Thanks to wide internet and mobile access, the photo merchandising market has been growing consistently over the past years. One segment that is particularly flourishing is the printing of photo books as well as other items through various online services. Seeing that this is one heck of a niche, I thought I would show you how to make money from a blog using the Shutterfly affiliate program.
So, let’s dive in.
Who Is The Audience
A quick look at Shutterfly’s product range tells us that the customers who are likely to be interested are those who want to preserve memories with photo taking and buying personalized gifts. That’s like basically all of us, but let’s narrow it down to see what are the profiles of these individuals so that you can get a better idea;
- Family members (moms, dads, children and etc.)
- Students or school teachers
- Creative professionals
- People who are planning for their weddings
- People who want to decorate their homes
Hence, the type of blogs suitable for this audience would be related to topics like arts and crafts, digital photography, home decorating or even wedding tips. It’s pretty broad what you can talk about when it comes to recommending Shutterfly’s services online, but I think the how-to type of ideas will attract people the most here.
The Affiliate Program Highlights
Now, let’s see what are the key features of the program that can benefit you as an affiliate marketer.
1) Right off the bat, we can see that the company offers a variety of merchandise for printing photos. Besides the all-time popular photo books, customers can also choose to personalize unique items such as wine glass and candles which are seldom found on other sites. For bloggers, that means there are more ideas for product reviews.
2) In terms of quality and services, they average at about 4 out of 5 stars based on most consumer review sites so their products are definitely worth looking at. Of course, as an affiliate, you will need to add in your experience for a more personal touch.
3) At any point of the month, Shutterfly is always giving away discount codes so this is a good opportunity to promote their products based on any event on a calendar year. Think about Mother’s Day, summer holidays and Christmas; photo printing fits perfectly well during these occasions.
4) I first learned about this company through the Ellen Degeneres show and was really amazed by their generosity in giving back to the community. That’s when I started to learn more about their products and even make a few purchases myself.
To date, Shutterfly has donated close to $2 million dollars to help people from various backgrounds with their financial needs. In relation to that, I think you are also doing a little bit of good for other people’s life when you are promoting their brand online.
5) The Shutterfly platform comes with unlimited online album storage for users to organize their photos and enable them to easily retrieve images when they want to print something. The interface for uploading, importing and editing photos is also very intuitive, so most people should be able to design their artwork with ease.
6) As far as sales commission goes, you are looking between the range of 2-10%, which is considered moderately high for physical products (Amazon Prints pay only 4% flat rate). Since most of their photo books sell between $30-75 dollars, you could potentially be earning $7.50 per referral which is not too bad at all.
How to Apply for The Program
Shutterfly is part of the PepperJam affiliate network so you can either join through the network (if you already have an account) or sign up directly via their affiliate center page here where you’d find a ton of information explaining about the program in detail.
There are a few things however that I wanted to point out.
First, it is stated that you must be located in the US and have a custom website/blog that is at least 30 days old. Second, your targeted audience should ideally be women between the age of 25-49 who are interested in photo taking and printing (I mentioned about this earlier). And third, your site needs to have about 50,000+ unique visitors per month that derives from good quality traffic.
I know, that’s a huge number to swallow and you’re probably thinking, how on earth can you achieve that? Well, I’ll get to that momentarily. For the benefits of the beginners, I’ll briefly walk through the process of creating a website first so that you guys know how it is done.
How to Create a WordPress Blog
There are many ways to create a website nowadays, but when it comes to starting an affiliate business, I am a big fan of WordPress because their blogging features exceed what most platforms can’t offer. It’s very search-engine friendly, which means if you know how to set things right, you can get a lot of free traffic from the search engines.
To get started, come up with a domain name that best represents the niche that you are interested in. Think about the targeted audience that we mentioned earlier. You can choose a keyword-rich domain like DIYphotoart.com or go with a bit of branding like jesshomedecorideas.com.
Either way, it should make sense to the audience and more so, relevant to digital photo merchandising. A top-level domain (.com, .org and .net) typically cost less than $15 dollars and you want to make sure that it includes privacy protection as well.
