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5 Lessons on Making Money with Affiliate Programs

In the last 24 hours I’ve been interviewed 3 times and on each occassion I was questioned about affiliate marketing and how to make money from it.

Here are 5 lessons that I found myself touching on in each interview.

Affiliate-Program-Lessons
Image by foundphotolj

1. Relevancy between Audience, Product and Content

One key to high conversion when promoting affiliate products is to align as much as possible the needs of your audience, with the product that you are promoting and the content being produced on your blog.

For example if my readers are all beginner digital photographers, I’m producing a blog with content that teaches basic principles of photography and I was to promote to them a book or course on beginner to intermediate photography tips – I’d have a pretty good chance of generating some sales and therefore commissions.

However if I was to promote the same course here on ProBlogger the campaign would fall on it’s face and I’d probably do my reputation more harm than good.

2. Trust is Crucial

I find that affiliate promotions tend to work best on a blog that has been around for a while where the readership has been journeying with the blogger for a while.

When you read someone’s solid advice on a daily basis over a couple of years you’re much more likely to buy something that they recommend than buying something off a complete stranger. It’s all about establishing credibility and trust.

3. Traffic is Key

There’s no getting around this one – you increase the chances of a conversion with the number of people who see your invitation to purchase a product.

Of course it partly depends upon the audience – not all traffic is equal.

For example I could hit the front page of Digg with my post promoting a product and get 100 times the traffic that a normal post would have and the conversions would not be 100 times higher (simply because Digg readers don’t tend to take much note of affiliate products and because I have no established relationship with them).

However as your loyal readership grows in numbers you do tend to increase conversion possibilities.

4. Reinforcing the Message

I wrote about this in my ProBlogger Newsletter a few weeks back – but I find that rather than just posting once about a product that you’re promoting – it can be much more effective to find ways to reinforce a message over time. You might start off with an announcement post that tells your readers about what you’re promoting, you might follow up a few days later with a review of it, then follow up a week later with a reader testamonial, then follow up with an interview of someone behind the product….

The key is to find useful ways to talk about the product without annoying your readership (not always easy). In doing this you remind and reinforce the ‘pitch’ for you reader to buy.

5. Positioning

Affiliate promotions tend not to work very well if all they are is a banner ad in your sidebar. They will still convert – but nowhere near as well as if you position your promotion inside a post itself as the topic of the post.

Write about the product you’re talking about, talk about how you’ve used it and make it personal.

Get more tips like these at 10 Tips for Using Affiliate Programs on Your Blog

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Eva Wallace says:

    Wonderful tips, Darren! I need to work on #4 and 5.

    :) thanks!

  2. Great Info. Been looking at way to make money online through just affiliates alone.

  3. Ryan Jones says:

    Agree with @Jess…we need a lot more transparency in this area. I recently wrote a post about this. http://tinyurl.com/6fnjuy

  4. Angel Cuala says:

    I must admit, I have tried to be an affiliate for some products but failed so I quit. I think the main I failed is due to # 1. I was so excited that I did not realized that what works for others does not mean will work for me too.

    I even remember one time I even include my photo holding the book I am selling, but still it ended up nothing. I think consistent mentioning about it also helps.

    But I will remember these tips if I decide to join in the coming times.

  5. Vigceo says:

    I would have to agree with Darren with all five points. The best one to make sure you drive home is point number 5 if you want the hits! I also think that you can have a successful campaign / affiliate site if you choose the right purpose. By this I mean WIIFM principle. If you have a site that offers many choices on what visitors can “get” in return for their repeat visits, then you increase your traffic and you commissions! A simple loyalty program may do the trick…it works for us! :)

  6. soares says:

    I Problogger your tips are good but some of the affiliates dont accept non english blogs and mine is in Portuguese 98%….
    Best Regards

  7. Dilip Shaw says:

    I am doing Affiliate Programs since that last 4 years. All I can say is there is no single method for promoting various products. Certain methods may work on some and may not work on others.

    Good tips though.

  8. Markus Jais says:

    Thanks for this two posts on affiliate programms. I completely agree with banners in sidebars don’t work nearly as well as links in reviews or other posts where articles are recommended and than an affiliate link is displayed.

    Normally, people are searching for very specific topics and the banners in the sidebars of often way to general.

    I find adsense to work better in the sidebars.

  9. This month Paul Bourque, the 19 year old CEO of Uber Affiliate is offering a free course to get a better grasp of affiliate marketing. No sign ups or email registration is necessary.

    http://www.ubercamp.com

    I believe it is suitable for both beginners and novice affiliate marketers. It provides an intro to what it is, a few of the larger affiliate companies and how to get a basic account set up on google, yahoo and msn ppc programs.

