High level of competition: Affiliate marketing has become the most popular online marketing system due to its profit margins. This has attracted entrepreneurs to create many new such businesses online. Because of this, there is great competition as everyone fights to get the attention of consumers. This has made it difficult for new businesses to grow.
Paid advertising is NOT something I recommend for those who are just getting started. With that said, it’s good to have a basic understanding of what is known as PPC or Pay-Per-Click website traffic. In short, you can use services like Google Adwords or Facebook Ads to drive traffic to your site. You pay per website visitor, but you can make a lot of money doing this. Say it costs you $1 to send a visitor to your site, but each visitor on average earns you $2 in affiliate commissions. You, my friend, have a money machine on your hands.
I think the most important thing to decide when you are just starting building your affiliate business from home is figuring out your niche. We all have special knowledge that can be shared with the world. Whether you can offer great parenting advice, explain to people how to rebuild a carb, or love watching sci-fi movies, no matter your interest, you have an expertise. Figuring out how that expertise applies to a market niche will not only give your brand authority and help you sell related products, but you’ll enjoy what you do every single day. I have a range of affiliate websites that delve into my different interests and expertise areas, so I’m always excited to get to work and share my knowledge with my audience.
You may also want to check out 9 Best Content Marketing Training, Courses and Certifications; Best Instagram Marketing Training and Courses and Best Courses on Coursera. In addition to that, you will find 7 Best EMail Marketing Courses really useful and the 8 Best Shopify Marketing Courses will help Increase Sales and Profits. All the training programs mentioned above are so affordable, they are nearly free affiliate marketing training.
All of the above info is for those of you who want to learn affiliate marketing for free. As you can see, there is a lot of free help for you if you plan on doing all of this yourself. However, I also know that some of you do have some funding available and you want to create a bit of a shortcut to success. The only way to do that is to outsource right now.
I eventually learned the best model (for me) was to copy what Yoast did… charge a flat free for SEO Audits. People were always super happy with my audits. I still have my SEO audit templates (one for local SEO, national SEO, etc). Sometimes it would only take me 4 hours to write an audit and I would get $750, sometimes more if they wanted a more thorough audit. Maybe I undercharged?
Amazing and thorough breakdown of how it all works! Thank you so much for sharing! a group of 3 friends myself + 2 are about to start affiliate marketing together. Since many advertising rules have changed with affiliate marketing (facebook ads etc.) and many articles have not been updated since, weʻd love any advice or suggestions you have for 2018!
On-site Analytics (preferably Google Analytics) – It’s free and can be easily integrated with WordPress and other website platforms. Google Analytics lets you see bounce rates, sources of traffic, keywords used to land your site, and a whole lot more. You can use this information in developing your topics that your readers like best and improve traffic of your site.
For example, I have a website that reviews dog food. If you click on the dog food reviews on that site, you will notice that all of my reviews are high quality, detailed, and as unbiased as possible. There are both positive reviews as well as negative reviews, plus some dog food brands that are rated in the middle. The only dog food brands I rate highly are truly brands I would feed to my own dog (and I love my dog… seriously). I am able to do this because I use the Amazon Associates affiliate program so it doesn’t really matter what people buy – I profit either way. Check out my little promotional video below…
Affiliates can be paid on a lead generation basis, and SaaS companies (hosting, cloud storage) work very well with affiliates. The reason they work well is the subscription business model represents for an affiliate continuous cash flow every time there is a renewal. Also, subscriptions ensure a brand gets their money back over time, including what they spent for commissions, and will eventually make a profit.
Michael, great article–lots of good solid ideas to get my affiliate (& my rear end), up and at it!! Also, love those falafels too! I am in the process of building a website that will have approximately 8-10 products offered over time. The products all come from the same niche. Do you think this type of site can have good success as well, or do you think just focusing on one product per website is the way to go?
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If you would like to take a more subtle approach, include a product or service from your company that relates into your blog post. For example, let’s say that you are a wine connoisseur and that is what your blog is based around. In any post that is enticing your readers to open up a good bottle of Merlot or what have you, it would be wise to embed an ad for a quality, easy-to-use wine opener, wine glasses or stoppers that keep the wine fresh.
When you promote a product you also promote the person or the company who is behind the product so try to choose wisely. You don’t want your visitors to go and buy a product following your advice then come back unhappy. Do you think that this visitor will come back to your site and take your advice again? Most likely no; this can hurt your credibility in the long run. Usually, websites/company that offer good customer service will have better customer satisfaction so try to stick with promoting their products.
There’s three good niches that will always remain popular for as long as human civilization exists. Those three niches are: wealth, health and relationships. Think about it, people are always interested in making money (wealth) and are more than willing to learn how to. Then you have health – people are always wanting to know how to lose weight, and so on. Relationships …well, those will always be around. Those are three long-term niches that you should look into.
Many Affiliate Marketers recommend building an email list to market your affiliate links. I’m all for building an email list, but not for the sole purpose of promoting my links. I want to caution you with your email marketing strategy and use it carefully and wisely. People will subscribe to your list if you offer quality content, but if you only use your list to continuously promote your product links, be prepared to lose subscribers.
Banners – after testing them out I decided to take down my banner ads since they looked salesy and weren’t working like my affiliate links did. They’re easy to throw up, but distracting and probably won’t get great results. If you try them, be sure to show specific sidebar banners based on the type of content people are reading on your blog (for posts that fall under my SEO category I would show a banner related to SEO, and for posts under my website speed category I would show a different banner). You can do this using a plugin like Widget Logic.
Use Deep Links – these are pages on your affiliate’s website that AREN’T the homepage. For SiteGround’s hosting I link a lot to their speed technology page as an affiliate link. If you’re doing Amazon’s affiliate program you just want to gather a list of products you will be recommending to readers, create an affiliate link for each one, and import them to the plugin.
Dependency: This is the biggest con, so pay attention! Affiliate marketers depend on the merchant to make their money. If there were no merchants or affiliate programs, the possibility of being an affiliate marketer would not exist. It even becomes more frustrating if for one reason or the other a merchant suddenly stops running the business or their affiliate program. This can potentially deprive the affiliate marketer of his one-time steady source of income.
That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!