How to Create a Wallet-wooing Sales Page

Post Synopsis: Your sales page is the window to your amazing product. It is what will help potential customers decide if they want to invest in your product or service. This post explains how to write an effective and persuasive sales page that converts potential clients into paying clients.


Who among you started a blog but has no plans of ever monetizing it?

Nobody?

Thought as much.

So, what’s your plan for monetizing your website?

If any or all of these strategies are your chosen strategy for monetization, this post is not for you.

But, if you want to create and sell your own products and/or services, stick around.

Think about the last course or eBook you bought from your favorite blogger. What convinced you that the course or book was the right choice for you?

You may think it was the webinar the blogger hosted or the emails that you received.

But pay attention and you will notice those webinars and emails directed you to a persuasive, long-form sales page.

So if the webinar and the emails could persuade you to purchase the product or service, then why did the blogger spend so much time and energy in creating a full-blown sales copy too?

Believe it or not, despite all the promotions leading up to a course, it’s the sales page where most potential clients drop off. They may not even read the whole page and decide this product is not for them.

That’s why it’s so important to design your sales page to be the most effective tool in your sales process.

How to Write a High-Converting Sales Page

How to create a persuasive sales page

What is a sales page?

Let’s assume you have done all the prework (as you should–if not, a relevant post is coming soon). You have created a paid product and designed an offer. But now, you need to get the word out.

This is where your sales page comes in the picture.

A sales page is a page designed to get you a sale. In other words, these pages are meant to convert potential customers into paying customers.

How is a sales page different from a landing page?

A common misconception is that a sales page and a landing page are the same. They are not.

The purpose of a landing page varies depending on the type of page it is, but at the highest level, they are meant for “mini-conversion.”

For example, the purpose of an About page is to convert a generate lead by presenting your skills and how they can help the potential client. These pages do not focus on any one product or service but are meant to deliver an overall feel of what to expect.

Consider landing pages on the broader end of a sales funnel.

On the other hand, the purpose of a sales page is to…you guessed it…sell. These pages are super focussed on selling one and only one product or service and are designed to cover everything a potential client needs to know about an offer.

But more importantly, these pages present the how and why aspects of the offer.

Why should the reader buy this product? How will this service help the reader? Why should the reader purchase the product now? How is this service different from what’s already available in the market.

Why do I need a sales page?

You can’t be there in person to tell your sales story. Create a sales page to do the talking with potential customers.

Sales pages are designed to persuade potential customers into buying your product and/or invest in your services.

You may be great at what you do but not everyone knows that.

People first need to know that you have something to offer. Then, they need to recognize that they have a need for your offer.

Even so, humans are fickle…they have a little voice in the heads that raises its head every time there is a possible financial transaction at stake. So, they need more coaxing.

A well-designed sales copy informs potential customers and addresses their objections.

What are the features of a high-converting sales page?

If you look closely at some of the best sales page examples, you will notice that the basic structure of all high-converting sales pages is the same. They talk about:

  • What the product/service is? 
  • Who is the creator and what is her backstory? Why is she well-equipped to teach you?
  • What are the features and the benefits of the product/service?
  • What are existing customers saying about the product/service (through social numbers and testimonials)?
  • Why now is the right time to make the purchase (through urgency and CTA)?

Based on this structure, here are the features of an effective sales page:

  • Talks to one and only one customer: Remember, your sales page is made for only one person–your ideal customer. Have you created an ideal client persona yet? This is part of your pre-work–market and audience analysis.

Know everything about your customer–how old is she; is she married; is she working. A potential customer reading your sales page should feel they are actually having a conversation with you. Make it intimate. Don’t write in the plural. Use first and second person language.

  • Talks about the ideal customer’s pain or pleasure: Your ideal customer is looking for a solution to either their pain points or their dreams, hopes, and aspirations.

    If your product or service deals with these two aspects, then you most likely have a winner at hand. Your sales page then needs to highlight these pains or desires and make the potential client believe and trust that your product or service is exactly what they need.
  • Delivers a clear value proposition: Continuing on the same line, your sales page should not only highlight the features of your product or service but also what benefit your potential customer stands to gain by investing in you.

    Make sure your sales page delivers the value proposition of your offer very, very clearly.
  • Sets clear expectations: As humans, we always want more. We want more when we are seeing results; we want more when we don’t see results.

    Listing detailed features and benefits, and establishing the value proposition on your sales page is not enough.

    Make sure your sales page lists everything that you will be offering to your customer.

    But more importantly, make sure there is no ambiguity about what you are NOT delivering.

    For example: who will benefit from your course; who will NOT benefit from your course; what habits can your course change; what habits can your course NOT change…get the drift?
  • Presents solid credibility: Would you buy a completely new product or invest in a service you have never heard of? No! You will either reject those outright or you will search for review posts on Google.

