Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular online marketing models around. Thousands of marketers make anywhere from 3 figures to even 6 figures a month just by promoting other people’s products.
Unlike many other business models online such as ecommerce, product creation or Kindle publishing, affiliate marketing is a lot simpler because it has fewer ‘moving parts’.
There’s very little risk to it too. Bringing a new product to market will require a significant investment of time, effort and money from you. Affiliate marketing is much easier and relatively risk-free.
Why is affiliate marketing easier?
Since all you’ll be doing is promoting other people’s products for a commission, if a product you’re promoting doesn’t convert, you can always drop it and promote another.
Most successful affiliates are either excellent bloggers and/or they’re great at generating traffic. If a product is converting well, and you can presell it convincingly and drive traffic to it, sooner or later you’ll see conversions.
If you’re using paid advertising, you can always scale up and increase your commissions.
You’ll not need to learn how to create sales pages, set up payment processors, deal with customer issues or worry about creating a product that’s a winner. Finding a winning product is faster and easier than creating one.
Why affiliate marketing should be a part of your business
This is a very versatile business model that most online marketers will be able to do without adversely affecting their other businesses.
For example, let’s assume you’re selling a weight loss ebook and you have a few thousand customers. You can always promote fitness products on Amazon such as weight training equipment, active wear and so on to these people.
This is affiliate marketing at its finest. Since you already have a list of buyers, and you’re promoting related products that they’ll need, you can bet that many of them will buy through your affiliate link.
You’ll earn commissions and supplement your income. The same applies to those who have a following on Facebook, Instagram, etc.
By promoting products as an affiliate, you can make hefty commissions. You don’t only need to make money from endorsing products. Affiliate marketing is just as lucrative.
7 Skills Affiliates MUST Master!
While affiliate marketing is simpler than other business models online, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. There are several skills that you must get good at if you wish to succeed in this business.
Below you’ll see the 7 skills you should master. They’re in no particular order. All are just as important.
Once you’re capable at these, making an income with online marketing will be much easier. There is a learning curve, but you’ll only need to go through it once.
1. Traffic generation
Traffic is the lifeblood of any affiliate marketer’s business. If you can’t drive traffic, no one will see your affiliate links or click on them.
Content creation is only half the battle. The other half is getting people to see your content and ultimately click on the links weaved within. Only then will people see the products you’re promoting and buy through them.
It doesn’t matter if you’re going with paid or free traffic… or even both. What matters is that you focus on only ONE at a time.
Once you master one method of traffic generation and it’s bringing you sales, the next step will be to scale it up. Or maintain it and start working on the next traffic method.
The most popular methods of traffic generation are:
|Free Traffic Methods||Paid Traffic|
|Facebook Groups||Facebook Ads|
|Video Marketing||Google Ads|
|Niche Sites||YouTube Ads|
|Instagram Marketing||Solo Ads|
|TikTok Marketing||Pinterest Ads|
Choose one or two and focus on them.
2. Understanding analytics
If you have a niche site, you’ll probably be using Google Analytics to track which affiliate links are getting the most clicks and so on.
Ideally, you should be using a link tracker like ClickMagick to track your links. Not only will you be able to make your links look better, but you’ll get a lot more data from it. It is a paid, but it’s worth every cent.
Many marketers fear looking at the numbers because it conjures up memories of algebra or trigonometry classes in school. Gasp! Not again!
Don’t panic. When it comes to understanding the numbers online, all you really need to know is the conversion rate, cost per click (CPC) and you need to know if you’re making a profit.
Spend about 20-30 minutes a day familiarizing yourself with the analytics and the platform’s interface. Within a week, you’ll be able to read the analytics easily. This is a crucial skill to master.
Blogging is one of the best ways to make affiliate sales. All you need to do is buy a domain with a memorable name and point it to your web hosting.
Then all you need to do is set up WordPress, install an awesome theme, a few good plugins and start blogging away.
There are a few points to note here:
The web hosting company you choose must be reliable and fast. This will ensure that your blog’s pages load fast.
Your blog’s theme should be clean, professional and have page builder capabilities. (For example, Thrive Themes or Kadence.)
When blogging, you’ll want to provide content that’s useful for the people in your niche. The content will need to be interesting, informative and engaging. You can either write the content yourself or hire someone from Fiverr, Upwork or TextBroker.
4. Keyword research
Keyword research is another very important skill that almost all affiliate marketers will need to understand and get the hang of finding profitable keywords to target.
Knowing whether a keyword has buyer intent or not will help you decide how you’ll approach it. You’ll need to have a good understanding of search engine optimization (SEO).
Different platforms have different metrics. For example, ranking your videos in YouTube will depend on how many times your videos get shared, and the number of likes and comments.
With niche sites, however, a multitude of other factors such as backlinks, bounce rate, keyword ratio, etc. will determine if your page ranks for a keyword or not. Whatever the case, you must know keyword research and have a competent understanding of SEO.
If you’re building a niche site, keyword research tools such as KWFinder and/or SEMrush are a must have to find out a keyword’s competitiveness. The data provided by these tools will tell you if the keyword is easy to target or best left to the major players with a huge budget.
You don’t need too many keyword research tools. One good one will do, but you must be proficient at using it. Most of these tools come with tutorial videos, and there are many user-generated tutorial videos on YouTube too.
