In this post, we are going to cover what many believe to be the 10 Basic Rules of Affiliate Success. It is possible for your affiliate marketing campaign to be a big source of revenue for you and your new business. The key to maximizing your affiliate earnings is to always be engaging your readers with relevant content. You see, in affiliate marketing, you are paid for impressions or clicks, in other words, affiliates are only paid if or when a specific action is performed. That action might be a customer making a purchase through one of your affiliate links or maybe even something as simple as signing up for a newsletter, but it must be understood that you are not paid until you’ve compelled your readers to take some type of action, and they do so.
With that in mind, I would like to share with you the 10 Rules of Affiliate Success. So why not grab a cup of coffee and sit back and relax as we go over these rules together.
1. Get To Know Your Audience
Knowing who your readers are and what their interests are is the best way to successfully use affiliate programs. Once you are armed with that information then you can focus on promoting products, services, and offers that would match the needs and wants of your reading audience. Consider first why your readers are coming to your site or joining your email marketing list in the first place. What value are you providing, what need are you satisfying that they are looking for? Then make sure that the affiliate products you have chosen to promote provide a solution to their wants, needs, or desires.
That being said If you are writing about cars, you would not want to be promoting affiliate ads for cell phone accessories. Of course, we know in the world we live in just because everyone has a cell phone and some of those programs might even have a high payout. But, the people who are coming to read your comments or reviews of car products aren’t necessarily concerned about the latest and greatest cell phone cases, so why would you want to put that on your site, or on your blog?
Now that we have clarified the need to keep things relevant understand that the more relevant the ads that you are affiliated with are to your readers, the more likely they are to use them to buy the particular product or service. So when you adopt the attitude that your job is to educate your readers, rather than sell them something, educate them about relevant products and services they may be interested in then they believe that to be a value added form your content.
If you haven’t yet started and are still trying to decide what market you want to serve then see this article on we will cover that in another post titled, “Picking the Perfect Niche”
2. Honesty Is Key
Your readers are perceptive. They know an affiliate link when they see one. One might even say that they can spot a veiled sales promotion a mile away. Maintaining the trust of your readers is key to your future success in the affiliate marketing business. They came to your page for your opinion or comments, they came because you have established a certain rapport or level of trust with them and you should not cheapen your work by loading up your posts with too many ads. This is simply a form of suicide in this business.
After all, It is your repeat visitors that will drive traffic to your blog or site. Those repeat visitors are often the ones who give you link backs, and may even spread the word, possibly recommending your site as the go-to place for valuable content on a particular subject. You to be truly successful need to build relationships based on genuine and entertaining value filled content.
It is well known and accepted that if your visitors think that you’re being less than honest or think that you are only recommending specific products and services due to a potential profit motive, they will not walk away from your site, but will run away and not read anything else you have to say.
Only share products that you know are relevant, useful, and can truly help your readers, they will truly appreciate it. Doing so, of course, will eventually make you much more money in the long run with repeat sales.
3. Be Informative and Helpful In Your Posts
Think of affiliate ads as additional resources that complement your content. Give value to your content by making it helpful, useful, and informative.
Although I do in one of my blogs have a bookstore, where I offer some of my personal favorites from some of the best (in my humble opinion) self-help authors throughout time. When picking the books to go in my bookstore I didn’t just put up a list of books, hoping that people would click on the affiliate link, and purchase the books (just because I listed them), so I could cash in on a sale. I chose those books because I have read them and found them useful in my own life, and truly believe that others may also find them useful or entertaining. And when offering a new book or a new product you should always take some time to write a detailed review, and then use your affiliate ads to point them in the right direction if they decide to act on your information, or buy the product.
Some of the most compelling posts are personal testimonials or case study that you can share; How that product or service has changed your life or the life of someone that you know. How you believe that it could benefit your readers.
Once you truly understand what affiliate ads are for and how to properly use them. Once you have written a few compelling reviews recommending a product or service you will begin to improve your writing and marketing skills. Then your affiliate business will be off and be running. But your reader needs to feel that you are not simply trying to sell them something, but that it is your desire to help them accomplish their desire, or fulfill their need. Then and only then will they be inclined to click your link, and move forward with their decision to purchase. And then you have completed the cycle, and you will earn that commission.
Just throwing out a mish mosh of links to products or services with no rhyme or reason will result in a quick exit by visitors, they won’t even stick around long enough to really get to know anything about you, and after all, that is what your blog is all about right? You and your personal experiences.
So always keep in mind when you are writing a post that you need to first add value to your reader, I have always adapted the attitude in my businesses that first I would tell someone what I was going to do to add value for them then I would do it, and then I would tell them what I did, and then and only then would I offer them a product or service that might be of help to them, and if you do the same you will soon be writing award-winning content. But value is the key, never forget that point.
