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The goal of every affiliate marketer is to earn money from this revenue sharing business model. But making money from affiliate marketing is easier said than done.
About 48.36% of affiliate marketers earn less than $20,000/yr. That’s the reality of things. Many beginner’s affiliate marketer was made to believe that you can earn while you sleep. At least, that’s what a search on Google and the sales gimmicks snake oil marketers would have you believe.
In summary, you’re told affiliate marketing only requires finding a product, get your affiliate links. Write a review post. Promotes this and see the sales coming in.
Bam! Commission in your affiliate account.
I wish things were as simple as that. Every known affiliate marketer would’ve made money from affiliate marketing, millions of dollars selling other people’s stuff. Like Jason Stone who made $7 million in 18 months from affiliate marketing.
If you want to make money from affiliate marketing, then pay attention and read this post to the end. In this post, you’re going to learn:
- How to research your affiliate product for profitability.
- How to SEO your affiliate review post.
- Why you should use paid ads and traffic sources.
- How to incorporate unbiased users review to maximize sales
- Why banners ads are not good for your affiliate links.
- How to build a community that buys from you.
- What content format is the best for your affiliate campaign?
But first, What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a revenue-sharing business model. You agree to promotes a merchant’s product in return for a share in the profits.
It is a win-win situation for every party involved. There are 4 parties involved in the business of affiliate marketing:
- The merchant.
- Affiliate marketing networks.
- Affiliate marketer (you, sometimes referred to as the publisher).
- The customer.
Let’s review the activities of each party one after the other. How affiliate marketing works for a smooth business transactions.
This will help you understand each user’s role in the affiliate marketing chain and start affiliate marketing with a clear understanding.
This is how the affiliate marketing business model works…
The merchant is responsible for product creation, sales pages, landing pages, shopping cart, payment options, customer care, shipping, delivery, etc. This can be a big brand like WpEngine that sells web hosting and WordPress themes or a single individual like you and me.
From an individual to a big company like the fortune 500, anyone can be the product creator. Just have something to sell that other people promote on your behalf in return for a commission, you’re the merchant.
The Affiliate (Also known as the Publisher).
The affiliate sometimes referred to as the publisher. An affiliate marketer can be a solo individual or a large company. Affiliate marketing is a very big business that has attracted both small and big businesses.
This area is where all the marketing happens. As an affiliate marketer, you’re the connection between the customers and the merchant. You drive the traffic to the merchant website in the hope that a purchase is made.
When a purchase is made through your affiliate link ID, you earn a commission.
Affiliate Marketing Network.
Affiliate marketing circle can never be complete without the network that manages the affiliates and the merchant affiliate marketing programs.
The affiliate network is the intermediary or the link between the merchant and the affiliates. This is where the affiliate gets all the marketing materials for promotions. Like banner ads, affiliate links, affiliate ID, etc.
Also, the affiliate network company helps gather a detailed report that is useful for tracking and marketing decisions. Like clicks, sales, invalid clicks, traffic, etc. The affiliate network is where you see all this report.
Many merchants only manage their affiliate programs through an affiliate network. So, the affiliate has to go through this affiliate network to sign up and get accepted before promoting the merchant affiliate product.
This affiliate network usually has hundreds of merchants you can sign up to become their affiliate. This makes it easy to sign up for multiple merchant affiliate programs without having to go through their website one after the other.
A reliable affiliate network is Shareasale. Here you will find hundreds of merchants with thousands of affiliate products you can start marketing upon approval.
If you’ll like to join the Shareasale affiliate program, this link will take you to the program page.
Without a paying customer, an affiliate marketing business isn’t complete. In fact, the job of an affiliate marketer is not done yet without someone buying the product.
The customer makes the business of affiliate marketing go round in circles. Everything that is done in the affiliate marketing business is centered on customer satisfaction.
From product creation to promotional materials, everything has to be to the best of user satisfaction. The business of affiliate marketing is a big one. It is projected that affiliate marketing spending will hit $12b in 2020.
This is an indication that consumers trust affiliate reviews content before making their buying decisions. People are looking for recommendations before they make a purchase. And this presents a lot of opportunities for affiliate marketer to tap into
But the question is how do you take advantage of these trends and make BIG money from affiliate marketing?
Don’t worry, I’m going to answer the question in this post.
#1. Choose The Right Affiliate Product.
Without the right affiliate product, everything falls flat out of the gate. No matter the amount of traffic you send to your affiliate offer page, the traffic won’t convert.
Many beginner’s affiliate marketer makes the mistakes of choosing an affiliate product based only on the commission rate. Well, while the commission rate is a part of the criteria for choosing a profitable affiliate product, that’s just one out of many factors to consider.
Below I have listed a few tactics you can leverage to discover the right affiliate product to promote.
Affiliate Marketing Keywords Research.
A big part of your affiliate marketing success lies within your target content keywords. If you’re not targetting the right keywords in your content, your content won’t reach the right audience that will buy your product.
Even if you’re promoting a high in-demand affiliate product, but your content is not optimized with the right keywords, it won’t be seen by your target audience.
