Understanding affiliate marketing can help you create a revenue stream from your website, email, and social media. Learning how to implement affiliate links in the articles that have the best chance to convert to affiliate income is a must if you want to earn income with your travel website. This is podcast episode 192 and focuses on how travel bloggers can make money with affiliate marketing and much more!
My podcast guest for this episode is Nikolay Lazarev, an affiliate marketing expert from Travelpayouts. Travelpayouts is the best affiliate for bloggers who focus on travel.
Disclosure: Please know that ads are how we pay our bills and keep our blog free for you to enjoy. I also use affiliate links; if you make a purchase through them, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you.
How Travel Bloggers Can Make More Money with Affiliate Marketing with Nikolay Lazarev
Listen to today’s episode where Nick shares practical tips to make money from affiliate marketing. If you are just getting started with affiliate links, this post will walk you through many of the questions you probably have about how to use an affiliate network to make money as a blogger.
About Nick Lazarev
Nikolay Lazarev is responsible for strategic B2B & B2C partnerships at Travelpayouts. He also helps travel bloggers scale their websites and social and make more money from affiliate marketing.
Nick is from Russia. His parents told him if he learned English he’d be able to go abroad to study. Nick took this to heart. He finished high school in Russia at 16 and was accepted to a college in Canada for 1 year. He then moved to the U.K. to finish college and got his mathematics degree. His study abroad was also the start of his travels.
Nick explains in our interview why travel makes him feel alive and what it means to be saturated by travel.
About Travelpayouts: Travelpayouts is the largest affiliate platform designed for travel content creators. Travelpayouts helps to earn on all types of travel services including flight tickets, accommodation, tours and activities, car rentals, insurance, and many others by connecting over 100 trusted travel brands. Travelpayouts works with more than 300,000 bloggers and partners
Sign up for Travelpayouts and use the promo code YEAR2022 for a bonus $25 commission on your first payout.
Nick and I also chat about our love of Paris and St. Petersburg.
Break Into Travel Writing: A podcast and website designed to help you build a travel blog your readers love as well as help you achieve your goals as a travel writer or blogger.
This is podcast episode 192. Nick and I chat about the best way to monetize a travel blog with affiliate links.
How to Make Money as a Travel Blogger with Affiliate Marketing
Nick and I chat about how to make money with affiliate marketing and specifically how travel bloggers can start making affiliate income. If you want to implement affiliate marketing on your website or want to learn how to make more money with travel affiliates this is the article and podcast for you! Nick walks you through the first steps to take and the best strategies to use for affiliate marketing for travel bloggers.
Travel Articles That Convert Best for Affiliate Income
Travel blogs can attract a large audience. That alone doesn’t create a high income. Therefore, travel bloggers must attract visitors who will spend money. This is called Motivated Traffic. Capturing motivated traffic is something you must consider with your articles. Motivated traffic and purchase intent are very important to understand as you create content for your travel website.
Like many things with blogging, it comes down to keywords. For affiliate marketing, keywords should be divided by words that have purchase intent and words that don’t.
For example, if someone searches for “Is Morocco safe for travel?” This doesn’t necessarily mean the person searching wants to travel to Morocco. This combination of keywords also, do not have any purchase intent. This type of content could be great information for your audience, but it most likely won’t convert into affiliate income.
On the other hand, if someone searches for “tickets from London to Paris”. These are keywords with buyer intent. There is a good chance the person doing this search is interested in buying tickets.
Keywords with high buyer intent
If someone searches using the words; buy, book, purchase, or order. This is a clear indicator the person searching has intent to buy.
Other keywords that can have high buyer intent are searches with specific brand or product names. So, if someone uses a term like “tickets from London to Paris Air France” or best “Hilton hotels in Paris” or “5 Star Hotels in Milan”.
Nick explains that this may seem like a simple concept, but has seen lots of talented bloggers neglect to implement affiliate links in the right articles and this can negatively affect blog income. This may seem basic at first glance, but if you don’t implement affiliate links in articles with buyer intent you are leaving money on the table!
Diversify Content for Affiliate Income
Many travel bloggers are journalists at heart, so focusing on articles about hotels or tours or flights may not be storytelling they want to do. But, thinking of a website as a business, means you need to write well-written stories as well as articles focused on converting for affiliate income.
Think of the entire travel cycle.
a) There is a research phase, where the intent to buy is low. At this phase, the person is looking for inspiration or ideas about a location. Or maybe they are choosing between locations.
b) Next is the decision phase. They have decided on their location and need transportation and lodging. This phase is all about buyer intent.
c) Following transportation and lodging, is most likely deeper research on things to do, restaurants, excursions, etc. This has some buyer intent with things like tours.
