expressed opinion entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most interesting and lucrative industries on the internet, where commissions are earned by promoting a company and/or driving sales. It consists of a dynamic web of publishers looking to monetize their website and is a great opportunity for marketers and advertisers to collaborate with others to promote their products, services, brands or affiliate programs. I’ve been involved in the field as an affiliate marketer since 2007, and it’s safe to say that I love what I do, especially since it allows me to connect directly with my audience without the need for many intermediaries.
However, there are a few things I wish I knew before starting.
1. Track Success Metrics
You can’t grow an affiliate site or make more money from it if you don’t know how many visitors visit the site every day and where they come from. Therefore, it’s crucial to track analytics and identify which marketing channels drive the most traffic so you know where to focus when promoting affiliate offers.
Here are some metrics you need to track:
- Monthly visits and unique daily visits. The more your website gets, the better your chances of making a sale.
- How many sales did you get this week? Track the performance of each affiliate product to determine which products convert the best.
- How much did each offer make? Tracking the sales generated by each affiliate program is critical, as each publisher earns a different commission from selling the same product. This will help determine which affiliate networks and products convert better for your website or blog and provide better offers for more sales.
- What countries are the tourists from? This metric will indicate which country’s audience converts better to yours, thus helping to choose the right offer for your market.
related: Top Social Media Marketing Elements for Small Businesses
2. Don’t expect huge gains overnight
If you’re just starting out as an affiliate marketer, don’t expect success too quickly, as thousands of web publishers have been doing this for years and still struggle to find income. I’m not suggesting avoiding goals, just in order to see significant results, it’s important to work with patience and perseverance. This is a business like any other, so the income will depend on how much time, effort and patience you are willing to put in.
3. Never stop learning
One of the most important lessons I have internalized over the years as an affiliate marketer is that there is no end to learning or knowledge sharing.The industry has changed Very Rapidly; new trends keep emerging and old trends die quickly. So-called gurus drop out of their affiliate sites every few months just to launch new ones, so you need to be prepared to take advantage of the changes and put your resources into learning – absorbing affiliate marketing blog posts, interviews, and case study.
4. Avoid overestimating your product or service
The first thing many marketers do when creating an affiliate site is to promote their own products and services, but it’s important not to overestimate them as this will only backfire in the long run. Remember, you need your audience more than they need you, so provide valuable resources, information, and insights to help them solve their problems. Build authority in your niche first, consistently share free content and engage with the community. Then, once your site gets real traffic, create offers that are closely related to what you’ve already shared on your blog or website.
related: 4 foolproof steps to get your authority marketing off the ground
5. Don’t short-sell visitors
One of the biggest mistakes I see affiliate marketers make repeatedly is trying to short-sell their visitors instead of offering high-quality offers that match exactly what they want and need. For example, if someone is looking for a dog bed or leash, they won’t buy an offer related to a yoga class because it’s completely irrelevant and doesn’t match what they’re searching for. So, before trying to sell something to your visitors, make sure you’ve done your research and got an offer that closely matches what your audience is looking for.
6. Embrace the test
Another mistake I often see is guessing what works best before investing time, effort, and money, rather than testing ideas. That’s why I recommend using A/B testing tools for at least some of your campaigns, as they will provide valuable insights into what’s working right now without any risk.
7. Don’t leave money on the table
Many affiliate marketers start promoting a new product as soon as it goes live. Nonetheless, they failed to fully optimize and promote before offering. In many cases, this means you’re wasting a lot of money by not testing your landing pages, images, copy, and ad copy first. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending days or weeks running A/B tests, but at least try split testing before rolling out the offer widely. This will give you a better chance of converting more visitors into subscribers or buyers because you’ve taken the time to optimize everything from start to finish. This is the process I use for every new campaign on my online store and it works like a charm.
8. Don’t be afraid to give up
Finally, remember that it’s not a bad habit to let go of something that’s clearly not working. While it may be difficult to leave an affiliate marketing campaign or website, it’s important to ask if the results are worth the time and effort, and then possibly devote your energy to something more likely to be successful. Don’t let others make you feel bad about changing things, because there is no doing everything right, so only do what makes sense.
related: How Affiliate Marketing Works for Entrepreneurs
At the end of the day, there is no absolute right or wrong approach to affiliate marketing, but you should at least have a rough plan—including knowing how much you’re willing to spend on advertising, where your niche traffic comes from, and what offers convert best. The more time and effort you put into learning and testing everything, the more likely you are to succeed.