Affiliate marketing is not everyone’s cup of tea unless you put your heart and soul into it. Talking about utter dedication, people who have invested endless hours of effort into this industry are now making six figure monthly revenue such as Pat Flynn or Missy Ward.
Well, if that is too big of a goal to dream of, then how about $20,000 per year? According to statistics, 35% of affiliate marketers earn over $20,000, and some even make more than that
But first thing first: You need to start by aiming to gain $1. That may sound easy but it is the hardest. Your initial efforts into achieving that $1 goal can make or break your motivation to further pursue the field.
If you wish to take off your affiliate marketing journey in a stable and successful fashion, you need to learn and exercise the following tried and tested practices.
What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does It Work?
Before diving straight into the successful affiliate marketing practices, let us first discuss what it is and how it works.
Affiliate marketing is a pretty straightforward process where multiple individuals work in harmony to promote a product and share the profit. The affiliate first partners up with a product owner or a seller and agrees on a certain percentage from the sales.
The affiliate then markets the product to their readers or social media followers, discussing the benefits of the product. Once a sale is made or a lead is generated, the affiliate gets a commission as per the agreed percentage.
Affiliate marketing, in short, is a win-win for both the product owners, affiliates, and even the consumers as everyone is getting something out of the deal.
The product owner or seller can be any one from a physical goods seller to online services or solutions provider. The seller reaches out to affiliates in their industry (or spokespeople who are capable of becoming affiliates) so they can market the product to the right set of audience and increase sales or leads.
Affiliate marketers are also sometimes called publishers as they are the ones who post product reviews on their websites, detailing the product’s or service’s features and benefits. The publisher creates multiple blog posts, dedicated pages, and even advertisements to educate their readers.
Affiliate marketers can get commissions on either every successful sale made, every new lead generated, or on every new click, such as in the case of TripAdvisor.
Affiliate networks are dedicated platforms that connect product owners with the right publishers and vice versa. These platforms remove the hassle of finding good publishers that have a solid standing in the industry and have a substantial readership or fan following.
Some of the most known affiliate partner networks include names like ShareASale, CJ Affiliate (Commission Junction), and Rakuten Marketing, which was formerly called LinkShare.
Examples of Top Affiliate Marketing Programs
Inspiration strikes motivation, and motivation further helps you take the first step towards success. Here are some of the top affiliate programs that you can check out for inspiration or making your first $1 commission.
PureVPN Affiliate Program
PureVPN offers one of the best and most high paying VPN affiliate programs. PureVPN is a virtual private network service provider that has over a decade long standing as the top-tier VPN service on the market.
PureVPN delivers an enriching affiliate experience by offering real-time tracking, performance reporting, and a dedicated affiliate support system. As an affiliate, you can make as much as 100% commission or as low as 40% commission, depending on the plans being sold.
PureVPN’s affiliate program also offers seasonal coupons and discounts that add substantially to their products’ conversion rate, which means an easy and quick commission for you.
What makes PureVPN affiliate program stands out from the rest is its multi-tier affiliate infrastructure which allows you to earn added commission on every affiliate referral.
It is not surprising at all that Amazon Associates makes to our list of top affiliate marketing programs. After all, Amazon is the largest and most successful online retailer in the world, having over 3 billion products globally.
Another surprising revelation is that 0.9% of all websites (1 billion+) use the Amazon Associate program, and this includes big names like CNN, The New York Times, Business Insider, and Thesaurus.com.
There are lots of reasons to strike a long-term affiliate partnership with Amazon Associates. For starters, Amazon Associates offers one of the highest conversions in the affiliate industry. To put that into perspective, the usual conversation rate is 3.32% whereas Amazon associates boasts a 13% conversion rate from its non-Prime users, and 75% from its Prime users.
Secondly, you have a considerably large inventory of physical products to choose from and promote to your audience. One of the many reasons why Amazon associates boasts of a highest conversion rate is that it is exceptionally good at upselling.
eBay Partner Network
The eBay Partner Network is akin to Amazon Associates in many ways: conversion rate, diverse products, and global popularity. However, unlike Amazon, eBay is an auction website where users list their products for auctioning.
The eBay Partner Network has over a billion of listings with over 100 million buyers from across the globe. You can get as high as 70% of commission on the auction fee or as low as 50%. You can siphon the highest commission from fashion listings and auto parts or accessories.
Affiliate Marketing Tips for Beginners
If you want to ensure that there are less hurdles on your path to becoming a successful affiliate marketer, start out with the following practices of industry’s experts.
Pick the One, Right Niche
It is tempting to get as many products as you can on your affiliate website, believing that it may turn out into higher earnings. However, this shotgun approach rarely ever meets expectations.
For starters, it is difficult to cover different niches since you won’t be able to dedicate your time understanding or learning more about a single niche. Your efforts will be torn between different products restricting you from producing meaningful content.
While choosing a niche, you must also keep into account the competition. How much competition does it have? Who are the top competitors you would be facing if you pick the niche?
By choosing a single niche, especially something you are interested in or passionate about, you will notice how much easier it is to get your head around the product and talk about it.
Another important aspect is the keyword research and covering those niche-specific keywords on your website. It is much easier to rank your website on niche-specific keywords than cluttering the web with multitude of keywords from different niches or products.
Work with Multiple Product Owners
Never stick to only one product owner in your niche. If you choose to promote only one merchant, you will be stuck with one source of commission, and thus, you won’t be able to secure a continuous flow of earnings.
You will find plenty of sellers in your industry who offer the same product but with varying features and even pricing. Every seller would offer you different affiliate strategies and commissions. By listing the same product from multiple sellers, you would be giving more options to your readers as well. Most importantly, you will have a steady flow of earnings from different sellers.
