Aviation affiliate programs enable anyone with a relevant blog or website to earn commission for products or services sold through their unique links. It sounds simple, but there’s quite a lot to it.
If you’re a pilot or have a popular blog related to aviation in any of its many forms, this could be a way to earn some extra income. There are many different types of referral programs out there, so it’s important to do your research before signing up for one.
For example, if you search online the majority of the results are for airline and flight booking programs, which are not much use if you have a General Aviation blog as you’re unlikely to send a successful referral to them unless one of your readers just happens to be in the flight booking mood. So in this post, I’ll give you an overview of what to look for in a good program for your GA site.
Disclosure: As this is a post about affiliate marketing it includes affiliate links. More on that here.
What are aviation affiliate programs and how do they work?
Just like any other type, an aviation related referral program enables connecting customers with vendors on an external website, blog, video description, or social media in exchange for a commission. Some companies that offer such services are willing to pay up to 25% or more of any purchases coming through the links, creating a unique opportunity to capitalise on aviation-related sales. Vendors benefit from using these platforms because it reduces the need for costly projects like advertising and marketing, while website owners and bloggers benefit from a passive income stream.
The affiliate program can be provided through affiliate networks (such as Affiliate Window, Shareasale, etc), or it can be provided via the vendor’s website in which they have installed an affiliate marketing program and dashboard for affiliates who register to use the platform. Either way, each of the vendor’s products has a unique link that tracks when it is clicked and registers the sale if one is made.
After a successful referral there is then a few weeks to wait before the purchase is confirmed and the affiliate program pays out via bank transfer, PayPal, or even cheques if you still use them.
The Top Five Aviation Affiliate Programs
Here are five aviation programs that you can register to use today and start listing products immediately. As you can see, each affiliate program pays a different commission percentage. This might vary from one merchant to another, depending on the product.
- Merchant: Rod Machado’s Aviation Products
- Network: Affiliatly.com
- Products: Pilot training books, e-learning, and DVDs
- Target Audience: Student pilots, private pilots, flight schools worldwide (mostly online products)
- Commission: 25%
- Registration: Register here. The page explains the program in detail.
- Merchant: Pilot HQ
- Network: goaffpro.com
- Products: Pilot supplies
- Target Audience: Student pilots, private pilots, flight schools in the USA
- Commission: 20%
- Registration: Register here.
- Merchant: Pilot Institute
- Network: teachable.com
- Products: Online learning courses for the PPL, Part 107, drones, etc. They provide some free courses to entice students to register for the paid courses, including this free ‘How To Become A Pilot‘ course.
- Target Audience: Student pilots, private pilots, drone pilots worldwide (online products)
- Commission: 15%
- Registration: Register here.
- Merchant: Fly8Ma
- Network: Self-hosted
- Products: Online learning courses for the private pilot, Part 107, drones, etc
- Target Audience: Student Pilots, Pilots worldwide (online products). They also offer several free courses including a free PPL Ground School course.
- Commission: 10-20%
- Registration: Register here.
- Merchant: Amazon
- Network: Amazon Associates
- Products: Thousands, both aviation specific and general accessories
- Commission: 4+%
- Registration: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/ or https://affiliate-program.amazon.co.uk/
- Comments: The easiest option of you have no other specific merchant but their commission rates are low. There are third party plugins that you can use to populate your site with products and to generate links.
It’s not unusual for a vendor’s site to install a 30 day cookie in the visitor’s browser. This means that even if the visitor who clicked on your link didn’t purchase immediately you will still earn the commission if they return and purchase within the 30 day cookie period.
What’s the secret of successful affiliate marketing?
To be a successful affiliate marketer you need plenty of traffic, but not just any kind of traffic – you need website visitors who have buyer intent i.e. they have done their research and are ready to buy.
For example, they may search for specific products by name or they may search for the best of a selection products before making their final choice. If your site ranks well for these terms and they click on your site links, the results they see on that page may be sufficient to persuade them to click through and make a purchase.
There are many courses available that teach affiliate marketing and some of them are very instructive but if you’re an aviation blogger or the owner of any kind of website that is focused on the aviation niche then you probably don’t want to spend time on a course. You probably just want to know how to monetize your blog or website for the audience it already attracts.
