I’ve recently teamed up with blogger Melea Johnson to start a series of conferences (more like workshops) to teach affiliate marketing for bloggers at the ABC Conference. We usually have a group of about 50 bloggers, mostly women in the lifestyle/mom blogger niche. At the last conference time we had a blogger who came from a small Utah town and blogs about looking for gold. How appropriate because I think bloggers are affiliate marketing gold.
ABC affiliate marketing conference for bloggers.
We usually have just two speakers, including a blogger who makes six figures from affiliate marketing. She has advanced tips and everyone just loves what they learn from her. We focus on learning first and then DOING and my goal is to have everyone insert affiliate links into their blog before they leave. Right now bloggers are getting the most traffic of the year, so it’s a great time to start adding affiliate links.
At the conference, bloggers get to meet with affiliate managers in person with our sponsors. We look for sponsors who are a good fit. These relationships are so important. Having someone to talk to that you’ve met in person is so valuable when you are new and can work with you to do special promotions.
Utah bloggers at the first ABC Conference
I do everything I can to make these conferences fun and informative. We do giveaways (Blendtec is a sponsor) and have great swag. Here’s just a sampling of the feedback:
Bloggers have content and audiences which are often a natural fit for affiliate marketing. They are usually already linking to products they love and have trust built. Many bloggers look for sponsored posts but they have to apply to get paid and compete against other bloggers. They may have to reach minimum standards for traffic or followers. Even ad networks usually require a certain amount of traffic to be accepted. However, any blogger (that is not spammy) can join an affiliate program and instead of getting paid for a post, can earn a percent from every sale they refer.
Utah Bloggers learning affiliate marketing at the 2nd ABC Conference
I recommend starting with your most popular posts and looking to see if there are affiliate links you could add. For example, one of our speakers added Zulily links to a post about what she wish she knew before she had her kids. Zulily is where she got most of her maternity clothes so she linked to it with her affiliate link. That post alone has brought her over $20k!!!
As you can see, bloggers were enthusiastic about what they learned:
ABC conference testimonial
Getting Started as an Affiliate Marketer (for Bloggers)
To get started, you need to sign up for an affiliate program or network. Once approved, you log onto the network to get special links and banners so they can track sales that come from your blog and you can start earning money. They also have graphics and other tools you can use. You can link directly to specific products or to a store. You can earn a commission off free things (like coupons printed), digital products like ebooks, and even when someone fills out a form (leads). The best part is, you can earn a commission for things you didn’t even link to. You make money from anything that’s sold within a certain time frame (the length of the cookie).
Just remember that in most cases a blogger is referred to as a publisher. Sign up as a publisher. Submit your application and when you’re approved, look for programs to join. You have to apply to each program individually.
Here are my top picks for affiliate networks every blogger should sign up for and work with. Each network works with hundreds to thousands of programs/stores/websites. So no matter your blogging niche, there will be programs you will want to work with in each of these networks. I made some suggestions below.
Once you sign up, go back and add affiliate links to your older posts that are doing well, like this blogger did:
I went back to my old food blog and added affiliate links up the wazoo. It’s an inactive blog bit I still get about 100 views a day I checked into one of my affiliate and I had $50 waiting!
Here are Some of the Top Affiliate Networks we Recommend to Bloggers:
I link to the signup pages directly because many are tough to find! Each one has thousands of programs.
Note: If you can’t find a brand on one of these networks, try typing the brand name + “affiliate program” into Google.
Impact Radius They have Target and Oriental Trading Company. Bloggers are referred to as “media partners”.
||ShareaSale – Craftsy, Our World Boutique, Zulily, Gymboree, Crazy 8, Modcloth, and ChecksUnlimited (many check programs actually). Their blog is very helpful and they have great new tools for bloggers.
||Amazon has just about everything and since you’ll make a commission on all sales, this is a favorite with many bloggers. Amazon calls affiliates, associates.
||CJ.com CJ has programs like JoAnn Fabric and Craft which is ideal for craft bloggers, Fabric.com, Old Navy/Gap, Zappos, Home Depot, Sears, and the Disney Store.
||eBay Enerprise Affiliate Network (formerly Pepperjam) has ABC Mouse which a lot of moms love! Melissa & Doug is there (love their toys and you’ll earn more than linking to Amazon unless your readers add a lot to their cart on Amazon), Sheet Music.com, JibJab, Forever 21, and eShakati (custom dresses).
|| Linkshare has Nordstrom, J.Crew, Forever21, Sephora, Clinique, 1800Flowers, Starbucks, Sam’s Club, Hanna Andersson, Shutterfly, Petsmart, etc.
||AvantLink has Blendtec, Baby Steals, Backcountry.com, Cabela’s, Patagonia, REI and Sierra Trading Post. They have many other outdoor niche sites. All the programs I mentioned are top performers. AvantLink has incredible tools to help you such as linking products in an image using your affiliate link. I also like them because they are local (Park City, Utah) and I know the founder and marketing manager. If you are into datafeeds, they are amazing.
Here are Programs I think are a Great Fit for Most Bloggers I Work with:
I may have linked to them above, but for individual programs, here are some good ones:
One King’s Lane – I LOVE their deals and their higher end products are wonderful. I’ve purchased jewelry and am really happy with their shipping. Would make excellent gifts.
Craftsy – they have online tutorials and you can even get paid on some free tutorials.
Our World Boutique – trendy fashion and deals. Also, PS I Adore You (managed by my friend Greg).
Get Away Today – affordable Disney trips. While payouts are low and the progam is managed privately, you can earn a free trip when you sell a certain number. Contact Kimf@getawaytoday.com
If you’re more advanced affiliate marketing techniques, check out what Leslie Samuel teaches about creating a resource center. Even though his is B2B marketing, the concept applies to any blogger and what I love about it is that it’s based on content marketing – which bloggers do naturally well at.
If you have any affiliate programs that you recommend, please leave them in the comments!
Next up: a review of a DIY media kit ebook from a blogger.