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Last Updated on January 26, 2023
Monetizing an online business with affiliate marketing? In this guide of affiliate marketing for beginner tips, you’ll learn step-by-step how affiliate marketing works and how I increased my affiliate marketing revenue by 380% in just 5 months, earning over $108,000 in 2021, and how you, too, can make money and increase your income TODAY with these 10 strategies and tips that work!
You might be asking yourself, “Is affiliate marketing worth it?” Whether you are a blogger or business owner of any kind, affiliate marketing can be a great revenue stream. In this post, you will learn from my experiences how to make money from affiliate marketing!
I first got really interested in affiliate marketing in 2018. In fact, in 2017, I was earning an average of just $1,005 per month from affiliate marketing.
Fast forward to 2018: my affiliate marketing revenue jumped to an average of nearly $4,820 per month (a 380% increase, wowza!) and growing (in fact, I made $86,285.10 from affiliate marketing in 2019, an average of $7,190.41 per month!). By 2021 I had made over $108,000 in revenue from affiliate marketing, and today it makes up 13% of my business’s revenue.
This is not an accident. My goal was to replace a lot of my sponsored content income with affiliate income, which is much more passive and automated, and provides me with much more content control.
Don’t get me wrong… sponsored content is great (check out this post on how to work with brands), but I love having total freedom in what I write and–especially now that I’ve had two children in the past two years–I really wanted to ensure I could start to rely more heavily on automated and more effortless income.
So how have I done this? With affiliate marketing, of course!
Table of Contents
As usual, I want to start at the beginning in case we have any newbies.
So, what is affiliate marketing for beginner bloggers or business owners?
In a nutshell: how affiliate marketing works is you receive a commission for promoting someone else’s product, service or program. You promote that thing to your audience with a special link. When anyone who has clicked your link proceeds to buy, you get paid either a percentage or a flat rate for the sale.
It’s really a win-win-win for all involved:
To be crystal clear: I ONLY promote brands and services that I truly love, trust, have personally tried. The affiliate MUST be in alignment with the Success with Soul philosophy and mission.
I’ve had to turn down plenty of brands–both affiliates and sponsors–because their product was questionable, the business practices unsustainable, or I simply didn’t like the product after trying it.
While I hope this could go without saying, the takeaway here is that it’s of utmost importance to run your business with integrity and not do anything solely ‘for the money’.
Also, it’s my top priority to ensure I’m delivering valuable and interesting content on my site, regardless of if the reader is going to buy from my affiliates. Of course I want to make an income from my site as it’s my full time job, but nothing trumps my readers’ and subscribers’ experience.
So my #1 priority is to naturally weave affiliates into my content and be super authentic and transparent on everything I promote.
If you’re new here, I recommend you check out my monthly and annual income reports where I break down in detail my income, expenses, profit, traffic, tactics and more.
***IMPORTANT: When you link to an affiliate on your blog, you MUST disclose your relationship AND use a ‘nofollow’ link. I can’t iterate enough just how important this is for SEO!
According to Google, if you create sponsored content for companies, use affiliate links and review free products, you need to apply a nofollow attribute to external links (like a sponsor company’s website or affiliate links, for example). If you don’t, you can get penalized from Google and it’s insanely hard to recover.
Adding nofollow to specific links in WordPress is very straightforward. Simply add rel=”nofollow” into your hyperlink in the html, or check ‘add rel= “nofollow”‘ in the settings when you edit a link, or use Prettylinks or Easy Affiliate Links where you can select nofollow when you create the links.
Alright, who’s ready to learn how make money from affiliate marketing?!
Here are my top 10 affiliate marketing beginner tips that actually work!
By now you may be thinking, “Okay this is great, but how do I go about finding potential affiliates?”
I approach this the same way I find sponsors. Here’s how:
When you’re getting started, the easiest place to start for almost all bloggers is with Amazon (scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘Become an Affiliate’). You’ll make a cut of all purchases that someone buys within 24 hours of clicking your Amazon links. This is an easy place to start as everyone knows Amazon and you can literally make links today once you’re enrolled (though note that over the years Amazon has decreased their commissions and they are pretty small payouts these days).
