Written by: Simon Slade, Guest Author
Are you struggling to find affiliates to promote your product? Let me introduce you to a hidden source of enthusiastic, targeted affiliates that you probably don’t even know exists. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box!
Introducing the Serious Niche Blogger
What is this magical spring of targeted, enthusiastic affiliates? Serious niche bloggers. They have a site about their favorite hobby or interest. They take it seriously, and their dream is to make money from it – many in fact have the goal to do it full time. They want to make money, but they don’t really know the most effective way to go about it yet. If you could let these people know about your affiliate program, they’d probably be quite interested. But the question is… how do you connect with them?
Tip 1: Find out where the serious niche bloggers are
The quickest way to connect with these bloggers is to go where they hang out and advertise your affiliate program there. So, where do niche bloggers hang out online? Here’s the key: they hang out in the blog comments of similar, popular niche blogs – especially ones making money. They watch to try and learn how to copy them.
The best blogs to target are the ones publicly and actively talking about the issue of making money while blogging. To find these, do a Google search for “Your Niche Topic” + “blogging” + “money”. An example for this is the food niche: https://www.google.com/search?q=%22food%22%2B+%22blogging%22%2B+%22money%22
Look at how active this is – It returned over 26 million results. The first pages were filled with blog posts talking about this topic, packed with comments of people discussing it.
One of the top results came from a website called Pinch of Yum:
The author, Lindsay, is one of the most popular food bloggers on the internet. But she is writing about much more than just recipes: she has over 25 posts dedicated to the topic of how she makes money blogging about food. So I put the site into Majestic SEO, and besides the homepage, the February 2013 report on how she earned money was her most linked-to/popular content. Not what you’d expect from a food blog, right?
This is just one example of a niche website where their most popular, shared content was not related to their hobby/interest. Instead, it was related to discussing how the blog makes money. To me, this says that she has a huge audience of people interested in making money from food blogging. I would guess that many already operate their own food blogs (which is why they are so interested). If you can get your affiliate program in front of Pinch of Yum’s audience reading this blog post… that is a lot of interested eyeballs.
Try different, related search terms to find even more websites. For example, I tried the search phrase “food” + “blogging” + “money” for food, and had great results. But when I tried this in the fishing niche, I didn’t have success. So I modified it to “monetizing” + “fishing” + “blog” and I found multiple blogs (and forums, which would also be great to post on):
When searching for blogs like this, start by being as specific as you can with your niche. If you can’t find anything, then broaden your niche. For instance, an owner of a ebook that gives tips on squash should first try to find blogs specific to squash, and then expand their search for blogs relating to fitness and health. Be creative and consider your true potential audience; Pinch of Yum’s biggest earner is through commissions from the web hosting service Bluehost – not cookbook sales. Not something you’d expect, would you?
How to point these people to your affiliate program
Once you’ve found these blogs brimming with would-be money-making bloggers, it is time to gently nudge them towards your affiliate program. Leave a comment on pages discussing the subject of making-money. But don’t just plug your affiliate program in the comment; you want to honestly recommend affiliate marketing as a way of making money with their blogs. Link to your affiliate program in your author name and let them click on it themselves.
Take it a step further. Keep coming back to this blog, and leave relevant comments on their posts. A great way to be reminded to do this, is by adding it to your RSS feed. Keep linking to your affiliate program in your author name. Over time people will begin to recognise you and become curious, so they will click through to your site.
Tip 2: Go to niche blogger conferences
Did you know that last year hundreds of food bloggers attend the International Food Bloggers Conference? Every year, there are lots of similar such conferences for bloggers in all sorts of niches. For instance, the FitBloggin Conference is held each year for fitness bloggers. And the Altitude Summit, a design/lifestyle blogger conference, is held 4 times a year with over 1,000 attendees each time. There is even the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference (current 2013 date is for November 2-4, with 38 attendees already registered)! These are great places to connect with webmasters in-person and introduce them to your affiliate program. Tell them how they can promote it too. Meeting in person increases trust, and makes them more likely to follow-through.
Try it yourself. Do a Google search for “Your Niche Topic” + “blogging” + “conference”. An example for this is the DIY niche:
The first result I got was for the Haven Conference – A three day get-together in Atlanta, Georgia for bloggers in the DIY niche. Taking a look at their speakers reveals a lot of them will be talking about the subject of making money from blogging about DIY home projects. You will find this is the case with almost all of these conferences – one of the most popular topics is on how to make blogs profitable.
You can find conferences for all kinds of niches. Lets try it again, but this time with wine:
Even in this very specific niche, we were still able to find a popular conference dedicated to it – the Wine Bloggers Conference. And despite being so niche, it still had a huge turnout of 234 people.
