If you are a regular reader, you know affiliate marketing is my bread and butter. It's what pays my bills and it's something I truly enjoy learning about and implementing. I also love hearing how other people are using affiliate marketing to earn big bucks blogging.
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is stopping by today to share a few key decisions that can greatly increase your affiliate income.
1. Choosing a niche is so very important for long-term success as a blogger. Tell us how you decided the basis for your blog's content.
In August of 2011, I started my personal finance blog with the hopes of teaching people how to save money after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. Personal finance has always interested me- I have three finance-related college degrees, and I was forced to learn about money young after my father (the one who raised me) passed away when I was just 18.
On Making Sense of Cents, I talk a lot about different ways to make extra money, money saving tips, living your dream life, RVing (me and my husband RV full-time), and more.
I also just love talking about money, so it made sense for me to blog about personal finance.
Helping others take control of their money is a huge thing and something that I really love.
2. Equally as important is choosing the right products to promote. What tips do you have for someone ready to monetize their content? How did you choose the first products you promoted to your readers?
Yes, choosing the right products to promote is something that is extremely important. To decide what products to promote, I recommend thinking about:
- What your readers want
- What your readers would like to know more about
- What products have benefited you
By figuring out the answer to these three questions, you'll be able to find a product that you can successfully promote to your readers, as well as solve a problem that your readers may have.
3. The balance between selling and providing value is sometimes difficult, especially for newcomers. How do you prevent running off your readers but still make a profit?
Some of the best products to promote are affordable or even free, so you don't have to only promote high dollar products in order to have an effective affiliate marketing strategy on your blog.
You should always aim to provide value to your readers first and foremost. This is something that I heavily teach in my course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. After you build trust with your readers, you'll be able to promote products to your readers without being pushy or too “salesy.”
4. When it comes to making money, can you break down how posts, resource pages, and your email list contribute to your earnings?
All three of these things definitely contribute to my monthly blogging earnings.
- Blog posts help in numerous ways, but they mainly help bring in readers so that I can teach them something, convert them into email subscribers, and more.
- A resource page allows me to easily list all of the products I use and/or recommend in one place, so that readers can easily check all of them out. It's a very easy page to create and requires very minimal work, so it's definitely something I recommend doing for an effective affiliate marketing strategy.
- My email list consists of highly engaged readers and people who love what I hear to say. Due to that, they are the greatest part of my affiliate marketing strategy as they are interested in new content and hearing what products I am promoting.
5. Creating a relationship with your readers can greatly impact your conversion rate. How do you make a personal connection with new, or returning, visitors?
Yes, creating a relationship and building trust with your readers is extremely important and it can greatly impact a conversion rate.
You don't need a ton of followers in order to make money with affiliate marketing, but you definitely need a loyal audience that trusts what you have to say. If they don't trust you, then they won't purchase anything through you.
You cannot just slap affiliate links on your blog and hope to make affiliate income. You have to have some sort of strategy, which is what I teach in Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
I am often told by my readers that I am very relatable and they feel like they're my best friend. It's something I always love to hear, and it always makes my day.
Bloggers can build a personal connection with their readers as well by:
- Interacting with readers on social media and your blog such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, in blog post comments, etc.
- Be personable in content pieces. I am often told that my writing style makes it sound like I am just talking to someone. This makes it easy for readers to understand what I'm talking about.
- Answer emails. I answer all emails myself. It's a lot of work, but well worth it!
Tell us about one mistake you've made as a blogger that you think impacted your earning potential. Maybe it was just one time or maybe it was something you wish you would have learned earlier. How can other bloggers avoid that?
The biggest mistake I've made as a blogger is managing a bad work-life balance. As a blogger, you can pretty much always work. Everything is done online, which means that you can work all day and all night if you want to. This has caused me to miss meals, forget to sleep, and so on. This is because I love blogging and I love watching my business grow, but a work-life balance is always a good thing to have.
Instead, I need to focus on managing a better work-life balance, as well as outsourcing more tasks. Right now, I currently do almost everything related to my blog myself. This may be holding me back because I should be focusing my time of tasks that are more important.
Get more of Michelle's tips at Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.