Affiliate Marketing is an excellent way to make money from home without the responsibility of creating products and services, or even managing customer service. The fact that it’s possible to grow an email list or nurture a blog following and market someone else’s product to others and get paid for it is, well, pretty fantastic.
But, what affiliate programs yield the best rewards? Which programs have steep competition and aren’t worth the investment of your time? I’m going to share my experiences and help guide you to the best affiliate marketing programs to join.
How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing
Before I get into my list of favorites, I want to give you some tips and information that will help you get started and make the most of being part of an affiliate program.
- Make a list of the products or services you’ve mentioned before. My list of favorite high-paying affiliate programs may not be right for you, but you can still be successful by finding affiliate programs for the products and services you already know, use, and love.
- Be strategic in your program choices. Don’t just join every program you can find. Choose a few programs to focus your efforts on. You’ll be more successful and earn more money through affiliate marketing this way.
- Actively nurture your relationship with programs. It’s not enough to throw some banner ads in your sidebar. Stay up to date on the latest promotions and promote them for the best results.
- Disclose, Disclose, Disclose! Per the regulations of the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), you are legally required to add a disclosure at the top of every post and page which contains affiliate links.
Affiliate Programs For Bloggers
There are many affiliate programs out there. This list covers some of my favorite high-paying affiliate networks for bloggers + some information on those that may not work well for everyone and why. Choose a couple that are relevant to your content and start testing different strategies (I love that Pinterest allows affiliate links!).
It seems like everyone’s heard of Adsense, Google’s native banner ad system. The general idea is that you apply to become part of the program, and once approved you can use a special code which uses cookie tracking technology to produce ads on you website for your viewers. Almost anyone can join the Adsense program provided that they have an active website that follows Google’s guidelines.
But just how profitable is the Adsense program?
Adsense works by paying you for the number of clicks on banners + your page views. The problem is that this amount is so small that it can take months to generate enough traffic to even begin seeing earnings, much less the amount of time it takes to reach the payment threshold.
For this reason, Adsense isn’t one of my favorite affiliate options. I mean, if you are going to put banners all over your website, it should be for something you truly believe in. Adsense works the best for very high traffic blogs, but at that point… I would honestly focus on marketing to an email list instead.
Amazon’s affiliate program is probably the most well known program out there. The nice thing about Amazon Associates is that it’s a good program that any blogger can utilize given that it’s so easy to find a product to focus on no matter what your niche (I like to upsell Amazon Prime, because what entrepreneur doesn’t like free shipping?)
Sounds pretty easy, right? – Because everyone loves Amazon!
Unfortunately, this also makes for steep competition. Making money with Amazon Associates is difficult because while it’s easy to get people to click on a link to buy a product, chances are that they’ve already clicked on someone else’s link within the cookie tracking period.
Still, I like the ability to easily link to any page. It makes showcasing products in a blog post very easy to do and there’s really something for everyone there. Here’s an example of some products I might promote as a B2B blogger and designer:
As far as email marketing software goes, ConvertKit is top notch. Guess what? It’s affiliate program is pretty stellar too. Okay sure… I really do love their product and even use it for my own email list growth, but I will admit that the affiliate program is a nice touch.
CK’s program is a little different than most. Unlike a lot of programs out there, you don’t just a earn a percentage of the sale one time. Instead, ConvertKit pays the affiliate 30% recurrent – that is to say, if Person B signs up under Person A, then Person A will get paid 30% of whatever B’s monthly bill is as long as they remain signed up as a customer.
Yes. This really means that for every month someone pays ConvertKit $30 for up to 1,000 subscribers, CK pays me $8.70. It doesn’t sound like a lot on its own, but imagine if you had 10 people signed up. That’s what makes the ConvertKit Ambassador program so lucrative and worth signing up for.
I love how “hands on” CK is with their program. In addition to the great graphics they provide you with per promotion, they send you email swipe copy and tips for maximizing your chances of making a sale.
This is hands down one of my favorite programs because there’s really something for everyone. Ultimate Bundles is a website that sells different collections of online resources at great, lower prices (Think $3000 worth of tools for under $100). As an affiliate, you earn 40% of every sale you make.
Some bundles are open for a limited amount of time for sake of urgency, while others are evergreen and can be promoted year round. (I’m especially fond of the Conquer your Clutter bundle because I’m a messy Virgo).
But wait, there’s more…
UB uses a second tier affiliate system. This means that if Person B signs up under Person A, A will receive a % of B’s sales too for up to 90 days following their sign up. It’s not a lot of money, but it can add up nicely when you have others actively promoting a bundle and making sales too.
No seriously – I’m not done…
Affiliates get 40% off the cost of every bundle they want to purchase for themselves. But who cares about that when you actually get a copy of the bundle for FREE if you sell it 5 times.
Still not done…
Most affiliate programs offer you links and banners to work with, but Ultimate Bundles really helps you take things to the next level. They provide lots of graphics for all social media (including Pinterest!), email swipe copy to make it easy for you to market to your list (or even just use them for inspiration like I do), and beautifully created landing pages so that buyers get all of the information they need for making an informed decision.
It’s no secret that I love Siteground. I’ve used several other web hosting companies over the last decade, and Siteground is the best, affordable option for any entrepreneur looking for shared hosting. For me, that makes selling Siteground to friends and business buddies easy… and their affiliate program sure does help.
Like ConvertKit and Ultimate Bundles, Siteground puts a lot of effort into their affiliate program. I’m always impressed by their promotion specific banners and their attention to detail. They have some great deals every year, including a Black Friday / Cyber Monday promotion which easily earns me enough affiliate income to start my new year off with a clean slate financially (just in time for taxes).
My favorite part is the sort of reward system – you actually get a higher commission rate based on the number of sales within a 30 day span:
- 1-5 Sales: $50/sale
- 6-10 Sales: $75/sale
- 11-20 Sales: $100/sale
- 21+ Sales: $125/sale
I joined the AWIN exclusively for access to Etsy’s affiliate program because I like the idea of supporting handmade and small business – and getting paid to do it. But it turns out that there’s a little secret to AWIN that I think most of their affiliates don’t know about.
Did you know that AWIN will pay you $30 for every person who signs up using your link? I know, I was surprised too. I mean, that’s a lot of money to pay someone to do something for free.
As if that wasn’t enough reason on its own, AWIN (formerly known as Affiliate Window) has one of my favorite affiliate program user interfaces. In fact, yours truly was part of the team that provided feedback to make it as user friendly as it is today.
(Other fun fact: My how to guide for joining AWIN is used to teach their new employees.)
Get Started & Earn Money!
Sign up using the programs I mentioned and you can start earning money today! Come up with some strategies to bring this form of monetization to your blog posts, email list, and social media channels. That’s right – you aren’t limited to just placing links in posts and hoping for the best.
What are you going to do to incorporate affiliate marketing into your money making plans?