Want To Make More Money Blogging?

Affiliate Marketing: 10 Reasons Bloggers Should Start Immediately

Maybe you are just like me. For more than two years, I was up at 5:00 AM six days a week. I published new content every day. I was spending money left and right on hosting, email systems, and more...and I made exactly $0.

I SAID I had a business, but what I really had was an expensive HOBBY!

The funny thing is that I knew all about one of the easiest ways to start monetizing my blog...affiliate marketing. I’d worked with some of the top brands in the world like Shutterfly and Adidas on their affiliate programs. I’d worked with top entrepreneurs like Michael Hyatt, Ray Edwards, and Jeff Goins on their programs too. And yet, I’d never done it myself.

I was ready to give up on my blog. It was draining time, energy, and money, with nothing in return.

That’s when I did my first affiliate promotion.

I promoted just like I’d taught others to do for more than a decade. And it worked! I made $588 in that first promotion, with a list of barely 800 people.

I’d proven to myself that I could do this. I could make money with my blog. And I didn’t even need a product to do it.

Over the next two years, I made more than $134,000 in affiliate commissions. I finished in the top 10 in many affiliate competitions. I even won a small one.

And I did it all with a list that was never larger than 2,300 people.

For years, I’d seen what the top affiliates were doing. I’d seen the power of affiliate marketing.

And yet...I wasn’t taking advantage of the opportunity right in front of me. I didn’t have a product, but I did have a big PROBLEM...I was losing money fast. And affiliate marketing was the answer to my problem.

Now that $134,000+ in commissions MIGHT seem like the most obvious benefit to aff marketing, but I actually have 10 more benefits you might not have even thought of. These are the “hidden” benefits of affiliate marketing that can help ALL areas of your online business.

Benefit One: You Develop the Right Mindset from Day One

So many people preach that when you start a blog, you should give, give, give. Content, content, content. But when you give, give, give without ever asking for a financial transaction, it sets you up for burnout. I know because I’ve been there.

So much of running an online BUSINESS is mental and I want you in a money-making mindset from day one.

Repeat after me: I run an online business. And businesses make money.

When you start affiliate marketing right away, it gets you in this proper mindset.

Benefit Two: You Get to Monetize Immediately

Imagine for a moment that a new store opens up across town. Whether it’s a Walmart or a mom and pop doesn’t matter. What is ONE thing all stores have in common?

THEY SELL STUFF! On day one!

And don’t apologize for it.

They give away free samples for six weeks and then ask you to buy. They sell to you on day one!

Here’s the problem with an online business, though. It’s hard to know what your audience wants on day one, so it’s hard to create the right products or courses...which leads us to benefit number three...

Benefit Three: You Learn What Your Audience Wants

When you first start your blog, you are still learning what your audience wants and needs. You have no idea what products they are interested in buying, what price points they buy at, or what is the best way to sell to them.

In other words, creating a product of your own on day one is RISKY. Just ask anyone who’s created something, ordered 1000 of them and parks their car in the driveway not the garage as a result.

Affiliate marketing teaches you what your audience wants. You get to test different products, topics, price points, and sales methods.

You also learn what specific people on your list are interested in. That allows you to segment them over time.

If you run a health blog, Person A might be more interested purchasing fitness equipment, while Person B is into supplements. This gives you incredible insight into what products will perform best with them in the future.

In the long-term, this is huge for your business.

Benefit Four: You Train Your Audience to Click and Buy

One way or another, you are conditioning your audience.

The question is: What are you conditioning them to do?

Are you conditioning them to click links in your emails or just read the content in the email? Are you conditioning them to expect periodic offers or to receive free content indefinitely?

Think about this...if you have nothing to sell and go on for years or even just months without selling, your audience conditioned. Then when you DO sell, it’s the end of the world. They freak out, unsubscribe in droves, even send you hate mail...seriously, it happens, people are just crazy.

Remember this, you are conditioning your audience one way or the other. Make a choice to condition them the right way.

Benefit Five: You Learn How to Manage a Promotional Calendar

Here’s the biggest difference between someone who blogs as a hobby and a professional blogger:

A content and promotional calendar.

When you blog for a hobby, you post when you want to. No one is expecting much. Don’t feel like posting today? No biggie. Got nothing for next week? Who cares!

A content calendar is the first step in putting on your grown up blogger pants. The next step is a promotional calendar.

Think of it like a content calendar on steroids. With the attention span of a toddler who accidentally drank your coffee.

