This post is monetized with affiliate links. If you click and buy something I will probably make some money.
I just returned from my first Type-A Parent Conference and was able to connect with a ton of awesome bloggers. Some of them are well seasoned in affiliate marketing, some have dabbled in it a bit, and some have never used an affiliate link in their life.
Along with Greg Hoffman and Karen Garcia I was able to speak about the basics of affiliate marketing as well as show off a few tools that make monetizing a blog post quick and easy. We had some great questions from the audience and as we talked to bloggers at our booths we were all very excited about the potential of this group.
If you were an attendee I know many of you are all set and know how to monetize your blogs with affiliate links but if you are just getting started here are 6 things you should do right now to get started. There is nothing magical here, nothing that is hard, and nothing you can’t do.
1. Sign up for Shareasale – The first thing you will need to do is sign up for the Shareasale affiliate network. Shareasale.com has over 4000 different merchants you an work with. They handle all the tracking, have a ton of tools to help you get your affiliate links, and handle your payouts. The signup process is very simple and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.There are other affiliate networks and platforms out there but Shareasale is the best place to start.
2. Find some old blog posts generating traffic – Take a look through your analytics an find 5 blog posts that are generating a decent amount of traffic. “Decent” is very subjective and will vary from blog to blog but pick some posts that are still relevant, still get traffic, or have been popular on your social channels. Maybe it is a holiday gift guide you wrote 2 years ago, maybe it is a product review, maybe it is just a story about your family vacation. It can be about most anything.
3. Search through Shareasale for merchants relevant to those posts – Once you are signed up for Shareasale you need to find the merchants you want to work with. Like I mentioned earlier there are over 4000 merchants to choose from. Some are big brand name merchants, some are small mom and pop stores. Some of them are being run by experienced, quality affiliate managers, some have no management at all.Once you are in your Shareasale interface you will want to click on the Merchant tab and then select Search for Merchants. Just enter a keyword in the search box and you will see all the merchants relevant for that keyword. Here is a screenshot of a search for “wine”. As you can see there are over 600 merchants to choose from for that search:There are bound to be a number of great merchants you can work with. If you need any specific recommendations please don’t hesitate to drop me an email and let me know what you are looking for and I can point you in the right direction. Here are a few merchants I would suggest starting with:
- Fanatics.com – I work there so of course I will recommend it. Over 400,000 licensed sports products are available for every team and league. We have the standard hats, jerseys, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. but there are also items like team logo wine glasses, leggings for women, baby gifts, slippers and scarves, shot glasses, folding camp/tailgate chairs, flags and banners, jewelry, pet items, tumblers, and pretty much anything else you can slap a logo on. If you have some gift guide posts you need to monetize there are some awesome options here.
- Spanx.com – Spanx just launched their affiliate program on Shareasale and the program is managed by Karen Garcia and Lab6Media. You know what Spanx are so I don’t need to explain that to you. If you have some old fashion posts lying around try throwing some links or banners for Spanx on them. Maybe you have a post about how you went to put on that 3 year old dress that doesn’t quite fit anymore and you had to wrestle yourself into your trusty Spanx. That is a perfect opportunity to throw some affiliate links in.
- Taste Trunk – Taste Trunk provides curated “trunks” containing different sauces, oils, seasonings, candies, snacks, condiments, and the like that make great gifts and would fit perfect in any gift guide focusing on gifts for guys, gifts for home chefs, gifts for the people you don’t really care about but need to get something, corporate gifts, etc. Apogee and Greg Hoffman run this program.
- Snake River Farms – Another program managed by Apogee. Snake River Farms sells high quality, high end meat including steaks, brisket, bacon, pork, roasts, ribs, and more. They have some great gift packs available or you can buy individual cuts. Their prime steaks and American Wagyu steaks are some of the best I have ever eaten. I promote them on my Complete Carnivore site and they are a great fit for any cooking for food blogs and gift guides.
- TFAW.com – Lab6Media manages this one as well. Things From Another World is a leading retailer of comics, toys, graphic novels, and collectibles. Their nick and dent section is a great place to find some timekillers for the kids for long car trips so if you have a blog about traveling with kids it is perfect. They also have everything you would want relating to all the super hero movies that are coming out so if you have a post talking about the latest Avengers or Batman movie there are some awesome products you can promote.
