Affiliate Marketing: How To Maximize Your Earnings As an Affiliate

Jonatan Parski CEO

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Affiliate Marketing How To Maximize Your Earnings As an Affiliate

In affiliate marketing, affiliate marketers generate income by promoting somebody else’s product or service, in which case the affiliate earns a percentage of that person’s profits. This affiliate income can be active – in the sense that the affiliates actively go out and promote the product – but is more often passive.

Affiliate income is passive income: that means you don’t actually have to do anything, and you still earn. For example, if you allow a certain brand to market their products or services on landing pages that belong to you, that brand will give you a unique affiliate sales link to post, which then automatically counts the number of customers clicking the link on your page. For each sale, you receive the agreed-on percentage of the profits: your affiliate income.

Successful affiliate marketers, who have developed a passive affiliate income
Successful affiliate marketers, who have developed a passive affiliate income, can just sit back, relax, and wait for your profits to start rolling in.

It’s not that difficult to set up your own affiliate content, and if you want to learn affiliate marketing, this article contains several useful affiliate marketing tips to help maximize your affiliate marketing income. On the other hand, it’s also very easy to source professional affiliate content services at an affordable price, if you prefer.

There are four essential components of any affiliate relationship:

  1. The merchant is the one who has something to sell.
  2. The network is the audience the affiliate marketers can reach.
  3. The publisher is the one who publishes the content belonging to the affiliate and promoting the merchant.
  4. The consumers (or customers) are the ones who buy the product or use the service.
  5. The affiliate income is the money earned by the affiliate marketer from the merchant for all affiliate sales.

While these basic components remain the same in any instance of affiliate marketing, the affiliate program can take a number of different forms. For example, you could start your own website, and put lots and lots of different affiliate links all over the website. You could promote your affiliate’s products on your social media pages, or even write (and promote) an eBook about those products.

Marketing Models

Certain models of affiliate marketing have proved to be particularly lucrative when it comes to generating affiliate marketing income. Different affiliate marketing tips apply in these different cases, so it’s worth considering the best strategies for maximizing affiliate sales that will work for you.

The INFLUENCER Model

This model of digital marketing relies on a popular figure who is a big name in industries like sport, music, business or entertainment. The amount of influence these people have makes them particularly effective affiliates to promote products. Because influencers have so many fans, they don’t need to do much work to get the affiliate marketing message out to a huge audience. Plenty of people will be searching for those influencers’ pages – and the more people go to the pages, the higher the pages will rank on SERPs, which will pull more and more and more traffic to that influencer’s site, and that influencer’s affiliate networks. All of that adds up to more affiliate marketing income!

The main problem with influencers is that if they start adding too much promotional content to their pages, those pages will get a lot less popular, fast! And as soon as the influencer’s popularity starts to drop off, affiliate sales (and affiliate income) will start dropping off too.

Influencers can promote affiliate content very effectively through their many followers.
Influencers can promote affiliate content very effectively through their many followers.

The NICHE-FOCUSED Model

If you’re wondering how to start affiliate marketing for beginners, the niche-focused model is a very straightforward way to generate affiliate revenue. To get started, all you need is a website that’s likely to attract a specific kind of audience. Your website needs to provide valuable content to viewers with specific interests or needs, and then provide all the information and resources those viewers might be looking for.

You don’t even have to be an expert in the particular niche to get more affiliate sales: all you need to rake in your affiliate income is just enough know-how to enable you to get hold of valuable content for your niche viewers. When you set up an affiliate program that targets a specific niche, you can potentially gain a high rate of affiliate sales.

Niche marketing is very easy to do, because it involves creating content for a group of people who have very specific interests or concerns.
Niche marketing is very easy to do, because it involves creating content for a group of people who have very specific interests or concerns.

The LOCATION-FOCUSED Model

This model could be thought of as a subdivision of the niche model, where the specific niche uniting your users is geographical location. There could be several things about a certain geographical location that brings users together (especially if the location is home to a small, close-knit community), but the most common reason that users in a certain area form a niche is that they speak a common language.

When you create a website aimed at a minority linguistic community, you get a proportionately small amount of competition. Publishing content for non-English websites can also make it easier for you to rank higher in the SERPs. Therefore, any affiliate program linked to these sites will probably bring in more passive income than any other program.

