Today, I’d like to share my top 25 affiliate marketing tips of all time. I’ve been doing affiliate marketing successfully for about 10-years now.
It has been a road filled with many ups and downs. I’ve done a few things right, and many things wrong. I learned lots of valuable lessons along the way that I want to share with you today.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when you promote someone else’s product or service, in exchange for a commission. You sign up for the affiliate program, get your own custom URL and promote it. When people click on your link and make a purchase, the affiliate company handles the sale, shipping, and customer service and then pays you a commission.
Many companies offer an affiliate program because it is a win-win for them. They only pay their affiliates when the affiliates generate a sale. That’s much better than paid advertising, where you don’t know how your marketing efforts will pan out.
On the flip side of the coin, being an affiliate is also a great deal because you don’t have to come up with your own product to sell. You don’t have to ship anything. You don’t have to collect payments or handle refunds. You don’t have to deal with customer service issues. You just focus on promoting your affiliate link.
Top 25 Affiliate Marketing Tips
If you want to make money with affiliate marketing, this post is for YOU. Listed below are my top 25 affiliate marketing tips to help you get started right, so you can start earning commissions right out the gate.
# 1: Pick the Right Niche
My first affiliate marketing tip is to pick the right niche. Yes, you can make money in any niche. However, what you really want is a niche with a “starving audience.” You want a niche that has money to spend and is willing to spend it.
Here are a few popular niches you might want to focus on:
- Website Design
- Make Money Online
- Network Marketing
- Work from Home
- Gold & Silver
- Day Trading
- Weight Loss
- Health & Nutrition
What’s great about these niches is that you have plenty of good affiliate programs to choose from. Plus, you have a large audience of people to sell these products to.
# 2: Pick the Right Affiliate Program
Not all affiliate programs are created equal. I don’t think so. Here is what you want to look for in an affiliate program:
The Product or Service: Is the product or service you are promoting a REAL value. Does it do what is says it is going to do? Is it good quality and priced competitively? Do people actually want to buy it?
Sales Page: Is the sales page compelling? After you read the sales copy or watch the sales presentation video, do you feel compelled to purchase the item?
Residual Commissions: Are the commissions one time commissions or do you get paid an ongoing commission? I personally like ongoing commissions, where you can make one sale, but continue to get paid month-after-month for it.
Large Commissions: I’m a big fan of promoting big ticket affiliate programs where you can earn at least $50 to $5,000 per sale. On the other hand, I do not like affiliate programs where you make $1 or $10 per sale. It takes the same amount of time and work to sell a $10 product as it does a $1,000 product.
Customer Service. Is the affiliate company’s customer service department up to par? Do they answer questions and respond to emails promptly?
Tools: What type of affiliate tools are provided to the affiliates? Are there banner ads, text ads, solo ads, PPC examples and more? A good affiliate program has all of these things in place.
Cookies: No, I’m not talking about a chocolate chip cookies! Instead, I’m talking about tracking cookies. Is your traffic cookied for a period of time, in case your visitor returns to the website and makes a purchase in the future? Most good affiliate programs have a 30 to 90-day cookie tracking feature.
Payout: How often does the affiliate program pay their affiliates? Is it monthly, weekly or daily? Do they have a small payment threshold before they release your money, or some crazy requirement?
These are the basic things to look for in an affiliate program. Out of all my affiliate marketing tips, this is one of the most important to remember. Do your due diligence before choosing an affiliate program to promote.
It’s also really important to promote something of value. Here’s what MarketingInsiderGroup.com has to say about that:
One of the mistakes many new affiliate marketers make when starting out is to sell anything and everything. You need to make sure the product you’re about to present to your audience is a product which will be valuable and helpful to your target market.
Remember, you have a reputation to uphold. And if any of these people are going to come back and buy from you again and again, you need to be the go-to source for recommending and selling the best products in your niche.
Providing value to the buyer is really the key. You don’t want a one-off sales strategy where you pick a product blindly and then pray to God (or spend money on A/B testing after the fact) it works. Take some time and research valuable products which will benefit your users.
# 3: Know Your Audience
You need to know as much as you can about your audience. What are their challenges and problems they are looking to solve? What types of products or services are they currently purchasing?
This is where market research comes in. You must know your audience. Conduct some keyword research. Conduct some surveys with people in your niche. Ask people in your niche what types of things interest them. This is valuable information you can leverage.