Promotional calendars are hard to manage. You have to build up to a specific topic and promotion. You warm your list up and crescendo at the end of the promotion. Like this:

If you’d like a sample promotion warm up plan, just click here and I’ll send you the one we use for our own affiliate promotions (it also works for internal product promotions as well).

Benefit Six: You Begin to Get Noticed

Here’s a little secret...even the biggest names in the online marketing world like to get noticed.

They like to see their names on affiliate leaderboards. They like when they promote something and are recognized. They like beating other marketers.

When you start in affiliate marketing early, you get better at it earlier and you get noticed earlier. That means you are able to connect with other people who can help you massively scale your business.

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I know this happens because it’s exactly what happened with me. I began promoting affiliate offers, I started getting on leaderboards, and people started reaching out to me. Today, I consider many of those people friends (and clients).

Imagine what this would feel like...and do for your business:

Realistically, you don’t need to be at the top to get noticed. Being listed anywhere is enough to give you credibility and raise some eyebrows.

Benefit Seven: You Get a Taste of Success

I cannot stress how important this is. When you get a taste of success, you want more.

When I made that first $588 commission, I was thrilled. But I also saw what was possible. And I wanted more of it.

$588 became $1,124. Then I made more than $7,000 in my next one. In my fifth promotion, I made more than $10,000 for the first time.

These amounts were game changers for my business and my life. And it all started with that first $588.

Benefit Eight: It Funds Your Business

Starting a blog is easy and usually inexpensive, but starting an online business requires an investment.

It’s not much. $20 here. $30 there. $50 for the guy to fix that plugin that's crashing your site. But it adds up and it’s especially demoralizing when you have nothing coming in.

A REAL business pays for itself. It has revenues coming in that support the expenses going out. And affiliate marketing is a great way to do that.

Imagine if you simply had $100 a month coming in right now from your blog. That would pay for your hosting, your email service, your images, and maybe even for a premium theme or plugin. It could change your business.

And it could change your perception (and others’ perception as well). Suddenly, you have a business that brings in money. Suddenly you are turning a profit.

That does wonders for your psyche.

Benefit Nine: It Teaches You How to Sell (And Proves You Can)

Promoting affiliate offers taught me how to sell long before I ever had a product of my own. I understand how to warm up my audience, how to engage them, what copy worked best, and what worked and what didn’t.

In other words, I got to test my sales skills out on other people’s products, not mine.

I learned when to email during a promotion, what length of emails worked best, what subject lines worked and so much more.

Promoting affiliate offers taught me how to sell but most importantly it proved I could. Instead of being reluctant and doubting myself when I launched my first product, it was like second nature.

When I launched my affiliate marketing training course, No Product No Problem, earlier this year, I had absolutely no stress about the marketing. I’d done it 20+ times already. Creating the promotional plan for the course launch was, quite frankly, one of the easiest things I’ve done in my business.

Benefit Ten: You Learn How to Run Affiliate Program of Your Own

Whether you know it yet or not, you will have an affiliate program of your own one day. I won’t try to convince you of that here, but just know that you will. It’s the single best way to explode your online business.

And when you promote others’ affiliate offers, you learn how to do that.

Amazingly, after spending nearly a decade running affiliate programs for everyone from Lewis Howes and Michael Hyatt to multi-billion dollar companies, I learned more from promoting offers myself.

To quote Pablo Picasso: “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.”

And boy, have I stolen some good ideas.

I learned what I liked in an affiliate program. Every single promotion gave me at least one awesome idea to use for our clients.

I also learned what I didn’t like. If something bugged me, I assumed it bugged others and I vowed to do better.

Seeing things from the perspective of an affiliate has made me ten times better at helping our affiliates.

But Let’s Not Forget About the Money…

And the best part about all these benefits is that you get to enjoy them while getting paid!

It’s like going to school and the college pays YOU!

Promoting affiliate offers from day one can be very profitable.

So here’s my question for you...What would making an extra $67,000 a year do for you?

Or even half that. What would an extra $34,000 do? Or $20,000?

Could you pay for your startup expenses? Could you pay off your debt? Could you quit that part-time job and spend a little more time with your family?

Could you prove to your spouse or other naysayers that this crazy online business thing is actually a good idea? Could you prove it to YOURSELF? Or maybe you would make enough to go full-time with your business.

This is the power of affiliate marketing...the ability to make money without creating a product of your own. And you learn a lot of cool stuff along the way.

If you’re just started out with your blog, start affiliate marketing now. Start benefiting from the income and the learning today.

If you’ve been blogging for years, but you aren’t doing affiliate marketing yet, start now.

The old Chinese proverb says the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today. Whether you are just starting out or are a veteran blogger, start affiliate marketing today.