The same applies to your audience–they may not know you; they definitely don’t know about your product or service; they don’t know if you are worth investing in. Use your sales page to help them make a decision–include social proof to establish your credibility.

Examples of social proof include past and current success stories, followers on social media platforms, testimonials from past and current clients, etc. This addition of human element helps build trust and resonance.

  •  Addresses objections: Get in your potential customer’s head. What objections might they have to your offer? What will they be thinking while reading your sales page? What could hold them back from whipping out their wallets and put in their money?

Address all their objections via your narrative or a special FAQ section. This is a great way of establishing your credibility even more because it’s going to leave your potential client thinking, “Wow! She gets me!”

So next time you sit down to create the sales page for your next online course or your incredible service, ensure that it checks all the points discussed above.

Have you created a sales page before? Based on what you just learned, what was missing from your sales page? What could you improve on your existing sales page? Leave me a comment and let me know. Let’s learn from each other.

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How to create a high-converting sales page

How to Create a High-Converting Call-to-Action (CTA) Button

Post Synopsis: A call-to-action (CTA) button is an integral part of blogging endeavor. It helps build engagement, invites responses and shares, opens communication channels, and builds your email list. This post explores the characteristics of a high-converting CTA button.


You started a blog and you are investing hours upon hours of your life to create fabulous blog posts and very relevant content upgrades to go with the posts.

Your email list is growing…but at a snail’s pace.

You are creating fantastic mini-courses or worksheets for a nominal price and hoping someone will make a purchase.

You are earning from your products…but not enough to even pay for weekly grocery.

You waited patiently for your cat to do something fun, recorded it, and posted it on YouTube. Funny cat videos are something people search for on YouTube all the time.

Some people had a good laugh watching your video but it hasn’t gone viral. Not enough people are sharing it with their social circles.

Here’s why:

Of course, the CTA isn’t the only factor that determines how well your sign-up form will convert, whether your post will go viral, and if your subscribers will purchase your next big product.

You must pay attention to a lot of other things, including following some basic tips of good writing. These include:

Of late, I have spent hours studying effective marketing tactics.

For example, I have learned that one way to increase the rate of conversion is to write compelling call-to-actions (CTA)–both text and buttons–that compel your readers to take action. It’s a small, little detail that most of us often ignore. And the consequences are there for you to see.

Ready to learn more?

How to Write a Powerful, High-Converting Call-to-Action Button

How to create a high-converting call-to-action button.

What is a call-to-action (CTA)?

A CTA, or call-to-action, is what it sounds. It’s you calling your readers to perform an action.

The action could be to write a comment, share your post on social media, join your newsletter, make a purchase, join your affiliate program, etc.

Whatever action you want your readers to take, communicate it directly and clearly to them.

CTA can be found in the body of a copy or embedded as a button, or as a combination of both.

Why do I need a potent CTA?

CTA is pertinent in every sphere of your blogging business. It’s one of the cornerstones of your marketing material.

For example, it is what:

  • Pushes your potential customer to become a paid customer and a paid customer to become a repeat customer.
  • Persuades website visitors or YouTube viewers to share your content on their social media platforms.
  • Compels your readers to share their names and email IDs with you. And we all know the money lies in the list.

A copy with a strong CTA will convert more readers/visitors into paid customers.

Unfortunately, many bloggers put in a lot of time and resources in writing blog posts and courses, but not enough time crafting their opt-in and sales pages.

If you look around, chances are most of the free and paid resources you signed up did not have the default “Submit,” Sign up,” or “Download,” CTA buttons.

Those buttons probably said something custom, such as “Help my business grow,” “Send me the good stuff,” “Count me in,” “Hell yeah!” etc. Such CTA buttons are more likely to convert (i.e. get sign-ups and purchases) than the default text options.

Are bells going off? I was in your shoes until a few months ago. I used to create CTA and leave the default “Subscribe” or “Sign Up” text in. But no more! And you shouldn’t either.

But here’s a caveat: a powerful CTA alone cannot guarantee a high conversion rate.

Your headline, your body text, how you weave the story, how well you communicate the relevance of your product or service–all such things add up in the end. These pieces of content, put together, communicate to your readers what they stand to gain by clicking the CTA button that follows.

(I will write a separate post on the body text of an opt-in and sales page. In this post, let’s learn about the CTA button.)

Characteristics of a high-converting CTA button

Marketing strategies have undergone tremendous changes in the last 20 years.

With the advent of the digital age, strategies are delivered online more often than not. Personal marketing (door-to-door) is on the decline yet engagement is at an all-time high.

