Affiliate marketing has become a controversial topic over the years. On the one hand, there are some who urge you to stay as far away from it as possible. On the other hand, there are those who swear by affiliate marketing and insist that it’s the best way to earn money online.
The first group will tell you that affiliate marketing is a dead business model. There’s too much competition, there’s no way for you to break through, it’s impossible to get sales as an affiliate. End of discussion.
The stats, however, point in the opposite direction. Worth over $12 billion, affiliate marketing is a huge business.
Not only is it not dead, but it is also booming. Global affiliate marketing spending is growing at an annual rate of 27%. With all that cash flow, why are there people who claim affiliate marketing is dead?
Truth be told:
While there’s plenty of money to be made as an affiliate, most affiliates don’t make it big. The naysayers are usually former affiliates who have failed to attract customers. They see the successful affiliates and think they have succeeded only because they were there first.
How do you succeed as a new affiliate, then, if it’s at all possible?
Admittedly, there is no straightforward formula that ensures success. However, we can point out some common pitfalls of new affiliates and give you a few guidelines to move in the right direction.
Most affiliates think users are just looking for someone to tell them what to buy. Now, when was the last time you went online looking for affiliate links? Probably never.
This much is true:
There are users with different degrees of willingness to purchase. Some proportion of those users are a transitional stage of buy, and all they need is a good review of the product.
There’s great earning potential in getting the attention of these people. Most of your audience won’t be this eager.
The vast majority are just surfing the web, looking at random pieces of content. Even if you advertise the perfect product they’d be so lucky to have, they won’t purchase it just because you told them to.
Not at first, that is.
As we’ve said, users don’t come to your website, podcast, or YouTube channel to browse affiliate links. They want to see what kind of content you have, and you need to provide them with value before you can expect anything in return.
So, you should do your market research to find out what type of content your target audience would enjoy. Providing such content will not only builds a positive reputation but also makes the users come back for more content. Once they have confidence in your expert opinion, they’ll be much more likely to purchase the products you advertise.
Pick a Niche You Are Familiar With
High affiliate commissions mean nothing if you can’t attract a single buyer.
This looks so obvious, and yet thousands of new affiliates start out in a high commission niche they know nothing about and have no interest in.
Picking a niche of not your expertise will only result in dull, unenthusiastic, and unimaginative content.
Instead, you should create content about something you know about. Affiliate Marketing is so big that you can advertise just about any product. Learning about the niche will be much easier, and it will show in your content. Expert’s content is always the best sold!
You need to appear as an authority in your field. Obviously, picking a niche you’re familiar with and creating quality content plays a part here. Still, this is not nearly enough.
You need to promote yourself and build your online presence. An effective way to do this is to reach out to other influencers in your niche and try to cooperate with them. A user might not know who you are, but if your guest post was featured on a blog they like, you’ll already have some credibility in their eyes.
If you have a website or a blog, doing SEO goes a long way. If you can squeeze your website into those top search results, your affiliate business will get an incredible boost. Also, don’t forget about email marketing and building a social media presence. These are both effective ways to keep users coming back once you’ve got them hooked. And as we’ve already established, loyal users are much more likely to convert.
Promote Yourself Before You Promote the Product
We’ve already mentioned building a reputation as an affiliate. If you put all your efforts into promoting a product right away, you’ll likely have little success. Even if users visit your site, a big proportion of them would not want to buy as all they see is pure business and no personal touch.
The bottom line here is, a big portion of web audience across the industries prefer emotional content with a personal touch.
Patience Pays Off
Whatever you do, don’t think you’ll get rich overnight. Too many new affiliates give up if they don’t start making thousands in their first couple of months.
In reality, your earnings will be modest in the beginning. Just because you didn’t get rich in your first year as an affiliate doesn’t mean you’ve failed. As long as your business is gaining momentum, you’re on the right track.
There are those who would have you believe otherwise, of course. You’ve probably come across quite a few ads promising to make you tens of thousands of dollars in a matter of days.
It is highly unlikely anyone has a strategy that good. You have to start somewhere, and that means earning a little before you can earn a lot.
Still, don’t let that discourage you. Everyone – including the most successful affiliates – started small and took years before they could develop their business plan. Even if you don’t succeed right away, hang in there. As long as you work hard and put thought into your strategy, you’ll get to where you want to be in the end.