5 Steps to Making Loads of Affiliate Sales in Your Blog Posts (including 4 examples)

  • February 28, 2012 by Corbett Barr
  • 53 Comments

You don’t have to launch your own product to earn income from your blog.

You don’t even need a huge audience (although audience size does help).

Today I’m going to show you exactly how to make money with your blog using something known as affiliate marketing.

I’m also going to show you some real examples of how this works in practice (with actual sales figures) AND I’ll give you 10 ideas for products you could sell through your own blog.

Oh, and I know that talking about the “M” word (money) is uncouth and awkward. We don’t do it around here all that often.

If you’re working towards building a business online, you can learn so much from a little transparency and disclosure.

None of the details below are meant to brag or show my unclassy side. I share this to help you realize what is possible so you can get closer to supporting yourself from your online projects as well. Money certainly isn’t our only goal, but we shouldn’t shy away from talking about it from time to time either.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

In case you haven’t heard of affiliate marketing before, here are the basics.

Affiliate marketing essentially means earning commissions for customer referrals online.

Thousands of products and services online have “affiliate programs” (sometimes also called “partner programs” or “referral programs”).

As an affiliate, you sign up to have your referrals tracked (using a special link just for you). When you use the link in blog posts or email, you earn a commission if someone who clicks through your link ends up purchasing.

It’s really pretty simple.

Most affiliate programs are open (anyone can sign up), but some are closed (by invitation only). As you grow as a blogger and make more friends and contacts online, you’ll hear about more and more opportunities. If you haven’t been invited to a particular affiliate program, it doesn’t hurt to ask directly.

Commissions can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars per referral. Commission percentages can range from 5% to 80%.

Affiliate marketing is nothing to sneeze at. You can earn some serious income with affiliate marketing through your blog.

In 2011, about 40% of our total revenue came through affiliate marketing. This includes both offering other people’s products for sale ourselves, as well as having other people sell the products we released. Affiliate marketing works both ways and can be a powerful way to make more sales of products you create.

You don’t have to blog about marketing to make money using this model. There are great products and guides to be sold on health, travel, personal development, personal finance and plenty of other topics.

Signing up for affiliate programs and getting your links is easy.

Making tons of sales is the hard part. That’s what we’re going to cover today.

Many bloggers think affiliate marketing is just about slapping up a banner ad, and they’re missing out. If you have tons of traffic that might work, but most bloggers will have a hard time making a single sale using banner ads.

There are much better ways to promote affiliate products…

An Example of an Affiliate Program

Why would a product creator offer an affiliate program?

Here’s an example.

For our recent launch of How to Start a Blog that Matters, I knew that other bloggers (including some friends of mine) had audiences which would also be interested in the course.

By creating an affiliate program, I was able to sell many more copies of the course than I would have been able to myself.

I set up the affiliate program and offered a 75% commission (purposefully a very high commission set as an experiment). Before the launch, I reached out to several bloggers to let them know about the launch and our affiliate program. Several of them ran special promotions during the first few weeks of our launch.

We sold over 500 copies of the course in the first month. About 1/3rd of those came from our audience directly, and another 2/3rds came from affiliates.

affiliate sales - SBTM

The pie chart to the right showsthe distribution of sales by affiliate for the first month (names hidden to protect the innocent). You can see the biggest pie are sales from us directly (167). The maroon pie at the bottom are sales via our other blog Expert Enough (27). The rest are each individual affiliates, some of whom had impressive sales numbers.

Affiliates have sold over 350 copies of the course. Those are sales we wouldn’t have made ourselves otherwise. Affiliates have earned over $22,600 in commissions and bonuses by selling this one course in just over a month, and I’m happy for every dollar we pay out.

It’s a win-win-win situation. The product creator makes more sales, the affiliate earns commissions for referrals and the buyers get an incredible product (and sometimes extra bonuses – see more below).

