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Online affiliate marketing is one way you can earn money travel blogging or any kind of niche blogging.But, making money from affiliate marketing was not something we put much effort into when we first started travel blogging.
Because … well, because we’re freakin CRAZY!!!!!
Not implementing any affiliate marketing tips and a strategy from the beginning is our biggest regret.
Don’t worry if you don’t have traffic at the moment, get started with affiliate marketing. Something you write now could get unlimited traffic in a few months’ time and then you’ve missed a golden opportunity to earn affiliate money.
Like we did.
My friend, Michelle, from Making Sense of Cents, has recently created a course on affiliate marketing, which I have done and am now an affiliate for. In sharing her course, I’m going to offer some of my affiliate marketing tips that I’ve learned.
The good news for you is that from Thursday, October 11th to Sunday, October 14th, 11:59 p.m. PT, you can use the coupon code OCTOBER2018CC28OFF to receive $28 off the course.
Since doing Michelle’s Course, I’ve refined a few things and seen my affiliate income increase as a result. She earns over $50,000 a month with affiliate marketing and knows what she’s talking about.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is where you share, or promote, a service or product you didn’t create. If someone purchases that product through your recommendation, i.e. an affiliate link connected to you, you receive a commission.
The commission you receive for your recommendation can vary significantly depending on the product or service you share. Generally, tangible products and travel booking commissions will be as low as 4-6% and e-products and courses can go up to 50%.
Two types of affiliate marketing
From my experiences with affiliate marketing, I have categorized it into two types. Other people may call things differently, but this is what works for my brain.
Passive affiliate marketing tips
The first of my affiliate marketing tips is where you do the work once, as in producing (evergreen) content that includes your affiliate links and then you let time and traffic take over to continually bring in the income, even when you sleep.
This is everyone’s ideal right?
It still involves work, but there is nothing like seeing money flow to you from something you wrote (and forgot about) months, or even years ago.
It’s not ever truly passive. We do recommend you keep checking in with those posts to update, re-promote and refine. But, it’s a lot less work and non-intrusive as the next type of affiliate marketing.
This is a slower way to make money through affiliate marketing, but it’s long-term and passive, so it’s ultimate.
Active affiliate marketing tips
The second of my affiliate marketing tips is to talk about one-off launch type affiliate programs. They’re usually courses that are only released once a year or special deals.
I call them active because it is a launch process, which means you’re doing a lot of work promoting them during the finite launch period.
Unfortunately, for most of these affiliate courses, they don’t open their program until the launch starts. So you can’t write evergreen posts that include your affiliate link, which you can use to drive onto their lead list continually.
You do the majority of the work within the launch period and it has a lot of disadvantages such as content overload, too many partners promoting the same thing, and a reduction in your email openings and an increase in your spam complaints and email opt-outs.
It can be exhausting, but one-off affiliate launches can be great income. They work better if you have a strong influence and an email list. I only do these type of launches for products I’ve invested in myself and know are valuable and can change people’s lives.
B-School was the first active launch I did. I invested in the course myself and worked hard to get results using the training. Then I signed up to become an affiliate. I knew it was valuable and was not going to share it unless I knew you could get results. I’ve never seen a course produce so many success stories like B-School. It’s incredible. I’m probably not going to be an affiliate for B-School this year – for reasons I’ll explain another day.
With affiliate marketing, especially launches that involve big investments, it’s important you support it only if you are passionate about it and it feels right.
B-School is not quite feeling right for me this year as an affiliate. If you’ve followed us for awhile you know I’m only ever guided by my gut and won’t budge when it gives me the answer. I’m still humming over it.
The other two launches I support are Paradise Pack and The Ultimate Bundles – both offer fantastic value for bloggers, travelers, and entrepreneurs at a much lower investment than B-School. I use the products within the bundles myself weekly to improve my business.
And the Ultimate Bundles will have a photography pack I’ll share in a few months. I’m happy to share something for those interested in just travel.
This is a more labor-intensive way to make money affiliate marketing, but you can make large chunks of money in a short space of time.
9 affiliate marketing tips
1. Only brands/products you like, use and trust
Have an abundance mentality. You don’t need to partner with and share all the products out there.
