Ask The Expert

Affiliate Marketing: What You Need to Know as a Blogger

BY MARK RUSSELL – CEO of Optimus Performance Marketing, the largest affiliate marketing company in Europe.

If you’ve never heard of the term ‘Affiliate marketing’ before, or are somewhat unsure of what it is, then you’re not alone.

To put it in layman’s terms, affiliate marketing is a type of performance marketing where retailers are able to reward influencers for each new customer or purchase made through the influencers own marketing efforts. Brands then reward the influencers or ‘affiliates’ for the purchases they drive.

With many individuals in London now indulging in keeping a blog as a fun hobby, here are a selection of top tips for anybody looking into becoming an affiliate.

Top Tips for Bloggers Considering Becoming Affiliates

Are you doing it for the right reasons?

It’s all well and good thinking that your blog is at the stage where it could start making you money, and it’s true that affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to make money online.
However, simply because you want to ‘make money’ should not be the sole reason for wanting to continue a blog. Blogging and writing insightful and imaginative articles that strike a chord with your audience should be the ultimate driving force spurring your blog on. Readers will see through posts that are too promotion-heavy.

Do you have a wide enough following?

In order to start making some money from your blog, you don’t necessarily need to have thousands and thousands of existing subscribers. In our experience, much of the engagement and comments left on a lifestyle blog will be from individuals who have organically discovered your site through social media pages and not by those who are already subscribed to your blog. If you feel as though your content is generating enough unique views, engagement and comments from a wide plethora of readers, then becoming an affiliate site is absolutely something to consider seriously.

Are you driving enough traffic to your blog from social media platforms?

We cannot highlight enough the important role that social media will play in whether or not a move into the realm of affiliate commission is a successful one. By staying active and sharing original content on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google + and Pinterest, you can make sure you are continually building your following and chances of making commissions through sales made through your site. It is also worth actively encouraging shares, retweets and re-pins of particularly popular posts, especially by other high-profile bloggers who may follow you.

Is your content engaging enough for your audience?

If you are seriously interested in making money through your blog, you will need to start writing reviews of products and services with affiliate marketing in mind. You cannot simply throw links out randomly and expect a wave of commission to start rolling in. It is far more effective to think of the affiliate links as added resources that compliment your existing copy, and not the sole reason you have written the piece in the first place.

Do you have the extra time to dedicate to your blog?

Perhaps a rather straightforward point, but chances are you already juggle writing and managing your blog with full-time work or studying. Therefore, an important question to ask yourself is whether you can dedicate the required amount of time to monetising your blog, especially if it starts to do very well for you. Would you be willing to forego the odd night out or shopping trip with friends in order to stay in and work on your blog? If the answer is no, then you might want to re-think your options.

Would you know the kinds of affiliate programs to approach?

Affiliate links will earn you commission if you successfully drive a sale to the merchant, which means that a blog reader will need to click on one of your embedded links, and either purchase or sign up to something before you see any kind of commission. Therefore, the more relevant your affiliate ad is to your reader’s likes and preferences, the higher the chances they will click on the link and make a subsequent purchase.

Mark RussellMark Russell is CEO of Optimus Performance Marketing, the largest affiliate marketing company in Europe. Mark spotted the opportunity for a performance management agency for all size of merchant in 2006, and Optimus PM was born, with Mark and OPM at the forefront of performance marketing ever since. As a passionate Plymouthian Mark takes a pride in his links with the local business and football communities, working closely with Plymouth University to foster a broader understanding of e-commerce, and as chairman of a local football club.

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