When you’re starting an online business and don’t quite know where to begin, affiliate marketing is a good choice. In Part 1 of “Make Money as an Affiliate Marketer” we talked about why it’s a smart first step and how to get started.
In Part 2 we’ll go a little deeper and further discuss affiliate programs and what you need to know. We’ll also discuss how to promote affiliate products.
Let’s get started…
How to Choose High Value Affiliate Programs
One key to success is to choose high value programs to promote that are relevant to your niche. The program has to be relevant to your niche to be of any interest to your audience.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Who is your audience?
- What problems can you solve for your audience?
- Where does your audience like to shop?
- What are your competitors selling?
Then do the research necessary to answer these questions. Using this information, start your search for affiliate programs to join and promote.
When you discover a product either buy it to try it, or email the creator and ask for a review copy of the product. This is the same whether it’s a digital product or a physical product. It’s important to have real experience with products that you want to promote whenever reasonable or practical.
You can find affiliate programs through networks like CJ Affiliate, Clickbank.com, and Shareasale.com, just to name a few. You can also find self-run affiliate programs where individuals promote their products using their shopping cart such as 1ShoppingCart.com or e-junkie, and even through membership software such as aMember.com.
If you use a product that you like, one that will work for your audience, you can contact the creator directly to find out if they have an affiliate program. Or you may find a link to their affiliate program in the footer of their site. Just look for “affiliates”, “associates”, or “resellers”.
When you find products to promote you want to also look at what the programs offer affiliates in terms of commission, sales support, and how well they perform with respect to customer service.
As an affiliate you send your customers to their site to make the purchase. They are the ones who provide customer support for the product, not you. Therefore, it’s important to know how well they handle customer issues, problems and returns.
Here are some questions you need answers to before promoting any product:
How much commission do you get paid for each sale?
Understanding how much you can make from each sale is important because it costs time and money to promote a product. If you’re only going to make two dollars on each sale, the cost of advertising and promoting needs to be much less in order for you to profit.
When is the commission paid and how?
All products pay different amounts in commission, with some offering higher returns the more you sell. Typically, the rate for a digital product is generally a lot higher than for a physical product.
It’s not uncommon to see 50% to 80% commission rates for digital products and only 20% or less for physical products.
What happens if there are product returns?
Most affiliate programs pay out commissions after the refund period has expired to account for product returns. There are, however, some affiliate programs that pay immediately.
In that situation, when a refund is requested the commission is deducted from your account. So make sure you have adequate funds available to cover these returns
You should also be aware that the larger affiliate networks/programs have a minimum pay-out policy. It also depends on how you elect to be paid, whether by check or direct deposit.
How are you allowed to market the products?
Some programs have rules and regulations regarding product promotion. They all have written policies so make sure you read and understand the ways you can or cannot promote their products, and take it into account when you plan your marketing strategy.
What tools does the program offer its affiliates to help with marketing?
Many affiliate programs are run very professionally. They provide banner ads, link ads, and, in some cases, email ads. They want their affiliates to succeed so they provide tools to help them make the sale.
Getting the answers to these questions will help you determine if the affiliate program is right for you.
How to Promote Affiliate Products
Once you determine the products you want to promote, and have signed up and been approved for the affiliate programs, it’s time to start promoting. There are several ways to promote an affiliate product.
Use your blog to promote affiliate products. Blogging directly about a particular product is a good way to generate interest. You can use your blog to educate your audience about the product and how it will meet their needs or solve their problems.
Writing a review blog post and providing an honest opinion that describes both the pros and the cons of any product will always work better than only talking about how perfect a product is.
Put links within the text of a blog post and place banner ads and/or buttons on your blog.
Make Informative Videos
A great way to promote products, especially physical products, is to create a video demonstration or product review. This will give your audience a true view of how the product works and you can include a link to the product within the video.
Build a Targeted Email List
It’s imperative that you build a strong email list of people who need and want the type of products you want to promote. Use the email list to provide information, remind readers of your blog posts, and to link them directly to the products that you are promoting.
Promote Yourself on Social Media
You want to become known as an expert in your niche. A great way to do that is to promote yourself and your brand on social media. Let people get to know you so they learn to trust you.
When you recommend a product, they will be more inclined to look at your offer and make the purchase.
Create a profile on each network where your audience spends time. Participate in discussions and offer solid, informative advice freely when appropriate.
Create Targeted Content Regularly
Blog posts, articles, social media updates, white papers, special reports, forum comments, blog comments and so forth are all content you should create on a regular basis.
This content should be based around the products you want to promote. You should plan out your content two to three months in advance. That way the flow is steady and will serve as a cushion in the event of an emergency when you can’t work on your business.
Using all the avenues available to you to market the products you want to sell is important. Also be sure to measure the results so that you can do more of what is working and less of the activities that don’t work.
Earning money through affiliate marketing is something anybody can do if they know their niche, understand their competition, and choose the right products. They need to understand their audience and provide information and solutions that solve their problems.
As an affiliate marketer you can build a business that can give you the freedom you never thought possible.