSA on Facebook ~ fantastic group to be part of!

Chris Hughes - May 27, 2010 Reply

thanks Christine!

Chris Hughes - May 27, 2010 Reply

I'm glad this helps out a bit ๐Ÿ™‚

Chris Hughes - May 27, 2010 Reply

Thanks Edward! When did you make the decision to switch over? I like the domain name btw! Great choice for personal branding!

beverlymonical - May 28, 2010 Reply

GREAT tips here.I use some but will incorporate these others too.Thanks Chris for a great post.

rebeccahappy - May 28, 2010 Reply

Just learning about this kind of stuff.. thinking about john chow and how well he has done. So much info to learn and adjust. I was thinking today that essentially it works because after you have well branded yourself, people trust your recommendation….so you do have to put in the goods to offer excellent help with character to keep people coming back.
Thought about you and juggling today when I read about this guy Ashrita Furhmand who holds the world record for the fastest time running fifty miles while juggling!

Lori Tisot - May 28, 2010 Reply

Great tips, Chris! I especially like the one about being transparent with your affiliate links. I've known people who, when they discover a link is a sneaky affiliate link, deliberately go around it to get to the product so that the affiliate doesn't get the commission. Letting them know up front is a great idea!
Lori

brucebackman - May 28, 2010 Reply

Chrisโ€ฆthese are great! I especially like that you espouse being transparent. I think building relationships with your readers enables them to make their own choices about you and what you are sharing. They will have a whole lot more respect for you if you simply let them know that you make money when they purchase the product. Most who have a relationship with you will be glad that you benefit.

Thanks a ton Chris!

Val Wilcox - May 31, 2010 Reply

Such great points to remember when considering an affiliate program. Being transparent about your connection with the program lets your readers know you endorse and use it, & yes, you make a commission. People respect you for being honest.

Thanks for the ideas about tracking results.
Val ๐Ÿ™‚

Paul Klaszus - May 31, 2010 Reply

ooo nice… when I start some affiliate marketing, I'll be referring back to this – of course, for now, my focus is to make sure that I'm providing the best content possible.. like you specify, it's important that the link you share with people is relevant and going to give people even more value than what you could on your blog.

Until I've got my own brand, it doesn't make sense for me to promote someone else's. ๐Ÿ™‚

Dr. Adam Sheck - May 31, 2010 Reply

Chris,
Thank you for such a well thought out and organized post. I've been blogging for the past year and really struggling to monetize, so this post is of tremendous help. The three suggestions that hit home the most for me are: be genuine, be transparent and track results. I have to be real, I can't afford to alienate any potential clients and I must protect my reputation.
Thanks again,
Adam

Chris Hughes - June 1, 2010 Reply

My pleasure Adam! Monetizing our blogs definitely takes time and it is a continuous process as our readers change and we change, we need to use different ways of monetizing as we evolve.

Those are some of the top 3 things that have helped me the most; being genuine, being transparent and tracking the results. Tracking has been the hardest for me but I'm getting better as I go ๐Ÿ™‚

You are absolutely right about needing to be real and not alienating potential clients! Talk soon.

Chris Hughes - June 1, 2010 Reply

My pleasure Adam! Monetizing our blogs definitely takes time and it is a continuous process as our readers change and we change, we need to use different ways of monetizing as we evolve.

Those are some of the top 3 things that have helped me the most; being genuine, being transparent and tracking the results. Tracking has been the hardest for me but I'm getting better as I go ๐Ÿ™‚

You are absolutely right about needing to be real and not alienating potential clients! Talk soon.

Chris Hughes - June 1, 2010 Reply

Nice Paul! Great approach, value up front. I love it! Putting the best content out possible creates trust among our network and turns YOU into a trusted leader/advisor. It's a great way to do business.

