Just in case you missed it, last week we covered affiliate marketing essentials: what it is, where it came from, and the technology that makes it such a successful advertising method.
If you’re keen to sign up to the world of affiliate marketing, and get your own website operating as a publisher for an array of advertisers, then your first point of call should be our tips and tricks for affiliate marketing success.
Tips and Tricks for Affiliate Marketing Success
While we have a few basic affiliate marketing tips and tricks in store for you, we in no way advocate that these will transform you into an affiliate marketing millionaire. Please don’t quit your day job on our account.
1. Grow your audience
To be a successful affiliate marketing publisher, you first need to build your own website audience. If your website doesn’t have any visitors, an active community, or a high volume of traffic, then you won’t have anyone clicking on the affiliate advertisements that you run. And if there are no clicks, there is no commission for you. (Before the complaints start rolling in, please bare in mind that we are in no way advocating that people should build websites, and associated audiences, with the express intention of saturating them with affiliate marketing. We hope that websites, and their associated audiences, are built for much loftier purposes, like providing advice, entertaining, or because the owner is actually interested in a specific topic).
2. Build trust with your audience
Once you have an audience, you need to gain their trust. This can take a while. Don’t expect it to happen overnight. To build trust you need to give; give away as much as you can, from content and freebies to tips and tricks. (Again, we are hoping that people aren’t just building trust to sell stuff. Hopefully people out there are genuinely interested in building an online community, and affiliate marketing is just an added benefit.) Once people trust you, and your website, they are usually more inclined to click on any advertising.
3. Know the products or services you’ll be pedalling
Before you commit to any affiliate marketing deal, do your research. Check into the product or services that your website will be promoting. Use the product yourself, and ensure that it lives up to all it claims to be. By advertising a particular brand, visitors to your site will automatically assume that you endorse the brand. So, if you own an eco-friendly, sustainable online store, it is not a good idea to enter into an affiliate marketing contract with a company that actively uses palm oil in all its products. Ensure that you actually believe in the brands with which you are associating your own.
4. Be certain that the product or service can help your audience
Once you are familiar with the product, brand or service that your website will be advertising, ask yourself: will this product, brand or service actually help my audience? At the end of the day, if the product you promote isn’t going to help your audience, then you’ll just end up looking bad. Your audience will loose respect for you, stop visiting your site, and you can wave goodbye to any affiliate marketing commissions. On the other hand, if you promote awesome products, that actually help your audience, they will thank you for it, and probably recommend your site to their friends. That means a bigger audience and, potentially, more commissions.
5. Educate your audience on the benefits of the products you’re pedalling
Savvy consumers can spot an advertisement from a mile away these days. It’s all becoming all too easy to ignore a display ad. So, instead, use other means to educate your audience about the benefits of the products or services with which you are affiliated. For instance, if you have used the product (as recommended above) pen a blog post which details your experience with the product. Just be sure to indicate that the post is sponsored. Educate your audience on what the product is, what it does, and how it can improve their lives.
6. Distribute educational material via social media channels
Generally speaking, people are on social media to be social, not to be sold to. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t leverage social media channels (very occasionally) for affiliate marketing purposes. If you have published a blog post about the benefits of a product or service, distribute said post via your social media channels. Just remember not to be too pushy, and not to do this too often. Your fans and followers will soon tire of your spammy ways, and look elsewhere for their news and entertainment.
7. Give people multiple opportunities to click on your affiliate links
Given that people can spot advertisements from a mile away, it is always a good idea to provide your website visitors with multiple opportunities to access affiliate links on your site. So, maybe a display ad on your website homepage, as well as a direct hyperlink in a couple of blog posts. Be careful though. Do not simply cram as many links as you possible can onto your website. It’s simply not a good look. It makes you look spammy. As we said earlier, the purpose of your website should be to inform, educate, or entertain, not to function as an online late-night telemarketing-esque tool.
8. Devise a special deal
See if you can nut out a special deal for your audience with your affiliate advertiser. Offer your audience a discount, or a free trial, or a free set of steak knives, if they purchase the product through your website. Then promote the special deal, rather than just the product or service alone.
9. Thank your audience
If you can, get your hands on the contact details of any of your audience members that click through and purchase a product or service from your affiliate advertiser. Shoot them a quick thank you email and maybe even give them a surprise freebie – an e-book or a special VIP piece of content are great options. That way, your audience member gets little bit of special treatment, and might even be more likely to purchase something through your website again.
10. Test and try again
If you try a certain affiliate marketing program or approach, and it doesn’t work, try again. Test different implementation methods. Move display ads around. Try posting social media status updates at different times of the day. Offer different types of specials or bonus deals. And make sure you keep accurate reporting data on all of these different approaches. Then, work out exactly what is the best approach for your audience, your website, your brand.
Hopefully, our tips have helped somewhat. Affiliate marketing can be quite a tricky concept to navigate. It is a very fine line between being a helpful, authoritative source (who recommends products because they believe in them, and want to help their audience), and being a completely spammy, untrustworthy, used-car-like-salesman. The best piece of advice when it comes to affiliate marketing: if it doesn’t feel right, or you don’t want to associate your name with it, then don’t do it.
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