May 14, 2022

How to Succeed in Affiliate Marketing – All You Need to Know, FAQs & More   

how to succeed in affiliate marketing

While affiliate marketing can definitely be a great source of passive income, it can also be a complete waste of time if done incorrectly. 

Before you set up your affiliate marketing business, it’s important to take a look at some successful affiliate marketers.

There are a number of techniques and tricks you can pick up on if you take the time to do your research before you jump in.

Quick Summary

In this post, we will provide numerous tips and tricks that can set you up for affiliate marketing success. 

We’ll also discuss some common mistakes and pitfalls that new affiliate marketers face and how to avoid them. 

So without further ado, let’s get into it.

How to Succeed in Affiliate Marketing?

Many individuals and brands know that affiliate marketing can make them a lot of money but they’re not aware of all the hard work that goes into it. They feel that if they just set up an affiliate site and fill it with affiliate links, it’ll just start to generate revenue. 

Affiliate marketing has this reputation where many people have heard success stories but very few know about the work that goes into it. 

Here are some actions you can take to ensure your affiliate marketing business is a success: 

Don’t Rush Into it 

We want to start off with this one because we feel this is the most common mistake that new affiliate marketers make. They don’t plan things out and jump into creating an affiliate site and setting up affiliate links. 

If you take actions without planning them out properly, there’s a very low chance that you will succeed. That’s true for most things but it’s especially true when it comes to affiliate marketing. 

So what can you do before you start to actually build your site or affiliate page? 

Well, there are a ton of things to take care of before you actually start. This includes things like: 

  • Have you decided on what your niche will be? How did you decide that? Did you do market research to confirm if it was profitable? What kind of competition does your chosen niche have? 
  • What platform will you use? Do you think that your chosen niche has an audience on your chosen platform? 
  • What type of content will you produce? Is the type of content you chose ideal for the distribution platform that you chose? Are you comfortable producing that type of content? 
  • How will you go about producing that content? What will your publishing schedule look like? Will you make posts daily? Weekly? Monthly? 

These are all decisions that cannot be made on the fly. They are something that you need to plan out because as you may be able to tell just by going through the list above, everything is connected. 

The niche you choose will dictate your platform options. This is because the audience you want to target will most likely be on certain platforms. You must ensure that you choose one of the platforms that your target audience would most likely use. 

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Similarly, the platform you choose will dictate the type of content that you will produce. For example, you can’t have blog posts on a platform like Youtube. Hence, you must ensure that you create content that is suitable for your chosen platform.

Next, you must ensure that you remain consistent with your publishing schedule. Consistency is key if you want to build an audience and have constant, reliable growth. Something like that can only be obtained if you create and stick to a schedule.

Now, let’s talk about all of the points provided above in detail…

Research Extensively to Decide on a Niche

There are a number of ways through which you can decide what type of niche you want to pursue. 

Naturally, the way to start out is to list your hobbies, interests, and expertise. Remember that you don’t need to be professionally educated on a niche to create affiliate content for it. However, it is important that you have more know-how than the average person. 

It’s also important to note that it takes a decent amount of time for someone to see a notable level of success in affiliate marketing. It takes a while and if you’re not genuinely interested in what you’re creating content about, it will burn you out. 

Hence, always try to choose a niche that you are genuinely interested in and want to learn more about. 

You also need to be up to date with all the trends, fads, and latest techniques that come up within your specific niche. This will be much easier if you’re genuinely interested in the topic because you probably do that anyway. 

That being said, interest is not the only factor when you choose a niche. 

Once you have your list, the next thing you should do is run market research on each niche to determine which ones could be profitable. 

For this, you must first determine if there’s a demand for the niche. Is it something that many people search for and want information about? Or is it something obscure that only a relatively small group of people would be interested in? 

Obviously, you want to look for a niche that falls into the former category. 

Secondly, after you identify the niches in your list that have high demand, you must then check how much competition there is for each niche. 

  • How many established affiliate marketers are already present within that niche online? 
  • Do you think you’ll be able to compete with them and their already established authority? 

For example, if you choose personal finance as your niche, you’ll have to compete with giants such as Forbes and Business Insider. As you can probably imagine, this can be extremely tough and oftentimes, near-impossible. 

So what’s the solution to this? 

Well, the solution is to be more specific. For example, say you want to run a personal finance blog. However, your personal finance blog could focus on an aspect of a “sub-niche” that none of the already established creators have focused on yet. 

In this way, you could create value for your target audience that is not already present in the marketplace. 

