If you are looking for a side income or considering a full-time career online – affiliate marketing is one of the great options to get started.
The affiliate market is growing steadily and has a very low barrier of entry. There are many strategies on how to tackle this digital marketing niche, including even those that require no financial investment – just time and dedication. That is what also makes this market highly competitive.
In this post, we will share several tips for new affiliate marketers that we wish we knew when starting out. Let’s get to it.
Don’t Stress Over Small Things
One of the main mistakes that we frequently see – is spending a lot of time where it doesn’t matter. For example:
Domain name. It is a good idea to choose a versatile, easy to remember domain – but do not spend too much time thinking about it, at the end of the day it does not matter. There are many sites with ridiculous names making several millions of dollars a year. Make sure it is a .com domain though.
Hosting. The same thing, do not spend days choosing the ”right” hosting program. Just search for any list of web hosting services (and there are plenty of those online). Check top-five and just pick the one you like visually and price-wise. It does not matter, you can switch hosting anytime down the road.
Social Profiles. You need to have them in place, but do not go overly into detail. Create your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts but there is no need to spend hours on design and finetuning.
Kate Roth, a marketing specialist from Ivory Research, states that the main idea is to spend as much time as possible where it really matters – creating a funnel that will make conversions. It may seem that choosing the right hosting package for 3 days is being productive – it is not. You may as well keep drawing number eight all day. Focus on the money.
Design Does Not Matter That Much
If you will look around some affiliate website examples, you will soon ask yourself a question – how can this horribly looking website make five figures a month? Yes, it can and it happens quite frequently.
We see people spending days, even weeks tinkering with a landing page builder trying to make their perfect website. Sure, having a design that looks good and that you personally like makes sense. But being indecisive where to put a menu, or how the buttons should look is just a waste of time at this stage.
Make sure that your website is a good fit for what you are planning to sell or the type of traffic you want to drive. For example, if you plan to engage heavily in SEO, your page will be content heavy, if you plan to drive traffic from Pinterest – you will be more relying on images (one does not have to exclude the other).
Ignore Shiny Objects
When you are starting, you will be heavily influenced by who is making how much. Who wouldn’t be, right?
While it is ok to draw inspiration and have living proof that something works, do not immediately run after it. You do not know for sure if the results are real, or if the person presenting you their achievements is not hiding something.
If you decided on a niche. Stick with it. A lot of people go into affiliate marketing because they think that they just buy ads from Facebook, send clicks to the affiliate link and they have created a passive income. This will not happen. If it does, go buy a lottery ticket, you seem to have the universe on your side.
When the desired result did not appear in 2 days, new affiliates change niches, switch from content marketing to email, leave Facebook ads and go to Youtube, etc. all based on the post they read somewhere and when nothing is working out they say “I have tried 5 different niches and none of them work!”. After that, they quit affiliate marketing.
Choose one vertical and stick to it.
You can improve only the things that you can measure and affiliate marketing is all about improvement. To move forward, you must constantly tweak and upgrade, and that requires a very deep analysis of what is working and what is not.
The ultimate goal is to follow the visitor from the moment they start interacting with your ads (or page) until the moment they make a conversion. For these cases, a link tracker will be of great use.
There are cases when you can make it a bit easier on yourself. For instance, Facebook (and the vast majority of other ad networks) has a “tracking pixel” which you can use to track the actions of the visitors and know which ad works best for conversions.
Collect Emails From Day One
Do not wait until you will have 100 visitors a day. Choose one of the email marketing services, and go with it. As in earlier examples, do not spend too much time contemplating which is the right one just look at the top 3 and choose the one you like.
Choose an option that allows you to have a notable amount of subscribers for free, at this stage you will just be collecting emails and building your list.
Setting up the email opt-in on your site will take minutes. You do not have to prepare a huge email chain. Just make sure that the sales copy on the opt-in is good and related to the interest of your visitors. After that prepare, one welcome email, and you are done for now.
All the big email lists start with that first subscriber, so make sure to get yours as soon as possible.
Go Where The Money Is
Having a hobby or an interest is a great thing and many sites will tell you that the best way to start with affiliate marketing is in a niche that you love. Sounds good, but what if my hobby is miniature paintings? Can I make money in that niche? Sure thing. Can I make a lot of affiliate income in it – no. It is a very niche market with very few monetization options.
When choosing an affiliate vertical do not rely purely on your interests, go where there are commissions to be made, and where there is plenty of competition between companies fighting for your clicks.
Affiliate Marketing is a long road, you do not want to spend it on something that in the end will pay for one lunch at best.
Talk With Your Affiliate Manager
When you register to an affiliate network, and there is a contact on your affiliate manager – drop them an email.
If you already know how you will drive traffic, you can ask them what type of offers are the best performers or what would they suggest that you promote. You can get a lot of valuable ideas and tips in this email exchange.
The goal of affiliate networks is to maximize your sales. They might be reluctant to talk to you since they will see that you drove zero sales – but that happens rarely. Usually, the affiliate managers are very helpful and try to provide you with all the tools you need to succeed.