If you’re doing video marketing, a tool like Tube Buddy will be especially effective for finding keywords for you to target and make videos for. Once again, it’s the data these tools provide which is what makes them very helpful.
While you could spend hours or even days trying to find the data out yourself, with keyword research tools, you’ll get the job done in minutes. Any capable online marketer will tell you that time is the most precious resource. So, it’s best to save yourself some time and effort here.
In the event, you don’t wish to spend money on a keyword research tool or go through the learning curve trying to figure it out, you do have an option.
You could hire someone on Fiverr or Legiit, to do keyword research for you. Many of the gig providers have subscriptions to these software tools and are very capable when it comes to doing keyword research. Just make sure you hire one who has lots of positive feedback/reviews.
5. List Building
You’ve probably heard this saying parroted ad nauseam… “The money is in the list!’
There’s a reason for that – it’s true. A huge chunk of your sales will come from your list of subscribers, if you do it right.
It goes without saying that you’ll need a tool like Thrive Leads or Leadpages to insert pop ups in your blog. Embedding sign up forms in blog posts, having exit intent popups and sticky bars will all help to get subscribers on to your list.
Many people hate pop ups. However, they work. For every person who moans about it, there will a bunch of people who do sign up to your list. So use a pop up on your blog to get leads – but DON’T overdo it.
Even if you’re doing video marketing or have a Facebook group, you can always use a page builder to create an attractive opt in page with a tempting freebie to get people to sign up to your list.
Most good page builders come pre-loaded with opt in page templates and so on. Creating a page within 20 minutes and connecting it up to your autoresponder is a breeze now.
Just remember to only deliver your freebie via email.
Your ‘Thanks for signing up’ page should let them know that the lead magnet has been sent to the email they provided. You’ll also want to monetize your thank you page so that there’s an affiliate link pointing to a paid product.
A percentage of people who sign up to your list will end up buying the product and you’ll get sales. That’s fantastic!
6. Email marketing
Email marketing is probably one of the most important skills you could have. The ‘money is in the list’ quote only tells half the story. The truth is that the money is in the relationship you have with your list.
The first step to being an effective email marketer is to have a reliable autoresponder that has a high deliverability rate, and an option to unsubscribe easily (so that you don’t get complaints).
When sending your emails, you should provide value without being overly salesy. Always remember that an email is a conversation – and while you may be trying to sell something, you shouldn’t appear too desperate.
Treat your subscribers as people and not cash cows to be milked. If you provide enough value and appear genuine, they’ll like you, trust you and buy through you. That’s how email marketing is supposed to be.
How frequently you email your list will be a personal choice. Generally, once a day will suffice or at the very least, twice a week.
When emailing your list, you can point them to:
- New blog posts you’ve written
- A new product on the market
- A video you’ve created
- Some useful information on someone else’s website that will help them
- A product comparison review
- And much more!
Email marketing is also a form of traffic generation. While it’ll increase engagement with your audience, it’ll also help you get more eyeballs to your posts, videos, etc.
One might think that copywriting is a job best left to the professionals, and copywriters are the first people who will lead you to believe that it’s a job that only a ‘chosen’ few are capable of. It’s almost as if they’re bestowed with some hidden talent that only they and their brethren possess.
In reality, just about anyone can write reasonably good sales copy, if they’ve studied this topic well. There are several excellent copywriting books on Amazon. Buy and study a few of them and you’ll be a much better copywriter.
Since you only need basic copywriting skills for your landing pages, email marketing and blog posts, you’ll be good to go with 1-2 months of practice. You’re not creating sales pages for products, so there’s no need to become a pro at it.
As an affiliate marketer, a good foundation in basic copywriting will more than suffice to get you sales.
Common Problems That Affiliate Marketers Face
While affiliate marketing has many advantages, it’d be remiss to neglect the disadvantages, and there are a few.
For starters, you’re not in control of the products you’re promoting. The vendor may decide to discontinue the product or they may reduce the payouts to affiliates. Amazon reduces its commission rates all the time. It happens.
As an affiliate, you’ll also not have opportunities to build a list of customers. Rarely do vendors share the customer list with their affiliates. So, you’ll not know which of your subscribers have bought the product you’re promoting.
There are ways to get around this, but it’s still a hassle.
The third problem is competition. While there’s competition for just about everything profitable online, the low barriers to entry when it comes to affiliate marketing means that just about anyone can enter the scene and become your competitor.
Furthermore, it takes time to gain traction. This is something most affiliates will have to patiently deal with. You’ll have to do a ton of work and may only see results 8 months or even a year down the line. Initially, the sales will trickle in… but the more you do, the better your results will be.
Affiliate marketing can generate enough income for you to quit your day job.
It may be a struggle when you’re first getting your business off the ground, but once your blog or other web properties are gaining traction, the sales will roll in.
There are very few online marketing business models that are as hands off as affiliate marketing. In fact, once you have traffic that’s generating sales on a daily basis, you’ll be able to even go on a 2-week holiday and still profit without even looking at the computer.
Since you’re not involved in delivering the products to the customers and other hassles, you truly have a hands-free business that rakes in passive income. This is definitely worth striving for – and it make affiliate marketing an awesome business model!