The principles of writing an effective sales copy and the following call-to-action remain the same:

  • Offer a fail-proof, low barrier to entry: Most people are risk-averse and they are likely to click away from a page that seems forceful. Craft your CTA in a way that is non-obligatory and low-risk for the potential customer. A no-obligation, fail-proof CTA is more likely to invite immediate action from the reader.
    • Examples: Free trial; money-back guarantee; proven techniques to gain 500 email subscribers in 30 days, etc.
  • Include one specific instruction: The most effective CTAs are no-nonsense and straightforward. Tell the reader what you want her to do–give her one, clear instruction.
    • Examples: Buy the bundle; Learn more; Download XYZ; Add to cart, etc.
  • Encourage immediate action: Even though the copy should be obligation-free, you can create a sense of urgency by including wordings that point to limited availability. When people know something is going away if they don’t take immediate action, they are likely to give in.
    • Examples: Cart open for 1 week only; Start a blog in the next 10 minutes; Free webinar recording available for 48 hours only, etc.

The goal is to persuade the reader to take an action.

A typical high-conversion CTA button:

  • Has one purpose: Every blog post, every video, every sales page, every CTA button should be focussed and written to accomplish one and only one objective. What do you want the reader to do next? Do you want them to join your newsletter, like your Facebook page, browse your shop, or buy your product? Identify the primary objective of your copy and make the CTA button all about that one objective.
  • Uses one button: On an opt-in or sales page, you should only have one primary button that accomplishes one primary objective (as explained above). Sometimes and especially in long-form sales pages, copywriters will give the reader multiple chances to complete the action. This requires placing multiple buttons on the page, but all are geared towards the same outcome.
  • Uses a persuasive tone: Agitate the problem your product or service can help resolve. Push the reader to see the benefit of your offerings. Make them believe there is no better solution to their situation than to buy your product or service. What you write must be compelling enough for the reader to click through. Take away all the frills and deliver the exact action that is desired from the reader.
  • Is action-oriented: The reader should know the outcome of clicking the CTA button. This is why the CTA button text should always be action-oriented, i.e., use a verb. Click here; Add to cart; Call now; Share the love, etc. are all examples of a good CTA button.

These four are the most important characteristics of a high-conversion CTA.

Bonus Tip: Use “power words” to increase the rate of conversion

Believe it or not, there is actually a list of words that are considered “powerful” and “high-converting” in the copywriting world.

Power words are words that trigger emotions and invoke curiosity–something I wrote about earlier in my post about crafting the best headlines.

The same concept applies to CTAs.

Let’s look at an example:

Here’s what’s great about the WordPress.com landing page:

  • Specific action verb: Get started
  • Low-risk entry: Free; few simple steps
  • Benefits: Easily create; new; beautiful, secure, mobile and SEO-friendly website
  • Emotion: New; amazing

Want a list of power words you can use in your CTAs for higher conversions? Sign up below!

Additional tips to create better call-to-action buttons

The secret to writing amazing call-to-actions is the same as the secret to any good persuasive writing. But, it may take you a few tries before you know for sure what clicks with your readers.

Don’t hesitate to experiment with the verbiage, visuals, placements, etc.

  • Find the optimal placement: The CTA button should be placed in the reader’s direct line of vision.
    • Example: Place a button just below the benefits, front and center.
  • Utilize the power of I, Me, Myself: Writing the CTA in first-person will put the reader in control.
    • Example: I am ready to explode my blog traffic.
  • Add social proof: This adds credibility to your brand.
    • Example: Network with 6500+ fearless writers in our free FB group.
  • Design a standout button: The CTA button is the most important element of your opt-in and sales page. It is the threshold of something bigger. Ensure that you use a contrasting color on the button to make it stand out from the rest of the page.
    • Example: Red button on a white page.
  • Be true to your personality: If you are someone who doesn’t use cuss words in real life and/or in your blog posts, it would be very awkward if you drop the F-bomb in your sales page. However, it doesn’t hurt to be a little humorous in your opt-in and sales pages. Charm the reader.

Want a list of power words you can use in your CTAs for higher conversions? Sign up below!

Starting today, set aside a reasonable amount of time to craft the best CTA you can think of for your free resources. This will stand you in good stead when it’s time to create the sales page for your paid product.

What are some of your proven techniques for writing a high-converting CTA button? Share in the comments below.

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How to Create a High-Converting Call-to-Action (CTA) Button

How Bloggers Make Money: Sell Products and Services

Post Synopsis: Nothing feels more entrepreneurial than creating and selling your own products and services, such as eCourses, workbooks, freelance writing, etc. This post explores the fundamentals of creating and making money from your own products and services.


What’s your greatest joy when it comes to being a blogger? I bet sharing your knowledge with others is one of the top answers. But you also want to make money out of it, right?

As part of the How Bloggers Make Money series, I have already discussed three ways to monetize your website:

But there’s only so much you can earn from the aforementioned methods.

Consider this: some bloggers claim to be making a full-time income from these methods, especially affiliate marketing. They promote really high-ticket targeted items and they really know how to keep their subscribers engaged. But such bloggers are few and far between.