  10. gout says:

    hello, talk about traffic…..do you have some lesson or good source to get traffic for free and permanently…thanks before

  11. cj says:

    cool site thanks for the tips ur my idol

  12. gout says:

    my traffic very low….very difficult to build it

  13. Holly says:

    Louis & Joel Kestenbaum/Fortis Property Group close sale of Galleria Towers I, II & III in Dallas

    Second-Largest U.S. Investment Transaction to Date in 2008

    Jones Lang LaSalle announced the firm’s capital markets experts have completed the sale of Galleria Towers I, II & III on behalf of Brooklyn, New York-based Fortis Property Group, LLC to Los-Angeles-based Cannon Commercial. Financial terms were not disclosed but sources close to the transaction estimate the closing price was in excess of $300 million.

    The Jones Lang LaSalle team of Managing Directors John Alvarado, Jack Crews and Evan Stone represented the seller during negotiations.

    “This portfolio retained consistent investor interest right through the credit crunch and its closing should send a strong signal about the existing strength of the Dallas investment market for high quality office product,” said Mr. Alvarado. “This was an attractive offering given the Galleria towers are irreplaceable, trophy assets and came with affordable and assumable long-term debt. This transaction also allows Cannon Commercial to enhance its Dallas-area presence, while leveraging the tax benefits of a partial 1031-exchange. This was a beneficial transaction to both parties who remained focused on completing a timely transaction.”

    “We acquired the Galleria Towers from Blackstone (which acquired them from Trizec Properties) in November 2006, and maximized value by aggressively pushing rental rates while at the same time increasing the occupancy from around 90% to 98%,” said Fortis Chairman Louis Kestenbaum. Louis Kestenbaum is the father of Joel Kestenbaum, also of Fortis Property. “The disposition of this asset furthers our goals of maximizing investor returns and geographically diversifying the holdings within our portfolio. We achieved close to 100% profit on our equity investment in the Galleria Towers over a one and a half year holding period, and attained similar returns on our recent sale of International Plaza Tower III across the Tollaway.”

    Built in the 1980s and early 1990s, the Galleria towers range from 24 to 26 stories tall and adjoin the Galleria shopping mall, as well as the four-star, four-diamond Westin Galleria Hotel. Amenities include on-site banking with ATM, security card-key access, conference facilities, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a leasing and management office and an independently-operated day care. The buildings are currently 98% leased.

    Fortis Property Group, LLC is a real estate investment, operating and development company. Its real estate projects include the ownership and management of Class A office and industrial properties located throughout the United States. Fortis currently owns two other Class A office buildings and an industrial property in the Dallas, Texas area. Nationwide, Fortis currently owns more than 20 properties, which contain over six million rentable square feet. Fortis Property Group CEO Jonathan Landau further indicated that Fortis anticipates raising a value-add real estate fund that will invest in Class A office properties in prime office markets throughout the United States.

  14. george says:

    you hav given a gud idea and quiet relevent info in your blog regarding affiliate programs. I think !st and the 3rd point are quiet important. This bolg can realy help the newbies

  15. gout says:

    I still work hard to increse free traffic from social media and comment blog……. thanks for lesson

  16. Carol says:

    As a blogging newbie, I need all the help I can get! This article is great.
    Thank you

  17. Lots of great info Darren, I’ve been working with affiliates for years … some are good some are great. You have a lot of great tips that could help us all out along the way to financial freedom … thanks. I’d like to plug one of my favorite programs if everyone don’t mind, its alot like google adwords but they show ebook titles instead … very cool. Take a look at http://www.onlineebookdirectory.com/freecontent.php

  18. I believed all 5 tips are crucial. But for newbies just starting out, I can’t emphasized the importance of Point 1 & 3.

    The product select is crucial, don’t select a dud but a winner instead. Select an industry where more competition is better than none at all. At least it tells….there’s money to be made.

    Of course, when that’s up, no traffic = dead meat.

    There are so many ways to get traffic. But learn to master on just ONE form of traffic at a time is better than trying to go into all at once. *Focus*

    Tip: Find one form of traffic generating that you enjoyed best. Only than makes your online business FUN to venture out ;-)

    For newbies out there, you may grab my Free Cash videos to start out, http://www.madmoneycreator.com

  19. Yeah, and if you do manage to hit the front page of digg…you had better upgrade your hosting in a hurry!

  20. gendut says:

    your information really help to improve may knowledge about making money online, thanks

  21. Penny Martin says:

    Very interesting. I was wondering how this part really worked. Thanks!
    Penny
    http://www.martinpenny.com

  22. cool thing says:

    great post. i hear amazon requires a privacy policy. do you have a simple example of one you use? and is it ok to link to a privacy policy on one site from many others, to save time?

    http://coolthing.net

  23. Its usually difficult to have used all products you share, unless the affiliate network is generous enough to lend it to you.

  24. Thank you! This is a good place to start!

  25. It will be great if you say more about some top affiliate programs.

  26. Thanks for the post Darren. I think their is a lot of mis perception about affiliate programs. Sure, you can run ads for an affiliate or you can develop a business partnership. After two years of blogging I was lucky enough to find the perfect fit for us and it has been successful beyond our wildest dreams. There is life after Adsense!