Long-tail keywords will help you rank better for your target keywords. The more specific you can get, the better your chances of improving your search ranking.
If your blog SEO strength is lower, consider targeting keywords phrases with 3 or more words. This will increase your chances of ranking higher in the organic result for your target keywords.
How to Find Profitable Affiliate Product Using Keyword Reseacrh.
First, you need to start your base affiliate marketing keywords ideas by looking at what’s already working on your blog. In most cases, this would be the content you’re discussing most on your blog and your audience type.
This could also be your niche. The blog topics you discuss or the industry you’re serving. These are your starting point.
Once you figure that out, the next thing is to manually brainstorm on your base keyword. This is where your keywords research process starts.
There are lots of keywords tools you can use for this purpose. From the free keywords tools to paid ones, any of these keyword tools can work pretty well for your research purpose. It depends on your choice, and how savvy you’re in keyword data analysis.
Once you have a list of generic base keywords, the next thing is to type them into your keyword tool of choice to generate a more in-depth list of keyword data. From this list, you should be able to come up with a more proven keyword to target in your next affiliate marketing campaign.
Pro Tip: Search volume is not enough to pick a target keyword, but look at the commercial intent too. You want to profit, not just traffic. “Top of page bid” keyword feature in the Google Keyword planner is a good indication of how commercial a keyword might be.
The higher the number, the better the commercial intent.
Now that you have a winning keyword with good commercial intent, the next thing is to find an affiliate product to match your keyword. This leads us to the next step of finding a profitable affiliate product.
Research The Merchant Details.
If you already sign up with an affiliate network programs like Shareasale, CJ, Amazon, ClickBank, etc. You can search through their product database to see if you can find an affiliate product to match your keywords.
Dig through the merchant database too, this will reveal many companies/business that provides service related to your target keyword.
Now, there is something tricky I want to share with you here. Take a look at the images below.
According to the data in the image, the Wp Engine is converting at 0.50%. That’s a very low conversion rate judging by the Wp Engine standard.
Cloudways converts at 6.91%, better than NameCheap and Wp Engine in terms of conversion rate.
Though the Wp engine has a higher commission rate than Namecheap and Cloudways, if I have to sign up for just one affiliate program, it will be Cloudways. This is because it converts better than the rest two on the list.
There is no use in promoting a higher commission rate offer that doesn’t convert better. You only get frustrated and lose advertising money in the process.
This is just one of the key features you should look out for in merchant affiliate program details.
Research Market Places.
Market places like the Amazon store, Udemy, SEOClerk, and Click bank are good places to discover profitable affiliate products. Products people are already buying.
There are several ways to do your product research using market places. Though, depending on the market place, your tactics will vary.
If you’re searching for affiliate products you can promote through the Amazon store, look through the customer’s review and ratings on the product page.
These customer reviews and ratings are a goldmine of information to help you determine if the product worth promoting as an affiliate or not?
Spend some time going through these reviews left by the customer. Some customers go more in-depth on their reviews. If you just skim through the page, you might miss out on a review like this one below.
Also, there is a question and answer section on the product page that supplies in-depth information about the product. All the information you’ve gathered on this page will help you produce better content that answers many of the burden questions your readers might want to ask.
Market places like Udemy and Skillshare sell courses that you can promote to your audience. While SEOClerk is a place for freelancers to sell their skills.
Online courses are some of the top-selling products today. People are looking to learn new things, upgrade their skills and knowledge. But a good rule of thumb is that you first take the course yourself.
If you have taken the course yourself, it will help in providing more insight as to why the course will benefit your audience. Your content will be more detailed with practical examples to relate to vs writing from other people’s experiences.
#2. SEO – Organic Traffic.
How you optimized your regular blog post is not different from how you optimized your affiliate review post too. The only difference is in your preparation and how you may pay attention to details.
It’s okay to ignore certain SEO signals when you’re writing to get people just to read but not so when you’re writing to make profits. You want to make sure everything goes fine from content writing to content promotion.
So in general, write longer in-depth articles that cover the subject extensively. It makes sense to do this because it gives your post more substance which could trigger social shares, likes, and retweets.
A good rule of thumb is to Google your keyword and see what other pages have writing on the subject. See how you can beat the top pages by providing better content than what they already publish.
Use the Yoast SEO plugin to guide yourself towards content on-page optimization. But don’t pay too much attention to things like “focus keyword does not appear in the first paragraph”.
Yoast SEO is developed to recognize the exact keyword match. So don’t sweat too much on such a thing. Also, don’t bother with keyword density. That’s a thing of the past.
Content quality and links signal are two of the most important search engine ranking signals.
#3. Use Paid Ads.
At first, you may think the free traffic channels are enough to drive traffic to your affiliate content, right?
Yes, it’s okay if you don’t expect results fast and don’t bother how long it takes to experience really significant results. After all, you’ve done your homework perfectly. There is the killer content well SEO optimized to gain the best of free and organic traffic.
But when you consider millions of web pages with similar content as yours, you’d want to do something extra to get your content in view of your target audience.