Coming to advertisements banners, you MUST have very high traffic on your blog. And even then, there are only limited spaces on your website where you can display the banners. The returns are not even worth the effort. It’s a way to earn side income at best.

As for creating sponsored content, you are constantly pitching to brands and not always writing about things you truly love. Every post brings in a one-time payment yet you also run the risk of being considered a sellout by your readers. This affects building a loyal following.

Not great earning potential.

Enter the fourth method: creating and selling your own products or services.

In this scenario, your blog becomes a component of your website and not the website itself. In addition, you add an e-commerce + payment component to your website for showcasing your offerings and making sales.

This method casts a wide net and it’s completely up to you to make a success out of it.

 

Perhaps you have already recognized your calling and your blog is the medium to spread your message and showcase your products and/or services.

Perhaps you have some idea but largely undecided on what product or service you will sell to potential customers. You want to use your blog as a testing and validation platform.

Or, perhaps you have no idea at all if you even want to create and sell something on your website.

It doesn’t matter.

In this post, I will help you explore whether creating and selling your own products and services is the right fit for you.

How Bloggers Make Money: Sell Products and Services

Nothing feels more entrepreneurial than creating and selling your own products and services, such as eCourses, workbooks, freelance writing, etc. This post explores the fundamentals of creating and making money from your own products and services.

First things first, do you know your audience?

Whether you want to go the product route or the service route, you have to know who your target audience is.

Ask yourself questions, such as:

  • Who are you trying to bring to your website?
  • What is their pain point?
  • What do you know that they don’t?
  • What can you do to solve their problem?

Answering these self-analyzing questions will help you decide the kind of content you will create for your website.

For example, let’s say, you want to offer your services as a copywriter in the long-run. Your content should reflect the type of copies you can deliver to potential clients. What value-adds can you offer with your service? You will craft your content to showcase your mastery and pitch your services.

Or, if you want to sell a physical product, create content about that product and how it’s going to satisfy the needs of your target audience. You will build your authority in your specific niche and craft your content such that your readers don’t hesitate to buy from you.

Either way, your content targeting a specific niche will weed out people who anyway won’t purchase your products and services.

Your audience decides your content.

Product or service–which is better?

Creating and selling a product–say, an eCourse–is a very attractive aspiration. It may even seem easy to do…just think of an idea, put some content together, pitch it to your audience, and sit back and enjoy the money pouring in.

But you couldn’t be farther from the truth.

As an instructional designer, I have created close to 500 hours of training modules for big corporations. I know the ins and outs of what goes into creating a solid and effective course. And the bloggers who are successful course creators more or less follow the same process as I have done in the last 15 years. Trust me, it’s a LOT of work.

Also, there is no guarantee that your course will take off unless you have built a loyal group of subscribers who will buy everything you offer. Plus you have to come up with a plan for marketing it constantly and pricing it competitively.

Now, look around…

There are very few “pure product” offerings these days. Most courses now come with an associated mastermind group or a coaching session or a boot camp or a website audit…something in which the creator gets directly involved and coaches the student.

Here’s the reason: services can be priced higher because of the personal touch.

But the bigger reason is this: because of our traditional education system and mental conditioning, humans learn better when in presence of other humans. We need to exchange ideas and express our thoughts. We need to see something happening live in action for us to soak in the learning. And we need feedback on our performance.

Think about it–classrooms in schools, group study programs, workshops and training programs in offices, etc. Even homeschooling and distance learning programs have human teachers thrown into the mix. None of these settings will be successful without a “teacher-student” interaction.

All this is to say: don’t shy away from offering services. Whether services will be your primary revenue stream or secondary or tertiary–that’s up to you to decide.

As an introvert, I know how difficult it can be to be in the presence of other people for the majority of the day. If such is the case, consider selling a product as your primary offering and build in a once-a-month (or weekly) group coaching sessions as a secondary service. The group coaching aspect will allow you to price your course higher and you don’t have to spend a ton of time talking to your students. Win-win.

On the other hand, if you want to offer only services, pitch retainer packages instead of one-off sessions. This way, you won’t have to constantly look for clients and maintain a steady flow of income.

But, selling services means trading time for dollars…

Not true!

Good project management and setting the right expectations from the beginning will ensure you don’t have to work until midnight forever.

Come to think of it, product creation and launch periods are equally busy plus you don’t even get paid for that time.

Big mistake!

Remember to account for all this time in your product price 😉 Don’t offer a $37 course just because you think more people will buy it. In the long-run, you might be undercutting your time.

The same holds true for selling services.

Don’t charge $0.01 per word because you want to win every copywriting bid you come across. You will work yourself to death and won’t even earn enough to buy a coffin. Morbid much?!

Know your worth. Do market research. Be shameless and ask competitors. Find every income report you can find on Google for your niche. Do whatever but don’t undersell yourself.

