How to Make Money by Recommending Products You Like/Use

The following is a guest post from FMF at Free Money Finance.

Here’s the story of how I went from earning no affiliate sales to generating thousands of dollars in sales every month.

When I started Free Money Finance, I decided that I would only recommend products and services that I was familiar with and/or use myself. I established this policy because I didn’t want people to think I was saying I liked something just so they would buy it and I could make a few extra bucks. As the blog grew in popularity, this philosophy served me well as readers learned they could trust me and that I would never intentionally lead them astray – especially just in an effort to make money for myself.

However, as you might imagine, this philosophy severely limited my blog’s earning potential. For the longest time, I ran Adsense and nothing else. Then I wised-up a bit and realized that there was a way that I and my readers could both benefit from affiliate sales on my site. So I took the following steps that ultimately helped my income to skyrocket.

Step 1 – Make a list

As the writer of a money blog, I brainstormed and listed the various money-related products that I use and like. The list included Vanguard for investments, Quicken for financial tracking, various books that had made a difference in my personal money management, and a couple credit cards I was using to maximize my cash back rewards.

Step 2 – Supplement the list

I supplemented this list with products that my readers said they liked and recommended. Examples of these included budgeting solutions from Mvelopes and You Need a Budget.

Step 3 – Find matching affiliate programs

With the list in hand, I went on the hunt to find affiliate programs offered by these businesses. Ultimately, I was able to track down an affiliate program for each of my options except for Vanguard (I did find one for E*Trade and I use them, but I really can’t recommend them fully like I can Vanguard.)

I took a duel approach in offering the programs to my readers – I put ads on my site and I also talked about the products, how I used them, what others said about them, etc. in posts. I even took comments from readers who had their own successes with the products and posted them as endorsements of the products. Here are a few examples:

The results? No contest – the post-related mentions performed much better. In many cases, the ads didn’t have any conversions at all while the in-post links generated hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in sales per month.

What was the difference? I could honestly recommend the products, so my passion came through in the posts. Furthermore, I had tangible examples to share with readers – how to best use each item to get the most from them. In short, my enthusiasm, knowledge and personal recommendations helped to sell the products. Sales soared and hundreds, if not thousands, of readers got products that can help them to improve their personal finances. It was a win for us all!

So, what items/programs/services do you use and like? Make a list, search out affiliate programs for them, and get to writing. Your fortune could be waiting.


36 thoughts on “How to Make Money by Recommending Products You Like/Use”

  1. Enkay Blog says:

    Great Post here! First comment after a long time!

  2. Good stuff. I will use this information in the coming months.

  3. James says:

    I agree. The best products to recommend are products that you use and like yourself. Recommending products that you have not tried yourself can lead to readers not trusting you.

    1. Flimjo says:

      Yep. Readers can basically tell whether you’ve used the product or not. It’s like writing a review about a book that you’ve never read. It won’t translate into sales, no matter how hard you try to feign it.

    2. John Chow probably recommends the Beach Bum’s program because he uses it himself.

    3. Cronus says:

      It is very obvious to tell. If you can read a post, and then find all that info just on the outside page of the product they are promoting, don’t buy it. Your just buying an advertisement that way.

  4. car345.com says:

    I just heard Brain Cambell made $10,000 on facebook less than 37 days and he is giving all to you.

    If you get $10,000 on Jun08 from Brain, that would be another example getting paid by mentioning someones plan and project.

  5. Thanks for good article, really gives you something to start with! 😉

  6. Flimjo says:

    Generating sales from anything requires some sort of connection to the product. You’re right that, by knowing it, you can exude a certain level of passion that translates into its own sales pitch. This is the golden rule of selling that a lot of people miss.

    1. MoneyNing says:

      I believe you’ve hit the keyword…. passion!!

  7. Bash Bosh says:

    Great article about making money!
    Thank you very much for sharing this with us John!

  8. Affiliate17 says:

    great post John! Really informational and helpful

  9. Thiago Prado says:

    I appreciate very much when someone give me advice that makes me save money and sometimes make money as well. very good article.

  10. Tom says:

    I’ve been on somewhat of an email list ‘cull’ lately. Why? Because I have ceased to buy into the ‘credibility’ of the people who write them. I’ve become sick of hearing about a new product launch 10 times from 10 different people, all hopping on the bandwagon in the hope that I’ll waste my money through their affiliate link. So with that in mind, I don’t see how I could morally justify adopting the same approach to my list. I genuinely believe that you can now earn more money in the long-run by being honest and trustworthy and not actually appearing to sell anything. My favourite email newsletters, the ones I actually miss if they don’t arrive, are exactly like this.

    Good post.

    1. Tony M. says:

      Well, you will still need to “pitch” something to your list one day or the other, because if you don’t tell, it won’t sell 🙂

  11. MoneyNing says:

    If you truly use the product and can stand behind it, your confidence will shine through the post which is the best sales pitch you can ever do. FMF is great 🙂 I enjoy their articles greatly!

    1. Jorge says:

      That’s really true. 🙂

  12. Cronus says:

    I am taking this same approach, but once you run out of products, your best bet is to find some new ones, and let people know how they work. If it’s bad, tell them, don’t just say everything is good for the sake of sales.

  13. Noobpreneur says:

    Hi John,

    I totally agree with you – I can’t find a word or two about a product that I’m going to recommend in my blog, unless I use it personally.

    Cheers!

  14. Linda says:

    Very good points. I see so many blogs that feature ‘reviews’ for products that sounds like an advertisement than an actual review. Readers can definitely tell whether you’ve used something.

  15. If you know your material because you use it and are passionate about it, you are bound to win.

  16. Terry Tay says:

    It is a lot easier to sell something you know a lot about and like as opposed to something you have no clue about and might not even like. Promoting products you already use and like is a great idea.
    ~Terry

  17. Cronus says:

    Even promoting products that don’t benefit you is a good idea. As long as they work for your readers, you will win in the long run.

    1. Sha says:

      Agreed because not everyone is going to like what you like.

  18. Joe Ngo says:

    You provide some very very good points here. I’ve actually been trying this recently… well finding the programs that I want to promote anyway. Hopefully this puts me on the right path!

  19. That one of your best advise thus far.

  20. Asela says:

    Interesting post…

  21. I totally agree – if you like something and use it yourself it is a lot easier to recommend it to other people. People can see through you if recommend something that you really are not into…

  22. Mats says:

    The trick is to be like a salesmen, act like you like it 🙂 easier to recommend! 😈

  23. Thiago Prado says:

    If you had used the product before it’s very easy to talk about it. And if it’s good more often than never that other people is gonna like it as well.

  24. I was just contemplating a post along very similar lines. You pretty much explained what my suggestion was going to be in order to overcome the issue of running out of programs. That is, ANY time I use a new product or service for my online business or even as an end-user, I check if there is an associated affiliate program.

    You don’t just limit yourself to products/services you use as as Internet Marketer, you also look at products you use as an end user. For example, I bought a new TV from an online electronics store. I had a good experience. They have an affiliate program. I will certainly mention them on my blog.

  25. Julius Orias says:

    Great stuff, I make money also recommending products especially the one trusted. check out the what product I have here, thanks…

  26. Syed Balkhi says:

    Yeah that is one of the ways I have done it. I have been with a certain advertising companies to make my online revenue, and I recommend them with my referral links…

  27. Luis says:

    My opinion is that you don’t need to actually use the product to promote it well, but you should read its advantages and disadvantages and include them in an honest opinion to your readers.

    Everyday you see celebrities promoting products that are a crap as being wonderful and people still buy it. As I don’t think you should do that (even if your a celebrity), good marketing is always effective.

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