In today’s post, I would like to share my top 15 affiliate marketing secrets of all time. These are success tips and good to know things to help you make money with affiliate marketing. For the most part, these are lessons I have learned during my past 12+ years doing affiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Let’s begin by defining what affiliate marketing is. According to Wikipedia:
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.
In my own words, affiliate marketing is when you promote someone else’s product or service, and you earn a commission when you make sales. The parent company handles the details, the customer service, payment processing, shipping, returns, and logistics while you focus on the marketing.
The parent company saves money by not having to pay a sales force. They only pay people (independent affiliates) when sales are made. Plus, the affiliate gets a great deal because they don’t need to buy, develop, or create products of their own. They just focus on marketing. Simply put, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Top 15 Affiliate Marketing Secrets of All Time
With that being said, here are my top 15 affiliate marketing secrets of all time. I’ll share my tip and then I’ll add what an expert has to say about that tip.
# 1: Pick a Good Target Market
Most people make the mistake of falling in love with a product or service first, and then wonder who they will sell it to. Smart marketers do the exact opposite.
Everything starts with your target market. Ideally, you want a target market you are part of, a group of people you understand. If you know your target market’s wants, needs, and desires, it will be easier to promote products or services they will WANT to buy. You also want a HUNGRY target market with MONEY to spend. The more targeted your niche, the better.
You must identify your target audience. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting time and energy driving the wrong types of people (traffic) to the wrong types of products, and your affiliate sales figures will suffer accordingly.
Therefore, figure out what products would give your subscribers and website visitors the most value, or eliminate of their greatest pain and problems.
Source: the balance
Remember, you can’t be all things to all people. Pick your group first and then find something to sell them.
# 2: Find Something of Value
Never promote something just to make a quick dollar. Only promote something of value. If you promote crappy affiliate products, you might make some quick money, but it will hurt your reputation. Only promote something you truly believe in yourself that you know customers will love. It doesn’t have to be the cheapest priced item either, but it must have a high perceived value.
One of the best ways to do this is to order the product yourself first. Try it out. Figure out what you like and don’t like about it. That way, when you create videos, articles, content, and ads to promote the affiliate product, you can be open, honest, and transparent while taking about your experience using the product.
The product must be good. If return rate is high, it is generally a sign the product is not high quality. Making your customers happy is the best way to long-term affiliate success, and quality products are a large part of that equation. Over time, you will earn a good reputation that will go a long way to aiding you in your future sales.
# 3: Build Your Email List
The money is in the list. Never send people directly to your affiliate offer right out the gate. Instead, send them to your capture page first so you can collect their name and email and then redirect them to your affiliate offer. Please know that most people need to see something seven to twenty times before they purchase it. By having them on your email list, you can automate the follow up process and convert more prospects into paying customers.
Think of your list as an ATM machine. Whenever you find a product or service of VALUE, you can send out an email to your list and make money on demand.
Despite its older origins, email marketing is still a viable source of affiliate marketing income. Some affiliates have email lists they can use to promote the seller’s products. Others may leverage email newsletters that include hyperlinks to products, earning a commission after the consumer purchases the product. Another method is for the affiliate to build an email list over time. They use their various campaigns to collect emails en masse, then send out emails regarding the products they are promoting.
# 4: Pick the Right Affiliate Program
Not all affiliate programs are created equal. You want an affiliate program with the following things:
- Generous commissions
- An affiliate manager
- Lots of tools and resources
- Customer service you can get in touch with
- Low payment thresholds
Do your respective homework and due diligence on an affiliate program before you join it. Read their terms and services so you know what you can and can’t do. Read the reviews. Talk with other affiliates if possible.
No matter how good your marketing skills are, you’ll make less money on a bad product than you will on a valuable one. Take the time to study the demand for a product before promoting it.
Research the seller. Your time is worth a lot, and you want to be sure you’re spending it on a profitable product and a seller you can believe in.
