Seven Things about Affiliate Marketing You Need to Know
OK, so you’ve started your own blog, or set up an account someplace, and now you’re thinking how to make some money off of it? There are two ways people can earn money online – A) sell your own stuff or B) sell other people’s stuff and get paid for it.
Affiliate marketing belongs to the second type, obviously, as you may have concluded if for nothing else, then because of the “affiliate” part. Basically, this type of marketing implies three things – recommending a product or service to your audience, getting them to purchase said product or service, and getting paid commission for each successful purchase. Nothing to it, right? Wrong!
Yes, the principle behind affiliate marketing is sound and straightforward, but there are certain tips and tricks that we discussed at length with our friends at Spend Rush, which we think might help you turn a profit.
1. Don’t Make Half-arsed Attempts
Roughly speaking, there are three basic types of affiliate marketing – the Pay-per-click (PPC), something we’ll call Associated Affiliate Marketing and another thing we’ll call Engaged Affiliate Marketing. Out of the three, PPC is the simplest form, and it also brings in the least bread. In a nutshell, this is the equivalent of slapping a link somewhere, and saying “Buy this because I have to sell it”.
The second implies advertising products you haven’t used or reviewed yourself, but you still trust. It’s the equivalent of saying “I haven’t seen this movie, but a good friend of mine has, and he says it’s great!” The third type is the one that requires the most effort, but on the flipside, it will account for more than 90% of your revenue as an affiliate.
The thing with the last type of affiliate marketing is that it requires content, it requires effort on your part, and constructing the content around the products that you try to sell. If it’s a book, write a review; if it’s a game, make a Let’s-play; if it’s a printer, make sure you convince your readers you use it (or used to use it).
2. Choose Your Niche Wisely
One of the most common mistakes beginners in affiliate marketing do is bite more than they can chew. They spread too thin, over too many markets and products, ending overwhelmed, frustrated, and without revenue.
What you want to do is concentrate, at least in the beginning, on a single niche market. There are about four most profitable niches that will hardly go out of style – Romance, Health & Fitness, Wealth & Money and Hobbies. All of these are pretty much self-explanatory, so let’s just go through some of the sub-sections here.
The Romance niche encompasses dating, of course, as well as how to attract members of the opposite sex, finding a spouse, pick up, getting back with your ex, and whatever else you can think of.
The Health & Fitness market could deal with niches such as gaining/losing weight, exercising, indoor equipment for staying fit, diets, medical issues, you name it.
As far as Money & Wealth market goes, it may include thins such as gambling, business opportunities, making money online, and, yes, affiliate marketing.
Even though many of these markets have near unlimited numbers of niches, it’s the Hobbies market that’s the most comprehensive. Some of the more trending pastimes people seem to always enjoy are sports, gardening, fishing and hunting, camping… fill in the rest. This has absurdly high payoff, particularly if you target people who have more money than they can spend. The only thing you have to do is convince them to part with their money.
3. Know Thine Crowd
Now, presuming you’re actually creating content and connecting the links into it as organically as possible, there are some guidelines you need to follow to make it as profitable and fair as possible. Rule number one is – know your audience. If you’re creating content for gamers, don’t offer them window panes out of the blue.
Create a rapport with them, build an authority, a sense of confidence. The biggest percentage of your earnings will be you’re your regulars. Secondly, be helpful. It’s your audience, you should know what they need and what they want. Play into that, and offer them relevant products.
4. Be Honest
As noted earlier, you need to build a rapport with your audience. Have original, engaging content, and build a relationship with them where they trust you. Once you know they actually recommended you and your content by word of mouth, that’s when you know you’re in. More importantly, to keep this feeling of trust, make sure you’re being transparent. Always make full disclosure of your affiliate role, and it will pay off big time in more trust and support on the side of your audience.
5. Be Careful
Probably one of the most important facets of affiliate marketing is abiding by the law of the land. In the States, this means abiding by the FTC regulations, which protect both the consumer and you as the… purveyor of links. Also, don’t limit yourself to a single affiliate program. Some have a lifetime payout, while others are limited to 30-90 days. Additionally, don’t limit yourself to large and well-established affiliate networks, but go straight to the source and connect with your favorite sellers.
6. Stay Fresh, Stay Relevant
This is the thing that will not only keep your old readers/visitors coming back but also reel in some new ones. Let’s say someone finds an outdated content of yours, and can’t relate. They won’t listen to you. But, by trying to create timeless content, or constantly updating your old stuff with links to updates, you’ll stay fresh, and thereby relevant.
7. Be patient
As noted a point earlier, it’s important to stay relevant, so as to keep your audience growing. However, you will neither build up a core audience in a night nor will you see a definitive yield overnight. You have to be patient and keep working. The money will trickle, at first, but eventually, you’ll see the snowball effect taking momentum, and your credit rating grow.