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

💎 WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING

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 advertisers and merchants, 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.

💎 HOW TO IMPLEMENT IT

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 purchase 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! Not only that but it was a big part of how I made my first $100 blogging!)

 

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 to become an affiliate for the book since I truly believed that what I was going to promote will be valuable for others (and the fact that I managed to actually achieve the results the ebook promised.

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. It will come in handy down the line!

💎 TURN TO PINTEREST

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 and you can find a full tutorial on it in the ebook I mentioned!)

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 and some affiliate networks won’t provide a graphic for every single product, so making them yourself is an important step.

You can see a few examples of my graphics on this post. For your own graphics, I recommend looking into buying some stock photos as a background.

Learn how I started using affiliate links on my blog and managed to get my first affiliate sale with Pinterest. A guide for bloggers on how to make money.

💎 HOW TO GET TRACTION ON PINTEREST

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.

You can read my post on 8 Ways To Improve Your Pinterest Game here.

💎 TAILWIND: MY SECRET WEAPON

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.

Tailwind tribes are another surefire way to get your affiliate pins to get some traction because you get to exchnage repins with tribe members.

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! 

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  • Bloody hell, well done!! That’s amazing! I’m glad you mentioned the SendOwl because I can never figure out how to do affiliates for small independent sellers, this might be the answer! x

    • Thanks so much! I was a bit surprised it worked myself.
      And I just found out about SendOwl myself but a lot of small bloggers who sell amazing ebooks or courses use it, so it’s definitely worth creating an account!

  • EatsLeeds

    This is awesome – I need to up my affiliates game this year!

    • Thank you so much!
      Are you planning to use Pinterest to do that? Or what strategies do you have in mind?

  • I’ve been apart of the affiliate world for awhile, but never really focused on it. 2017 is the year!

    • That’s awesome! Please do share the results and tactics you employ once you start doing so.

  • Awesome work Ana! So happy for you!! <3

    • Hi Elise.
      Thank you so much! I love experimenting and putting into actions what other bloggers recommend and your strategies payed off (and continue to do so).
      I find it beautifully ironic that I made my first affiliate sale by promoting an ebook about how to make your first affiliate sale.
      So thank you so much for all the wisdom you shared!

  • Follow My Gut

    I am so ready to start making money with my blog and you have so many great tips here, especially since they’re from experience. I love that you did this because it’s so helpful for me. Thanks a ton!!!

    Danielle | FollowMyGut.com <3

    • Hi Danielle,

      Thanks a lot for taking the time to read it! I love sharing what I’ve learned from my own experience and I especially enjoy seeing results even if my traffic isn’t huge.
      That means this could work for everyone!

      Good luck with everything!

  • bookdrawer

    Great information I will check the book out! Question where you promoting affiliate links through your blog or adding your affiliate links right into your Pinterest posts? I do both and was wondering which works best for you.

    • I used a Pinterest image to promote the ebook I keep mentioning and lead the people who click it directly to the sales page. That’s how I got my first sale.

      But after I wrote this blog post, I did an image for it as well, and because I shared my opinion on the book and not only the book in the blog post, I found it more successful (and brought me more sales).

      Both strategies can work. It depends on the audience. Some don’t have time to read an entire blog post and bounce before you ever recommend the ebook. But others only buy if they trust your recommendation (so if you have loyal readers, they are more likely to make a purchase).

      It’s all about knowing who you’re marketing to.

  • Megan Sanning-Salerno

    This is so great. I have signed up for affiliate programs like Shareasale and Viglink and I just haven’t been making the traction I was hoping for. This is super helpful, thank you!

  • Natasha Botkin

    Thanks looking for tip and yours are great!

  • Great tips! Pinterest has been great for my affiliate success as well!

  • I would love to give this a try! Do you have to blog & do pinterest at the same time? I read somewhere that when you pin your image you want to pin it from your blog post, instead of uploading a pin and adding in the link? Is this true? Also, I know its against Amazon’s Terms to put affiliate links on Pinterest, are there any other big ones that are no-nos? Loving your blog!! Thanks!

    • Hi Jess. Some really good questions here! Hope this will answer them:

      1. You don’t necessarily have to have a blog. You can create an image to a paid cooking online class that you are affiliate for, and add your affiliate link to lead directly to the sales page. (this is just an example but it works for everything). But I do find that it helps.

      For example, I used a Pinterest image to promote the ebook I keep mentioning and lead the people who click it directly to the sales page. That’s how I got my first sale. But after I wrote this blog post, I did an image for it as well, and because I shared my opinion on the book and not only the book, I found it more successful (and brought me more sales).

      2. You will have to check each program’s terms to see if you can share it on Pinterest, but most allow it. Be sure to use the full affiliate link and disclose it. Pinterest won’t allow shorter links that cloak the affiliate ones.

      Let me know if I can answer any more questions!

  • That was such an interesting post to read, affiliate marketing really confuses me but I want to get into it! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

  • Thanks for this post! It was super informative. I’ve recently been looking long and hard for more affiliate information to start but I really don’t know where to begin, lol.

    xo, Chloe // http://funinthecloset.com/two-long-kimonos/

  • Dawn O’Connell-Pfingsten

    This is terrific and I love the free sheet. This is so handy. Thank you.

