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6 Laws Every Blogger Should Know About Affiliate Marketing

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

Making money from affiliate marketing is a challenge for many beginning bloggers.  In theory, it sounds easy – All you do is talk about a product and place a few banner ads on your site.

Unfortunately the reality is a little different.  If you’ve blogged for any period of time then you know it’s downright hard to make money with affiliate marketing.

The good news is there are six laws to follow for increasing your affiliate earnings:

Law #1: Provide Information People Really Want

There are several different benefits to blogging. Some people simply enjoy writing and maintain a blog as a hobby.  Others use blogs to earn money. Monetizing a blog isn’t terribly difficult, but it does take time and effort. If you’re honestly serious about managing a blog you can earn money.

The trick to earning a sizeable affiliate income with a blog is to “be known” as a person who regularly releases incredible content.  Over time you’ll build a loyal group of followers who buy what you recommend – Simply because they trust your opinion.

Law #2: Market Products You Personally Use

If you’re offering a solution to someone’s problem by marketing a product that actually helps readers, you’ll pique their interest.

Although plenty of marketers would disagree with me, I only feel comfortable marketing products or services that I would use myself or suggest to my close friends and family. Some people will market anything that they think will earn them some money, but I’ve noticed something: it’s really easy to tell when a marketer actually cares about the product or service they’re selling.

Most of us have a sixth sense that lets us know if someone is in business to help people, and it makes us want to buy from that person. If you can’t find anything good to say about a product, you probably shouldn’t be marketing it.

As an example, you’ve probably noticed I talk a lot about Blog Success.  I feel comfortable promoting this site as an affiliate because it’s the service I used to create this blog.  In addition, it currently helps me stay on top of what’s currently working with blogging.  Bottom line is I happily promote this site because I know it’ll help anyone interested in achieving success with blogging.

Law #3: Become an Evangelist for your Affiliate Products

It’s your job as a blogger and an affiliate marketer to completely understand the product.  I’m not talking about only knowing what’s found on the sales page. I mean you should understand every little detail on what you’re promoting – Both the good and the bad.

People want honesty.  As you know, the Internet is full of overhyped crap.   So you’ll gain a lot of trust and authority if you’re not afraid to admit that a product has a few drawbacks.  In fact, you can actually increase affiliate earnings by telling readers why they shouldn’t buy a product.  On a long enough timeline you’ll make money because you’ll be known as that guy/gal who gives honest recommendations.

Law #4: Build an Email List

Aside from getting personal enjoyment from what you’re doing, the primary focus of your blog should be to gain and keep readers. This is getting easier to do than it was in the past, thanks to RSS Feeds and plug-ins that allow people to easily follow you (and your blog updates) on social media networks. The more methods you use to “hook” people, the better.

All of these methods are great for growing readership.  However, the best way a blogger can earn an affiliate income is to build an email marketing list.  With a list you can turn casual readers into people who take action on the products you recommend.

Obviously, you need to give subscribers a reason why they should stay on the list.  This can be easily accomplished by giving away content/freebies that’s not found on your blog.

How do you build an email list?  The best way is to offer what’s known as a “lead magnet.”  This is a small report offered in exchange for a reader’s email address.

You can create a lead magnet by paying close attention to the questions you’re often asked, or the comments left on your blog posts.

If you notice a common trend, then it’s probably something that would make a great small report.  If you offer readers something of high value – For free – You’ll get a lot of email subscribers.

Law #5: There’s NO Such Thing as an Overnight Success

Although it’s definitely possible to earn a six-figure income with affiliate marketing, most likely you aren’t going to get rich overnight. (If you do, I’ll definitely sign up for your e-book!)

The trick to blogging as an affiliate marketer is momentum.  At first, it’s hard to make money with this business model.  But keep chugging along.  With consistent effort, you’ll make a few sales.  Then more will come in if you keep creating content and talking about quality products.

The key here is to not give up.  You will face some challenges.  The secret is to keep working hard – Even when things aren’t going right.  I promise there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  All you have to do is keep moving towards it!

Law #6: What is YOURS?

In the title I promised “6 Laws Every Blogger Should Know About Affiliate Marketing.” Here’s where YOU come in…  I’ve purposefully left the 6th law blank because I want to hear your thoughts.  What law would you include on this list?

