An alternate title to this post could be, “How I made my first $100 without selling a product.” You see, with affiliate links you don’t need to sell anything! That’s the beauty of them. I talk a lot about other ways to make money in your business besides selling a product or course in my coaching group, Michelle’s Money Makers. We are having a lot of fun in there. You should join us! Find out more HERE.
In case you’re new here, I started my business journey on Etsy, many years ago. I sold little girl’s hats and dresses, which turned into me learning photography. Learning photography for my Etsy listings turned into a photography business. After this, I started coaching other business women and I created and ran a nonprofit for a few years. And here I am today. I help businesses big and small with content creation. And I also teach business owners how to build their online businesses and make more money!
In the interim time between when I was selling things on Etsy and when I was a photographer, I started blogging. And when I started blogging I started using a magical thing called affiliate links. I wrote one of my first blog posts about how to create a blog post from scratch, and I used an affiliate link for my website hosting company, Bluehost. You know what? That post is still up! Find it HERE. Don’t worry, it’s been updated since I first published it. Guess what else? That post is where I made my first $100.
What Are Affiliate Links?
Affiliate links are where a company or business gives you a coupon code, you share that link with your audience, and when someone clicks on it or purchases from it, the company pays you. It’s a great system because you can talk and share about the things you love and use all of the time, which you’re already doing, and you can earn money by doing this.
A really easy way to get started with this is to create tutorials on your blog and use affiliate links in the posts. Make sure you make the posts searchable with SEO and Pinterest in mind. This way it can be found by people who don’t already know you. The great thing about this is that when I get asked questions about starting a blog, I have that blog post ready to go to answer everyone’s questions. I don’t have to spend time answering everyone separately. And when they use that blog post to sign up for Bluehost, I get a kickback. Everyone wins this way.
The audience member gets a great tutorial about starting a blog, Bluehost gets a new customer, the audience member gets a great hosting company, and I get a little money for sharing the recommendation.This is why affiliates are so beautiful. Everyone wins and is happy.
Getting Started With Affiliate Links
Affiliates come in all shapes and sizes. You can find lots of options for different affiliates. The easiest one to sign up for is probably Amazon. You can quickly set up an Amazon affiliate account and start using that today. The thing with Amazon, though, is that the percentage you earn from Amazon is pretty small compared to other companies. But, it’s an easy one to get started with. I always recommend you set up an Amazon store/shop. In your Amazon store/shop, you put the links to the items you use all of the time and you can organize them in folders. So, for instance, in my Amazon store I have a folder with all of my favorite business books, a folder that shows all of the gear that I use for my business–microphone, webcam, etc. And I also have another folder with all of my photography gear.
I recommend starting here with Amazon when you’re getting into affiliate links, because it’s someplace that your audience is most likely already shopping. When you reference the items on your blog or on instagram, you can tell people to check out your Amazon shop. If you have 10k+ followers on Instagram, you can do a swipe-up directly to your shop. If not, you can add it as a button on your Instagram bio links. From your blog, you can just link your Amazon shop in your posts.
I think it’s a really good idea to become an Amazon affiliate because anyone can do this. It doesn’t matter the type of business you have, you can link the items you use on Amazon. Say you’re a crafter, you can link your favorite scissors, cutting mat, glue gun, paint, etc. on Amazon in your Amazon store.
Taking It A Step Further
Take it one step further and create a blog post out of your recommendations. Now they are searchable by Google and Pinterest. And you can share the link to your blog post when people ask for your recommendations. This way not only are you getting the affiliate commissions, you are also getting web traffic to your site! Beautiful things are happening.
So I say, start with Amazon. Then, find businesses you are already using and see if they have affiliate links. Not all companies do affiliate links. You can do a Google search for them by simply searching the company name and the word ‘affiliate’. This will show you if they offer an affiliate program, and you can go to their site and check out their terms and conditions to see if it’s a good fit for you. Another way to find it is to go to that business’s website and go to the bottom, sometimes it will list an affiliate program that the company offers. This is a great way to check the businesses that you are already familiar with and supporting.
Today I want you to make a list of all of the computer programs, tools you use, etc. that you already use. Check them all to see if they offer an affiliate program. Some will, and some won’t. But for sure, I want you to get an Amazon shop up and running. So that you have that going.
Ok, Now What?
After you have your affiliate links set up, the next step is to share them and get people to use the links. I want you to know that this isn’t weird. If your friend said, “Hey, what do you use for this problem?” You would share the answer with them, right? I wouldn’t be weird about sharing that you are an affiliate for the business.
Legally, when you are sharing your recommendations for businesses or products that you are an affiliate for, especially on Instagram, you need to disclose that to your audience. It’s a good idea to get in the practice of that. Just don’t be weird about it and it won’t be weird, I promise.
The easiest way to share your affiliate links is to create some kind of content. Either on your Blog, YouTube channel, or IGTV channel. When you’re sharing and teaching about whatever you’re an affiliate for, don’t get on there and say, “I like Bluehost. They’re great.” Don’t say that.
Instead, solve their problem with your solution. I used my blog post to tell people how to get a blog up and running in 30 min or less. And I show how to do this by using Bluehost because it’s what I’m familiar with and I love the company.
Create Your Content with Your Affiliate Links In Mind
Create content that is for your audience but that also has your affiliate in mind. Think about what problem your affiliate links are solving. It becomes an easier thing to talk about because you can say, “Hey, I know you have this problem and I have a great solution to help you solve it.” This is a natural way of selling and it takes the ickiness out of sharing what you love with your audience.
These kinds of content that contain affiliate links are best with long term content like a blog, YouTube or something similar. Because this kind of content will last longer. I still get money from that original blog post from years ago.
I hope you get started with affiliate links and start making money without worrying about having a product! And if you want more personal business coaching and instruction, join my Money Makers coaching group! Use the code michelle10 for $10 off each month! Join HERE.