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Deciding to Use Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing may not be the first avenue that bloggers will travel when monetizing their sites, but it certainly isn't one that should be ignored. If you’re deciding whether or not to use affiliate marketing on your blog, you need to read this post.When it comes to affiliate marketing, I believe folks fall into three separate camps. The first being no sir not for me, the second is the unknowing, and last but not least is the site that’s linked up and sipping lemonade in the hammock. I can tell you with certainty, I have been in at least two of the three and wanted to share my journey to what made me decide I wanted some lemonade.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

When you “Google” that question, you get this answer;

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

The keyword is “performance-based”. As a blogger who is incorporating affiliate marketing, you are compensated based on achieving the desired outcome of the store you’re working with, most commonly, a completed sale. Let’s say you write a post about your favorite hair care product. You might also include a link to the product’s Amazon listing. If you were a member of Amazon’s affiliate program, they would give you a unique link to that product. This link tells Amazon that the person who purchases is one of your readers, and if they complete a purchase, you’ll get a commission. You can’t possibly place an Amazon order for just one item, and the good news is that you will earn commissions on anything that person buys during that visit!

Affiliate Marketing is Not For Me

When I began my blogging journey, I set out to just record my daily life stories. It was a hobby that allowed me to flex my writing pen, and I never gave much thought to advertising or making any income. I would write recipes and link to products I used or to other websites that I found helpful or useful. Some folks are still in this camp, and that is completely ok. Having an artistic outlet is important, and there are some amazing writers out there that have a gift for the craft.

I soon found I wanted a bit more. I wanted to meet the folks I knew from my computer screen, and also learn how to make my site better. I began creating content for companies, traveled to conferences, and soon realized running a website, marketing my brand, and paying for these trips out of pocket was going to add up. I needed to have some income to cover the costs. The only way I knew to do that was to start writing sponsored content and try to sell a few ads on my blog’s sidebar. I knew nothing about affiliate marketing and even less about how to make it work for me.

The Mystery of Affiliate Marketing

I’ve been at this now for six years, and I had no clue about affiliate marketing until two years ago. During a girls’ weekend, one of my friends tried explaining it to me and even had me sign up on the spot to be an Amazon affiliate. She attempted to explain how it worked, but I still really didn’t understand it. It was a complete mystery to me. I followed her lead at first, but a few months later, I found it to be too much work and dropped the ball, barely using the methods she shared. I was still in the dark about missing out on so much income potential.

Pass the Lemonade

Then last year while, at the Type-A Conference, I won the mac-daddy of all trips, a full access ticket to the Affiliate Summit West Conference in Las Vegas. I had no idea how large this area of online business was. I soon learned this was the best-kept secret in blogging. I still don’t understand it 100%, but I’m learning each day how to take advantage of actions I was ALREADY doing when writing years ago. Remember I mentioned how I would share products I used or found helpful? All of that content can incorporate affiliate links to a store that offers a commission for something one of my readers will most likely purchase regardless. That is affiliate marketing.

I decided that I wanted to include affiliate marketing in my overall business plan and to work smarter, not harder.