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Succeeding With Christian Affiliate Programs and Affiliate Marketing

Whether you are a new Christian blogger or online business or you have been around a while, you probably have heard that affiliate marketing is a great way to boost your income. There are many Christian affiliate programs out there for faith bloggers, but you also shouldn’t shy away from general affiliate marketing programs either! There are many products that can benefit your audience!

Affiliate marketing can be a great source of income for bloggers. You can make money while you sleep, they say. I always love waking up to an alert that I’ve made a commission on an affiliate sale. What a great way to start the day!

Being successful in Christian affiliate programs and general affiliate marketing programs does take quite a bit of work, but the payoff can be huge.

So join me as we take a look at Christian affiliate marketing and learn some tips on succeeding in affiliate marketing as a blogger!

A woman standing at a computer in the background and text that says Succeeding With Christian Affiliate Programs and Affiliate Marketing in General With Freebie Affiliate Listing

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is quite simply just recommending someone else’s products or services via your website, as well as through email and social media. When someone purchases from your unique affiliate link, you receive a commission.

It’s that simple!

Commissions can range from 2-50%, depending on the merchant. 

But another great about affiliate marketing is that, in some instances, it doesn’t matter if the customer who visits the site through your link buys something completely different and unrelated to the exact products you referred them to. You (with a few exceptions) will receive a commission for it.

That’s pretty awesome right?

I see this all of the time on one of my sites with Amazon. A customer will click a link to a recommended product and purchase pens, toilet paper or even sunglasses and I still receive a commission!

Let’s take a look at affiliate programs for Christian bloggers and some tips on succeeding in affiliate marketing. #blogging #marketing Click To Tweet

How Much Can You Earn From Christian Affiliate Programs

There really is no limit to how much you can earn with affiliate marketing, but how much you earn from Christian affiliate programs depends on the program.

Your specific niche and content play a huge part in this, but in general, Christian affiliate programs pay similar commissions as general affiliate marketing programs. The only real difference is the type of product being offered.

Let’s say you are promoting a product that costs $29 and the commission is 40%, you would receive $11.60.  Now let’s say, you send an email to your list and 10 people purchase from the link – you’ve just earned $116! It doesn’t matter whether the link was specifically for a Christian product or a home or beauty product. If you promote along the line of your niche, you can earn an income.

And how long did it take you to write that email? 20 minutes, maybe? That’s great return on investment!

Remember, Christian bloggers don’t just blog about Bible studies. Many are family bloggers, homeschooling bloggers, home bloggers, etc. You do not have to go with only Christian products just because you are a faith-based blogger. We use many types of products in our lives. Being a Christian doesn’t change the fact that I still do laundry and cook! I still need other products!

That being said, Christian affiliate programs are just as lucrative as any other niche. They may not be as widespread, but they do offer great commissions.

Affiliate marketing for Christian bloggers is just as lucrative as any other niche. #christianblog #faithblog #blogging Click To Tweet

Tips for Marketing Christian Affiliate Programs

I’m a huge course and ebook hoarder, I admit it!

Most of what I’ve learned about being successful in affiliate marketing has come from these courses and ebooks. (I’ll share my recommended resources for affiliate marketing for faith bloggers below)

Throughout my experience with affiliate marketing programs, I’ve learned quite a bit about what to do and what not to do and I have some tips I’d like to share with you.

Does Niche Matter?

Yes and No.

It matters, but not as much as you think.

What matters is that you are meeting a need that your audience has.

For example, as a faith blogger, I write about everything from Bible study to spiritual warfare but I also clearly write about blogging. It is a passion of mine to help other faith bloggers!

There are literally hundreds of affiliate programs for those topics.

What matters most is that you are writing high-quality content that is sales-focused – but not overly salesy. There IS a difference.

You can write reviews or naturally weave relevant affiliate links into what you write. You are not supposed to be disingenuous…

Think about a post on Christian hospitality. You can include links to Christian home décor items, handmade soaps and towels and even snacks.

Just be on brand for your niche (or even just your post if you are a multi-niche site like mine).

Let’s say you mainly write about Christian parenting. You wouldn’t want to post about the best car parts!

What you don’t want to do is write random posts about products that don’t align at all with your niche.

So your niche is important but there will always be great products to promote, no matter what niche you’re in.

Know What You Are Promoting and Who You Are Promoting To

Regardless of why you started your blog, your blog is a resource. People come to you to learn something. You are a resource for them.

The more you know your audience and what they are looking for, the better you can align your affiliate programs to them.

By doing this, you are building credibility with your audience. Credibility builds trust. If your audience does not have trust in you then it’s likely that they won’t click your links or care about your recommendations.

Remember, your affiliate programs are not just to make money. You are trying to add value to your audience. If you are just shoving a bunch of products down their throats to make a profit, you won’t have an audience for long.

I promote products I feel will help my audience or that are relevant to what I am writing about that they may find interesting.

It’s also important to know the products and services you are promoting.