4. Always Reveal Your Affiliate Relationships
I can’t stress this enough, you must always disclose to your readers your affiliations and the possibility that if they do in fact purchase something from your recommendation that you will receive some form of compensation. They, of course, will understand and even appreciate your honesty. They may even feel better about contributing to your earnings if they feel that you have added some value to their lives, but on the other hand if they sense that you are being less than honest about your affiliations, they are smart enough to bypass your link do a bit more research and go directly to the vendor if they feel that the product or service will benefit them just to avoid giving you the referral credit.
Honesty and full disclosure of your relationships are not only a necessary part of building a loyal reader base it’s also the law! As I said your readers are not morons, and they know they are supporting you by using your referral links. So why not make them happy and eager to do so?
There are of course some cases, where you not only want, to be honest, and transparent about your affiliate relationship but, you may even want to offer a bonus or some type of incentive if they take action and use your affiliate link. A free report or another type offer, can often be enough incentive for them to move forward in the buying decision.
5. Select Your Affiliate Products Carefully
Of course, your product choices to promote are critical to your site’s success. This again should be consistent with the theme of the site, and not with how much money you are going to make per sale. As a matter of fact I before I begin promoting a product will often send an email to the vendor, stating that I write a blog on X, Y, or Z and would like to promote their product, of course, to promote that in the best light I would greatly appreciate a free sample so that I could give an honest assessment to my readers. As a matter of fact think about this for one moment logically, if the vendor is not willing to give you the product for free to review, why would you want to promote it for the in the first place? That is simply good business on the part of the vendor.
Take the time to go through and properly research all the different options for products or services that apply to your niche, that is available through different affiliate marketing programs. Carefully consider which products or services your readers may need or like. Also, change your ads around often, try different sizes, different graphics, and different text to see which are the most effective in converting leads to the ultimate buying decision.
It may take some time before you figure out the best techniques to fit your niche and your writing style, and you may even find that by continually rotating your ads that you might attract more attention.
A great source for affiliate marketing is the promotion of digital information products, e-courses, e-books on a specific subject. There are basically two reasons that I mention this type of product and why they are attractive to affiliate marketers. First, these type of information products have higher conversion rates because the customers can have instant access and that instant access leads to instant gratification when they make the purchase. Second, of course is more of a mercinary reason and that is simply these type of products typically offer much higher commission rates than do physical products — which means more money in commission to you.
6. There Are So Many Programs to Choose From… So Try Different Ones
The first choice is often the hardest to make when it comes to picking a product or service to promote, but just dig in, do your research, and bite the bullet, after all you have to start somewhere. If you find that a particular program doesn’t seem to be working for you, then try another one.
Affiliate programs aren’t all created equally. Each program has its pluses and minuses. They offer different products, services, and even payment structures. Some vendors will have better marketing and sales materials than others. And the sales information that your customer sees when they decide to click on your link will often determine whether they proceed with the purchase, so as you evaluate the different programs that you are contemplating promoting look at their landing pages, look at their marketing materials, and ask yourself, “if I were in the market for this or that, would I buy this product myself?” And if you wouldn’t purchase it why would you ever want to recommend it to your customers?
Different programs will protect you as an affilaite for different lengths of time, some might have a lifetime payout on sales while others may limit it to 30-90 days. Some programs are more flexible in the types of ad units that they have available for you to use while promoting their product or service, so pick the best options that fit your site, your niche the best.
There are of course such affiliate marketing sites that offer a variety of different programs that you can represent, some of these are for example Clickbank or Commission Junction just to name a couple. But it may behoove you to also, check your favorite vendors to see if they run their own affiliate program. After all it is possible to sometimes go directly to the source. You’re not just limited to big affiliate networks although they are a great resource to get you started.
You want to be changing your ads often and tracking the results so you know what is working, what is not, and what needs to be cahnged, you might actually even enlist the help of a few freinds and ask them to check out your ads and give you feedback as to whether the ad would motivate them to click through to research a product or service further.
By continually testing different ads and different programs you’ll see which ones convert the best and which ones your audience responds to the most – these responses are what actually leads to increasing your overall conversions and sales.
7. Use Links to Make Old Content Timeless
You write something today, and tomorrow it becomes stale. Now of course the information or at least some of it might still be applicable, but you want to keep it fresh, know that your old content can still be valuable even though it’s no longer on your front page. The best way to take advantage of the long-term opportunities by making sure you provide timeless content. And link back to your previous applicable posts. So link in both directions if you have an older post that might be a bit outdated and you have updated something then place a link in the older post pointing the reader to the newer post, and vice versa.
Information moves forward, so the relevant content on your site will change quickly. So remembber that you can make your content timeless simply by adding links to your updated articles on your old ones, and your readers will be able to easily navigate to your most up to date content. It’s a no brainer!
Many blog platforms allow you to show “most recent” or “most popular” or “related articles” on every page, so no matter where your reader is in your site, or how old the article is, it will always show access to your new ones. Understand that your old content can make you money indefinitely.
There is much to be said about writing new and up to date information and that it can be beneficial, however another strategy that you might choose to employ is to focus on writing about “evergreen” content – reason being of course that content is always timeless.
