Affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar industry with more merchants and publishers joining every day. It is still growing across the board and is the strongest in the US.
From 2015 to 2018, the number of content publishers taking part in affiliate marketing increased by 275%. Their revenue increased by 240%. Affiliate marketing, an industry already worth over $12 billion globally, is only expected to keep on growing.
Despite affiliate marketing’s popularity, it is still somewhat uncharted territory. There is no definitive guide on how to be a successful marketer. And even if there were, rules of affiliate marketing change all the time. It’s difficult to give definite tips on what to do.
However, there are certain things that you should always do. There are also practices that might seem good, but actually harm your profits.
That’s why we compiled this list of affiliate marketing’s dos and don’ts.
Affiliate marketing’s dos and don’ts
Keep these in mind to turn your affiliate business into a success.
Do—Think About the Long-Term
Like it or not, affiliate marketing is a business and businesses are a long-term investment. You might not have to invest money, but you must invest time and effort.
If you want that investment to pay off, stop thinking about getting a lot of sales tomorrow or in the next month. Think about your long-term strategy instead. How do you want your business to develop within a year? What will you do to achieve that?
Everything you do should go towards realizing that plan, from picking your niche, over creating content, to advertising to a particular type of audience.
Here, we can talk about your following. Getting visitors to your website is one thing. Enticing them into staying there is something else entirely. Find a way to keep users loyal and interested. A loyal following makes more purchases than random visitors.
Email lists should also be a part of your plan. There might not be a lot of entries on that list at first, but it will grow in time. It is a great way to keep your audience updated and coming back for more content.
You should also network. Building positive relationships with other affiliates can be beneficial in the long run. Even a simple link towards an affiliate’s website can make you a friend. A lot of people consider it good manners to return a favor and at least give you a backlink.
Don’t—Try to Get Rich Quickly
A lot of new affiliates fall for this one. They see ads promising to make them thousands of dollars overnight and they think affiliate marketing means easy money. Becoming an affiliate because you want a lot of money quickly and with minimum effort doesn’t get you far.
As we said, businesses are a long-term investment. Trying to make a quick buck is a terrible long-term strategy.
Here’s the thing. Anyone can stuff a website full of affiliate links. Thousands of people do it. But why should users click on your links when there are thousands of websites the same as yours?
Make no mistake, people recognize affiliate marketing when they see it. If you want users to buy from you, you need to stand out and make them trust you. That takes time.
You also need quality content. Creating it takes time. Doing search engine optimization takes time. Getting backlinks takes time. You get the idea.
Affiliate marketing is not a platform where you can get rich overnight. You need to put in a consistent effort and, in time, the work will pay off.
Do—Create Awesome Content
Quality content is important for any website. As an affiliate, good content is the pillar of your business. Likewise, bad content can ruin it.
We already said you should work on getting recurring visitors. Visitors don’t come back for affiliate links. They come back for strong content.
Just remember, your audience wants to know what’s in it for them if they stay. Good content is a great motivation to stay. It also makes you look more like their friend who has their best interests at heart and less like a salesperson.
Besides, quality content is great for search rankings (SEO), and search rankings are great for more traffic. Also, posting original and insightful content establishes you as an expert in your field. This leads to other good things like more backlinks (you could use guest posting to land great backlinks) and a higher click-through rate (CTR) on your affiliate links.
Don’t—Make Sales the Priority
This is another big one. You want to make as many sales as possible. You’re in affiliate marketing to earn money, after all. Why would we put this as a “don’t”?
The answer is simple. Users don’t want to feel like you’re selling them something. They come to your website for content. Purchasing anything is secondary. If you try too hard to sell products, the audience feels your intent to make money.
Again, the worst mistake you can make is stuffing everything with as many affiliate links as possible. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen as much as it used to and it shouldn’t happen at all.
Link-spamming is a great way to drive away visitors. Nobody wants to see a bunch of links. Users want you to tell them why the product is good for them. They want an extensive review before purchasing.
And that brings us to the next part. Don’t overpraise the products you market. Doing that gets you an express ticket to having a bad reputation.
If you are an expert in your niche and you are known for giving honest and accurate reviews, you can afford to give a great review to a product, if you’re being honest.
If you give good reviews to every product, however, you’re in for a nasty surprise. You’ll lose a lot of visitors. It’s simple. If you give every product a stellar review, the audience can’t tell if a product is good or you’re just praising it to make a buck.
Your focus should be on pleasing your visitors. A happy customer is a loyal customer and if you have a loyal following, sales aren’t far away.
Do—Make Your Content Personal
This one goes hand in hand with quality content. Users want to buy from someone they trust. Put a bit of yourself into your content to build a trusting relationship with your audience.
Doing this is, in part, self-explanatory. Add a personal touch to your texts, perhaps make an “About us” page for your website. Answer comments if you have a comment section and use social media and emails to keep your followers updated.
Another good way to establish this connection is to create audio and video content. Users love it when they can see you or hear your voice. This makes them feel like you’re actually talking to them.
Once your audience feels a deeper connection, they are less reluctant to click on your affiliate links and buy the items you recommend.
There are many things you can try if you want to become a successful affiliate. Affiliate marketing is rapidly evolving and there are always new ways to reach your audience. These were just a few important things to remember.
What do you think? What are your experiences? If you’d like to add something or if you think there’s something we’ve missed, tell us in the comments. We wish you a happy New Year and best of luck with your business.