In this article, we will cover how to turn a blog into a business with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is the perfect business model for monetizing your blog because it provides an opportunity for passive income and you can scale up without having to deal with inventory or shipping costs.
It’s also much easier than becoming an expert in just one niche, which means that you’ll have access to more potential customers.
In addition, there are lots of ways to make money from affiliate links: through product sales, lead generation and/or promoting other people’s products on your site via reviews or “sponsored” posts.
Table of Contents:
- How can I turn my blog into money?
- How much money can you make from a blog?
- Common affiliate marketing mistakes
- What is affiliate marketing?
- The truth about passive income
- How does affiliate marketing work?
- Know your audience
- The 3 types of web traffic
- Affiliate marketing sales funnel
- How to make top of funnel content
- How to make a lead magnet
- Bottom of funnel content
- Turn a blog into an authority with affiliate marketing
- Affiliate marketing swipe material
- Promoting your blog
- Consistency is key
How can I turn my blog into money?
The first step is to research potential affiliate marketing companies that suit your needs, and the needs of your readers.
It’s important to research the company by checking out some of their products and services, as well as reading reviews from other bloggers who have worked with them in the past.
Another option is to use an affiliate marketplace such as ShareASale or ClickBank, which list a range of companies and products that can be promoted.
How much money can you make from a blog?
Many bloggers are able to make a full-time living just by making money from their blog, while others supplement other income sources with the revenue made from their blog.
The amount you’re able to earn will vary depending on how much time and effort you invest into your blog, as well as which affiliate marketing strategies that you use (e.g. freebies, advertising or paid banner ads).
Beware of anybody that promises their training or course will help you to make a specific amount of revenue, the fact is nobody knows what your earning potential is.
It’s been estimated that the average blogger makes $500 per month, but for many bloggers this number can be much higher.
You need to spend time on your blog to make money from it. The more traffic a site has the better chance of making money with affiliate marketing strategies such as freebies, paid banner ads or advertising.
Common affiliate marketing mistakes
Many bloggers make the mistake of spending hours and weeks on their blog, but they don’t have a sales funnel in place.
Blogging is not just about creating content for your readers; it’s also about making money from blogging by using affiliatemarketing strategies to monetize traffic that comes in as cold traffic.
The biggest mistake most affiliate marketers make is trying to sell to cold traffic. Cold traffic is visitors who arrive on your site from a Google search or social media post, for example. You can’t convert these people because they’re not ready to buy anything – the buying process hasn’t started yet.
Many people try to sell through affiliate links. This is not the best way because you’re missing out on lots of opportunity for sales.
Once somebody clicks the link and moves away from your site, you’ve lost the chance to sell to them ever again. And only a small number of people will purchase through your affiliate link, and those will only purchase one time.
That’s a lot of wasted opportunity.
The solution is to have a sales funnel in place, to convert cold traffic into hot traffic that buys.
What is affiliate marketing?
Let’s start with the basics.
Affiliate marketing is a business model that allows you to monetize your blog by earning commissions from affiliate links.
You receive a percentage of each sale you generate.
The most widely known affiliate network is Amazon Associates, but they have very low commission rates. The alternative is to sell digital products which have higher commission rates.
Why affiliate marketing is the perfect business model for a blog:
-It’s easier than selling your own products or services because you don’t have to create something from scratch; simply promote what someone else has created
-You don’t need any inventory, shipping or customer service if it’s digital goods
You’re not risking building up inventory, warehousing it or shipping it when people purchase through your links-you’ve simply generated a commission
-You make money passively. You don’t need to do anything more than share links, wait for people to click and buy through your affiliate link
Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn regular income without needing another job because you can make money with it 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
This is passive income.
The truth about passive income
Despite the name, passive income is far from passive – at least in the beginning.
You’ll need to put in the time and effort at first, but as your blog starts generating income through affiliate marketing, you can start scaling back on hours worked.
Work for a few minutes each day on creating content that will be helpful to readers of your blog. Consistency is the key.
Putting in the work now, so you can benefit later is the core strategy behind making passive income from your blog.
Yes, it takes hard work in the beginning. But, once you have a sufficient following and some momentum built up on your blog as an online business, you can start making money automatically.
A well-run affiliate marketing campaign will bring in the necessary revenue to create passive income.
The truth is, assuming your blog is brand new, it will take at least a year of hard work before you begin to make passive income with affiliate marketing.
But eventually, when you have a blog that creates passive income from affiliate marketing, you can live your life on your own terms. You’ll have the chance to work for yourself and not someone else. And best of all -you’ll get to spend more time with your family or on the things you love.
And if you already have a blog that’s generating traffic, you can monetize it very quickly as see results almost straight away.
How does affiliate marketing work?
Becoming an affiliate marketer is simple. This is how affiliate marketing works:
-Sign up as an affiliate for the company you’re partnering with and choose an affiliate product to promote
-Create a website or blog and use your articles to advertise their products or services. You can also include banner ads, sponsored content from the company, etc.
