Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to make money blogging. However, it could become overwhelming in the beginning. If you’re only just starting out, these affiliate marketing tips for beginners will help you maximize your chances for success.
Affiliate marketing allows you to start selling on your blog right away without having to go through the tedious task of creating your own products.
However, you can expect some information overload in the beginning, with many affiliate marketers giving different and sometimes conflicting advice.
Today’s article lists down affiliate marketing tips for beginners to increase your chances of succeeding at this highly profitable undertaking.
Note: If you want to learn the basics of affiliate marketing, read this article first.
When you do affiliate marketing on your blog, you learn a lot about what makes a product good and what makes it exceptional. You get a feel for what your audience looks for in a product—what features they like, what features they ignore, and what features are deal-breakers.
In addition, you learn how to build mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with merchants, affiliate manager (from your affiliate network), your customers, and other bloggers in your niche. This is an invaluable skill to learn early on because the sales process is about the relationship you build with others.
Remember: If you can sell an affiliate product, you can sell your own products.
Yes, affiliate marketing can be lucrative, but only as long as the affiliate program runs smoothly.
Merchants can change their product offerings, phasing out products while introducing new ones. They can also change how much they pay you per product or even change the whole affiliate scheme.
When that happens, it’s quite possible to lose an income stream in an instant.
Granted, it’s incredibly rare for this to happen, especially when you’ve chosen affiliate products that are popular and are profitable for the merchant as well. But it doesn’t hurt to prepare for the unexpected to happen.
Remember: Selling affiliate products carries its own inherent risk.
You don’t have to be an ass-kisser to build rapport with your affiliate manager. Maintaining consistent communication, being trustworthy, and acting professional all go a long way to getting on your affiliate manager’s good side.
Affiliate managers are an immense help, especially at the start. They’ll know much more about the product and the best ways to sell it. Affiliate managers would also have the latest news and developments about the product. Plus, if you encounter any problems, they’re the best people to help you.
Once you observe consistent success with a particular affiliate program, and you have a better performance than other affiliates, it’s possible to ask for a higher commission. If you’re only just starting, you may not be able to ask for a higher commission upfront, but keep in mind that you can ask for it down the road.
Remember: Affiliate managers can help your business succeed. Nurture them.
It’s common practice for affiliate marketers to promote a number of products on their blog. However, it’s usually best to have one or two main products that you promote the most vigorously.
Trying to give the same amount of focus to all of your products sets you up for failure; your blog content will lack coherence and confuse your readers.
Prioritizing a couple of products increases the likelihood of success at promoting these products. Having certain products to focus on helps you to control the direction of your blog content and your promotional emails to your subscribers.
This doesn’t give you the license to just sign up for all the affiliate programs you can and then neglect them. Hold up your end of the bargain and promote all the products you signed up for. Just bear in mind that having one or two products to focus on will make your promotional efforts for everything else more effective.
Remember: Focusing most of your efforts on one or two main products is more efficient than trying to sell everything.
Most affiliate programs that you sign up for will offer banners that you can add to your blog with your affiliate link. While it’s certainly not a bad thing to do, banner ads aren’t as effective as placing the links inside your content or in your emails to your mailing list.
The problem with banner ads is that they look too much like Google AdSense ads, which people who browse the internet often have learned to just ignore. Plus, affiliate links that have added context to it entices readers to click much more than standalone ads.
Remember: Banner ads are good, but in-text links and promotional emails are better.
“The money is in the list.”
You’ve probably encountered this internet marketer’s adage a hundred times, along with “content is king.”
But it’s a popular adage for a reason.
Affiliate links in your content do get clicks and sales. But getting your links in front of your email list is a more personal way to promote your affiliate product to your subscribers. If you’ve been taking care of your subscribers by providing quality content, they’re more likely to believe you when you explain the benefits of your affiliate product.
That your subscribers let you in their inbox means they like your content. Don’t abuse this goodwill. Email them quality content more often than you email them for purely promotional purposes. Otherwise, they’ll feel like your email newsletter is a purely promotional one, and eventually unsubscribe, because who needs more of those?
If you want to learn the basics of building an email list, check out my blog post on it.
Note: If you’re enrolled in the Amazon affiliate program, make sure NOT to include affiliate links in your emails because that’s a violation of their terms and conditions. Read more here.
Remember: Build and nurture your email list.
As with any industry where there’s real money to be made, there are unscrupulous people who will scam others. Sadly, affiliate marketing is one of the industries where scammers abound.
Many bloggers have been duped by merchants, even bloggers who’ve have been around for a while and should know better.
Some of these devious merchants collect a fee, promising a large commission for what turns out to be nothing but a pyramid scam.
Similarly, beware of other affiliate marketers making bold claims, offering “hacks” or “a secret tactic that works”… for a fee, of course. Others offer overpriced training courses, webinars, or ebooks that are full of nothing but buzzwords with general strategies that you can find for free if you spent five minutes to Google it.
So how do you avoid affiliate marketing scams?
Do your research.
Google reviews, go to forums, ask around, and ask the right people. If you have any shred of doubt, back away. Most importantly, never send any money without doing your research.
Remember: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Affiliate marketing is quite simple to set up, as I’ve discussed in another article. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean you’ll instantly see results.
You still have a ton of research to do to choose products to offer, relationships to build, and determine the best ways to promote your affiliate offers.
There’s time and money to invest in learning which offers are a good fit for you, your blog, and your audience. And it just simply doesn’t happen as quickly as you may want.
But it doesn’t mean affiliate marketing is a sham; it just means that true, long-term success takes time to achieve. Keep at it through the difficult and tiring birthing pains, and do it with your customers in mind. You’ll reap the rewards in time.
Remember: No one makes it big overnight. Success in affiliate marketing takes time.
As you’ve probably gathered by now, affiliate marketing is simple to set up, but it’s certainly not easy. You have to make sure you’re offering the right products to your audience, you have to build your email list, and you have to monitor your statistics.
That sounds like a great deal of work.
Meanwhile, you’re doing the regular tasks of maintaining your blog: creating high-quality content, driving traffic, engaging your audience through social media and blog comments, convincing readers to become subscribers and sending out newsletters to your subscribers.
If you’re still thinking of affiliate marketing as something that you set up once and then it becomes this money-making machine, you’re sadly mistaken. You have to work at maintaining it and making sure it runs effectively.
Granted, the income potential is greater than the ongoing work required of you, but it still requires some work. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you don’t have to do any more work once the affiliate program is set up. That’s a mindset that will set you up for heartbreak and failure down the road.
Remember: No blog income is completely passive, not even affiliate marketing.
Your readers come back to your blog to read content that’s relevant and valuable to them. Your subscribers read your emails because they contain information that’s useful and helpful to them. All of this builds trust in your content and your recommendations.
It’s because of this trust that you’re able to even consider affiliate marketing as a viable source of income from your blog. Thus, do your best to protect this trust.
Continue providing value to your audience by providing high-quality content on your blog and on your emails to your email list. If it takes some of your focus away from affiliate marketing, let it. Having a successful blog is what allows you to do affiliate marketing.
Remember: Without your website, you can’t do affiliate marketing effectively.
Affiliate marketing is a fantastic way to monetize your blog, but it’s not for the lazy or those looking for a “set it and forget it” way to make money from blogging.
I hope these tips help you as you work toward being an affiliate marketer.
Have you come across any other affiliate marketing tips you have found useful? Share them in the comments below!
JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.