Know Your Affiliate’s Cookie Lifetime
Cookies are byte-sized files that are stored on users’ Internet browsers, containing your affiliate tag ID. As long as the cookie is stored on your user’s browser, you will get the commission if the user buys or becomes the lead of a product that you are promoting.
However, cookies come with some expiration period. Some cookies may expire within 24 hours while some cookies take even 2 months before they are invalidated. For instance, the eBay Partner Network offers two different cookies, depending on the type of listings: 1-day cookie and 7-day cookie lifetimes.
Most brands like PureVPN offer an extended cookie period such as 60 days, which means that you will get enough time to nurture the reader and fulfil the commission requirement.
Learn Some SEO Skills
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the practice of keeping your content and the entire website in line with the search engine standards so that your content is ranked on top search engine results page (SERPs).
SEO is an important skill to acquire because most of your traffic (organic) will be coming from search engines like Google. Unless your web pages or content meets the guidelines of the search engine, you won’t be able to get a higher ranking, which ultimately means little to no organic traffic.
Learn about how you can optimize your web pages, how you can create content that is human and search-engine friendly, and most importantly, how you can cover all those search intentions of the users who are looking for the product information that you are promoting on your website.
Track Your Efforts with Analytics
Extending the above pointer, when you are learning SEO, you will also come across the term Analytics. Having some mastery on tools like Google Analytics is as important as optimizing your web pages.
These tools are built to give you detailed insights into how your web pages are performing. You can keep tabs on the users’ behavior on your website, how much time an average reader spends on your content, and how long they take to bounce off the page, or exit.
You can also monitor the source of the traffic such as from which social or referral platforms the visit is coming from, or which countries are contributing more traffic to your website.
All these insights will allow you to adjust your SEO strategies accordingly.
Tell Your Readers What They Want to Hear
Affiliate marketers may sound like someone who just shouts product features wherever they go and compel people to just buy it so they can get the commission. However, this isn’t the case at all.
Readers come to your websites looking for more information about the product. The information that they are looking for includes not only the features of the product but also its benefits, and most importantly, the subtleties that the sellers either vaguely discuss or fail to discuss entirely.
Readers want to know your experience of using the products: its good and bad aspects that you have found firsthand. In short, the content on your affiliate website should be more reader centric.
Strike a Conversation with Your Readers
Your website is the first place to start a conversation with your readers. Be the first to break the ice by giving a nice call to action at the end of the landing page or of your blog post. Ask them to share their experiences of using the product or a service that you have talked about on the blog. Ask them to feel free to share their opinions or any information that you might have missed.
Reply to users’ comments as it will prolong their engagement on your website. Use anti-spam tools to declutter the comment section and post only genuine comments.
The more the engagement, the better it is. With time, your blog or website would seem less like a product promotion platform and more like a healthy community of informed readers.
Bonus Affiliate Marketing Strategies
When you believe you have upped your affiliate marketing game, it is time to add more to your current strategies and grow your business exponentially.
Ensure Continuous A/B Testing and Optimization
A/B testing is an ideal way to increase conversions on your website. You can try out different copies on your affiliate ad banners to see which ones perform the best. In fact, you can also try experimenting with the color design of your ad banner’s call-to-action button and see how that works for you.
A/B testing is a continuous effort since there is always more room to increase the chances of your readers to convert and become a user. However, don’t go with your guts with this strategy. Track your links’ performance through analytics and monitor similar data such as on-site user behavior to make decisions.
Also, do not limit the practice to ad banners alone. Also look out for optimization opportunities in your blog content such as product reviews, comparison tables, and most importantly, affiliate dedicated landing pages. You can track the performance of your content to see how well it engages readers and what its click-through-rate (CTR) is.
Start Working on an Email Marketing Strategy
Email marketing is one of the very few marketing practices that doesn’t cost much but yields significant results. One of the best things about running blogs is that you can build an email list of your readers. They will love to share their email addresses with you as long as they are getting meaningful content like news, industry’s affairs, product updates, or exclusive discounts.
When you are creating emails, decide its objective first. You can send your readers emails occasionally to keep them engaged. You can also send them exclusive deals or coupons for increased chances of conversions. Or, you can occasionally ask them about their problems with certain products as it will allow you to pick the right product to pitch them in future.
Bring it Up a Notch with PPC Advertising
Bring more traffic to your pages or ads through PPC advertising. However, work on it only when you have a steady flow of revenue. You need to keep in mind that you can spend only as much as you can make later unless you plan on investing your own savings into this venture.
You can run ads on Google, Facebook, or any other social channel, depending where your target audience mostly hangs out. Other than increasing traffic, you can use PPC for growing your email list or for inviting people to your webinars, which we will discuss below.
Enhance Engagement with Live Webinars
Webinars offer a great way to catch the attention of interested audiences and engage with them. When you are face to face with your audience showcasing the product or giving out a product demo, your audience will be more likely to get a feel of the product.
You can send an email to your readers a week ahead inviting them to the webinar. Alternatively, as mentioned earlier, you can run a PPC ad. Webinars can help you get through your readers in a more effective way since you will be directly giving a demo of the product and sharing your personal experience with it.
Affiliate marketing is a good business if you want to make money from your couch, not worrying about getting out of bed early in the morning or going through the hassle of traffic and a mundane 9 to 5 job.
All the while, it should be kept in mind that every endeavor requires not only interest but also dedication and lots of efforts, so there’s a lot to consider before you make affiliate marketing a full time job. Yet with the right dedication and skills, you can absolutely make it happen extraordinarily successfully.