Today I’m spilling all the secrets on how bloggers make money through affiliate marketing, how it works and what it means for you. I’m also going to walk you through all of the ways that you can shop via my site and my instagram. I recently did a poll on my instagram stories and realized that a lot of you weren’t aware of all of the different ways you can shop so here is my very boring but somewhat informative post about it! Also, I am on the LiketoKnow.it App for all of those that like to shop that way and if you are following me just comment that you are on one of the instagram images I post this week and you will be entered to win one of five different $50 gift cards to Nordstrom I’m giving away!
What is Affiliate Marketing?
It’s no secret that bloggers make money off of purchases made through some, if not most, of their links. For example, when you click on those images above, it takes you to the product and I get paid from the brand for the traffic I sent them. If this is a secret to you then you are following a lot of shady bloggers because they are supposed to be up front about that (#sorrynotsorry). This is called affiliate marketing or affiliate advertising. What is that, you say? Here is an easy way to think of it… You know how brands can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a tv commercial that nobody watches (hello DVR), a radio ad nobody hears (hello satellite radio) or a magazine ad that nobody sees (hello social media)? Well brands got smart and realized that there is power in word of mouth advertising now that world or mouth advertising is amplified by the world wide web & more specifically blogs and social media. So instead of you walking down the street to drink some tea and tell your neighbor about this great sale you found on this fabulous new frock, you can tweet it, post it or put it on your instagram stories and BOOM, instantly get the word out. So where as word of mouth marketing use to spread very slowly and then have a tipping point where the brand finally got some leverage, now it can go viral in an instant. (Side note, did that sound smart? It should have. I put in a lot of hours for that marketing degree.)
So what does this have to do with all these bloggers pimping out every item of clothing they own? I’m glad you asked. Long story short, it makes us money. You can actually create a business off of other people buying things you suggest and many bloggers, like myself, have done just that. You see I started this blog in lieu of opening a boutique. I live in the middle of nowhere and was so very close to pulling the trigger on opening up a boutique in the town where I lived in SC until I got married and moved which would have made the commute slightly less than desirable. Then you have to deal with all of the things owning a boutique entails like overhead and employees and being friendly to snobby people and I thought it would be better for everyone, especially my husband, if I took that dream for a boutique onto the internet. So now I don’t have limits to what I sell and I can link up any number of dresses or makeup items or bathing suits and create my own curated boutique on the pages of this blog. It’s a dream of mine fulfilled through the wonder of technology. And the way I’m able to pay for this site to be maintained, edited, developed as well as pay for emails to be sent, photographs to be taken and the host of other operating expenses is through, you guessed it, affiliate marketing.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Some of you are already dying of boredom and I’m truly sorry but I’m just going to bore you with a few more details first for the rest of us that still don’t get it. When you browse the internet and land on a website that website sends your browser a small piece of data that lives on your computer. That is called a cookie. Cookies track where you go and what you click on and wouldn’t you know it some geniuses figured out a way to embed those cookies with tracking links called “affiliate IDs”. There are so many affiliate companies out there. For example, I work with ShopStyle, RewardStyle & Amazon to name a few. Those companies give me the technology to make these little affiliate links and put them into my blog posts. Then when you click on them and are directed to an item the company keeps up with it and pays me either for the click or the sale depending on what type of contract I have.
These aren’t trade secrets by any means but something I thought that the average Joe might be interested in. Another juicy tidbit is that cookies can cancel each other out and have time restrictions on them, some only last 24 hours and some last for up to 30 days. So that is why you have seen bloggers urging you to “only shop through their links”. I would like to point out here that this isn’t a shameless plug for you to only shop through my links. Follow me long enough and you will understand that I’m not here to be greedy and try to make you buy crap you don’t need. If you see something I share that you like, use my link. If you see something that another blogger shares that you like, use their link.
How to Shop My Site
So now that you have a little background in how this whole “shopping” thing works let me share you a few ways I have implemented affiliate marketing on my blog & social media accounts to help make it easier for you, however you like to shop. Before I begin let me say that I’m aware some of you are just here because you like to read or view and have no interest in shopping. I’m glad you are here and I love that I have a ton of readers that aren’t just here to see the latest and greatest clothing item or makeup product. But for the rest of us here are all of the ways to get to the goods.
#1 Click on my links in blog posts.
At the bottom of every blog post and many blog posts I summarize the links that were used. I think this makes it very easy for you to see an item and then click on a link to get to that item. I mean what could be easier?
#2 Visit my shopping pages.
I have several pages on this site dedicated to helping you shop. You can view them all by clicking on the “shop” tab on my home page.
thesouthernstyleguide.com/instagram – This is the link that you see in my instagram bio but you can also get to it on a desktop. It will give you links to anything and everything I post on instagram just by click on the photo you want to shop.
thesouthernstyleguide.com/shop – This is a series of pages (flip between them by clicking the titles on the left-hand side) where you can shop by product.
thesouthernstyleguide.com/outfits – On this page you can easily see all of my outfits in one place.
thesouthernstyleguide.com/my-makeup – I keep this page up-to-date with all of my favorite makeup items.
my amazon shop – I love this one! My page on Amazon where you can see all of my must-have items.
thesouthernstyleguide.com/online-shopping – A list of all of my favorite shopping sites!
How To Shop My Instagram
A lot of you rarely visit blogs now and only shop on instagram. Here are the ways that you can do that.
#1 Click the link in my instagram bio.
This will take you to this page where you can click on any photo that you want and then click on the item you want to see. It’s really easy to use on a phone, too!
#2 Swipe up on my stories.
This is probably the easiest way to shop because you can just swipe up with something is linked. The only problem with this is that you have to buy or add to your cart pretty quickly because stories disappear and you might forget.
#3 Follow me on the Like to Know it App.
You don’t technically have to follow me but if you follow you will see my new content pop up. The app is a great thing to have if you follow a lot of bloggers or just want an easy place on your phone to remember outfits. It can be tricky to figure out at first so I’m going to post some how-to images at the bottom of this post.
#4 Shop My Instagram Roundups
How to Use the LiketoKnow.it App + A Giveaway
I’m now uploading my images to the LiketoKnow.it app for all of those of you that responded that you use it to shop in my recent poll. My site and my instagram page will stay the same but what is new is that you can now shop my photos through LiketoKnow.it & the LiketoKnow.it App. Since I want to help get the word out I’m having a little giveaway and anybody that follows me on the app and comments that they have on one of my instagram photos this week will be entered to win one of five (5), $50 gift cards to Nordstrom. That’s right, five of you will win a little cersie to buy yourself something just for following along if you use the LiketoKnow.it App!
#1 – Sign up for LiketoKnow.it & download the app from the app store.
#2 – Like any photo (or take a screen shot) with a URL that looks something like this:?http://liketk.it/.
#3 – If you want to see my content pop up in your app make sure to search for my name & follow me!