Analysis Paralysis means that instead of doing – you keep learning, studying and analyzing the subject. Essentially you are substituting action with analysis, comforting yourself by the fact that you are doing something.
You may soon discover that while you spent two months thinking of the perfect niche, a perfect page, and the cheapest traffic source, some guy just randomly pointed a finger at a niche, created a lander in 40 minutes, tested 5 traffic sources, and is now making money, while you are still nowhere.
It is ok to learn about affiliate marketing. There is a lot of information on various forums, Youtube, blogs, and even some free webinar platform events. Just make sure you are learning about traffic sources, conversions, landing page designs, and not listening to somebody saying how much they made and how it changed their life.
Do Not Buy Courses
Do not buy any info products or courses about affiliate marketing. You do not need them, all the information is available for free. Save the money and use it to test paid traffic.
When you will become an advanced digital marketer you might consider paying for a specific piece of knowledge that you know you are missing. It will be something technical and a very particular piece to your overall business puzzle.
But at this point, don’t. When you are starting, self-educate.
Automate As Much As Possible
Many affiliates frequently make the mistake of not knowing in which business they are in. Some think that they are in the research business, so they read and watch educational videos all the time. Some consider themselves to be in the content writing business, so they are spending the majority of their time writing content. Some affiliates think they are in the email lookup business, so they spend most of their time doing that.
After 3 months, the time passed but they did not move anywhere. Outsource and automate everything you can to free your hands for what matters the most – fitting all pieces together to make a profit. Depending on your financial situation:
- Outsource content to a writer. You will find plenty at many sites (for example Pro Blogger).
- Let a content calendar plan your social media posts.
- Use free Canva templates for your visuals.
- Leverage free bulk email services so you can cut time on sending outreach emails.
Your goal is to create a funnel that will generate profit, not spend 2 days sending out emails and learning Photoshop.
Will you have to spend money to automate? Yes. Otherwise, you will have to spend time.
Know Your Traffic
Traffic is the king. It is easier to monetize traffic than get traffic for an offer. So make sure that you have personally experienced all the main traffic sources. This will help you to build your reference base and get a feel of what may work for a particular offer.
Set up accounts and drive a bit of testing traffic to your page from paid ad managers of Google, Facebook, and Pinterest. If you want to extend that a bit more go for Twitter and TikTok.
Try to buy your first influencer shoutout on Instagram. Analyze how hard it will be to rank your primary and secondary keywords on Google organically.
You can have all your accounts ready in about an hour, and in a couple of days, you will have experienced all the main platforms.
This way you will discover that:
- Promoting iGaming and Casinos through standard channels is impossible;
- Insurance-related keywords may cost several hundred dollars for one click;
- The volume of clicks that you get in a day for “miniature soldier painting” is too small.
After this test, you will have a much easier time deciding on the affiliate product that you plan to promote.
Do Not Over-Extend
You will be tempted to join a wide variety of affiliate offers. All of them will have great landing pages, promise outstanding commissions and all in all be very appealing.
Do not go overboard on that. After the discussion with your AM, choose a couple of affiliate programs, and go with them.
Becoming successful in affiliate marketing is about taking one thing and doing it perfectly. If you must, take a day or two and be all over the place. Throw things against the wall and see if it sticks. But always have this one project that you are doing no matter what.
Consider Promoting Digital Products
Digital tools, products, and services have much higher profit margins than physical goods. Various digital tools, lesson series on online course platforms, even ebooks are all good choices for affiliate marketing.
Digital goods do not need to be stored and there is only a one time fixed production cost. Therefore the creators are making more, so they can pay you more.
Be careful to choose good products. Particularly in the area of info products, there are a lot of various scams, rich quick schemes, money blueprints, and other similar nonsense.
Do not get lured in with the vision of quick profit which you can make on selling these false promises. Rather, research good products and promote those. While you will have to do your research, good places to start are affiliate networks as Commission Junctions or Shareasale.
This will also serve as a learning experience for the latest phases of your affiliate marketing career. If you look at most top digital marketers you will notice a common denominator – they all sell their own products. That is because of the control they have over it and the possibility to keep the whole margin. At that stage, you will be setting up your own affiliate programs and moving to the other side onto a position of an advertiser, rather than a publisher.
If there would be one tip that we would like to emphasize – it would be consistency. In contrast to popular belief, affiliate marketing is not a road to overnight riches.
There are no magic formulas, no hidden path, and no secret strategies. All the information that you might ever need is in public access, anybody can read it and start implementing it today.
But not everyone will be able to keep the same level of dedication after days, weeks and months go by without any results. That is why consistency is one of the most important traits of any affiliate marketer.
Vlad is a founder and blogger at Costofincome.com, where he writes about digital marketing and online businesses.
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This blog post is about:
- Tips For New Affiliate Marketers
- Affiliate Marketing
- 13 Tips For New Affiliate Marketers
- Digital Marketing