Marketing gurus and bloggers have presented being an affiliate marketer as a “get rich quick” scheme. Which is literally the million dollars question about it. And to be fair, yes, affiliate marketing can make you earn those big bucks if done correctly.
Nonetheless, just because you can get an affiliate link doesn’t mean you will get rich overnight. It takes much more for a person, at least someone with a modest following, to be successful in affiliate marketing.
The harsh truth is that most won’t see the results they are hoping for. It can sometimes take time, effort, determination, and a lot of hustle. They will be times when it fails miserably and times when it just works. So will you be able to find success as an affiliate marketer?
Let’s find out.
What Is Exactly Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is basically an agreement between two parties: the seller and the marketer. In a nutshell, the seller has something to sell, and the marketer is someone who can make money from the merchant by promoting certain products.
This marketing model is straightforward and low-cost, therefore you’ll find a lot of affiliates in the blogging world. For instance, they will usually make a product review and include their affiliate links in the description and/or the body.
The affiliate will make a commission if he/she is successful at selling the product each time someone press that link. For instance, look at this image from Jimmy Tries World wallet review.
Even if there is an affiliate links overkill, you at least know that Jimmy is an affiliate marketer. And he discloses it is indeed an affiliate link.
Technically, at least in the US, you should disclose that you are an affiliate. The Federal Trading Commission (the FTC) requires that anyone promoting a service or a product should receive compensation.
When potential clients click on a link, it usually redirects them to the merchant’s website. Typically, a cookie is placed on the prospect’s device that lasts between 30 to 90 days.
So if they end up buying whatever you’re promoting, the company will see which affiliate sent that customer. Pretty neat, right?
So then, why everybody is doing it, then? Well, like anything, they are pros and cons to be an affiliate marketer. Let’s see when is it, and when is not, a good idea to be an affiliate marketer.
When Is It A Good Idea To Be An Affiliate Marketer?
There are many benefits to being an affiliate. For one, this hustle is relatively low-cost to get started. For instance, with Amazon’s affiliate program, you just have to sign up for an affiliate account, fill up a tax form, and that’s it!
Once you’re approved, congratulations, you’re an affiliate marketer with your own dashboard.
If your links are unsuccessful, you don’t lose any money, just don’t make any. So risks-wise, there are little downsides – it’s as low-risks as it can get.
Let’s overview a couple of reasons you should do affiliate marketing.
1. When You Have A Connection Do The Product
No one likes a know-it-all, smartypants, salesman pushing a product that they clearly don’t believe in. You certainly don’t want to look like this when starting affiliate marketing.
You have to believe in the product you’re selling. If you love what you’re selling, people will respond.
For instance, take this article of Mercey Livingston giving “5 reasons to buy a Theragun”.
Not only there is an affiliate link in the first paragraph, but there is also a CTA button underneath the second one.
It might seem slightly suspicious that there is a link in the first paragraph with a CTA button underneath the second one, but you’ll notice something if you read the full article.
Mercey really likes the Theragun.
She is not trying to trick you to buy a $500 massage gun to make a quick buck off you. She wholeheartedly believes that more people should invest in a Theragun because she really likes it.
Affiliate marketing is a wonderful opportunity to sell products you believe in.
Because either way, you would probably recommend it anyway, so why not make money off it?
2. When You Want To Add Value For Your Audience
You can add multiple offers to your content without having to create a product/service. It can be a bonus to something you already use or a discount on the product itself.
Take this example from the vlogger Allana Davison.
She tells her audience her favorite necklace brand while providing them with a discount code. Thus, she became an affiliate to offer a discount for her audience. She is hooking them up, technically.
The best part about it is that she doesn’t have to set up an e-commerce store to sell the product itself.
Making her audience benefit from the affiliation as much as she does.
3. When You’re Okay Making Slow, Passive Income
Affiliate marketing is not a “get rich quick” scheme. If you want to make that monthly 6 figures check, you need a large audience or a lot of patience, which usually is a mix of the two.
If you do the math on those sales, you’re making between 15 to 30% per purchase. Obviously, they are products that’ll make you more per sale, but the concept stays the same.
The baseline is that you’ll need to sell hundreds, if not thousands, of products each month to make a decent monthly income. But if you’re okay with this, affiliate marketing can be an “easy” way to make extra money.
After all, there is little to no financial risk on your part.
4. If You Have A Good Relationship With Your Audience
When considering the concept of affiliate marketing, trust between you and your audience is one, if not the, of the most important factor. If you are a trusted and respectable source of authority in your niche, you’re going to do better as an affiliate marketer.
They have 2,27 million followers with each video gathering at least hundred of thousands of views. They share their passion for mountain biking by building, riding, and reviewing equipment they use.
They affiliate the equipment they use and trust, but not systematically. Therefore, their audience knows they will give an honest review whether they’re an affiliate. The point to understand is this: if they trust what you’re saying, they’ll trust what you’re selling.
5. When You’re Cordial With The Merchant
They are companies that put a lot of value on their affiliate marketers. For instance, Amazon works a lot with affiliates, notably because they have a lot of products you can get affiliates for.
