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Is affiliate marketing a good source of income?
While that’s one of the most frequently asked questions and several bloggers and marketers will tell you it is, let’s be honest.
Affiliate marketing can be an incredible way to get RICH quick only when done right.
You need more than just an affiliate link to earn dollars – time, patience, and a lot of strategies will help you succeed!
Given that, can you become a successful affiliate marketer then?
Of course, you can! And here’s how to rock it.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the best way for some extra income, or you can make it your profession too. In simple words, it is the oldest and the most effective forms of marketing where a person refers someone to any online product/service, and when the other person buys the product on your recommendation, you get a commission from the seller.
Concept of Affiliate Marketing:
The entire concept of affiliate marketing is based on revenue sharing. Got a product and plan to sell more, just offer promoters a lucrative financial incentive through an affiliate program. Enjoy!
Got no product and still want to make money? Promote a product that you feel has value and earn a commission when people buy it.
When you promote products of others with a motive of getting a commission, you become an affiliate marketer.
Now you know the basics of affiliate marketing and interested in making money out if, what do you do next? You choose the best affiliate marketing program for you!
Affiliate marketing business is governed by some guidelines, strategies, and rules. Not every type of product or program is going to bring you dollars. To make sure you invest your energy and time into the right one, here’s how to make the right choice.
How to choose the highest-paying affiliate Marketing Program?
Affiliate marketing is all about making more and more money as quickly as possible without offering any product.
The key here is to choose the most profitable network that will bring you the best outcomes. Not all affiliate programs are equally profitable. Your well-executed marketing efforts can get wasted if the program you chose isn’t paying out good commission.
The best trick to choose the highest-paying affiliate marketing program is to find a profitable market first and then find out the affiliate programs within that market.
Filter Down the Most Profitable (Not the Most Popular) Niche:
For most marketers, searching the perfect niche for affiliate marketing is one of the most annoying aspects.
A niche is any highly-specified market. It could be anything – like ayurvedic shampoo, wooden utensils, or organic cloth washing soap. Ayurvedic shampoos is a smaller market with less number of people buying it. This means the niche is easier to compete with than going against other shampoo titans like Tresemme or Dove. You should know the popular and trendiest shopping products (use Google Shopping Insights), cosmetics and other essential items
The idea behind choosing a highly-specified market is to start building authority in a specific market first and after getting enough traffic, gradually expanding to the broader market.
Suppose you have good knowledge of health and you choose it as the niche for affiliate marketing. You have 2 content writers, producing 8-10 quality contents per month and an SEO guy for basic SEO and their marketing. Now the problem is – the market is highly competitive for the niche “Health,” and it’s almost impossible to gain high authority in a short period. Eventually, low authority will result in less popularity of your blog, less traffic, and fewer clients who will buy from your blog and ultimately you’ll get less commission :(
Now let’s assume the other situation.
This time you have chosen skincare for men as your niche. Skincare for men has approx. 50-55% (*depending on the location) less competition than the health market. Now again, you’ve 2 content writers producing 8-10 quality content per month and an SEO guy for the basic SEO of these contents. This time, chances are very high that you’ll build a high authority in the niche “skincare for men” within of 3-6 months (*period depends on the frequency and quality of content you offer, and your marketing techniques).
So did you get the difference? Targeting a more popular niche is only going to increase your load.
It’s smarter to focus on a popular yet specified niche for reaping the benefits of affiliate marketing.
Always remember this Golden Rule: The key here is to target the broad category that you’ve researched and then use it to develop smaller niches within the same.
First master in a small niche and then spread your branches gradually.
Once you have decided the niche to target, next, you’ve to test your niche against:
- Competition, and
- How much money it will make in return.
To determine all the three aspects mentioned above, you need to check the most basic keywords on Adwords Keyword Planner. Make sure to double-check your keywords against 3 metrics, i.e., searches, competition, and CPC.
Searches and CPC of most keywords should be high while the competition should be medium or low.
Now Choose the Ideal Affiliate Program For You:
Now that you have successfully selected your niche for affiliate marketing, it’s time to choose a best-fitting affiliate program for you.
Before you do so, here are some related terminologies that will help you understand the concept of affiliate marketing better:
- Affiliate Marketplace/Network – Works as a database for affiliate programs in different niches.
- Affiliate Software – A software used for creating affiliate programs for a company’s product.
- Affiliate Link – A specific tracking link offered by your affiliate program for tracking progress and performance of your affiliate promotion.