Whereas Google keeps updating its algorithms to better understand the search intent, not just the actual search terms, non-English search engines lag far behind. If you’re publishing in English, Google will penalize you for dodgy tactics like keyword stuffing – but on foreign-language websites, you can get away with a lot of keyword stuffing and other dodgy tactics to boost your SERP ratings.
But whatever you do, DO NOT create your affiliate marketing content in English, and then use Google Translate to ‘translate’ that content into another language! Much rather make use of top-quality translation and localization services to ensure you get it exactly right!

If you need to translate content for a non-English audience, be sure not to try any dodgy shortcuts
If you need to translate content for a non-English audience, be sure not to try any dodgy shortcuts!

The MEGA-MALL Model

With the rise of online shopping, as well as the rise of multinational corporations, the days of mom ‘n pop stores are pretty much at an end. As soon as a small business starts turning over impressive profits, it’s likely to be taken over by one of these global giants.

Sadly, these corporations are so large, rich, and powerful, that when they do affiliate marketing, it’s virtually impossible to compete with them. It’s not impossible for smaller affiliates to attain the level of affiliate marketing income that these giants do, but it is very difficult.

Best Strategies for Affiliate Marketing Success

There are at least three important steps to any successful affiliate marketing process. First, figure out who your marketing will be aimed at. Next, figure out the best way of reaching that audience. The answers to those two questions will help you come up with your optimal affiliate marketing strategy (and optimal affiliate income!). Finally, create top-notch content that meets the needs of your audience and promotes your affiliate products.

Select your niche

You need to start by giving some thought to the unique market you can offer your affiliate partners. What hobby, lifestyle, outlook, or belief do you have that unites you with a group of like-minded enthusiasts? Start by brainstorming and jotting down some ideas.

Next, it would be a good idea to do some keyword research. In the area of interest you have selected, what topics are trending? What common searches are a lot of people performing?

Select your channel

Once you’ve come up with a niche, you’ll have a better idea who your target audience is likely to be, and what channels will likely be best for reaching that audience. Younger age groups tend to hang out more on social media platforms, and also prefer mobile-optimized platforms, since they do most of their surfing on mobile devices. Older individuals may be more comfortable with good old-fashioned email, so if this is your audience, it might be worth setting up a mailing list and using email or mobile marketing campaigns to promote your content.

That being said, setting up a website for the express purpose of promoting affiliate links works very well for almost all audiences in the affiliate marketing industry. Using best search engine optimization practices, you can use your website to attract exactly the type of viewers most likely to appreciate your affiliate product. Moreover, you can still use social media or other channels to help promote your content, in addition to using your website. That way, you can reap the rewards of multiple channels at once.

Produce Some Incredible Content

Like most other online marketing these days, affiliate marketing is all about great content. Whatever great strategies for affiliate marketing you may use to drive traffic to your site, you won’t succeed if visitors arrive at the site only to find poor-quality content. They will not browse around, and they will not return in future. Therefore, it’s always worth your while to put some effort into creating a page that will be really valuable to visitors.

Some more strategies for affiliate marketing income generation: Make the layout appealing and the menus easy to use. Use plenty of visuals, but make sure the files are not too large to load quickly. Invite strategic partners to guest post – that can help you reach a much larger audience. Publish interviews, product roundups, or how-to guides that will be useful to your viewers. Competitions and give-aways can also help you attract traffic, but be careful not to let your site get a ‘spammy’ feeling to it!

Of course, even if you create a really magnificent page, you also won’t succeed if nobody knows it’s there. You’ll need to promote yourself in a strategic way, so that you are maximally discoverable by [the viewers you’re targeting]. Educate yourself on the best strategies for optimizing your SEO performance, and you’ll see what a big difference that makes!

Take a Principled Approach

Maximizing your affiliate income, while minimizing the amount of effort you have to make, is what every prospective affiliate marketer wants. However, any get-rich-quick tactic you employ that does not nurture your relationship with your audience is likely to have a negative effect in the long run. When you take the long view, you will realize that short-term gains, even if they are quite large, are not worth the risk of alienating long-term supporters. The best way to maximize profits is always to put ethical principles first, and trust that good principles will lead to good profits.

Build Trust

A group of loyal supporters is always your most important asset as an affiliate marketer. Visitors who keep coming back to your site again and again are more valuable to you than any other kind. If your audience trusts you to provide them with relevant, high-quality content (and not flood them with spammy marketing content), you are more likely to get more affiliate sales. But to make sure you’ve earned their trust, make sure you partner with a merchant whose products or services are truly valuable to your audience.

