How To Start Affiliate Marketing [As Easy As ABC]

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Quick question. How do you generate enough recurring passive income as a blogger to live the life of your dreams? You could try affiliate marketing. Alternatively, you could create self study courses or even start a signature coaching program.

Each of those three are fantastic monetization models.

To maximize your income, you could even pursue all three simultaneously.

A note of caution though…

When you’re just starting out and working towards your first $1,000 a month in recurring income, it’s probably advisable to focus on one model at a time.

In this article, our will focus will be on affiliate marketing, simply because it’s arguably the easiest of the three monetization models. It’s also probably one of the fastest ways to earn passive income from your blog.

That’s right.

In our experience, affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to start making money from your blog. And this is regardless of how many readers you currently have.

Affiliate marketing is here to stay

Don’t listen to the naysayers and prophets of doom. They would have you believe that Affiliate marketing dead.

Far from it!

Affiliate marketing delivers more

According to CJ Affiliate, one of the largest affiliate networks, the affiliate channel delivers 88% more revenue than other channels. Using their “affiliate incrementality calculator”, CJ Affiliate found that compared to other channels, when affiliate is in the mix, brands see higher conversion rates, higher AOVs, more orders per customer, which compounds to deliver 88% higher revenue per shopper.

affiliate products, affiliate programs for bloggers
Image credit – CJ Affiliate

ACJ Affiliate goes further to say that affiliate marketing is the only channel that reaches and influences consumers worldwide, at every part of their purchase journey, both on and offline

That’s the power and relevance of affiliate programs.

Growing in leaps and bounds

In truth, over the past decade, affiliate marketing has grown in leaps and bounds. This is obviously due to more and more customers choosing to buy products and services online. The global affiliate marketing industry pre-COVID-19 was worth well over $12 billion.

It’s probably worth even more now, post COVID-19 because during the worldwide lockdown, most people turned to the internet for answers. As a result there’s been a huge spike in online shopping.

Bluehost affiliates earned more commissions during lockdown

For example we are part of the Bluehost affiliate program. And we recently received an email from Bluehost informing us that their “affiliate program saw over $9 million in combined commissions paid for [the first and second quarters of 2020]. With [the second quarter of 2020 when the world was in lockdown] leading the charge seeing over $5 million in commissions paid, making that the best quarter in the history of our program.”

So, as you can see, affiliate marketing is still going very strong. It’s therefore no surprise that more and more people want to become affiliate marketers to earn a passive income online. 

Here is the reality.

Affiliate marketing is here to stay.

And even if you’re a new blogger, becoming an affiliate marketer and joining the right affiliate programs can be incredibly lucrative.

It’s so lucrative that we recommend it to all our readers.

However, with thousands of affiliate programs—and more being added every day—where do you start? In this blog post, we will provide the guidance you need to become an affiliate marketing guru.

But first, what is affiliate marketing?

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing. Here, a business or merchant or brand pays a commission or bounty to an affiliate for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

The four parties to affiliate marketing

According to Wikipedia, for affiliate marketing to work, there should be at least four important participants or parties:

#1. The merchant (also known as ‘advertiser’ or ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’).

affiliate marketing, affiliate programs for bloggers, affiliate products
Image credit – CJ Affiliate

Advertisers sell products, experiences, and services and reward publishers for driving desired results.

#2. The network 

The network, affiliate marketing, affiliate products, affiliate programs for bloggers
Image credit – CJ Affiliate

The network usually contains offers for the affiliate to choose from. In most cases also it also takes care of the payment of commissions.

The networks usually cultivate partnerships between the merchants and affiliates within using cutting edge technology. This collaboration significantly expands a merchant’s audience and growth potential and enables affiliates to monetize their efforts.

#3. The publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’).

Affiliate marketing, affiliate products, affiliate programs
Image credit – CJ Affiliate

Affiliates or publishers engage consumers through a variety of distribution models. These include websites, social media, search, email, mobile apps, offline marketing and much more.

