This is some of the best advice beginner affiliate marketing advice I wish I got years ago!
When I first started to blog, affiliate marketing seemed like such a mystery. I understood the basics, meaning I knew I was recommending another business’ products with the hope of making commissions if people bought it.
What I didn’t get was how bloggers actually make money with affiliate products? What does it take for someone to click the link and make a purchase?
Like most new bloggers, I thought if I simply plastered a few banners on my blog, with a few random links, I’d make money. Wrong!
Another newbie mistake I made was I shared products that were of no interest to my readers. For example, my blog Organize Yourself Skinny is about creating a healthy lifestyle, so promoting “how to start a blog” products didn’t make sense – or money.
However, it seemed the only people making money from their blogs were the ones teaching about blogging. At least that’s the impression I got from reading everyone’s blog income reports. It was hard to learn how to promote products that were in a completely different niche. So I gave up and focused on other things.
Again, big mistake.
I didn’t test my hand at affiliate marketing again for another 4-5 years. And, embarrassingly, it took me about 6 years before I ever made “real” money through affiliate marketing.
I should point out, when I did start making money (around $1000 a month) it was on accident. It wasn’t until I noticed the money coming in, and dug a little deeper, that a light bulb went off and I realized this affiliate marketing thing is legit. So I took some time to figure out what I did right. Then I duplicated it on other blog posts. Guess what? It worked!
Today, on Organize Yourself Skinny, I make around $5-6k a month through affiliates. I don’t want to toot my own horn buuuut that’s pretty amazing considering just a couple years ago I was making zilch!
By the way, not one penny, on Organize Yourself Skinny, comes from promoting “blogging products”. Nope! All my affiliate income comes from products and services that are a great fit for my healthy lifestyle blog.
I only mention this because I want you to know that it’s completely possible to make a good affiliate salary with any blog – not just a “blog about blogging” blog. Ha! Say that 10x fast!
Okay, let’s talk about the affiliate marketing strategy I figured out on accident!
Honestly, and I’m not just saying this, but I wish I got this beginner affiliate marketing advice years ago. I left a lot of money on the table because I didn’t have an affiliate strategy. I figured it was a lost cause so I didn’t waste time on it. Well, that was a big mistake. Actually, I often call it my $300,000 mistake!
Before I jump into my affiliate strategy I just want to say one more thing…
One question I often get is “what should I promote”. Many bloggers (new and old) will push out amazing content day after day with no idea how that content can translate into affiliate sales. I’m not judging, because I’ve been there. This strategy will help you figure out the type of products you can (and should be) promoting on your blog.
Let’s get to it.
Step 1: Identify the topics your readers need the most help with.
This is often referred to as your readers “pain points”. Basically, what struggles do your readers have. Or if they don’t necessarily have “struggles” then what’s bringing them to your blog.
Think about it this way, what did someone type into Google to find your blog.
For example, Organize Yourself Skinny is about creating a healthy lifestyle using different organization methods like meal planning, meal prep, and things like that. So when someone types in “how to meal prep” I want my blog to come up.
Now, if you say “I don’t know” my reader’s pain points or struggles then you need to take a step back and answer this question before moving on. Trust me, it’s going to be very hard to make money with affiliate marketing if you don’t know your readers’ “pain points”.
Even though “pain points” sounds a little dramatic it can be as simple as someone coming to your blog looking for the best gluten free cupcake recipe. Or, somebody trying to learn more about crate-training their dog. Again, what brings them to your blog?
I have to say this…
I know this might be hard to read but I’m going to give it to you straight. If you want to make money blogging then it’s important to understand that your blog is not about you. People are coming to your blog to see what’s in it for them. Honestly, they can care less about your life. I know that sounds rude, but it’s true. Sure, at some point, it’s nice to read something personal about a blogger you follow but it’s not what brings you to their blog in the first place.
People come to your blog for 2 reasons:
- They are looking for answers to their questions
- They are looking for solutions to problems
Or, maybe, a mixture of the two.
Another way to figure out “pain points” and struggles is to ask. You can do this on any social media channel. For example, in the Organize Yourself Skinny Facebook Group I can ask members “What are your biggest struggles with meal prep?”
Or, if you don’t have a big following yet, ask friends and family. Some of my best posts came from brainstorming with friends!
Last, you can think like a newbie. It’s likely you started blogging because you’ve overcome a struggle or challenge, accomplished a goal, mastered something, or all of the above. Think back to when you were just learning the ropes. What were your struggles or challenges? Most likely, the people coming to your blog have those same challenges. Those are the pain points!
Yes, I know I just said readers don’t want to read about you. What I meant was they don’t want to read about things that don’t make their life better. For example, unless you have a “how to train your cat” blog they don’t care about Whiskers. But if your story can inspire or teach them to create a better life, they will gobble up everything you dish out.
Once you have the struggles and “pain points” down then it’s time to create content. This bring me to the next step.
Step 2: Teach your readers solutions to their struggles or “pain points”.
Like I said, readers find your blog because they were searching for solutions to their struggles or “pain points”. Or maybe one of your blog posts pop up on their Pinterest feed and they were like “Yes, that’s me”.