I’m offered opportunities almost weekly to share programs as an affiliate. I reject a lot of money because it either doesn’t fit, or I haven’t tried it myself, nor am I interested in trying it.
There’s nothing wrong with testing new things, just back out if it didn’t work and always go with your gut feeling. I’ve made mistakes before but have worked to re-correct them. You don’t know everything and you’re not perfect. Allow yourself AND others the space to make mistakes.
Don’t base what you promote on commission rates either. They can vary quite a lot. Make it about what you want to share no matter your cut.
2. Invest in products yourself
As mentioned above, one of my most important affiliate marketing tips is that I invest in the courses I share and complete them before I share them. Some of these products are expensive, but I believe passionately in learning and growing.
Some of these products are expensive, but I believe passionately in learning and growing. I am my business so if I want it to rock, improving myself is key.
Many of these eCourses won’t let you be an affiliate unless you have invested and completed the course and love it yourself. I only allow participants of my 30 Day Money Cleanse to be affiliates. I only want genuine passionate supporters who understand the product and be a living example of how it can transform you.
I take a LOT of courses. I read a lot of books. I attend a lot of conferences. I share a small number of what I think is the best and worth my readers doing.
I just turned down an opportunity last week from someone asking me to promote their course. I know the person, their course would be good. The commission was high, but I haven’t done the course, and at this stage, I’m not doing any other blogging or business courses.
Sometimes, we share products that we may not have used, but feel safe in linking to. It might be a $5 doorstop or safety whistle. These aren’t really endorsements. People can check out the door stop and then go elsewhere.
We write posts like 11 of the best suitcases for travel where obviously we haven’t tried each suitcase, but Craig’s spent HOURS researching them to find the best.
We knew these are super useful posts, which saves our readers time and the feedback we get is overwhelmingly positive.
Use good judgment.
Which leads me to the next affiliate marketing tip…
3. Be valuable
Curation posts like I just mentioned can be hugely valuable to your readers. They want you to help save them time and money and to create a meaningful life.
Be that person for them. Go out of your way to make their life easier. Be an example of integrity and honesty. Help them out as much as you can, but do it with depth and consideration.
What do they need help with? Do the research for them and recommend only the most useful products and services.
Holy shit. So many people don’t do this. I know because I know.
I could rant about it and it’s annoying, but I can’t control what anyone else does, so I’m letting it go. But it’s a crucial one of my affiliate marketing tips.
We make money from this blog, but we put in a lot of hard work and passion to make it valuable for readers. If we don’t make money we can’t keep helping to change peoples lives in the way that we do. If you do that, you deserve to be paid, just like anyone in any job anywhere.
Most people won’t care if you maintain that honest and transparent relationship with them and only share value. I don’t care my chiropractor and kinesiologist make money – they make my life easier and better. I’m grateful they do.
Sure there are a lot of negative, cynical people out there who don’t believe you can be honest and make money and will project that BS onto you. People will hate you because you make money, especially if it’s something you love and “looks” easy.
That’s their problem. Invite them to go hang out elsewhere, but don’t hide for fear of them. Overcome them with honesty, passion, and kindness!
Invite them to go hang out elsewhere, but don’t hide for fear of them. Overcome them with honesty, passion, and kindness!
Putting the integrity aside, there are plenty of laws coming out now which means you can get into a lot of trouble if you’re found to not be disclosing. It’s always been a grey area and when we first started with small Amazon links I didn’t disclaim because I felt I was linking rather than endorsing.
But, now I think it’s better to just be upfront and safe.
We’ve had our developer create a little disclaimer sentence we can easily add to the beginning of every post. We check a box that says it contains affiliate links, or if it’s a sponsored post.
It’s a recent feature of our site and we’re now going back through all the posts again to add it in. [look above, you’ll see what we have. You can see it on our sponsored posts as well. It will say Sponsored by (brand name)]
I recommend putting your disclaimer at the beginning of the post just so the reader is aware as they are reading. We also mention it within the post and sometimes at the bottom.
5. Less is more –align with partners
We receive multiple emails a week from a new hotel or car rental booking site or VPN provider – the list goes on. Many of them I know are reputable and we could become affiliates and promote them on our site.