Screw services! I want to make money selling online courses!

Fair enough!

Most successful bloggers offer at least one course to their followers. You can too.

Start at the beginning–know your audience and their needs (scroll up if you have already forgotten we discussed this just minutes ago).

Now, let’s assume you have a good grasp of your audience and their pain points.

And you have a fantastic course idea that will address their problems. But is it guaranteed to earn you big bucks? Probably not.

I have heard from some bloggers how they surveyed their audience on email and FB to ascertain if they would be willing to purchase a unique online course that would solve their XYZ problem (well done!).

The audience replied with a resounding “YES.”

The bloggers spent several hours getting the course ready.

And then nothing!

The prospective students disappeared. And so did their YES!

Now, there could be a flaw in the bloggers’ marketing strategies and I will leave it to a marketing expert on how to improve on it.

But for now, no matter how excited you are by this unique idea, don’t reinvent the wheel. Build on what’s already out there. Identify the gaps in the existing programs and fill those gaps instead of trying to disrupt the market with your first course.

Okay, I have a course idea. What next?

Good! You are willing to step off the reinvention wheel before it throws you off and makes you land on your head.

But just having a course idea isn’t enough. Here’s what you also need to do.

Step 1: Identify your top 10 blog posts.

Step 2: Identify the specific questions or pain points that your Top 10 blog posts address.

Step 3: Shortlist 1-3 problem areas and come up with a course idea.

Step 4: Research the market for similar courses. Validate your course idea.

Step 4a: Know your competition. Research if they are offering a similar product.

Step 4b: Expand the research net and look for similar courses in marketplaces such as Skillshare, Udemy, etc.

Step 4c: Find out how well the course is doing. Are people buying it? Look for social proof of the course’s success. Go with the bestsellers.

Step 5: Create a simple sales funnel.

Step 5a: Step up your SEO and social media game to bring in traffic to your website.

Step 5b: Create an amazing opt-in offer (lead magnet) to bring potential buyers into the fold. Make sure the lead magnet gets them inside the threshold, i.e. it’s related to the pain point you will help address.

Step 5c: Create 3-4 blog posts and emails that agitate the identified problems. Help your audience identify and acknowledge that they have a problem that you can solve.

Step 6: Start creating your course material. This step runs parallel to Step 5 and onward.

Step 7: Market your course via Facebook Ads, Webinars, etc.

Step 8: Create a super-effective sales page that focuses on the target audience, their problems, and the benefits of your course. (I will write a post on how to create a sales page in a few weeks).

Step 9: Launch your course for a limited period.

Step 10: Nudge your subscribers towards making a purchase.

So yeah, all of that. And a marketing expert would probably tell you there are more steps. But these are the basic minimum.

In the near future, I will go into the details of these steps.

For now, what’s your plan? Are you more inclined to sell your own products or services? Share with me in the comments below.

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Nothing feels more entrepreneurial than creating and selling your own products and services, such as eCourses, workbooks, freelance writing, etc. This post explores the fundamentals of creating and making money from your own products and services.

How Bloggers Make Money: Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Post Synopsis: Do you want to make money online by joining affiliate marketing programs? Do you want to know which are the top paying affiliate programs? Do you wish you were also earning a full-time income just like that famous blogger you admire? This post explores how you can start making money from top affiliate marketing programs.


Have you ever come across bloggers or YouTubers talking about an awesome product they have tried and want you to purchase it too using their link? It could be a book, a course, a camera–anything really. Sometimes, the creator will even throw in a discount code for you to at the time of checkout. That’s affiliate marketing.

A majority of people (not brands) start blogs because it’s one of the cheapest businesses to start and run. A successful blog, in return, has the potential to earn you a great living. Among others, becoming an affiliate marketer is one of the cheapest ways of making money from your blog.

How Bloggers Make Money: Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Do you want to make money online by joining affiliate marketing programs? Do you want to know which are the top paying affiliate programs? Do you wish you were also earning a full-time income just like that famous blogger you admire? This post explores how you can start making money from top affiliate marketing programs.

As someone who is considering becoming an affiliate marketer, you must be having a lot of questions in your head. How does an online affiliate program work? How do affiliate marketers make money? Can I make a full-time income with affiliate marketing?

Let’s begin by understanding what is affiliate marketing and how does it work.

Disclaimer: All links prefixed with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links. Any purchase you make by clicking these links will earn me a small commission but will not cost you anything extra. For more details, please read my Disclosure Policy.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a very popular method of making money online.

Bloggers (or any website owner, for that matter) can earn through affiliate marketing by promoting third-party products and/or services to their followers. For every sale, the bloggers then earn a fixed percentage as commission.

So in essence, you–the blogger–are a marketing and sales channel for the owners of the products and/or services you endorse.

Why should I become an affiliate marketer?