Chris Hughes - June 1, 2010 Reply

My pleasure Val! I find that transparency has helped a ton, I remember when I first started and was trying to hide links and all of that because I didn't want people to know that I would make money if they bought through the links…how silly of me. If I'm referring a product to someone, it means I like the product and endorse it, therefore I'd love to get some referral money for it. I'm glad the ideas for tracking helped ๐Ÿ™‚

Chris Hughes - June 1, 2010 Reply

Thanks Bruce! Transparency is one of the biggest things for me, which often gets me in trouble haha. Oh well, I'll be honest with people and they can either love me or hate me. As long as I'm honest with myself/everyone else then I will be happy with myself ๐Ÿ™‚

Building relationships does allow for us to help identify products that will truly help our readers and not just benefit our pockets (which is always nice, but if it doesn't help anyone else I really don't feel good about the $$)

Thank you for stopping by Bruce ๐Ÿ™‚

Chris Hughes - June 1, 2010 Reply

hahaha Lori! I remember that I had done that before with affiliate links… I was like “hey, if they can promote it, so can I!” It's odd…I've found that by telling people that certain links make me money, I make more money than I did when I was trying to hide the fact. It's definitely interesting how that works out, but if something works I'm going to stick with it!

Thanks for stopping by Lori ๐Ÿ™‚

Chris Hughes - June 1, 2010 Reply

John Chow has definitely rocked it. He's been one of my blogging mentors over the past few months and has helped me a ton. You are absolutely correct about what you were thinking with branding yourself and people trusting your recommendations.

50 miles while juggling!? Holy crap…maybe I should see if there's a bike riding juggling record…I could probably go a few hundred feet no handed and juggling ๐Ÿ™‚ One of my friends Perry Romanowski (http://justyouraveragejoggler.com/ ) is a joggler (juggling while running) maybe he knows who Ashrita is!

Chris Hughes - June 1, 2010 Reply

thank you Beverly! I hope that these help you out ๐Ÿ™‚

Nicole Rushin - June 1, 2010 Reply

Great article. I have only one link on my page for Nightingale Conant because I love to listen to audio books but I never thought about blogging about it. Great ideas thanks for the post.

Gavin Mountford - June 2, 2010 Reply

Hi Chris,

I've been an affiliate marketer for years. It's a great business to be in, especially when you've got a big list. It's definitely not as easy now as it used to be. I'd say to most new people to focus on one specific topic, and create a very niche blog. It's much easier to sell a few high quality products to a focused group of people than it is to start up a huge blog for everyone.

Chris Hughes - June 2, 2010 Reply

great tip Gavin. Getting into a focused niche definitely will help out in the long-term and is a great strategy to implement. Maybe I should find some references and niches to give to people in another blog post! Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

Chris Hughes - June 2, 2010 Reply

Thanks Nicole! I believe there is an affiliate network that works for audio books that you could potentially check out?

Bcun - June 10, 2010 Reply

Hi Chris, thanks for this post. As many of the other readers have said I think being genuine and transparent about your affiliate marketing very important. I have joined some affiliate programs but not doing too much with them as yet so now you have given me some motivation and ideas to get them moving. Thanks.

Bcun - June 11, 2010 Reply

Hi Chris, thanks for this post. As many of the other readers have said I think being genuine and transparent about your affiliate marketing very important. I have joined some affiliate programs but not doing too much with them as yet so now you have given me some motivation and ideas to get them moving. Thanks.

Chemists Corner - June 21, 2010 Reply

I do know Ashrita. (http://ashrita.com). He's an interesting guy and holds the record for holding the most World Records.

He used to hold the world record for joggling 50 miles. I beat his record by ~30 minutes and now I'm the reining 50-mile joggling record champ (until someone else beats me).

-Perry, 44

Chris Hughes - June 22, 2010 Reply

that's awesome Perry! It's awesome that you are the current record holder! I taught a few kids how to juggle at an event I volunteered at over the weekend and one of the kids (about 10 years old) started running around juggling so maybe he'll be the one to beat your record ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Fareed khan - June 25, 2011 Reply

Very great article, Yes i agree blogging traffic is important..Thank you very much for this great post..

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