Genealogy bloggers discovered the joys of affiliate marketing years ago. None of us are getting rich, but the revenue generated by posting ads on our blogs or linking to specific products within an online storefront has helped support our genealogy and/or blogging habits. The really nice part about all of this is that while we get a small commission every time someone purchases something from a link posted on our blog, it doesn’t add anything to the purchaser’s cost.
For the genealogy society, affiliate marketing can be an effective fund-raising tool. Here’s how it works . . .
Find a retailer that offers an affiliate marketing program. You’ll be surprised how many there are. Amazon is one of the biggest, but there’s also Ancestry, eBay, Flip-Pal and many more. Look for their affiliate program and it will explain how the program works and what you must do to become an affiliate. Once your application has been accepted, you’ll be given access to the tools you’ll need to market their goods. For example, Amazon’s Associates Central web site is full of news about special promotions, code for banner ads you can add to your site and a toolbar that helps you build an affiliate link to just about any page or product found at Amazon.
One of the easiest things you can do is copy/paste the code for a banner ad offering a product, service or campaign on your society’s web site. Then anytime a visitor clicks that ad and makes a purchase at the online store, you’ll get a commission. In the case of Amazon, if a visitor follows your link to an Amazon project and purchases several things, you’ll get commission on all those items.
While Amazon is large enough to maintain their own affiliate marketing program, smaller companies use a service to manage their programs. In this instance you will need to apply with the service first. Once accepted by the service, you then have to apply to the individual companies separately. That effort is much simpler. After your applications have been accepted, you’ll be connected to their affiliate support center where you can choose ads and build affiliate links to post on your society’s site.
A surprising number of genealogy-related platforms have affiliate programs. Ancestry.com does along with most of its partners. Other genealogy-related products and services also offer affiliate programs. Once your affiliate accounts are active, when you mention one of them on the society’s blog you link to that site using your affiliate link. Then, should a visitor follow that link and decide to purchase something, your commission is posted to your affiliate account.
Let your members know that these ads and links are supporting the society and encourage them to use them when making purchases. Remind them regularly that it doesn’t cost them anything extra and their purchases bring additional revenue into the society.
If you would like to learn more about affiliate marketing, there are a number of books available at Amazon. And, yes, that is an affiliate link. Should you follow that link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.