-Use social media networks like Facebook to share links about what you’ve written through your site (or blog)
-Pay close attention to what your audience is interested in and make sure you use that information when creating content. Provide valuable, interesting posts for readers to read so they’ll want to come back again.
-When someone clicks on a link from your site or blog, the company will pay you commission if it results in a purchase
-If you’re already blogging and have an email list of readers, use lead magnets. Offer something valuable for free that applies to your blog’s community or niche (like a downloadable checklist) so people will sign up for more content from you
Know your audience
Knowing your audience is a fundamental key to a successful affiliate marketing blog.
This means you have to niche-down to a specific topic, and go deep with it.
Taking a broad approach to blogging will attract the wrong kind of audience.
When you focus on an industry or niche, and create content that appeals to those people’s needs and interests, they’ll be more likely to visit your site regularly. They’re also more likely to share what you publish with others in their network who might benefit from your blog.
When you think about your audience, ask yourself; what are they interested in? What do you think will engage them and make for a good reading experience?
If your blog is about video games, write articles that include tips on playing the latest game or reviews of popular titles. If it’s an art blog, post step-by-step tutorials with detailed photos to help readers recreate their own pieces of art.
Your blog should be an extension of the conversation you had with your audience on social media or in person. It may take some time to find out what this is, but always keep experimenting and posting content so that it can develop organically over time.
-Know who you’re writing for and what they need to know.
-Don’t throw content at your audience just because it’s written well or contains a lot of research. The information has to be relevant, timely and valuable if there is any chance of success.
Here are something for you to think about to help generate the most affiliate income:
-Understand the needs of those reading your blog posts
-Try to write posts that are a mix of content you enjoy writing and topics your audience is interested in reading about
-Focus on the quality of your posts, not the number of words or how long it takes you to type out an article. Just because something is wordy doesn’t mean it’s good and it doesn’t mean your readers will take the time to read all of it
-Have a deadline for publishing content on your blog so that you have regular deadlines to work towards, even if they’re self imposed
-The more often you post quality content, the easier writing becomes because there is less pressure trying to come up with new content
-Sometimes it’s beneficial to take a break from writing and research or work on other aspects of the blog like design, SEO, social media marketing etc
-Include an email list for readers interested in your posts and connect with those people through regular emails that include updates about what you’re working on as well as content updates
-Regular engagement with your blog readers is important in order to build a relationship and because it keeps you relevant as an authority figure in the industry (even if people don’t read every post)
The 3 types of web traffic
Web visitors are either cold, warm or hot. Cold traffic is made up of people who have never been to your blog before and know nothing about you.
Warm traffic includes those that may not be regular readers but remember seeing something on your site at some point in the past (probably from a link they found through another website)
Hot traffic includes those who are regular readers, frequent commenters and have subscribed to your blog. They are most likely to buy.
Its your job to create content that appeals to all 3 types of traffic, so you can move cold traffic to warm, and warm into hot – where you will make sales.
Affiliate marketing sales funnel
For the best affiliate marketing business setup, you’re going to need a purchase funnel.
I’ll show you how to do that, including which type of content to use for each stage of the marketing funnel.
A typical marketing funnel would have three stages, which are:
Top of funnel – content for general Internet traffic, so they find your blog. This usually targets informational intent search queries.
Middle of funnel – more specific on a topic to attract those who are interested in that particular niche, your blog or website content, and typically offers a free lead magnet.
Bottom of funnel – sales page with call-to-action (CTA) button. This is what you want people to do when they arrive at the bottom of the purchase funnel.
How to make top of funnel content
Top of funnel content is designed to attract organic traffic, mainly through search engines. This type of content should be as general and keyword-rich as possible.
This means that the more specific you are, the more traffic you will get from search engines such as Google or Bing. This is because your blog post needs to rank well for keywords which attract people looking for information on a certain topic.
A good strategy is to address common problems or questions your target audience might be facing.
This will then result in more people visiting your blog and staying there for longer.
In other words, you need to draw the readers into your site by giving them what they are looking for. You can do this with a targeted headline or including problems that they might be facing in their life and help them to solve it.
The key is to offer the best possible solution to their problem.
This helps to build trust.
As you’ve probably noticed, trust is in short supply online. So when you provide helpful content that genuinely provides actionable solutions, your audience will begin to trust you just a little more.
To make top of funnel content you need to know what people are searching for.
That’s why you need to do keyword research.
Keyword research discovers the words that people are searching for in a search engine. You can then take those keywords and create content around them to help you rank higher on Google.
The goal is to make it easier for people with their problem, which makes your site more relevant and creates conversions.
Next is to optimize your content. Your keywords should be found in the body of your content, on image alt tags, and the headline.
A good headline produce a higher click-through rate. This in turn leads into more traffic and sales for your business, which means a higher ROI for every dollar spent on marketing efforts.
How to make a lead magnet
A lead magnet is a free gift that you give to website visitors in exchange for their email address. They must provide their email address before they receive the free gift.
Your lead magnet can be in the form of an ebook, webinar, video course or other digital product.