Regardless, they are on your blog.
Now, your job is to teach the solutions they were searching for.
Let’s go back to my meal prep example. If someone comes to Organize Yourself Skinny looking for tips on how to meal prep they will find a meal prep page that lists out all of my meal prep posts – specifically beginner meal prep posts. In the beginner posts I walk readers through the meal prep process. I offer solutions to all their meal prep challenges. My goal is for them to feel inspired and motivated to give meal prep a try.
Teaching can come in many forms. You can give a step by step tutorial, teach through your experience, do a Q & A, a video demonstration, or whatever teaching method you prefer. Remember, the reader is always thinking “what’s in it for me” or “how can I do that” so you want to make sure those two questions are answered so they feel confident putting into practice whatever you’re solution your recommending..
I know teaching sounds formal, but it doesn’t need to be. Actually, you don’t want it to be. This is where your blogging voice comes in. Readers come to your blog because of the information they were seeking but they come back for YOU.
There are a million healthy lifestyle blogs out there that talk about meal prep so what makes Organize Yourself Skinny stand apart from the rest? Readers connect with my blogging voice and teaching style. They can relate to my story and want to learn from me because of that. This is what will set you apart.
After teaching the solutions to your reader’s pain points you’re ready for the final step
Step 3: Recommend (or promote) tools to help them implement those solutions.
Most (if not all) solutions come with tools. So, when your reader is ready to put in place, or try out, the solution you gave to relieve their pain points they’ll need the tool(s) to make that happen. This is where affiliates come in.
Now this might go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway, don’t recommend products or services that you haven’t tried or believe in. The backbone to successful affiliate marketing is trust. Your readers need to trust that you have their back and are steering them in the right direction.
Also, it’s so much easier to make money with affiliates you use. You’ll talk about them more naturally and be able to honestly answer all questions.
With that said, don’t be afraid to talk about the things you don’t like about a product. Not every product is “GREAT!” and “OMG THIS IS THE BEST”. That’s not realistic and your readers will trust you much more if you’re honest.
Going back to my meal prep example. When I’m teaching readers about meal prep one of the tools they’ll need are containers. In fact, “what containers to use” is one of the top meal prep questions. So in my tutorial I give links to meal prep containers on Amazon. I also put together an entire meal prep container post that provides links to all the containers I use.
Another issue people have with meal prep is planning out their meals. So, I provide links to the meal planning services I use for them to check out. If you haven’t guessed I’m also affiliates for those services.
A quick affiliate tip – I never say things like “you must use this” I always say something like “check this out and see if it’s a good fit for you”. I don’t want people to think I’m ramming things down their throat or overselling. I just want to basically say “hey, these are tools I use and maybe they will work for you too”. This gives them a choice and people like choices.
Keep in mind, people like easy. They don’t want to search all over the internet for the tools they need to put in place the solution you just taught them. Show them exactly what they need and where they can buy it – of course, using your affiliate link!
Alright, let’s quickly go over the steps and then I want to give a few more examples to illustrate this strategy.
==> The first step is to identify your readers’ pain points. What questions do they have and/or what are they struggling with?
==> Then you’ll create content to teach solutions to the pain points and/or answer questions.
==> Last you’ll recommend the tools needed to put those solutions in place. The tool is your affiliate link.
Here are some more examples.
You write a dog training blog. A common question people have is how to pick the best crate for a large breed dog. Since this is a question you get a lot you decide to write a blog post covering all information needed to pick the best crate for your large breed dog. In this post, you suggest different crate options, bed options, toys that can go in a crate, and possibly some of crate essentials. Everything you recommend can be purchased through Amazon or another pet store you’re an affiliate for.
You write a home organization blog. You’ve been asked many times on the different ways to organize a pantry so this is definitely a pain point with your readers. You write a post going over all the different ways to organize a pantry and answer all the common questions. In this post, you show all the organization containers and shelves to use. Everything you recommend can be purchased through Amazon or another home organization store you’re an affiliate for.
You write a food blog. You decided to share the most amazing blueberry muffin recipe. There are a few tips and tricks that make this recipe the best so you decide to put together a step by step tutorial. In this tutorial, you talk about your favorite organic flour, bowls, hand mixer, and muffin pan. All of those tools can be affiliate links.
The point is, don’t make people search around for anything you recommend. Link to it using your affiliate link.
Of course, there is much more that goes into affiliate marketing.. For example, I HIGHLY recommend that you learn SEO. There’s a lot of money to be made in affiliate sales if you can rank high in Google searches.
However, this simple strategy can help you figure out what affiliates work best for your blog and how to connect them to the content. I feel confident this will help you to start seeing the affiliate income results you want. It did for me!
These 3 steps helped me to completely change my mindset with affiliate marketing and significantly increase my affiliate income in just a year because of it – so I know it works!
I would love to read your thoughts and questions on beginner affiliate marketing.
Do you find it easy to find affiliates for your blog or is that something you struggle with? Do you think this strategy would help you grow your affiliate income? What questions or comments do you have?