Let’s face it – we all want the same thing – enough money, earned while we sleep, so we don’t have to face the morning commute or the late hours and so we get more time at home and with the family. But we still have bills to pay, so what can you do? Affiliate marketing may be the answer you are looking for.
The idea is that you promote the products and services of other people, through a strong network and the cash rolls in from the commission you earn if someone buys because of your marketing efforts. It’s a very clever form of sharing revenue for companies, they have a product and so offer promoters an incentive to market it on their behalf. Or for you, promoting something you believe in and earning an income sounds like the perfect job.
Sound’s simple doesn’t it? It can be, and it can be a fantastic way to bring in extra income, enough for all those little luxuries we all love to have. But buyer beware! If you aren’t careful you can put in a lot of effort for very little return. So we have put together six key steps for ensuring you are a successful affiliate marketer.
Before we give you these pointers for success there are two crucial things you need to have : a love of what you do and a belief in the products you are selling and not just a desire to make a quick buck. Without this you will fail. No question. Now we’ve got that harsh message out of the way, here are the six steps you need to follow to be really successful and live that dream.
1. Know Your Product Better than Anyone
Don’t just pick a product you think is okay – lots of products have great blogs but don’t sell products. You need to know your products, be passionate about it, understand the market (both the product market and customer market) if you are going to be able to effectively sell the product (s).
In other words you need to sound like you are an expert and this means research and the ability to present the information you have gathered in a fun and engaging way. Product descriptions are great (and important) but the extra wow value is what marketing successful.
If you don’t believe in your product or know about your market no-one will read or respond to your marketing efforts. Inspirational stories of success with a diet or fitness product give the personal touch that readers – and thus potential customers – want if they are going to be convinced to buy the product from your marketing appeals.
Know your competitors, make comparisons and show why the product you are promoting is the best on the market. Lack lustre selling of a mediocre product will not give you the return you want nor will wrong information or a lack of research. So knowing and loving your market is vital.
2. Being Creative is About Seeing the Same Thing as Everyone Else, But Thinking of Something Different.
Words, words and more words. That’s the key to effective marketing. It’s not the quantity of words but the way you use them to draw in customers that will define whether you are a successful affiliate marketer or not.
Visitors want information that can be trusted, checked and which is honest and accurate – all of that is true. But they also want to be entertained, amused, and drawn in to your experiences with the product so that they can see if this matches up with their own. The more you give them the more they will give to you. Today’s marketing is two-way and based on relationships so if you have found your niche, and can write about it, engage customers, encourage their feedback and they will come back for more because they trust your judgement and words.
Remember, words are free – it’s how you use them that will cost you. The right words, with the right mix of entertainment and information can be the difference between a sale and a profit or failure as an affiliate marketer. And, importantly, the words need to be accurate and backed up by actual information – don’t make up superfluous information about service deliveries, product capabilities or anything else – that will cost you trust and customers.
So, when you create your blog or website as a vehicle for the products you are choosing to market, make it engaging, visually interesting and importantly easy to navigate. No-one wants to spend time trying to figure out how to get from one part of a website to another.
Be professional and take the time to get it right – it may take a while and many changes but once it’s done you can be confident of a good return. And remember your content needs to avoid the hard sell – today’s customer’s want to be wooed, seduced and slowly converted by engaging content and easy access – not constant demands to purchase products.
3. Details Matter on Product Choice
So, you’ve found your niche, you’ve set up a fantastic website that’s graphically beautiful, full of lovely images, creative writing and informative articles. Fabulous, and now comes the fun part – adding the products you’ve decided to market. Remember, eagles don’t fly with pigeons – so don’t put a low cost product with a premium one.
Sounds like common sense doesn’t it? But even professional marketing departments put together products that just don’t match; not a mistake you should make with your affiliate marketing website or blog. If the focus of your site is healthy lifestyles for example, make sure all the products are underlining this focus.
If you’ve managed to establish a baseline of readers by this stage with your creative and interesting posts (see Step 2), then they want to see products that match what you have promised. At the same time don’t choose a product that is likely to have a short popular lifespan. It might seem like that diet pill is going to be a major money spinner but is it just a flash in the pan that will lose you reputation and readers when it goes into decline.
