I love affiliate marketing. It was my first introduction to making real money from my blog, and I never looked back.
Despite what you may hear, however, it isn't as easy as just putting a link up online and watching the sales roll in. It takes a lot more work. It takes a lot more strategy. But, it's worth it. And when done correctly, that one link may provide you with a steady stream of income for years to come.
To help you out, I’ve put together a list of my top 10 ways to promote affiliate products.
1. Build Your Website
In order to generate passive income from affiliate links, you first must lay the groundwork: develop your website. This means choosing a niche that has the potential to generate income for you, setting it up to succeed from the beginning, and updating it consistently to keep your material relevant and visitors returning again and again.
There are various methods to choosing the niche that works best for your income-generating purposes, but there’s one core rule you should follow: choose something that you feel passionate about. Setting up a website that generates passive income is a job, so you need passion to sustain you throughout the project. That energy will also shine through your content and make it more engaging.
Plus, a well-constructed website may attract additional affiliate opportunities from brands who want you to talk about their products.
2. Optimize Your Website
Once your website is put together, keep everything in productive working order by optimizing for SEO. The purpose of Search Engine Optimization is to improve how your site ranks in search engine. The higher your content ranks in search engines for relevant topics, the more targeted traffic you receive. The more targeted your traffic, the better it converts. The better it converts, the better your chances for turning a profit.
Search traffic is some of the best traffic if you are looking to make money from your blog. While social media traffic can be nice, many people on social media are just killing time. They aren’t necessarily looking to solve a specific problem or make a purchase. People using search engines are. They are looking for solutions and ready to take the next step – a purchase – if necessary.
Additional Reading: The Ultimate Guide to SEO for Beginners
3. Build a Mailing List
As soon as you start building your website, you need to start collecting email addresses and building your mailing list. I cannot overstate how important a mailing list is to the success of your website and building a strong passive income stream.
A newsletter service like AWeber is imperative as you need to offer people a way to unsubscribe to comply with spam laws in this country. AWeber also offers great reporting so you can keep track of your results and, down the road you can take advantage of some of their advanced features like segmenting and triggers.
You can also use smart tools for WordPress like OptinMonster to trigger pop-ups based on visitor behavior, so you can catch their email addresses before they leave. You can also add mailing list sign-up boxes into your content, or keep the opt-in box front and center at the top of your page with a “hello bar” feature.
4. Leverage Your Mailing List
As important as building your mailing list is using it to promote your affiliate offers – not necessarily in a welcome email but in other autoresponder email series.
An autoresponder series does not have to end with just a couple of emails after someone signs up. It can go on indefinitely. It can continue to drip out your best and most profitable content for years to come!
Be sure to intelligently include links as appropriate to your various affiliate offers with any email series that you do – even in your newsletters. Don’t spam anyone: you don’t want to lose subscribers. Provide value in the emails that you send, engaging your subscribers to keep them opening your emails and returning to your website (where you’ll have more opportunities for them to click on your affiliate links).
Read more: Email Forever Funnels
5. Put Links in Popular Posts
Make your most popular content work for you by inserting your affiliate links into popular posts. By regularly reviewing your website’s metrics, whether you use Google Analytics or something else, you can evaluate which parts of your website that folks are responding to and which parts they’re ignoring. This data will let you easily recognize which posts get the most traffic – and you want to ensure that you have applicable affiliate links included in those posts and pages.
As always, make it relevant to the post at hand. You don’t want your visitors believing you’re making a shameless cash-grab without regard to the content you’re providing them.
Do this right and content you created weeks or months or years in the past will continue generating passive income for you.
Additional Resources: 7 Ways to Boost Your Income Overnight
6. Use Website Banners
Website banners are another key place you can deploy affiliate links on your website, but you must be careful when using them. Too many graphics that look like ads may turn visitors off, making them click away from your site never to return. That’s not ideal for a sustainable passive income stream.
Many companies will provide ready-made graphics for you to use on your site with your affiliate link; they often come in a variety of sizes so you can fit them in sidebars, at the bottom of posts, and more. Keep an eye on your affiliate stats. If they’re never clicked, don’t waste the real estate and site loading time.
7. Product Reviews & Tutorials
Writing product reviews or doing tutorials (that involve products or services you have affiliate links for) is hands-down one of the easiest ways to include and leverage affiliate links in your content. It makes the fitting your affiliate links into the post very natural.
It’s important to establish yourself as both an authority in your subject and an impartial reviewer. Otherwise, visitors may suspect you’re only reviewing the product or service in order to recommend it just so you can make money off their purchases. Admit up front that you make a commission on sales through your link (this is required by the FTC anyway), and then make sure you provide a fair and balanced review.
Additional reading: How to write a sponsored post/review
8. Make Video Content
Video content continues to grow in popularity on today’s Internet, although I recommend that you continue making your website largely text-based – you can add an embedded video to some posts for those who prefer watching to reading.
Putting your content on YouTube can be hugely rewarding, both from gaining subscribers and earning passive income through affiliate offers. How? By doing product reviews and tutorials, just as I listed above! For people who research products before purchase, video content demonstrating the products is incredibly useful. You can even do unboxing videos for any number of mail-order items or subscription box services. Include an affiliate link and you’re set.
Additional reading: Make money on YouTube
9. Create A Bonus
Creating a special bonus for people who purchase through your affiliate link can be a great way to increase sales. However, not every affiliate program allows for this. It’s often referred to as incentivizing in terms of service contracts. Before proceeding, please read through your affiliate agreement or consult your affiliate manager.
If you do have the go-ahead, brainstorm a few small information products that may push people over the barrier and into a sale. Perhaps you can offer a small mastermind group on Facebook. Maybe you have a paid product that would be a great accompaniment. Perhaps you can create a mini-guide specific to that product that’s only available to purchasers.
Ultimate Bundles is one affiliate program that encourages bonus offers.
10. Offer Free Training
There are two ways you can go about free training. You can do it all on your own, or if you are a high-value partner, some affiliate programs will offer to host training sessions directly with your audience.
You have likely seen these collaborations with bloggers who recommend ConvertKit or Teachable. But it doesn’t have to be blog-related services. Think about things relevant to your blog. Do those companies do any kind of video presentations? How can that carry over to something specific to your audience? Can they offer a special promo code to people who attend?
If you have affiliate programs that convert well, reach out to your affiliate manager to see if there are additional opportunities or tips that may increase conversions even more. They are often more than welcome to share!