Your Niche will Tell You Your Target Audience

We briefly touched upon this earlier, let’s talk about it in-depth now. So, you’ve chosen a niche for your affiliate marketing business, the next step is to identify who your target audience is. This means you need to identify what type of person would be interested in your content. 

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There are a number of factors you can take into account such as: 

  • Age
  • Gender 
  • Job
  • Income 
  • Geographical location 
  • Interests 

And many more. 

For example, if you want to create affiliate content regarding hunting rifles and the great outdoors, then your target audience would most likely be middle-aged men. 

Hence, when you eventually start to plan marketing campaigns to promote your affiliate content, you can take this information into account. If you plan to do ads on social media, you can especially tailor those to ensure they are shown to the right people. 

If you use targeted ads to put your ads in front of people that are most likely to buy them, obviously, you will start to see success. This specified approach is much more effective than just advertising everywhere you can and hoping you find an audience. 

There’s also an added benefit when you identify your target audience before you actually begin to create affiliate content.

Your Target Audience Should Inform Your Platform Decision 

One major decision that affiliate marketers have to make is which platform they will use. Do they create a blog? A Youtube channel? Or just social media pages? 

It can be quite difficult to decide because all of these platforms typically cater to different types of content. Hence, you also need to take into account the type of content that you are comfortable with producing. 

Secondly, the target audience that you identified is what should be used to identify which distribution platform would be best for you. 

For example, if your target audience is middle-aged men, then you would find a lot more success on platforms such as Facebook rather than Instagram or TikTok. 

On the other hand, if your target audience is teenage boys and girls, then TikTok, Snapchat, or Instagram would definitely be worthwhile options. 

The Platform Should Inform Your Type of Content

You should see how it’s a cascade at this point: The niche determines the target audience which determines the platform which determines the content type. 

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Obviously, these factors should not be the only thing that you should use to decide everything but they can work well as rough guidelines. 

For example, you may want to target teenage girls and for that demographic, platforms like Snapchat and TikTok would be ideal. 

However, you may feel that short-form video content is not right for your style or maybe you simply don’t feel confident creating it. 

In that case, a nice compromise would be a Youtube channel. That’s something that would still be popular among that demographic and it might be the type of content you want to create. 

Obviously, when you want to create content for affiliate marketing success, you need to create content that is suitable for the platform that you choose. You can’t run a blog on Youtube, you can’t create long-form videos on TikTok, etc. 

Hence, always choose a platform that has the capacity to create the content you’re comfortable with. Then, go ahead and create that content. 

Speaking of content… 

Prioritize Value Over Selling

This is another common mistake that we see many affiliate websites make. What you have to understand is that the reason why people would want to check out your affiliate site is to find information about a product or service. 

They want to inform their buying decisions and the only way they’ll feel that they gained something from your content is if you told them something they don’t know. 

For example, you might review a product and let people know what aspects it excels at and where it falters. 

This would allow people to trust you and would give you more credibility. 

On the other hand, if you have nothing but praise for the products you review, people will not trust your content. This is because if all of your reviews are overwhelmingly positive, they’ll seem extremely fabricated and disingenuous. 

As a result, not only will you find that nobody clicked on your affiliate links, but also, your community will not grow because nobody will stick around. 

On the other hand, if you honestly review products and give genuine valuable information about them instead of trying to “pitch” them, you’ll see growth. People will start to trust your word and come back to your site regularly for the latest reviews. 

That’s how you’ll be able to generate traffic reliably and as a result, you’ll start to see a gradual growth in the number of people who click on your affiliate links.

Another aspect that most successful affiliate marketers have within their content is anecdotes. This could be any personal experience regarding the product or service that you review. 

If you review a backpack and want to communicate that it’s overly heavy, don’t just say that it’s overly heavy. Instead, provide an anecdote about how you carried it for half an hour and it caused your muscles to hurt while other backpacks don’t do that. 

This could be a clever way to show people what you mean and it also builds up your credibility because readers will know that you actually tested the product; You did not just plagiarize content from other affiliate marketers.

When it comes to text-based content, you also must ensure that you format it in a way that is reader-friendly. Not only should people be able to easily read it but it should also be scannable. 

What that means is that people should be able to glance over your content and find the things that they are looking for. 

To make your content more scannable, you can make use of: 

  • Bolds
  • Italics
  • Underlines
  • Headings and subheadings 
  • Tables
  • Graphics
  • Bulleted lists 
  • Numbered lists 

And much more. 