Another good platform to start with is Reward Style. Once you’re enrolled, you can get links for seriously hundreds of different sites–everything from Bed, Bath & Beyond to Anthropologie to PETCO to Pottery Barn Kids to Zulily. While it’s a pretty small commission (usually 5-15%), it all adds up and all you’re doing is helping to facilitate a sale for something you’re already talking about anyway!
Another way to grow your affiliate revenue is to be on the lookout for other types of partners, often called Joint Ventures or JVs.
These affiliates usually have a program they’re promoting during a specific window–like for a course, program or virtual summit–that only happens once or maybe twice per year, max (versus an ‘evergreen’ program, where your links are static and available all year around).
JVs have free content where you send your audience to opt-in, provide awesome value (most typically a video series or webinar), and then have a live launch where the cart is open for a specific window of time.
The benefit of these partners is that it’s something new and exciting for your audience, and because the product is only available for a limited time, it creates ‘scarcity’–meaning people are more likely to buy, because they know that if they wait, they won’t be able to get it until next year.
How do you find JV partners? In my experience, these are typically found through networking and word of mouth. However, an easy way to start researching this could be to look for virtual summits that you can promote and get a commission on if someone opts to buy all the recordings.
If you are looking for some high ticket affiliate marketing options, Joint Ventures also often have great commissions compared to a food product, for example, earning anywhere from $30 to $300+ per referral, so it’s a great way to boost your income in addition to all of your static blog posts and typical affiliates! For example, we made $1,000 per sale of Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy.
For example, I promoted Natalie Sisson’s Monetise You Summit (I was also a speaker). Try googling summits in your niche, like Paleo, or Virtual Business for Women, or Essential Oils, etc.–you’ll be surprised how many of these types of events are out there!
Did you know that Success with Soul has an affiliate program? You can earn up to 50% commission on sales for many of our offerings!
You want to keep finding ways you can naturally link to your affiliates in ALL your blog posts to keep optimizing exposure and opportunities for your audience to get familiar with your affiliates. The more links you have, the more likely someone is to eventually buy.
When someone first joins your email list, you have their attention. They joined your list for a reason and you’re fresh in their mind, so you can maximize this position by adding some affiliate links to your welcome series.
Don’t have a welcome series? Well, what are you waiting for? This is one of the best ways to introduce yourself to your audience and start building trust. You can start small–even just 3 emails over the course of 3-5 days is perfect.
The best strategy here is to highlight your top few affiliates who bring in the most income, as a) it’s clear that these particular affiliates resonate best with your audience, and b) you’ll earn more money. A win-win!
Sign up here to see examples of how we do it here at Kate Kordsmeier.
After my subscribers have completed the Welcome Series, they’re moved into a new segment where they’ll receive 2-3 emails per week.
This means you have an opportunity to earn money from affiliate marketing every single week, while providing your subscribers with value, product recommendations that will solve a problem in their life, and fun tips and tricks!
I’ve had tons of success sending out a weekly roundup newsletter that includes affiliate links. For example, I send out a weekly Whole Soul List email where I always include affiliate links for products and services I’m currently using and loving.
It’s important that in these emails we are only promoting one or two things at a time, so as not to distract readers or provide too many calls to action. When you give readers too many choices, they often end up making none.
Also key: we give our readers a way to opt-out of these emails, but still stay on the list and receive all of our other content. Let’s face it–some people get annoyed and just don’t want to receive these types of emails, so we make it easy for them to opt-out of these specific emails. We want to keep them happy!
While some email management systems don’t have this functionality, Kartra makes this SUPER easy and is one of the top reasons why I choose Kartra for my email provider.
We follow up on our Favorite Finds email with a Weekly Wellness Wrap-Up email on Fridays, where we remind people again about what we are loving that week, along with new blog post updates.
And then on Sundays, I send out my Whole Soul List emails, where I always include a handful of affiliate links for products and services I’m currently using and loving. These emails are more personal, where I talk more about me, my life and what I’m currently doing/eating/reading/feeling/loving etc.
The WSL is also meant to deliver value, continue building my relationship and trust with my audience, and generally, inspiring people to live a healthier and more balanced life (the entire purpose and mission behind R+R). Sign up here to see an example of my WSL.
This means that three times a week, I have an opportunity to earn money from affiliate marketing, while providing my subscribers with value, product recommendations that will solve a problem in their life, and fun tips and tricks!
