This post may contain affiliate links.
If you’ve spent any time online, even if you’re not a blogger (yet!) you’ve probably heard the phrase affiliate sale a few hundred times. Affiliate marketing has almost become a trendy buzzword people throw around to make their millions. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have absolutely no doubt you COULD, in fact, make millions from affiliate marketing. But it won’t be quick!
How can bloggers make money on Pinterest?
So what is affiliate marketing? How does one go about making an affiliate sale? It IS an easy passive income for online bloggers and influencers by promoting products, services or brands they love.
For the past couple of months, I’ve been gobbling up all the free advice I can find in regards to affiliate marketing and making an affiliate sale. I’ve scoured the internet, opened every article on Pinterest, and bookmarked hundreds of “resources”. But nothing seemed to work.
I had links plastered all over my site, and have heard nothing but crickets. Occasionally I do get a click (SO RARE!), but definitely no sale.
Finally, I came across a book pitch I couldn’t resist. I felt the familiar excuse of “once I make a few dollars I will reinvest it into this…” when I finally realized, I’ve used up all the free resources. I clearly was not going to make a “few dollars” anytime soon. It was time to spend money to make money.
So I bit the bullet and I purchased the book.
How does affiliate marketing work
If you’re not sure exactly WHAT affiliate marketing is, let me give you a quick summary.
In short, its a referral to a product, service, or brand that gives you a cut of the sale. It may be pennies, it may be dollars, it may a percentage, it may even be a reoccurring amount from a monthly subscription.
Literally, that’s it. It’s super simple! Some programs allow you to promote through social media, others through blog posts, others are banners or ads on your website, and even still others are sent as emails.
How to get started and make your first affiliate sale
First of all, you need to join an affiliate program. Your options are endless here. There are networks you can join that have hundreds of brands under one roof, or many individual companies may have a program.
One of the first ones you come across is Amazon. They are arguably one of the easiest and most versatile to get into. They also have the shortest cookies and lowest payout. But we’ll get to that in a few. I use Amazon to share products I use every day, so while they are low pay, it’s nice to be able to tell people I just read this book – connect them directly to it, and potentially make a few pennies when I do so.
I use Share A Sale for my main network, I love that they have thousands of partners I can scroll through to connect with. Since Share A Sale does accept everyone, each individual brand does require you to apply and while they typically say 48 hours – I’ve seen brands take 2-3 weeks to get back to you.
Those programs aside, the best thing to do is consider your target market first. What kind of blog are you? Think about:
- What brands your target market like
- What products they use daily
- What types of products or services they could honestly benefit from
Now that you have those ideas try this process:
google company name + “affiliate program”
google blog type [IE lifestyle, finance, business} + “affiliate program”
google product/service type + “affiliate program”
These searches will provide you a list of affiliate programs, products or services to get you started in your quest!
How to choose something to promote?
This is a tough question because there are so many variables!
First of all, remember your target market. Before you promote ANYTHING, make sure your target market needs it. If they don’t need it, they won’t click it and that’s just a waste of your time!
Secondly, your time is valuable. You shouldn’t be wasting time on a promotion strategy for products that will make you pennies. Now, I realize I just talked about Amazon, but I feel they are the exception for three reasons:
Most people shop at Amazon, so they are trusted and people are far more likely to make an impulse purchase from a trusted site.
I personally don’t rely on it as a strategy. I simply use it to point my readers to a product I am talking about. I would point them there even if there wasn’t the possibility of making a few pennies.
It’s easy! They provide a banner right at the top of the page to grab your link and insert it into your post. It doesn’t require ANY extra time, and if you’re serious about your Amazon strategy, they have a plugin to make it EVEN EASIER.
So how do you know if a product or service is worth your time to promote? Easy! Every program has a terms of service (don’t worry, you don’t have to read each one until you’re ready to sign), but they usually call out a few important pieces to encourage you to sign up so look for this information:
- Commission rate
- Cookie Life
let’s break down what each means.
The Commission rate is how much you will make from a sale. here are some examples of what they could look like:
Flat rate: $3 a sale!