But, I choose not to. It becomes too much work on our end to manage, AND I find it’s too confusing and labor-intensive for the reader to give them multiple booking sites.
We have so much choice in modern society but it can be so overwhelming that we end up doing nothing. We’re about unplugging and simplifying.
My travel style has changed – I’m not going to spend half a day checking multiple accommodation sites to save an extra $10 on accommodation with the best deal. I just go to the ones I trust.
That’s why on our site, you’ll see we mostly only Booking.com, AirBnB, and Rentalcars.com.
I say mostly only because there are a couple of informative articles we have on finding cheap accommodation, finding cheap car rental or finding cheap flights, where it is important for us to list the various option for the reader.
So within those resource articles, we list other booking sites with the focus mainly on the ones we support and partner with.
We call them our partners on our site – not because we have any formal arrangement with them, just to signify that this is the affiliate we have chosen to align with and share.
We chose these affiliate partners because we’ve always used them and still do.
Actually, we used RentalCars.com long before I even knew what a blog was. It has nothing to do with affiliate commissions. I couldn’t even tell you who pays more out of all the different affiliate networks. It’s not why I choose to partner with someone.
6. Set up an affiliate system now
This should probably rank as my number one affiliate marketing tips – the biggest blogging mistake of ours was never bothering to set up an online affiliate marketing system from the beginning of our blog.
We didn’t believe in it at the beginning an thought it was a waste of time. We were focused on building our brand and other income strategies. actually, we didn’t know what we were doing.
The building of our brand was important, which has helped us build this platform and community and create incredible opportunities.
But as mentioned in the beginning, we missed the boat with online affiliate marketing and it has cost us a lot of time and effort to go back and set a system up.
Plan your affiliate strategy.
What will it look like? Who will you align with? What partners will you work with? How will you manage and record it? what content will you create?
7. SEO your posts
Search Engine Traffic is amazing for bringing you passive eyeballs and income. You write a post once that includes basic white hat SEO principles.
Your content is useful and epic and gets shared a lot. Then you let the search engines take over, (i.e. mostly Google and Pinterest). They then do the work of bringing over the passive eyeballs and income. Money while you sleep.
That’s another thing I’ve been doing – going back through 1500 posts to optimize them properly. This is what happens when you start blogging with no idea what you’re doing!! #killmenow
8. Offer bonuses
With one off active affiliate launches, I sometimes offer bonuses. They’re high-end products that involve a lot of investment of time and money. It can be a great way to encourage people to take the leap and receive more value.
I’ve offered bonuses with various things, but I’m not too sure I find it so valuable anymore. My gut lately has been saying “don’t like it anymore” for various reasons. Sometimes it works okay and I feel fine about it. Go with your gut.
Ensure you can track the purchases properly, otherwise, you won’t know who to give the bonus to.
Most affiliate marketing programs will have tracking attached but check this out first. If it’s a first click tracking, then bonuses won’t really work. You won’t know who clicked who’s link first. You can’t entice them to click on your link before they purchase to get the bonus.
But, if it’s a last click tracking then you can, as they’ll click on your link last before they purchase and so go through the tracking system connected to you
Phew. That was complicated.
9. Give back and let go
Use other people’s affiliate links. If someone has helped you out or introduced you to a good tool or service use their link, or reach out and ask them for it.
I believe in karma and putting out into the world what you want to receive back.
If I am going to purchase a product or service I will reach out to someone I know first who may have an affiliate link to that product. Why wouldn’t I help out a friend, especially if they were the ones that made me aware of it?
Help without expectation of receiving anything in return. Let go of the need for people to thank you and give you something in return – you’ll only get pissed off and it will shut down your goodness.
If you’re supporting and helping others, life will support and help you back. It can return in various abundant forms, but it starts with you first giving without expectation.
Also be aware that with affiliate marketing, sometimes tracking systems don’t work properly and you may not receive the commission. Caches get cleared, people last click via someone else and you won’t receive a commission.
I’ve lost thousands because of this. Have an abundance mentality and let it go. You’re sharing something ultimately because you think it can change their lives.