Informational Articles vs. Articles with Buyers Intent for Affiliate Links
Remember, that the person looking for ‘things to do in a location’ most likely isn’t looking for flights. Think through the process of how someone books travel and then include affiliate links that match the intent of what the search is focused on.
For informational articles about “Travel Safety in Morocco”, this has a great chance of building traffic and readers.
The bottom line is that as a blogger, you must create posts that sell something to earn affiliate marketing. For example, The Best All-Inclusive Hotels in Aruba” is a clear example of an article with the intent of selling a hotel booking. Creating these types of articles that sell something is the best way to monetize with affiliate links.
How to Add Affiliate Links to an Article
Many bloggers shy away from monetizing their site because it seems complicated. If you are one of those bloggers who has put off adding affiliate links to articles because you thought it was too difficult, we’ve got great news for you!
Links are the most commonly used affiliate tool and they are actually easy to include in articles.
The process is basically the same for any affiliate program you are working with.
a) Head to the website and specific page where you want to send your reader. For example, if your article is about the best hotels in St. Petersburg, find the specific hotel on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Trivago, TripAdvisor or any hotel booking engine of your choice for the affiliate network you are signed up with.
b) Copy the URL of the hotel and then go back to your affiliate network and paste the link into the “link generator”.
c) A new link will be generated with your affiliate code. Copy this link and add it to your website as a text link using descriptive text. In this example, when your website visitors click on this booking.com link and purchase a hotel stay (for any hotel) you will earn affiliate income.
Travelpayouts Chrome Extension
Another alternative to get affiliate links quickly with the Travelpayouts platform is to install the Chrome Extension. The extension helps you to create affiliate links directly from your browser without having to log in Travelpayouts to get your link.
When you are on a specific page for an affiliate network you have signed up for on Travelpayouts, you can simply click on the Chrome Extension and it will generate the affiliate code. This makes it super quick to generate affiliate links when working on a blog post.
The Best Place to Add Affiliate Links Within an Article for Conversions
Nick and I spoke about the best place within an article to add affiliate links for the most clicks. Don’t forget, if they don’t click on the affiliate link, there is no chance for a conversion, which means income.
Add Links Naturally
The best place to add an affiliate link is where they would appear naturally in your next. This means they should be where you write about the product, service or brand.
- If you write an article about a trip to Turkey, then in the paragraph you write about the hotel, is where you should share the affiliate link to the hotel.
- In the article, where you write about renting the car, share the link to the car rental affiliate.
- When you write about the tour you took, this would be where you’d want to add the link to the tour affiliate.
Basically, with this method, you should add your text affiliate links where you share about the specific hotel, airline, rental car, tour, etc. With this method, the links should appear naturally, where they are most helpful to the reader.
Remember, if you want the reader to trust you and take your advice, you need to provide information based on what they searched for or found on your site. So, if you have an article about the best budget hotels in Paris, then you should only provide budget hotel suggestions and affiliate links to budget hotels.
In addition or instead, you can add a button for the hotel, tour, etc under the paragraph where you wrote about it.
If you are adding multiple affiliate links in a paragraph, make sure it’s a round-up or comparison of different hotels, tours, etc.
Tip: Try to read your article with your reader in mind. Imagine someone reading the article and think about where they would be most interested in clicking on a link to learn more. Does the link help the reader?
Nick does not recommend putting affiliate links at the top of an article. The research he has done shows it negatively impacts the conversion of affiliate clicks and income.
The Top 3 Converting Affiliate Programs on the Travelpayouts Platform
Travelpayouts has more than 100 travel brands on their affiliate network and during our chat on the podcast, Nick shares the ones that convert the best.
- Booking.com provides the largest revenue for travel bloggers on Travelpayouts.
- Get Your Guide is the second biggest converter for affiliate sales on Travelpayouts.
- Viator is third for affiliate sales on Travelpayouts.
One thing to note is that Get Your Guide converts best for tours in Europe and for a European audience. Whereas, Viator brand awareness is stronger in the United States. So, Viator tours do better for a U.S. audience as well as U.S. tours based on Travelpayouts research.
If you have been hesitant to start affiliate marketing on your website, these three brands would be a great place to start, because the odds of conversion are the best!
People Book With Brands They Know
This is a HUGE takeaway! People tend to book with the brands they know and trust. So, this means you need to know your audience preferences (Viator vs Get Your Guide, Booking.com vs Hotels.com, etc) or think about offering options in your articles until you see conversion rates. Then you will see which brands (and affiliate links) perform best on your specific blog.
Hotels.com Vs. Booking.com Affiliate Program
As of now, there are some restrictions from Hotels.com, so at Travelpayouts, they always recommend Booking.com.
Check into commission rates and current offers from both brands. At the time of this recording, Hotels.com commission was 6% and Booking.com was 4%. But, again, what really matters is what booking platform the majority of your audience prefers.
