There is a lot of work that goes into creating and curating content for others to read and whilst attracting clients to your business is one of the benefits of blogging, another way you can boost your income is through establishing partnerships with the best affiliate programs. How do you know they’re the best? These are products and services you use and trust which might also interest or benefit your audience! It's a genuine partnership, not about the money, though there is money!
Across our network, the Enever Group and Business Business Business, we work with a number of networks and affiliate marketing programs.
So, in this post I thought I would share the networks that work for us when finding affiliate relationships.
Affiliate Marketing for Beginners:
First, a refresher: What is an affiliate relationship?
Affiliate marketing, at its core, is about partnerships.
Websites or influencers promote the works, products or services of others and in return they get a commission for the value they drive for those merchants (typically sales or leads).
How do you promote? Like ads? No. It’s through a killer review post. You share your experience with that product or service. You don’t have to gush. You should be completely objective and factual, and you can even include competitors. This is authenticity and it’s important.
It is your audience, authenticity and patience that will see your affiliate relationships work. It takes time but once working well they can really pay off.
How do you get paid?
There are a few different types of affiliate programs often used by brands and all are performance-based structures, including the three most popular: Pay-per-sale, Pay-per-click and Pay-per-lead. Pay-per-sale arrangements see the influencer paid a percentage of all purchases that occur as a result of their influence.
The KPI for Pay-per-click models is traffic via the affiliate link, and for Pay-per-lead arrangements, the influencer receives revenue when consumers enter their contact details and become a new lead as a result of the affiliate partnership. Most of what we do is pay per lead or sale.
Payment depends on the program and brand you are working with most of the programs we work with including brands will pay out via PayPal or bank deposit for the month just ended.
How to Start Affiliate Marketing
There are a number of great companies you can work to find affiliate relationships with and I have covered our top pick below, but finding partners is all about research and working with your audience.
Start with the products and services you already use (you know you love them) so the posts will be natural and from the heart too.
Search the marketplaces below or just simply use Google and type in “XXX affiliate” you will be surprised how many people it leads you to.
The Companies we work with to connect us with opportunities:
- Impact Radius: Allows you to Connect directly with a global platform of advertisers through the Impact marketplace and gain direct access to your data through APIs or our full suite of performance reporting. We started with Impact via APD when we first started Family Capers and now are part of their international site network.
- PartnerStack: Formally GrowSumo is great for those of us in the B2B space and love to promote tools to our audience. Get rewarded for driving value to your customers with partnerships with premier software companies.
- ShareAsale: ShareASale is one of the largest affiliate networks. The Shareasale platform has about 4,000 merchants listed, of which over one thousand of them are exclusive to them. ShareASale publishes a large amount of data on each of the offers they are running. So you can see how the merchant performs too as far as payouts, uptime and reversales go. Many of the tools we use in business are ShareASale merchants which made it a great and natural place to start for us when monetising BBB.
- CJ Affiliate: CJ Affiliate is considered to be the biggest affiliate platform online. Nearly every major retailer has their affiliate programs on CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction), which makes them as close to a one stop shop as you can get in the affiliate marketing business. Most retailers have multiple ad sizes available for affiliates, which gives you better control of the offers you show on your blog.
- Commision Factory: Commission Factory is everything you would expect from an affiliate network. They were where we first started when we launched Family Capers and work with some great well known brands. Create an affiliate account to gain access to over 500 retailers and start earning commissions for sales you generate.
- Tribe: TRIBE is a self-serve marketplace connecting brands with micro-influencers, helping brands find everyday people to celebrate them through beautiful content. Mainly for Insta and Facebook we have done a few great campaigns, awesome if your audience is visually attracted to content!
Ways you can work with your partners:
- Banner Ads – Most referral programs will have banner ads that you can place on your site using an ad manager program. My go-to is Adrotate Pro
- Social Media Posts sharing news or articles from your partners
- Reviews – If it is a product or service you love, why not review it or show it in action
- Features overview and product comparisons – You can also highlight a service by giving readers an insight into what it offers compared to other products available on the market.
- Create special offers with your partners for your community. The Business Business Business perks area is just one way we do this.
- User video, interviews, webinars and how-to’s work really well when working with partners and can be used across a number of channels too!
What to look for in an Affiliate Partnership:
- Strong communication with your partner. You want to be able to ask questions and get answers easily, look for a FAQ or Support area.
- Products and services you believe that will benefit your audience. You don’t always have to use the product, but you should do your research and make sure it fits and benefits your audience.
- Are the products relatable to your market? Even if you are promoting top brands, you won’t have as much success unless your website and audience will relate to the product or service.
How to write an affiliate post:
- Use tried-and-tested templates. Tool roundups. Top lists. Solving a specific problem. For Business, Business, Business, we have Tools posts where I like to highlight a benefit you gain from certain tools.
- Be objective. Another good template? Comparison posts. People in the Decision stage want to compare tools and what you say might be exactly what they need to nudge them to their purchase.
- Be transparent. There’s a reason you always see disclosures in affiliate posts. This prevents readers from calling you out on promotion. Disclose at the outset that the post is from your experience and you do earn commission from clicks and purchases. This adds to your credibility, rather than detracting from it.
- Deliver real value. If your posts are jam-packed with useful tips, people would actually be motivated to help you earn your affiliate money!
- Do a cluster strategy. Do a pillar content about a broad (but not too broad) topic, and then branch off from there with more specific topics you can use for your affiliate promotions and reviews. It’s good on-page SEO and all these connected posts add up to big value (see #4) and big returns for you and your affiliate partners.
Our Top Affiliate Tips
- Review your relationships often, your business, audience and therefore partnership arrangements will change. So make sure that you and your audience are still happy with the brands you are working with.
- It’s not about selling, but offering a service to your clients that highlights the benefits or offers an insight into something that may help them.
- Understand the commission rates and all of the benefits you will receive. Research the payment structure and ensure you know the complete picture of how the end-to-end process will look.
- Remember your discolourse on your blog, video and and direct social post you do.
- Your affiliate partnerships should seem natural and blend in with your other content, rather than obvious advertisements that you actually receive an incentive from. If you would legitimately mention the brand even if you were not receiving an incentive, then you know it is a genuine partnership and your affiliate link will be natural.
- Know your numbers! When you apply to start work with partners they are going to want to know your social reach and web traffic so know your numbers and update them regularly.
Affiliate marketing is not a set-it-and-forget-it system. It takes time to build trust with brands, but if you ease it into your blog and marketing it can be very worth it.
Remember to choose your relationships wisely, deliver the content in a way your audience will relate to and market and promote those relationships where you can without turning into a spammy sales person!