If that goal is achieved then celebrate that rather than crying over lost commissions. It’s just a part of affiliate marketing.
Trust that it will return to you thanks to the circle of life.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course
As mentioned, my friend Michelle has recently created her Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course, which I’m now sharing. I think it’s the best way to start with affiliate marketing.
Both Craig and I have completed this course and love it. I finished another affiliate marketing tips course at the same time as Michelle’s, which was also very good.
But, I found Michelle’s to be outstanding. She’s also earning an incredible amount of money from affiliate marketing so I say follow those who have what you want.
I could have earned more money in sharing the other course over Michelle’s but I believe her affiliate marketing course is better.
All her lessons on affiliate marketing tips flow nicely and are easy to understand with implementation tasks.
Everything is clearly described and explained and she shares all the resources to help you get started with affiliate marketing, set up an affiliate system, manage your affiliate marketing strategy, and how to create and promote content.
The best thing I love about the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course is the Facebook group. It’s one of the best course related Facebook groups I’m in.
Michelle is a very active leader and participant. Sharing, supporting and helping is encouraged. I am engaging with awesome people in there and learning important affiliate marketing tips.
Michelle has frequent Q & A and opportunities to critique and share each others’ work.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best and easiest ways to earn money online. We love it and have put in practices so we can receive and live off passive income for life, which means no more stressing about not having a superannuation or 401K plan in place.
I was pretty intermediate when I did Michelle’s course – definitely not earning $50,000+ a month!! #dreamsaremade of. How much travel can you do with that? (btw Michelle travels around the US in an RV) I still learned a lot from the course.
It’s a valuable investment if you want to earn money while you sleep and travel more in the waking hours.
Click here to get started with the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course
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What are your online affiliate marketing tips?
27 thoughts on “9 Online Affiliate Marketing Tips To Increase Passive Income”
A great summary of affiliate options. One thing to highlight though is how important it is to be very clear about the individual program rules. In particular, some programs do not allow you to use your affiliate link yourself – Amazon is a high profile example of this. But other programs, such as booking.com do let you, so you can use your own affiliate links to get a small discount on your booking via the affiliate payment
Yes. This is true! Such a great point for people to be aware of.
These are such great tips – especially the part about starting RIGHT AWAY. It’s so easy to incorporate affiliate links so you can always start small at first and grow as your site does. For bonuses, I suggest checking with the company you’re promoting first to confirm they allow this. Some do (like those courses with high end price tags) but some big brands discourage “incentivized traffic” – especially if they’re paying on a lead (free trial, email etc.). I’ve been an affiliate manager for years and just wrote an epic post about using affiliate links so the bonus thing is definitely of mind.
Yes this is true. Most programs will let you know upfront, but it’s worth checking. The SOMM course I’m affiliated doesn’t allow bonus offerings, which i really like.
Great tips and useful post! This will help us with improving our affiliated links on our site. Thanks !!!
Absolutely! My big ones pay well but don’t overlook small ones too. They all pay out over time. It’s like receiving an unexpected gift when you go back to an account and realise there is $100 sitting there for you. We can live on our affiliate earnings now and that allows us to travel full time. Love it!
Hey Caz, one question I have is do you localize your Amazon affiliate links? I know a lot of people do, I’ve never gotten around to it or know if it is even necessary anymore. What about yourself?
Yes. I use https://www.geni.us/ Although it’s only really paying for itself at the moment. but, once you install it, it’s easy to use so worth keeping at the moment. The only bummer for me is there is no Australian affiliate program via Amazon and that’s a big demographic for us.
Affiliate marketing income I’ve watched you come and quit my job then seen you go with a google shuffle but best of all i’ve watched my daughter grow because of the passive income you’ve brought in.
Great list of Tips Caz. I added this article to my favorites, I will see if it will work my blog. Thank a lot!
Thanks for this timely post. I am into affiliate marketing myself and I know the great potentials in the business and how fast it can make one financially stable if done properly. So, I always encourage those who are not into affiliate marketing to give it a second thought.
To start with, like you rightly noted, creating quality content from the outset is really important because the bulk of the buying customers that come to our site do so through the search engines. So, if the contents are not optimized, one could really miss a chunk of potential buyers.
