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What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when you share a special link to a product or service offered by a brand on your website, blog, social media accounts, etc., and try to get your audience to purchase something through that link. When this happens, you receive a small commission for the sale (at no additional cost to the purchaser).
In other words, you recommend your favorite brands to your readers, and if they purchase those products through an affiliate link—you make money!
Why Affiliate Marketing is Amazing for Mom Bloggers
Affiliate marketing is a fabulous way for all bloggers to make some extra income, but it’s especially wonderful for mom bloggers because:
- You don’t have to work within a set time range to complete projects (like you do with sponsored posts or social media campaigns).
- It only takes a few seconds to insert links into your posts, officially making it the quickest way to monetize your blog other than slapping ads all over the place.
- Once you write a post, insert your links, and hit publish…that’s it! That piece of potential money-making content is created. Done. All you have to do is promote it and drive traffic. Yes, that takes time, but when you’re a busy mom whose day is constantly full of interruptions and distractions, doing some promoting is usually a lot easier to fit into a busy day than sitting down and writing sponsored posts.
How To Succeed at Affiliate Marketing
As most bloggers will tell you, when it comes to affiliate marketing, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents is pretty much THE go-to expert. When someone runs a blog that makes over a million dollars a year (the majority of which comes from affiliate marketing)…you listen to what she has to say.
I’ve been working my way through Michelle’s amazing course Making Sense Out of Affiliate Marketing over the past month, slowly implimenting the strategies as I have time. And guess what? I’ve actually started to make money from affiliate marketing in the first month since taking the course! I’m so excited that I will be able to publish my first income and traffic report for July 2017 and that there will actually be affiliate income from multiple sources on it!!
If you’re interested in really digging into the ins and outs of affiliate marketing, I cannot recommend Michelle’s course enough. I find myself re-reading a section of the course or seeking advice from the amazing Making Sense Out of Affiliate Marketing Facebook Group (a closed group specifically for those taking Making Sense out of Affiliate Marketing where students can ask questions and bounce ideas off of other affiliate marketing bloggers—and even Michelle herself!) on a daily basis. It’s an investment, but one that is truly worth it if you’re ready to get serious about affiliate marketing.
Where to Find Brands and Products to Promote Through Affiliate Marketing
Below you will find a list of affiliate marketing networks (which will give you access to working with lots of different brands), as well as some of my favorite referral programs that you can use to make even more money from your mama blog.
Affiliate Marketing Networks
When I signed up for ShareASale, I felt like I had hit the mom blogger affiliate mothership. There are SO many amazing brands for mama bloggers to connect with, including:
- Gymboree, Janie & Jack, Crazy 8
- Earth Mama Organics
- Newton Baby
- …and tons more!
Awin is a lesser-known affiliate network, but definitely one that mama bloggers shouldn’t skip over.
The shining star of Awin for mom bloggers is their partnership with Etsy. Yep! You can recommend all of those adorable handmade items from small shops to your readers (bonus if you can find a small shop that’s run by a fellow mom) and make a small commission off of each sale!
As a head’s up, you have to pay $5 when you sign up, but you get that $5 back as soon as you make your first affiliate sale.
CJ Affiliate has so many wonderful brands for mama bloggers to work with!
A few of my favorites are:
- NUK Baby Products
- The Disney Store
- American Girl
- Toys ‘R Us and Babies ‘R Us
- Evite (for those kid birthday party blog posts!)
- ABC Mouse
- …and more.
Max Bounty is another affiliate network that is completely free to join.
You will be required to have a short phone chat with an account manager before your application is approved (I know. It gave me a mini anxiety attack, too.), but it’s pretty quick and painless.
Once you’re in, you can connect with family-friendly brands like Everyday Family and Bark Box (for families with fur babies).
Last but certainly not least…Amazon Affiliates is a MUST for all bloggers, really, and mom bloggers are definitely included in that group.
Amazon Affiliates is the very first affiliate program that I joined and it earned me by first bit of affiliate income from blogging. (Seriously the most exciting $1.38 I ever made, y’all!)
Amazon is great because they have so many products available, many of which you probably already use and love.
