I just started implementing some affiliate offers to my blog. And I agree that you have to find the balance of offering something to your readers without being too pushy or like what you said without selling your soul haha. For me sine my blog is about travel i just mention where I stayed or what hotel and if I liked it and I recommend it I put an affiliate link.
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.
I will give you a very simple example. Let’s say you build up an audience of 50,000 readers and out of that 50k you have about 1% that trust you (1% of people that trust you online is actually very huge), so that equates to 500 readers. Out of that 500 readers you will have about 10% that will buy your eBook and other affiliate products, so 50 people total. So, if you are selling your eBook for $10, you will make $500. Of course it doesn’t stop there, those people that buy the eBook and like it will most likely recommend it, and you will have a snowball effect where more people keep buying your book and other affiliate products. This is just a rough example that shows you some realistic numbers. Do not ever think that if you build up a huge number of readers that they will all trust you and buy the products that you promote; if it was that easy everyone would be a millionaire by now.
Look for a gravity score of 30 or more, because these products have a proven track record of selling well for a number of different affiliates. Products, especially new products, with gravity scores under 30 may work but are more risky. Gravity scores of greater than 100 mean the product’s popular. You could have competition, but don’t worry about that. The important thing is that there’s lots of demand.
If you write honest reviews, you will get something that SEO can’t provide, good word-of-mouth. Having good recommendations passed from friend to friend is important for every product, but it can really make or break a niche site. If you pick your niche well and create a reliable site that is full of good information, then you can be sure that the first people to come across your site will spread the word to their friends. The word-of-mouth effect is great because it compounds. In other words, one friend tells two friends and then those two each tell two more and so forth. The pattern continues until you saturate the market and become king of the niche.
With all of this in mind, you also need to understand that affiliate marketing is not some get-rich-quick system. It’s a business. A real marketing business that will take some time to grow. All of the resources you need in order to succeed are listed above, but don’t expect overnight success. Give it a good 6 to 12 months and about 10 to 15 hours per week working on your business. If you do that, by this time next year, you should be an affiliate marketer yourself, at the very least making a nice secondary income. If not, in a year from now, you’ll be exactly where you are right now. Focus on the long-term and keep going with sustained effort. Of course, I’m always available as well if you ever want to contact me. I never charge a dime. 🙂
Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing – An easy to follow online course that teaches you the ins and outs of affiliate marketing. It’s written by Michelle Schroder who makes $100K+ a month from her blog. A genuine super affiliate that shares her success stories and affiliate marketing techniques with her community both on her private Facebook group and on her blog.
Next, you’ll need to measure your success, and quite honestly, your failures, too (some of the best lessons learned are through our failures). First look at the success of your content. Are there certain pieces of content that had higher viewership and lead to more conversions than others? What made those different than the pieces of content that had less viewers? Once you understand that you can create more content that is successful. It’s possible to get a glimpse into this if you start searching for things in your niche. For example, “top lists” are extremely important such as “the top 20 ways to make your dog happy” or “the top 12 places to travel in Europe” and things like that. In other niche industries, “how-to” articles are huge such as “how to make your own garden” or “how to jump start a car” or things like that. Just look at sites like tie-a-tie.net. Even a site about properly tying a tie can be a success if done right! You also want to look at how your marketing campaigns have worked. Do your posts on Instagram drive more traffic than your Twitter updates? If so, you should focus more on marketing with Instagram. The more you measure your success, the more you will understand what is and what is not working for your business.
Site Structure & SEO Plan - There’s no use outsourcing your content unless you pay big bucks for a decent copywriter, so give it a shot yourself for the first few weeks at least. Map out your site structure, using your content plan to fill in category content. Have your title tags, H1’s and meta descriptions ready to be implemented on each page, so all SEO across your site is prepped for launch and submitting to Google.
Social media serves two critical functions that you can’t do without. First, social media is a way to promote your content and engage with consumers more directly. People can read your content and watch your videos, but they also want to engage with you on a personal level, particularly if they have feedback (positive or negative). Believe it or not, social media is a great way to add a personal touch to what you do.
While a part of affiliate marketing is a numbers game (how big is your list, how much traffic do you get, what is your social media presence) the best way to increase these numbers is to provide quality content. Always remember to put your best foot forward in everything that you do, from your blog posts to your newsletter content, to your social media interactions. When you take time to focus on quality and building the relationships – the numbers will follow.

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I wish I could give more than 5 stars because this course deserves more stars. I have learned a lot by taking this course. I was able to complete two websites making them look half way decent because I used what was taught to create the websites in a matter of days. I still have to add content to the website but I was able to accomplish more by taking this course than I have by taking other courses. I really felt like I accomplished something by taking this course. I plan to watch it again several times. This course is great for anyone wanting to build a website. The website does not have to be an affiliate website. I advise everyone to use the same theme that he uses in the course. I will take more of his courses for sure. – Latoya Simmons
Español: iniciar un negocio de marketing de afiliados, Português: Iniciar um Negócio em Marketing de Afiliados, Italiano: Iniziare un Business di Affiliato Marketing, Русский: зарабатывать на партнерском маркетинге, Deutsch: Ein Affiliate Marketing Geschäft beginnen, Français: se lancer dans le markéting d'affiliation, Bahasa Indonesia: Memulai Bisnis Pemasaran Afiliasi, Nederlands: Een affiliate marketing bedrijf beginnen, العربية: إنشاء شركة تسويق بالعمولة
Same here, this post kind of fell from the sky at such a great time. Been building a great community of readers over the years but reached a point where I’m losing money maintaining the site and newsletter. As you said, the ads don’t bring much -ironically I use Adblocks too but affiliate marketing always seemed like a weird and opaque subject. I’ve read many of Chris Guillebeau’s books in the last few months (this is how I discovered your site actually!) and I didn’t realize he had affiliate links for instance. Your post opened up a new window of possibility for me. Still need to process everything and do the work behind but a big thank you to you Sean!
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