# 5: Include Bonuses with Your Promotion
One of my best affiliate marketing secrets is to include bonuses with your offers. This is quite perhaps the fastest way to stand out in the crowd, since most affiliates don’t do this. You can find free reports or PLR products to give away as an added bonus when people buy an affiliate product through your link.
In other words, GIVE PEOPLE A REASON to buy through your affiliate link, rather than from someone else.
Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini-course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you’re trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways.
# 6: Pick a Profitable Product
Do not promote affiliate programs that don’t pay you much money per sale. It makes no sense to promote any affiliate program that pays you less than twenty to forty percent commissions. Ideally, you want to promote something where you make AT LEAST $50 to $100 per sale, so you have enough profit to advertise.
It takes the same amount of time and effort to promote an affiliate product or service that you make $100 per sale as it does one that pays you $1 per sale. Your time is valuable. Make sure you spend it promoting the right affiliate products.
Starting an affiliate marketing business from scratch takes time, focus and determination. One of the first things you need to decide on is; a profitable affiliate product to promote. While it may be tempting to just choose any product you hear about that offers big commissions, it’s advised that you only promote products you’ve used yourself, that you know are good and that will give your customers a great experience.
# 7: Write Reviews
Reviews are a great way to make more affiliate sales. You could write articles and blog posts talking about the pros and cons of the product you are promoting. You could talk about how it works, how to use it, how it is made, or anything else the customer would be interested in knowing before they decide to purchase it.
Many consumers go online to research products before they buy them. In most cases, they will read reviews about the specific product, to see if it will be a good fit for them. As long as your review is honest and objective, it will lead to a good amount of sales.
To create a good review, it’s best to get personal. Share your experience in your blog, social media post, or video. If you’re writing a personal review, give a candid opinion based on your experience with and knowledge of the product. The more open you are, the more authentic you will be. People will be more comfortable following your advice if they feel they can trust you.
# 8: Create Content
Content marketing is a great way to do affiliate marketing. This is when you make videos, podcasts, articles, and blog posts and recommend certain products. The beauty of content marketing is you can create a piece of content one time and it can continue to generate leads and sales for you for many years to come, especially if it goes viral.
When you create content, QUALITY is king. Put serious thought and consideration into editing, creating, and publishing content. You want something that stands out in the market place.
When it’s done well, affiliate marketing shouldn’t feel like affiliate marketing. Instead, it should feel like a natural recommendation issued by a friend to a friend.
With this in mind, seek to incorporate mentions or anecdotes about a product, good, or service into your other content. This will help you keep your content fresh and will also go a long way toward building reader trust and making the products you mention more appealing and exciting to your readers.
Source: Express Writers
# 9: Leverage Paid Advertising
All top affiliate marketers I know use paid advertising as part of their marketing strategy. There are hundreds of paid options you can choose from such as postcards, pay per click, solo ads, banner ads, etc. By all means, you can start out with free promotion strategies, but the paid strategies allow you to grow faster and scale your affiliate marketing business at the same time.
You want highly targeted traffic that will not only bring you a one-time affiliate sale but will also turn that visitor into a loyal reader or follower. This is something paid marketing can get you within a very short timeframe.
# 10: Work Closely with the Affiliate Manager
Connect with your affiliate program’s affiliate manager. Learn everything you can from them. Work out exclusive deals. Find out what tools and resources are available. Ask them your questions. The affiliate manager is a resource. Leverage their expertise whenever you can.
An affiliate manager is someone who manages the affiliate publishers on behalf of an advertiser. They will recruit new affiliates, manage the onboarding process, and ensure that their audiences are aligned with your target market. They also liaise with existing affiliates to answer their questions, address queries, and resolve any issues that they may be having. An affiliate manager also creates and implements the strategy that has been agreed with the advertiser. They will make recommendations about the best way to approach a campaign and maximize results based on best practice and experience.