# 4: Develop Your Marketing Plan
You need a written business plan and marketing plan for your new affiliate marketing business.This can be a simple one page document. It should outline your goals, strategy, target market, marketing budget, and daily action plan. Remember that failing to plan is planning to fail.
Take an hour or two and do a brain dump and write these things down. It will help give you purpose and direction, and keep you on track. The last thing you want to do is wing it.
# 5: Be Ethical
If you’re creating content to promote your affiliate products, be sure to disclose that you are an affiliate, and state that you do make money on some of the products you recommend.
This might result in a few lost sales, but most people will appreciate your honesty. Plus, the FTC requires you to do so.
Also, don’t write negative reviews or scam reviews about your competitors, in order to promote your own affiliate programs. That’s just bad business.
# 6: Educate Your Audience
Another thing you want to do is focus on educating your audience. Create content, or use ads, that are designed to teach people about what you are offering them.
Educate them about the product or service and focus on the benefits. Explain how the product or service can help them solve their specific problems.Talk about what’s in it for them.
# 7: Focus on 1-2 Affiliate Programs
While the idea of multiple streams of income sounds very sexy at first, it is much smarter to focus your efforts on promoting just one or two affiliate programs in the beginning.
Focus is key. If you spread yourself too thin, and try to promote too many different affiliate programs at once, you won’t get anywhere near the results that you could.
# 8: Track Your Key Metrics
My next affiliate marketing tip is to track your key metrics. Use tracking software to track your clicks, leads, conversions, etc. Track each traffic source you are using so you know which ones are working and which ones aren’t. If you track it, you can improve it! If you don’t track it, you are playing a guessing game.
# 9: Be Patient
Success isn’t going to happen overnight, and it will take longer than you think for your affiliate partnerships to turn truly profitable.
But don’t give up. If you’re doing things right, you’ll start to see results in due time. Plus, you’ve got to give yourself a fair chance to succeed.
# 10: Invest in Affiliate Marketing Courses
Courses on affiliate marketing are your friend. Find the BEST course you can on affiliate marketing, buy it, study it, and implement what they teach.
Yes, there is some free information you can find online and on YouTube, but if you purchase a course, you will VALUE the information because you invested money on it. Plus, most courses have step-by-step instructions in them.
Just use ONE course as your blueprint. Don’t make the mistake of giving yourself information overload or spending lots of money buying a bunch of different affiliate marketing courses.
# 11: Work Smart & Outsource
One of the best affiliate marketing tips I can share with you is to outsource. Make a list of all the tasks you must do on a regular basis to grow your affiliate marketing business and outsource whatever you can.
You might want to hire other people for things like content development, editing, graphic design, copy writing and more. This will free up your time to focus on income producing activities.
Whatever you do, don’t be a one trick pony and try to do everything by yourself.
# 12: Pick One Advertising Platform
There are many advertising platforms you could leverage, such as video marketing, solo ads, pay per click, etc. Ideally, you want to pick ONE advertising platform at first, and focus on that your first six to 12-months until you truly master it.
Once you’ve mastered one source of traffic, by all means diversify.
# 13: Cloak Your Affiliate Links
Make sure you cloak your affiliate links. Lots of people online will click on your affiliate link, realize it is an affiliate link, and then remove your affiliate code so you don’t earn a commission.
I’m not sure why people do this, but it happens all the time. Be sure to cloak your affiliate links so this doesn’t happen to you.
# 14: Get to Know the Affiliate Managers
Whichever affiliate programs you decide to promote, get in touch with the affiliate managers. Get to know them by name. They are a wealth of information who can help you grow and scale your affiliate marketing business.
They might have some tips to share with you, offer you additional marketing resources, or even give you a better commission rate if you can prove to them that you are good at promoting their products.
# 15: Learn Pay-per-Click Advertising
Pay-per-Click advertising is where it is at, in my opinion. All top affiliate marketers I know use PPC advertising. Whether it PPC advertising on Bing, Google, Facebook or somewhere else does not matter.
Leveraging PPC allows you to SCALE your business quickly. Plus, it’s good for testing out different campaigns, to see what produces the best result.
# 16: Master Paid Advertising
You cannot scale free. Remember that.
Out of all my affiliate marketing tips, please remember this one. If you just focus on your own efforts of creating content and doing free things, you really limit yourself. No matter how good you are at creating videos, you can only create so many videos per day.
