As a parenting blogger, there is a lot of misinformation on how to monetize.
Forget Adsense. Forget working for ad clicks that will only net you a couple of dimes at a time.
Heck, even forget about sponsored posts for a moment.
The truth is, there is a money making methods that all of the top mom and dad bloggers are utilizing it, and if you set it up correctly, it can be far more powerful than both strategies just mentioned.
That method is called affiliate marketing, and in this article, you’ll learn all about how the world’s best parenting blogs are utilizing it to maximize the income from their blogs.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing, in a nutshell, is quite simple.
You link out to a product that another company is selling. If somebody clicks on that link, and then goes on to buy from that company, you earn a percentage of the sale.
Of course, there are a lot of factors that go into maximizing your revenue, and each company has its own terms to take into account. We’ll cover both of those in this article.
But before we go into those, let’s look at what this means if you are running a mom blog or a dad blog.
A blog, in its essence, is your power platform. People come to it, and you direct them around where you want them to go. And people are happy to trust your guidance, because you offer them so much value on a repeated basis.
You’re reputable, and you’re trustworthy.
And if you’ve set up systems and processes to build traffic to your blog, you’ll have new people building relationships with you on autopilot, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A constant flow of new people coming in, and being directed where you want them.
Take a look at some of the posts you’ve published. Chances are, you’ve either talked about a product, or talked about problems that can be solved or aided through the use of products. People come to your posts after all to solve a problem, and products are created for the sole purpose of solving problems.
Making The Sale
The truth is, good products help people, and you do your audience a service to raise awareness for them. And honestly, you deserve to be financially rewarded for that service.
Simply by linking to products you already recommend, you accomplish two things:
- You help your audience by aiding them in their quest to solve their problem. As long as you do not intentionally mislead your audience, this will actually cause them to trust you more.
- You earn a commission on that sale, without having to do any work other than setting up the links once.
No negotiating back and forth with companies. No need to triple your current traffic levels just to make some decent revenue. No need to handle shipping, logistics, customer service, or anything else that comes with running a traditional business. As a parent, this is perfect as it revolves around your schedule, and doesn’t require consistent ongoing maintenance.
Set up your affiliate marketing system, link out as you write more posts, and you open more and more doors to build recurring revenue streams for yourself.
Why Affiliate Marketing Is Powerful
The real power of affiliate marketing comes in its scalability.
Unfortunately, programs like Adsense are not easy to scale. The rates are abysmal (around $5 per 1000 pageviews, and declining) and traffic is getting harder and harder to come by as competition grows.
Let’s be realistic – if you wanted to grow your blog income by just $100 per month, you’re going to need an additional 20,000 pageviews, or over 650 pageviews per day.
650 extra pageviews a day are not easy to come by if you’re just starting out. While traffic tends to grow exponentially over time, placing all of your hope in Adsense is setting yourself up for disappointment.
Sponsored posts are not much better when it comes to scalability. Yes, the rates you can charge will go up over time, and they generally are much more lucrative than Adsense. However, you’re still going to have to take time and energy to work with brands and make your blog appealing to them.
As a parent, you don’t always know how much free time you’re going to have. It’s much more liberating to have systems in place that work for you whether or not you’re there, answering emails. Use that time to tend to your children instead.
Breakdown Of Affiliate Marketing Terms
Despite the concept being simple, affiliate marketing can seem a bit daunting. Fortunately, the concepts are fairly easy to grasp. For the sake of reference, I’ll list all of the important ones here.
An affiliate program is a program you sign up to, to be eligible to promote that company’s products. These generally require you to fill out a form and often, a tax document. Fortunately, this doesn’t take long.
Some affiliate programs require approval (or are even invite-only), where others will allow anyone to join and begin promoting right away.
Rather than hosting their own affiliate program, some companies prefer to make their affiliate program in an affiliate network instead. In an affiliate network, you will find many affiliate programs from different companies available in one area.
The advantage of an affiliate network for bloggers is that there’s the opportunity to browse many different affiliate programs in one area. However, it’s been my experience that companies in a network generally aren’t as hands-on with their affiliates and may not offer as much support. This isn’t a guarantee, but it’s something to keep in mind.