Having said that, there are lots of things you can do to improve the SEO of your site and to attract visitors with buyer intent rather than casual browsers or any other kind of visitor, but that will have to wait for another article.
Why become an aviation affiliate?
Becoming an aviation affiliate can be a financially rewarding task that carries zero risk. Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your website without having to be overly intrusive. With affiliate marketing, the website can remain aesthetically pleasing while still bringing in financial gain. Unlike other advertising methods, users don’t have to worry about invasive pop-up ads or banner advertising that can detract from their website or even draw negative attention from visitors (although some affiliates do use these methods_.
Instead, an advertiser only has to select carefully chosen and relevant partners that partner with a company in exchange for a percentage of any sales generated through the link. This makes it easier for the website owner to keep track of all networked links, as well as allows them to increase their income over time with minimal effort required on the part of the website owner.
Furthermore, compared to other ways of monetizing a website or blog, such as selling merchandise directly or services, affiliates are relatively low-risk and require little overhead. All in all, affiliate marketing offers many advantages over other types of monetizing methods and is worth exploring if you want more income streams without compromising your existing design.
How to find the best affiliate program for your site
If you’re a General Aviation blogger whose subscribers are mainly GA pilots then there’s not much point in joining an airline affiliate program. Similarly, if you’re a travel blogger whose subscribers are mostly other travellers or would-be nomads, then an aviation affiliate program for pilot headsets is not ideal.
The best programs for your website will depend on your knowledge of your website’s audience. For example, where are they based (in geographic terms)? What is the average age? Are they mostly men or women? If you have never done any kind of analysis then you’ll just have to make an educated guess and choose the best fit from those available. If you want any help with this kind of analysis, let me know as there are some simple tools available that will reveal much about the demographics of your website visitors.
The benefits of being an aviation affiliate
Aside from the obvious financial rewards, the benefits of being an aviation affiliate include performance bonuses and increased commission percentages for top performers.
If your website performs well and consistently over time, the merchant will notice and may approach you with a view to closer collaboration. This could include offers of specific products for review and new products for evaluation and testing. The merchant may ask you if you would be prepared to create an ‘unboxing’ video i.e. a video of yourself unpacking the product, revealing it and every accessory, assembling it, testing it, and giving your honest review.
Such videos can result in a free copy of the product for yourself and the additional potential of earning from affiliate links beneath the video. As one of the first to review a new product, this method can put you in a strong position for commissions earned over time, provided that you optimise your video for searches.
How to make money with an affiliate program
There’s no limit to the amount of money to be made when it comes to affiliate marketing, but as with most things in life, it’s proportionate to the volumes and only a small percentatage of affiliates do very well out of it. Most will either make a few sales here and there and some none at all because they underestimate the amount of website traffic required and/or their content attracts the wrong type of traffic, but when you do make a sale it spurs you on to try harder. There’s a great buzz to be had from a bonus of some commission from a seed you planted some time ago.
With the right planning, knowledge, and commitment you can earn a significant amount and the big advantage of affiliate marketing is that it is low risk and passive, once it’s set up. By that I mean it can earn you money while you’re doing other things. You will still need to feed and nurture your blog to maintain its rankings in the search engines and to increase them if possible, but this should happen as a matter of business as usual if you’re a blogger.
Research businesses that connected to General Aviation in some way. Pilot supplies are one of the most obvious choices but there are other ancillary services.Then investigate the different products and services they provide and try to come up with creative ideas for promotion.
Pilot watches and gifts are an option. The merchants don’t need to be aviation related if they sell products that an aviator would use. Take sunglasses for example – used my people from all walks of life and an essential accessory for pilots, and there are plenty of merchants to whom you can apply to be an affiliate.
If you’re looking for a new and exciting way to make money online, affiliate marketing may be just what you’re looking for, but results can vary depending on the product and your site’s traffic volumes. These programs are a great way to learn about General Aviaton products and services while earning commission on sales you generate. By finding the best program for your interests and abilities, and by taking advantage of the many benefits offered to affiliates, you can start generating income from sales that involve zero risk to you and which can occur while you’re busy doing other things.
- Choose an affiliate program that’s relevant to your audience
- Be transparent and add a disclosure notice about any affiliate or referral program you use
- Check your referral program dashboard for statistics and capitalise on what works
- Experiment with different types of affiliate program in various affiliate networks