To see how this all works sign up for the Start a Blog that Matters affiliate program. You don’t necessarily have to promote the course (unless you want to). Just register to see how it all works.

What Should You Promote?

Selling affiliate products can be a win-win-win situation, but only if the product is incredible AND relevant to your audience.

On the other hand, if you pitch mediocre products just to make a buck, you’ll damage the trust you’ve worked so hard to establish with your audience.

So you have to be selective and always focus on helping your audience.

The best affiliate offers are based on recommending a product that was undeniably helpful to you already.

Think about the products, services, courses, etc. you’ve used and benefited from over the past year that might also be helpful to your audience.

For example, I recently fell in love with the BackupBuddy WordPress plugin (my affiliate link). I’m now using it to run nightly backups of all my blogs (and sync with Amazon S3). BackupBuddy has been a godsend when it comes to migrating WordPress sites to other blogs.

Backups are something you don’t want to mess with. One mistakenly deleted file or server disk failure could take your WordPress site down for good. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way.

After using manual methods for backing my sites up and various free plugins that never seemed to work for more than a week or two, I was ecstatic to find BackupBuddy.

This is exactly the kind of situation you should look for when thinking about affiliate programs to promote on your site.

BackupBuddy is the kind of thing I would and have gladly recommended to other WordPress site owners. We mentioned it in a recent post and made 5 sales as a result.

Sure, we won’t pay the rent with those 5 sales, but that’s just one of a few dozen products we’ve sold as affiliates over the past year.

It all adds up.

When you come across a product, course or service you absolutely love and want to tell your blog’s readers about, do a quick Google search for “product affiliate program”. For example, here’s what I found when I Googled for “backupbuddy affiliate program:”

Try this for products you love and want to recommend.

Google for your product’s “affiliate program” or “partner program.” If you don’t find anything, you can write the product owner directly or search on affiliate networks like ClickBank, Commission Junction or ShareASale.

5 Steps to Earning Tons of Affiliate Commissions through Your Blog Posts

At the end of this post I have some ideas of things you can promote (and affiliate programs). For now, let’s assume you’ve found something you’re excited about sharing.

What next?

Remember what we said before about just slapping up a banner ad with your affiliate link. You might make a sale or two by doing that, but actually probably not unless you have a big audience.

To make significant sales, much more effort and planning needs to go into your affiliate promotion.

Here are 5 steps I follow to turn an affiliate promotion from forgetful to incredible.

You don’t have to follow every one of these steps. In fact, just one or two might be enough to make your next promotion successful. Include all 5 for the greatest impact possible.

Step 1: start with something you really use and believe in

We already talked about recommending products you’ve used and love.

Don’t skip this step.

You might be able to make some quick sales by recommending products you’ve never used, but you won’t build long-term trust from your audience.

If you want to promote something but have never used it, buy the service or product or ask the owner if you can demo the product as an affiliate.

Make sure everything you recommend is top notch and your audience will thank you for the referrals.

OK, now let’s talk about how to put together an insanely effective promotion.

Step 2: tell your story

Think about how you can tell a powerful story about how the product you’re promoting made your life better or helped your business.

You don’t just have to talk about the specific product you’re promoting. Tell your broader story as it applies to the overall topic the product is about.

*** Affilate Promotion Example #1: Travel Hacking ***

When Chris Guillebeau announced his Travel Hacking Cartel last year I was definitely interested to see what he had to offer.

I got advanced access to the program and liked what I saw. I knew the Cartel would be a fantastic resource, but there was just one problem. The Cartel was brand new. I didn’t have direct results to share from using it.

Instead of sharing my direct results, I decided to share my personal travel hacking story. Here’s part of what I wrote in my post How to Become a Travel Hacker, Get Free Flights, First Class Upgrades and Complimentary Hotel Stays:

For about five years from 2000 to 2005 I flew almost exclusively first class and took about 150 flights around the country and to foreign destinations. Most of that travel was for work (I was a business technology consultant to Fortune 500 companies) and I flew hundreds of thousands of miles and stayed in hotels nearly 200 nights a year some years.