  • venusfitness

    Some great tips thanks for sharing. Something im interested in getting into,however I do find it intimidating. I’m still trying to juggle creating posts, promoting them, maintaining and updating my sight…and learning new things. Any tips?

    • I was in the exactly same place. Break it down in smaller tasks, it really helps. Use 20% of your time to create awesome content, and the other 80% to promote it and learn how to improve in those other areas.

      Scheduling posts and social media content really helps declutter wasted time and helps you focus on what matters.

  • Cameron

    Very helpfull, especially for a new blogger like me! Have pinned to look at later!

  • Jessie Krieger

    Super great post! I also have that book and recommend it too!

    • Hi Jessie! So glad to hear I’m not the only one that benefited off that ebook!
      I’m surprised someone didn’t write it ages ago. It’s so helpful!

  • Natalie Redman

    Great advice! Will definitely use this for my affiliate marketing skills of which I have very little at the moment haha.

    http://www.upyourvlog.com

    • So glad you found this useful Natalie. I’m still learning about affiliate marketing myself, but the ebook I recommended is a great place to start and really shed some light on this! x

  • This is such a great strategy, I loved hearing your advice since one of my goals for 2017 is to get into affiliate marketing on my blog! Thanks so much for sharing xo Haley

    • Hi Haley!
      That’s an awesome goal. I’ll be sharing more Pinterest tips soon so hopefully I’ll see you around. x

  • Kay Sanford

    Hello… I enjoyed the article. Is the eBook still available? I click the link, it takes me to the main page but the “grab a copy” link on their page does not work. I get an error for a broken link. Any suggestions? Thanks

    • Hi Kay!

      Sorry about that. No idea what happened. You can try again now or click on the title of the book as it will lead you to the same page.

      Let me know if it still doesn’t work! x

      • Kay Sanford

        Hi…The links on your page here take me to the book main page where it says “get your copy here” that link goes to the error page saying the link is broken

        • Kay Sanford

          Sorry to bother. I found it. My antivirus was blocking. Thanks for the info.

  • Ms. Ainee C. Beland

    I don’t see how to do these affiliate things; it is all above me and I don’t have anyone to sit and show me how it is done. When blogging, I relied on myself to figure it out and I was given links after links and told to paste them in etc. but I could not figure where to put them. I am not bright like you young folks. I am sorry to say; other wise thank you for sharing.

    • Hi there,

      You have to edit the pin after you post it and in the website section add your custom link. Email me if I can help you figure it out.

      • Ms. Ainee C. Beland

        Thanks for taking the time; all are above me and such the reason I destroyed my blogs. I don’t this anymore. I am simply a voyeur of sort of other peoples blog and comment when lonely and needing to say I am out there. It is a pitiful existence, otherwise. Take care.

  • Alex Horatiu Mesesan

    Amazing content, thanks for the info!

  • Sean Dean

    Well done, Ana, hope that’a the first of many this year. I would love to know about other successes you’ve had with affiliate marketing and how you managed it. Thanks Sean

    • Hi Sean! I hope so too! Had similar (or even better results) with other blogging related courses.
      Be sure to check my “Affiliate Marketing” category to find new blog posts about it. x

  • Pollypoptart

    I’m in the Amazon affiliate programme but I keep forgetting to use it. 😂 I’m definitely going to check out some of the other ones you’ve mentioned!

    Paula http://insertmyblognamehere.blogspot.co.uk

    • Amazon is a really good one. Their commissions are smaller than for digital products for example but they are so trusted that ods are people will buy without hesitation.

      Definitely try to implement those links! Let me know how it goes! x

  • Christy Hilley

    Very helpful! I will use this during March. I just started using affiliate links this week on my blog. Thanks for the tips!

    Christy
    http://www.songofsapelosunset.com

  • Andrea Broom

    This is great, I want to get into the affiliate market but don’t know how. This was a good article and really the kick in the butt I needed to start. Thanks!

    • Yes, Andrea!! Let me know how you progress with it!
      And the ebook I mentioned really clarified some questions for me.

  • Tiffany Bailey

    This was really interesting and very helpful thank you! X

  • Congrats! I love Amazon affiliate. I need to look into this book some more. Thanks for sharing.

  • Grace Lipscomb

    I have just started trying to include affiliate marketing into my blog in order to make some income. I have applied and been accepted to several different networks and am working on including links into older posts. This was a great help!

    • That’s so good to hear Grace! It seems like you’re already on the right track.
      Let me know how it goes! x

  • These are such great tips! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Shirley Corder

    Thanks for some good information. Must follow some of these up.

  • Zerin Hassan

    Great work babe

  • great advice here, and congrats on your success with promoting aff offers on pinterest!

  • Great tips! Pinterest is great for driving traffic!

    Molly and Stacie

  • I really need to implement Pinterest! It’s such a great way to earn money!

  • Melissa Madsen

    Such great info! Excited to read more!

  • Patricia Bern

    I love that you are chronicling how you are getting started and giving all the details -too many people wait until they are experts but there’s so much learning from just trying it out!