This post may contain affiliate links. But hey! I only promote brands and products that I really trust and love.
“Affiliate marketing programs for beginners” refers to the post being for beginners, not the programs.
Once you start, you’re kind of just doin’ it like the rest of us. There are no networks that are better or worse for people just starting out at this. That said, there is a learning curve. But you’ll do great if you soak in all the juicy info in this post.
The Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners segment of Uninspired’s blogaversary (the last one!) will give you a list of affiliate networks and programs to join, everything you need in order to approach brands, and some tips for making the sale!
I’m doing this little mini-series because Uninspired has just turned a year old, and it’s been the most fun year with you guys. I’ve learned so much, and I want to share that knowledge with you so that YOU can become a blogger and make money while enjoying the things you love. So far, I’ve showed you how to create your site, design it to your taste, write your posts with SEO in mind, and then promote your posts using social media and link building. Now, we’re finally going to talk about affiliate marketing programs for beginners, or, how this all translates into money for you.
Here’s the outline of the whole course, so you can find what you need when ya need it:
- WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
- Web Hosting
- Plugins and Widgets
- What is SEO?
- Anatomy of an SEO-Friendly Post
- High Quality Photos
- Social Media
- Pinterest (not social media!)
- Link Building
Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners– YOU ARE HERE
- What Affiliate Marketing Is & How It Works
- Networks to Join
- Media Kits
- How to Approach A Brand
Don’t have time to read all five parts right now? No problem! Just download the FREE e-book so you have the whole thing in one convenient location to refer back to whenever you want! Enter your email below so I know where to send it:
Uninspired’s Blogaversary Part V:
Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners
So first I guess I should start off by explaining what affiliate marketing is, and then we’ll get to the actual affiliate marketing programs for beginners thing.
Affiliate marketing is when you have a partnership with a company where you get a portion of the profit for sales you make for them. For example, I’m an affiliate for Smile Brilliant, an awesome teeth whitening company that I love to use (I drink a lotta coffee). They asked me to write a post about how awesome they are, and in exchange they’d give me a commission for any sales they get from that blog post. They also gave me the product for free so I could use it for blogging purposes.
A lot of bloggers will tell you free products don’t pay the bills, and not to accept partnerships for free product. I disagree. If you use or want the product anyway, getting it for free is just as cool as making the money you would’ve spent on it.
Just some lingo you might want to know–
CPM, CPC and CPA. These refer to how you get paid.
CPM stands for cost per mille, and means that you get paid whenever someone sees the ad. This doesn’t happen much, because it doesn’t necessarily mean the person is going to buy the product.
CPC is cost per click, which means you get paid when someone clicks on your ad. Not many reputable companies do this either, recognizing people could just get their friends to click over and over, or go on Facebook groups and ask for clicks.
The one you’ll probably deal with most is CPA, or cost per action. You get paid when someone takes action as a result of the ad they saw on your blog.
Now, picture this scenario:
A reader clicks your affiliate link, but they close their browser to think about the purchase before buying. A few days later, they go straight back to that site, not through your link, and purchase the product. Do you lose that affiliate sale?
Most affiliate programs use little things called cookies. Cookies are tiny little pieces of data that store your information from one web-browsing session to another. So, if your reader views that page again and purchases something a few days later, the cookie will remember that they came from your site, and you’ll still make the sale. An average length for affiliate link cookies is 30 days.
And one more thing before I get you started–
I want to remind you about having an affiliate disclosure available on your blog. It’s just a little legal doohickey that lets people know you’re only posting about things you truly support, and you’re not just accepting every ad request for your own gain. And this should absolutely be true. If you’re not in this to help people and lend your true expertise, blogging is not the side hustle for you, friend.
Revisit Part I and scroll toward the bottom to find where we talked about affiliate disclosures, and generate one now. I’ll wait.
Okay, now that that’s all squared away, we’ll start talking about some affiliate marketing programs for beginners to join. I’ll start with a list of big networks you should know about.
Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners to Join:
There are a bunch of affiliate networks out there which partner with as many brands/affiliate programs as they can, and offer them all to you on one convenient site. You sign up for the network, and then the application process for each brand is much easier because all your information is already in the network. Here are the ones I’m a part of, and some of their partnerships.
- Awin– Swarovski, Ferrari, FabFitFun, Moleskin, StubHub
- Share A Sale– Wayfair, Craftsy, PopSockets, Reebok, Pura Vida
- CJ Affiliate– Nike, Michael Kors, Vineyard Vines, Hobby Lobby
- ShopStyle Collective– Sephora, Forever 21, Nordstrom, Saks 5th Avenue
- Amazon Associates– gives you a small commission on anything on Amazon!
