Affiliate marketing. The big daddy.

When I first started to toe the line between sponsored content and affiliate content, I had zero clue what I was doing. It was one big question mark to me.

There was money to be made. Serious money. I knew that. But it wasn’t clear EXACTLY how it worked. Was it like a MLM? Was this a leggings scam situation? Was I about to start a go-nowhere hike up the side of a really, really big triangle? Did signing up for an affiliate program under someone else’s link make me part of THEIR pyramid??

I looked at all these bloggers income reports: 20k, 50k, 500k. All made by affiliate marketing, some even affiliate links to digital products that taught you how to affiliate market. I read their reports, I browsed their posts. But there were things I couldn’t figure out: what affiliate programs did these people belong to? And how were they making so much coin?

That was three years ago. In the time since, I’ve figured this affiliate marketing thing out. I’ve built my funnels, and I’ve joined the programs that make the most sense for me.

In this post, I’ll break down exactly which affiliate programs I belong to. I’ll also detail exactly how much I make per month through each affiliate program, and what posts and content I use to bring in the clicks that net me that money.

Let’s get rid of the knowledge gaps.

To start, here are the affiliate programs I belong to:

SiteGround

Tailwind

Mixbook

ConvertKit

Yes, there’s only four! I use every single service I promote through affiliate links, with the exception of ConvertKit. In the interest of full disclosure, I replaced ConvertKit with MailerLite about a year ago. ConvertKit is an AMAZING tool for email marketers. But me? Not great at email marketing. I send out emails maybe once, twice a year. MailerLite suits my needs just fine.

Now I’ll break down each affiliate program I belong to, and how I turn readers into clicks and $$$.

Tailwind

This was the first affiliate program I signed up for, and the first time affiliate marketing actually made sense to me.

You’ll see links to Tailwind all over my blog. I LOVE this service, and I’ve used it for a really, really long time. I also continue to use it, because the Tailwind team continues to add super handy new features like Smartloop.

Here are some examples of my most popular Tailwind-related posts:

Within each of those posts are links that include my unique Tailwind affiliate ID. You’ll get this link when you sign up for a Tailwind account. I use a WordPress plugin called Quick Redirects to make the URL look a lot nicer.

My Tailwind affiliate link without the Quick Redirects plugin looks like this: shareasale(.)com/r.cfm?b=958190&u=1289009&m=50947&urllink=&afftrack=. With the Quick Redirect plugin, it looks like this: tothewild.co/tailwind. Much better!

You can see an example of how I integrate Tailwind into my content here:

I have two Tailwind affiliate accounts. The first account is through Share-a-Sale. Share-a-Sale is a big umbrella made up of smaller affiliate programs. One of the affiliate programs under that umbrella is Tailwind. 

Through Share-a-Sale, I make a 15% commission on those who sign up for Tailwind through my affiliate link. So, if you signed up for Tailwind through my affiliate link, Tailwind would get 85% of what you pay, and I would get the other 15%. 

My second Tailwind-related affiliate account is through the Tailwind website directly, and it’s more of a referral bonus. Through this link, I get one free month of Tailwind for every person that signs up through my link. I use these links interchangably throughout my website, because I am a big fan of Tailwind and legitimately use the service! Getting to use it for free every month is a bonus.

SiteGround

Just like Tailwind, you’ll see lots of recommendations for SiteGround sprinkled throughout the content on my blog. They’re the host I use for my own websites, and I genuinely love them a lot. I switched from Bluehost to SiteGround in 2016, and I have not regretted it AT. ALL.

SiteGround has a really great affiliate program. It’s extremely accessible, and their payment structure is really straight-forward. If you’re new to affiliate marketing, their program is a great place to start.

For every person who signs up for SiteGround services through your link, you make $50. Straight up, that’s it. The more people you refer to SiteGround per month, the higher that amount goes. They top out at $125 per sale if you refer 21+ sales per month.

Looking at the Siteground affilate program alone, you can see there’s a huge potential to make a lot of money in one place. If you get a post to go viral on Pinterest that includes a sign up link to SiteGround’s hosting services, you could be making thousands of dollars per month.

Mixbook

Compared to Tailwind and SiteGround, Mixbook has a smaller presence in my affiliate marketing efforts. I really only use Mixbook links in my “How to Get Rid of ____ When You’re Really, Really Bad at It” series.

To be completely honest with you, Mixbook is still an affiliate program I am trialing out. My “How to Get Rid of…” series went viral on Pinterest in 2017, but I still haven’t quite monetized it the way I’d like to. I’ve been an affiliate of Mixbook for about a year now, after using the service to make a bunch of photobooks for myself, and I’ve had some success, but I don’t think it’s EXACTLY what that post needs. I’ll likely update this space as time goes on.

When a person clicks on a Mixbook link on my blog posts, I make 15% of what they spend.

ConvertKit

The ConvertKit affiliate program is another program that has a really, really high potential to bring in some serious money.

Similar to Mixbook, I don’t have too too many mentions of ConvertKit on my blog – just because I am no longer a paying customer of the service, and I mostly stick to recommending services I use on the daily.

THAT SAID, I do still vouch for ConvertKit. And I think if you want to use a service more robust than the free ones, she’s the way to go. So, because of this, I have a few ConvertKit links sprinkled in throughout my content – especially in my older posts and series.

ConvertKit has a really, really high payout, at 30%. One AMAZING thing about the ConvertKit affiliate program, is that the 30% is reocurring. So, you will make 30% this month, and you will make 30% next month, and 30% forever, for as long as the person who signed up through your link keeps their ConvertKit account open for.

That is a really, really high earning potential!

If you’re getting started with affiliate marketing for the first time, there are four things you’ll want to do.

#1

Choose a service that you already use. I absolutely recommend ONLY vouching for things you’ve paid for and enjoy on a regular basis, especially if you’re going to be writing content about it. Once you’ve chosen the service, research their affiliate program (Google: “service name + affiliate program”), and apply/sign up for it.

#2

Write a blog post about your chosen service. You can do a general review “here’s why I like X!” or focus in on one feature of the service “here’s how you do this in X!

#3

Add your affiliate link in a few places throughout the post. I really recommend NOT going overboard. You don’t have to link every third word, because this is 2019, and we are no longer tricking people into clicking things. I recommend no more than one link per large-ish paragraph. Depending on the type of post you write, you could also put a call to action image or button at the bottom, like, “see for yourself how great X is! Click here to sign up for your own account!”

#4

Post and promote. Share on Pinterest frequently, including Group Boards. The thing you need to be a successful affiliate marketer? Traffic. And it’s the most time-consuming part.

One reminder when it comes to affiliate marketing: if you don’t have the traffic right now, don’t worry, and don’t get down on yourself. Keep writing good content, keep promoting it on Pinterest, keep including your affiliate links where appropriate, and you’ll get there. At the beginning it will feel SLOW and IMPOSSIBLE. But as your traffic increases, your clicks will, too, and you’ll see your coin start to add up.

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