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I think there are a couple main reasons why the research aspect is so overlooked in affiliate marketing. The first reason is, people are just lazy. Most new affiliate marketers are only thinking about making money in the shortest period of time, so they simply choose a niche and build a site in their first day. Then, months go by with little to no website traffic and they proclaim that affiliate marketing no longer works. Considering affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar per year industry driving about 20% of all online sales, that of course isn’t true. Most people just don’t do the research necessary to truly find a profitable niche that is in demand without too much competition.
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…
One of the best ways to scale your business with affiliate marketing is to see if there is an option for you to remove the middle man and create a similar product or service of your own. Depending on the offers you are promoting, you may be able to come out with a product or service through a simple lead gen process or creating your own site. A good example of this would be “email submit” offers or an online course.
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.
The trainer Diego Davila will help you learn Facebook & Instagram marketing through various tips and techniques which you can later use to enhance your affiliate marketing efforts. The course will train you on how to use Facebook Pixel and Facebook retargeting effectively, making you reach out to thousands of customers in a targeted manner. You will also learn Facebook Video marketing, master Instagram advertising and find ways to increase your likes and followers. This is extremely beneficial if you are trying to find a way to use facebook and instagram for your affiliate marketing business. You may also be interested in checking out more Facebook Training.
If affiliates don’t make any sales and their reporting system states that a campaign had 100,000 impressions, 10,000 clicks, and 0 leads or sales, then that means the affiliate won’t be paid, nothing more. Affiliates and networks might say to their clients that they can produce 1 billion impressions, which is just jargon. They might not produce any sales at all.
I would have one partner create a separate page/contact form specifically for the advertiser – so only people who see that contact form are people who were referred to by the advertiser. The advertiser would use that page as their outbound link. I know you can track outbound clicks in Google Analytics events and Contact Form conversions (usually through most contact form plugins) but that is the best way I think. Never done it, but this is how I see most affiliate programs like that work.
I could have promoted WP Engine (hosting company) for $200/sale with no tier program to climb – sounds pretty good right? But when I checked ShareASale I saw their reversal rates were 24%! Just to give you an idea SiteGround’s reversals are less than 10%. WP Engine starts at $29/month while SiteGround’s is $3.95/month, plus SiteGround has a better reputation. I had to climb a tier program to get SiteGround’s $150/sale, but long-term my research paid off.
Mike touched on this a bit in the article, explaining that the “exact match penalty” targeted low quality sites that were overly-reliant on their seemingly-relevant domain name for rankings. Everything is an exact match for something so if you build a great resource, it shouldn’t be an issue. (For instance, I get a ton of search traffic for “side hustle nation”…)
This is not the perfect affiliate marketing strategy, but it’s the perfect method to buy yourself a bit of time. It helps you understand if your strategy and your product can work out by testing and putting affiliates to work, without any financial risk. Affiliate marketing is not a “set it and forget it” type of business. It’s a continuous optimization work, and this strategy gives you the tools to do just that. Optimize for success.
Your ultimate goal as an affiliate marketer should be to outsource all the work while you collect a paycheck each month. My website DogFoodInsider.com is 100% outsourced at this point. There is always someone willing to work for you. From writers on Constant-Content.com to programmers on Elance.com to odd jobs on Fiverr.com – the sources you can use for outsourcing is nearly limitless.
Outsourcing is so crucially important because that is how you will take your affiliate marketing business from just a small business that makes you a few extra bucks per month to a 5 or 6 figure monster that earns you a passive income. While one site is being outsourced and making you money, you can build a second one. While those two are outsourced and making you money, you can build a third one, and so on. So many new affiliate marketers take their first commission checks and just spend in on themselves. If they re-invested that into outsourcing instead, the returns would be much bigger. My business didn’t truly start taking off until I learned about the power of outsourcing.
Firstly, pick a topic that you’re interested in that also has a lot of market potential. Think of something that you like, and consider whether there would be many products associated with it, or much of an audience. You can find a topic (or “niche,” as affiliates call it) with a little research. You’ll find lessons to help you with this process in the market research section of Affilorama’s free lessons.
I first started making money online back in the mid-90s. At this time the concept of affiliate marketing was fairly new and there were only a handful of programs for you to join and promote. Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more was one of the first and most successful affiliate programs of all time — which was also how I started to make some serious money online.
Provide the most accurate information about the products you promote. Never exaggerate to quickly make a sale. Your audience will see through it and they will turn their backs on you. Instead, if the product you are promoting isn’t perfect, say so! It never hurts to explain the downsides to a product because this just proves to your audience that you are being completely honest with them. Also–this is very important–be transparent about your relationship with the merchant! It is legally required that you disclose your affiliate relationship, so any time you share an affiliate link you need to let your audience know. Make sure you are following the latest FTC guidelines here.
To put it in simple words, Affiliate marketing involves promoting others’ products or services in exchange of a commission. The commission is the percentage of total sale and can range from 5% to 100%. You can promote through different methods like websites, emails, social media etc. Affiliate networks acts like middlemen in the process and track sales as well as commissions .
Leanne, that was great stuff. I saw some interesting delineators I’d never seen before, like how many subscribers you have making a difference in whether you should start with affiliates, at what level, etc. I appreciate the “ethical” angle you weaved throughout this, too, because affiliate marketing can/does have a bad reputation due to the way it’s been abused in the past. Your article will help educate current and future affiliate marketers, much appreciated!
4) The Site’s Niche – Check out Commission Junction and Clickbank… and you’ll see that there is virtually an endless list of products you can promote. However, the “Best-Selling” or “Top Products” from affiliate networks shouldn’t be the only deciding factor when picking your site’s niche. Choosing a niche for your affiliate site should involve more research and analysis than that. After all, the success of your site relies mostly on your topic’s level of demand and how well you take advantage of your readers’ needs.
Affiliate marketing allows you to make money online, even if you don’t have blog, website, or any products of your own. Following a few simple steps can get you up and running within hours and earning your first commissions right away. Affiliate marketing really is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make money online and should be a part of every online business owner's portfolio.