One great way for bloggers and businesses to work together is through affiliate programs. While the initial payout for the blogger is typically not as much as it would be for private ads and businesses typically do not receive as much individual attention, affiliate programs still offer a mutually beneficial relationship between bloggers and businesses that has fantastic growth potential.
Many homeschool companies have branched out into the affiliate program world for the simple fact that affiliate marketing creates easy advertising. Homeschool bloggers are catching on to affiliate programs because using them can create an easy avenue for income. The blogger anticipates making a sale from the promotion of a product they love and the business gets the exposure they want for a small percentage of that sale.
Yes, it’s that Win-Win Situation again!
So, how can you benefit from the use of affiliate programs? Let me start with the business side of the house.
How can businesses maximize the potential of their affiliate program?
1. Choose an affiliate platform that makes it easy for you and easy for the blogger. Don’t choose an affiliate platform based solely on cost. Do your research and work with one that has rave reviews from both brands and bloggers. Here are a few suggestions (these are only suggestions and not endorsements)
Affiliate platforms and software:
- Post Affiliate Pro Software – this has become my new favorite as a blogger. Any businesses using this please speak up to tell us how you like it as a business. (yes, that was an endorsement ;) )
- WordPress Affiliate Platform Plugin
- Commission Junction
- Google Affiliate Network
- Pay Dot Com
- My Affiliate Program
- WordPress Affiliate Pro
2. Provide up-to-date promotional materials for your affiliates. If you want your affiliates to promote you, you need to give them the tools to do so. Keep your promotional banners up to date and make it easy for your bloggers.
3. Set a reasonable pay-out amount. If the affiliate company you work with allows you to set your own payout threshold, be sure to set it at a dollar amount that isn’t astronomical. When a blogger is only receiving 8% per sale on $50 products, it takes a long time to reach a $100 payout. Be mindful of this.
4. Consider offering affiliate-only promotions. Give your affiliates first-dibs on sales and promotions. You’ll find your affiliates will work really hard for you when they know they are being offered something the general public is not.
Now, for the bloggers…
How can bloggers maximize the potential of working with an affiliate program?
1. Look for products you already promote. When you find a company you love, look on their website (often at the bottom of the page) for a link to Affiliates. Signing up is usually as easy as providing a little bit of info about yourself and your blog and waiting to be accepted into the program. From there, you’ll have access to links and promotional banners to use on your site.
2. Use affiliate banners as you would ads. Put 125 pixel affiliate ads in place of empty 125 pixel ad spots. Add their promotional banners to the top and sidebars of your blog as well as within your posts.
3. Write posts centered around your affiliates. Whenever you can, incorporate your affiliate links within your posts. This creates a natural venue for affiliate marketing in a way that is tangible and helpful to your readers.
5. Disclose, Disclose, Disclose. Do not try to hide the fact that you use affiliates. Keep a page on your blog with a running list of your affiliates so readers can see who you work with. Tag your links with the words “affiliate link” so readers are well aware they are clicking on an affiliate link. Or simply write at the bottom of the post, “this post contains affiliate links”.
And while I could not possibly offer you an exhaustive list of affiliates for homeschoolers, here are a few to get you started:
- See the Light Shine
- Vision Forum
- Homeschool Programming
- Notebooking Success eBook
- Homeschool Creations Planner
- The HomeScholar
- Bright Ideas Press
- The Quarter Mile™ Math
- All About Learning Press
- Knowledge Quest
- Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett
- Shining Dawn Books
- Hearts at Home Store
- Home Educating Family
- TruthQuest History
- Motherboard Books
- YWAM Publishing
- The Homeschool Shop
- Teaching with Games
- Home Speech Home
- Supercharged Science
- Homeschool Boutique
Now, we want to hear from you! As businesses, how have affiliate programs helped you and what things are you doing to make the total affiliate experience work for your company? As bloggers, how have you made the most of affiliate programs and how do you promote via affiliate links?