Start by experiencing the product for yourself. You’re now going to be representing it, so you need to know what benefits it has to your audience. Offer the product to your readers in the way you think they would be using it. Photos and videos of you using the product in ways readers relate to will help build trust with you. Always keep your users’ experience in mind, and they will feel like it’s a recommendation just for them and be more willing to buy.
Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.
The best way to obtain website traffic is through free search engine referrals. However, obtaining traffic from the search engines takes time. You should expect to create content for your site for about 6 to 12 months before the search engines really start showing you some love. In the meantime, there are so many other places you can obtain website traffic from. That’s what these tutorial videos will show you. Everything form creating email marketing lists to social media marketing and even how to write a blog post to increase how many people share it – it’s all there. This is the best tutorial section to go through first because it will lead to returns sooner.
Know when (and when not) to use Viglinks and Skimlinks. If you applied to an affiliate program but were denied, you might be able to still be an affiliate for that advertiser through a secondary affiliate program like VigLink or Skimlinks. Basically, they themselves are affiliates and will split their affiliate commission with you if you put their affiliate link in your content for an advertiser. Obviously, the commission rate is lower for you in this case, so if you ever are accepted into the advertiser’s affiliate program directly, immediately switch from using VigLink / Skimlinks affiliate links to your own.
The frequency and method of payment vary as well. Most programs pay their affiliates monthly, although a few pay more frequently. Some require that affiliate earnings reach a specific threshold, which can be as low as $25 or as high as $100. Some programs don't have a threshold. There are programs that pay through direct deposit into your bank, but a vast number pay through PayPal.
Take advantage of marketing tools whenever possible. Many affiliate programs offer useful resources to their affiliates aimed at helping affiliates make more sales. These range from monthly newsletters highlighting upcoming sales, tips or affiliate case studies, Facebook Groups just for affiliates, private webinars explaining marketing strategies in depth and more. Ultimate Bundles does this exceptionally well.
Will my target audience realistically buy this now, or at a different time? Be sensitive to sales cycles and seasons. Maybe you should avoid holidays (when people are away from their computers, like July 4 in the U.S.) or maybe you should target holidays (like the day after Thanksgiving), but know the difference. Again, know your audience. Plan your content accordingly.
Affiliate marketing currently lacks industry standards for training and certification. There are some training courses and seminars that result in certifications; however, the acceptance of such certifications is mostly due to the reputation of the individual or company issuing the certification. Affiliate marketing is not commonly taught in universities, and only a few college instructors work with Internet marketers to introduce the subject to students majoring in marketing.
Other tools include Act On, MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc. There are many email service providers and marketing automation services to chose from so it is vital you pick one that is right for your business needs and growth development. We have a comprehensive Email marketing and marketing automation buyers guide to help with the selection process.
Many tools now offer more than one service - you'll find that they each have their own USP but it'll get quite expensive if you have subscriptions to every tool available. We recommend having a good selection of free and premium tools to give you a full 360-degree insight into your target audiences search behaviour and making sure your site is fully search engine optimized.
Once you sign up for affiliate marketing with a site like CJ or Pepperjam or maybe even utilize an agency, you are supercharging your affiliate marketing. However, often coupon sites like RetailMeNot and Coupons.com will become part of your affiliate network and will likely drive the largest chunk of revenue. On paper, the numbers look great. They’re your top performers. The reality is a little different.
Outsourcing is so crucially important because that is how you will take your affiliate marketing business from just a small business that makes you a few extra bucks per month to a 5 or 6 figure monster that earns you a passive income. While one site is being outsourced and making you money, you can build a second one. While those two are outsourced and making you money, you can build a third one, and so on. So many new affiliate marketers take their first commission checks and just spend in on themselves. If they re-invested that into outsourcing instead, the returns would be much bigger. My business didn’t truly start taking off until I learned about the power of outsourcing.
Now, truth be told, affiliate marketing does come with some costs. Fortunately, those costs are rather small when compared to starting other businesses. For example, if you want to succeed with affiliate marketing in the same way that I teach it, you’ll need a website. In order to have a website, you need to pay for “website hosting”. If you don’t know what website hosting is, don’t worry, we’ll get to that, but website hosting does cost a few bucks per month (generally under $10 / mo). If you have about $40 for startup costs and about $10 / mo for recurring expenses, this is entirely doable. There are many other optional expenses for affiliate marketing, which I will also get into, but those optional expenses are used more for speeding up the path to success (outsourcing, etc.) rather than a requirement for success. When I first started my affiliate marketing business, I had about $200 to my name.
The phrase, "Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business", which is often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little if any influence on a possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the advertiser's website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control and influence up to the point where the prospect either a) signs the contract, or b) completes the purchase.
I find that everything you need for AdWords can be given to you by using the Adwords Campaign Management dashboard, keyword planner tool, and other search engine keyword tools. Essentially, you're looking for keywords to target on search, but instead, you're paying for it. What tools you use depends on your paid search strategy - you may want to target paid keywords that you don't / can't organically rank for (which would be a wise decision). However, if you want help chosing the best keywords and reporting on campaigns, other tools that you can use include:
Watch them. How are other content creators in your niche utilizing advertising? What types of ads do they use? What are they promoting? What do they talk about repeatedly (if you keep seeing the same affiliate product show up again and again, there’s a good chance they’re making good money from it)? If you see a product or service they talk about that jogs your memory and you can ethically promote it too, find affiliate information by the methods described above.
Some advertisers offer multi-tier programs that distribute commission into a hierarchical referral network of sign-ups and sub-partners. In practical terms, publisher "A" signs up to the program with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the agreed activity conducted by a referred visitor. If publisher "A" attracts publishers "B" and "C" to sign up for the same program using his sign-up code, all future activities performed by publishers "B" and "C" will result in additional commission (at a lower rate) for publisher "A".
ShoeMoney – This blog, run by Jeremy Schoemaker, also boasts insider knowledge about obtaining the Dot Com Lifestyle. His philosophy and business model is predicated on three ideas: Embrace new trends and look for opportunities to exploit them; focus on what you know; and small changes can equal big revenue. ShoeMoney.com shares information on how to be successful amid the ups and downs of online marketing. Schoemaker also offers a free online training program.