Affiliate marketing is big business. Today, about 15% of all digital ad spending promotes affiliate offers. Vendors with effective affiliate programs can generate up to 30% of their sales from affiliate programs.
Affiliate marketing is a great way for aspiring entrepreneurs to hone their marketing and product-selection skills. But affiliate marketing also has unique quirks, pitfalls, challenges, and opportunities.
This guide won’t treat you like it’s your first day in the game. If you’d like to refresh yourself with more foundational advice before diving in, check out our article, 5 Tips for Brand-New Affiliates.
Those 5 tips are...
- Build good relationships
- Pick a niche
- Expect to fail (be patient and persistent)
- Create and/or share great content
- Choose the right affiliate network
If you’ve got five minutes, let’s go beyond these basics. Let's get you ready to make the leap from beginner affiliate to two-comma-club conversion god.
Research is key
Many affiliate programs are one-click simple. You can create an affiliate or reseller account in seconds. Many top affiliate offers even help you build out a distinct web and marketing presence to drive traffic and leads.
But convenience has its drawbacks. Many people sign up for affiliate programs without bothering to nail down the five basics from the “Brand-New Affiliate” article linked above. A common thread runs through all five tips, and mastering it will pay dividends in anything you do, whether affiliate-related or not:
Research your prospective niches extensively. You’ll be selling something that competes with dozens or hundreds of other “somethings,” no matter what affiliate program you join. You can’t stand out and drive leads if you don’t know how to convey your affiliate offer’s value to your audience.
Research potential affiliate programs. Look for user reviews of both the affiliate program and its offers. Make sure the product(s), commissions, payment schedules, vendor support, and so on align with your goals and your ethics. It doesn’t feel good to sell stuff for a company you can’t stand.
Research the audience targeted by those offers. Develop a buyer persona (or several) for the offer, so you can better understand your target audience’s needs, wants, hopes, fears, backgrounds, and so on.
The importance of research extends well beyond niche selection and audience targeting.
Detailed research can help you master search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. The result is sweet search traffic without paying Google for an ad spot. You can also learn how to create websites and landing pages, how to write better sales copy, how to use more effective tools... and so on.
If you can research any question you have or find any solution you need, you’ll find it much easier to scale your affiliate revenue.
Always think ahead (start with why)
Most affiliate marketing guides focus on the sausage-making process behind affiliate offer promotion. Businesses need effective processes to scale. Whether they’re running affiliate offers or making sausages, the rule applies.
Processes solve “how” problems — how to make sausages, for example. Still, if you jump into affiliate marketing without understanding your “why” problems, you’re in for failure.
Purpose is also a big thing as well. People are generally driven by a sense of purpose — it gives them an answer to the question of “why” they exist.
When you decide to promote an affiliate offer, you start your decision with “why” as well. Why does this offer exist? Why would people want it? Why do you want to work with the offer you chose, instead of thousands of others?
With answers to your “whys,” it’s much easier to address the “hows” of promoting your offer. It becomes easier to decide between using Facebook Ads Manager, or the best sales funnel design for your niche and audience.
Starting with “why” can also save you a lot of time and frustration, steering you away from offers you can’t effectively promote. If your prospective affiliate offer has minimal visibility outside of TikTok, you might think twice about promoting it. Unless you happen to be a TikTok marketing expert, of course.
Focus on affiliate offers that play to your strengths, and you’ll start several big steps ahead of the average affiliate marketer.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There’s no such thing as 5-minute mastery unless you have one of those brain plugs from The Matrix that can teach you kung fu.
But in these five minutes, you’ve begun building a mental approach to affiliate marketing that’ll set you up for success. It's far more effective than any list of advanced marketing techniques.
In five minutes, you can also start building your network and seeking out expertise in any field you might want to explore.
There are many excellent affiliate marketing groups on Facebook. You can also find huge and helpful communities for every marketing skill, platform, and system you can imagine.
Affiliate marketing is democratizing. Every affiliate has the same shot at making sales. Every affiliate has the same foundation on which to start.
Yet many affiliates fail. Why?
Most of them don’t commit to the development process. This isn’t about making websites. "Development” is the process of experimentation, learning, and growth faced by all professionals on their paths to niche recognition. Joining communities and collaborating with veteran affiliate marketers can shrink that process into something shorter than that faced by dedicated do-it-yourselfers.
If you’ve committed to affiliate marketing a specific offer, and have some capital, you have a goal. Even if you feel a bit lost for ideas, you could hire someone with experience creating affiliate offers.
Many copywriters, Facebook marketing specialists, and SEO strategists work with the affiliate marketing community. If you’ve already plugged into that community, you’re set. You should be able to get referrals to a marketing expert who knows your niche and can help you improve the ROI of your planned campaigns.
Be curious, adaptable, and open to guidance. You’ll have most of the foundation in place to become a high-earning affiliate marketer.
If you’re looking for an affiliate network that helps you make more predictable revenue more often, you might want to consider MaxWeb. We’re currently the #1 fastest-growing affiliate network, and we specialize in maximizing results for both affiliates and advertisers. No exaggeration. We focus on carrying only the best offers and provide maximum commissions—you’ll get payouts up to 3 times a week. Click here to learn more and see if MaxWeb might be a good fit for you.
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