Another consideration to take into account is price point – what is your audience willing to pay? Believe me; you're unlikely to make sales promoting products and services that are outside of your audience’s money comfort zone. Honestly, it took me a long time to narrow down who my target audience was, but if you’re focused and take the time to do the research, it shouldn’t take you that long to figure it out.
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.
Of course you want affiliates with high commissions, but they should also have a solid reputation with high conversions and low reversal rates (you get $0 if people cancel after signing up). If they’re part of an affiliate marketplace like ShareASale or ClickBank you can see some numbers there. Companies likes Amazon/SiteGround are safe bets, otherwise do your research (or track your affiliate links so you can monitor their performance). Avoid affiliates offering huge commissions since this probably means they’re struggling to acquire/retain customers naturally. This will hurt your numbers (specifically your conversions/reversal rates).
Hosting – I suggest joining the WordPress Hosting and WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group and see what real (unbiased) people are saying about hosting. SiteGround was #1 in multiple Facebook polls and #1 in most Facebook conversations (this one too). People who migrate usually see significant load time improvements especially if they’re currently using Godaddy/EIG. I use their semi-dedicated GoGeek plan which comes with 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting (#1 factor in WordPress Optimization Guide) and have <1s load times with 100% scores in GTmetrix/Pingdom. SiteGround also does free migrations.
The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you.
The best way to obtain website traffic is through free search engine referrals. However, obtaining traffic from the search engines takes time. You should expect to create content for your site for about 6 to 12 months before the search engines really start showing you some love. In the meantime, there are so many other places you can obtain website traffic from. That’s what these tutorial videos will show you. Everything form creating email marketing lists to social media marketing and even how to write a blog post to increase how many people share it – it’s all there. This is the best tutorial section to go through first because it will lead to returns sooner.
WP Rich Snippets – premium plugin that adds rich snippets (eg. review stars) to your snippets. You get 33% of sales and it’s what I use on my site. I recommend it over the All In One Schema.org plugin as it looks nicer with more settings and add-ons. Here’s a post I used it on. If you’re writing reviews as part of your strategy, get this for yourself.
One of the most sought after and highly recommended course is this one on Guide to Effective Affiliate Marketing Strategies by Kudus Adu. Not only does he focus on create an affiliate marketing strategy, he focuses on best practices to create money pages, tells you how to build your email marketing list and how to profit from it. He clearly asks people looking for ‘get rich quick strategies’ to stay away from the course.
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.
There’s no point in lying about it: it’s not easy to make a lot of money through affiliate marketing. The best way to understand it is to think of it like a small business: you have to start at square one and build your business from the ground up. You have the advantage of not needing a business loan to begin with, and the fact that you can set your own hours for each day and each week, but you’ll need to invest a lot of time and effort into your affiliate marketing business before it will grow.
Hey guys. Great post with detailed, actionable content. I would like to add my ‘2 cents’ if that’s ok. You are absolutely right with offering a ‘free gift’ in exchange for someone’s name and email address but I have found short reports have worked best for me. If you give away too much information for free they don’t tend to get consumed so the trust isn’t built with your subscriber. Your free gift is the first point of contact with your prospect so it’s unlikely they will read an entire ebook but if you give them a short report which they are able to consume in about 20 mins and they get tremendous value from they are more likely to listen to you in the future and buy your recommendations. A big mistake i see a lot of affiliates make is the content they use for their free giveaway. They think just because it’s given away for free that they can just throw together some PLR material and use that. Unfortunately that doesn’t cut it these days and will damage your relationship with your prospect rather than strengthen it. The best way is to carry out some research in your marketplace and see what pains and frustrations your prospects have and create your free giveaway around that.
Developing a website might seem difficult on the surface. You know that some website development companies cost thousands, 10’s of thousands, or even 100’s of thousands of dollars to build a site. You might also think you need to know a bunch of computer code in order to build a great site. That is nonsense. I personally know a little tiny bit of HTML and CSS, but I’m even using that less and less over time.
PPCall – Pay Per Call offers pay for each phone call that meets some conditions. Usually they have to exceed a certain duration, so it doesn’t count if the prospect hangs up after two seconds. These can be all kinds of lead gen offers resulting in the sale of some product or service. It could also be a "premium number" call that bills the user per minute, like those infamous “tech support” offers.
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?
Self-supporting or not, students like you do need money! Aside from tuition and other miscellaneous schooling expenses, there are other things that you’d need money for: projects and other school requirements, educational trips, books and gadgets that can help make studying a lot easier, etc. You don’t want to bother mom and dad who also have other expenditures to worry about, and you don’t have time to get a part time job. Still, YOU JUST NEED THE MONEY!
these are certainly well known ways of making money with affiliate marketing…the best example i can give is rahul kuntala of learnblogtips.com, he has created an ebook and also has a landing page as you suggested! i would also specify bharat mandava of wpsquare.com, who earns most of his income through affiliate marketing!! thx fr the article jafar :)
If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It's your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don't unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it.
Pay-per-click – Another effective way of attracting customers to your affiliate site is to advertise or pay for PPC. You don’t have to go far to look for this one, since Google’s own paid advertising can already do wonders on its own. Fees are only in cents per-click, but this adds up pretty quickly, so expect to shell out $50 or more for a low-budget campaign.
Great stuff here Sean – thanks for all of these insights and sharing some best practices when it comes to affiliate marketing. I’ve never been comfortable giving it a shot, but after reading this post and your perspective on how and when to do it, I may just have to give it a try. Especially considering I’m already mentioning and recommending services and products on my site, I’m just not getting the potential rewards associated with doing so. Thanks again.