There are a lot of issues with affiliates these days. I think the reason is because there is a high rate of joblessness and everyone seems desperate to earn a living. That accounts for why a lot of the ideal things are never done. For instance, a lot of affiliates deliberately omit the disclaimer because they don’t want it to be obvious to the readers that they are earning some money from the products they are reviewing. Those loyal followers would be glad to help you earn money if they are satisfied with what you are doing on your site.
If choosing fewer affiliate programs would make you more efficient, so be it. Better to promote a few ones and be great with them than to be the jack of all trades.
Well, your #9 is really amazing. I have never thought in that direction all my affiliate life. The best I have always done is to use the link of the person I visit his blog to join the affiliate program/product he has reviewed. I would give it a thought and possibly experiment to see how it goes.
Do have a lovely weekend ahead.
Thank you for leaving such a thoughtful comment and I agree with what you’ve said! Sometimes you can always follow through with number 9 as you may not remember who told you, but if someone personally recommended something to me, I’d use their link.
Just signed up for the affiliate course, thanks for the recommendation. I’m a huge believer in investing in yourself. I just started with affiliates earlier this year and am also kicking myself for not starting earlier. It’s going well, but I’m excited to learn more to earn more!
Totally. I think the more you invest in yourself the more you grow. Even if you only learn one thing, that one thing could be the game changer and make it worth it! I’ll see you in the FB group!
I hope this course help me to increase my blog income.
Thanks for sharing
Tip Number 8, So simple and sounds familiar, but it makes so mach better product and increase sales. Offering bonuses and increasing the value of the product has more effect in marketing that in profit itself. Sometimes the bonuses may be more like an investment in marketing than a profit by itself
Thank you for these useful tips. Affiliate marketing is something I have recently started myself. I am wondering if you are able to put a $ value on how much you think the Making Sense course has helped you?
It’s hard to say exactly as i have been working on affiliate marketing for some time so have laid a lot of groundwork. I’ve made several tweaks to my strategy since doing Michelle’s course. My affiliate income has increased by about $1500 a month. There is a lot more tweaks I’m still making especially in regards to what she recommends via Pinterest so do expect results to continue to grow. These are strategies I can apply forever so the ROI will always be increasing.
best practice tips for a profitable affiliate marketing business. Know Your Audience. Be Trustworthy. Be Helpful. Be Transparent about Affiliate Relationships. Select Affiliate Products Carefully. Try Different Programs. Write Timeless Content. Be Patient.
Monetising blog for making money is not easy as getting reader to blog .If we advertise our blog on social media i think we can make some money with social media.
I’m new to your blog. I found it on Google so you definitely know a thing or two about good SEO in the travel niche.
I think your point about letting go is really key to taking your income to the next level. So many bloggers quit because they think their readers own them something. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Treating your blog like a true business means = The customer is always right. If you let go about receiving and only care about what your readers want and need, then finding affiliate programs to promote becomes really easy.
I have to always go back to old posts and add links because I think to myself “Hey, I really liked this hotel. I recommend that you stay there.”
As long as I am giving all the advice I have, then I’ll at least impact my readers in a positive way. Earning money is the icing on the cake!
Wow great tips, It is going to help me a lot. The stuff is very well on affiliate marketing and useful for me. Thanks for sharing.
I’m starting now in the affiliate market. These tips will help me a lot.
Thank you, Caz. =D
You are a big help to me. I just made my blog and started doing affiliate marketing however I am struggling on the next step. I don’t know how will make people buy through my blog.
Great advise for all new affiliates. It takes a long time to get a reasonable amount of traffic. This will help a lot of people out
Just sitting down now after reading this post and realizing that I’ve also let the boat sail but now I have a call to action, so will get on it. As time is always a problem I’m still thinking I should get started registering with some Affiliate Networks now and look at the course later because it could take me weeks to get to the Network registration stage through the course and I’d have lost some time and revenue. Thoughts?
Possibly. As long as you know what to do with the networks when you register and which ones are good. It’s probably best to learn first to get it right from the beginning. But go with what you think is best for you