This post goes into great detail on the most profitable short-term affiliate promotion I’ve done since I started my first blog in November 2014.
(And in this post about affiliate marketing, there are appropriately placed affiliate links — which means I may earn commission should you make a purchase based on something I recommend. Interested in learning how to begin earning affiliate commission yourself? Keep reading — that’s exactly what you’ll learn in this post!)
As a contributing affiliate for Ultimate Bundles, I generated more than $14k in commission in six days by promoting The Ultimate Work-at-Home Bundle, which was a $47 product.
I contributed one of my eBooks to the Bundle which meant I qualified for a 70% commission rate on all sales from my link. Non-contributing affiliates get a 40% commission.
The boost in commission as a contributor is definitely a strong reason to create your own products and make sure they shine so you can contribute them to the bundle!
Affiliate marketing is NOT my strong suit!
If you’ve already read my crazy-detailed income report about earning $1.7 million in my first two years as a blogger, then you know I actually generate most of my blog revenue from my own products: online courses.
However, I do some affiliate marketing by promoting colleagues’ courses that are relevant to my audience, along with products I use and recommend.
Revenue from affiliate marketing usually adds up to about 10% of the total revenue in any given month. For example, in the month of April 2017, total revenue was $244,798. Affiliate revenue was $27,668 — 11.3% of the total.
Even though revenue generated from my own products alone would be plenty, it is smart to diversify into multiple income streams.
My husband and I spend WAY below what we earn, and because of affiliate revenue streams I feel confident that even if all of my products were to disappear one day, all the bills would still be paid by those additional income streams… and we wouldn’t have to change our lifestyle at all.
If you are brand new to affiliate marketing, I highly recommend learning from Michelle Schroeder-Gardner through her Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. I originally enrolled in her course specifically for the ability to connect with her students and find affiliates for my courses, but I have learned a ton from the course content and the Facebook group as well!
“Wait… you earned $14,063 from ONE product in less than a week!? Prove it!”
Yeah, yeah… I know you’re skeptical. I would be too, especially if I were new at blogging.
So before I get into all the details of HOW I generated this amount of commission, I thought I’d prove that I actually did it 🙂
Here’s a screenshot from within my affiliate tracking area. Ultimate Bundles uses Infusionsoft. It shows the date range of June 6-13 and the net commission minus refunds as $14,063.65:
Here’s the screenshot from Ultimate Bundles’ final leaderboard email.
There was a sales contest among affiliates, and the amount of bundles I sold — not the commission amount! — landed me in first place in that contest… which got me a brand new MacBook!
However, since I already have a MacBook Pro that works just fine, I gave the new MacBook to my mom:
“Hold on… why haven’t I heard of you before?”
I’m Caitlin Pyle, and I started blogging in November 2014.
My main blog is ProofreadAnywhere.com… where I don’t blog about how much money I earn as a blogger.
I’m not really a fan of writing to my Proofread Anywhere audience openly about how much revenue I generate from the courses they’re taking. It just doesn’t feel good to me. They’re not on my list to learn about that, so I’d rather share strategy/earning info with folks who specifically want to learn about it.
I do write a lot about generating income from home on PA — but not just any kind of income. I specifically write about developing and using skills to generate income (and for PA’s purposes, that’s freelancing skills).
This means you won’t see any click-baity “how to make fast cash by doing almost nothing” nonsense on my sites; you’ll only see valuable, carefully curated information on how to use genuine skills to generate income.
The Work Anywhere Life blog is an offshoot of Proofread Anywhere that my husband Ben and I created so we could feel free to openly network with other bloggers and share more of our expertise in growing an online business beyond freelancing.
Hence… I can write posts like this 🙂
Here’s what you’ll get in this post…
No matter what blog it’s on, I like to make sure whatever I write contains a TON of value, so here’s a list of exactly what you’re getting within this post:
- All the stats from the emails I sent (open/click rates, etc.)
- LOTS of tips and details about how and why I promoted the way I did
- Advice for newbie bloggers
- Links to ALL of my bundle-related Facebook posts that are still live
- An opportunity to download ALL of my promo emails so you can read and analyze it
- And opportunity to download a PDF of this entire post
- An opportunity to sign up as an affiliate with Ultimate Bundles
A Common Myth About Affiliate Marketing
You might think you need to have a super popular blog before you can make affiliate commission.
Not true! You can see on the leaderboard above that I won the contest even though I was competing with bloggers like Crystal Paine — who’s got gazillions of followers and has been blogging since 2008 (and is also a top Proofread Anywhere affiliate).
(It probably helped that she wasn’t pushing this bundle very much 😉 Thanks, Crystal!!)
