Can You Still Make Money with Affiliate Marketing?

Blogging has always been a popular and highly profitable activity. Famous bloggers earn millions of dollars from consulting and native advertising. Until recently, many bloggers were also using affiliate marketing to cash in their writing skills. The affiliate marketing is a process of driving leads to some commercial offers through inbound links and earning a percentage from every purchase your readers make. There are also other models that pay affiliates for each click or lead.

Recently, there’s been a lot of discussion about how profitable affiliate marketing really is. That’s why we have decided to analyze this concept and find out how much money bloggers, website administrators, and system organizers can make by posting affiliate ads and organizing networks.

From the organizer’s point of view…

We can analyze affiliate marketing from two considerably different positions. There are entrepreneurs who organize affiliate marketing systems and affiliates who promote their offers. Affiliate system organizers are usually the e-commerce entrepreneurs, who also run their own niche-specific blogs. Although some people think that affiliate systems are easy to manage, they actually require a lot of work. The entrepreneurs themselves need to create a highly popular blog or at least a social media page and use it for the promotion of their program.

Experts often mention the Amazon.com Associates as an example of a successful affiliate network. This is probably the biggest affiliate system in the world. Thousands of bloggers share Amazon offers on their websites and help Amazon to sell its products. When it comes to Amazon, we need to point out that this website was highly popular even before it introduced its affiliate system. That’s why it was very easy for them to promote their program and start cooperation with thousands of bloggers and web administrators.

The number of web administrators within the affiliate program is not the only criterion that determines the network’s efficiency. Bloggers who post product links and commercials need to be from the same niche and they need to be respected among the targeted audience. Since Amazon sells literally everything, every blogger can easily find an adequate product to promote. This way, the company doesn’t need to invest a lot of money or time in choosing their affiliates and fostering relationships with them. That’s why the Amazon Associates program is so effective and popular, but not all affiliate marketing programs are like that.

From the blogger’s point of view…

There are many bloggers who rely their whole business operation on affiliate sales. They invest a lot of time in managing traffic sources and creating beautiful landing pages in order to pre-sell the products they advertise. Their landing pages often work as product pages on online stores. From there, website visitors go directly to the retailer’s checkout.

Bloggers who want to turn affiliate marketing into a highly profitable business need to find a respectable affiliate network and to drive huge traffic to their blog. Driving traffic to a website or blog requires a lot of top-quality content and a smart marketing strategy, which should include: on- and off-page SEO, social media marketing, Facebook advertising, AdWords campaigns and many other marketing techniques, like PR or guerilla marketing.**.

Other than traffic, a blogger’s niche itself can be one of the most crucial factors for determining the profitability of the affiliate marketing model. Some niches are more popular than others. These are the most popular niches for affiliate marketing bloggers and web administrators:

  • Coupon websites;
  • Bloggers who write about couponing;
  • Bonus websites, like Ebates;
  • Loyalty shopping networks;
  • Virtual currency websites that give points to the users for their clicks and conversions;
  • Product review and product comparison websites;
  • Niche-specific blogs with high Google ranking for particular product keywords (like the blogs about GoPro cameras, running shoes etc.);

Affiliate marketing can be a great way to monetize your blog, but like most other schemes it requires very high traffic and a narrow selection of highly relevant products. Bloggers also need to find respectable advertisers or affiliate networks. They need to choose affiliate ads depending on the traffic source they use. The most important thing is that the ads they are trying to promote are interesting to their targeted audience. Although the concept of affiliate marketing seems a little bit too commercial, readers love when bloggers give them suggestions on what to buy. That’s why you should never advertise the products and services you wouldn’t buy or use yourself.

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Andre Bourque (SocialMarketingFella) is Editor Emeritus of Technorati.

He covers emerging trends and news in social, mobile, cloud, and related technologies.

Based in San Francisco, he can be contacted via his social channels and at: andrefbourque@gmail.com

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