#4. The customer (also known as the ‘buyer’ or ‘visitor’).

The buyer is the customer or consumer. If web-based, they would usually click through a link from the affiliate or publisher to the merchant or advertiser.

Not the same as referral marketing

Affiliate marketing is sometimes confused with referral marketing because both types of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the merchant or brand.

However, these two forms of marketing can be distinguished in the way they drive sales. Affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations for the affiliate, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships between the affiliate and the merchant.

How to make money with affiliate marketing

Here is how to make money with affiliate marketing

• Decide your niche
• Setup a blog
• Sign up for affiliate programs
• Learn the different types of programs
• Master SEO
• Determine your content strategy
• Rely on contextual links (not banners)
• Use nofollow or sponsored affiliate links
• Add affiliate links to images
• Avoid common affiliate penalties
• Build your community
• Monitor conversions rates
• Write an affiliate disclaimer

How long does it take to be a successful affiliate marketer? It’s generally up to you! We basically started making money as soon as this blog was up and running.

What are the best affiliate products to promote?

I would say, recurring affiliate programs. This usually works best with subscription programs. The reason they work so well, is because once the sale is made, you keep getting your commission every month for as long as the customer continues with the service.

Where can I find affiliate products to promote?

Here are some ideas on where to find affiliate programs and products to promote.

#1. FMTC Directory – Thousands of affiliate programs in one place

Formerly the Merchant Hub, the FMTC Directory is your one stop shop for researching affiliate programs. It contains thousands (yes, that’s right, thousands) of affiliate programs from 24 different sources. And there’s verified and up-to-date information on each program.

#2. CJ Affiliate

The CJ Affiliate network is one the largest affiliate networks in the world. They make it easier than ever to work with quality brands, introduce your audience to relevant products and services, and grow your business.

#3. Fresh Reach

Fresh Reach allows you to monetize links on your site without having to worry about signing up for and managing merchant affiliate programs.

This tool will give you access to find out information on over 13,000 merchants, find offers those merchants have published, and allow you to access links for those merchants and offers

#4. Sovrn //Commerce (formerly VigLink

VigLink is an awesome affiliate software which automatically places affiliate links on your blog from thousands of affiliate programs related to your niche. And the amazing thing about VigLink is that you can monetize your blog using just one plugin!

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Check out our detailed review of VigLink

Sovrn //Commerce, formerly VigLink, you create a better web by making every link intelligent and valuable. They deliver revenue to publishers through content-driven-commerce with leverage, insight, and automation.


Recurring affiliate programs

Recurring affiliate programs are fantastic affiliate marketing examples.

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Check out our fantastic resource on the 15 Best Affiliate Programs for Bloggers


Affiliate programs for Bloggers – FAQs

In this section, we will look at some commonly or frequently asked questions about affiliate products.

What is the most profitable affiliate program?

Difficult to say. There are so many fantastic affiliate programs out there. You just need to search them out.

What percentage do affiliate programs pay?

The percentages vary from 1% to 100%!

How to start affiliate programs without a website

You can promote most affiliate programs without a website or blog. For example, you can share your affiliate link via e-mail. You can also promote your affiliate program through social networks, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube etc. However, where this is the case, you must remember to use the hashtag #Ad in order not to run foul of the law.

Wrapping up – Affiliate programs for bloggers

Here at Astute Copy Blogging, over 75% of our gross annual income comes from affiliate marketing.

What of you?

How to do you make money online? Are you an affiliate marketer? As a blogger, what is your major source of income?

Why not join our conversation by leaving a comment below.

    Pedro is a pro blogger, coach, copywriter and list grow strategist. He is the founder and CEO of Astute Copy Blogging. He is also a pastor, an award-winning author, and an attorney! He makes his home in England with his wife and their two delightful daughters.

    Please note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are either offensive or off-topic.

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