Want to be an affiliate marketer?

Curious about how other affiliate marketers got started? Do you even know what an affiliate marketer is? When I first heard about affiliate marketing as a way to monetize a blog, I had lots of questions!

If you’re a blogger, you probably know that there are a few different ways that you can make money blogging, including working with brands or doing sponsored blog posts, placing ads on your website, selling services or your own products or… affiliate marketing.

Don’t have a blog yet? Read this to find out how to start a blog for your business today!

How to Start a Blog for Business

Affiliate marketing is a business arrangement in which an affiliate earns a commission for promoting a product when someone purchases that product as a result of the affiliate’s promotion and through the affiliate’s link.

Want to learn more about the basics of affiliate marketing?

Click here to read “Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers – A Beginner’s Guide.”

In my question to learn all about the “business of blogging”, one of the things that I continue to find extremely valuable is learning from those that are (at least) one step ahead of me in this entrepreneurial journey. And as promised, I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

The five individuals I interviewed for this post are all earning money as bloggers and affiliate marketers. I hope you will enjoy learning from them as much as I did.

Julie Coffman

Julie Coffman

Blog Name: The Savvy Blogger
Blog Niche: Blogging for Income
Blog Address: www.thesavvyblogger.com

Julie “blogs about blogging for income” from her real-life experience. A successful affiliate marketer and blogger with over a decade of experience, she’s authored information sites, travel blogs, product review sites, and has written extensively for other site owners when she provided content writing services…once upon a time. Her focus these days is on sharing what she does to make money online – and how she does it! – offering practical, actionable tips that other bloggers can use build a full-time income with their own blogs.

How long have you been blogging or doing business online?

Over 10 years.

How did you become aware of affiliate marketing as a way to earn income online?

When I started my first online business with SBI!, they offered a complete training manual that taught how to research and choose a niche, how to find and use keywords, how to build a moneymaking website, and how to monetize it. Affiliate marketing was just one way to make money, but I fell in love with it and have been making money as an affiliate marketer ever since.

How long have you been earning income as an affiliate marketer?

My first year was a complete failure but I soon got the hang of it and have been making money as an affiliate for over 9 years.

How much do you earn on average with affiliate marketing on a monthly basis?

How do you promote affiliate products and/or affiliate links?

In my experience, the best way to promote affiliate products is with keyword- and product-focused content shared via a blog or website. Another promotion strategy that has worked really well for me is by using affiliate links in my digital products. Email marketing is another strategy I use, but I rarely promote a product directly in the email itself because my niche prefers content, so I typically promote blog posts that contain my affiliate links. And finally, I share affiliate offers in my mastermind group on Facebook, on my Facebook page, and on Pinterest.

What is your FAVORITE way to promote affiliate products and affiliate links and why?

My favorite way to promote affiliate products is product-focused content. Product pages typically attract a “buyer” audience that is already primed to make a purchase. With information posts – even ones aimed at keywords – readers aren’t in that buying state.

What is your favorite product, service or course that you promote as an affiliate and why?

Right now, my favorite product to promote is Extreme Review, a strategy guide that teaches bloggers how to build a product review blog promoting Amazon products. It’s my favorite right now because I’m using the strategy myself and sharing my journey on my blog!

What is your favorite affiliate network and why?

I love Amazon because you can promote just about anything with them, there’s already a “know, like, and trust” factor built into their business (and readers are more prone to buy from them), and my commission increases as I sell more items. They are one of the easiest networks I’ve ever worked with.

What is the biggest challenge you face as an affiliate marketer?

Surprisingly, I don’t find it very challenging anymore, but that’s years of experience talking. When I WAS struggling, the hardest part was creating LOTS of content, getting that content to CONVERT into sales, and being patient – because it takes a little time to get money coming in sometimes!

What do you like most about being an affiliate?

The passive nature of it. I can write one blog post and it will earn money for me for years to come. I can wake up and find that money has been deposited into my account because of work I did once. It’s a great thing.

Which people and resources have been the most helpful to you to LEARN about affiliate marketing?

SBI! was an instrumental part of my journey. It’s with them that I learned EVERYTHING. They are still an amazing resource for learning how to build an online biz. I love Erica Stone’s strategy guides. And the Pajama Affiliates training courses are part of my core affiliates and they have awesome and affordable courses for bloggers that I highly recommend.

What tools or resources would you recommend to others just starting out with affilite marketing?

One tool I cannot live without is Easy Product Displays (another one of my core affiliates!) It’s an online tool for creating beautiful, SEO-friendly tables that feature affiliate products. Right now, they feature Amazon, Zazzle, and Share-a-Sale and you can grab products to promote right in your dashboard. I also use this tool to display related pages for good interlinking and to encourage people to read more of my content.

