I've recently become very excited about affiliate marketing. While it's been around a long time, it's constantly changing. Affiliates are working more and more with bloggers and giving them tools and guidance that can help them create an unlimited earning potential -- even with a new or small audience!
Before I tell you my ten favorite affiliate programs that I use to earn money on my blogs, I wanted to tell you what I look for when trying to decide if an affiliate program will be a good fit. If a program doesn't offer at least a few of these perks, I usually look elsewhere:
Some of the newer affiliate programs start by offering very good rates (up to 50% in some cases) for the first 30 days of a program. But since it can take time to learn a program, I look for good commissions (10% or more beyond the introductory window.) If you love a program, but aren't impressed with their rates, see about asking for an increase. Sometimes you can extend an intro offer for a little longer, as well, at least until you prove that you can send customers.
Products or services you love
Have a brand that you are crazy, head-over-heels about? See if they have a affiliate program. You can usually find out if they offer one by scrolling to the bottom of their website pages and looking for a link to "affiliate" or "partner". You may also find info about their programs in their FAQ.
Great affiliate managers
Since you'll likely be talking to an affiliate program rep at some point in the future, it's good to reach out early on and establish a great connection. The more proactive and friendly an affiliate manager is, the more likely I'll reach out with questions or work hard to promote offers. A good manager will respond quickly and provide you with tools and tricks for getting those sales!
Frequent promotions or new assets
Nothing helps sell than a great savings offer, but even if your affiliate program doesn't promote sales, you can still shake things up and generate interest with new banners and fresh graphics for blog posts and social media updates. Affiliate marketers should be finding new and exciting ways for you to communicate to your readers; the responsibility shouldn't always be on you. Look for programs that update their affiliates with new things happening that will make you want to share the buzz!
So what programs do we love the most? Here are our top 10 picks that work best for bloggers (note that you need to be signed up with a Shareasale and/or LinkShare account for these programs):
Madison Reed. I have been using their haircolor for a few months now. It's an ammonia-free formula that smells great and covers grays! Bloggers who sign up for their program can even sign up for a free box of color so that your can see how well it works for yourself.
Hobo Ninja. The Hobo Ninja, That Daily Deal, and 13 Deals sites are part of the Jammin' Butter network and are always full of fun sales on a variety of items from graphic tees, wall decals, toys, novelties, and collector items. If you like superhero or fan culture, you'll probably be buying from them, too. My favorite item to share with readers is their mystery box of stuff, which is always valued a way more than the $20 they charge a month. (They also run the Peaches and Petals program, which is a beautiful accessories subscription service that does really well on mom and fashion blogger sites.)
Shareist. This is the social media platform I use for my clients (see my review here). It's also the most effective way to share across Twitter, Facebook, and more with custom links and super useful reporting features. At just $25 a month for unlimited shares, it's a great buy that blog readers can't pass up!
Educents. We did an entire article on why this is still one of my favorite affiliate programs. Sign up and get money to spend right away, plus get weekly newsletters full of pre-written posts, social media shares, and a Facebook group that's fun to participate and earn from.
VidAngel. This innovative way of watching streaming movies and TV allows you to set filters that you can use to keep out profanity, nudity, and more. Videos (often new releases, like the new Star Wars movie) are just $1 a day for SD and $2 for HD (with sellback program)! This is a very easy-to-sell service that your blog readers will love to hear about, especially if they want to stay up on current films, but don't like gratuitous situations.
Udemy. If your readers love to take courses on anything from yoga to coding to cooking, then you'll definitely want to introduce them to Udemy! With more and more people creating courses all the time (we even made one!), there are infinite opportunities to enrich your readers' lives. They also have lots of coupon promos to help with the sell. And you make 50% on every course bought through your links!
What do you look for in an affiliate program? Do you have any tricks for earning more? Be sure to see our tips for optimizing your posts for affiliate revenue or check out how we earned $1600 in ONE DAY from affiliate sales!