What is affiliate marketing and why it is fun?
The principle is simple: you promote someone else’s products or services for a fixed commission. In other words, you become someone else’s marketing partner, that’s why the term “affiliate.” Your partner gives you a share of their sales revenue when you refer high-value purchases to their website or app.
You are free to choose the way you attract leads, the goods you promote, your working hours and workload: the only thing that matters is the sales you make. This is the job that makes use of your creativity and analytical skills while keeping everything else as flexible as possible. Also, it’s a nice addition to any webmaster’s profits!
Conversions (all the target actions you have agreed on, e.g. sales, registrations and deposits, etc.) are tracked via affiliate links.
This business model is also extremely attractive for business owners: they pay only for the actions/conversions they need.
How to start a successful affiliate marketing program and succeed in affiliate marketing?
No one will ever present you with a ready plan on how to become a successful affiliate, but we have some general recommendations that are usually sufficient for a good start if you follow them carefully.
- Quality traffic and quality affiliates
There are several ways to drive visitors to product and service websites: if you have a thriving blog or a multi-topic website, it is of course much easier to redirect visitors somewhere on the Internet. However, this is usually not enough: even selling consumer goods requires a certain level of targeting, so you need to reach out to as many audiences as you can.
Therefore, you need to buy traffic from other affiliates and maybe even build your own affiliate network. Bots and shady schemes will not help you make money, but a good strategy can. Make sure you follow these rules while looking for quality affiliates:
- Clear and consistent content. Whether it’s a social media group or a web forum, you need to be able to understand what’s going on there in the first few minutes/
- Communication with the partner must be pleasant, without warning signs
- The terms of cooperation must be agreed from the beginning
- It is generally good to see the statistics of the channel/website
- Product = value
Affiliate marketing used to be notorious for promoting products of questionable quality or things you would never buy otherwise. Fortunately, those stereotypes are no longer true: the most successful marketers sell products they really believe in.
So the next step to high profits is to choose goods or services that provide value to customers. Ask yourself the following questions:
What is this product about?
What customer problem does it solve?
What hopes, fears, ambitions does it address?
Some popular products meet the demands that customers do not even know they have: no one Googled a buttonless smartphone that can be a business helper, an entertainment device, and a prestigious accessory until Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007.
This not only saves you from advertising complete nonsense from the start, but also gives you an idea for your future advertising strategy: slogans, calls to action, etc.
If you want the quick buck, you may succeed in the short term, but if you aim for your customers’ satisfaction, you must understand their needs and psychology. If you do so, you will never run out of affiliate marketing requests.
- Define the KPIs and keep a constant eye on them
Key performance indicators are the foundation of any marketing campaign and any business in general. The metrics you should most likely track are the following:
- CTR (Click-through rate) – the number of visitors who click on the affiliate link divided by the total number of visitors to your website who see the ad. A low CTR is usually an indicator of poor quality or low relevance of the ad and should be checked together with the conversion rate. Also, it’s good to have an idea of a normal/average CTR for your type of traffic and products to use as a reference.
- CR (Conversion rate). The number of clicks converted into purchases/target actions. A high CTR and a low CR may indicate that there is a problem with the product or its presentation.
- CPC (Cost per Click) is the amount you spend when a potential customer lands on your website via an affiliate link.
- CPA (Сost per action) = how much each conversion costs you. The most important metric that defines your revenue – you subtract it from the price your customer pays you for a conversion. It is often said that the minimum percentage difference between your CPA and your client’s CPA is 25-30%, otherwise it is not worth the effort.
In addition to keeping an eye on KPIs, you should also make sure that the data you use for calculations is accurate and clear, and that the discrepancies between your and your client’s clicks/conversions tracking systems are not too large.
4. Keep in touch with the community
Staying current in affiliate marketing requires both hard and soft skills. Keeping in touch with your colleagues and even competitors is an essential part of success.
Unless you are working on one offer at the same time and are direct competitors, people are quite enthusiastic about sharing information. Forums and chats are places where people brag about their success stories, mourn their failures, and give tips on the latest best practices and places to find good traffic/profitable offers. Sometimes they even steal each other’s creative approaches, but that’s the inevitable part of sharing!
In the beginning you ask for help. Next day you get a chance to help your fellow partners. After that, you might start your own affiliate network (if you are brave enough) or at least secure a group of trusted people you can buy traffic from when needed.
Last but not least: The reputation you gain from participating in community life could earn you more offers from advertisers in the future!
5. Good results can take time: be patient
Growth takes effort and creativity, but it also takes time. You may have to try several approaches to find the one that works best, and yet you will not be able to rest on your laurels. There are hundreds of small changes you can make to improve performance, and testing different hypotheses definitely requires time for the results to be valid. This is especially true if you are a beginner.
Time also helps you know the products you are promoting and your target audience better, sometimes even build a relationship with them. Communicating with the customer is another thing that, like a good wine, gets better with time: You earn their trust through your hard and efficient work and find ways to improve the terms of your cooperation.
Time and reflection also help you understand your goals, strengths and weaknesses: If things do not work out, change your approach, the offer, or the client. In the end, you may find that you specialize in a really narrow niche where you can create and set up ads in no time like an absolute pro.
6. Optimize to stay profitable: you are there to earn
High revenues usually come after many of the things mentioned above: finding creative approaches, testing hypotheses, tracking KPIs around the clock, time and effort. Also, you need some luck. We have all heard that diligence is the mother of luck, so what kind of optimization diligence do we need?
- Define your target ROI (return of investment) in % and do not settle for less.
- Check your payouts every now and then. Have you been delivering high-quality leads for half a year? Maybe it’s time to ask for a higher payout to drive even more paying customers. Or is it time to improve the payout terms?
It’s also a good thing to do market research and ask your partner colleagues about their rates!
- Automate your KPI tracking as much as possible. Find a way to set up alerts so you can focus on something more intellectual.
- Educate yourself and monitor what your competitors are doing. Affiliate marketing is a rapidly changing environment, not learning and not moving forward is almost tantamount to falling behind.
- Do not let routine get in the way of your creativity. Change something about your advertising process, make sure you have enough rest and new impressions!
Of course, affiliate marketing and finding a successful affiliate marketing strategy is much more extensive than this article – you’d rather have to write a book for that! But the basics are accessible to everyone, and anyone can start making money by following the rules above. Of course, success is the result of effort and some luck, but why not get help from those who can share their luck and expertise?
RollerAds is a place where both beginners and professionals can become a super affiliate in no time.
You will benefit from the easy setup and the wide range of ad formats offered. Being in touch with a community of passionate professionals will improve your expertise and help maximize your profits. The caring support team is also there for you!
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