I’ve put together a special “bundle” of resources for Sue’s readers to help you get started.

The “Successful Blogging Affiliate Bundle” has the promo calendar samples I mentioned above, plus my Affiliate Program Scorecard, and a video training to help make your next affiliate promotion your best ever.

The Affiliate Program Scorecard will show you what offers to promote and what offers to pass on. The video training takes a deep dive into the 5 Pillars of a Killer Affiliate Promo. I share what the top affiliates are doing and how to stand out from the crowd.

Get the “Successful Blogging Affiliate Bundle” here.

Entrepreneurs and companies such as Michael Hyatt, Ray Edwards, Brian Tracy, Lewis Howes, Shutterfly, Peter Voogd, and Jeff Goins have trusted us to run their affiliate launches. I help online business owners and brands, small and large, to leverage the power of partners to grow their businesses. I teach you how to make money as an affiliate and how to work better with affiliates.

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49 comments on “Affiliate Marketing: 10 Reasons Bloggers Should Start Immediately”

  1. Hi Matthew,

    This is a great post.

    I cracked up so many times.

    I think I might even Tweet every word in this article.

    A lot of bloggers will tell new bloggers not to focus on monetisation in the beggining and just publish post after post until you gain authority.

    However, they fail to understand the power of conditioning.

    If you condition your audience to expect FREE this FREE that. They will hate you when you start selling.

    Infact, they will feel like they have been tricked.

    Thanks for your insight and wisdom.

    Lots of Love

    Empowee

  2. I've been blogging for years but only realized late last year that I had a treasure that I wasn't utilizing to the fullest.

    I've signed up with a couple of affiliate programs but I haven't yet seen the great results of being an affiliate marketer, in terms of the $$$$$. Not giving up soon though!

    1. Don't give up!

      We have many students who didn't make money their first few promos and then broke through. It definitely takes some practice.

      Let me know how I can help!

  3. With a good email list, you can quickly start affiliate marketing and get much success. Currently, I'm making money through Amazon Associate program by writing and publishing review articles. This is also a good method to earn money through affiliate marketing too!

    1. Amazon is a great place to start since so many of us are mentioning the books we read.

      If you have the SiteStripe installed, it takes an extra 3 seconds to get your affiliate link vs. the regular link. So worth it!

  4. Hi Matthew,

    Wow, such a great article and so correct. I started monetizing my blog with affiliate programs right when I published my first blog post. Now I know that it takes a while to actually start earning from your blog, however, it's much easier to start at the beginning.

    Who really wants to spend the time to go back and monetize once they get an audience. Plus it's nice when you wake up the morning and have made an affiliate sale.

    I do believe in providing valuable content on my blog and to my email subscribers.

    However, like you said, this is a business. While it may be an expensive hobby when we're first starting out, it does cost money to run a blog.

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with monetizing a blog. Sure you may scare some people off because you're trying to monetize, but so what.

    You can't keep providing great content on a regular basis without monetizing. Like you said, that's the quickest way to get burnt out.

    Congrats on your affiliate marketing success. The best part is that you did it with a smaller list size. We always hear those stories of how it's possible to make money with a smaller list, and your story shows that it's definitely true.

    Have a great day 🙂

    Susan

    1. Absolutely Susan!

      The #1 thing is always valuable content but unless you are running a charity (and even then, you need to raise money) #2 is making money.

      I've worked with 100s of non-profits who use affiliate marketing to raise a lot of money, too, so even charities are bad examples haha.

  5. I've just a read post from a very well known female blogger who peddles an incredibly expensive course teaching mostly female bloggers about blogging and her latest post says you shouldn't monetize your blog until you have "about 1-2K followers"...seriously! But then contradicts this statement in the same post by saying it's ok to use 'referral links' i.e affiliate marketing...which, of course, is monetizing your blog! Sheesh. These people are actually held up as gurus! It's great to read such an informative post coming aimed at newbie bloggers here. Great advice and is absolutely the way to go.

    1. I don't know the person and I assume they have the best intentions in recommending that, but it's absurd 😉

      In no other industry in the world, would someone recommend that. Sometimes we act like blogging is somehow special compared to everything else. It's not.

    2. Veteran Blogger, Lol I know - a lot Gurus will tell you not to monetize your blog in the beginning, which I don't agree with. A. You either burn out because you're pumping out so much content. B. You get demotivated because you're not earning anything. C. You end up having an expensive hobby because of all the tools and plugins you buy + Hosting costs.