- Marbles, The Brain Store – Marbles sells awesome toys. These aren’t the normal Barbie/Lego/Transformers type toys. These are awesome, well made toys and games designed to stretch your brain. Blog posts about parenting children with disabilities, special needs kids, etc. are a perfect fit for some of these sensory toys and of course gift guides for kids are perfect.
- The California Wine Club – I have seen a lot of your blogs and FB posts and know a lot of you like wine or have wine related posts. California Wine Club will fit in any post about wine or any gift guide. Their gift subscriptions are great but you could also frame it along the lines of “After a long holiday season of parties, presents, decorating, and forced social interaction treat yourself with the Premier Series from The California Wine Club and get 2 bottles of award winning wine every month”.
- Panna Cooking – Panna is a new merchant recently taken over by Adam Riemer and is a no-brainer for any old recipe or cooking posts. Panna offers step by step tutorials from master chefs on how to cook some awesome dishes at home. They have some great payouts for 30 day trials so it should be an easy sell.
There are thousands of other merchants available on Shareasale so there is sure to be some merchant that will fit with your audience. All of these except Panna were represented at Type-A and you may have already talked to either me, Karen, or Greg about some of these. Sign up for these 8 merchants and any others you think would be a good fit for your site. Again, if you need any suggestions drop me an email at joe at whatdoesjoethink.com and I will be happy to make some suggestions.
When you apply for these or any other merchants there is a place on the application where you can explain what you are doing. USE THIS!!! Let the affiliate manager know what site you want to promote them on, how you want to promote them, and anything else you think they should know.
4. Add some affiliate links in these posts – After you have been approved for your merchants it is time to add in some links. My favorite tool for this is the Shareasale Product Discovery Bookmarklet. With this tool you can get your affiliate links for any page on a merchant site in just a couple seconds. Get this tool today and it will change your life. Another great option is the Gallery View from the Make A Page tool . Find 5 or 6 products relevant to your post and just add this in at the end of your post. You can have a cool looking product display complete with your affiliate links up on your site within a couple minutes. For example, if I had my post about wine and I wanted to include some products from The California Wine Club I could pick some of their products and build a display that looks like this:
If you really want to get fancy you can combine the Product Discovery Bookmarklet, Baskets, and Make a Page tool. If you need help with any of these tools let me know and I would be happy to walk you through any of them.
Also, after you add your affiliate links in be sure to share them again on your social channels. Chances are the content will be new to whoever sees it and if it is still relevant they will appreciate it as much as any new content you might put out.
5. Join some affiliate groups on Facebook - Facebook groups are becoming one of the preferred methods for affiliate program managers to communicate with their affiliates. Newsletters are OK but with Facebook groups managers can quickly and easily let you know about upcoming promotions, new products, top sellers, tips and tricks, and that sort of thing. Here are a few I know of and I am sure there are more:
Apogee Affiliates - Group for affiliates of Apogee merchants run by Greg Hoffman.
Fanatics Affiliates - For all affiliates of Fanatics, FansEdge, NFLShop, NBAStore, Shop.NHL, MLBShop, and any of our other properties.
And for good measure a couple more general affiliate groups:
6. Sign up for Affiliate Summit - Affiliate Summit is the biggest affiliate conference in the business. There will be over 6000 people attending in January in Las Vegas and the conference is run by Type-A Keynote speaker Missy Ward and her partner Shawn Collins. The show isn't all bloggers but there will be quite a few of them there along with merchants, service providers, affiliate networks, affiliate program managers, and other people associated with the affiliate industry. Passes can be had for $249 (sorry, you missed the Early Bird rates) but if you have the means I would suggest the VIP pass for $949 which gives you access to all the sessions, videos of the sessions, meals, drinks, and more. I have been to probably 20 Affiliate Summits and I have never regretted the investment. Affiliate Summit also holds out some free passes specifically for affiliates. You will need to submit your request by Nov. 11th to be considered so don't wait.
All in all getting started with affiliate marketing is very easy. Assuming a merchant gets you approved quickly you can monetize an old post in just a couple minutes. I would be happy to walk you through the process more thoroughly if you need it as well and give you some specific recommendations for your blogs. Just drop me an email at joe at whatdoesjoethink.com or jsousa at fanatics.com.