What is affiliate marketing?
At the core, affiliate marketing is all about relationships. As you have begun to build a relationship with your followers and readers, a company may have begun building their relationship with you, and now, they can take it to the next level by allowing your relationships to co-mingle and become one. As a member of an affiliate program, you will be rewarded for helping companies promote their products and services from their website. This can include text links, banner ads, email opt-in programs and a few others.
How does affiliate marketing work?
Affiliate marketing allows companies of all kinds to find new customers via your fan base. They will typically provide you with a special link to begin promoting their company on your website. As people gain your trust, they may venture onto the companies website and order their services via your recommendation. If your link is used to create a purchase, companies will grant you a cut of the sales!
Tips for SuccessDo not promote everything.
As the requests come in to your email, it can be tempting to take on every single one just so you gain experience and credibility. But, be selective when choosing the products or services you want to promote and offer to your audience. Pick products that works well with your your blog's style and them, and think about the type of people who read your blog. When you are first starting out you may be very overwhelmed and want to promote every product the affiliate company has to offer. Think instead: "What need can you fulfill for them?"
Check out your stats.
I know that you do not want to be checking your stats all day, but after you post something related to affiliate marketing it is important to watch the impact that it has. Try to keep an eye on your data and see which programs work better than others and the impact that each one has. As you discover what works and what doesn't, try to focus on all of the positive outcomes that you have. Your stats can show you your click through rates and conversion rates, which will help you to determine if you are presenting your affiliate links correctly, and if they are something your audience actually wants to see.
Promote different ways.
I've seen it too many times--don't just sign-up for an affiliate program and then copy the banner ad into your sidebar. Waiting for the money to roll-in like this will NOT happen. Try writing about why you like the company or product you are promoting, or showing your readers the benefits before just sticking in a link that has nothing to do with the content of the post. In my opinion, the best marketing strategies are the ones that stand out, but don't draw attention to themselves. Market something that is related to what you like talking about--nothing bothers readers more than when you just throw in a random plug.
No matter what your next step is as a blogger, be sure to do you research. Make sure that whatever you are promoting is right for your audience, and that you have everything sealed and squared away with your affiliate company.
Have you written promotional posts? Comment below and let me know what kind of things you like to share with your readers!
P.S. The Design Consortium is looking for interested bloggers who want to become part of their affiliate program! Check out what you can do with TDC here.