Comment below and tell me about your secret ingredient for blogging/affiliate marketing success…

Take Action. Get Results.



{ 42 comments }

Sean Mathena

#6 Read the Steve Scott site, and follow his example of posting everyday! (Its not easy)

Steve Scott

Thanks Sean, that is an awesome one. Hear that guys. Get reading! 😉

Shane Ryans

Steve, you are correct. Overnight success is a myth. You have to be willing to work hard, or you will not succeed.

Steve Scott

Too many people are still fooled by lure’s of how easy it is. I think there is a growing population of “honest people”.

Ones that want to make money of course, but are willing to offere real value in return, so hopefully it is getting better, but sharks will always be out there.

Aaron

Thanks Steve, I completely agree with using the products that you are trying to sell. Not only can you honestly speak from personal experience, but you can intelligently answer questions about the product or service when asked.

Steve Scott

Thanks Aaron,

There is so many reason really why really believing in a product is a good idea. Another one is that a good product sells itself. Some scammy flea bitten product you may have to work to convince people that it is good, but a good product will not take a lot of effort.

Murlu@Create an Email List

The big “do what you teach” thing comes to mind – which is #2 obviously – I hate when people try to pitch me on products that I KNOW they don’t actually use or have even bought to take a look on what goes on behind the scenes. It’s purely unethical but that’s just the nature of the world we live in – everyone has the do their due diligence when it comes to buying products.

Steve Scott

Yeah, I agree.

I don’t even think every product has to be “good”. I have known some good people who have enjoyed some crappy things. But it is easy to tell when someone believes and when someone doesn’t

The sad thing is that with this little bit of discretion I believe sales are increased too.

Fran Aslam

Hi Steve:
Happy Friday to you
Good info for affiliate’s post. You have added all the basic factors to start working as an affiliate. Knowledge for your affiliate product is the basic power that others buy from you.
Now the next question is for starting the affiliate work, what kind of traffic is necessary to really get the sales. List will take some time once you start it along with the affiliate reviews.

Liked to read the post, just the perfect amount of reading, not too short, and not too long.

fran A

Steve Scott

Lists do take time. For my main niche I have been building my list for over three years. But it was well worth it..I have been living off mainly that list for a year.

Numbers can depend a lot on what niche you are in and how loyal your readers are. I think even with small niches it is important to keep some contact with your list as it grows. Maybe once a week-10 days. Offer mainly free and good stuff at first. If you bombard your list with just affiliate offers remember you will risk burning therm out.

Alex@Jocuri

#6 After a while, STOP reading all those ebooks and start doing something. If you keep reader and reading, it may help you to learn a lot about affiliate marketing, but if you wont try it you wont be able to apply all that knowledge.
This advice is because of my own frustration, because I read a lot of things about aff marketing but I still fail to apply it.

Steve Scott

Alex,

This is a GREAT one. I love to read and learn but you nailed it. You should only do so much before TAKING action. Mistakes will be made but they can be fixed. I think my focus and skills as a blogger were bad when I started. I think I have improved, and I am hopefully continuing to improve, but the best way to do that is to DO IT.

Not only does action teach you, but without action sometimes reading about it can start to confuse you when you have a decent idea of what to do. Read a little…. DO IT…. read more and refine. simple and easy.

Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach

Law #4 Law #4 Law #4 Law #4 Law #4 Law #4 Law #4 Law #4 Law #4 Law #4

OR should I say,

Law #4 Law #4 Law #4 Law #4 Law #4 Law #4 Law #4 Law #4 Law #4 Law #4

I would also add, become a known leader in your industry, as folks will trust your recommendations far more than the typical Jane down the Internet highway. And yes indeed, there IS no overnight success UNLESS you’re in the right place at the right time with the right product (which happened to me back in 1998. Glorious that way, glorious….)

Steve Scott

Barbara, tell us what you really think!

I do agree 100% though. It may be my mantra, I am constantly harping on the power of the list to people I know and talk to, because I have seen its effectiveness in action in my main niche.

My list is not anything super-dooper here yet. The people on it are super of course, but the numbers are not nearly in the range that I make sure sales every message. Rome was not built in a day, though. (or even a week or a month)

Being a leader in your niche is HUGE plus. AGreed!

