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The Number of Affiliate Programs I Belong to Right Now
Right now, I belong to probably 15 or so affiliate program. Twelve of them are for products and services I use. One is for an affiliate product I promote that is an ebook my sister wrote. I talked about that in this post (see #10, which is my contribution). And I have a couple of Clickbank products I promote.
As you can see, almost all of the products and services I market are what I call my “foundational” affiliate products. They’re the easiest ones to start with because:
These are ones you use and every online entrepreneur — who’s serious about making money online – uses. Three of the most common are web hosting; a newsletter service provider like AWeber; and a domain name registration service like Namecheap. …These are no-brainers — and again, it’s because they’re needed by everyone who does business online and is serious about it.
If you use these products and services, you ostensibly like and trust then. Hence, you can write knowledgeably about them and recommend them without hesitation, right?
How Bloggers with Very Little Traffic in Obscure Niches Earn Thousands of $$
It’s easy to sign up for affiliate programs. Promoting them is where the real work comes in, and that’s why I’ve always believed that it’s hard to make money in affiliate marketing if you’re spread yourself too thin; ie, try to promote more than half a dozen or so products.
Then, I read this post by a blogger who attended a blog conference.
One of the sessions featured panelists who were earning thousands of dollars per year from blogs with practically non-existent traffic and/or tiny, obscure niches. And following is why.
“I asked the panelists how many affiliates they were a part of and the answer was HUNDREDS. Yes, hundreds.”
And it was working for them. Proof?
For example, one blogger had an obscure niche – eg, decorative concrete (yeah, boring cement, concrete y’all!) – and she earned $32,000 in her first year as a blogger in affiliate income. Say what!
Another had traffic of just 2,500 unique visitors – per month! And get this, she earns over $20,000 per year! If you know anything about blogging, you know that’s practically no traffic (just 83 visitors per day).
How Much Traffic Your Site Should Have to Start Making Money in Affiliate Marketing
Most “experts” will tell you not to even try to monetize a blog until you have at least 10,000 visitors per month. But as these examples highlight, no matter how little traffic you have or how obscure your niche is, you can monetize it as an affiliate marketer.
My Affiliate Marketing Strategy Moving Forward
This made me rethink how many affiliate programs I should belong to.
Now, I’m not saying I’m going to go out and start willy nilly signing up for every affiliate program I can find. But what it does tell me is that I can’t afford to overlook opportunities to monetize – outside of the foundational affiliate products and services I promote. With this in mind, following is how I plan to proceed moving forward.
1. Monetize As Many Posts As Possible
I will look for every opportunity to monetize a post. I won’t stick in gratuitous links and/or promote something just to make money. That goes against everything I stand for.
But, I will not automatically dismiss opportunities and/or not take the time to see if I can find an affiliate product that can add value to the content I’m producing.
As an aside, I think this is where your foundational affiliate products can come in hand. For example, if you’re not a part of an affiliate program and the content you’re writing doesn’t lend itself to an affiliate link, you can always put one of your foundational products in a P.S. at the end of the post.
See how I did it in this post, which promotes my web hosting provider (HostGator) at the end? This is the only affiliate link in that entire post.
FYI, following this tip, you should never write another post that doesn’t have at least one affiliate link.
2. Go Back and Monetize Old Posts
Since 2010, I’ve been writing a series on this blog about living and working in Jamaica as an expat (American freelance writer). I have about 30 posts in the series, and will be adding more for as long as I live in Jamaica – at least 2-3 more years.
At one point, I was even looking for sponsors for the series. Now I know how to monetize it. I’m going to find some appropriate affiliate products/programs (travel-related ones) and going back and adding them to each post in the series.
I’ll also be digging through my traffic stats (Google Analytics) and monetizing my top-performing posts if they aren’t already monetized.
3. Join More Major Affiliate Programs
Affiliate marketplaces like ShareASale are great places to earn money because you can earn with them in a couple of ways usually, ie: (i) by promoting specific products and services; and (ii) by promoting the marketplace itself.
For example, did you know that ShareaSale will pay you per lead ($1). A lead is “a qualified affiliate that signs up through your link.” The affiliate must generate at least one click for you to be paid. FYI, many affiliates earn thousands of dollars per month just in “pay-per-lead” income like this.
What Is a Pay-Per-Lead Affiliate Program?
This is where an advertiser pays an affiliate marketer to send leads their way and take a specific action; for example, complete a simple questionnaire, subscribe to a newsletter, sign up to a webinar, be part of a trial offer, etc.
This is why site traffic is so important. Imagine having 50,000 visitors per month. Now imagine just a couple of hundred of those signing up to be an affiliate for a program you recommend. And you get $1 for that.
And this is not the only way to earn with big affiliate marketplaces like ShareaSale. Many will also pay you when merchants sign on, in the case of ShareaSale, $150 for each merchant who signs up through your affiliate link.
So you can earn in two ways with major marketplaces – and that’s why I’ll be joining more of these. They have thousands of products and services for hundreds (if not thousands) of niches. Sending traffic their way is some of the easiest money you’ll ever make in affiliate marketing in my opinion because there’s no cash outlay.
This blog has over 800 posts on it as of this writing. I have a couple of other ones that have several hundreds posts. If I monetized every post, I can totally see how one can belong to hundreds of affiliate programs – and how you can earn thousands of dollars per year – even if you cater to an obscure niche and don’t get a lot of traffic.
The main thing to remember is to select affiliate programs that are in line with the content on that particular page. Think of each post as its own little content fiefdom if you will – ripe for monetizing with money-making affiliate products.
And my final tip is – the most important one – is to always, always, always create great content. I sometimes wish affiliate marketing went by a different name, eg, “Helpful Marketing,” or even “Dream Marketing.” Why, because the underlying purpose of recommending affiliate products and services is to help someone achieve their goals; their dreams. It’s NOT about selling or making a quick buck – which is why so many fail at it.
One of Zig Ziglar’s – a self-help author and motivational speaker – most famous quotes is …
“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
When I blog, I always keep this in mind. I write to educate, explain, guide, assist, help. If a web surfer lands on my blog and reads through a post, I always want them to leave with a better understanding than when they first landed.
And even if they never buy a thing, that’s enough – because I believe that what you put out in the universe comes back to you.
Affiliate marketing is ripe with “get rick quick” seekers – and this can lead to some pretty horrible characters in this niche. Don’t be one of them. It’s a wonderful way to make a living – and do good at the same time.
Ok, I’m off my soapbox. Happy marketing!
Next Post: In my next post on affiliate marketing, we’ll delve into some different ways to effectively promote your affiliate products and services (update — the post was published).