Set High Ethical Standards

When you are being paid to promote affiliate content, you are legally required to feature a disclosure statement, specifying that a certain company is compensating you for promoting products or services for it, and informing viewers which specific content contains a link to your affiliate’s content.

Besides the legal requirement about disclosure, there are four main kinds of unethical practices you should avoid at all costs when promoting affiliate content:

  • Cookie dropping:
    This is when fraudsters plant bugs in their browser history to simulate genuine customer clicks on their affiliate links. Thus, they earn money from ‘selling’ products they actually didn’t sell at all.
  • URL hijacking:
    This is when fraudsters buy a webpage with a URL similar to the one that really belongs to the affiliate website. But then, instead of legitimate affiliate links, they put up links to their own domains.
  • Fake lead creation:
    This is when fraudsters use bot traffic and synthetic identities to create false leads, which nevertheless appear to be legitimate at first glance.
  • Click spam (or click flooding):
    This is when fraudsters manually and repeatedly click their own affiliate link, or use automation software to make it look as if the link has been clicked.

Do not be tempted to be a fraudster, and do not use dodgy strategies for affiliate marketing to attempt to generate affiliate income! Not only does the use of these tactics make you a bad human being: it can also land you fines and penalties.

NEVER use questionable techniques to help you turn a profit
NEVER use questionable techniques to help you turn a profit!

Understand Your Affiliate Products

Although many affiliate marketers do what they do primarily to make money (and not necessarily because they are passionate about their affiliates’ products), you need to make a genuine effort to understand the products or services you are promoting as fully as possible. If you don’t, it will be very difficult for you to promote them successfully. You need to be able to figure out who the product or service is likely to appeal to, and how you can draw in the right kind of audience.

Ideally, you should use the product or service yourself, so that you get some hands-on experience, as well as reading up on product specs. Then you should join any relevant discussion pages or blogs where people are talking about the product or service. The more you know about whatever it is you’re promoting, the more effectively and confidently you will be able to answer questions or join in discussions about it. That’s a great way to boost your affiliate income.

Make the most of targeted email marketing

If you have an appealing sign-up pitch on your website, you will be able to gather the email addresses of loyal visitors who care about the same things you do. The main advantage of email marketing is that you can customize your marketing content very specifically to each individual on your list, so that there is the maximum chance that email recipients will highly value any marketing offers you send them. For this reason, email has the highest ROI of any marketing channel. Therefore, if you invest in email marketing, that is almost guaranteed to boost your affiliate income.

Email is the most widely used form of content distribution, and the most effective form of marketing
Email is the most widely used form of content distribution, and the most effective form of marketing.

When you send out emails promoting your affiliate, don’t just jump straight to the ‘Buy now’ button. Rather, use the opportunity to show off the best of your brand’s content to gain your viewers’ loyalty. Create high quality content. Give them something valuable they’re really happy to see in their inbox. For example, a study conducted by Twitter showed that tweets containing good images were viewed at least 50% more than tweets without images, and you should also make good use of visual content in your emails. Email marketing is a great strategy for boosting traffic to your website – and for affiliate marketers, boosting traffic to your website is a great strategy for boosting clicks on your affiliate link.

However, with email marketing, you have to be careful: it is illegal to send out marketing emails unless the recipients have explicitly given you permission to send to them. Therefore, although you want to have a tempting offer where you tell people all the benefits of signing up to your email list, you have to be very sure that they can’t possibly sign up by mistake, or without fully realizing what they are signing up for.
Regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation and the CAN-SPAM Act are there to stop marketers from being able to access people’s personal information. If you fall foul of this act, you may be liable to heavy penalties. For example, in 2019, Google was fined €50m for failing to get consent from people before sending them targeted advertising material.

Regulations aimed at protecting people's privacy can sometimes make it impossible for you to put all your best marketing efforts into your campaign.
Regulations aimed at protecting people’s privacy can sometimes make it impossible for you to put all your best marketing efforts into your campaign.

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn passive income, on its own, or in addition to your regular job. If you are willing to put in some time and energy, your affiliate marketing efforts could rake in a spectacular affiliate income as a professional affiliate marketer – or if you don’t want to do this full time, your affiliate marketing income can still make a nice addition to your normal salary.

If you follow the tips provided in this article, you’re all set to start maximizing your affiliate income right away!

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Chantelle

Chantelle started her career in IT before eventually finding her way into Marketing. This eventually became her passion, along with Digital Marketing, SEO, and Brand and Web Development. Today, she helps businesses find their voice and grow online.

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