Do not use big paragraphs. Avoid big blocks of text like the plague. Just imagine yourself as a consumer that wants to make a buying decision regarding a certain type of product: 

You will Google the product and look at the websites that are provided in the search results. Now, if you open a website and it’s a 2000-word article with no pictures and it’s just one big block of text, would you want to read it? 

Probably not, right? Most people would just skip to the next website on the search results page. 

On the other hand, if your content is properly formatted with the right headings and subheadings, people can scan through it. It does not look so intimidating and people are easily able to find the information they want regarding a product. 

This keeps readers on your page for longer. Not to mention that it’ll be much easier for them to gain value from your content. Due to this, they might stick around and regularly interact with your website in the future as well. 

Don’t Chase High Commission Rates

It’s pretty tempting to just look up affiliate programs with high commission rates and only promote products relevant to them. While this may seem like the right approach, it’s actually not and it can be very difficult to earn any revenue if you do so. 

Let’s learn why this is the case with an example: 

Let’s say that there’s an affiliate program for a product and it pays $1500 for every sale that happens due to your affiliate link. Sounds like a good deal, right? 

Well, programs with high commission rates like these often have very low conversion rates. That means that the number of people that check out your content and actually buy something from the brand you’re an affiliate for is very low. 

Hence, you would have to generate enormous amounts of traffic in order to reap the benefits of that high commission rate. 

A much better and more reliable way to generate revenue is to look for affiliate programs with low to medium commission rates but high conversion rates. 

So, for example, if you had an affiliate program where you would get $20 off every sale but it has a 20% conversion rate, this would be a much better deal. 

You would not make nearly as much money from one sale but the point is that you’d make more sales. This also means that you don’t have to generate insane amounts of traffic to get your affiliate marketing business off the ground. 

Once you couple this strategy to generate stable revenue with efforts to grow your audience, you’ll see a steady increase in the payouts you receive.

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Implement Ways to Build Your Email List

Once you have a steady audience, it’s a good idea to implement approaches that help you continue that growth. 

Important note: Many affiliate marketers tend to fall into a false sense of comfort once they’ve built a decent-sized community. 

Oftentimes, they either stop their marketing efforts or let them continue in the same fashion. 

This can often lead to stagnation in your audience numbers or even a decline. 

In order to ensure that your affiliate marketing success remains consistent and prevalent, you must take action to either scale up or maintain your business.

One of the best approaches to do so is to add sign-up forms or surveys to all your social media pages as well as your affiliate website or blog (if applicable). 

In this way, people that found value from your contact might register and provide their emails to interact with your brand in the future. You can use these emails to build up your subscriber list and utilize it in future marketing campaigns. 

It’s often a good idea to have a monthly or weekly newsletter that you send out to your subscribers. The subject of your emails could be anything from the latest products that you reviewed on your website to affiliate discount coupons and more. 

You can use these emails to give people an incentive to interact with your website and visit it again. It’s an immensely powerful tool that can help you maintain a large community of readers. Not only that but these sign-up forms and surveys can also help you expand your audience. 

Some examples of incentives you can provide in the emails for people to further interact with your website include: 

  • Discount codes 
  • A “Deal of the day” would be a product review with an affiliate link to the product; You would typically do this when the product in question is on sale
  • Links to tutorials and how-to posts on your affiliate website that teach readers how to use the product(s) that you promote

Track Your Progress 

Just like any other business that involves marketing, it’s important to keep constant track of your progress and whether you’re hitting your goals or not. The beauty of the digital age is that it allows you to make adjustments if you feel something isn’t working how you expected it to. 

To get a sense of what techniques and approaches work for your content and what don’t, it’s important to analyze metrics. You can do this with built-in tools that may be provided by your affiliate network or by whatever platform you’ve chosen to create content on. 

If you’re dissatisfied with the built-in tools, you can consider investing in third-party tools for that purpose as well. 

It’s important that you keep track of these metrics regularly so that if anything goes wrong, you can quickly take action. Not only that but it can also help you experiment with your content and figure out how you can push it to make it better. 

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You’ll be able to tell what your followers are more responsive to just by analyzing metrics for different types of content that you may create. Then, you can identify what worked best and focus solely on that to push your affiliate marketing business forward. 

Once your site, blog, or your main hub for content starts to gain traction, you can look towards other forms of promoting it. This could include approaches such as: 

  • Email marketing campaigns 
  • Social media marketing campaigns 
  • Influencer marketing campaigns 

And more. 

You can analyze metrics from these platforms as well to gauge how well your tactics on other platforms are working. 