How long after you started did you get your first affiliate commission?

It’s been so long, but I know it took me months to start making money in the beginning. I wish I could be more exact. With this new blog, I started making money after the first couple of months.

What do you wish you would have known before you started?

I wish I would have known to have more patience. I’ve given up on sites because I got impatient and I’ve learned the hard way that, if I’d just waited and kept moving forward, I could have seen success.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting (or who has just recently started) with affiliate marketing?

Learn how to choose a good niche, find good keywords, and write content that converts. That really is all there is to it. Then put blinders on, ignore all the noise online, don’t get sucked into promoting and networking, and get down to business.

What question do you think I should have asked but I didn’t? And what is the answer to that question. 🙂

Question: What are some mistakes aspiring affiliate marketers make?

Answer: Choosing a blogging niche without doing any research, assuming that you can blog about any topic and make money, and approaching blogging with a “gimme” mindset as opposed to treating their blog like a business from the outset.

Jeff Proctor

Jeff Proctor

Jeff began his career at a private wealth management firm, but now runs two blogs full time. Between VTX Capital and Breaking The One Percent, he’s dedicated to helping millennials and young entrepreneurs grow their online businesses and dominate their personal finances.

When he’s not busy blogging about money and business, you can usually find Jeff at the gym or volunteering in the community.

How long have you been blogging or doing business online?

How did you become aware of affiliate marketing as a way to earn income online?

I clicked on someone’s affiliate link disclosure before an article. Then I saw how many social media fans they had and had a small epiphany that this could really work.

How long have you been earning income as an affiliate marketer?

About 5 months

How much do you earn on average with affiliate marketing on a monthly basis?

About $7,000 per month and growing

How do you promote affiliate products and/or affiliate links?

Generate traffic on Pinterest to blog posts which promote affiliate products.

What is your FAVORITE way to promote affiliate products and affiliate links and why?

List posts with an assortment of affiliate links have worked the best for me. That way people can usually find SOMETHING on the list that they are interested in.

What is your favorite affiliate network and why?

Impact Radius is best for working directly with advertisers. Otherwise Flexoffers and CJ have been very easy to work with as well.

What is the biggest challenge you face as an affiliate marketer?

Getting someone to voluntarily take time out of their day to read your content over anybody else’s, then getting that same reader to click on an affiliate link, and THEN get that reader to convert once they land on the affiliate page. It’s all a numbers game, and success always comes down to increasing your traffic and getting every razor thin edge you can get. Split testing articles, pin images, the order that affiliates appear in a list article, everything. Everything needs to be constantly tweaked and optimized.

What do you like most about being an affiliate?

I have unlimited earnings potential and I have no inventory to maintain.

Which people and resources have been the most helpful to you to LEARN about affiliate marketing?

I learn more from doing my own research on how successful people are doing affiliate marketing that DON’T write about “how I make $XXXXX from affiliate marketing.” No one would ever give away ALL of their biz secrets (even if you bought their course), so I try to learn what others are doing that I know are successful but don’t necessarily publicize it.

What tools or resources would you recommend to others just starting out with affilite marketing?

If you aren’t using Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog, then you are missing out. (And this is coming from a guy in his mid twenties who has never used Pinterest before entering the online biz world).

How long after you started did you get your first affiliate commission?

About a month

What do you wish you would have known before you started?

That earnings per click (EPC) means a lot more than cost per action (CPA).

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting (or who has just recently started) with affiliate marketing?

Start with something that is easy to convert. Something that pays based off just an email signup, account opening, etc. Don’t start promoting $100+ dollar items right out of the gate.


ARE YOU READY TO MONETIZE YOUR BLOG USING AFFILIATE LINKS?

Heather Wilson

Heather Wilson

Just a city girl living in a country world. I recently made the move from San Diego, California to my husband’s home of rural Northwest Arkansas to be with my four bonus kids! Now that he has finished his military career, we got a big ol’ house with land in the country and welcome you inside as we make it into our home. Honored with Business Traveler Magazine’s title of Business Traveler of the year, I’m a proud wife, bonus mom, cancer survivor, biker chick, event professional, tea aficionado, road warrior and wanna-be home decor DIYer living the gift is in the giving. And I’m still learning where all the light-switches are ;).

How long have you been blogging or doing business online?

How did you become aware of affiliate marketing as a way to earn income online?

Another blogger told me about one of her affiliates needing someone to do reviews. I did a review and no follow linked to the affiliate link and starting “accidentally” making a little money on the side.

How long have you been earning income as an affiliate marketer?

1.5 years

How much do you earn on average with affiliate marketing on a monthly basis?

$300

How do you promote affiliate products and/or affiliate links?

