Affiliate marketing is a way to earn income by promoting other people’s products or services. It works on a commission based referral system. You earn commissions whenever there is a sale or a positive lead based on your referral through your affiliate link or banner.
Affiliate marketing is a business you can start and operate from home. All you need is a computer and Internet connection to start this business with little or no start-up costs. You refer leads or sales to the business of your choice that you sign up with and get paid a commission for each sale or lead.
A lot of people join affiliate programs with no experience hoping to make lots of money. There is money in affiliate marketing if you take the right steps, including carefully selecting your target market, choosing the right products or services, willing to learn online marketing, your experience, your site traffic, your commitment, and other factors.
Do you want to succeed as an affiliate marketer? If so, pay close attention to the following tips:
1. Decide On Your Niche
The target market or niche you choose is very important to your success. Focus and spend your time on one particular niche in the beginning rather than trying to sell everything to everybody.
You need to concentrate on one specific niche and stick to one specific line of products. Later on as you gain experience and some success with your existing products, then you would be in a position to expand to other markets and expand your business.
A common mistake people make who are new to affiliate marketing is to target broad common products or services readily available, making it nearly impossible to generate enough targeted traffic.
Your goal should be to become a trusted source of information in order to achieve long-term success. If you plan to have several blogs or websites in random niches with low domain authority, you will generate next to nothing in sales and pave your way to a failure. That’s one of the main reasons many affiliates struggle and give up too soon. If you lose focus and are unable to manage your affiliate marketing strategy, you cannot generate sustainable traffic and unable to compete.
You cannot make money with affiliate marketing if you are unable to generate traffic to your blog or website. Marketing on the Internet is highly competitive, but some competition is good for your business. It proves that there’s demand on your niche and you can learn from your competitors. However, you have to become a consumer of their products or services, read their content, and pay close attention to how they promote, and their channels of marketing.
2. Research Your Topic
If you try to promote a product or service that is in low demand, then you are not going to get many sales disregarding of your marketing efforts. You also don’t want to pick a topic or product that is dominated by large group of professional affiliate marketers. Such topics include credit cards, medical, law, insurance, mortgages, and so on due to fierce competition.
Spend time researching to find out there is a demand for the topic you have in mind, but the competition is not too high. For example, weight loss is a very popular topic, but is too broad. Use Google search to find out the volume for your chosen topic. You want to discover how many people are searching for that topic. Use different keywords and come up with more specific to find a topic with fewer than 10,000 results.
3. What to Promote?
There are thousands of products and services available, but in order to promote it effectively and profitably as an affiliate marketer, consider the following:
The products or services you plan to promote should be relevant to the topic of your website or blog. Everything should be designed and work together for your target market.
If the topic of your site is about promoting certain digital product such as digital recorder directed to students, you may add other digital electronics. However, you cannot successfully promote totally different products such as fishing rods and reels on the same site. In fact, you may even lower your ranking with search engines and even turn off some of your visitors.
5. Create a Website or Blog
The one secret to success with affiliate programs is to build a content-rich website or blog with valuable information for your target market. You should write about the specific topic you have chosen. Your articles must be original written by you or by someone you hire. Search engines track duplicate content and penalize sites with duplicate content and may even remove these sites from their index. As a result, your site will ranks very low in search engine results or doesn’t even appear.
You can design your blog or website using platforms such as WordPress, or hire someone to design it for you. Aim for being a good online marketer because that’s where you make your profit, and let technical people do the technical parts saving your time to spend your energy on marketing and advertising.
6. Mobile Friendly
Make sure your site is mobile-friendly, otherwise you’ll be losing over 50 percent of your audience. A lot of people use smartphones and tablets for their online searches. Google has already launched a mobile-friendliness checker and can determine whether a page is mobile-friendly or not in search results, so don’t be left behind. In addition, make sure that your page loads fast for both your visitors and search engines.
7. Choose the Right Affiliate
Hundreds of thousands websites offer an affiliate program. You can use keywords related to your niche to visit the sites to find out whether their products or services sound promising for you to promote.
When you promote a product or a service, you are also promoting a company behind it. You don’t want your visitors to purchase a product or sign up for a service you recommend and then become unhappy and disappointed. This can hurt your credibility in the long term.
You want the product or service and the company behind it to be the best for your audience. Keep the following in mind when selecting a company and company’s products:
If you have a large website with plenty of pages, you probably have adequate space to select three or four merchants without overcrowding your readers with offers. However, you have to make sure that you’re able to manage everything effectively. Start slow and don’t overload yourself.
