Ever wondered how making money using affiliate links on Pinterest works? Did you even know that was a thing? Well fear not, this post is about to explain it allllll for you!
If you’re a regular visitor to Flourishing Freelancer, you’ll know that affiliate marketing is one of my favourite ways of monetising my site.
Once things are set up, it can be pretty much a passive income stream (we all know that there’s no such thing as truly passive income!)
Affiliate marketing has been around for a long time and when I started to think of ways that I could monetise my blog, affiliate marketing was high up on my list. So I tried a couple of things and nothing seemed to work.
And when I say nothing seemed to work, I mean I made zero sales!
So, like everything blogging-related, I took to Google to find out what I was doing wrong and how to fix it. I read eBooks and enrolled in free email courses. I tried different techniques until I found a strategy that worked for me: using affiliate links on Pinterest
**This post may contain affiliate links for products I love. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. For my full disclaimer, please click here**
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Before we get into the details of how to make money from affiliate links, let’s take a look at what affiliate marketing is.
Put simply, affiliate marketing is when you promote a product or service and, when someone purchases it through your unique link, you earn a small commission. It doesn’t cost anything extra to the person who purchases the product or service.
You get your unique links by signing up to the product or service’s affiliate programme.
Some products and services have their own unique affiliate programmes whereas others use affiliate networks like Share A Sale and Skimlinks to manage their affiliate programmes. In these cases, you can join the programme via the affiliate network.
Not every shop, product or service out there has an affiliate programme. If they do, it’s usually mentioned at the bottom of their site like this:
You can also just Google the name of the company, product or service that you love + “affiliate programme” and check the results.
Most affiliate programmes require you to have your own site before signing up as an affiliate. Here’s my full post on how to get your blog set up in just 20 minutes.
To get you started, here’s a list of my current favourite affiliate programmes:
- Ultimate Bundles – they offer bundles for pretty much anyone and everyone!
- Share a Sale – this is a network that lots of sites use such as Optin Monster, Tailwind, Thinkific…the list goes on!
- Skimlinks – this is another affiliate network that includes brands such as BooHoo.com, Missguided UK, Hootsuite and Vimeo. The great thing is that a lot of these pay per click, not just per sale!
- My own affiliate programme! I’m currently looking for new affiliates to join my team. If you’re interested, simply complete this form to sign-up.
If you’re getting serious about affiliate marketing as an income stream for your blog, you need to get your hands on the Affiliate Programmes Masterlist which includes over 500 affiliate programmes in 17 different niches.
Why Affiliate Marketing?
Put simply, affiliate marketing is simple and has the potential to make you a lot of money.
It does, of course, require a bit of work to get things set up but we’ll get on to that later in the post.
For it to work well, your affiliate marketing strategy should align with your blog and your niche. Because of this, very little additional work should be required on your part.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re a travel blogger. You would want to join affiliate programmes related to travel; maybe a company you sells backpacks or even a travel review/booking site like Trip Advisor. Because you will already be writing about these things (backpacks and hotels) on your site, it will be easy for you to add in some affiliate links without having to do a whole load of additional work and any pins you create will fit your current topics.
If, on the other hand, you decided to join an affiliate programme that didn’t match your blog or niche – using the example above, let’s say you decided to join an affiliate programme for a home store – you would have to create brand new content and go out of your way to promote those affiliate links. And, even if you did do that, chances are that your readers wouldn’t be interested in those products anyway because they’re on your site for travel related information. That, in turn, would mean very few click-throughs and even less sales. So, more work and less sales. Not what you want!
There’s great potential for earning with affiliate marketing as a lot of programmes offer a 30-50% commission rate. Whilst commission rates do vary massively, most seem to sit in this bracket.
Where I Went Wrong
As I mentioned at the start of this post, affiliate marketing was one of the monetising strategies that I couldn’t wait to implement.
So, I signed up to a bunch of affiliate programmes including Amazon Affiliates and a couple of random companies that make and sell WordPress themes. I chucked a load of links into my blog posts, as well as adding images with the links in my sidebar.
Feeling rather proud of myself and pleasantly surprised with “how easy” it had all been, I sat back and waited. And waited. And waited some more.
I bet you can guess what happened…
…nothing. Literally nothing happened. No one clicked on the links. No sales were made and I made no money at all.
I felt terrible. I had been so excited about the thought of giving my readers a link to some great products and then effortlessly making some money from it. But, after 2 months of not a single cent, I felt defeated and like a complete failure.
But why was I making no money?
Not only were the links poorly placed but I wasn’t giving people a reason to click through and buy the products. There was no context to them and I certainly wasn’t “selling” the products to my readers.
I had no strategy.