A commission is what you’ll get paid when a customer goes on to make a sale, after clicking your affiliate link. This is sometimes a flat rate, but is usually a percentage of whatever the customer spent.
Commissions can be as low as 2-4% for large eCommerce sites, to as high as 75% or more for digital products. Some affiliate programs may also a tiered structure, offering higher commissions to top affiliates.
A cookie is a file placed in the visitor’s browser upon clicking your affiliate link, that tells the store which affiliate referred that customer. This is used to track when you should be awarded a commission.
Cookie duration is extremely important to pay attention to. The cookie duration is the length of time that you will be credited for the sale if a customer goes on to buy, after clicking your affiliate link.
It’s well-known that many customers do not buy right away. If for example, the affiliate program offered a cookie duration of 7 days, this means that you will still be credited with the sale, if the shopper returned to the store and purchased within 7 days. After 7 days, the cookie expires, and you will not receive a commission on any of their purchases.
A longer cookie duration is a very good thing for affiliates. Cookies typically range from 1 day to 1 month.
Some products need to be purchased on an ongoing basis, requiring the customer to purchase again periodically to either get more of the product, or in order to keep using it.
Examples of these would be certain software, subscriptions, and membership sites.
For affiliate programs on these types of products, it’s not uncommon to offer commissions not only on the initial purchase, but an additional commission every time that product is renewed. This is called a recurring commission.
As you could imagine, these can be quite powerful as you can expect your earnings to stay a bit more consistent, and grow steadily over time. After all, it only takes 100 people earning you a $10 / month commission to bring in an extra $1,000 a month – and best of all, this is income you can actually rely on month in and month out.
Affiliate resources are resources offered to affiliates to make their jobs easier.
Examples of these might include banners, ads, letters you can put into an email autoresponder (more on this later), training videos to make the most out of their program, and even personalized support.
An affiliate program that offers plenty of affiliate resources is a huge bonus, especially for those running mom blogs and dad blogs, and especially for beginners. Companies will generally test what converts the best for their target audience, and develop their resources to give maximum results. These also save you the hassle of creating your own banners / email templates, or having to test a bunch of different things out.
An affiliate manager is someone who works to help you maximize the results of the affiliate program, while also offering support and guidance to affiliates.
Unfortunately, many affiliate programs do not offer a dedicated affiliate manager, and many that do only offer them to top affiliates.
Still, having one is a HUGE perk and shows that the company is truly dedicated to helping their affiliates win.
Affiliate managers will work with you closely, answering all of the questions you may have, and even taking a look at your site to offer personalized suggestions. As time goes on, they may keep track of what’s working for you and others, and help you form a strategy to maximize your earnings.
While not a necessity to succeed, affiliate managers make your job a heck of a lot easier, so you may wish to consider prioritizing an affiliate program that offers one, if possible.
Top Affiliate Programs For Mom Blogs And Dad Blogs
By now it may go without saying, but some affiliate programs are better than others. It’s not worth it for parenting bloggers to sign up to every affiliate program under the sun, and you’ll do far better being more selective. That way, you can really work to maximize the earnings from each program.
Analyzing And Selecting Affiliate Programs
When selecting an affiliate program, I recommend looking at the following factors. This is based off of my personal experience over 7 years of affiliate marketing.
- Do they offer products suitable for your audience?
- Is the company reputable and trustworthy, and are the products they offer genuinely valuable?
- Are customers generally happy with their purchase? Does the company offer good support?
- Are commissions inline with, or better than competitors? If not, does the company offer something to lead to a higher volume of sales?
- Does the company care about its affiliates? Are affiliate resources available, are affiliate managers offered?
Notice that the first 3 factors are all about trust – trust is of extreme importance when selecting products to promote. When your audience is happy with the recommendations you’ve given them, they’re far more likely to trust your advice with future purchases as well. This is why it’s possible to make a lot of money with affiliate marketing, even without a very large audience.
Here are a few affiliate programs I can personally recommend:
Every experienced affiliate marketer has a love-hate relationship with Amazon’s affiliate program, but it deserves a spot on this list for one reason only:
Amazon sells just about everything you can think of.
And this alone is why it’s worth signing up to it. If you have the opportunity to promote a physical product, chances are it’s on Amazon.