- Affiliate ID – Much like an affiliate link, but several affiliate programs provide you with unique affiliate ID that can be added to any page of the product website.
- Commission Percentage – The percentage of commission that you will get as affiliate income from every sale.
- 2-tier Affiliate Marketing – It’s a method where you recommend others to join affiliate programs, and when the sub-affiliates make a sale, you also receive a commission. Pretty much like multi-level marketing (MLM), this process is also known as the sub-affiliate commission.
- Custom Affiliate Income/Account – A custom affiliate income or account is provided to those affiliates who bring the most sales for the company.
- Custom Coupons – Some companies allow their affiliates to create custom coupons. These coupons are also helpful in tracking sales. Custom discount coupons also help in increasing affiliate sales.
- Product Website – These websites are sites created around the products offered. Such sites provide details about a product (s) including description, reviews, testimonials, specifications, and more. The primary purpose of a product website is to promote a product, regardless of who sells it.
- Threshold – The payment threshold refers to the minimum accumulated commission an affiliate must earn to initiate a payment from the affiliate program.
- Cookie Period – A cookie is a value saved on the client’s system. By default, cookie duration is 30 days. Now if a user visits your site via an affiliate link and buys the product within these 30 days, the associated affiliate will receive the commission for it.
The best places for beginners to find affiliate products are ClickBank, ShareASale and Commission Junction. Depending on your niche, you can choose the best affiliate products to promote and earn a commission.
Here are the top 5 Affiliate programs along with their pros and cons:
- Google Adsense – Google Adsense is the most popular affiliate program. The platform is owned and run by Google and ranks as the most profitable affiliate network at present. Publishers who’ve signed up for the network are offered advertisement units and invited to monetize ads posted by Google on their website or blog via their account. You are given a unique code for generating ad codes for your site and get started.
- Less traffic required (100 or more/day).
- Multiple options to monetize other than ad posting, including feeds, mobile sites, online games, searches, videos.
- Multiple ad formats – display ads, link media, text ads, and video ads.
- 30 languages apart from English to apply while working.
- Better revenue share.
- You can select the payment option as per your need.
- Strict rules on the uniqueness of content.
- No option to withdraw money below $100.
2. Amazon Associates – Amazon Associates is the most diverse affiliate program that covers around 16 million products and millions of affiliates across the globe. The mechanism of the platform is highly convenient and user-friendly, which makes it a perfect money-making option for people who have no technological background. There are some advanced features available to the publishers, for example, APIs. You can choose from high ticket or small ticket market affiliate program.
- Simple, Intuitive, Clear, and best program for both rookies and experts.
- Flexible – more than 1 million products to promote on your site.
- Low commission (roughly 4%).
- The payment model is little unfavorable. You can’t withdraw money before the sales complete 60 days.
3. Commission Junction – The CJ Affiliate is one of the most expensive affiliate programs. It covers the primary listings and merchants of a high class. It’s more like a tailor-made option for the online retail industry. There is a wide range of creative sizes offered by the advertisers. You have full control over the performance of the program. Being an extensive affiliate network, it has emerged as one of the most popular and ideal affiliate channels till date.
- Benefit from the vast network. With thousands of merchants and flexible terms.
- 20% commission on every deal.
- Payment at the end of each month.
- Excellent reporting capability for performance optimization.
- Constant monitoring and management, which might be overwhelming for beginners.
4. ClickBank – It’s a program that has been especially designed for the affiliate program for people with a good background in the digital world. There more 12000+ vendors, one million affiliates, and secure payment terms. You can’t rely on it as an affiliate program. It’s just a payment processor with a pinch of great affiliate marketing element.
- 6000+ products available for promotion. After you get the ID, there’s no need to register each product individually.
- Products sold are mostly digital, implying more commission (up to 70% of sales in the best case scenario.
- Assured payment directly to your account every week or bi-weekly.
- The first payment is affected by customer distribution and payment threshold.
- Any harm to the product sold on your site or a product scam can negatively affect your repo and income as well.
5. ShareASale – The platform has around 3, 800 merchants listed, where the majority of them are ShareASale exclusive (no similar products available anywhere else). The premium affiliate program offers you multiple options like – Average Amount Sale, Average Commission, Earning Per Click, and Reversal Sale. You get a suggestive illustration of the performance of your campaign on the basis of uniqueness and attractiveness.