My company didn’t pay for first class tickets, but I managed to nearly always fly first class. I had to upgrade the flights myself, and after learning the ropes from my seasoned traveling colleagues, I quickly figured out how to never fly coach again.

That was my introduction to travel hacking. Back then it didn’t have such a cool name, but all of us at the company knew some tricks for getting free perks.

My wife and I took a lot of vacations during those years as well. Sometimes we traveled within the U.S. (New York and New Orleans were favorite destinations), and sometimes we went out of the country. We took quite a few trips to Hawaii and went to Puerto Rico, Buenos Aires and Mexico.

We took probably 12 to 15 vacations in total, and almost never paid for a flight or hotel room. Almost all of the flights were first class (even international).

Share the dream. Show people what is possible.

This one blog post has earned over $1,300 in commissions and continues to make sales each month.

What personal stories can you tell about the product your promoting or about the subject in general?

Stories are powerful. Try using one in your next promotion.

Step 3: share results

If you know the person behind the product personally, disclose that relationship. Talk about how awesome your friend is and explain why you believe in what he or she is doing.

I’m going to share an example here with you of one of the most effective blog post affiliate promotions I’ve ever seen.

*** Affilate Promotion Example #2: Scott Dinsmore ***

When I launched the Start a Blog that Matters program I didn’t give affiliates as much advance notice as I should have. That didn’t stop Scott Dinsmore from putting together an incredibly effective blog post with just one day’s notice.

Scott has been the #1 affiliate for Start a Blog that Matters, and he doesn’t have the biggest audience.

Scott has sold over 100 copies of the course in just over a month. With a 75% commission rate on a $97 purchase price, I’ll let you do the math.

How has Scott sold so many copies?

He wrote an incredible blog post called The 4 Pillars to Starting a Blog that Actually Matters (& grow it by 160x in 2 years).

In this post, Scott does a number of things incredibly well (including most of the steps listed here). One special thing Scott did in this post was to share the concrete results he achieved by using my strategies.

Scott explains how blogging has changed his life, how he built his blog, and (importantly) how the strategies in the Start a Blog that Matters course helped him grow his blog from 111 subscribers to over 11,500.

It’s a powerful story. Scott achieved impressive results using my blog-building strategies and he simply told that story in his blog post.

Share specific results if you can. People are hungry for results.

Study Scott’s post and see if you can understand why it was so effective.

Step 4: include a bonus

Here’s a technique that can work very well. Sometimes an affiliate commission will be high enough that it’s worth giving away a product or service to anyone who purchases through your affiliate link.

This is a more direct sales approach, and it can lead to big results.

*** Affilate Promotion Example #3: A Big Bonus ***

For example, when Baker and Karol announced the latest Only72 sale, I jumped at the chance to include a special “lite” version of Traffic School in the package.

As a participant in this sale, I wasn’t compensated directly, but instead Baker and Karol offer an 80% affiliate commission on any packages sold.

To help make sure I sold a decent number of Only72 packages, I decided to include an extra special bonus of a complimentary 30-minute one-on-one business strategy session with me.

You can see exactly how I made this offer in this post: Traffic School “Lite” Opens Today in the Biggest Entrepreneurship Sale of the Year.

I was the top affiliate in this round of Only72 sales because of this blog post (a version of which I also ran at my other site). This blog post earned just shy of $8,000 in affiliate commissions.

The top affiliates for How to Start a Blog that Matters have all included bonuses as well. Every one of the biggest affilate promotions I’ve done has included a bonus.

This technique works, but use it sparingly and smartly or it can come of desperate and backfire. Make sure the product remains the focus, and that your bonus is really a bonus.

Step 5: use case studies and examples

Your own story can help sell the product you’re pitching, but so can other people’s stories and case studies.

Done well, case studies and examples can also help your post become popular on social media, which will give you even more sales opportunities.