When finding one to attend, start by searching with terms as close to your niche as possible (in this case, wine) and if necessary, expand the search out to be more broad. Some broader, more common conference niches to consider are food, lifestyle, fitness and women blogger events. A lot of bloggers are making a lot of money off a seemingly unrelated affiliate niche: website hosting. So be creative!
How to make the most out of the conference
Once you are at the conference, it’s no time to be a fly on the wall. You’ve got to get out and meet as many attendees as you can… but have a plan. Look at the conference website – a lot of them list the attendees that are going to come, e.g. Reviewers Retreat and Camp Blogaway provide lists of attendees. Look over their blogs, and identify ones that have potential. When you get to the conference, get someone to point them out to you. Then go up, and introduce yourself!
If the conference website doesn’t list attendees, then do a Google search for “Conference name” + “conference” + “going to”. Here is an example of this for the Haven conference:
Once you’ve found some people of interest, you need to be prepared for meeting them. Create a pamphlet with information on what affiliate marketing is, and simple instructions they can follow to get started (such as how to add banners to their site). Give them steps to follow, so that they know how to take action.
I recently attended an Affiliate Marketing conference on behalf of SaleHoo, Affilorama and Traffic Travis. By connecting directly with affiliates, we’ve made tens of thousands of dollars in affiliate sales. We designed a double-sided colour pamphlet with a glossy finish. We had these professionally printed, 150 of for less than $1 each. It was an investment, but it has paid off in spades. By putting effort into our take-home pamphlet, we ensured they didn’t just throw it out and kept it to take home.
Try and reach out to larger websites that have a lot of followers. Invite them to lunch and just chat with them about their site – by building a relationship with them on a personal level, they’ll be more likely to work with you. At the end of your conversation, give them a pamphlet.
But don’t just give your pamphlets to your people of interest – hand them out to as many people as you can, including bloggers with smaller sites.
Tip 3: Encourage your affiliates to promote your affiliate program
The previous tips I gave showed you ways to find new affiliates, and I gave you advice on how to connect with them and promote your affiliate program. Now, you need to make sure the affiliates you DO have are making great money. If your affiliates are, then they might be encouraged to blog about it. This puts your affiliate program in front of their audience of niche bloggers. So if you want your affiliates to rave about your program to their audience, make sure they have the knowledge and resources to make loads of money promoting you.
How To Ensure Success For Your Affiliates
Giving your affiliates good resources is important. But I recommend going a step further, and working directly with them to help them grow their sales. At SaleHoo we have a regular newsletter for affiliates where we send them tips for promoting us. We recently shared tips for writing effective product reviews. We are giving away a Kindle to the affiliate who creates the most engaging review. As a result, our affiliates saw improved conversions from improved reviews, and SaleHoo has received more (and better qualified) traffic, making it a win-win.
You can do a similar thing, and email your affiliates instructions on steps they can take to increase sales and commissions. Come up with ways (like a contest) to get them to take action, so that they actually make sales, rather than wishing they were.
If you don’t have enough time for everyone, focus on the larger blog affiliates that you have directly connected with in person. Add them on Skype, and give them instructions on things they can do. Since you’re talking with them personally, you can give them customized advice based on their website and audience. Get them making regular commissions so that they can become excited about your program.
How to get your affiliates to promote your program
Once you build a one-on-one relationship with larger blogs, you can usually just ask them to tell their readers about the program, or ask them to let you write a guest post on their website about it. They’ll usually say yes, because they see the program as a valuable opportunity that their followers should know about. It only takes a handful of large, authoritative niche blogs recommending your program to their readers for the signups to flood in!
Wouldn’t it be great to have your affiliate program in Pinch of Yum’s ‘tips for monetizing’?
For smaller blogs, we have found that competitions are a very effective to promote action (such as our review contest). Offer a great prize for the website that writes the most engaging blog post recommending your affiliate program.
The important thing to keep in mind that there are a LOT of potential affiliates out there who may not even know about affiliate marketing yet. If you can find the ones who are actively looking for ways to make money from their websites, you’re 80% of the way to getting them on board.
Find these potential affiliates by going to where they hang out – Blogs of other famous bloggers, or niche blogger conferences and get-togethers.
Then once you get some affiliates on board, look after them and make sure they’re doing well. Then they can start encouraging your next generation of affiliates. It’s a big, beautiful snowball and everybody wins.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Simon Slade is the CEO of Affilorama, an affiliate marketing training portal that offers free video training, education, and internet marketing tools to both beginning and advanced affiliate marketers. If you want to discover many more techniques we recommend then make sure you check out our AffiloBlueprint, our affiliate marketing course.