I don’t think I’ve ever discussed affiliate marketing on my blog before, but since graduating in 2014 I have worked in the industry across a number of different clients. Currently, I’m a Senior Affiliate Manager for a large online beauty retailer so I’ve seen how Affiliate Marketing can be used by bloggers and how it benefits both parties.
If you are wanting to monitise your content in 2017, it can be a really nice way. Especially if you are adding affiliate tracking to things you’d link to anyway.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
You post a tracked link > someone clicks and buys stuff > commission for you – simple
Its all based on you being a good advocate for the brand, having an influence on your readers and making sales for the brand you are promoting. Commission can be anything from a standard rate of 7% for example or based on whether you generate new customers to their site (typically you’ll get more commission for new customers!). They can also vary by product type, so a company may pay 2% on sale items or if it’s an electrical product. Its usually displayed clearly on whatever network you use so you know what you are entitled to.
How do I get started?
There are a number of ways you can get set up and start monitising your content:
rewardStyle – Probably the most popular amongst mid sized and large influencers as they are all about making it easy for you. The downside to this is that you don’t always have access to the highest commissions. If you think of it as rewardStyle are an affiliate themselves, they take a cut of the commissions and pass on a % to you – which is usually around 75% I believe, you are potentially missing out on £££.
You can sign up to rewardStyle and take advantage of Liketoknowit which has taken over Instagram as well as all of their other features over on their site. However, you do have to apply and they will reject you if you don’t make the cut. Trust me, it’s happened to me… ouch.
Affiliate Network – There are loads of different ones, but companies like John Lewis, Currys, New Look, lookfantastic and Boots all run on Affiliate Window. It looks technical but you apply to each programme and once accepted you are good to go. It’s really easy to generate your links for the homepage, list pages, product pages etc. and you simply paste them on your blog or social.
You can put in as much or as little time into it as you like. You can have a direct relationship with the account managers at AWIN (Affiliate Window) or the company you’ve applied for (someone like me). You can discuss collaboration opportunities, increased commission etc or you can go solo and contact nobody, generate and post your affiliate links and make that dollar.
So, do you have to disclose when you are wacking affiliate links here there and everywhere? The law is a little blurry and even for someone who works in Affiliate Marketing I can’t say exactly what you have to do. However, my suggestions are disclose at every available opportunity.
- Your brand as a blogger is all based on your credibility. There is nothing wrong with making money from affiliate links, but I recommend you disclose where possible.
- Add it into your about me page so your readers know, but I know this isn’t enough to cover you in terms of the law. So I’d suggest adding it to your posts, whether that is at the end of after every link (I’ve seen people do both).
- Loads of bloggers share their rewardStyle links on Twitter and I refuse to click the majority of them, especially when it simply isn’t organically posted and they are sat waiting for someone to click that link and buy whatever they have told them to. I have a lot more respect for those who hashtag #aff at the end. I’m not saying you need to do this and I’m not enforcing any laws here, but you’ll at least keep your credibility that IMO a lot of bloggers have lost!
- There is a thing called a cookie period, so if someone clicks on your tracked affiliate link it remains in their cookies for 30 days so you’d be rewarded even if they bought a week later for example. This is providing the user doesn’t come through another paid channel afterwards, which would over write this.
- CPA means cost per acquisition and this is then payment model most affiliate programmes follow. This means that you get paid for every sale, not every click.
- You will have to wait for your £££ – this is due to the fact that companies don’t pay out on any sales that aren’t valid. So you have to wait 30 days (usually to allow for the return period), for sales to be validated. Commission won’t be paid out on fraudulent sales, returned sales or those that are cancelled by the customer. This is also why it takes so long for your cash back to be paid if you use Quidco.
- Some programmes will look at Pay per assist models, which you will benefit from if you work with the companies directly via a network like Affiliate Window. This means that a % of the commission will be paid to you even if you weren’t the last click and you assisted or influenced the sale.
- Unless you pay attention to the URL you’ve clicked through on, you probably wouldn’t realise you’ve clicked on an affiliate link. They may look like rstyle.me or www.awin1.com.
It’s so simple to get started and actually really interesting to look at whether you influence your readers purchase decision. This is a really basic guide so if you have any more questions, email me – firstname.lastname@example.org.