Respect Rules and Guidelines 

One major mistake that many affiliate marketers make is not carefully going through the terms and conditions of the affiliate marketing program they join. 

Companies and brands have worked hard to earn their reputation and build themselves from the ground up. 

They usually have strict guidelines in place for their affiliate programs so that their affiliates don’t do or say anything to tarnish that reputation. Whenever you join an affiliate marketing program, ensure that you understand what you can and cannot do. 

For example, you should never make false claims about a product or service that you are promoting. This is something that many affiliate marketers do in order to get people to click on their affiliate links. Don’t be that affiliate marketer. 

Another example is that you should never register domain names that are trademarked under the brand that you joined the affiliate program. Remember that you are just part of their affiliate program; You’re not directly involved with them. 

Another thing that you can never do when you’re not directly involved with a brand is to use paid advertising on social media and other platforms to promote your affiliate links. It’s against the terms and conditions of most affiliate marketing programs. 

If you’d like to have paid advertising for your affiliate marketing business, one way to do so is to have a separate affiliate marketing website or blog. This would be populated with your affiliate content as well as your affiliate links. 

Then, you can use paid advertising on social media platforms to promote your affiliate blog or website rather than the affiliate link(s) directly. 

These are just some common mistakes that most affiliate marketers make. However, we must stress again that you should always go through the terms and conditions of all affiliate programs you join. 

Understand That Success Won’t Happen Overnight 

Affiliate marketing is tough and many people fail at it not because they were doing something wrong but rather because they didn’t do it long enough. In order to get to a point where you earn decent money from affiliate marketing, it’ll take weeks, months, or even years. 

That may seem like a long time but trust us when we say that it’s definitely worth it. 

Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to affiliate marketing. 

What many people fail to understand is that you have to maintain that consistency for a long time. That’s the only way you’ll start to see a sizable amount of income flowing in eventually. 

Also, the great thing about affiliate marketing is that it’s incremental. Just think about it: When you start off, you may have just a few affiliate links on your website or blog. As you start to expand your business, you’ll start to add more and more of those affiliate links. 

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These affiliate links will stay online and keep earning commissions for you indefinitely (assuming that the links don’t expire). Hence, as you bring traffic in and add more affiliate links, you’ll start to see growth in the number of commissions you receive overtime.

Research Your Products Extensively 

When it comes to affiliate marketing, it’s important that you know the product or service you’re marketing inside out. You should be aware of how it works, what its flaws are and what its benefits are. 

If it’s a product or service that you want to review for your affiliate content page, make sure that you personally use it before you review it. 

Many marketers think that they can get rich quickly from affiliate marketing work just by plagiarizing their competitors. Don’t be so naive. 

Not only do search engines heavily penalize plagiarism but you could also get banned from the affiliate marketing program if you do something like that. Plagiarism is something that most affiliate programs do not take lightly. 

We mentioned earlier on in this post how it’s a good idea to add anecdotes and little tidbits about what your experience was like with the product or service. Obviously, the only authentic way to do that is to try the product yourself.

We understand that this can be hard for newer affiliate marketers because you don’t want to invest so much money buying the product or service to review it. That’s why we recommend sticking to cheaper products when you first start out. 

Even so, the investment you need to start up an affiliate marketing business is still astronomically low compared to other online businesses. Think about it: You only need to pay for the product and maybe some digital tools that you may use for your business. That’s it.

Another option that you can explore is to reach out to brands that have affiliate marketing programs. Some of them have options for affiliate marketers where they send you a sample of the product to try out. You can use it and then create your product review. 

This is most common for digital tools and software as they can easily provide you with a limited trial that you can use. That’s usually enough for you to compose a thorough review that you can use to generate traffic on your affiliate site. 

Focus on One Niche 

We can’t tell you the number of times we’ve talked to affiliate marketers who believe that a “shotgun approach” to niches is the way to go. What we mean by this is that they try to cram products from as many different niches as they can into one single affiliate website. 

This is something that we are very concerned to see, especially because it seems like it’s become a trend among new affiliate marketers. What they fail to understand is that a website like that is extremely difficult to market. 

Think of it like this: If you were in the mood to eat some pizza, would you rather order from a restaurant that only makes pizzas and is known for it? Or would you order from a restaurant that makes all types of different food? 

Obviously, the answer would be the former. 

Similarly, your readers are much less likely to trust you if your website deals with all types of different niches and products. On the other hand, if you create content only about a certain niche or sub-niche, then it’s much easier for you to build credibility. 

