There are many ways to earn money online and one of the most lucrative ways is to become an affiliate marketer. Affiliate marketers promote other people’s products and receive a commission on sales. An affiliate marketer can promote products on their blogs, websites, social media and email.
The way it works is that you search for businesses that have affiliate programs for products that your audience needs, you join the program, and start promoting. Usually, the affiliate program provides art work and other information that makes it simple for you to promote their products and/or services.
Will your customers care that you’re getting paid to promote products? Of course they won’t. If they know you and trust you, they won’t give a hoot. If you solve a problem for them, for sure they won’t give a hoot. In fact, they’ll thank you for your recommendation.
As long as you’re honest and ethical all will be fine. As long as you promote products you know and believe in, all will be fine.
That said, are you expected to purchase and know intimately every product you promote as an Amazon affiliate, for example? No, of course not. But you should be familiar with the product and its track record before you attach your affiliate link, and your reputation, to any product.
So, moving on, what are the advantages and disadvantages of becoming an affiliate marketer?
- You can start quickly once you’ve done your research.
- There is no shortage of products and services you can promote.
- Marketing assets are usually provided to assist in your marketing efforts.
- You can work as an affiliate marketer without quitting your day job.
- Low commissions with some affiliate programs or networks.
- Make sure the company or network you choose is reputable.
- You need a solid marketing plan.
- You need to learn traffic generation methods to drive traffic to your website or blog.
Regardless of the pros and cons of affiliate marketing, it works because it’s easy and a reliable source of income if done properly. Just look at Pat Flynn, a well-known, well-respected blogger. He displays his affiliate earnings right on his blog, Smart Passive Income.
It bears repeating… it’s your job to make sure you find, and stick with, a company or affiliate network that is reputable and has been around for years. You don’t want to put the effort into promoting products then wake up one morning to find the program or network has disappeared!
Types of Products You Can Promote
There really is no limit on the types of products that you can promote as an affiliate marketer. What you want to do though is focus on a specific specialty or niche. For instance, if you have a cooking blog you probably will do well promoting the tools and ingredients you use in your kitchen.
There are a many different ways you can find products to promote. Two of the easiest ways are:
Look at the products you use
If you use a particular product that you’d like to promote, go directly to their website to find out if they have an affiliate program. If you don’t see one listed, email them directly to ask. More than likely they will lead you to the appropriate affiliate network for that product.
Search affiliate networks
There are many affiliate networks like Clickbank.com, CJ.com, Shareasale.com and more where you can search by category to find products to promote to your audience.
People often ask is if they should promote physical products or digital products. The answer to that question is it depends. Everything depends on your audience. You need to choose products that your audience wants and needs. This requires some research on your part. Then you need to be able to explain to them how the product will benefit them.
You are generally going to make more money promoting digital products rather than physical products. However, if you have a blog such as the cooking blog mentioned earlier, selling and promoting physical products such as a high speed blender or yogurt maker might turn out to be quite lucrative.
Best Practices in Affiliate Marketing
Promoting affiliate products is a lot easier than creating your own products and then selling them. You can start marketing right away instead of worrying about product development. But, there are a few best practices to consider.
Use The Product
In most cases it’s important that you use the products you promote; to know the product inside and out and can talk about it intelligently.
Know Your Audience
It’s imperative that you understand your audience. You want to be able to recommend the right products to them and explain to them why a particular item is something they want to buy. If you can tell your audience how a product solves a problem for them and why, you’ll be more successful.
Quality Over Quantity
When promoting affiliate products it’s best to choose fewer products to promote rather than many.
Unless you build an eCommerce store with many different types of products, it can be confusing to your audience. Your blog or website should focus on a few products in your chosen niche. Promote each product until you are making money before moving on to the next.
Build a Targeted Email List
Email still rules and that’s where the money is. Social media, blogs, and all the other ways to sell products are in addition to the ever valuable email list. Everything you do should be designed to encourage your target audience to join your email list where you can then market to them more personally.
Build Trust With Your Audience
The way you build trust is to only promote products you truly believe in that deliver what is promised. You will make more sales with repeat buyers than you will from one-time buyers. You can build a legion of fans that are ready to purchase the next product you promote.
Build Your Own Blog/Website
It’s important that you have a blog or website that serves as your home base to promote products from. Don’t get tied up in too many niches at the same time. Instead focus on one niche website or blog until it produces a steady income. Then you can move on to the next product you want to focus on and build another website or blog.
Always remember that as your focus product changes, so will your audience. Again, you need to know your target audience in order to promote the right products to them.
The same principals involved in creating and distributing your own products still apply when you promote products that someone else made. They have to solve a problem for your audience, be the right price, and be of high quality.
This wraps up Part 1 of “Make Money as an Affiliate Marketer.” In Part 2 we’ll go into more detail about… well, just stay tuned! 😀
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