If you had asked me a year ago what affiliate marketing is, I would have looked at you sideways and cocked my head like a confused puppy. I was new to the blogging world and didn’t yet understand my site’s potential to earn money. For shame, am I right? Well, luckily for you I am much more on top of the goings-on in the blog-o-sphere these days, especially anything that can help you grow your blog to it’s fullest potential.
Affiliate marking has been around nearly as long as blogging itself as popular way for bloggers to make some extra money without sacrificing ad space or losing control of exactly what products and retailers are represented on their site.
In case this all sounds like Greek to you, let's rewind a little bit and break down what the heck we're actually talking about when we talk about affiliate marketing.
What is affiliate marketing?
At it's core, affiliate marketing is simply using one website to drive traffic to another. You, as the publisher of your blog are the affiliate. Whom you choose to run your marketing through is called the network, and the retailers and brands they work with are referred to as merchants. The network is essentially a liaison between you and the merchants, connecting you to e-commerce sites you may not have otherwise had been able to profit from.
What can affiliate marketing do for fashion bloggers?
Affiliate marketing is a way for you to earn revenue and endorse products you love and use in a way that's beneficial to both you and your readers. It's a way for you to customize the retailers and brands you support on your blog. It's an alternative (or addition) to selling ad space on your blog, and can build a more honest and relevant relationship between yourself, your readers and your network.
Some affiliate networks also let you share links from mobile devices and social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, not just your blog. That way if you ever find a great piece that doesn’t quite have a place in a post, you can still share it with your followers and continue to engage with your network.
Can you make real money using affiliates?
How do I get paid?
There are a few different methods of payment used in affiliate marketing, and the jargon behind them can be kind of intimidating. However, it's important to understand the difference as best you can. Here's a brief break down of the different ways you can earn money from affiliate advertising:
- Revenue Sharing (Cost Per Sale): You make a commission off any product sold through a link on your site. (For example, if you link to a $300 dress and one of your readers purchases it through your site, you might earn a commission of $30.)
- Cost Per Click (Pay Per Click): The network pays you for each click on an advertisement or link (This means that even if a purchase isn’t made, you’re still making money from curious clickers.)
Keep in mind there are other methods, and it's best to investigate which one your affiliate network uses as thoroughly as you can to be a smart and savvy affiliate publisher.
How do I get involved?
There are numerous networks that work with fashion brands, boutiques and online retailers to provide affiliate links and marketing. Fashion Traffic is a portal to several merchants which give you access to a broad range of brands and products. Most of these sites have an approval process so their pool of publishers stays relevant and spam-free. Be patient, be diligent, and craft your blog into a platform that networks will see as valuable.
More information on affiliate marketing from IFB:
More Bang For Your Fashion Blogging Buck: Affiliate Programs vs. Affiliate Networks
How To Monotize Your Fashion Blog With Affiliate Marketing