*** Affilate Promotion Example #4: Case Studies ***

Over at Expert Enough last month we decided to offer the How to Start a Blog that Matters course as an affiliate. We tracked sales separately so we could see how well the course would sell through that blog.

(Side note: check out the Million Dollar Blog Project to see how we’ve been building Expert Enough as a case study blog-based-business).

Instead of telling our personal story for this post, we decided to do a round-up of case studies on how 10 other people had used blogs to become recognized experts in their field.

This blog post has earned $1,543 in affiliate commissions so far and continues to make sales nearly every week.

The post also became popular on social media, with 143 retweets (quite a few for Expert Enough at the time).

See this example affiliate promotion here: 10 People Who Used Blogs to Become Recognized as Experts in Their Field

Think beyond your own experience for your next affiliate promotion.

Who else can you point to as a case study or example for your blog post?

Step 6 (bonus step): the soft sell

If you’ve followed the steps above, your promotion doesn’t need a hard sales pitch. In fact, a hard sales pitch will hurt your sales.

Follow the steps above and let your story, your results, your bonus and the product do the selling for you.

End your blog post or page with a simple link and soft sell. Tell people that you’ll still love them even if they don’t purchase.

The last thing you want to do is to turn off your audience and lose people over one hard sell. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Always look out for your audience’s best interests and don’t trade a few quick sales for your self respect or long-term relationships.

10 Ideas for Things to Promote in Your Blog Posts

Like I said a couple of times before, the best place to start looking for things to promote is with the products and services you already use.

If you’re still coming up short on ideas, you can also try out new products and services to see if anything is worth promoting to your audience (hint, if you don’t like a product or service you try, you can usually get a refund within a period of time).

Here are 10 products and services I’ve used and recommend which have affiliate programs (I’ve promoted most of these at some point, some with great results).

If you blog about travel, lifestyle or entrepreneurship…

If you blog about productivity…

If you blog about marketing or blogging…

If you blog about personal finance…

Some other ideas…

Here’s one last tip. Some of the best affiliate programs will have instructions and resources for you as an affiliate. Look for those when you sign up.

You can find more products and services to promote as an affiliate by searching or browsing the marketplaces over at affiliate networks like ClickBank, Commission Junction or ShareASale.

For Further Reading

Pat Flynn over at the Smart Passive Income blog earns the majority of his income through affiliate marketing (over $38,000 in January alone).

Pat has written a lot about affiliate marketing for bloggers. Check out Pat’s top 30 tips for affiliate marketing or read this post about exactly where links convert best on Pat’s blog.

And finally, this isn’t related to blogging, but our own Affiliate Marketing for Beginners course can teach you the basics of affiliate marketing for niche sites.

Questions about these steps or how to get started with affiliate marketing as a blogger? Ask below and we’re happy to answer.

I’d also love to hear about your most effective tips for promoting affiliate products in blog posts.

Let’s hear ‘em below.

If you have other affiliate programs you recommend checking out, please tell us below about those as well.

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Gregory Ciotti February 28, 2012 at 6:19 am

Great overview Corbett, the examples are definitely what made this post.

The bonus strategy seems to be really where it’s at, as it looks like it was a common thread for the top affs of your newest product.

Out of curiosity, would you ever set your affiliate commission to anything below 75%?

I feel like any affiliate sale is better than no sale, but I was just wondering if you’ve ever used lower rates in the past and saw a difference.

Corbett Barr February 28, 2012 at 9:43 am

I’ve used affiliate rates between 50% and 75% (always between 50% and 60% in the past). I’ve always gotten decent results with 50% to 60% in the past.

The 75% rate was an experiment for this product because I wanted to see how it affected sales through a network like ClickBank. I’ll publish a summary on those results soon.

Aaron February 28, 2012 at 7:12 am

As someone just breaking into both offering an affiliate program for my own language learning guides and trying to offering affiliate sales through my blog, this was a great post.