How to Create Articles For Affiliate Income
Creating articles specifically for affiliate income is different than adding affiliate links to articles.
If you are creating an article specifically to be a ‘money maker” it should have buyer intent.
4 Ps Marketing Technique
A marketing technique that Nick recommends is the rule of 4 P’s. It’s focused on; picture, promise, proof, and push. This is a great way Make Money from Affiliate Marketing
- Paint the picture of the destination, hotel, or tour.
- Promise is the quality and value of what you are promising and describing.
- Proof is where you speak to your personal experience, reviews, or accolades (best-of list, UNESCO heritage site, awards, etc).
- Push is where you can use a call-to-action phrase. This is where you can engage your reader and motivate them to buy the products you are endorsing and selling with your affiliate links.
Updating Published Articles With Affiliate Links
Not all articles need to include affiliate links or be written with affiliate links in mind. You do NOT have to go back to every article and add affiliate links. Focus on already published articles that have the most traffic and have buyer intent.
3 Things Travelpayouts Top Earners Are Doing Right Now
Nick works with many of the top bloggers who are earning the most with the Travelpayouts platform and I asked if he would share a bit of insider information. I asked if would share what the high-earning bloggers are doing right now to create the most affiliate income.
Building Traffic = Building Affiliate Income
Traffic is important. Bloggers who are successful with affiliate marketing are constantly working on increasing their traffic. This can be done by writing new posts, updating old posts, and through social media to name a few methods. Any source that can attract traffic to your site is worthwhile pursuing.
Key Tactics Used by Top Affiliate Earners
- Keep content relevant.
- Choose keywords with SEO in mind
- Use Pinterest.
- Remove outdated and irrelevant content.
- Pivot strategies based on travel trends.
As far as pivoting, and using the pandemic as an example, think about travel insurance. This is a great affiliate to promote. It’s useful for all travelers, especially now! You could write a dedicated post focus on travel insurance company, a travel insurance comparison article, or simply add travel insurance to all articles.
6 Tips for Increasing Revenue with Travelpayouts
Nick shares his top tips to make more money with affiliate marketing! Ready?
- Implement the promotional tools correctly. Check out this article for a step by step: How to place affiliate tools: links, widgets, and banners
- Work with different verticals. If you have mastered revenue with a hotel affiliate program, try it with an airline program.
- Never stop trying something new. If one affiliate program works well for you, repeat it with a new program.
- Don’t oversaturate articles with links.
- Keep trying and experimenting.
- For anyone serious about increasing affiliate income, reach out the Travelpayouts customer service team for advice or an article audit.
The Potential Income with Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers
It’s always important to have expectations and to know the reality of potential income. So, what are top earners making on Travelpayouts?
The highest earner on Travelpayouts made $50,000 in the first 6 months of 2021. The top affiliate bloggers working with Travelpayouts are making between $4,000 and $9,000 per month.
Once you understand how to monetize content, it becomes easier and easier. Once one article generates income, you can scale up to bring in more money by creating similar content.
For any listeners who may not have heard about Travelpayouts or for anyone who hasn’t signed up for it yet, can you share more about the Travelpayouts affiliate network and what makes it different than other affiliate networks?
How Long Does it Take to Start Generating Affiliate Income?
Three months is average to start seeing results from affiliate marketing.
How to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing Checklist
1) Sign up for Travelpayouts and use the promo code YEAR2022 for a bonus $25 commission on your first payout.
2) Add affiliate links in articles that have the best chance to convert to affiliate income. These are articles with “Motivated Traffic” or buyer intent.
3) Create articles specifically written for affiliate income. (Think about hotel guides, best tours in a city, etc).
4) Add links within the article where they fit naturally and where they benefit the reader most.
5) Focus on highest converting affiliate programs such as Booking.com, Get Your Guide and Viator when you get started with affiliate marketing.
6) Give your readers a choice of brand options by offering two tours to choose from (Viator and Get Your Guide) or two hotel booking sites (Booking.com and Hotels.com) for example.
7) Test different brands to find out which converts best on your website.
Bottom Line: Create intentional money maker articles based on keywords you have a chance to rank for and has buyer intent.
My 3 Favorite Travel Blogging Resources for SEO
Rank IQ – My Favorite SEO Optimization Tool for bloggers. I use it to find high-volume keywords and to optimize articles so they have the best chance to rank on page 1 of Google. Sign up for RankIQ with $50 Discount+ Access to their SEO Mastermind.
Thirsty Affiliates is a plugin that helps increase affiliate income It truly makes it easy to keep track of links and add them easily into articles. You can even set keywords to magically change into affiliate links. It’s a massive time saver and is absolutely essential for bloggers doing affiliate marketing who want to make more $$. Sign up for Thirsty Affiliates and Save $50
Thanks for checking out this article and my interview with Nick. Listen to the full podcast >> click here!
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