You have the option to link to an individual product (like this link to a “Pivot” coffee mug from Friends), or to a page of search results (like I’ve done here, where I’ve linked to a list of Friends-inspired coffee mugs instead of an individual product). This makes it incredibly easy to introduce your readers to products you love while you make a little passive income.
Referral Programs for Even More Affiliate Income
Linqia was my top source of sponsored income in my first month of monetizing my blog, and my income from sponsored posts will be even higher next month.
Influencer networks are an amazing way to connect with brands, and Linqia is fantastic for mom bloggers in particular because they look for influencers (aka bloggers and folks on social media) who focus primarily on “Parenting” or “Home and Garden”.
They have requirements to join (Having 2,500+ unique monthly visitors or social media followers), but once you’re in and accepted you can start working on campaigns with some amazing mama-esq brands like Gerber, Nestle Tollhouse, and Walmart.
You can also participate in their referral program to make a little extra affiliate income by recommending the network to new bloggers.
2. Your Web Hosting Company
Starting a self-hosted blog was scary at first, but it’s been the best blogging decision that I’ve made. Easily.
You truly own your site and the content on it.
You have free range to make it look exactly the way you want it do.
You aren’t restricted when it comes to using your blog to make money, like you are with blogs hosted by Blogger or WordPress.com.(Which—side note—is completely different than WordPress.org, which is used for self-hosted blogs. You can learn about all of the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org here.)
An added bonus is that you have the ability to become an affiliate for your web host. Make sure you do your homework and pick the web host that works best for you so that you can genuinely recommend it to your readers. A huge, huge, HUGE key to affiliate marketing success is to only recommend products that you’ve used and love. Don’t recommend products or services that you’re unhappy with. Ever.
For me personally, I went with Bluehost and I could not be happier. The set up was ridiculously easy, they have great 24/7 customer service to help you out if you have trouble with something, and the whole thing cost under $4 a month—including a free domain name.
Bluehost was also my top source of affiliate income in my first month of monetizing my blog.
Ibotta is a must for anyone who’s interesting in saving money. (Who isn’t, right??)
How it Works:
- Search for rebates on Ibotta’s website or app before you go shopping
- Go shopping; make purchases; SAVE YOUR RECEIPT
- Take a photo of the receipt verifying your purchase and submit to Ibotta
- Once the purchase is verified…you get cash back!
Amazing, right? You also can get a little bit of extra money through Ibotta’s referral program. If you’re not a member already…definitely sign up ASAP!
Intellifluence is a great network for brand new and old bloggers alike. You can sign up for free, set up your profile, and wait for brands to connect with you for partnerships!
Mom bloggers can list specific areas of interest like “Mommy” and “Baby” to attract brands who may be looking to work with moms specifically, as well as other areas of interest relevant to their particular niche.
This network has no requirements to join, meaning that bloggers at all levels can connect with brands. I got one of my very first brands to work with me through Intellifluence. It’s also completely free, and you can join a referral program through Offer Stream Digital after being accepted.
If you’re not already on Ebates, we need to change that right now!
How It Works:
- Search Ebates for deals at your favorite stores (they have TONS in their network—Target, Walmart, Macy’s, Mod Cloth, J. Crew, and on and on and on)
- Use an Ebates link to make your purchase
- Receive anywhere from 1% to 12% cash back!
Maven is such a cool tool for mom bloggers to use—especially if you ever blog about things like clothing or gear for kids and babies. You create Pintrest-y looking boards filled with you right favorite online finds that you can then share with your readers. (See my post on gender-neutral baby clothes for an example—my Maven Board is at the very bottom of the post.)
There are two ways for you to earn money with Mavenx: if someone buy a product from your board or through their referal program.
Mavenx is completely free to use and is a truly helpful element for your readers when it comes to post featuring products. And if you happen to make a little extra income on the side? Amazing.
The Most Important Thing When It Comes to Affiliate Marketing
At the end of the day, the key to affiliate marketing is to stay true to your brand and honest with your audience. Only recommend products that you’ve used and love, and never recommend something that your audience will end up hating. Building and keeping trust with your audience is the single most important thing you can do to succeed in affiliate marketing. Stay honest, stay true.