Well before I got into blogging the notion of “affiliate marketing” became a huge trend in the online world and a great way for bloggers and influencers to earn passive income by promoting certain products or services they love.
Ever since I launched my own blog, I’ve been looking for ways to implement the free advice that is out there about affiliate marketing in the hopes of making my first affiliate sale. But nothing seemed to quite work for me.
Until I decided to accept the fact that you need to spend money in order to make money. And what better way to invest in yourself and your blog than to pay to hear what an expert has to say. And that’s exactly what I did.
How does it work
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of “affiliate marketing”, I’ll start by giving a brief explanation of how this works and how you can implement in on your blog, youtube channel or even your social media accounts.
First off you need to join some affiliate programs. Almost everything that is selling products or services online has an affiliate program or scheme that you can apply to. Simply google the name of the company or shop + “affiliate program”.
Affiliate networks like Skimlinks, Share A Sale or Affiliate Window partner with thousands of clients, so finding something worth promoting on your website shouldn’t be hard. Amazon has its own affiliate program as well and it’s a great place to start looking for products to promote (ones that you actually use).
For more affiliate networks recommendations make sure to get my Free Beginner’s Checklist.
The next step after you have been accepted into these programs is to use the custom links that they give you (known as affiliate links) and add them to your posts. This way, they can track any purchases made by your referrals and you get a small commission for each and every sale. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t cost the buyers any more money if they were to find the product on their own, but you get credit for directing them to make a purchase.
And they don’t even have to purchase the item you link them to. If the browse around the shop looking for an apple, but purchase a kilo of oranges instead, you get a commission for that too. How awesome is that?!
Disclaimer: This article also includes such affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure if you are interested to know more.
What was my strategy
The secret of affiliate marketing is that you can’t just drop affiliate links everywhere and hope for the best ( Trust me! I tried that and it didn’t work). You need to create an implement a strategy. And once you do, it’s an automated process. Which means you put in the work once and the passive income will follow.
So what did I do and how did I score my first affiliate sale in 2017?
As I mentioned before, I had joined all the affiliate networks I could think of and started posting links on my blog, but nothing came out of it. So I knew that I had to think outside the box and invest into getting a professional point of view on this matter.
I came across an ebook called “How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours Using Pinterest” worth only $25 and I took the leap to purchas it because:
- It promised to teach me exactly what other bloggers were avoiding to share
- It promised (almost) instant results
- It brought to my attention a big piece of the puzzle that I was missing (I had no idea you could use affiliate links on Pinterest as well!)
- It was only $25. I figured if it worked, I would make the money back eventually. (And I did!)
How I actually made my first affiliate sale in 2017
First of all, I devoured the ebook. I took three pages worth of notes, I created a strategy of my own and I started implementing it right away.
If you are really interested to know more about that, I highly recommend buying the ebook. I don’t think it’s fair if I share the author’s knowledge for free, since there was clearly a lot of hard work and experimentation that went on into writing it.
My next step was become an affiliate for the book, since I truly believed that what I was going to promote will be valuable for others.
I did that by creating an account with SendOwl , an online tool many small sellers use to manage and pay their affiliates. If you don’t have an account with them, set up one now for free.
I proceeded to pin an image provided by the seller to my Pinterest and added the link created via SendOwl to redirect people that click on it to the landing page where they can make the purchase. (You add the link by going to the pin, clicking edit and in the website field you add the custom affiliate link. This is an extremely important step!)
You can also create your own graphics (I use Canva) if you want to stand out because the sellers and other affiliates will be using the same poster.
This is an example of an image I created for Pinterest with Canva, using stock photos, that did really well and brought visitors to my website that continued to buy the ebook using my affiliate link.
It’s important to either use free stock photos or purchase them to avoid copyright issues. Ivorymix is a lovely online shop where you can either buy bundles or a monthly subscription to have access to dozens of feminine, simple stock photos that will allow you to add text without being too much of a distraction.
Don’t forget to add a description rich in keywords (NOT hashtags) for your pin. Hoping people will just stumble across it won’t do and your pin will just get lost in the crowd. Don’t forget to disclose at the end that you are using an affiliate link.
Having a good description for your boards will also improve the visibility of the pin, and you might just gain a few extra followers.
I also repinned my own pin in a few relevant Pinterest groups I am a part of. This is super important because it gave the pin some traction (since I don’t have such a large following anyways) and it reached the right audience.
After a couple of days, re-pin your own pin to increase your reach and help it go viral. I recommend Tailwind for scheduling pins, as it’s such a time saver and it will boost your Pinterest game guaranteed!
Why? Because you can choose the pins destination, schedule them in a queue (that you set up) to ensure they go out at peak times and you can even choose multiple boards for one pin.
Start your free trial with Tailwind and test it out. I guarantee you will see a difference!
Did it take 24 hours to make my affiliate sale? No. It took about 30. But the ebook delivered on its promise and I have already made back in affiliate sales what I paid for the book (by promoting only one product so far).
Now I can go and implement the same strategy for more products and services that I love (including clothes, accessories, online courses and everything else you can think of), and all I have to do is spend some time on Pinterest. (Hard work? Not at all!)
Is affiliate marketing a new term for you? Or are you already a pro? Share in the comments your biggest question about this topic or how you made your first affiliate sale this year!
Want to get started but have no clue what to do first? Click here to get a free Pinterest Affiliate Checklist in your inbox!