Making Affiliate Sales Work: 5 Tips to Get an Extra Income as a Freelancer


Affiliate marketing is a popular way to earn some extra cash as a freelancer, but making it work isn’t as easy as it sounds. “I’ll just offer people some products on my personal site, one in ten people are bound to buy them – that’s easy money right there!”

Following that line of thought will only take you that far. And by that far I mean most likely much less than 100 US dollars a month. If you’re going to go into affiliate marketing, you might as well do it right. And, as with anything in freelancing, specific tips depend on the field you’re working on – but there are some universal wisdoms that will help you out. Here are five tips to get you on the right track:

1. Grow first, sell stuff later

Successful affiliate marketing depends on numbers. Trying to milk your first hundred readers or site visitors for a couple of dollars is not a good idea. Why? First, you’re not going to make any money with a hundred readers – regardless of how much time you spend on forging the perfect marketing strategy. Second, a couple of those readers might decide you’re just looking for quick cash and not serious about creating interesting content. In the beginning, every single reader matters, so you can’t afford to push them away. Doing affiliate marketing with a low number of readers is a high risk/low reward strategy. It’s just not worth it.

2. Find products that suit your audience

One thing a lot of people get wrong is that they try to sell anything. But offering discounts on gardening products in your tech blogs is probably not the right way to go. Instead, get to know your audience. That’s not as difficult as it sounds. You have a great first lead – they’re visiting your website. What are you writing about? What field are you working in? What products are you interested in or feel that people who read your content might like? Answering these questions will lead you to the right niche for your affiliate marketing.

3. Be upfront about making a cut

Here’s a vital piece of advice – tell your audience what the affiliate links mean. There are two main reasons behind that – first off, it’s illegal not to. But secondly and maybe even more importantly, honesty encourages people to support you. People clicking on affiliate links will know what’s going on. It’s not a new marketing strategy, it’s not something you invented and it’s not something that can be hidden. Being upfront about your cut leads into the next tip:

4. Check out the products yourself

Affiliate marketing doesn’t have to be something sleazy and dishonest. If you pick products that you like, know are good and genuinely feel are good advice for people to buy, there’s nothing to feel bad about. Look at it as a service you’re providing – you know what your audience is looking for and know a product that fits their desires and you trust. Maybe you can’t afford to test each and every product personally – then do extensive research instead. There’s nothing worse than putting your name and brand behind something of bad quality.

5. Don’t forget about quality content

And while we’re on the topic of quality, let’s not forget the foundation of good affiliate marketing: the website it’s put on. Beware of intrusive advertisements cluttering your website and taking away space from the actual content. After all, people will ideally click on your affiliate links for two reasons – they trust your judgment and they want to support you. Those are two things that are built by providing good, quality content.
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