5 Affiliate Marketing Lessons I Learned from Blogging

Blogging can sometimes be a rough journey, and something beyond what we initially expect it to be. When I started blogging almost 3 years ago, I had a lot of plans for it; most of those plans I thought were really great ones, but, over time, I came to realize things aren’t exactly as easy as they seemed.

My blog is in the weight loss niche, and initially, when I started I had a lot of plans to make money from it, over time I came to discover the potential of being an affiliate for other people’s product and why it is an easy and smart approach to making money online. I have built my blog to a stage I’m really proud of, and my affiliate income is growing every day. While I’m currently satisfied, the journey wasn’t as easy when I started. You would have heard the saying, that, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Most of the things that have the most impact on how much I make from affiliate marketing aren’t those things I expected will be a great deal—in fact, I never really thought about most of them initially, but, over time, I have been able to learn a lot of lessons and I’ll be sharing some of them with you below.

1. A Brand Can Influence Online Income

I didn’t learn this lesson by reading books, and I didn’t learn it because I made a mistake that affected my brand, or anything of that nature, it was simply a matter of time and experience. If you’re reading Zac’s blog now, there is every probability you’ve been following him for months, or years, now and that you follow him because you see him as a go to expert as far as blogging and affiliate marketing is concerned–that doesn’t mean he is the only one talking about affiliate marketing online, and that doesn’t mean there aren’t other affiliate marketing blogs. It’s really simple; Zac has built a brand and has been able to gain your trust. If Zac should recommend a product now and a brand new blogger to the affiliate marketing space does the same, I’m pretty sure that for every one person that buys through that new blogger, five will buy through Zac – it’s that simple, there’s no magic formula, it’s only a matter of time.

This isn’t something you should obsess over, as a brand is associated with trust, and trust is built over time. Don’t expect to have the same level of trust as a blogger who started five years ago when you only started last month.

Building a solid and respected brand is a game of time, and we all have to wait for that time. For me, it was 3 years, for you it might be more. The only way to accelerate the process, and ensure your brand is appreciated, is to give great value. Don’t compromise your value, or integrity, no matter what, and always put your readers first.

2. Coupons Can Make a Huge Difference

This was one lesson that took me some time to figure out, but it is also one of the best affiliate marketing lessons I have ever learned from my blog. It might be stressful asking product creators for coupons, or to be looking for discount codes for products you promote, but truth be told, using coupons to promote affiliate products might mean the difference in you making $100 or $1,000. I used to find it difficult to make product sales even after spending a lot of time trying to write the perfect review. I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong, until one day, I accidentally promoted a product with a coupon, and I saw sales go through the roof. I used this technique to promote medifast products on my blog, and it worked. I used this same technique to promote nutrisystem products, and it worked. I also use coupons to promote a lot of other products on my blog, and the results have been stunning.

It might take some time to get a coupon for a particular affiliate product, but even if it only gives people a 10% discount you will be able to make a lot more sales compared to not having used the coupon.

3. Your Best Sales Might Not be Made the Same Week a Product is Reviewed

I used to be someone who reviewed products with the hope of making a lot of sales the same week I reviewed the product. I poured all my efforts into promoting a particular product, and it is sometimes saddening to only make a sale or two after all those efforts. What I didn’t know was that those reviews were a long time investment – those reviews I did months, or years, ago that nobody found started bringing in traffic from search engines, and I now make more sales in a week than I made in the month I reviewed them.

Whenever you are trying to review affiliate products on your blog, don’t expect to make all the sales just at once. Sometimes, it might take a few months to make real sales, and sometimes, it might take a year. Either ways, don’t ever stop promoting that review, and don’t stop working on driving traffic to it – you will love yourself for doing that on the long run.

4. Search Engines Provide the Best Traffic for Affiliate Marketers

This lesson was also learned as a result of the 3rd lesson above. Not that I initially expected to get a boatload of traffic to my review page a few months after doing the review – in fact, I have even stopped thinking about some reviews I did, only to start noticing traffic come in day by day, months after the product was reviewed. After taking a look at my analytics to see where the traffic was coming from, it was one major source I saw: Google!

I was stunned! Those reviews I did months ago have now been picked by Google, and I’m now making a lot of sales for doing nothing.