I think often EVEN the being in the right place at the right time is often not instant. There are a few that luck into this, but I think most people WORK to be in that place and prepare for that time. It may come quick and happen quick, but they work to be ready for it.

I would enjoy hearing how you hit it big in 98′ sometime.

Evelyn

Hi Steve,

You provided some very helpful tips!

I’m just getting into affiliate marketing and still learning the ropes. But one thing I make a practice of is only promoting a product that I have personally used and like. I think that has the most impact on others who are considering a purchase and they will respect you more. There are a few products that I have tried and didn’t like, but have yet to share with my readers. We’ll see!

I did a review on YT and was very honest about what I thought. It wasn’t a good review, because I had purchased what I thought was worth the money. Long story short, I had some people contact me and thank me for doing what I did. I hated doing that review, but I knew it would help others from getting beat out of their money. (Just wanted to share)

Thanks for this informative post. I have a lot of things that I will be doing differently in 2011. And it is bloggers like you who motivate me to keep on moving. 😉

Take care and have a great weekend!

Evelyn

Steve Scott

Thanks Evelyn!

I think you will do great in your venturing into affiliate marketing. I know you are already a good writer, and building a feeling of trust and loyalty in the people who follow you (on blog, in email; whatever) is essential.

Patricia@lavenderuses

Hi Steve

#6 only write honest product reviews!

I think we are all getting so tired of the hype of “must have gizmo” or you will not succeed! So I think we should also be genuine too. So many aren’t and when you are people really notice.

And it goes without saying, give excellent customer service 🙂 Thanks for continuing to give excellent information to your readers Steve. Learning heaps.

Patricia Perth Australia.

Steve Scott

That is a great one Patricia.

Sort of ties into #2. So I certainly agree. I will not say I am scared to use a little “hype” on a product, possibly to my detriment. BUT I always do believe in the product.

This is essential, if you say a product can make you a “100 dollars a day” the average person whould be able to unbox it and do just that. The “half-asses” person who unboxes it and only uses 1/2 of the potential should even make at least 40$.

Every product should do what you say or people lose faith in you and you “burn them out”

Bryan

Hey Steve,

Law #2 and Law #1! I think people should personally market products that they are using and have been useful to them and not a review of a product that they haven’t actually used before. I think if you are a user of a product you are more likely to give an honest opinion of a product, and honest I mean laying out the pros and cons of it.

Steve Scott

Very True Bryan.

Using a product (or at least having “read it” for an info product) is core. If you just go off of theory, there is no way to tell if the product is good or utter junk.

The last thing a “good” marketer want to do is peddle junk. Some marketers want a sale and be gone. I don’t like that. I think the way is to be honest and develop a relationship.

In the long run this method will get many sales over a life, rather than one and gone.

JimiJones@PersonalDevelopment

# 6 – Keep honesty and integrity above any and all sales.

No sale is worth causing your reputation to take a hit. When trust has been lost it can be most difficult to regain.

You have a great list here already, and as long as these things are observed most people will be okay.

I’ll add a # 7 – Have a great return policy.

Rather than get into a discussion that may turn negative or cause bad feelings, it’s better to refund the money and move on. I like a “no questions asked” policy. Couple this will solid products and the buyer usually has to bend the truth for a refund. Even then, give it up and be done. Life’s too short for the hassle.

Regarding # 5

I just got an email from somewhere the other day saying that I could make 6-figures in 90-days. I didn’t even read enough to find out what the offer was because we know it’s just not true.

Hard work is what gets the job done!

Steve Scott

Honesty and integrity are very important, and great points.

Return policy is a great point. on stuff “I” give out I always have an unquestioned return policy. In my other niche I have on occasion been asked for a refund and I get it to them as quickly as possible.

Sometimes though as an AM, you do not have control over that. I assume that most products I endorse stand by there work, but if I KNOW a product does not and refuses to refund, I would likely stop endorsing it.

TBH I do not always research that, but perhaps I should. Standing by your work is an important part of quality.

As for #5 i have gotten a few of those my self. I either ignore, or I read them and laugh

Steve Youngs

My offering for a sixth law: Master the other five laws!

I also have a question or two concerning the fourth law (email lists):

How often should you send something out to the list?
Is it better to send regularly like once a week/fortnight/month or is irregular intervals OK?
What about content length? Similar to blog articles, or longer/shorter?