It should address the next logical step in their journey, after consuming your top of funnel content.
A quick way to make a lead magnet is to create a ‘cheatsheet’ or ‘checklist document that provides actionable steps your subscriber needs to take.
For example, if you’re a fitness coach and your blog post is about the top ten ways to stay motivated in your workouts, your lead magnet could be a cheatsheet with these tips.
This simple document would allow them to take action immediately with their new-found knowledge.
For me, videos are the easiest way to create lead magnets, but short ebooks are also effective.
But don’t confuse quantity with quality. Giving away long-winded lead magnets like full-blow ebooks are a mistake.
Ask yourself this; how many times have you downloaded a 30 page ebook and actually read it from cover to cover? Rarely, right?
You may have skimmed it, but you probably set it aside and now it’s somewhere on your hard drive, long forgotten.
So do something different.
Provide actionable information in the quickest way possible.
And at this stage of the funnel, there’s no harm in recommending products or services that might benefit your subscribers.
For example, if you have a blog about parenting, then recommending books on child behavior or toys that will keep them entertained when mom and dad are busy, might be a welcome suggestion.
Provide recommendations for products like organic baby food pouches to help new parents get back in shape after having kids.
And make sure your content is well-written, with good grammar and punctuation.
This will make a difference in your conversion rates.
Bottom of funnel content is the sales page, or Video Sales Letter (VSL).
This is where warm traffic, or subscribers, convert into customers.
Thankfully, with affiliate marketing there’s no need for you to write a sales page or produce a VSL.
All you have to do is provide links and descriptions for the products or services that are relevant to your audience.
You’ll make money from every sale generated by those clicks on affiliate links, so there’s no need for high pressure sales tactics or trying to sell anything at all.
You just have to let the sales page do the work.
Affiliate marketing funnels can take your blog from a hobby to an authority site that generates passive income around the clock.
But it starts with having the right hierarchy, or site structure.
Your blog should made up of different categories, under a single niche.
For example, if your niche is ‘fruit’, the categories might be ‘apples’, ‘oranges’ and ‘bananas’.
Now, this is where it gets interesting. Each one of your categories should have its own funnel.
For example, every blog post about apples will have a lead magnet about apples. Every email the subscribers receive will be about that topic, and nothing else.
When people opt-in for this freebie they are segmented into that specific sales funnel to start receiving offers related to apples.
This allows you to focus on create an authoritative site structure, while making sure that each piece of content has the potential to produce passive income through affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing swipe material
Most product vendors will provide swipe material to help you generate sales quicker.
These are ready-made pieces of content that you can use as part of your marketing strategy. They usually include banner ads and email swipes, at a minimum.
They are typically written by experts who know what converts and how best to get the most clicks from your list, or else they’ve been tested extensively for months before you receive them.
A well-written email swipe is worth its weight in gold, and you can use it to convert leads into customers.
However, you should always test different versions to see which produces the highest conversion rates. This is called A/B split testing.
You should test every aspect of all your marketing materials, such as email subject lines, copy and Call to Action (CTA).
Promoting your blog
Now that you’re ready to turn your blog into a business, it’s time to promote it.
There are 3 main ways of promoting your blog, organically. They are:
Through search engines, through social media, or through email marketing.
The first thing to do is create a social media account.
Use it for your blog and as a way to attract new readers, followers, friends-of-friends (FOF), etc. Every time you publish new content on your blog, you should share it on social media too.
Tweets should be no more than three lines and you should use hashtags to increase the visibility of your tweets.
You can also share links on Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social media account you have.
Pay special attention to your headline and images. Using a striking image that stands out is more likely to get clicks, resulting in more traffic.
Consistency is key
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your business be.
You need to be consistent for any of this to work.
You should publish content consistently on your blog, share it on social media regularly and grow a list. If you don’t do these things, then what’s the point?
Don’t feel bad if you’re not getting many clicks or shares at first. It takes time to gain traction.
It’s important to experiment and find out what works for you. Don’t give up too soon. Every successful business had a learning curve at first before they took off.
This period is called ‘the dip’ and every successful blogger has already gone through it. The thing is, they stuck with their blog even when nobody knew it existed.
And you may have to face the same challenge, but over time, as you remain consistent, your results will begin to increase.
Eventually your efforts will begin to compound and your results will snowball. That is the point when you will experience exponential growth.
These are just a few things you can do to turn your blog into a money making machine, and affiliate marketing is a great way to turn your blog into a business.
Now you know how to generate your first affiliate sale, no matter which affiliate marketing program you choose.
If you’re new, here are some steps to get started with affiliate marketing for beginners: 1) create an account on the major networks 2) sign up with popular brands 3) find offers that fit your niche 4) promote them 5) earn commissions.
The more effort and time you invest in this process, the better results it will produce; but don’t be discouraged if you start off slow. Every successful affiliate marketer started off slow.
You’ll soon see how profitable affiliate marketing can be as long as you focus on what’s most important – building relationships and providing value through helpful content.