Search engine traffic is currently the best source of traffic for affiliate marketers because people only use the search engines when they need a solution to a problem.

5. Traffic Isn’t the Only Factor

I keep on hearing misconceptions from new bloggers about how making money from affiliate marketing works. A lot of them will say they only need to get a lot of traffic to their site and, boom; they are already making tons of affiliate cash. I used to think the same way, but time proved me wrong.

So many factors come into place and decide how much you will make from an affiliate product. Some of those factors include the demand for that product, the manufacturer of that product, the competition for that product and the audience the product is promoted to. By focusing on promoting affiliate products that provide great value to my readers, and are in high demand in my field, I have noticed a significant increase in how much sales I make.

John has been blogging and learning how affiliate marketing works for years now. He has tested a lot of options ranging from simple reviews to using coupons on his weight loss blog and he shares his journey on WeightLossTriumph.com.

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  1. The last point is very important, I guess. Promoting the right product to the right people. Many marketers do not grasp the concept that just because they promote some product, people don't have to buy it! Thanks for these frank tips, Zac. I am sure people would find it very useful when they move on to affiliate marketing.
    My recent post 11 Things You Can Outsource on Fiverr.com

  2. great tips, #3 is one of the most complex especially in terms of how to monitor a customer that completed purchase for example a week after visiting the site. Google Analytic's and other stats platforms cant always provide you with this data, will be great ti read or learn some tips on how to track such orders from visitors.
    My recent post Tracking Bestsellers, How to recognize Bestselling Product

  3. Zac, I have been reading articles and tips about affiliate marketing for about two years and this post has made more sense to me than any of the other articles I have read in that time. 🙂

    Now if only i could find an article with some ideas on where to promote without losing loads of money then I'd be ready to dip my tow in (HINT HINT) 😛
    My recent post Stop Online Piracy Act Limits Blogging Freedom and Revenue

  4. Hi,

    Nice post in my opinion blogging is the lesson to learn so many things about online marketing blogging is proving good thing for us because via blogging we know many things. Almost all these things which are very necessary for online marketing.
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  5. Hi John,

    indeed, Traffic is not the only factor. What matters is traffic that converts; traffic takes action; traffic that stays and reads the content. Thank you for sharing these 5 tips.

  6. Thanks for sharing what you have learned. It feels good to learn from a blogging pro like you.
    My recent post Considering aesthetics in designing your website

  7. Great tips Zacand all very true. I especially like the tip about using coupons I can see how they can make a big difference in sales. I need to personally do more of this!

    2nd one is about product reviews and not getting all your sales at once that is very true. Look at it this way if your blog clicmbs in the rankings so do all your posts with it. More targeted traffic and sales so never stop promoting your blog posts like you said.

    Great post, and happy holidays Zac to you and your family.
    My recent post Build FREE Traffic Using Craigslist – [It Can Get You 20 Signups A Day If Done Correctly]

  8. I will agree to the # 1 idea! Brand is an important matter to all. This can lead us to success and sometimes failure. If we find the right way that can help us succeed, Then it can be good!
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  9. At first I thought blogging is just making an expression of oneself until a friend told many a number of people go into blogging to earn money. Though I do not know how it was but still I wonder how this blogger mad it in this kind of business and some of it I learned from you. Even if everything is still vague for me slowly I learn something by reading post like this. You really got this very informative post.
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  10. John,

    Great article! Insightful and unique and NOT just the same fluff and so called "expertise" offered you see all over the place. You obviously have experience to speak from.

    Zac…nice see a real quality guest post like this. Hopefully we'll see some replies from John.



  11. Great tips! I agree creating a brand is the key. I am working on a few affiliate niche sites and love to grow the branding too.

    One "trick" I learn is to hire a graphics designer to create an unique icon, and banner. It creates strong branding. I plan to have one for my blog too.

    Zac has a nice avator that is outstanding. It becomes his branding too.
    My recent post 7 Steps to be Free from Information Overload

  12. Hi guys,
    your points are so correct. For example the last point: its not only the traffic, but its the traffic and the quality of what you sell. Its the quality of you content. Also yes, search engines are the best traffic sources, although you might have to watch out for competition even if you get to be the first result in Google search.
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