Max rate: Up to $1000
Scale rate: $10-$100 (usually means multiple products offered so the rate depends on which product is sold)
Percentage: 40% per sale
- Reoccurring: 25% monthly for the lifetime of the purchaser enrolled
This is vital information to consider before signing onto a program. Let’s look at amazon to understand better. Amazon pay rates are percentages that vary based on the category. For example (at the time of writing), physical video games will get you 1% of the sale, while luxury beauty will get you 10%. Alternatively, Amazon’s special programs provide flat rates. For example, referring someone to set up a baby registry is $3, while referring someone to set up a business account is $15. All in all, Amazon’s commission rates are EXTREMELY low by industry standards.
The cookie life is how long a link will work for a user. We’ll get into this more in a moment, but basically you generate a special URL to link your account to the product or service you are sharing. When someone clicks that link, the cookie is activated and remains open for a set amount of time. If a purchase is made within that time frame, you get the commission rate.
Now, let’s look at Amazon again. Their cookie rate is 24 hours. That’s it. So someone needs to click and purchase within 24 hours. The good news with Amazon is it doesn’t need to be the item you shared – as long as they make a purchase on Amazon within 24 hours of clicking your link, you’ll get the commission rate from the category they purchased from. But once again this is VERY LOW by industry standards. You generally want 30-day minimum cookies for a product, but the longer the better!
Finally, the threshold. This is how long your money will be held hostage from you. Most programs have a minimum amount before they send you a paycheck: sometimes its $20, sometimes its $100. It’s important to remember, if you are in a low commission company, with a high threshold, it could take a very long time before you ever see that money!
Finally, just to clarify: I’m not picking on Amazon. I do believe that they are VERY low by industry standards, however, that doesn’t make them useless. For one thing, those pennies add up to dollars. Secondly, they do have higher-end products on their site which means 1% of a $10 product and 1% of a 100 product look very different on your paycheck. Finally, there are people who run strategies ONLY using Amazon affiliates. Yea. It works. Here’s the catch – it depends on YOUR blog industry. MY industry doesn’t have a ton of products on the Amazon site, so it doesn’t work as well for me. But there are many industries that DO. This is why knowing your target market, and what they NEED is crucial to choosing programs and products as affiliates!
How to implement affiliate marketing
The next step once you’ve chosen a product or service is to create the custom links we referenced above. ALL programs will work differently and each should walk you through this process. The point is, it connects what they are selling, directly to your account so you can get your commission!
The great part is, most programs keep the referral link open so if a reader clicks a link to a specific product, but end up purchasing a different product from that same company, you still get a commission from that sale!
My marketing strategy to make an affiliate sale
As I previously mentioned, my initial affiliate marketing strategy was simply to drop affiliate links everywhere and hope for the best. Needless to say, it wasn’t working.
You need to implement a strategy. The problem is HOW? It’s not an intuitive process, but the good news is, once you have one in place, its easy to automate! IE: hello passive income!
So, what did I do to make my first affiliate sale this year?
Well, first I scoured the internet looking for all the FREE resources I could find. They were great, I promise! But they were conveniently leaving out tips and I just couldn’t figure out what I was missing no matter how much I tried to piece things together.
I finally came across this ebook called Niche Post Conversation Strategies by PotPieGirl. It was only $39 dollars but I spent days staring at it in the shopping cart trying to convince myself that I didn’t need it, I just wasn’t trying hard enough to find the answers for free.
In the end, I took the plunge and made the purchase.
And of course, I instantly had a panic attack over less than $39.
It was the best $39 I have spent on my blog to date.
It promised me:
- A case study so I could SEE the techniques in place where she earned $74 a DAY from ONE post!
- to teach me exactly what other bloggers were avoiding sharing
- to teach me her infamous “money link” strategy, TIC Techniques, Keyword Strategies…
- …along with over a dozen little known tactics that will skyrocket your affiliate sale!
all this (and more) using the AMAZON affiliate program!
Plus, it was only $39. I figured if it worked I would make the money back eventually.
