While affiliate marketing can be used to successfully monetize a site, there are risks involved that marketers need to be aware of. The one area I see consistently under-acknowledged is the ever-increasing danger of fraud. Affiliate marketing has its own unique range of fraud challenges. Cookie stuffing is a great example. That’s where the affiliate, unbeknownst to the advertiser, attaches cookies from multiple advertisers to every visitor — whether that customer clicked on an ad or not. If the shopper later makes a transaction at any of those sites, the affiliate can attempt to claim a commission.
Affiliate marketing is also called "performance marketing", in reference to how sales employees are typically being compensated. Such employees are typically paid a commission for each sale they close, and sometimes are paid performance incentives for exceeding objectives. Affiliates are not employed by the advertiser whose products or services they promote, but the compensation models applied to affiliate marketing are very similar to the ones used for people in the advertisers' internal sales department.
I think there are a couple main reasons why the research aspect is so overlooked in affiliate marketing. The first reason is, people are just lazy. Most new affiliate marketers are only thinking about making money in the shortest period of time, so they simply choose a niche and build a site in their first day. Then, months go by with little to no website traffic and they proclaim that affiliate marketing no longer works. Considering affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar per year industry driving about 20% of all online sales, that of course isn’t true. Most people just don’t do the research necessary to truly find a profitable niche that is in demand without too much competition.
Always be on the lookout for eye-catching affiliate ads as you browse the web. Keep a document or Pinterest board of great ads that you can reference. This helps you in many ways — you’ll stay current on design trends, you’ll see what competitors are creating and you’ll be inspired. Plus, when the time comes to create an amazing ad, you’ll be ready.
If you’re going to sign up for any of their premium services, I personally recommend you sign up for this business building package. Basically, you are paying their experts to go out and perform market research, build a website for you, build you an email responder that will automatically email your subscribers for one year, and create the first handful of content pages. They will also help you research the best affiliate products to promote and give you access to special one-on-one coaching that is only available for their paying members. Check it out if you have the funding to get this type of jump start. Outsourcing from day 1 is ideal if you have the funds available, especially when you are outsourcing to a team of people managed by affiliate marketing millionaires.
Two-tier programs exist in the minority of affiliate programs; most are simply one-tier. Referral programs beyond two-tier resemble multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing but are different: Multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing associations tend to have more complex commission requirements/qualifications than standard affiliate programs.
TalkWalker Alerts - This is a free alerts tool to help you find versatile opportunities for link building quite easily - for instance if you set up alerts for your brand name or keyword, you’re going to get a list of posts which mention your brand and/or keywords. You’d be surprised at how often people mention you but don’t link to you! After you're done identifying a list of these posts, reach out to the authors and request that they link back to you. You can track mentions on Twitter, blogs, and discussions.
Brand24 - Brand24 is simple online monitoring application. Use Brand24 to identify and analyze online conversations about their brands, products, and competitors. Brand24 provides a reliable, easy to use, and affordable solution that allows you to both track and engage online conversations relevant to your business. They also offer an influencer score insight to help you identify people with the most social influence.
Will my target audience realistically spend this amount for the product? Again, your reputation is on the line here. Is the product you are thinking of promoting priced reasonably for your audience? When I was writing my ebook, I was stuck on pricing. I asked around for opinions. A number of people suggested I price my ebook at $47! Their idea was to price according to value, not size. In my mind that was crazy. My network was composed of a lot of stay-at-home bloggers, and my collective audience was comprised mostly of people without a whole lot of disposable income. There was no way anyone was going to pay $47 for my 30-page ebook.
Affiliate marketing can be a big source of revenue. The key to maximizing your affiliate earnings is to provide additional value and to engage your readers. Unlike traditional ads where you are paid for impressions or clicks, affiliates are only paid if or when a specific action is performed. The action might be something as simple as signing up for a newsletter to submitting their zip code information up to having a sale completed. Regardless, you are not paid until you've compelled your readers to take some type of action.
Buzzsumo (Also offered as a Chrome extension) - Buzzsumo is great for seeing social shares of individual pages. Now, we've found that higher social shares do not necessarily equate to higher traffic or engagement as many people will like and share posts without reading them straight away or at all, but it's a great free tool that gives you a rough idea of how your post is performing on social media. However, if you're looking for more advanced social insights it also has a paid subscription which allows, social monitoring and alerts, Industry and key influencer research, content analysis, and backlink analysis (as previously discussed).
Thanks for all the information I am slowly working my way through your list of do’s and donts! ! I’ve been approached by a website that wants to develop editorial content for my blog featuring home improvement tips from their”national client” and pay me $40 a year for reviewing and publishing their content. Boy, I am just not sure how this all works? Any words for when we are approached by others to write for our blogs?
There’s a popular saying among affiliate marketers and that saying is “content is king.” Content is truly the lifeblood of any affiliate marketing business. So far, everything you have had to learn has actually been relatively easy. Learning how the affiliate marketing industry works is easy to understand once it’s explained to you. Doing market research is easy if you know what to look for. Creating a website is SUPER easy. Writing hundreds of pages of content? Not so easy.
In 2006, the most active sectors for affiliate marketing were the adult gambling, retail industries and file-sharing services.:149–150 The three sectors expected to experience the greatest growth are the mobile phone, finance, and travel sectors. Soon after these sectors came the entertainment (particularly gaming) and Internet-related services (particularly broadband) sectors. Also several of the affiliate solution providers expect to see increased interest from business-to-business marketers and advertisers in using affiliate marketing as part of their mix.:149–150
Mistake #3: Giving your friend’s product a glowing review without actually being familiar with your friend’s product. This happens a lot in the affiliate marketing (and book marketing) world unfortunately. It’s a “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” type of situation. By all means, give your friend a glowing review, but if you haven’t actually read their book or taken their course or tried their product, don’t talk about it as though you have. Readers deserve honest recommendations! (Here’s an example of me helping to announce the launch of my friend’s book while being clear I hadn’t read it.)
As the name implies, 1MC is a program that allows you to rack up a sizable number of clicks to your website in a very short time. It advertises itself as a “fake traffic generator” and that’s really what it is; it’s not going to earn you any money through commissions or referrals. It may earn you cash through pay per view ads, particularly if you use a proxy list, but its primary purpose is typically for testing. If you want to make sure your analytics are accurately reporting clicks, you can schedule a number of clicks through the software and track them. You can also set it to freely spam a site with clicks, to test the server under load. You should, of course, avoid targeting competitors; they won’t take kindly to an unwanted server stress test.