Affiliate marketing is not like other professions or businesses out there. While some might require years of education or a huge amount of money upfront, affiliate marketing is relatively easy in the grand scheme of things. The main thing you really need is the desire to be an affiliate marketer, a bit of web know-how, and you can start an online business.
That said, not everyone who sets out to become an affiliate marketer actually succeeds. In fact, most don’t. Luckily, we’ve put together a few tips that can help you along so that you can make some or all of your income from affiliate sales. This is a handy guide for those who are new to affiliate marketing, but also a great refresher if you’ve been in the business for a while now.
Don’t Just Sell
One of the biggest mistakes an affiliate marketer can make is to focus on one thing and one thing only: sales. This might seem a little counterintuitive—after all, you make your money from affiliate link clicks and sales. Selling is naturally the big goal here.
Yes, this is true, but in general people don’t want to be sold to. They enjoy the journey, they enjoy discovery. They like to be presented with something and then decide that they need it rather than have someone tell them “You need this.” By selling, selling, selling all the time on your site, people are going to stop listening to what you have to say. They’ll search elsewhere for content that makes them feel more engaged and less like they’re being pushed into a corner to buy something.
If you truly want to generate trust in your audience, then give them more than just a sales pitch. Share valuable articles with them, give them how-to’s, and inspire them. They’ll come to you for more than the products and services you recommend, but they’ll also be much more likely to purchase those items as well.
So, WHEN is it ok to actively sell? You must follow the CTPM process if you truly wish to succeed and you can learn all about that here.
Focus On A Section Of The Market
Niche marketing is a way of finding a smaller section of the market and providing the products and services for that defined audience. For example, the subject of cars is broad and could be considered vague. What age of car, what type of car, what brand of car? But if you have a site for people who have bought electric cars in the past four years, you’ll narrow your focus down.
Many people believe that this makes your audience smaller, and in many ways this is true. But it’s a much more effective way to sell because suddenly your readers will feel like you’re hand-picking products and services for them. Since you know much more about their interests and what they want, you can provide more detailed things for them. While overall the number of people you serve might be less, it will be an incredibly engaged and fulfilled audience!
Becoming an affiliate marketer is more than just throwing some links up on a site and waiting to see what happens with them. If you truly want to have an edge in the industry, then you need to constantly assess and reassess your strategy.
Make unique links for all of the products and services you promote. This way you can determine what the highest and lowest performing ones are. With this information, you can then determine where a lot of your sales come from and how you can better utilize those affiliate networks.
Additionally, you’ll see where you’re wasting your energy. If your audience consistently fails to have interest in a certain type of product or a brand, then you can figure out a game plan from there. Tracking links help you to go above and beyond in your work and maximize sales in the future.
Disclose Affiliate Links
As I mentioned, people don’t particularly enjoy the feeling of being sold to. However, it’s important to always disclose that you’re sharing affiliate links. The FTC, or Federal Trade Commission, requires online businesses to do this to participate in fair trade. Think about it: if you had two friends recommend a type of hair dryer to you, but you then found out one person gets a small kickback for every sale, you’d likely feel differently about them. It doesn’t mean you wouldn’t still be interested, it simply means you might have a slightly different viewpoint.
You won’t face fines for not disclosing links, but you’ll likely have to give up any income you made from affiliate sales. It’s not worth the trouble—always disclose your affiliate links.
Remember That Your Actions Today Will Affect You In The Future
At first glance, affiliate marketing might seem like a “get rich quick” scheme. The reason is that many resources out there are trying to make money off of people who dream of striking it rich—so they make affiliate marketing seem lucrative and incredibly easy.
While the business can be lucrative, easy is definitely not a good way to describe what I do. It requires a lot of dedication and time, and at first it won’t feel like those things are paying off. The blog posts, the social media promotion, the hustling for email sign-ups—it’s not going to make you the big bucks in your first couple months necessarily.
You need to think in terms of the long game. The effort you put into your work right now has the potential to pay off, but it’s an investment of you, your time, and your energy. So when you’re feeling a little exhausted and like affiliate marketing isn’t worth what you’re putting into it, keep in mind that it has long-term potential.