Affiliate Marketing is the easiest way to start making money on the internet and is your first step towards the long and intriguing journey as an Internet Marketer. The key to your success in affiliate marketing is a perpetual flow of highly targeted traffic. The higher and more targeted the traffic to your blog, the more profits you make.
But, before getting your feet wet into the “wild-whacky” world of affiliate marketing there are certain crucial factors that you must consider; which will not only help you leverage your sales but also secure your hard earned commissions from commission thieves.
In this post I am going to share some of those affiliate marketing tips that will benefit both newbies and seasoned affiliate marketers alike in making maximum profits out of their ventures
What is affiliate marketing anyway?
I thought I will start off with these 2 easy definitions that I found on the internet that will make it crystal clear what affiliate marketing is all about.
“Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts. … ” (Source – wikipedia.org)
“A popular way to make money online where you have a merchant that is willing to let other people (affiliates) sell his own products or services, in exchange for a commission. Commissions can be fixed or variable, and based on clicks, leads or sales.” (Source www.dailyblogtips.com)
Crucial Factors to Consider Before You Start
Consider It As Real Business – Affiliate marketing must be treated as a real business which requires a lot of planning, discipline and consistent hard work to be successful.
There is a myth amongst some first time affiliate marketers and internet users that affiliate marketing doesn’t require any discipline, hard work or ethics and is all about spamming on various platforms like forums, websites, emails or social networking sites. It’s totally baseless and utter nonsense. The marketers who have adopted the path of spamming had to pay a heavy price by risking their business and reputation.
Thorough Market Research – This is the most critical step before promoting an affiliate product and highly crucial for the success of your business.
You must carry out an in-depth research of the niche market that you are planning to enter and ensure that there is enough buyer traffic that converts well to make your business profitable.
Some of the free tools and sites for performing market research,
- Google Insights
- Google Trends
- Google Adwords Keyword Tool
All the 3 Google tools are a must for the success of any online business owner and will give you a wealth of insightful information about your market. The Google Adwords Keyword Tool will tell you how competitive a keyword is and whether it is easy to rank for that keyword on the search engines or not. So you must definitely make the maximum out of these amazing tools by Google.
My recommendation is to infiltrate into a market that has a moderate competition. You can easily find that out by typing your targeted keyword into Google and hitting the “search” button. The higher the number of results (about XXXXX results), the harder it will be to rank for that keyword in the first pages of the search engines.
You can also visit online shopping websites like ebay.com, dummies.com and amazon.com and check whether similar products exist. If they do, you can be dead sure that there is a demand for such products and can definitely make some profit promoting them.
By the way, Amazon.com has a great feature called customer reviews, which will help you study the customer’s perception about similar products.
Try Out Before Promoting – It is always good practice to try out a product before promoting it.
This will help you write reviews that sound more authentic to the readers and there is a greater chance that they will buy it from your affiliate link. If it’s an eBook that you are promoting, you can ask for a review copy from the author, he will be more than happy to offer you one, and if it’s an online service you can ask the vendor to give access to the site for a few days.
Knowing Clickbank Marketplace – If you are an affiliate marketer you must have heard about Clickbank at least once.
Clickbank.com is the best place to start your affiliate marketing journey especially if you are a newbie. You can sign up for free and start promoting from over thousands of digital products under various categories. But while choosing a product, make sure you pick one with gravity of at least 7 and a low refund rate. Gravity indicates the number of affiliates who have successfully made sales in the past week and a half or so.
You can use this free online refund calculator to find out the refund rates of a particular Clickbank product.
Protecting Your Affiliate links – It’s very important to protect your affiliate links from those online thugs prying around to steal your hard earned commissions.
Protecting your affiliate links can be called cloaking. Cloaking doesn’t just prevent commission thefts but also hides those weird looking affiliate links from your readers.
Well, how can someone steal your commissions? It’s easy! When a potential thief finds a Clickbank affiliate link with a “hop=YOURID” at the end, they might sign up as an affiliate with Clickbank.com and buy that product using their affiliate link instead of yours, saving them money and depriving you of your precious commissions.
I personally use these 2 methods to protect my affiliate link.
- You can cloak your affiliate links by using this free tool called profit protector that you can download and use as a desktop application. I personally recommend this tool for protecting Clickbank affiliate links.
- You can also use a PHP 301 “moved permanently” redirection for your affiliate links for making it SEO friendly. All you need to do is put the code in a notepad, replace the location address with your affiliate link, save it as a (SOMENAME.PHP) *.PHP file and upload it to your server (preferably under a directory that’s named “goto” or “recommends”). Now, if you want to send your visitor to the vendor site through your affiliate link you can just use this PHP file. (eg. http://www[dot]yourdomain[dot]com/goto/SOMENAME.php). Please click on the link on point no. 2 to learn more about how to use a PHP 301 redirection on your affiliate link.
Review Sites Are The Best – Review sites work very well for promoting affiliate products.
In a review site you can compare, dissect and rate similar products and give your unbiased views about them to your readers. While reviewing affiliate products, you must never sound overly promotional like a snake-oil salesman hard-selling their products. Your reviews must sound un-biased and neutral to your readers. Nevertheless, there must be an easy to spot, strong “call-to-action” link (affiliate link) at the end of each review (eg “click on this link to visit the vendor’s site”) that takes them to the vendor’s sales page.
There are a variety of other promotional methods like article marketing, PPC ads, Social Media Marketing, video marketing and email marketing and so on that you can use to double or triple your sales. Interestingly, you will discover even smarter ways to promote your business if you are a person who always likes to explore new things, a keen learner who can think out of the box and can use a bit of creativity.
I think I have covered some of the most crucial factors to consider before starting with affiliate marketing. I hope these points will help you transform your business into a more streamlined and profitable one! You will surely start picking things up and learn the intricacies of this business as you go. Remember, Affiliate marketing is pretty exciting and lucrative – if done the right way. So all the best and wishing you all the success!
Please do leave your valuable feedback about this post as a comment!
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