The next step is to find a hosting company that supports WordPress and if you are using a modern high-tech one like SiteRubix, you’ll be spared from all the technical intricacies. All that’s needed is to connect the domain to a WordPress theme and in just a few simple clicks, your site will be up within a few minutes. The hosting fee is about $30/month if you decide to pay annually. And that’s basically how you can create a WordPress blog even without any experience.
How to Get Visitors to Your Blog
By that, I mean real people with search intent, not robots or automated clicks. That stuff will only hurt your site in the long run. Getting traffic can be a struggle for most people who are new to affiliate marketing, but ever since I started blogging in 2014, one method works particularly well for me and that’s going after the low hanging fruit keywords.
There are many keywords that exist within a niche and the ones that you should pay attention to are those with commercial intent (people search because they want to solve or buy something) and has the least competition, as in, not many websites rank for those terms.
By filtering and selecting these keywords, you have better chances of ranking on the first page of Google and getting more organic traffic as a result. Hence, getting 50,000 unique visitors isn’t impossible. This process, however, can take a long time because you need to constantly add good quality content, let your site mature with niche-related keywords as it gains more authority.
Of course, a faster way to get traffic is through paid traffic, but that will also require you to have a good grasp of keyword research and a lot of advertising budget. I wouldn’t recommend this route for beginners as it may cause you to waste a lot of money if you don’t know what you are doing.
So, how does one go about researching keywords that can serve this purpose? I like to start mine using Google suggest because it will show me potential targeted keywords that people are already using. Just enter a phrase and watch as other phrases roll out.
From that list, we already have 5 topic ideas to choose from. Now if you scroll all the way down on the first page, view under ‘search-related terms’ and you’ll discover even more specific keywords.
Now that you know what type of keywords are trending, the next step is to find out their level of competition. For that, I like using the Jaaxy keyword tool because it will yield results that is the closest to the organic search results. Here, we are filtering keywords based on human sense, moderate to high average monthly searches and most importantly, low competition (aka the QSR metric).
Taking an idea from above, we found out that ‘how to design a photo book’ is a very good targeted keyword to use because the average searches are more than 200 and the QSR is less than 100. Honestly, I think this particular topic has a lot of traffic and earning potential, given the state of the popularity of the industry.
Seeing that you’ve just launched your blog, I thought it would make things easier if I just give you a list of low hanging fruit keywords to kick start your content creation immediately. These are all ideas that are relevant to Shutterfly’s services and can help you rank faster on the search engines too.
Keywords (Monthly Searches/QSR)
- best quality photo book (82/21)
- fast delivery photo books (24/23)
- custom wedding photo book (316/35)
- wedding photo book online (64/18)
- wedding photo book printing (121/34)
- personalized photo storybooks (104/35)
- print photo books online (88/9)
- small photo books online (48/3)
- how much are Shutterfly photo books (16/2)
- Shutterfly photo book review (56/37)
- photobook layout templates (152/8)
And those are just keywords for photo books. We haven’t even dug into other photo merchandise yet, but if you like to know more, just plug a key phrase into the search engine below and see what Jaaxy says.
What Is Your Niche Idea for Photo Books
The internet offers countless ideas when it comes to photo book creation; you just need to pick one and go with all the creativity that you have. Shutterfly is clearly one of the key vendors to leverage from, but if you are not a fan, there are other brands that you can consider and compare their values. Most of them come with affiliate commissions too.
- Snapfish – 10% commission (via Impact Radius)
- Mixbook – 15% (via ShareASale)
- Picaboo – 10% (via PepperJam Network)
- Blurb – 15% (via ShareASale)
- Vistaprint – up to 16% (via Commission Junction)
- Parabo Press – 15% (via ShareASale)
- PrestoPhoto – $5 for every initial purchase and 5% of additional purchases
I hope that this Shutterfly affiliate program review has been insightful and you now know the basics of promoting photo books online. If you would like to learn more about the tools and techniques that I’ve mentioned, feel free to check out my recommended training platform for more details.
Have some thoughts or questions regarding this topic? Let’s hear about it in the comment section below.