  6. Thank you for this amazingly helpful post and updating me.

    It is really going to be helpful to me as I strive to have more income coming from passive activities instead of active ones.

  7. Hello Matthew,

    Affiliate Marketing is one of the best ways to monetize a blog and make money from it. I remember the days when I first earned $300 by promoting hosting affiliate program. Its really motivated me a lot and I started to make it a full-time business. Now It is my primary source of income. Great insights, Thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. Wow! I love hearing stories like that Vishwajeet.

      If you are ever interested, I'd love to hear more and possibly do a case study or have you guest post.

      Just let me know!

      1. Sure Matt, I will be glad to work with you. I love to work with people like you and its a great opportunity for me.

  8. Well said Ryan!

    There is nothing wrong with blogging as a hobby, if that is what you truly want to do.

    Just don't strut around talking about your "online business" if you aren't actually selling anything.

    I believe that affiliate marketing is the way to go from hobby to business and then transition to selling your own products over time.

  9. This post almso made me shed a tear... Its been approximately 5years now... Wish I realized what potentials I left hanging all this while.

    1. The Chinese proverb states that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now.

      Focus on what you have in front of you, not what is behind you!

  10. Hi Sue!

    I am currently not getting paid even $1 And I have not even 200 Readers per day.

    Can I start affiliate marketing program?

    Please I want you to be My Mentor in my blogging activities.

    Help me Up to Top So As, I can enjoy my hobby!

    Your sincerely,

    ALIKO MUSA.

  11. Great post for new blogger Matt. Yes, you are totally right that we can Develop the Right Mindset, Learn What Audience Wants etc

    Please share like these tips Matt 🙂

  12. It's awesome...all the great things you mention. Affiliate marketing can teach a blogger a lot about persuasion.

    Such a skill comes in handy later down the road when one makes a choice to not only monetize their blog / list via affiliate marketing, but to also sell their own products and services to the audience they attract.

    Great reminders Matt!

  13. I just wanna say Thank You. I realized I have an expensive hobby and need to monetize my blog. Why are some folks so shy at asking for money from their email subscribers?

    1. The same reason people are afraid to ask people out or ask for a raise.

      Fear of rejection.

      If I ask for a sale and someone unsubscribes, I've lost them. There is a real sense of pain. It truly hurts.

      But that comes with the territory.

  14. Matt, I love how you stated Benefits 6 and 7. These are truly game-changers as far as gaining the confidence to keep rocking it. Taking action always ultimately breeds the confidence to take greater action.

    PS - So glad to have met you at PLF Live last month. I was emailing Sue when I noticed you were sitting just two rows behind me. 🙂

    1. Nice to meet you as well Joanne.

      I've often said that making your first $1000 is 10X harder than making your next $100K.

      It takes that spark...and that taste of success to ignite.

      We're just now seeing students who signed up for our course in January making their first $1000. And their next $1000 comes only weeks later. So fun!

  15. Powerful stuff you poured out here on Affiliate Marketing matt.

    I smell more exciting content on your blog so I'm off to it right away 😉

    Enstine M.

  16. You are 100% right. Sense of achievement and success matters a lot. It all started from $588 and then you made it up to $167k in next 2 years. Amazing 🙂

    Thanks for the awesome write-up 🙂

    1. Yes Muhammad!

      And while $588 to $167K sounds like a leap, it wasn't.

      It was still a slow and steady progression...that all started with that one spark!

  17. I've just started my blog to make money with affiliate for about 6 months. And your article gives me the clear way and makes me more confident. Thank you so much!

  18. Hi Matt,

    This is great. Affiliate marketing is a nice-to-do money making opportunity for bloggers. The idea of teaching them to click on it is one big takeaway you just handed over to me today. Now I have to put in more effort to ensure I master this thing.

    Emenike

  19. Really nice article!!

    Thanks for the post. I am also going to start affiliate marketing programs for my blog.

  20. Congrats Matt! Was wondering when you'd start popping back up again. I remember working with you when you were at the insurance company in 2006 or 7. Great job!

  21. Hello Matt,

    Great shout here 🙂

    Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways through which we can make some good amount of money, if done correctly.

    At the starting I never focused upon the affiliate marketing, I was in the race of launching post and post and keep on doing blog commenting. Slowly the consequences of affiliate marketing was raveled and I realized how much money I was leaving behind

    on my table.

    Its good to be straight forward and tell our clients to purchase what are we offering. If you would never shout they will never

    buy your products. One do not think that what the clients will think that he is here to sell his products. They know why are we here, they know we are here to make money and they are coming to get the things which they need for.

    Thanks for the share.

    Shantanu.

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