Find the products, use them, test them and then share that experience with your readers. It gives a much more personal focus and authenticity to your selling approach if you can tell your customers about your own experience with the products. Steve Jobs said “details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right” and he knew his stuff.
So, wait till you find the right products to match your niche and that can deliver real value to our customers – choosing things that look like money makers is bound to fail in the long term if they aren’t tailored right to your customers and your blog focus.
4. Use Multiple Platforms
Most affiliate marketers now use email marketing, creating contact lists, and developing professional campaigns that they can send out to subscribers. Remember subscribing to your blog can be set up as a free service that offers exclusive information and details and gives you access to their email addresses. So not only can you then raise your profile you can also build stronger relationships with your followers.
But is that enough? Aren’t people fed up with spam emails today we hear you ask. It’s a valid question but there are still benefits to using email as a marketing tool – direct contact with customers, offering special deals and discounts and all designed to increase your sales – and ultimately commission.
At the same time, you should never reject the power of social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all over major potential for increasing traffic to your blog or website. Visuals, graphics, offers all of these can be used to raise your own profile as an expert in your field, influence potential customers and give you increased sales for your affiliations.
And yes, there needs to be consistency across all platforms because to be successful you must also ensure you retain your candor, reputation and influence as a promoter of desirable products in your niche.
5. An Investment in Knowledge Pays The Best Interest
Fantastic. You’ve found your niche, set up your blog or website, the links to your social media are buzzing and the money is rolling in. So you can put your feet up, right? Wrong?
Marketing and especially affiliate marketing is evolving, changing and adapting to the commercial environment all the time. So you should too. If you’re not following other blogs and constantly re-examining your product mix and content you can become dull, boring and noncompetitive.
Also find something new and different to talk about that will encourage promotion of the products you selling. Step 2 says that to be creative you need to see something new in an old vision. Be the Picasso or the Leonardo da Vinci of affiliate marketing. Look at the marketing in a new way, show a different picture of how the product can be used and stand out from the crowd.
Successful affiliate marketing is about being different and interesting yes, and engaging, we can’t deny that. But without a solid foundation in good knowledge of the market and the overall competitive environment your website or blog are built on sand. Being special and showing innovation not just in your products, but in the way you present them and continue to as your relationships with customers evolve.
Investing in new products that are consistent with your blog focus is an effective way of ensuring that your customers view you as at the forefront of the field, and that your information (and products) can be trusted.
6. A journey of 1000 miles starts with a signal step.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your business will not be built up overnight. Over and over again in our steps we have pushed the importance of knowledge and a strong foundation that shows expertise and thus trust in your recommendations.
But at the same time, your customers want to feel special. They want their questions answered. This is crucial as you set out on your affiliate marketing journey – your new readers will want to know they can trust your responses before they buy from you.
They want to know that you are looking after them and their interests, and not just after their money. Becoming an affiliate marketer might get you way from the daily commute but it won’t mean you can retire (at least not yet). Like any fledgling business, becoming an affiliate marketer means keeping a close eye on your traffic, your products and your customers needs, which we all know will be constantly changing. So keep up to date with trends in your field, and trends in social media use, take one step at a time and you will be well on your way to successful affiliate marketing.
So that’s our advice on the steps you need to follow to be successful. Take your time, be passionate about your products, (and your customers), be consistent, be honest, and be accurate with your information.
Yes, there are lots of other areas you can consider like SEO (search engine optimization) to put your site at the top of a google search. And, if you want the trust necessary to be an effective affiliate marketer, use approaches that are focused on human interaction and not through the use of keywords. You can focus content on seasonal holidays – turning that creative mind to good use to engage customers during Christmas or Summer optimum selling periods.
But above all, you need to remember the 3 key factors of loving/knowing your product, giving enough time to your website, and being engaging without a hard sell. Follow those rules and the six steps we have given you here and you will be well on your way to achieving that dream of no commute, work from home and have the life you want.
About the Author
Anna Clarke is the owner of online writing company 15 Writers. She is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in freelancing, academic dissertation writing consulting, specialising in Business, Economics, Finance, Marketing and Management.