Nevertheless, you want to trust the companies you’re promoting. Notably, because your reputation depends on it, but also because it can quickly backfire if you have an inferior product.
Speaking of how things could backfire, what are the don’ts of affiliate marketing?
When Is It A Bad Idea To Be An Affiliate Marketer?
Like in anything, they are some cons of affiliate marketing. If not done carefully, it can have some serious drawbacks. For instance, the merchant that you’re representing can compete for brand-related organic searches.
A study found that 60% of affiliate marketers use Pay-Per-Click (PPC) to promote their links. Even then, search is the top traffic source for affiliate marketers.
You might also come across dishonest merchants that’ll attract affiliates with exciting commissions, only to drop the rate a few weeks later. Working with untested affiliates’ networks can be dodgy too.
Here are some situations when you will want to skip affiliate marketing.
1. When You Need Steady Income ASAP
Like said previously, affiliate marketing is wonderful when you want to promote products you love. Nevertheless, it is not a replacement for regular income.
Truth be told, it is intermittent income in the short term.
Like said earlier, don’t think that affiliate marketing is a “get rich quick” scheme. It can take years to make those 5 to 6 monthly figures income.
2. If You’re Worried About Security
Link hijacking is a thing. In a nutshell, it is when someone steals your commission by replacing the ID of the link with their ID.
This can happen when a party hacks into your website or your social media accounts where you feature your affiliate links. So if you’re already susceptible to break-ins, you might not want to add affiliate links.
If not, it can be a good idea to revamp your security by using link cloaking and tracking software.
3. If You Don’t Want To Manage An Affiliate Account
An affiliate marketing program can be a handful. There can be a lot of things involved in the sales funnel. For instance, this business relies on strong relationships with your audience.
Therefore, make sure you’re working with the right parties and keep updating your content regularly. For instance, if you have done a product review back in 2019, things have undoubtedly changed in the last 2 years.
The product will either get better or fail, while additional features might be added. This means you have to go back on those pages and update the information to stay relevant.
Hell, it can be even worse if you’re running your own affiliate network. Therefore, if you don’t have the time and/or energy to manage your content, links, and everything else, affiliate marketing might not be for you.
How To Benefit The Most Out Of Affiliate Marketing
Let’s say you have weighed the pros and cons of affiliate marketing and you’re in, how can you maximize it? There are a few things you can do to get out the most of your affiliation.
1. Know Your Niche
The best salesman knows what their audience wants. Therefore, the best bet to generate income with affiliation is to target content to the audience at the strategic stage, which is the purchasing stage of the buying cycle.
Success in affiliate marketing is found when you timely promote products to the people who want them now. If there is no urgency in your offer, the sales will never take off.
There is some experimentation required. You might have to try different a market or products to be successful.
2. Research The Affiliate Products
In a perfect world, your love of a product would lead you to create an affiliate link. Things should probably be like this, but things usually work the other way around.
Companies and merchants will approach you to sell their products and/or services on your platform. Here, you will need to research what you’re promoting before selling it.
The last you want to sell to your audience is garbage. Promoting a cheap, brittle, and inferior product is the best way to break the trust between you and your audience. Your ability to sell products to your audience in audience will be jeopardized.
A good way to test the water is to test the product first. Don’t promote something that you don’t like for monetary gains.
3. Try Different Affiliate Programs
In the affiliate marketing sphere, there isn’t just Amazon or any other program you’re trying out. There are literally tons of other programs to test. Every program offers a distinct form of payment gateway, products, and services.
Even your favorite vendor might have such a program for you to try. Sometimes, even, you can directly go to the source and partner up with an individual brand you love rather than shuffling through different products in a program.
4. Be Transparent
Everyone takes a unique approach when promoting their affiliate links. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to disclose it to your audience. Some merchants have some very “dogmatic” rules of where you can and can’t use your affiliate links and how to link them.
For instance, Amazon won’t let you cite your links in emails, PDF, pops-ups, e-books, or guides. Some users will use plugins to shorten to hide the awkwardness of the link itself.
This is totally okay. Just remind yourself that you’re not trying to deceive your audience into giving you a commission. They should rather trust that you’re promoting them something of value, so you have nothing to hide.
5. Be Patient
This might be the hardest tip of them all. Affiliate income will come gradually if you put effort, time, and authenticity on when building your audience. Even if you only make $2 on a single sale, you can scale those numbers by making more sales.
The more you can promote the link, the more opportunities you will have to sell the product. But even then, it is a waiting game. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t discourage you to try.
They are multiple reasons you should do affiliate marketing.
It’s a great way to promote products and/or services you love while making an extra buck.
Look for partnerships that are trusted, give you a decent commission, and/or hook your audience with a discount.
The best part is that you have control over the entire process. You can put affiliate links wherever you want.
Nevertheless, remember to test and research what you’re selling. The last thing you want and need is to lose trust with your audience.
So start by nurturing an engaged audience by creating engaging content to build trust and authority in your niche. This is your first step to ultimately create an affiliate program that brings you a 5 to 6 figures income.