The concept of “evergreen content” is that it will give you more mileage out of your content and drive traffic for years to come, and you can always change up the products you are promoting related to the content and therefore open up entirely new profit centers.
The object is to have content that is relevant, useful to your readers, and up-to-date. And then you are well on your way to an affilaite payday.
8. You Won’t Get Rich Overnight, So Be Patient
There is an old saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither is an affiliate empire. Your affiliate revenue grows and builds in time. As you pick your programs to promote if you have a choice between a product that offers lifetime payouts or a similar product that offers you protection for 30-60-90 days, well the answer there as to which product you should promote should be quite obvious to you. With a lifetime payout, if you refer a visitor, you may continue to make money from that one visitor even if they never come back to your site, but continue buying from that vendor. As long as you have referral links still active even in your older posts, they may still payout for you as a visitor clicks through because they found that link on a particular post that they happened to find useful or helpful.
There are also programs that that offer recurring billing / continuity type products such as membership sites where you can continually earn commissions every month on the same products which can add up over time.
One such service that I am personally affiliated with is Wealthy Affiliate, so let me give you an example of that here.
and within Wealthy Affiliate you receive some of the best training available on the web as far as building your own online business, so whether you are a seasoned professional or a newbie, the community of members all have one thing in common, SUCCESS!
So let’s now take a quick look at just what the potential is at Wealthy Affiliate
Now 1 referral a day is not the least bit aggressive but it would net you as the affilaite $235.00 per month, and if you were able to drive traffic to your site and increase the number of personal referrals to say 5 per day as shown in the above example your monthly income would be $1458.00
Now let’s look at 10 referrals per day that would net you as the affiliate $3115.00 per month if the average referral remained active for 4 months, but many of the members that are active on this site have been there far longer than that (why? because they have experienced success in building their online empire that they relate exclusively to Wealthy Affiliate) so let’s say that you had recruited those same 10 referrals per month and the retention rate went from 4 months to 12 months, well your income at that point would have jumped to $9,319.00 per month, Now that is nothing to sneeze at is it?
Just one more example of this type of ongoing arrangement, if you promoted a product or service that would pay you commissioneach month of $5 and you referred 100 sales; you’d make $500 in that month. Now assuming the product had the same retention rate of one year, after just one year that would translate into a monthly recurring revenue of $6,000.00 and that would be just if in the first month you had got that 100 readers to buy the product or service, but that would multiply if you were able to get more people to sign up each and every month.
You may have to test different offers, different products, and different services until you find the best ones that are a match for your audience, but keep plugging away.
Just know that affiliate programs aren’t a get rich quick scheme, and do require work to be successful, but once you have done your work then there is an opportunity for you to make a passive income from your blog, month after month, year after year.
But if you are serious about getting started I would strongly encourage you to at very least check out Wealthy Affiliate, and sign up for a free account, after all what do you have to loose?
9. Keep It Fresh and Relevant
Keeping up to date and relevant with your content and your offers is key to ongoing success, research constantky the newest products and services that are within your niche, don’t be afraid to promote them, and don’t be afraid to change them from time to time. Vendors are constantly adding new ad units, advertisers, and tools to improve usability and be more visually appealing to the readers. Making small changes can go a long way in motivating action by readers. Know that if you don’t adapt that your competition surely will and you may just find yourself left out in the dust by being complacent with your strategy.
You can’t simply rest on your past posts, don’t get lazy about monitoring trends within your niche and exploring new opportunities. You never know what the next great income producing program is unless you have done your homework.
You should be constantly on the lookout for new products that are useful and relevant to your readers — and the more products that you can effectively promote with relevance to your audience, the more money you’ll make in the long run.
10. Content, Content, and Content
Have you ever heard the old saying in real estate the most important factor is Location, Location, Location? Meaning that when you are looking to buy a house you want to buy the worst house in the best neighborhood, because you can always upgrade and improve the house, the neighborhood on the other hand is out of your control. Well in blogging for profit the same concept sort of holds true only instead of Location, Location, Location, you need to be thinking of Content, Content, Content. You are after all in a content delivering business, and in such you need to employ a certain content marketing strategy, and that strategy must be very high on your list of priorities if you are truly determined to succeed in blogging for profit.
Your content is the foundation of your business, it is the life blood on which the site exists. So, without valuable and helpful content, the readers won’t come. This isn’t the Field of Dreams (if you build it they will come) you have to give them a reason each and every day why they would come in the first place, and why they would want to come back. Always focus on providing excellent content and the monetizing strategies will work themselves out in the long run.
Never compromise your content or your integrity to cater to the affiliate programs because in doing so you will alienate your customers and ultimately lose them and when that happens you also lose the opportunity to receive any earnings from any of your ads.
I simply cannot stress enough that the quality of your content is and will always be the single biggest factor in the credibility of your website, blog, or business. Choose your content wisely.
As always I love to engage with my readers, if you found this post insightful, entertaining, or infomrative please feel free to leave a comment below, and I will get back to you shortly.
Here is to your continued success in your new venture.
Dr. Carl Welliver