Michelle teaches in her affiliate marketing course that ANYONE can earn affiliate commission. Will it be $10,000 or $50,000 a month overnight? No. You have to work up to it… and I’ll give you more details on that in a bit.
How many emails did I send?
You might also believe you’ve got to send multiple emails a day or that everyone on your list would have to open your promo emails for you to generate commission.
Nope! The emails I sent out to my list of 39,000 subscribers had some not-so-great open rates of between 17-24%.
I sent five emails total.
I sent TWO emails earlier in the sale on separate days.
First day of the sale — email on June 7 got a 17.5% open rate and less than 2% clicks. That probably has to do with the amount of cold subscribers (people who just subscribe and never open anything).
(Psst! I use ConvertKit and LOVE IT!)
Mid-sale — email on June 10 had an even lower click rate:
TIP: In ConvertKit, you can create an automation that will let subscribers opt out from hearing about a certain topic without completely unsubscribing. I offered this option in EVERY email, and I believe it did reduce unsubscribes.
Then I sent THREE emails on the last day of the sale.
This was the ONLY day of the sale that I emailed more than once.
Email 1 of 3 on June 12:
Each time I emailed, I made sure that the email was unique — not just the same email with a different subject line.
Later in this post, you’ll have the opportunity to download a document containing copies of all five promo emails.
Email 2 of 3 on June 12:
Instead of offering a bonus up front for anyone who bought through my link, I decided to offer a last-minute bonus for anyone who bought the bundle.
That means, for the cost of the bundle ($47), my audience also received the previously unheard-of opportunity to ask me questions LIVE for one hour the following week.
Offering that bonus made me super nervous, as I’m not a huge fan of doing live stuff, but I eased my own nerves by having everyone submit their questions ahead of time (using a Google Form — easy!). That way I could weed out the bad or overly general questions like “How to set up a business,” and I could ensure the time was used wisely.
The call was a huge success!
Email 3 of 3 — on June 12/13:
Technically the sale ended at midnight Eastern time on June 12, but Ultimate Bundles decided to extend the sale to midnight Pacific time — YAY! So they encouraged us to send out one last email at midnight.
I hadn’t planned on sending a fifth email, but I figured, Why the heck not?
I not only wanted as many people as possible to benefit from the insane amount of valuable resources in the Ultimate Work-At-Home Bundle; I also really, REALLY wanted to win the contest at this point 🙂
I made 465 sales during the six full days of the contest. I reached out to the manager who let me know I’d won the contest by about 100 sales.
As you can see below, out of 3,606 people (of my list of 39,000), 465 people purchased the bundle through my link. That is a 12% conversion rate.
How Else I Promoted
I also promoted the bundle on my personal Facebook and the Proofread Anywhere Facebook page.
NOTE: I do NOT use my Facebook profile for primarily commercial purposes, so NO, Facebook will not “ban” me for violating their terms. I’ve been on Facebook since 2004 when it was first launched and only available to college students, and it’s easy to see on my profile that what I post is at least 90% personal in nature. This post should not be used as a reason to start using your Facebook profile for primarily commercial purposes. It is clear I am not doing that.
Here are all five of the posts I published on my personal page. The posts on PA’s Facebook page were similar in content, so I didn’t include those.
You can click on each post to see the original (which will open in a new tab).
Facebook Post #1
A general post about what the bundle is and why it’s so valuable.
Facebook Post #2:
Another general post with more details and some FAQs about the bundle.
Facebook Post #3:
I scripted a 3-minute video about the bundle with what I consider to be the #1 rule of working from home: investing in yourself. This post went live Monday morning, the last day of the sale. I also featured my puppy, Buffett, at the end of the video!!
Facebook Post #4:
This post went live Monday afternoon on the last day of the sale. It’s when I announced the last-minute bonus of the Q&A call with me.
Facebook Post #5:
This was the final post on my personal page about the bundle sale. It was posted late, so not many people saw it.
“Rules” I Break as a Blogger
As a blogger, I’ve always done things my own way — even if the “experts” say that way is wrong. Part of blogging is being true to you. It’s your unique style that attracts followers and subscribers — not your ability to copy someone else.
At Proofread Anywhere, I get a lot of emails from new subscribers who describe my transparent writing style as a breath of fresh air. “I love how you’re not afraid to tell it like it is!” is a common compliment we receive. And it’s true… especially in my mindset content. I’m not afraid of offending anyone.
Want an example? See this post 🙂
If there’s something out there everybody’s doing, I’ll often go out of my way to NOT do that thing. I don’t do fancy launches; I don’t only offer my courses a few times a year; and I don’t host hordes of live webinars to sell my products and courses… even though those sales methods are insanely popular right now.
Here’s a tip: If it feels like everybody’s doing it, then it’s probably because everybody’s doing it.