I have a blog post I wrote over two years ago and people find it in Google Searches. I honestly haven’t done much to promote it. I’m learning now. I share on social media sometimes, but it seems blog reviews are easiest right now.

What is your FAVORITE way to promote affiliate products and affiliate links and why?

I’m figuring this out.

What is your favorite product, service or course that you promote as an affiliate and why?

I only have one right now.

What is your favorite affiliate network and why?

I’ve only done work with Share-A-Sale so far so I can’t speak to others.

What is the biggest challenge you face as an affiliate marketer?

Not sounding like a TV commercial and finding the products my readers are actually interested in.

What do you like most about being an affiliate?

Passive income

Which people and resources have been the most helpful to you to LEARN about affiliate marketing?

Making Sense of Cents

What tools or resources would you recommend to others just starting out with affilite marketing?

I’m still learning so I’d say talk to others willing to share their knowledge and successes; people who have actually been there can give good advice.

How long after you started did you get your first affiliate commission?

The first month

What do you wish you would have known before you started?

What affiliate marketing actually was and how it works. I didn’t even know it was a thing.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting (or who has just recently started) with affiliate marketing?

Take a course first so you can get your ducks in a row THEN get started.

Maria Haase

Maria Haase

Blog Name: Europe Up Close, MariaAbroad
Blog Address: europeupclose.com
Blog Address: mariaabroad.com

Maria is a passionate traveler that explores and adventures around the world. She shares her tips and tricks of traveling on her two Travel Blogs, MariaAbroad.com and EuropeUpClose.com.

How long have you been blogging or doing business online?

How did you become aware of affiliate marketing as a way to earn income online?

I’ve been aware of it and dabbled with it halfheartedly for a few years, but started taking it seriously in July 2016.

How long have you been earning income as an affiliate marketer?

July 2016

How much do you earn on average with affiliate marketing on a monthly basis?

Over $1200/month, but it has been growing exponentially.

How do you promote affiliate products and/or affiliate links?

Blog Posts and Social Media

What is your FAVORITE way to promote affiliate products and affiliate links and why?

Updating and optimizing older blog posts to bring in affiliate income, because it monetizes work that is already done quickly.

What is your favorite product, service or course that you promote as an affiliate and why?

Hotels are currently my biggest earner on my travel blogs.

What is your favorite affiliate network and why?

HotelsCombined.com is great, as it connects me to pretty much any hotel property in the world and offers price comparison to my readers to get the best deal!

What is the biggest challenge you face as an affiliate marketer?

Focusing on the tasks that strengthen my bond with my readers and increase revenue, rather than time consuming tasks that don’t add to those goals.

What do you like most about being an affiliate?

Passive income that generates revenue for years to come.

Which people and resources have been the most helpful to you to LEARN about affiliate marketing?

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing has been a game changer for me!

What tools or resources would you recommend to others just starting out with affilite marketing?

I am actually working on creating one, but it is still in the planning phases, so shhh 😉

How long after you started did you get your first affiliate commission?

30 days after the month I completed Michelle’s course

What do you wish you would have known before you started?

You need to write purchase powerful blog posts to convert, but provide enough of a story and helpful info to not come across as a pushy sales page.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting (or who has just recently started) with affiliate marketing?

Start now! Even if you only make a few cents in the beginning, it will all add up in the long run.

What question do you think I should have asked but I didn’t? And what is the answer to that question. 🙂

Question: Do page views matter?

Answer: Yes and no! On the one hand, it is easier to sell 5 products to 100000 people than it is to sell 5 products to 100 people. But it also depends on how narrow your niche is and if your readers are in “purchase mode”. For example, if they are googling “Hotel Rooms in Paris”, they are much more likely to book a hotel room, than if they use the phrase “Cutest Cafes in Paris”. It may be much easier to get visitors to go to the second article and your page views might be higher, but they aren’t really in “purchase mode”.

David Lee

David Lee

Blog Name: CoachDavidLee
Blog Niche: Home Business, Attraction Marketing and Network Marketing Coaching/Tips
Blog Address: CoachDavidLee.com

I believe people deserve to own their source of income, So I help home business owners create passive income and land their dream customers. I’m a home business owner myself and the former managing editor of Success from Home magazine.

How long have you been blogging or doing business online?

How did you become aware of affiliate marketing as a way to earn income online?

I was aware of affiliate marketing about 10 years ago, but it wasn’t until 2009 when I started educated myself about how to do it the right way. The first time I made $100 while I was sleeping, it totally changed the way I thought about earning income. You can say that I’ve been addicted to passive income streams ever since,

How long have you been earning income as an affiliate marketer?

For almost eight years on various websites. Some I still own and run.