As I mentioned in the intro to this post, I started doing some research into actually making money from affiliate programmes.
You see, I’m not the kind of person who says “Oh, I don’t know how to do this, I’ll do something else instead”. No. If I don’t know how to do something, I go out there and teach myself how to do it.
After weeks of searching the internet and taking free email courses, I decided that it was time to invest financially in something that could really help me.
I’d read a lot of reviews and recommendations for the eBook, How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours using Pinterest by Elise from House of Brazen.
It was (and still is) an absolute bargain at $25 and it changed my affiliate marketing game for good. It was this eBook that introduced me to using affiliate links on Pinterest. I figured, if the strategy in the book worked, I’d make my money back in no time at all. And I was right!
Grab your copy of the eBook here
I’m not going to share the contents of the book on here because…well, that’s just not fair on Elise and all of the hard work that she put into it. If you want to learn her exact strategies, grab a copy of her book – you won’t be disappointed!
Why Use Affiliate Links on Pinterest?
A few years ago Pinterest actually banned affiliate links from their site. But, in 2016, they allowed them back again. Great news for us bloggers who use affiliate links as a way to monetise their site.
So why choose Pinterest as the place to promote and share your affiliate links? Well, it’s quite simple really. Look at the stats for my Pinterest account:
Look at the number of viewers per month! I would never get that kind of traction on my site itself. So, whilst I still add affiliate links into my blog posts (like this one), most of the income I see from affiliate marketing is through using affiliate links on Pinterest.
Getting Started with Pinterest
Before we go any further into the strategy itself, it all starts with Pinterest.
The first step in using affiliate links on Pinterest is to optimise your Pinterest account so that more people see it and see your pins.
My top tips for optimising your Pinterest account are:
- Switch to a business account – this will allow you access to better analytics and you can enable rich pins
- Add keywords to your account name – for example, my account name is “Dani from Flourishing Freelancer | Blogging and Social Media Tips”
- Include descriptions of your boards that include keywords that your audience will be searching for
- Add descriptions to your pins. Enabling rich pins will take care of this for you when pinning from your own site but not when using affiliate links on Pinterest (more on this later).
You will be pinning your affiliate links to your regular Pinterest boards but you might also be interested in creating a new board specifically for your affiliate links too. For example, I have a board called “Blogging Products and Tools I Love” which consists solely of affiliate pins.
For more information on optimising your Pinterest account and generally boosting your traffic with Pinterest, check out my free Pinterest for Beginners course here.
Choose Your Affiliate Programme
To start off with, we’ll just focus on one affiliate programme.
So, choose one that you think matches your blog and will really resonate with your audience.
Take your time to find the right programme.
A great place to start is with something that you have used a lot and are completely in love with. Take your blog theme for example. It’s something you probably have a lot of experience with and, if you’re still using it, you probably love it too! Another example might be an eBook or a course that you have recently completed and implemented. If you’ve seen fantastic results, why not see if they offer an affiliate programme.
I like to keep spreadsheets of all of the affiliate programmes I am part of, including:
- Link to the programme dashboard
- Login details
- Commission rate
- Payout threshold
- My unique affiliate link for the product or service
- I also have a spreadsheet to track income that has a section for affiliate sales.
You can grab my affiliate tracking sheets for free here:
Affiliate Programme and Income Trackers
Grab the spreadsheets that I use to manage affiliate programmes and track my income.
Once you’ve chosen an affiliate programme, signed up and been approved, it’s time to get started adding those affiliate links to Pinterest!
How to Create Beautiful Pins
The next step in the process is to create beautiful pins to accompany those affiliate links.
Some lessons, including the eBook I spoke about earlier, will say that you can use the pinnable images of the product that you’re promoting. Most affiliate programmes will provide you with images to use. And that’s fine.
This next section is for those of you who wish to make your own, on brand pins.
Personally, I like to use a mixture of both. My results have been mixed. For some programmes my own pins seem to work better and for others, the programme’s pins work better. So, to err on the side of caution, I always use both.
There are tonnes of articles out there on the internet around the anatomy of a perfect pin. And there seems to be a general consensus on what that is:
You need to make it really clear to people who are scrolling through Pinterest, what you are offering them. Your headline needs to be really clear and easy to read so that your target audience can read it without having to click on the pin to enlarge it.
If they can’t read what it says, they will just scroll past. It’s as simple as that.
The text you include should explain what the blog post or web page behind it (i.e. where your reader will end up if they click through) is about.
2. Be On Brand
Being on brand is essential on Pinterest and across all of your social media profiles. You want people to be able to recognise your content easily and you also want it to stand out from the crowd.
There are four elements to making your pin on brand:
- Use the same fonts that you have in your style guide. If you haven’t created a style guide yet, pick two or three fonts and stick to them.
