Affiliate marketing can be a big source of revenue. The key to maximizing your affiliate earnings is to provide additional value and to engage your readers. Unlike traditional ads where you are paid for impressions or clicks, affiliates are only paid if or when a specific action is performed. The action might be something as simple as signing up for a newsletter to submitting their zip code information up to having a sale completed. Regardless, you are not paid until you’ve compelled your readers to take some type of action.
With that in mind, here are the Top 10 Commandments for affiliate marketing success to make sure your readers get value and take the actions you want them to take so you can maximize your success with affiliate marketing.
1. Know Your Audience
The most successful way to use affiliate programs is to only promote products, services, and offers that match the needs and wants of your audience. Consider why they are coming to your site, joining your email marketing list, or following you on social media.
What are you providing that they are looking for? Make sure the affiliate products you are promoting provide a solution to your audience’s problems.
If you are writing about sports, don’t put up affiliate ads for printer toner just because everyone has a printer and those programs have a high payout. The people who are coming to read commentary or get stats for their favorite teams aren’t thinking about those things when they’re on your site.
2. Be Trustworthy
Readers are savvy. They know an affiliate link when they see one. If you break their trust by promoting a product you don’t believe in or take advantage of their visit with too many ads, they will leave and never come back.
It is your repeat visitors that will drive traffic. They are the ones who will give you linkbacks, spread the word, and recommend your site as the go-to place for valuable content. You need to build a relationship based on genuine content.
If your visitors don’t think you’re being honest or think that you are only recommended products and services due to a profit motive, they won’t read anything else you have to say.
If you promote products and services that aren’t high value, they’ll lose trust in your recommendations and stop acting on them; costing you sales and profits.
With this in mind, you’ll want to make sure that your #1 priority is adding value to your website visitors and email list. Only share products that you know are relevant, useful, and can truly help them.
3. Be Helpful
Think of affiliate ads as additional resources that complement your content. Give value to your content by making it helpful, useful, and informative.
Don’t put up a list of your favorite books, hoping people will click on the affiliate link, purchase the books (just because you listed them), so you can cash in on a sale.
Take some time to write a detailed review, and use affiliate ads to point them in the right direction if they decide to act on your information.
Even better, if you have a personal testimonial or case study to share; write a detailed post about it then include your recommendation with your affiliate link in your review.
4. Be Transparent about Affiliate Relationships
Always disclose your affiliations. Your readers will appreciate your honesty and will feel better about contributing to your earnings. If they sense that you are being less than honest about your affiliations, they are savvy enough to bypass your link and go directly to the vendor just to avoid giving you referral credit (even though the price is the same it’s just something people do; strange but true!).
Honesty and full disclosure is a necessary part to building a loyal reader base (and it’s also the law!). They know they are supporting you by using your referral links. Make them happy and eager to do so.
In some cases, not only do you want to be transparent about your affiliate relationship, you may even want to offer a bonus or some type of incentive if they take action and use your affiliate link.
5. Select Affiliate Products Carefully
Take the time to go through all the different options for products or services available through different affiliate marketing programs. Put some thought into which products or services your readers may need or like. Also, change the ads around often, try different ones, and use different graphics and text to see which are the most effective.
It may take some time before you figure out the best formula, and you may also find that you need to continually rotate ads to attract more attention.
In many cases, the product creators will provide you with a handful of ads to use on your site, on social media, and via email. Test different ad creative to see which ones work best for you.
You may also want to create your own ads (if allowed by the vendor) so that you can stand out from the crowd.