Not only that but it can also be a major pain to properly organize an affiliate website that has content related to many different niches. It would be very difficult for you to follow the recommended search engine optimization (SEO) practices on a website like that. 

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In some cases, it may simply be impossible. 

Furthermore, remember how at the start of this post, we talked about how some factors cascade into each other? You select the niche and then the niche informs you of the target audience and the target audience informs your platform of choice. 

Well, if you have products from numerous different types of niches, who is your target audience? You would most likely have many different target demographics that you would like to target. 

How would you do that? How would you create personalized posts and ads for people in several different types of demographics? Not only that but how would you choose your content platform? 

As you can probably tell by now, adding many different niches to a single affiliate marketing site is a very bad idea. 

Just stick to a single niche or sub-niche for one affiliate website. If you’d like to write on more than one niche, you can just create multiple websites for them. You would need to treat each different affiliate site as a separate project. 

Each of them would have its own content plans, its own marketing strategies as well as its own target audience. 

We definitely don’t recommend this approach for newer affiliate marketers. Affiliate marketing requires consistency and commitment. It would be very hard to devote the time and effort needed to effectively run multiple websites at the same time when you start out. 

We recommend that you should start with a single affiliate website first. Make sure to write as much content for it as you possibly can. You don’t want a website with thin content and not much substance. 

Create content plans for it, create the content, publish it according to a schedule, and market it effectively to gain a following. Once your website is fully established and has a stable following, you can think about other affiliate marketing projects. 

Use Link Shorteners With Care 

Link shorteners can be an extremely handy tool, especially if you plan to promote your affiliate marketing business on social media. That’s because many social media platforms have character limits. 

These character limits can often be tricky as you want to deliver the best brand messaging possible but you also have to fit it within a certain space. 

It becomes even more difficult when you have to add a link to your landing page since the link would take up a lot of the character space. As you can probably imagine, link shorteners are a great solution to this issue. 

To shorten your link through Pixelfy, go to the website, register an account and log in. 

Step 1: After you log in, you’ll be at the dashboard page for Pixelfy. From here, you can check out the analytics of the previous links that you shortened. 

These analytics are something that can help you out as we talked about earlier in the post. Hence, be sure to keep an eye on them. 

If you’d like to use Pixelfy to shorten a link, you can do so with the fast shortener box located at the top of the dashboard page.

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Step 2: To use the fast shortener box, simply copy the link you want to shorten and paste it there. 

Once you paste it, you should automatically be redirected to the next page. 

If you are not redirected, click on the Shorten button as shown below: 

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Step 3: On the next page, you’ll get the shortened URL that you can copy and use wherever you want.

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Important note: Okay, shortened links are quite useful if you want to market your affiliate business website on social media. 

However, you have to be extremely careful when you use shortened links.  

It’s important that you only use them to shorten links that go to your website’s landing page or to a blog post, etc. 

Do not use link shorteners to shorten your affiliate links. 

It’s against the terms and conditions for most affiliate marketing programs. If you use a link shortener to shorten an affiliate link, you may not receive the credit for the referral. 

In more extreme cases, you may even be kicked out of the program for breaking the terms and conditions. 

Don’t Forget About Smartphone Optimization 

One thing that many affiliate marketers forget is the fact that over half the world prefers to browse the internet on their smartphones. Hence, you must take that into account and ensure that your website is optimized for desktops, tablets as well as smartphones. 

If someone opens your affiliate marketing website on a smartphone, it should provide them with an optimized view that is easy to read. 

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If a person is redirected to your website on their phone through a social media platform and it isn’t optimized, there’s a high chance they’ll close it before checking anything out. Hence, it’s your job to ensure that does not happen. 

Apart from optimization, you can also drive traffic through smartphones with paid advertisements on mobile apps. Remember, however, that the same rules apply for paid ads on smartphones as they do for paid ads on desktops. 

This means that if you utilize paid ads to advertise your affiliate marketing business on mobile apps, your ad should redirect users to your affiliate website or blog. The link in paid ads should not be your affiliate link. 

Wrapping Things Up… 

In the end, we have to say that the most successful affiliate marketers are the ones that have been doing it for a very long time. 

Don’t go into this with the mindset that you will achieve overnight affiliate marketing success. You’d only set yourself up for disappointment. Instead, accept the fact that you won’t see the fruits of your labor for quite a while. 

However, if you stick with it, eventually, you’ll see a little revenue generation. As you implement more intricate methods to drive traffic and add more affiliate links, that revenue will slowly but surely start to rise. 

If you have any confusion or questions regarding affiliate marketing, please reach out to us in the comments section below.