I’ve lots to learn yet and lots yet to try, but I feel like I am on my way and this post certainly helps. Thanks much!

Corbett Barr February 28, 2012 at 10:19 am

There is definitely an art and science to creating a compelling affiliate program. You may also need to work with your affiliates to teach them best practices (maybe the examples and steps here can be a guide).

Christian Bossert February 28, 2012 at 7:30 am

Thanks for your thoughts about affiliate marketing Corbett.
I especially like the “tell your story” approach!

Corbett Barr February 28, 2012 at 10:18 am

Thanks Christian :)

Justice Wordlaw IV February 28, 2012 at 7:45 am

Really great blog post going over affiliate marketing.

Telling a story is really one of the most important factors with affiliate marketing. The more personal the story is the more people are going to be able to feel comfortable about purchasing the product because they’ve seen how much value it has offered you in your life.

I loved the idea of you offering 75% of commissions with your latest product that seems like a really great idea.

Corbett Barr February 28, 2012 at 10:20 am

The personal story is important in so many things, this is just another place on that list to me.

Dean Soto February 28, 2012 at 7:59 am

I Totally agree with #1, and it’s the perfect start. You can immediately tell the difference between someone who has used the product and someone who hasn’t. Mainly, because they aren’t able to effectively do #2 and #3.

I’ve never used a bonus only because it seems a little bit salesy to me, but that’s just me. However, I can see how if you use it every now and then it could be a benefit to your readers since they would be getting something more from being in your community than they would elsewhere.

Love the post, Corbett, just what I needed.

Corbett Barr February 28, 2012 at 10:21 am

There is a fine line between being effective and being “too salesy.” That line is different for everybody. It’s changed for me over time.

Dan February 28, 2012 at 8:07 am

Awesome post, Corbett!

This is really useful info, with some great tips. I always feel a bit guilty about putting affiliate links in my blog posts, even though I know the products are great. Guess that’s something I need to get over. Any tips?

Corbett Barr February 28, 2012 at 10:26 am

It depends on what you’re trying to do with your site Dan. If it’s just for fun/creative purposes then I can see why it might be uncomfortable.

If you’re building a business then you’ll have to make offers of some kind at some point. Whether it’s affiliate marketing or selling your own products or services, you’re going to have to get over the guilt to be successful. I don’t see any reason to feel guilty.

You give awesome free content on a regular basis. Some people can continue just to receive that. Others might buy something from time-to-time. Just make sure to put the needs of your audience first every time and you’ll do fine. Yes, some people will complain or leave, but that is bound to happen when you try to sell anything.

Let me know how it goes Dan. I’m curious to find out how you and others get over this fear.

Cory Miller February 28, 2012 at 9:01 am

Corbett, I’ve been a subscriber for a couple of weeks now and really enjoyed and profited from your work …. I clicked on this post today to learn more about affiliate marketing and I see a great comment about our star product — BackupBuddy!

Just wanted to say thank for that and so glad BackupBuddy has made a difference … and for the awesome content that’s helping us build our business. Rock on!

Corbett Barr February 28, 2012 at 10:28 am

Hey Cory! Thanks for reaching out. I’m serious about BackupBuddy – I’m not sure how I lived without it before. It has made migrations of sites (and testing) so much easier. Backups have been so much easier and more reliable as well.

Thanks for putting out a great product and thanks for reading :)

Sergio Felix February 28, 2012 at 9:27 am

Hey Corbett,

Well to be honest, I just can’t seem to understand the affiliate marketing game with blogging.

In the past I did reviews on great products, offered lots of different bonuses and nothing seemed to work, I just got the dreaded “great review man!” or “I’m sure that service rocks dude!” but not a single sale.

After realizing that people didn’t like affiliated reviews, I stopped caring about the feedback and then just published in a “I don’t care if you buy this or not, I just love it and it is your call after all” kind of tone, and well… what do you know, I actually made a few sales all on the same day!

So what’s the logic here? I’m clueless man.