It’s always best when you have actually used the product and can speak from experience but, even if you haven’t used a product, it’s ok to write about it. But a good policy would be to disclose to your audience that your review is based on third hand experience. Again, you want to build credibility with your audience.

Get your FREE list of 200 affiliate marketing programs for Christian bloggers and businesses! #affiliates #blogging #faithblog Click To Tweet

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

You never want to rely on just one or two Christian affiliate programs (or general affiliate programs).

Affiliate programs do change from time to time, and, on occasion, you may experience a delayed payment from a merchant.

Additionally, some affiliate links don’t convert well or, you may have a bad experience with a product you have previously recommended.

By promoting products from different merchants, you are reducing your risk and increasing your likelihood of making affiliate income.

Finally, consider your website as a resource for your audience. By diversifying your affiliate merchants, you are able to provide a wider range of products to serve your audience’s needs.

Don’t Forget Social Media

While your website is a great place to share affiliate links, don’t neglect social media.

By sharing relevant posts with affiliate links on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Pinterest, you are expanding your reach.

The goal is to get people to click your links and see what you are recommending.

But, don’t just spam then split. What I mean by this is posting a direct link to an affiliate on Facebook that is a blatant “buy me” post.

Instead, share how the product has helped you or how you gave it as a gift and the recipient loved it. Make a connection with your audience. Build up trust.

We are not just about making money as faith bloggers! I see that far too often with people in groups who, the second someone asks about a product or service, jump in with an affiliate link.

Don’t be THAT person. It is salesy and self-serving. We are here to serve our audience. We use affiliate marketing (or SHOULD use affiliate marketing) to help support our ministry so we can do what we do. We should never allow greed to enter into the picture.

The Importance of Keywords, Especially for Christian Affiliate Programs

Ah, keywords. Keywords are essentially the phrases that your reader uses when searching for something on the internet.

There are short-tail and long-tail keywords. For this post, we’ll assume that you know a bit about keywords. (If not, you’ll want to consider a course like this one for more detailed education on keywords and SEO).

So what do keywords have to do with affiliate marketing?

If a reader is looking for a great Bible study on Esther in the Bible, they may type in one of these:

  • Esther in the Bible
  • Bible study on Esther in the Bible
  • Bible studies about Esther in the Bible

If you have a post on Esther, you may want to include an affiliate link to a great Bible study on Esther.  When people find your site via Google (Facebook and Pinterest search work the same way), they may find your post on Esther and click the links to purchase one of your recommended studies.

For Christian affiliate programs, this is really important because Christian products available through affiliate marketing are not as visible to the reader as something on Amazon or another large retailer. Many of these studies are from bloggers like you!

So how do you find great keywords? Use Google or an inexpensive tool.

I love and highly recommend Keysearch and I use it in all my keyword research. You can also get a discount if you use the code KSDISC.

See how I did that? I told you about a service I personally use and recommend, I provided you with a way to get a discount as well. I didn’t shove the service down your throat. I told you what I use, what I think of it and linked it so you can check it out.

THAT is how you do affiliate marketing properly and effectively! I met a need. I didn’t try to push something on you.

Now, for something VERY important!

Add a Disclosure to Your Site

One of the quickest ways to get your affiliate account shut down (especially with Amazon) is by failing to post a disclosure prominently on your site.

Audiences need to know that the post may contain affiliate links.  It’s only right that they know you may be earning money if they click on your link.

I use a plugin called FMTC Affiliate Disclosure. It is an FTC compliant plugin that will post a line at the top of each of your posts stating that the post may contain affiliate links.

Your disclosure MUST appear before your first affiliate link and it cannot be so small that people won’t see it. It doesn’t have to be large and glaring but it can’t be easily overlooked either. I also have one in my footer and I have a disclosure page as well, which is a must.

To learn more about this, I recommend this course by Debbie Gardner called Journey to the Center of Amazon.

Do Pageviews Matter for Christian Affiliate Marketing?

Again, yes and no.

There are a lot of people who succeed in affiliate marketing who don’t even have a website! They promote via email and social media.

But, for faith bloggers, when you look at simple math, the more people you have visiting your website, the more people who can potentially click your link and make a purchase.

That being said, if you know your audience and what they are looking for, you can earn a nice income with low page views.

For example, while you may only have 5K pageviews per month and an email list of 100, you are not going to get too many people clicking the link just from your website.

But if you send an email to your list about a product or service you recommend (who joined the list because they like what you have to offer them), they are your target audience and are more likely to click a link and make a purchase then a “cold” visitor who found you on the web.