With paid advertising, you are in control. You have leverage. Once you find what works well, you can scale your efforts and work smart, without taking too much time in the process.
By all means, you can also use free strategies, but make paid advertising part of your overall marketing plan.
# 17: Have a Daily To-Do List
Every day, you should have a detailed “to-do” list outlining everything you need to do to move your business forward that day. Make sure you focus on the income producing activities and stay organized. The last thing you want to do is sit down at your computer without a game-plan for the day.
# 18: Don’t Rely on a Single Traffic Source
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. If you’re relying on a single traffic source for your affiliate program, you’re running a big risk.
What happens if your traffic source goes under? What is your advertising account gets shut down? Diversify your traffic sources for sustainable results.
# 19: Attend Affiliate Marketing Events
There are plenty of affiliate marketing conferences and seminars you can attend. I would suggest you attend at least two to three each year. You’ll learn new skills, get new ideas, and meet some great people in the process. Even if you get just one good idea from each event, it will more than pay for itself.
# 20: Know Your PRODUCT Inside & Out
I highly suggest you buy the product or service you are thinking about promoting. Why? So you can learn everything you can about it. This gives you an inside edge as an affiliate marketer. Plus, you’ll know if the product or service does what it says it will do.
# 21: Build a Strong Reputation in Your Niche
Your reputation is everything. Ideally, you want to be known as the “go-to” person in your niche. Affiliate marketing is actually a pretty small world. Affiliates get to know each other.
Always do the right thing, never burn a bridge and treat everyone with respect. Remember, everything you do on the internet is there FOREVER.
Maintain a high level of integrity and never do anything shady just to make a quick buck!
# 22: Build Your Mastermind Team
Napoleon Hill taught me about the importance of the mastermind group. This is when two or more people get together to share ideas about a specific topic.
Surround yourself with two to five other successful affiliate marketers and share ideas with each other. Talk about what is working and what isn’t working. Get answers to your questions, provide encouragement, and build friendships.
Try to meet once a month via face-to-face. If that is not possible, get on a webinar or conference call for an hour and mastermind with each other. You will learn so many great ideas doing this.
Here’s what MobIdea.com has to say about building a team.
Day by day, one-man operations are becoming harder and harder, and affiliate marketers are converting from one-man operations to small businesses.
There are many reasons for that, but one of the major reasons is that – by having your own team – you can get free time to enjoy your life.
Also, instead of one person, you can have 3-4 people working on a campaign, which brings in more ideas, improvement and more variety in your campaigns.
Which results in better results.
# 23: Build Your Email List
Whatever you do, build your email list from day one. Instead of sending people directly to your affiliate offers, send them to a capture page first, so you can collect their name and email and then redirect them to your affiliate offer.
As you build your email list, you can communicate frequently with your list and build up the like, know and trust factor. Plus, you can send these people back to your affiliate offers in the days to come, which will result in even more sales.
Furthermore, you can promote different affiliate offers to your email list whenever you want to. Having your own email list is like having your own ATM machine.
# 24: Make a Minimum One Year Commitment
Rome was not built in a day. You will not be an affiliate marketing success story in a month or two. Good things take time. Be sure to make a minimum one or two year commitment to your affiliate marketing business, so you can build up your specialized knowledge and master your craft.
If you’re just going to dabble with it, and test the waters, do yourself a favor and don’t even get started with affiliate marketing.
# 25: Dominate ONE Social Media Platform
Another one of my affiliate marketing tips is to leverage social media. Create social media accounts that are specific for your niche. For example, if your niche is weight loss, you could create a Facebook group for weight loss, a weight loss YouTube channel, etc.
You want to keep your audiences separate, especially if you focus on different niches.
Also, I think you should focus on dominating one social media platform. There is not enough time in the day to truly master all of the different social media platforms. Focusing on one is the way to go.
If you are set on leveraging several different social media platforms to sell your affiliate products, I would use a program such as Hoot Suite to manage all of your social media accounts in one place.
Still, I’d rather be the king of one social media platform than the master of none!
In review, these are my top 25 affiliate marketing tips of all time. None of these affiliate marketing tips are secrets. Instead, they are just common sense strategies to make more money with affiliate marketing.
What are your thoughts? What are your best affiliate marketing tips? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you. To your success!
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