As you continue reading the post, you will understand why becoming an online affiliate marketer is a great way to earn moolah. But, if you don’t have the patience to read the entire post, here are some reasons you should:

You don’t need to spend anything: 
Affiliate marketing requires zero to minimal investment from you (and some of your time) but has the potential to earn you several hundred dollars every month. 

You don’t need to spend on manufacturing, storing, shipping, hiring a team–nothing. All you need to do is find a great product or service you believe in and talk about it positively to your followers.

You don’t need to worry about product/service delivery: As an affiliate marketer, your job ends once you have promoted a product or service. Appropriate delivery and post-sale customer service is the creator/owner’s responsibility. That said, it is important to only market products and services that you know are valuable to your followers, has a strong foundation and a responsible owner/creator.

You don’t have to provide customer support: Similar to product delivery, providing customer support is the responsibility of the product owner. You are simply a sales outlet who is bridging the gap between the owner and potential customers.

You may earn passive income from it: Over a period of time, if you are promoting the right product or service AND optimizing the promotion page properly, you may continue to make sales and earn a passive income without spending any additional time or effort.

How do I become an affiliate marketer?

Becoming an affiliate marketer is actually quite simple. What is difficult is knowing which programs will work for you.

Identify one or more product or service that you’d like to get behind and promote. Find out if there is an affiliate marketing program associated with the product or service.

And sign up. That’s it.

Typically you would find the sign-up information on the brand’s website.

If it’s a course, then look for an appendix at the end of the course that mentions whether the course is open to affiliate marketing.

If you don’t know or can’t find the information, email the brand PR or the product creator (such as a blogger selling a course) to find out.

Direct affiliate program vs. affiliate network

Most often, especially as far as blogging courses and software go, brands have their individual affiliate marketing programs. However, there are some–especially software–that tie up with affiliate marketing networks and offer their programs via those networks.

For example: *my preferred hosting partner–SiteGround–has their own affiliate program. They offer very reasonable hosting packages and gold-class customer service.

To sign up, you need to be their existing customer and apply for the program through their website. Once approved, you will promote their services on your blog and every sale you make earns you a certain commission.

If you are looking to switch your current host, consider signing up for *SiteGround’s amazing hosting plans. As their affiliate, here’s what you stand to earn:

My preferred hosting partner--SiteGround--has their own affiliate program. They offer very reasonable hosting packages and gold-class customer service.

*Another affiliate program I have signed up for is Suzi Whitford’s series of courses. Her courses are fantastic learning material for bloggers who are just starting out or are ready to step up their beginners’ game.

To sign up for Suzi’s affiliate program, you have to be an existing student (i.e. purchase one of her courses). In the course material, you will find the instructions to join her affiliate program that will earn you a 40% commission per sale.

*Just started a blog and need direction? Want to step up your email game? Want to create awesome lead magnets? Suzi’s courses have got you covered.

ust started a blog and need direction? Want to step up your email game? Want to create awesome lead magnets? Want to write an eBook? Want to do it all? Suzi’s courses have got you covered.

Most brands offering direct affiliate marketing programs will also provide you with marketing material to make your job even easier.

On the other hand, some brands choose to offer their affiliate programs via a network. *For example, Pinterest and Instagram scheduler–Tailwind–hosts their affiliate marketing program via ShareASale.

To sign up for *Tailwind’s affiliate marketing program, you need to first sign up on the ShareASale website.

At the time of signing up, ShareASale requires you to submit your website details. They will then review your application and you can expect to receive a response in 2-4 days. Once approved, you can browse their merchant listing and apply for each individual brand’s affiliate program.

*ShareASale lists thousands of brands–Tailwind is just one of the merchants listed on their Website.

Sometimes, brands listed on ShareASale may contact you to become their affiliate on the ShareASale website.

How does affiliate marketing pay?

As mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing programs pay you a fixed percentage per sale as commission. That’s the most typical payment model brands follow.

However, there are also other models in the market.

For example, some brands–though in minority–also allow you to become an affiliate without first purchasing the product or service in question.

You heard it! Some brands will pay you commission without you spending a penny.

For example, Amazon.

Amazon is a marketplace. They will pay you for helping them sell products that are listed on their website. All you need is an existing account and an active website.

With Amazon though, there are a lot of terms and conditions you need to follow–I will get to those in a couple of minutes.

As with display advertisements, affiliate marketing is also based on various payment models:

Pay per sale: In this payment model, you promote an affiliate product or service. Once a visitor clicks on the affiliate link and completes a purchase, you earn your commission.

Pay per click: In this payment model, your lead simply has to click on an affiliate link and get redirected to the affiliate brand’s website. That’s it! You’ve earned your commission.

Pay per lead/action: In this payment model, your website visitor has to click on an affiliate link, get redirected to the affiliate brand’s website, and complete an action.