How much do you earn on average with affiliate marketing on a monthly basis?

That’s actually a hard one to answer because, with a couple of my sites, I’m still earning growing passive income on work I did years ago. At my peak, I was making over $8,000 per month in profit after advertising costs. On average I earn about $1,000 per month from various sources.

How do you promote affiliate products and/or affiliate links?

Mostly blog posts and other written site content, but also videos, social media (primarily Facebook and Twitter), and capturing emails and growing that list.

What is your FAVORITE way to promote affiliate products and affiliate links and why?

Definitely blog posts. My background is in journalism – specifically sports magazines. I have been a writer, editor and promoter. So, writing is the natural way I get ideas out of my head and communicate. Plus I love to just be casual when I write blog posts. I love researching keywords and seeing my posts pull up high in organic searches. You can always go back and edit blog posts, adding info or links.

What is your favorite product, service or course that you promote as an affiliate and why?

Currently I am developing my own courses hosted on Udemy. I also have a website that promote and educates on ketones, ketogenic diet and a ketone supplement product. Basically, I like to affiliate products and services that I use and love because it makes it a lot more fun and easier to promote and educate people about.

What is your favorite affiliate network and why?

I’m not big on using large networks. I typically focus on finding specific products that I like and promote those online. But if I had to choose, I’d say Amazon since there are just so many options. I’m also getting more into Udemy’s online courses. I think e-learning is only going to grow.

What is the biggest challenge you face as an affiliate marketer?

TIME! I have four kids and what I build online is part-time. I love it, but it’s still hard to carve out the time consistently. Get better every day!

What do you like most about being an affiliate?

I love knowing that I can create something online from anywhere (while in my gym shorts) and it can serve people from around the world. AND I can make money doing that at the same time. That’s just awesome! I believe people earning their own income is more possible today than any other time in history. That’s what I love to help people do.

Which people and resources have been the most helpful to you to LEARN about affiliate marketing?

WOW there are a lot! The ones I’m following closely now: Gary Vaynerchuck (have heard him speak in person twice), Ray Higdon, Amy Porterfield, Russell Brunson (DotCom Secrets), Chalene Johnson, Tanya Aliza, Dave Espino and Phil Ebiner (for online courses).

What tools or resources would you recommend to others just starting out with affilite marketing?

There’s a ton of great stuff out there. The key is to not get overwhelmed. Take it one thing at a time. I really like MailerLite for email marketing and creating free landing pages, opt-ins and automation series. Google Analytics is a must for tracking traffic and learning about what your visitors are doing on your site. I have always used WordPress for my sites. Plug-ins I like: Yoast SEO (a must), Click to Tweet, SumoMe (for social sharing buttons).

How long after you started did you get your first affiliate commission?

A couple weeks!

What do you wish you would have known before you started?

It takes time. You will always learn new things, but focus on one thing at a time then move on. Fail as much as you can because that’s how you learn. Improve your weaknesses, but focus on strengthen your strengths.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting (or who has just recently started) with affiliate marketing?

Focus on what you know and love. If you have a passion and expertise to share with the world, then there are people out there who can benefit from that. Know your specific audience. Find out what problems and questions they have, then create content that solves those problems and answers those questions. Focus on value for your specific target market. Give, give, give.

What question do you think I should have asked but I didn’t? And what is the answer to that question. 🙂

Question: What are you currently improving or adding to your business?

Answer: I’m trying to up my game in my email automation. I’m creating my own courses, so I’m building email series that educate people and eventually lead them to the full course. Learning more about funnels as well.

Want to learn even more about affiliate marketing?

If you’re ready to get serious about affiliate marketing now, I highly recommend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s in-depth course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. Michelle’s course covers all of these topics and much more, including:

  • How to Find and Apply to Affiliate Programs
  • How to Get your Readers to Convert
  • Strategies and Ways to Promote Affiliate Links

It also includes a six bonus sections, including my favorites:

  • Pinterest Strategy
  • 9 Things You Must Do When Something Goes Viral
  • How to Increase Your Page Views


Learn more >>

Did you enjoy these interviews? If so, please leave me a comment! I’d love to hear what other questions you have about affiliate marketing and what information you found most valuable.

Want to be featured in the next episode of Affiliate Marketer Spotlight? Let’s connect! Just click here to contact me.

With smiles,

Chantel


ARE YOU READY TO MONETIZE YOUR BLOG USING AFFILIATE LINKS?

Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers - A Beginner's Guide

Want to learn how to make money with affiliate marketing? These 5 affiliate marketers are real people who make real money promoting products they use and love. And you can do the same thing. Read this post to get real world insight, advice and tips to get started with affiliate marketing the right way!