There are tons of ways to make money online. Only one method has remained consistent throughout the many iterations of the web—affiliate marketing. With its low barrier to entry, anyone with a computer has the potential to earn.
People have been making money from affiliate marketing practically from the very start of the internet. It’s such a smart and simple concept: earn income by referring people to buy great products and services.
Attentive audiences and loyal followers put bloggers and social media influencers in an especially good position to benefit. Many bloggers got their start making money from their blogs with affiliate links. It made perfect sense for a craft blogger, for example, to suggest a product she was using in a project and tell you exactly where to get it.
Then influencer marketing came around and it was sexy. Instead of overtly selling a product, influencer marketing was more cool and laid back. Affiliate marketing is “You should click and buy this.” Influencer marketing is more, “See what I bought? Buy it if you feel moved by my story.”
Now that the industry is in a transition while brands and bloggers sort out their relationships, affiliate marketing is still a reliable method of consistent income generation. If you haven’t tried it, or you haven’t been very successful making money through affiliates yet, here are some tips to help you get started.
Start with your favorite brands.
When you’re looking for an affiliate program to join, look first to products or services that you already use. Although personal experience is not a requirement of affiliate marketing, it does make selling easier and feel more organic when you have touched or felt the thing that you’re promoting. Jessica Turner from The Mom Creative says that her best affiliate partners have been able to drive thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of dollars in a year. “When starting out as an affiliate, consider brands that you already use and love,” she says. “They will be the brands that you can easily and authentically incorporate into your content.”
To find out if your favorite brands work with affiliates, check out programs like ShareaSale or Commission Junction. They are the the absolute best place. When you go through an affiliate program, it’s easier to manage links, and they usually offer a lot of education and ideas for promotion.
The Courage to Earn community for influencers and entrepreneurs talks a lot about affiliate marketing. Community members often share brands that have great commission rates and talk about best practices and ways to promote. Asking other influencers how they work with brands as an affiliate will help you to narrow down options and find a program that’s right for you.
Provide value to your audience to encourage clicks.
The primary objective for making money through affiliate links is getting people to click and buy. So, what’s the best way to do that? Provide value to your audience. Whether you’re educating, entertaining, or solving a problem, if you give people something that they want or that helps them, they’ll be likely to buy.
Kristi Trimmer from Live Your Life Wild and Free was able to profit from promoting hair dye. She says, “My biggest income producer from affiliate marketing was writing about a product that solved a problem for me, Madison Reed dye to cover my gray hair! Solving a problem and leaving the link to that solution is a great way to increase conversions.”
Incorporate affiliate links into your content on all of your platforms.
Affiliate links don’t have to be confined to your blog. Even if you don’t have a website, you can still profit by sharing your product recommendations on social media. Place the link in your bio. Use the swipe up option on Instagram stories. Tweet out the link. Promote on Facebook, Pinterest, or LinkedIn. Be sure to check out each platform’s terms of service (TOS) before you share.
Build a relationship with your affiliate manager.
Most affiliate programs will have a manager or someone who will keep you updated on everything happening with the brand to help you to promote it better. They’ll often send copy and even graphics to make sharing easier. Jessica N. Turner’s tip for working with the brands:
“Don’t be afraid to ask for a higher commission. Brands will often agree to increasing your rate. If you are turned down by a company, feel free to reach out and provide information as to why you would make a strong affiliate partner.”
Remember to disclose.
When you are using affiliate links in order to earn income from promoting products and services, it’s important that you disclose to your audience. They have the right to know that you are sharing about a product because you like it, but also because you’re earning income from it. Various affiliate programs might have their guidelines for disclosing, but it’s also important to be clear by the FTC’s standards. Your disclosure needs to be obvious, conspicuous, and before any link.
It’s always a good time to get started with affiliate marketing. It’s the one way you can take control of your earning potential. Instead of waiting for a brand to choose to hire you for a sponsored post, you can promote your favorite brands and start making money now!
Brandi Riley is a Digital Influencer and Social Media Specialist. The founder of the Courage to Earn Facebook community for outrageously brave entrepreneurs, Brandi is known for personalized blog coaching and career development, Brandi has managed blogger outreach for hundreds of campaigns, and her door is always open to digital entrepreneurs who need a push. She uses her knowledge of what brands want to help influencers get paid more, and her intuitive nature to help bloggers give their audiences a better experience! She’s an equal opportunity encourager! Brandi is passionate about community and a champion for authenticity. She lives in Northern California with her husband, 8-year-old daughter, and infant son. Tweet her @BrandiJeter or read her at MamaKnowsItAll.com.