I believe that people have buying cycles and buying moods and all that pre-selling voodoo and emotional triggering with soft selling, is really way more complex than it seems.

These days I’m saying “Look, this is what I’m using, this is what has done for me, this is how you get it” end of story.

Still no sales but oddly enough, people are really paying attention now.

Sergio

PS. Slowly building ninja buzz to an upcoming first product as well. ;-)

Corbett Barr February 28, 2012 at 10:33 am

Well, calling it a “game” might be part of the problem :)

The key is that it has to be natural and sincere. Only recommend products you would tell people about regardless of the affiliate relationship.

Also, keep in mind that audience size is definitely a factor. If you have just 50 people reading each post, you can’t expect to make sales every time you try. If you have a couple of hundred visitors to each post (or more), then you should have been able to make a sale by now.

This definitely takes practice. To me it has been worth learning to make sales with affiliate programs because I’ve learned so much about people who read my blogs and about how selling works online in general. I’ve then been able to translate that knowledge into successful product sales as well. Affiliate marketing is a great proving ground.

Alexander February 28, 2012 at 9:27 am

Corbett,

I always was curious just how much people were making from affiliate sales — and I gotta admit, I drooled my chipotle burrito all over myself as I read Scott’s figures.

Damn. It wasn’t really obvious until you brought these couple of points to mind — the posts introducing the affiliate products just worked so well they felt natural, which I guess in the idea huh?

Goes back to the idea of stories being one of the most powerful things you can share with someone.. Like the background behind Scott’s post. I got a lot of work to do haha.

Corbett Barr February 28, 2012 at 10:34 am

Careful with that burrito man!

Thanks for making the point about having a lot of work to do. What you don’t see behind the scenes is that many of these affiliate promotions took hours upon hours of work to create, and weeks or months of work prior to that in using the product or establishing a relationship.

Okto February 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Thanks for this post Corbett.

You have described clear tips for guidance. Look like I have similar problem with Sergio Felix.

I also have some discussion with my community in this case and found that for most bloggers (with very low budget on “make a living from a blog” journey ) It is essentials to make sales for the affiliate product promotion, but in reality (even though the campaigns are rocks) the sale not easily come.

One interesting idea from one of my fellow bloggers was “maybe it only works if you have enough popularity and credibility?” That sound make sense for most of my fellow bloggers.

What you have wrote here certainly give more inspiration for me.

Thanks for the Post Corbett

Benny February 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Thanks for this post Corbett. I’m always learning ways to better promote products.

I was very excited to promote the blogging course. I definitely believe in the benefits of blogging. I went with the personal story angle because I know how much blogging has changed my life. Though I dropped out of the top 5 at the end, I was still very happy with how many copies I was able to sell considering the top 5 all were offering a bonus, and I didn’t.

I’ve promoted a couple other launches on my blog, but those made a total of two sales. I didn’t do them the right way. Now I know the best way to make more sales next time.

Corbett Barr February 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Yes Benny, you did an incredible job with the promotion. I love how your blog post promoting the Start a Blog that Matters course was so useful on it’s own. That’s another approach that can work well.

For people curious, go check out Benny’s blog post to see another great example of an effective affiliate promotion:

http://getbusylivingblog.com/9-ways-you-can-build-a-blog-that-matters/

Nino February 28, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Yes… that’s the way to go. Pat from SPI led the way and look at his numbers.

I feel a bit cornered because I have such a short comment but I want you to know that I liked your post Corbett.

Corbett Barr February 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Thanks for the comment Nino, glad you liked this post :)

Bill February 29, 2012 at 1:01 am

Am happy to read the content and the best part i like is the ”Tell your story” and ”share results”. To really profit from the story telling, the best way would be by incoporating, cross-selling and up-selling this will increase your public profile based on the positive endosement.

If you want to stimulate your affiliate sales, then you should take advantage of cross selling.