How to Start Making Money With Christian Affiliate Programs and Other Affiliate Marketing Programs (or Make Even More Than You Are Now)

  1. Have a self-hosted blog. This means you have a Wordpress site or other website that is hosted on a platform like Namehero or BigScoots. I use both of them for various sites I own but my favorite is BigScoots. Their Wordpress service is the best.
  1. Apply to affiliate sites such as Shareasale, Commission JunctionAmazon Affiliates, or even Ultimate Bundles to start. They offer a wide variety of retailers and products to start promoting right away. I would make sure your site is live and has multiple blog posts on it before applying or else you may get denied. Sites with no content or little content send up red flags.
  1. Scan through the list of affiliate programs below, choose relevant programs for you and sign up. (Please bear in mind that affiliate programs change frequently so some information may be outdated! I am going to do a new list soon but the link you receive will also link to any updated versions)

Look for the commission rate or bounty amount, how long the cookie length is and payout threshold. (more on this below)

  1. Write high quality content which includes your affiliate links, primarily in the text as I have done throughout this post as an example. Those convert the best!
  2. Start earning money!

What to Look For When Deciding to Join a Christian Affiliate Program

When evaluating potential Christian affiliate programs, there are a few things you’ll want to look at.

  1. How well does it serve your audience

If your blog is about Christian marriage, an affiliate program on car care may not be the best fit.  Remember, your site is all about serving your audience. Consider whether or not this product or service will truly serve your reader.

  1. How much commission does it pay?

Affiliate programs pay (usually) in one of two ways:

  • Commission
  • Bounty

Commissions can range from 2-50%. Commissions are a “cut” of the sale. If someone purchases a book for $10 and the commission is 20%, you will earn $2.

Bounties are a flat fee for completing a task. For example, you may earn a bounty of $3 when someone signs up for a trial of Audible, or $1 when someone joins a couponing program.

  1. Cookie length

The cookie length is the amount of time that a cookie will remain on a user’s device after they have clicked a publisher link to an advertiser’s site, unless it is overwritten by another publisher’s cookie. 

Let’s say the cookie length for a company is 30 days. If someone clicks your link today, but doesn’t buy the product for 27 days, you still get the commission (unless they click someone else’s affiliate link for that same affiliate in between).

Some cookie lengths are as short as 24 hours (Amazon), others are up to a year (rare).

  1. Payment Threshold

This is the amount of money you have had to earn before the affiliate will make a payout. Usually this number is $50 or $100.

Tips For Getting Accepted by Affiliate Marketing Sites

Most affiliate sites are easy to join, but will require certain things.

You’ll want to, of course, have a blog or website with at least some content on it, as I said earlier.

Affiliates want to to see if you would be a good fit for their program. Your blog, what you write about and the quality of it are one of the ways they can assess this.

In the application, you may be asked how you will promote the product or service. Include blog posts, email marketing and social media marketing in your answer. If you have a lot of followers or high website traffic, you’ll want to share this information, as well.

Show them why you would be an asset to them.

Take a Course or Buy an E-Book

In this post, we’ve just covered the basics, but there are a couple of fantastic resources that can help you really up your affiliate marketing for your Christian blog.

I recommend Affiliate Marketing for Christian Bloggers by Kingdom Bloggers as this is specific to bloggers of faith.

LeeAnn Fox of Kingdom Bloggers says:

“The truth is that most bloggers – especially bloggers in the faith niche – really struggle with understanding how to get those affiliate links to convert to sales.

For many new bloggers, the first thought is often to write content and just add links. But the truth is that the primary goal for any blogger needs to be generating organic traffic. And if earning income is part of the plan, that traffic needs to come from money-making keywords – people searching for something because they want to make a purchase.

But it is more than that. Your entire blog needs to be FOCUSED and OPTIMIZED for the RIGHT TRAFFIC.

Earning income with a Christian blog isn’t as hard as you might think. The obstacle is simple – you simply aren’t going about it the right way!

Let me show you how to write content that generates the right kind of traffic – content focused on money-making keywords.

But don’t worry! While the term “money-making keywords” might sound like a sales advertisement, I promise that what you will learn will enable you to earn consistent income WITHOUT sounding like a car salesman!

I’m going to show you the exact strategy (that you can adjust to your own blog topics) that I’ve used since launching Kingdom Bloggers in December of 2018.

Let me be clear – I’m NOT going to teach you how to make $10k overnight! Yes, there are some bloggers who do earn that kind of money but I can assure you – it wasn’t overnight!

What I am going to show you is how to begin building a profitable foundation that will continue to grow as long as you keep applying these strategies!

DISCLAIMER: To get the most out of this course, it is HIGHLY recommended that you first take the SEO for Christian Bloggers course where you will learn the ins and outs of SEO (which is the basis for getting organic traffic to your money posts).

I also highly recommend the course Journey to the Center of Amazon by Debbie Gartner as I mentioned earlier. She consistently earns over 7K each month from Amazon affiliate marketing!

Some people think that affiliate marketing just doesn’t work anymore. That is nonsense. It is alive and well and helping many Christian families thrive. For a look at some affiliate marketing trends from expert Neil Patel, check out this video.

If you are ready to step up your affiliate marketing game, you’ll want to grab our HUGE list of affiliate marketing programs for Christian bloggers. 

In it, you’ll find nearly 200 affiliate marketing programs for broken down further by niche (finance, parenting, homeschooling, etc.).

AND…if you are a blogger and have an affiliate program that is not on our list, please email me at diane@worthbeyondrubies.com and I will add you!

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