These actions are varied and could range from entering their Name and Email ID to more details such as phone numbers and zip codes.

Or, perhaps they would need to complete a survey, watch a video, or download a software. Once the visitors complete the required action, you earn your commission.

There might also be other models out there that I am unaware of.

I have personally only come across and signed up for the pay per sale model.

Which affiliate marketing program is the best for me?

If you are convinced that affiliate marketing could work for you, the next string of questions in your mind will most likely be: “Which is the best affiliate program to make money?”

Well, the real answer is: there is no sure-shot way to know which programs will work for you and which won’t.

It depends on trial and error.

As long as you are mindful of the products and services you are choosing to market, you will start noticing which products or services are selling more than the others. Start focusing on those.

Most eCourses or eBooks you have purchased from bloggers have an affiliate program attached to them. Find out about these programs and apply to become an affiliate marketer for them. Again, choose only the ones you believe in.

With that out of the way, here’s a list of most popular affiliate marketing programs and networks you can sign up for:

The options are aplenty. Just Google.

At the cost of sounding repetitive, choose only those programs that you truly believe in and/or have used successfully.

You owe this to your readers and yourself.

Enough yapping, just tell me about Amazon affiliate marketing already!

Sigh! Okay.

Amazon affiliate is popular because it’s the largest online marketplace you know of. Anyone can sign up to be their affiliate.

But their affiliate marketing program is shit!

There, I said it. And that’s all there is to say.

Don’t waste your time on Amazon!

For one, their cookie length is 24 hours! This means unless your reader is an impulse buyer, you are unlikely to earn anything out of it.

Two, even though Amazon lists high-ticket items too, people usually are wary of buying expensive physical products online. So, there goes your chance of earning a decent commission.

Three, Amazon’s commission rate ranges from 1-10%. So, even if someone purchases a $700 phone from your affiliate link, you will earn a 4% commission, i.e., $28.

Four, they don’t pay commissions for purchases made by your friends and family. I don’t know how they track it but they do.

Five, if you don’t make at least three sales in your first six months as an affiliate marketer, Amazon will terminate your affiliate account.

Six, you cannot cloak your links or send affiliate links on emails, Pinterest, etc.

There are many more convoluted terms and conditions for Amazon affiliates. If you have time to kill or want a way to fall asleep quickly, read them here.

Told you, Amazon’s affiliate program is shit!

How many affiliate programs should I sign up for?

There is no limit to how many affiliate programs you can sign up for. But that doesn’t mean you should sign up for every program you come across.

Choose quality over quantity.

Select products and services that belong to your chosen niche and deliver to your audience’s interest.

Though not mandatory, it’s also wise to market only those products or services that you have personally used AND benefited from. In fact, *Suzi Whitford from Start a Mom Blog suggests that you post pictures of you using an affiliate product or service as it builds trust.

My personal recommendation would be to limit the number of affiliate programs to 10 or less.

Remember you need to justify the products you market. This means you need to write a good copy for the promotion. In my opinion, 10 is a good number to work with. Any more and you may be scrambling for time and ignoring your own products/services.

Best practices to earn from online affiliate marketing programs

Affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick-scheme. It may not make you thousands of dollars every month in your first year. However, following some best practices can help you ensure consistent income:

Invest in quality products: Blogging as a business needs investment, whether it’s to buy technology or knowledge. When it’s time to invest, purchase the best you can afford.

Most good quality products and services, especially blogging courses and software services offer a high percentage of commission.

Consequently, you can earn back your investment in a short amount of time.

In addition, because of the high value of the product, you are likely to squeeze the last drop of use of out of it.

Choose affiliate programs that pay at least 30% commission: When you are just starting out, it’s easy to sign up for several affiliate marketing programs without much consideration for the commission percentage.

However, it’s in your interest to scout for products or services that pay a minimum percentage of 30%.

Typically, high-ticket items do offer high commissions.

Another reason you should consider the previous point I made about purchasing the best you can afford.

Sign up for recurring payment vs. one-time payout model: It’s a 50-50 split when it comes to payout models. Some programs continue to pay you every month that your referred customer stays with the brand.

ConvertKit is a prime example of such a payment model. For every person who signs up for their services via your affiliate link, you earn a sweet 30% commission for every completed month your lead stays with ConvertKit.

On the other hand, most other programs use a one-time payout model in which you earn a fixed one-time commission when your lead signs up for a service.

Check the program’s link cloaking terms: Typical affiliate links contain a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. They don’t make for the prettiest of links. So, bloggers often use cloak plugins that enable them to customize the affiliate links as per their own liking.

For example, an original link https://www.xyz.com/[email protected]#jkhIheoo can be customized to https://www.xyz.com/yourname using a link cloak.

However, some programs, such as the Amazon affiliate program, do not allow any type of cloaking. You have to use the original link generated by the Amazon affiliate software.