When you choose to promote a merchant’s products or services, you are not an employee. You can stop promoting any time you decide. You can select a merchant directly, or check out affiliate services available like Commission Junction, ShareaSale, LinkShare, Clickbank, Amazon Associates, etc. Make sure to research and choose your affiliate programs wisely.
8. Choose the Right Product
The product you choose should be relevant to the topic of your website or blog, and add value to your site in terms of readership. It should also be a product that you can honestly recommend to your readers either through reviews by comparing similar product, through your articles, or by displaying banners provided by merchant. In addition, it should have the potential to increase your site’s revenue.
You need to know your audience and provide the right products or services at the right price. Avoid promoting too many products with too many different affiliate programs when you start your affiliate marketing. All you need is a few good products to promote. Remember that promoting wrong products or services, or anything unrelated to the main theme of your site will ultimately lead to your failure in affiliate marketing.
9. Be Honest
Affiliate marketing is all about trust. Never recommend something you wouldn’t buy yourself because you will lose your credibility with your audience. Every product has pros and cons. You must let your readers know everything about it to avoid disappointment, show that you know what you’re promoting, and build your credibility.
How can you become an expert about what you are promoting? Become the consumer first. Buy the product and examine it carefully. Let’s say you want to promote a digital recorder. Here is the best way to promote it:
If the product is very expensive that you cannot afford to purchase, then read and research everything you possibly can in order to provide honest recommendation. If you put your readers first, build your credibility with your audience, and prove your expertise, then you’ll find out your personal recommendation works better than any ads your merchant provides you to put on your site. You will find out that nothing works better than your personal recommendation in the form of an article, review, or video.
Affiliate marketing is about building relationship with your audience. Any relationship that’s not built on trust will eventually fail. That’s one of the main reasons why many affiliate marketers fail within a short period and complain why they can’t make any money or only survival money to sustain their businesses.
If you put banners or articles that merchant provides to every affiliate, then what’s the difference between you and other affiliates trying to sell the same item with the same ads or articles. If you want to be super affiliate, then you have to be different.
10. Create Original Content
Articles are much more effective than banners to sell anything online. Articles loaded with useful information that your readers find relevant and engaging is what attract your audience to your site, establishes your site as an authority, and helps your audience to feel comfortable taking action on your affiliate links.
Your goal for your target market is to have anywhere from five to ten articles on specific products or services in the form of information articles, reviews, and videos.
By giving your visitors valuable information prepares them to make informed purchasing decisions, and establish you as a source they will value, return to more often, and share with their network friends. This strategy is much more effective than overcrowding your site or blog with too many banners making your site slow to load, difficult to navigate, and shows your site as a flea market with one purpose to only sell something.
Remember that Google can easily locate duplicate content whether the content is on your site or other sites. If Google locate an article or even a paragraph that is identical to the content on other website or blog, your site will be penalized in the search results ranking. Always make sure your articles are original whether you create it yourself or hire someone to create it for you.
11. Optimize Your Website or Blog
You have created collection of articles, but you’ll need traffic to your website or blog. The essential component to a successful and profitable content marketing is to utilize search engine optimization (SEO) to attract organic (free) traffic. Implementing SEO techniques will help your content to come up in search engine results page and for your ranking. Without SEO, you will miss a lot of free traffic.
Try to gain as much knowledge about SEO even if you plan to hire someone to do it for you. To become very successful as an affiliate marketer, you’ll need to learn copywriting, SEO, online marketing, and pay-per-click advertising. However, due to high cost of advertising, pay-per-click advertising should be used as your last option and used only for expensive items or something unique with high demand.
Your best option should be SEO, building backlinks to your pages, email marketing, content marketing, and promoting your content via social channels. However, pay-per-click works if you become an expert and learn how to use it effectively.
12. Update Your Content
Work on increasing traffic to your blog or website by creating content on a regular basis. Search engines always look for sites with new or changing content. Updating and adding new content is also good for your visitors.
For your blog, try to add new content at least once a week. If you have a website, add or change some content at least once a month for your visitors and search engines to see fresh and up-to-date content. If you fail to change anything, search engines will not visit your site as often and your ranking will suffer. The same is true with your visitors.
13. Write Reviews
If you want to be seen as an expert in your field, make sure to do thorough research when writing reviews. Your readers will trust your opinion more if you can come up with facts and figures and prove that you have done your research. By writing good reviews about a product you’re promoting, your audience is more likely to buy from you than one of your competitors.
