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The only way to affiliate market successfully is to work at it ethically.
Whenever someone visits your blog, they're establishing a relationship with you. That relationship is what keeps your visitors coming back for more, so it's important to maintain it without hiccups. When it comes to your marketing strategy, shortcuts can weaken the quality of your relationships, which is why it is in your best interest to avoid them.
This is where affiliate marketing comes in. Affiliate marketing is another vital piece of the puzzle in blogger networking. When a visitor of your blog is a fellow blogger or company, you want to make sure you encourage them to not only keep coming back, but help you grow, too. Of course, the catch of having an affiliate market is that you have to return the favor. The fruits of this labor, however, are endless. When it comes to learning affiliate marketing as a blogger, your goals are to first, piece together the perfect, easy-to-apply affiliate marketing model for your blog and, second, to build strong branding.
Find Your Affiliate Marketing Style
I'm just no good at affiliate marketing.
Have you ever found yourself thinking that? Maybe you were half-heartedly trying to write a promotional post or set up a niche blog at the time? Maybe the networks you signed up with didn’t get you anywhere?
Before you completely toss this incredibly effective way of making passive income out the window, consider what it is about affiliate marketing that isn't working for you. Maybe it is not the “selling” part that's at fault. Perhaps you have simply failed to find your perfect marketing style and method yet.
Fortunately, there are many ways to use affiliate marketing—and some methods and models will feel easier and more natural to you than others.
Here are five popular methods that you can consider:
1. Become a niche blogger.
Create a blog that springs from a keyword for your niche, and present multiple products that have to do with that keyword. Make sure that your niche blog content is original and valuable. For example, you could create a blog strictly dedicated to infinity scarves or post solely on formal footwear.
A good example of an effective niche blog is PurseBlog:
At first glance, PurseBlog is a pretty ordinary fashion blog; it has advertising, events, banners, offers, a right sidebar, and, of course, posts. But if you look more closely, you'll find each article has originality, with a strong angle and lots of engaging images. And all this centered around one keyword: “purse.”
Another way to work at niche blogging is to build a blog around your experience with said niche. Your entries will be much more personal, but you can provide resource sections (all affiliate links!) that consist of the tools you use, your recommendations, and reviews. Plus, you will form a much more intimate relationship with your audience. Don’t forget that your niche can be any topic you want. Anything works, as long as you have a focused audience. Ultimately, you will know a niche is right for you if you actually want to spend time writing for it night and day.
2. Become a celebrity affiliate.
In order to become a celebrity affiliate, you have to first establish trust with your audience. The best way to do this is to focus on the products and services your market is most interested in. Give them honest reviews and recommendations. It may sound corny, but it's true—honesty is the best policy.
3. Support a specific company.
Are you passionate about a particular product or company? Why not become the go-to expert? If you are a Versace junkie, you can give your readers all kinds of tips on new looks, sales, and how to accessorize. More importantly, you can answer common questions and, hopefully, get on the Google front page next time someone asks, “How to spot a fake Versace bag.”
When you are passionate about a niche and a product that serves it, you will find so many things to talk about. Just make sure you include affiliate links and calls-to-action whenever you can! Don’t forget that even Amazon has an affiliate service you can count on.
4. Run a review blog.
This is one of the easiest ways to execute affiliate marketing. Use templates and plan your reviews so that they are all in the same format. Doing so will create a sense of familiarity with your readers—they will instinctively know where to jump to for your star-based rating or a product price.
More importantly, it will look neatly put together, boosting your credibility as a rosy red cherry on top.
5. Join an affiliate marketing network.
Networks like Amazon, eJunkie, and ClickBank are less picky about who signs up, but other networks like eBay Enterprise (formerly Pepperjam) often have a set number of requirements you need to meet. Do your research to find something that works for you.
The best way to market via a big company such as Amazon is by focusing on a highly specific niche, such as blazers for women at work. You want to make sure there is a high demand and not enough supply for what you offer. That way, whenever someone needs what you specialize in, they come straight to you.
Have you had any experience with affiliate marketing? How did it go? If not, what do you think of it? Tell me your thoughts below!
These are only a handful of tips inspired by my and Heidi’s sixth eKit in the Blogger Building Blocks Monthly series, Affiliate Marketing Integrity! This starter kit includes a mailing list planner, step-by-step tutorial workbook, 2-week calendar, and a getting-it-done checklist.