- Google Adsense- chooses their own ads to put on your site, and gives you a commission for them.
You’ll get text links or you can make deep links (I’ll explain) and you’re privy to their “creative” or their banners and sidebar/footer ads. The banners and sidebar ads can be added to your site via html. See that ad for Awin I’ve put right above this paragraph? I did that by copying the html for the ad I liked best on their “my creative” page, and pasting it in the “text” tab on my “edit post” page.
You can also add ads to your sidebar or footer. Go to your customization tab on your WP dash, choose “widgets,” and add a “custom html” widget in either your sidebar or footer. You can paste your code there, and it’ll pop right up on your site!
Links have a little more nuance. It’s cool, you got this, that’s why this is affiliate marketing programs for beginners. Some of the networks will give you links to the brands’ homepages, but they’ll also offer deep links. A deep link allows you to have an affiliate link for any page on a brand’s website. So, you go to the deep links page, enter the URL of the page you want a link to, and an affiliate link will be generated for you. Then, even if you link the reader to an informational page, you’ll still get the sale if they end up buying.
Great–you picked some brands from the affiliate networks. But what if you can’t find that one brand you’d LOVE to work with?
No problem, just approach them! Here are some tips for approaching a brand/company:
Size doesn’t matter as much as you think!
Well, not in this scenario. Just because your blog doesn’t have a lot of views yet doesn’t mean you won’t get the gig. Most brands would rather see a hundred super loyal followers than a thousand followers who never actually engage with content. That’s one of the reasons why like-for-like is a no-no. Blogging is all about building relationships. The better you are at that, the more success you’ll have on all fronts, including getting brands to connect with you.
Have a media kit.
A media kit is the resume of the blogging world. You can get great media kit templates on, you guessed it, Canva! What a lifesaver. Here are all the sections I have on mine, and what they’re all for:
About the Blogger
Should give a short, concise description of who you are and why you blog. Just like a resume, tailor it for who you’re talking to. If you’re pitching Forever 21, mention your deep love for fast fashion. If you’re pitching StubHub, it’s worth mentioning that you’ve been to thirty concerts this year. Etc.
About the Blog
This is where you pitch your blog’s purpose, and why that fits the purpose of the brand you’re pitching. This might require a little research on your part. What’s their mission statement? What are they trying to do, and how are your goals aligned?
Social Media Stats
Speaks for itself. Just be honest, because it’s easy enough to find you and check.
This is where you list what you offer advertisers. Do you run giveaways? Post reviews? Sell space on your sidebar? Put all of these in this section, along with your prices.
Pricing is a tricky thing for bloggers because comparatively speaking, blogging is a new profession. That, paired with how taboo it is to talk about money makes for a really difficult situation for us. But just so you know, if you’re writing a blog post for a company, $100 for every 10,000 page views per month is the generally accepted rule. 4,000 views = $40. 20,000 views = $200. You get the idea.
The PR people who contact you will try to tell you they don’t have a budget and you’re being ridiculous by asking so much, but your time and work are worth something. Don’t sell yourself short. You can certainly barter and like I said, don’t be shamed into not accepting free product if you’d use it. Just NEVER accept a “discount” on a product so you’re still paying for it AND helping that company out by reviewing it.
Who reads your blog? You can find this information in Google Analytics. What gender reads your blog more? How old is your average reader? Where do they live?
In this section, list everywhere you can be found! Your website, email, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook page, Pinterest, etc. Wherever you can be found on the web, put it here.
Send a professional and personal message.
Along with your media kit, you’ll want to send a professional message to the person receiving it. Here are some tips for that:
- Figure out the name of the person you’re emailing. Dear sir or madam doesn’t cut it in the blogging world where personality is your greatest asset. Usually, you can find the company on social media and ask for a contact
- In that same vein, research the specific person you should get in touch with. Don’t email Michael Kors himself and ask to be an affiliate. Find their PR person, marketing associate, brand ambassador etc.
- Don’t send a whole cover letter in an email, because these people get hundreds of messages like your a day, but make sure you send a little paragraph that summarizes who you are, why you love their brand, and why they should work with you. One paragraph. 5-7 sentences.
- Have a professional email signature with contact information and a blog link for easy access.
If you follow this advice, you’ll be golden!
Well, that’s the end of the Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners segment of my Blogaversary series, but it’s also the end of the series! I’ve had so much fun writing out all these tips for you. It’s been a trip down memory lane, and it’s made me excited for the future– the future of Uninspired, and the future for your new blog!
If you have any questions about anything in this segment, or any of the other Blogaversary posts, please feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy blogging!