- A vast network of 3,800 merchant partners, offering completely unique products.
- Multiple options for comparison.
- Quick payment. Payment on 20th of each month and minimum balance required is only $50.
- The reporting interface is bit outdated and less intuitive.
Now that you’ve understood the basic terms related to affiliate marketing and the best programs to choose from, it’s time to list the key points to consider while comparing various affiliate programs.
Here’s the checklist:
- Relevancy – Make sure the Affiliate program has the products relevant to your niche.
- Domain Age – Check the domain age of the website.
- DA and PA – DA should be minimum 25.
- Spam Score – The spam score of the website should not be more than 5.
- Monthly Traffic – With the DA of 25, traffic should be around 4-5k.
- Location Covered – This entirely depends on you that whether you want to target the local or global market. We would suggest you target the global market as it’ll have low risk and high commission.
- Commission – Choose the affiliate program with the maximum commission. It may vary from 2-7%.
- Threshold – It is 100$ most of the times. The lesser it is the better for you!
- Cookies period – The more the better. 45 days is the maximum cookie period.
Some obvious but essential tips:
- Don’t just default to the high commission product in the category.
- Pick the one you think is the best for you.
- Find out the threshold for payment, payment frequency, payment method, and other factors, so you know how and when you’ll be paid.
- Familiarize yourself with the chargeback policy, detailed in the affiliate terms.
How to Promote Affiliate Products?
Promoting affiliate products is the backbone of the entire game. If you are not advertising the products well over the Internet, you won’t get any sales no matter how great the products are!
But how do you promote products for the best results? Here’s some help.
Review posts: Reviews are a great way of not only interacting with your customers but also informing them of products. As the author of reviews, write something about the product and leave a link from where people can buy it. You can also try to feature a product on their blogging or social networking channel. In return for the honest feedback, you can provide a discount or a free product for trial to the review author.
How-to articles: A how-to article works well whenever it comes to promoting affiliate products. It works best for technical products or a product that needs instruction for using it. You can write DIY articles in different formats like tutorials, tips and tricks, complete guide, and more. These articles are not only handy for the consumer but also improves your search engine ranking.
Add banners and buttons to your site: Banner ads work well when you start getting targeted organic traffic. For many, the majority of conversions come from banner clicks. DON’T add too many banner ads or buttons on the entire site or sidebar as it will do nothing but confuse and bother your reader.
Social Media: You can promote your products on various social media channels (Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) for brand promotion so that people know and talk about you. You can also promote your Affiliate products via YouTube Marketing.
Coupon Posting: Post offers coupons on various coupon posting websites with your business name so that people can visit your website and you get traffic and popularity.
E-mail Marketing: You should have an email newsletter subscription format so that people can subscribe to the monthly newsletter. Apart from that, you can collect the database of users’ email (the more you can get the better) and send them emails regarding the products you are promoting through your website.
PPC and other Paid ads: Once you get some visibility and brand awareness, you can run paid campaigns on Google and Facebook. This is for later phase.
SEO: SEO is an excellent approach for promoting your affiliate products overthe web. Even though it’s difficult, you can improve the visibility of the products via organic or algorithmic search results. You wouldn’t get instant results, yet it’s fruitful in the long term.
Forums: Find some popular forums in the niche of the products you are offering and leave feedback and reviews there with a link to your product website. Many consumers visit forums for help and queries, so it’s a great way to promote your product on such a platform where people are already looking for info about it.
Backlink and channel following: You can search for some affiliates who are doing great and can follow their backlinks and channels from where they are promoting their websites.
BONUS – 3 Things no one will tell you about Affiliate Marketing
There are 3 secrets that people rarely tell about affiliate marketing:
- The earnings can be big, but it’s not necessary that it will remain consistent forever.
- Even after meeting the minimum threshold, there can be a delay before you get paid. Sometimes the customer may want to return the product; you will not get paid until it’s resolved.
- You might get rejected as an affiliate for no reasons or for not meeting the standards by some affiliate programs.
So now you have enough good reasons to join the network of affiliate marketing. It’s a decent way to make income by promoting things you like, or your audience loves.
The wiser decision is to partner with reputed merchants, who offer you decent commission and your readers good discounts.
There’s no need to shy about putting affiliate links wherever you can. Only advice is to promote only those products that you have tried, or you are sure about. Make a vision for the long run with quality content that speaks to people. Getting the audience to believe and like you are the base for creating a successful affiliate empire.