By writing reviews, you can educate your readers on tough buying decisions. You don’t have to include links on all of your articles, but if you’re recommending certain product be sure to add an affiliate link to redirect readers to your merchant.
Writing reviews is one of the best affiliate marketing strategies. You will be talking about the benefits and features of your specific product on just one page to give your readers more insight on the product. You will need to mention both pros and cons of the product you’re reviewing.
Another way to reviews products is to compare your product with competitors in order to convince and educate your readers into buying the product you’re promoting. You may want to use stars to show the quality of the product you are reviewing.
You can easily research for other products similar to yours. By comparing three or four other similar products, not only you help your readers make a choice, but you could include your affiliate links for all the products you’re comparing. Be sure to track your page to see which product converting the best and move that product to the top of the page for better click-through rate.
15. Your Legal Obligations
Whenever you sign up with new merchant or network, be sure to read their policy. One policy is to avoid spam in your email marketing. Never send emails without permission and always have “unsubscribe” link on every email you send out.
You can talk about the benefits of the product. But never make false claims. Making inaccurate, false claim or exaggerating will ruin your credibility. Not only you need to comply with affiliate program policies, but you should also comply with FTC regulations.
16. Avoid Hard Selling
The key to success in affiliate marketing is to educate and inform through reviews, comparison, articles, audio and video. You want to present yourself as an authority, and not as a salesperson.
The best way to sell as an affiliate marketer is to recommend by giving detailed facts and figures. Always present yourself as a knowledgeable, trustworthy third party reviewer if you want to build credibility. Never trick or force anyone to click on the ad.
Make sure to always help readers making a wise decision. Selling is the job of the sales page on the merchant’s site your affiliate links lead the reader to. When you talk like an unbiased reviewer rather than a high-pressure salesperson, people come back for more advice on other products and you make more sales.
17. Use of Banners
Most merchants provide affiliates with different sizes of banners. Try different size, color, and placement on your blog or website. Test and track results to see what works best for you.
18. Content Marketing
You can promote affiliate marketing using content marketing. Choose a topic relevant to the theme of your blog or website and write an e-book or create a short instructional video on the topic.
For example, if you promote fly fishing rods and reels, your e-book or video might be about how to catch more trout, or best fly casting techniques, and so on. You can give your e-book or video for free as a bonus after completion of sale. Include affiliate links within your e-book to promote other related products.
You can also offer to provide article as a guest on other blogs or websites that accept guest posting to promote your products. Try to use the right keywords and key phrases in your articles.
19. Use Forums
Search to locate online communities, including forums, blogs, and chat rooms. Post as often as your time permits to build a good reputation as an expert in your area. Once community members begin to recognize and respect your judgment, include affiliate links in your posts. Before posting comments, follow these rules:
20. Use Several Traffic Generating Sources
In order to make money as an affiliate marketer you will need targeted traffic.
To succeed in affiliate marketing it is essential that you gain knowledge in SEO, online marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and copywriting. Self-education is an important part of successful affiliate marketing.
21. Testing an tracking
Testing and tracking makes you a better marketer as opposed to working blindly. When you make a sale, you want to know where the sale came from and what was responsible for the sale.
You want to test titles of your articles, placement of banners on your page, etc. Some positions and size of banners will make the ads more noticeable than others.
Split testing lets you discover what is working and what is not. Try to test and track your results at least monthly. There is a lot of software you can use to track your affiliate campaign. The most popular one is free Google Analytics.
22. Be Patient
Affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick scheme. It is a business. If you desire to be successful you must treat it like a business. It will take time to make money from affiliate marketing. You have to create content, build your audience, and generate traffic to your blog or website.
You will need to implement online marketing strategies and never lose focus. Traffic building takes time, effort, and patience. There are affiliate marketers making five and even six figure income. You can also be one if you want and determined to be.
23. Start Your Own Affiliate Marketing
If you gain experience and learn online marketing as an affiliate marketer, you’ll be in perfect position to create your own products and have others promote your products. You can have hundreds or even thousands of affiliate marketers promoting your products.
Internet is information based medium, and the best if not the easiest products to create is information products in the form of books, manuals, courses, videos, software, etc.
You can create DVDs showing others how to use certain computer program, playing musical instruments, playing better golf, learning how to swim, and so on. If you’re good with computer programing, you can create software in about any field. The market is always open for new, user-friendly software. The market for information product is enormous. Good luck.
By John Stanford – 2019
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