Thanks for the pearls of wisdom, Steve, I really appreciate it, and do my best to soak it all up.
Kind regards,
Steve

Steve Scott

I think most of your questions are answered here:

http://www.stevescottsite.com/6-affiliate-marketing-emails-that-make-you-money

The short answer is it varies. Mix up the lengths. An occasional just quick sales message is fine, but I do recommend mostly (80-90%) be mainly informative and quality “blog post” type stuff.

You do not want to go too frequently. Personally I do a 2-3 days or a week between mine. You do not want messages to be so far apart people forget who you are, but you also do not want people to think you are spamming them (even if the info is great)

The link (and sample posts linked within the link) should cover this in a lot more detail.

Kimi

Steve,

#No such a thing, success overnight, love it the most.

When i start selling stuff, about one week having no sales, i changed another products LOL.

This make worse, because i can’t concentrate what and which ones i should focus on selling.

Sooner i learn sell not too many stuff, try it myself and people start buying..

Steve Scott

The sooner people learn that all success takes some work, the better. I think that is as much of a LIFE clue as anything.

People want to lose weight, the only REAL way to do it is to work at it.

Get a head in your job: ditto

Success online: of course it takes work.

Really, IMO nothing of VALUE has an “easy” button. They all take some work and effort (and of course a little luck) to succeed

Ryan Renfrew @LifestyleDesign

Law # 6

Blog with passion

John McNally

Law #6…. Always finish a post with an open question to encourage comments. 😆

Seriously though, this was a good idea Steve, I enjoyed reading the other suggestions. 8) I’m with Jimi on keeping integrity and no questions asked refunds. I’m also pleased that I can relate to Barbara. I also hit on a money-spinner in 1998, but it took me 20 years of work to get ‘lucky’.

My current weakness is #4 the eMail list, but I’m working on that, or at least doing a lot of thinking about it. 😉

John

Mark of Success

Steve,

You already got some interesting suggestions, and here is mine:

Law #6: Strike a good balance at marketing
Market enough so that people are kept interested in the offers that you make. Do not market too much, lest people get tired of your sales pitches.

Cheers,
Mark

Tanya

Great article for 6 “Laws Every Blogger Should Know About Affiliate Marketing.” Now here’s another law too, “Every Blogger Should Read This Blog Post.” Seriously, this is such a big help. Thanks!

Steve Scott

Haha, love it! Thanks for a great comment Tanya. I appreciate the ego stroking! 🙂

hallygirl

Sir, I have gone thru a lot of post but you talk it straight. Two thumbs up for you. Now I have to reformat what my blog is all about.How was it sir if you have no product to promote or service? you just want to inform your reader about a good cause? does that sell too? I’ll be back tomorrow to check your answer sir.

Jessica

Great post for me I like a “no questions asked” policy. Couple this will solid products and the buyer usually has to bend the truth for a refund. Even then, give it up and be done. Life’s too short for the hassle.

Precy

A very informative article. Thank you so much for the tips. By this i’ll be reminded of the things to do and not to do.

michael

Sometimes though as an AM, you do not have control over that. I assume that most products I endorse stand by there work, but if I KNOW a product does not and refuses to refund, I would likely stop endorsing it.

colbie5

I’m also pleased that I can relate to Barbara. I also hit on a money-spinner in 1998, but it took me 20 years of work to get ‘lucky’. | 😛

horisson123

I assume that most products I endorse stand by there work, but if I KNOW a product does not and refuses to refund, I would likely stop endorsing it.great job!!!

Hellena01

I enjoyed reading the other suggestions. 🙂 I’m with Jimi on keeping integrity and no questions asked refunds. I’m also pleased that I can relate to Barbara.

Danny

Great laws!
I want to add to law #3 that if you sell physical products you should not just show the negative side but also try to give a solution, be it in a fix or a better product.

Steve Scott

I think that is great for online products too. There is nothing wrong with saying this is a good product but wish it had this…. for one thing th people who make it might hear you and put that in it, fo another it makes what you do say that much more believable because of the qualification.

hunterX0506

Great post for me I like a “no questions asked” policy. Couple this will solid products and the buyer usually has to bend the truth for a refund. | 😛

Harry01

like a no questions asked policy. Couple this will solid products and the buyer usually has to bend the truth for a refund. Even then, give it up and be done.

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