There’s only one problem – Amazon knows this. They know in many cases, there are no other options to find a certain product, and earn a commission on it. And like most monopolies, they make it terrible for everybody except for them. And sadly, things have only gotten worse as time has gone on.
Cookies only last for a single day, and commission rates vary between 4 and 8%, with most being on the lower end of that spectrum. This will only lead to a sizeable amount of income if you’re pushing massive volume, or promoting really expensive products.
Amazon will give you a commission for whatever the customer purchases during the length of your cookie, even if it’s not a product you’re actively promoting. Still, with only a 24 hour cookie, you miss out on a lot of commissions that you deserve.
However, it’s worth signing up anyway, simply for the fact that you’ll have the option of promoting so many products. Amazon is my ‘catch-all’ affiliate program when no other alternatives are available, and for that purpose, it works well. If you’re a reader of Kinacle’s main blog, you’ll occasionally find Amazon affiliate links when relevant.
Clickbank may classify as more of a network than as single program, but it has been one of the leading networks for promoting digital products for a long, long time.
I believe affiliate marketers should have a healthy mix of both high-paying digital products, as well as physical products to offer. Signing up for Clickbank’s affiliate program will let you browse a large collection of digital products, and promote them right away. Of course, I can not recommend actually purchasing the product yourself enough. Not only will you be sure you’re promoting something valuable, but you’ll be able to promote it more effectively because you’ll actually know about the product’s best points.
- Kinacle’s Affiliate Program
Alright, I’ll be honest – this isn’t quite out yet. But it’s coming, and we’re working hard to make sure it’s the absolute best available on the market for parenting and pregnancy bloggers, both big and small.
Not only will we be offering commissions significantly higher than all of our competitors, we will also offer a 30-day cookie, an enormous heap of affiliate resources and a dedicated affiliate manager for each and every affiliate.
We also have a ton of insight on the markets we sell in, and what leads customers to make purchasing decisions for certain products. Combine this with our industry-leading quality and service, and you’ll be earning commissions from the same customers over and over again.
So why the wait?
Well, we’re just waiting to launch a few more product lines first. It won’t be long however, so be sure to sign up to our email newsletter to be notified when it’s available. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!
Affiliate Marketing And Getresponse: The Ultimate Partnership
I call this ‘the key to automated success.’
There is nothing more powerful to affiliate marketers than their email marketing software. The ability to set up an autoresponder, or a sequence of emails to be mailed out automatically to email subscribers, is one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s arsenal – even more powerful than social media.
If you need an example of this, sign up to my 7-day traffic building course, and you’ll see an autoresponder in action. As soon as you sign up, you’ll receive a welcome email, and day 1 of the course. Every day for the next 6 days, you’ll continue to receive the next day in the sequence.
It’s pretty powerful, and requires no extra work once you set it up.
Enough about me, this is about you. Picture this – every day, your email subscribers get targeted emails, either promoting products directly, or linking to blog posts on your site that promote products.
This means that every day, you have a steady stream of commissions coming in, because every single day, you’re putting promotions in front of people that already know, like and trust you.
Note: This does not mean every email you send should be a promotion. Rather, because everybody is on different days of the sequence, there will always be a chunk of your subscribers on a ‘promotion day.’
Again, are not just for promoting. They’re also great for building relationships on autopilot. Set up a sequence to share your best blog posts, links to your social pages, or other things you find valuable. Let people get used to hearing from you. Help them out, and send them things they want to hear. When it comes time to ask for the sale, you’re far more likely to get it.
At Kinacle, we use GetResponse as our main email marketing solution because it offers anything a serious marketer would want. Set up autoresponders to send emails automatically, or send an email to everyone at once when you have something new to share. Automatically move people to different email lists depending on criteria you set. Set up forms of all shapes and sizes and add them to your site in seconds.
It can be as basic or advanced as you want it to be. Regardless, every serious business needs an email autoresponder, and having tried all of the major solutions on the market, I can’t recommend GetResponse enough.
Affiliate marketing can seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be. When you break it down into all of its parts, you are left with a straightforward, scaleable, and highly profitable money making method for mom bloggers and dad bloggers.
Have any questions? Please share them in the comments below, or reach out through email. I’d be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.
– James McAllister
CEO of Kinacle