Jamie Northrup February 29, 2012 at 5:41 am

My most successful affiliate sales is when I take the time to use the product and know it well, then review it for my readers. Even showcasing the negative points along with the positive, helps.

People want the truth, and want it from people that know what they are talking about.

Cory Miller February 29, 2012 at 6:38 am

Jamie, totally agree …. from the product side of things, we see the most success as well from those affiliates who are actually customers. And honestly, I’d rather see those honest and transparent reviews then copy and paste marketing text.

Sunil @ Extra Income Blog February 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm

excellent post Corbett. especially loved the point on giving away a freebie to make the affiliate offer more enticing, especially when the payout more than pays for the freebie product. I have given away freebies, but have not contemplated this approach consciously

Danielle Lynn February 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Enjoyed the discussion on affiliate marketing on blogs Corbett,

A random rant about affiliate marketing: One thing I really dislike seeing are thinly veiled affiliate sites that call themselves review sites.

I have no problem with a person reviewing a product and getting a commission for sharing information and valuable opinions. But too many people see how a recommendation can earn them a sale – and they simply choose a product they know nothing about and promote it.

Of course, which results in a ‘lie through my teeth to get your money” sort of review.

But there are many fantastic ways to earn as an affiliate, and as long as honesty is being used – you’re right! All parties involved win. :)

Creator gets a cut (or gets more exposure), affiliate earns money, buyer gets a great product.

Corbett Barr March 1, 2012 at 8:14 am

No kidding, I hate those review sites as well. Especially because there are so many in some industries it makes it impossible to find real unbiased reviews.

Anshul March 1, 2012 at 2:50 am

How come you don’t have your blog plastered with affiliate links Corbett? I have been a regular visitor to your blog for a while now but I always find your articles content focused and not so much sales focus or may be I am missing something?

Corbett Barr March 1, 2012 at 8:17 am

Affiliate sales aren’t our main focus (we generally earn revenue by selling our courses, like How to Start a Blog that Matters). Also, we try to be very picky about what we do promote, to make sure they’re solid products and a perfect fit for people who read our blog.

Brett@Smart Income Investing March 1, 2012 at 6:20 am

It’s always better to promote an affiliate product you’ve actually used. And remember that ClickBank isn’t the only game in town!

Andrea Hypno March 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Excellent. Given the average of what Adsense pays these days going with the affiliate sales is more or less a must, unless someone has his own product. But this article would be useful also for them. Thumbs up!

K. Hill @ Shiny New Object March 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Great tips to stay mindful of:) I wish there were some quality programs on conversions. Are there any you’d recommend checking out ?

Erin Smith March 5, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Awesome post! I’ll admit that I’ve been burned in the past by promoting cruddy stuff and only hurting my reputation. It makes a big difference in the amount of sales I make when I can show exactly how much the product helped me. Thanks again!

Cassie | Womenswaytowealth March 7, 2012 at 6:37 am

Great article Corbett, thanks. It sounds so obvious to start by recommending products you’ve used and loved but I think we (yes, I include myself!) sometimes overlook the obvious. I really want to promote market samurai as it offers great affiliate commission potential but I don’t actually use it much and I’m sure that will be evident in any post I would write. Better to focus on products you actually do use and let your genuine experience and passion shine through. Drawing up a list of potential products to promote as we speak. Like some of the other comments, I have a fear of selling to my list as I don’t want to turn people off and I feel it’s early days. But I promoted 31DaysToABetterBlog and made a sale straight away as it’s such a great product and I’m using it myself. Just need to focus on that. Thanks again.

Toni March 7, 2012 at 9:21 am

Corbett, this is a fantastic article full of great information. I am very new to this online world but just wanted to comment on how helpful your websites have been to me so far. The internet is a wealth of knowledge but can be paralyzing to a beginner especially someone like me who can be easily sidetracked. Your websites in addition to Scott Dinsmore’s http://www.liveyourlegend.net have consistently provided the best information and motivation for my quest. As I am working through Scott’s e-course I’m also bookmarking, reading and printing tons of information that will be helpful along the way. Thank you for the great job providing quality information. I’m a numbers girl so I really enjoy the breakdowns, charts and graphs!