Similarly, if you want to use affiliate links on Pinterest, you may need to fulfill certain conditions. So, all this is to say read the terms and conditions of each program carefully.

Select programs that offer cookie length of 30 days or more: Cookie length refers to the amount of time you are entitled to earn a commission from a purchase.

Each online affiliate marketing program offers different cookie lengths ranging from 24 hours to 365 days.

Suppose one of your readers clicks your affiliate link, she has between 24 hours and a year (depending on the program) to make her purchase. Any purchase made outside this window will not earn you anything.

But human minds are fickle. They take long to deliberate and decide, especially when it comes to certain purchases. It is, therefore, in your favor to promote programs that come with at least 30 days…but the longer the window, the better.

Disclose all affiliate links: As with sponsored posts, you need to disclose that fact that you stand to earn from your affiliate links.

Whenever you are including an affiliate link–even one–include a blanket statement that the post contains affiliate links. Same is true for including affiliate links in emails and social networking platforms.

Mark all affiliate links as Nofollow: Any link or content that may result in generating an income for you should be marked as a nofollow link. This applies to affiliate links too.

Follow the rules: Read the terms and conditions of each program carefully. While some programs do not put any restrictions on you, others may have certain terms that you need to abide by.

For example, you cannot include Amazon affiliate links in your emails or any social media platform.Don’t know if becoming an affiliate marketer is the best choice for you? Take this quiz.

Okay, I signed up for my favorite affiliate program. What next?

It’s time to promote.

Traditionally, writing a product or service review blog post is the most common way of promoting your favorite products.

But there’s only so much you can write about the features of a product or service. Plus, there are 100 other bloggers who are also writing a review post listing the same features.

What can you do differently?

Let me tell you the secret of copywriting–weave your story around the benefits of a product.

Too often, bloggers list the features of a product or service in their blog post, sprinkle the affiliate link in the post, and think their job is done.

Features don’t tell potential customers what they stand to gain from purchasing the said product or service. What pain point is the product or service resolving?

Focus on the benefits of a product or service. Illustrate how using the product or service of your choice has changed your life? Tell your personal story and show why the potential customer should invest their money in your favorite product?

You may choose to talk about all the benefits of a product or service in one epic post or create a series out of it.

If you are feeling super creative, you may even think of a more innovative way to promote the product or service on your blog.

Other common ways of including affiliate marketing links on a blog are:

Write an in-depth tutorial. Illustrate how to use a product.

List your favorite products and services: Create a Resources page on your website and list all of your favorite tools and products. Here’s an example from ProBlogger.

Create a roundup of products and services your peers use but include your own affiliate links. For example, write a post “10 Successful Bloggers Share Their Favorite Productivity Tool” and include links to 10 different productivity tools.

Create a day-in-the-life YouTube video or blog post and show yourself using a product or service.

Embrace the “in your face” technique. Instead of displaying third-party advertisement, use the space to display affiliate banners. Very often, the brand will provide you premade banners for this purpose.

There are bloggers who are earning a full-time income just from affiliate marketing. The most popular name that comes to mind is Michelle Schroeder-Gardner. Her personal finance + travel blog, Making Sense of Cents, earns her a handsome $100K+ per month. Most of that income is a result of affiliate marketing. If you are looking to take up affiliate marketing as your #1 method of blog income, check out her course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

As for me, I started including affiliate links in my posts a couple of months ago but it’s sporadic. It is not my aim to earn a full-time income from affiliate marketing. I am working on it to generate a “passive” revenue stream while I focus on my main income offering–my own product and service.

That’s right! I am working on creating an epic course on creating effective content. That, after all, is my expertise and my bread-and-butter. If you don’t know, I am an Instructional Designer with over 15 years of experience. I create web copies and online + offline course material for Fortune 500 companies.

And that is exactly what I will talk about in my next and final post in this “How Bloggers Make Money” series–creating and selling your own products and services.

Do you have any experience with affiliate marketing? How was your experience? What advice would you share with new bloggers? Share with me in the comments below.

Postscript & a confession

Of late, I have been feeling disconnected writing about blog-related stuff and ignoring the “content creation” category.

But then again, I get so many comments and emails from new bloggers telling me how they are benefitting from these “blogging” posts.

So I am really torn. I love sharing lessons from my own blogging journey but it’s not the niche I am passionate about.

After next week’s post, I am going to switch back to content writing. Posts on blogging may take a backseat for some time or maybe I will split it 50-50. I am yet to work out the distribution of posts, but I will keep you updated.

Thank you for your support.

Pin for later.

Do you want to make money online by joining affiliate marketing programs? Do you want to know which are the top paying affiliate programs? Do you wish you were also earning a full-time income just like that famous blogger you admire? This post explores how you can start making money from top affiliate marketing programs.