How I actually made my first affiliate sale in year
First of all, I devoured the book. I cleared my schedule, put off my to-do list. By the end of the first page, my panic was GONE.
I pulled up my most recent post and implemented every single idea to conduct my own case study.
If you are really interested to know more, I highly recommend buying the ebook. There is a reason people aren’t sharing this information for free. As a new blogger without a penny of income to my name, I was terrified to spend $39. Not only was it worth that, knowing what I know now, but I would also have spent double that.
I made my money back in mere days.
Yup. ON A BLOG POST ALREADY IN CIRCULATION. I didn’t even have to publish a brand new fresh post to make my money.
My next step was to become an affiliate for the book. I truly believed in what the book was sharing. I truly found the value in this. Plus, little old me actually managed to achieve making money using the techniques found in the book! I signed up for SendOwl, I recommend doing this as MANY people use SendOwl for their affiliate programs and you’ll have to sign up eventually!
Not only does it walk you through different ideas and strategies to try, but it also shares tutorials on exactly how to do each and every little step in between. The author shares tips in-between the tips, her exact plugins, the websites she uses to achieve certain things and most importantly behind the scenes of the case study blog post she used to create the book.
After implementing all of the suggestions the book gave, I went a step further to utilize Pinterest. Now you can (and should) create a strategy around Pinterest alone. But let me just talk basics because as of right now, I have no Pinterest strategy!
The first thing I did was pin the image provided by the seller onto my Pinterest account to all relevant boards using the link generated by the program. This is important. If you don’t ensure your specific URL is attached to the image, you won’t get credit for any sales from your clicks!
The next thing I did was create my own graphics. My current system (which you can read more about in my 9 things you should do before you publish a post), was to create a few pins consistent with my branding, and few graphics that test out different looks and styles (so you can check analytics and see what is working and what’s not)!
It’s important to use the variety for a few reasons:
Many people will be using the same graphics to market any one affiliate product. A saturated market means your graphic won’t be the one people will click.
Not all designs appeal to everyone; using a variety means you’re bound to get one that finally appeals to someone. You can use these different styles to test and see which appeals more to your target market.
Pinterest loves fresh graphics, they bump those towards the top of searches so the more you create, the more often you’ll stay at the top of searches (and ahead of other people marketing the same thing).
It is important to note that not all companies allow you to market on Pinterest, and not all companies allow you to create new graphics so make sure you read the terms and conditions (before you sign up)!
it’s also important to test out different hashtags on your pins, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Try different keywords and rich descriptions to see which people are searching (and again, which keywords people aren’t)!
I have some pins pointing to my site, so people can read more about the product, and some point directly to my affiliate URL so that her page can tell them about the product!
SUPER IMPORTANT NOTE: don’t forget to include “#affiliate” in your description. It’s illegal to post without that disclosure and you will be kicked off Pinterest if you don’t include it for your affiliate sale!
Now that you’ve got the pin gaining traction, head over to Tailwind. you can add it to your queue, put it on a loop, and push it to your groups to help it go VIRAL!
If you don’t have Tailwind, start your free trial to test it out. Even the free version is WORTH IT in my opinion!
Now I’m no master of Pinterest, but because I LOVED the Niche Post Conversion Strategies book, it only made sense that I went ahead and purchased her P.I.Q. Strategy book as well. Full disclosure, as of this moment I have NOT completed the book. BUT, I’ve scanned the first few pages so far and my mind was BLOWN. I’m so excited to continue on it and will be back with my full review later!
Putting it all together
Did it take 24 hours to make an affiliate sale? Not quite.
But the ebook delivered on its promise, it’s up to YOU to put those tips and strategies into action. I have already made back what I paid for the book with money from my affiliate sale.
Now I can go and implement the same strategy on EVERY blog post for more products and services that LOVE and I know my readers will love too.
So, ready to become a mommy blogger? Stay tuned for my upcoming blogging series where I will cover:
- The Only Blogging Niches List You’ll Ever Need
- 9 Things to Do Before You Hit Publish On Your First Post and 6 Things to do After
- The Essential Bloggers Guide to Batching Blog Posts in 2020