opinions expressed by Entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most interesting and lucrative industries on the Internet, where commissions are earned from promoting a company and/or executing a sale. It consists of a strong hub of web publishers looking to monetize their sites and is a great opportunity for marketers and advertisers to partner with others to promote their products, services, brands or affiliate programs. I’ve been in this field as an affiliate marketer since 2007 and I can confidently say I love what I do, especially as it allows me to connect directly with my target audience without too many intermediaries.
However, there are a few things I wish I knew before I begin.
1. Track success metrics
There is no way to grow an affiliate website or earn more from it if you don’t know how many visitors are visiting that site each day and where they are coming from. That’s why it’s so important to monitor analytics and identify which marketing channels are driving the most traffic so you know where to focus your efforts when it comes to promoting affiliate offers.
Here are some metrics you should monitor:
- Monthly visits and unique daily visitors. The more your site gets, the higher your chances of making a sale.
- How many sales did you make this week? Monitor the performance of each affiliate bid to determine which bids convert the best.
- How much was earned from each bid? It is very important to track how many sales are generated from each affiliate program, as each publisher charges a different commission for selling the same product. This will help you identify which affiliate network and products convert better for your site or blog and make better bids to drive more sales.
- Which countries do the visitors come from? This metric will show which country’s target audience converts better for yours, helping you choose the right bids for your market.
Related: The Best Social Media Marketing Fundamentals for Small Businesses
2. Don’t expect big wins overnight
If you’re just starting out as an affiliate marketer, don’t expect success too quickly because thousands of web publishers have been doing this for years but still struggle to find revenue. I’m not suggesting avoiding goals, it’s just important to be patient and work consistently to see significant results. This is a business like any other, so income will depend on how much time, effort and patience you are willing to invest.
3. Never stop learning
One of the most important lessons I’ve internalized over the years as an affiliate marketer is that there is no end to learning or knowledge sharing. This industry changes lots quickly; New trends emerge all the time and old ones die quickly. So-called gurus retire affiliate sites every few months just to start new ones, so you need to be prepared to capitalize on the changes and spend resources learning by absorbing affiliate marketing blog posts, interviews and case studies along the way.
4. Avoid overestimating your product or service
One of the first things many marketers do when they start an affiliate website is to promote their own products and services, but it’s important not to overvalue them as this will only backfire in the long run. Remember that you need your audience more than they need you, so provide them with valuable resources, information and insights to help them solve their problems. Start by building an authority in a niche, consistently posting free content, and getting involved in the community. Then, when you get real traffic to your site, create an offer that closely relates to what you’ve already shared on your blog or website.
Related: 4 Stupid Steps to Get Your Authority Marketing Off the Ground
5. Don’t sell visitors short
One of the biggest mistakes I see affiliate marketers make over and over is trying to undersell their visitors instead of offering high-quality offers that match well with what they want and need. For example, if someone is looking for a dog bed or leash, they won’t buy an offer on yoga classes because it’s completely irrelevant and won’t match what they’re looking for. So before you try to sell something to your visitors, make sure you do your research and come up with offers that closely match what your target audience is looking for.
6. Hug test
Another blunder I come across is guessing what works best rather than testing ideas before investing time, effort, and money. That’s why I recommend A/B testing tools for at least some campaigns, as they will give you valuable insight into what’s working right now without taking any risks.
7. Don’t leave money on the table
Many affiliate marketers start promoting a new offer as soon as it goes live. Still, they fail to fully optimize and promote it before rolling it out. In most cases, this means you’re leaving a lot of money on the table by not testing your landing page, images, text, and ad copy first. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending days or weeks doing A/B tests, but at least try to test an offer individually before promoting it widely. This will give you a better chance of converting more visitors into subscribers or buyers because you have taken the time to optimize everything from start to finish. This is the process I use for every new campaign for my online store and it works like a charm.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Give Up
Finally, remember that it’s not a flaw to give up on something that obviously isn’t working. While it can be difficult to walk away from an affiliate campaign or website, it’s crucial to ask if the results are worth the time and effort and then spend that energy on something that has a better chance of success. Don’t let others make you feel bad for changing things because there is no such thing as doing everything right, so just do what makes sense.
Related: How Affiliate Marketing Can Work for Entrepreneurs
At the end of the day, there is no absolute right or wrong way to do affiliate marketing, but you should at least have a rough plan – one that includes knowing how much you want to spend on advertising, where your niche traffic is. from and which bids are converting the best. The more time and effort you put into learning and testing everything first, the more likely you are to succeed.