This is where paid marketing comes in.
3 Reasons You Should Consider Paid Marketing.
It takes months or even years for SEO traffic to take off. And even other free traffic channels like social media brings little traffic to make a great impact on your expectations.
Instead of waiting for months or years to see real marketing growth, you can scale faster by investing in paid ads and experience instant result.
Investing in paid ads (pay-per-click) will give you the opportunity to get your affiliate content in front of your target audience. This also presents the opportunity to gather more data on what could be working and what to improve upon.
You don’t need to wait for organic traffic to pick or engage in endless social media marketing, with paid marketing, you almost see growth instantly.
Spend Less Money.
Contrary to what many believe, you don’t need a huge investment to run paid advertising. With as little as $10 you can test paid ads to learn what works.
As a starter with a little advertising budget, you can set out $10 each week to test run paid ads from different advertising agencies. Facebook ads are a great example. You don’t need $1,000 to get started with Facebook advertising.
Start small and grow bigger as you discover what works and earn from your previous marketing.
Aside from organic traffic, paid ads convert better than any other marketing channel. Assuming your ads are well-targeted and optimized to reach the right audience for your offer.
Paid ads, because of its targeting features, you can weed out a lot of unwanted traffic that could possibly see your content in other traffic channels. Even in search engine organic traffic, you have less control over who sees your content.
Google serves content base on the user’s search query and intent. This does not take into consideration some user’s factors like age and sex.
But with paid ads, such as Facebook ads, you can target users base on their gender, age group, location, etc. This is made possible through their profile information.
Best Paid Traffic Source for Affiliate Marketing.
- Google Ads.
- Facebook Ads.
- Instagram Ads.
- Bing Ads.
#4. Use Unbiased Users Review.
People like and trust product recommendation that comes from real users, family, friends, colleagues, etc. They trust this kind of recommendation than testimonial displayed on the company’s website.
Though company testimonials work great too but reading product reviews or recommendations from someone you know, it gives you more security and assurance that you’re making the right buying decision.
So as a smart affiliate marketer, using unbiased product reviews will help increasing affiliate sales and boost commission a lot. The big question is how do you get unbiased product reviews or recommendations?
How to Get Unbiased Product Review From Users?
- Survey your audience.
- Ask your social media followers.
- Use Facebook poll.
- Do an expert round up opinion post.
#5. Build Your Readers Community.
A successful affiliate marketing business starts by building a community of readers that trust your content and recommendations.
If your readers trust your recommendations, it makes things easier. People will buy more from your affiliate links and help spread the word out of your small blog.
By building your blog community, you’re setting yourself up for traffic on demand and a loyal audience.
How Do You Build a Loyal Community of Readers?
- Start by collecting an email list of subscribers. Email list building is an essential tool for a successful affiliate marketing business. Don’t neglect it.
- Always respond to comment left on your blog post. It helps build the bond between you and your blog readers.
- Invite guest bloggers regularly to write for your blog. It opens your blog to different types of audiences. Plus it helps build the network you need to scale your blogging career faster.
- Engage with other people’s blogs. People are more likely to return the favor.
- Engage your readers in your blog activities.
#6. Use Contextual Links. Not Banner ads.
The image below is the Gtmetrix performance score of this blog. I will be writing more details on how I achieve that page speed score in the near future.
I’m still experimenting with some blog elements to see what works and what’s not.
Updated: Here is a glimpse into how I achieved faster page speed by moving to a better hosting server.
Instead of using affiliate banner ads, use text links instead. It blends perfectly with your content and converts better than banner ads.
Plus it comes naturally within your content. Readers reading through your content will have a reason to click on your affiliate links. Most clicks on banner ads are curiosity clicks. People who just want to know what the banner is all about but not really interested in buying.
Though, there are some seasons when banner ads could be more effective. For instance, during summer sales, promo sales, discount offers, etc. Banner ads could be more effective during this period as it’s put the information right in front of your blog visitors.
And anyone could easily take advantage of this seasonal offer to make impulse buying. He may actually not ready to buy, but because of the discount prices, he may just go for it.
You may test banner ads during this period to see if it helps boost affiliate sales.
#7. Discover The best Content Format.
Not all affiliate products will be a good fit for blog post content promotion. Some affiliate products are best promoted using video content format. You need to discover the best content format the affiliate product marketing.
For example, if you’re promoting a weight loss product. Images will be more appreciated by your audience than just 100% text. Words alone can’t explain better how the weight loss product works. Readers need to see the effect of the products on humans. They want to see the before and after images.
Words alone can’t describe this effect or convey the message to your audience. You need a visual graphics that tells the story better.
There are plenty of content format you can experiment with to see which works best for your type of affiliate product. Though, in most of the cases, blog post works mostly. But this is not to say it works 100% of the time.
Consider using the following content format:
- Video format.
- Blog post – Text content.
- Slide Share Presentation.
Affiliate marketing is not a get quick rich business model. It is a long-term investment that needs an upfront commitment of time, money, and energy.
If you can take the leap and commit yourself to work harder and smart, the result speaks for itself.