Source: Advertise Purple
# 11: Be Willing to Lose Money
Part of being an entrepreneur is the willingness to take risks. Most new affiliate marketers won’t invest money in their affiliate marketing business because they are scared to lose that money. Don’t be!
Be willing to experiment with new things. Be willing to invest in your skills and training. This is your business education. Be willing to try new marketing strategies and fail. Realize that most entrepreneurs have gone through the exact same process several times before they had their big breakthrough.
Affiliate marketing is still a great field full of opportunities. However, the barrier of entry has gone up a bit in recent times, and it’s not as easy as it used to be to jump in and start seeing good results. But as long as you’re persistent and know what you’re going for, you should be able to profit quite nicely from your experiments with affiliate marketing. In fact, you might even eventually reach a situation where this is your main source of income. But until you get there, you’ll need to be extremely patient and keep calculating your every move.
# 12: Study & Master Traffic Generation
The # 1 key to making more affiliate sales is to send more targeted traffic to your offer. When you look at the top affiliate marketers in the world, the one thing they all have in common is their ability to generate large amounts of targeted traffic to their offer ON DEMAND. Learn everything you can about traffic generation. Study it. Practice it. Master it. Once you have this secret mastered, you can promote any affiliate product, and do it profitably.
Generating traffic is the key to ensuring that your website and so, your business is successful, and this holds true whether you are selling a product or service directly or using your website to earn commissions from affiliate partners.
The most successful traffic generating websites take an umbrella approach to affiliate traffic generation, incorporating a range of different elements to maximize potential visitors, test out new markets, and continually analyze and adapt to find out what works and what is failing.
# 13: Take the Long-Term View
Always take the long-term view in your affiliate marketing business. It takes time to start, maintain, and grow a successful business of any kind, whether it be affiliate marketing or anything else. If you’re just going to dabble with it, do yourself a favor and don’t even get started. Make a MINIMUM five-year commitment to learn everything you can about affiliate marketing. Do that and there’s a good chance you will eventually become ultra successful.
Affiliate marketing is a long term strategy and if you don’t treat it as such, any success you might have will be limited. Provide value for your fellow man by creating a high quality website that truly helps people. If you do that, you will have yourself a long-term and sustainable business, possibly even becoming a true passive income source for many, many years.
# 14: Invest in Your Business Education
Smart entrepreneurs invest in their business education. Affiliate marketing is a profession. Just like any other profession, it requires a certain set of specialized skills to succeed. Attend workshops and events, buy courses, join mastermind teams, and be a student of your profession. Most importantly, as you learn new skills, put them into practice as quickly as possible.
Affiliate marketing is an industry where there are very few barriers to entry but very high barriers to scale. The set of skills you need at the start differ from the skills you’ll need during the first months or after your first year. With the growing number of your campaigns and appetite for scaling, you’ll need to keep learning.
# 15: Find a Mentor
Having a mentor is one of my most important affiliate marketing secrets. Ideally, you want to team up with someone who has been there and done that and can share their affiliate marketing secrets and tips with you. You do not have to interact with this person face-to-face. You might find your mentor through YouTube, books, webinars, a training course, events, etc. That’s how I found my mentors.
Affiliate marketing experts like Rae Hoffman and Pat Flynn offer a wealth of resources based on their years of experience. Learning from marketers like them may help you avoid costly mistakes, so conduct some research on how they have been successful and use it as your guide.
In conclusion, these are my top 15 affiliate marketing secrets. Affiliate marketing is not rocket science. Success is a result of mastering a few basic principles while taking all out massive action. Anyone can learn these affiliate marketing secrets if they choose too. It won’t happen overnight, but if you follow the advice listed above you will be well on your way.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with my list of affiliate marketing secrets? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.
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Suggested Reading & Resources
- Best Places to Advertise Online
- Top 25 Affiliate Marketing Tips
- Best Affiliate Marketing Program to Join
- Learn More About Herculist
- See How ViralURL Can Skyrocket Your Leads
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