The awful tips to earn money online without selling anything
Of course, you already know one popular option for monetizing your blog — you could create a product. But you just don’t feel ready yet. And besides, creating and promoting a product takes time.
What you need right now is a way to earn a little money from your blog without a ton of work.
Fortunately, a way exists that’s highly effective, requires little ramp-up time, and is used by some of the most respected names on the web.
Many bloggers have heard of it, but for a silly reason completely ignore it…
If you don’t have a product to sell, one of the best ways to earn money from your blog is to sell products that other people have created.
It’s usually referred to as affiliate marketing. Here’s how it works…
You introduce your readers to a product, and if they happen to make a purchase as a result of your introduction, you get a commission as a thank you.
It’s pretty simple, but you’d be hard pressed to find a topic that inspires as many strong opinions.
Some revere it; some despise it.
Some use it; some abuse it.
But you don’t consider it because hawking someone else’s products has always felt, well…
Promote Valuable Free Content, Not the Product
Even when a product is outstanding and you’ve achieved great results with it, directly asking your audience to purchase it can sometimes be daunting.
Luckily, many product creators also develop high-value free resources for you to promote instead — resources that ultimately tie into an offer to buy one of their products.
Usually, they work like this:
- You send your audience (via a unique link) to a free resource created by a second party that will teach them something valuable (a free video course, for example).
- After going through the free resource, they will be sent an offer to purchase a more expansive, related product.
- If they purchase that product, you receive a commission.
Never Promote a Product You Don’t Use
One of the worst dinner parties I’ve ever been to centered around a pork belly dish the host had never tried making before.
Rather than going with a recipe he loved and had cooked before, he went with something brand new from a random blog he’d only just found.
The party itself wasn’t bad, but the food most definitely was. Fortunately, everyone was able to laugh about it.
Offering a product to your audience sight unseen, risks a similar catastrophe. And your readers might not be as forgiving as those dinner party guests.
Think about it — would you recommend to a friend a restaurant you’ve never visited? Would you put your in-laws up in a hotel in a strange part of town you don’t know? (Well, depending on your in-laws, maybe you would! But you get the picture.)
Just as you normally wouldn’t do those things, you should never promote a product you haven’t used.
As Pat Flynn says, “Before deciding to actually promote it as an affiliate, it’s always best to use that product first so you can understand the user experience that THEIR PRODUCT will provide for YOUR AUDIENCE. You have to understand what that’s like because the trust that you have with your audience is the most important thing in the world.”
Pick a Product That Builds Their Trust
Many bloggers choose a product based on the commission structure — how much it pays, whether it’s recurring, etc.
It might sound like greed, but more likely whenever they ask their readers to buy something, they feel like they’re asking for a favor. And since you can’t ask favors too often, they figure they might as well make as much money as they can when they do.
But that’s totally the wrong way to look at it. Promoting a product is not a withdrawal from the “trust bank.” It’s a deposit — if you choose the right product.
According to Pat Flynn, commission levels shouldn’t factor into the decision you make to promote a product as an affiliate:
Pat’s answer hints at an often-overlooked benefit of making a successful affiliate sale — if your audience buys the product through you and has a great experience with the product, their purchasing trust in you increases.
To put it simply, they’ll more likely buy from you in the future, whether you’re recommending another affiliate product or launching your own.
And even if they don’t buy from you again, you’ll have strengthened the relationship by introducing them to a product they love.
So when analyzing affiliate opportunities, consider more than just the amount you’ll make off each sale. Consider how many outstanding experiences you can create and, ultimately, how much trust you can build.
If you get a sizeable commission — great. If the commissions are recurring — even better. But consider these details bonuses or cherries on top rather than key factors that guide your decision-making.
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