A big reason my first blog has been so successful (more than $2.4 million in revenue since 2015) is because almost nobody else is doing what I’m doing — which is borderline offensively blogging about mindset, making money online with actual skills, and creating/selling work-at-home skills courses.
Is Blogging a Scam?
No, blogging isn’t some big scam, and affiliate marketing is a real way to generate a LOT of money online. But if you want to sleep at night, you should do it right.
A lot of bloggers start out trying to make money blogging by blogging about how to make money blogging.
That’s a mouthful, I know. So let me break it down: People who aren’t making any money by blogging –> blog about how to start a blog because it’s “easy to make money blogging” (Hint: you can earn about $75-$100 for each hosting plan) –> more people who aren’t making money start writing about how to make money blogging — and selling the same hosting plans!!
It’s a cyclical scheme.
Point is, there are sooooo many bloggers out there who haven’t made a dime trying to make a buck selling hosting plans by swearing up and down to innocent readers that it’s EASY to make money blogging. ConvertKit even published a fantastic post on this issue called The Scammers of the Blogging World.
Don’t become a scammer!
Does that mean you can’t blog about how to start a blog? No. It just means you should think twice about calling blogging an “easy way” to make money… especially if you’re not making any money yet and just want to sell hosting plans 🙂
How to REALLY Make Money with a Blog (from Someone Who’s Actually Doing It ;-))
There is so much more to blogging than blogging about blogging.
You can’t just throw up a site with loads of posts on “how to start a blog” and expect droves of subscribers to show up groveling at your feet for more information. Everybody’s blogging about blogging, remember?
To be taken seriously, you’ve got to create excellent content; you’ve got to build an audience; but most importantly, you’ve got to provide value.
Figuring out what kind of value to provide is simple, but it’s not easy: What does your audience want or need… and how can you provide that to them? What problems do they deal with… and how can your blog help solve those problems?
It does take time to find your voice as a blogger — my first six months of posts were abysmal!! — so I want to encourage those who are just starting out and reading this thinking you’ll never “get there.” You will! Just keep your expectations for how quickly you “get there” realistic.
Nobody “gets there” overnight.
Most people who believe they’ve failed at something actually just gave up.
Details on My Involvement with Ultimate Bundles
It was such a privilege to be a contributing affiliate for Ultimate Bundles. It always blows my mind the QUALITY and VALUE they cram into the bundles for such a low price.
I will likely contribute another product for the bundle next year. As a contributor you get the bundle for free, and as an affiliate you get a free bundle when you sell more than five 🙂
The resources UB provides to affiliates to help them promote are hands down the best I’ve ever seen. They make it almost effortless to participate. You get all the graphics you need and even emails you can copy and paste!
Here’s what it looks like when you log into the portal. They also make it very easy to promote more bundles.
Now as you’ll see in my emails (which you can download at the end of this post), I didn’t use the swipe copy very much. I really enjoy doing my own copywriting, so I wrote three of the emails from scratch myself. For at least two emails, I used some swipe copy provided by UB as a foundation, then I edited it to fit my style and my subscribers’ needs.
TIP: If you become an affiliate for UB, I recommend only promoting 1-2 limited-time bundles per year. It’s so tempting to want to promo ALL of them, but if you do that you WILL turn off your subscribers. There are some evergreen bundles you can promote more passively, such as within your autoresponder sequences, but the limited-time bundles that you’d promote via email and social media you should limit to 1-2 each year.
Tools and Resources I Used to Promote
All my emails were composed and sent out using ConvertKit. (I used GetResponse for years but once I saw the simplicity of CK, I was done with the clunkiness of GetResponse.)
To make my video, I used this tripod, which isn’t the greatest, but it was cheap and can support my iPad mini.
The Video Teleprompter pro app I got on iTunes for $15, and for my casual purposes it works GREAT! And to think I was about to drop hundreds of dollars for a fancy teleprompter kit!
Again, to learn more about affiliate marketing, check out Michelle's course.
- You don’t need to be the most popular blogger to succeed at affiliate marketing.
- You don’t need to send a gazillion emails to succeed during a promotion.
- Blogging is not a scam if you do it right.
- To be taken seriously, you’ve got to create excellent content; you’ve got to build an audience; but most importantly, you’ve got to provide value.
- Nobody finds success overnight — keep your expectations realistic… the only real failure is when you give up.
Download ALL FIVE of my Promo Emails and a PDF of this Entire Post!
Free Stuff... YAY!
Want a copy of ALL FIVE emails I sent during the June 2017 promo of the Ultimate Work-At-Home Bundle... AND a printable PDF of this entire post?!
Tell me where to send it below, and you'll get it immediately.
I’m all ears! Leave me a comment below, and I’ll do the best I can to fill you in 🙂