- Use your brand colours. Again, these will come from your style guide. Play around with the layout of your pins to see what works best for your branding in terms of lighter colours, or blocks of colour etc.
3. High-Quality, Eye-Catching Images
I am the first person to admit that I am rubbish at taking good photos. Holiday snaps, yes. Professional looking flatlays, no. So I opt for stock images. If this sounds like you, check out my favourite places to get stock photos:
So, you know what you need to include in your pins but how do you actually create them? Good old Canva is the answer! You can use lots of tools like Photoshop or PicMonkey but, as I’ve mentioned before, I love Canva. It’s super easy to use and there’s a free version for those who are on a budget!
Related Post → How to Use Stock Photos Legally
It’s Time to Start Pinning!
Now that you have your unique affiliate link for your chosen product or service and you’ve created the pin that you’re going to share. So, how do you get the two together on Pinterest?
It’s really simple and doesn’t take more that 2 minutes!
Head to your Pinterest profile and click the red “+” symbol in the top right-hand corner. You should see an option to “upload image”, like this:
After clicking on “upload image” you will see a pop up box where you can upload the image you have created and add your affiliate link. Complete both parts and hit “Continue”.
On the next screen you will be prompted to choose a board to pin your pin to (pin, pin, pin…how many times can I say pin in a row?). Choose a relevant board to add your pin to.
Before you hit save, you will want to add a keyword-rich description of the pin to help it get found by others on Pinterest.
IMPORTANT – YOU MUST DISCLOSE THAT THE PIN IS AN AFFILIATE WITHIN THE DESCRIPTION
Once you’ve added your description, hit “save”.
And that’s it. You’ve added one of your first affiliate links on Pinterest!
As with anything on Pinterest, it’s not much use just pinning it once to a single board.
You need to get that pin out there and in front of as many eyes as possible.
So, go back to that pin (on whatever board you pinned it to) and start repinning it to other relevant board on your Pinterest account. Once you’ve pinned to all of your relevant boards, it’s time to move on to group boards.
Before you pin your affiliate links to any group boards, you need to check the rules of each group board to ensure that they allow affiliate pins as some don’t. Personally, I have a spreadsheet of all of the group boards I am a member of along with notes of their rules and, specifically, which boards do allow affiliate pins.
Pinning your affiliate pins to group boards is essential, especially if you have a small following on Pinterest as not only does it get your pin in front of more eyes but, because of the nature of groups boards, it means that those eyes are in the right audience.
Related Post → How to Find and Join Pinterest Group Boards
Automating the Process
Unfortunately, you can’t automate the entire process!
But, you can automate a large part of it – repinning your affiliate pin.
And the secret weapon for automating the process? Boardbooster.
It’s super easy to set up the automation with Boardbooster. Simply create a campaign, select the group boards that allow affiliate pins and then add your affiliate pin to the associated secret board! Boardboost will take care of the rest for you!
You can read more about using campaigns in Board booster in this great post by Krista Dickson of Blog Beautifully – Why Boardbooster is the Best Pinterest Tool Ever.
Ready to Learn More About Affiliate Marketing Strategies?
So, we’ve covered the strategy behind using affiliate links on Pinterest but what about affiliate marketing strategies more widely?
Whilst this post is solely focused on using Pinterest, I do have a fantastic resource for you that covers all kinds of affiliate marketing strategies.
Introducing the Zero to Superhero Affiliate Marketing Bundle. The bundle includes a whole heap of information including:
- What affiliate marketing is and why it’s better than any of the other blog monetisation methods
- When is the right time to start, and what affiliate marketing myths have been holding you back?
- How to get started with affiliate marketing (step-by-step)
- What common affiliate marketing mistake to avoid to start earning quicker and make your first affiliate sale this week
- Finding the right affiliate programmes for your blog
- How, where and how often to include affiliate links in a way that is NOT spammy and that won’t turn your readers away
- How to properly disclose your affiliate links (with examples) and keep track of your income for tax purposes
- Driving traffic to your affiliate posts and increase your clicks and earnings.
Whilst Pinterest is an amazing way to make sales through your affiliate links, there’s lots of other ways to make that happen too. As with any element of monetising your site, I would recommend trying and using lots of different methods to see what works best for you and your audience.
With this post and the affiliate marketing bundle, there’s nothing stopping you from making your first affiliate sale!
Don’t forget to grab your tracking sheets before you head off!
Affiliate Programme and Income Trackers
Grab the spreadsheets that I use to manage affiliate programmes and track my income.
Wait, before you go...
...grab yourself a copy of the Ultimate Blogger Resource List (and boost your blog today!)