Corbett Barr March 7, 2012 at 10:20 am

Fantastic Toni, thanks for the feedback :) And I agree, Scott is a great source of information and inspiration over at Live Your Legend.

What’s next on your journey?

Vineet Saxena March 11, 2012 at 1:18 am

Hi Corbett,
Blog can be a real good platform to make affiliate sales if you have a nice traffic coming to your blog. If your blog has a good reputation among the readers, then your tips can be really handy to skyrocket affiliate sales. Thanks for the tips.

Brandon June 7, 2012 at 10:40 am

Awesome post. I’ve always wondered how people make money at affiliate sales without being sleazy. Good stuff! Thanks!

Oh, and your link for “only72″ above is broke. Fyi!

Miguel April 30, 2013 at 11:10 pm

This was a great post Corbett! I just recently got myself involved with a great authority blog affiliate system and the results are incredible. I can certainly take away some of the tips you have shared here and apply them to my blog as well. I look forward to seeing the results from these being applied.

Thanks for sharing!

Dawn July 30, 2013 at 2:20 pm

This is fantastic information! I just started a website for people with diabetes and have a couple of affiliate products through RAPbank. After reading this post, I can see that my approach has been too clinical and impersonal. I can’t wait to try these tips and see the difference!

Ophelia October 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Is it possible to earn affiliate money by just linking to a product inside a blog post?
I’m not looking to start a blog to make money; I’m just curious if I can earn some supplemental income utilizing a pre-existing blog.
My blog covers a diverse range of topics, but it is essentially a personal blog; however, I frequently review things, like books I read, make up, household products, etc. They are not the entire focus of the blog- maybe every fourth or fifth post I’ll do a review, and sometimes the review is not the whole focus of the post.

What would be ideal for me would be to be able to mention a link, inside the review, or at the end, something like “yada yada book was great; if you’re interested in reading it for yourself, Amazon has it here for (yada yada).”

I don’t want to add the giant Amazon ad on the side of the blog page, i want to present a link or maybe a thumbnail view that serves as the link, and have it fit in the review in a way that is cohesive and flows.

My question is, is that possible? Or am I limited to banners and advertising images on the sides of my page? TIA

Corbett Barr October 15, 2013 at 9:48 am

Hi Ophelia, yes, it’s possible, but you would need a very large and engaged audience to earn much income. If your audience is small and the topic is unfocused, affiliate earnings may not add up to much. It’s definitely worth a try though. No harm, and easy to set up.

Scott Dinsmore February 28, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Sorry for the lunch mishap Alexander! And thanks for the mention Corbett. You make a great point. The real reason why my blog post worked so well for your course (I believe) is because I had the story to tell. That took over a year. Writing the post only took a few hours but that’s just the tip. My biggest lesson from all this (and it’s more of a reminder and reinforcement than anything) is that stories trump everything. The world loves hearing stories, especially real ones that demonstrate what’s possible.

Oh and it also helped to have a lights-out product to promote!

Thanks guys.

Jamie Northrup February 29, 2012 at 7:30 am

Same here, there’s nothing that makes me leave a website faster than marketing text.

Corbett Barr February 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Great tip guys! I haven’t employed product reviews myself but I’ve definitely seen them work for other people.

Toni March 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm

What’s next…jumping in with both feet:). I quit my job of 3 1/2 years and haven’t looked back. My last day in a traditional job was three weeks ago and every day brings more momentum and knowledge. Next step is to get a blog going to get my feet wet and gain better direction while keeping my eye on the goal -life on my terms. Keep up the great work!

Aaron March 27, 2012 at 6:21 am

Thanks for the reply Corbett. I’ll definitely be sending affiliate partners this way to get a better understanding of the whole process.

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