While affiliate marketing on Instagram and other social media platforms is popular and successful for some people, social media is not necessary for building a business and using affiliate marketing. Many business owners, like myself, have made significant income through affiliate marketing with email lists and through improve SEO on our websites.
Several years ago, I decided to be intentional about not using social media in my business. While we still have our accounts on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, we do not actively update them or devote any time into creating content for them. Instead, we focus all our time on improving our website’s SEO and delivering high-quality emails.
One task we worked on when we wanted to increase our affiliate marketing income was to go back to our top 25 blog posts and see where we could authentically weave affiliate links into the content. If you’re already getting traffic to these posts, then wouldn’t it be great if you could find a way to optimize and monetize that engagement?
Again, you want it to feel natural and not like you’re just slathering promo links everywhere.
You’re likely familiar with a resource page, as most blogs tend to have them these days. Essentially, it’s a roundup of your favorite resources (products, services, apps, subscriptions, courses, etc.) that you think your audience will love and receive value from; most often, these are affiliate links, especially for your best performing affiliates. Here are Kate Kordsmeier we have one for online business resources.
But it doesn’t stop there. While most people tend to have just one resource page, you can have more!
If you have multiple niches, like me, consider breaking up your content to have multiple pages that are really targeted, versus just one page that is more general.
Your audience is more likely to buy a product, service or course when they can see the value it will bring into their life. The best way to convey this is through a dedicated, detailed blog post where you prominently feature ONE of your affiliates, all the reasons you authentically love them and how that thing is going to make someone’s life better.
The more a person reads about something, the more they have the opportunity to think, “Hey, this sounds really helpful and now I have to have it.”
Again, you want to do this for your top performing affiliates (are you sensing a theme here?), as it won’t be worth your time to create a dedicated blog post for an affiliate that only brings in $10/month (unless it has a HUGE earning potential or commission and is a super great fit for your site’s content).
Typically, this is done through review style posts. For some of our examples, check out:
Similarly, it’s a great idea to add a helpful video or ‘unboxing’ video to your affiliate-focused posts mentioned above. As bloggers, we all know that video is king right now.
Videos help reveal more of what the buyer can expect if they decide to buy whatever it is you’re promoting, and–assuming it’s a great product/service/program/etc.–is going to really make them want to buy it!
It’s just like the popular Tasty recipe videos showing hands making the recipe; people think, “OMG that looks delicious!” or, “Wow, that looks easier than I thought.. I can do that!” and thus they’re more likely to make that particular recipe.
Also–assuming YOU are in the video–it continues to get your audience familiar and exposed to you. You want your audience to feel comfortable with you, trust you and feel like they know you, and sometimes there’s just no better way than video.
That’s a wrap, and now it’s time for YOU to take an action step.
What’s one thing you are going to do TODAY to start increasing your income based on these affiliate marketing tips? Let us know in the comments below!
Want some ideas of the best affiliate marketing programs? We have a list of the top 100 to get started with!
There are so many affiliate marketing programs that work well for different people. The best programs for you will depend on your niche. That being said, there are many that can be used across niches. We have a roundup of the top 100 best affiliate marketing programs!
Yes, affiliate marketing is totally worth it! In a nutshell: how affiliate marketing works is you receive a commission for promoting someone else’s product, service or program. You promote that thing to your audience with a special link. When anyone who has clicked your link proceeds to buy, you get paid either a percentage or a flat rate for the sale.
It’s really a win-win-win for all involved
While affiliate marketing on Instagram is popular and successful for some people, social media is not necessary for building a business and using affiliate marketing. Many business owners, like myself, have made significant income through affiliate marketing with email lists and through improve SEO on our websites. Read more about how you, too, can build a business social-media free!
If you are looking for some high ticket affiliate marketing options, Joint Ventures also often have great commissions compared to a food product, for example, earning anywhere from $30 to $300+ per referral, so it’s a great way to boost your income in addition to all of your static blog posts and typical affiliates!
Some affiliate marketing for beginner tips are:
1. Add affiliate links to your emails
2. Send dedicated emails featuring different affiliates
3. Write dedicated blogs featuring top affiliates
4. Add affiliate links to your top performing blog posts
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We are an LGBTQIA-affirming, interfaith-oriented, diverse organization. We are committed to social and environmental justice, including civil rights, dismantling systems of oppression like the Patriarchy, White Supremacy and Diet Culture. We believe Black Lives Matter.