Online earning is trending, and affiliate marketers are making more money than before. Affiliate Marketing can be a profitable business if managed meticulously. It basically involves endorsement of products; as soon as the promoted product is sold, you secure a handsome commission. One can affiliate with multiple companies at a single time. A diligently managed affiliate marketing business can make you earn up to a five-digit amount in the shortest period possible.
However, it is not all fun and games. Affiliate marketing has changed drastically over the last years. The competition in the sector is extremely fierce. A lot of people who lack the patience and consistency get burned out.
Here I will discuss how affiliate marketing has evolved over the last few years. And how to be a successful affiliate marketer in 2021.
How has affiliate marketing evolved?
Affiliate marketing has changed drastically over the last few years. Initially, most of the focus used to be on finding a product from a merchant and then selling that.
Over the years the process has become more sophisticated. As technology has evolved, the affiliate marketers have become smarter with the creation of landing pages, etc.
The current era is the age of data. So, by creating their own blogs and websites, the marketers are gathering data about their consumers. So instead of doing a one-off sale and going about their business. The affiliate marketers are now establishing long term relations with their clients through various methods like email marketing.
Once the norm changed to and maintaining a long-term relation and getting repeat clients. The next challenge was to be at the top of your niche. Be it in search engine, magazines, etc. While before, some of the people got away with black hat techniques such as buying links and traffic. Over the years, the search engines have also evolved and now marketers must grit for getting new clients and being at the top.
In the past, techniques like banner ads were very common, but they are now slowly fading away. Similarly, the trust factor was missing. And quite often than not, marketers would sneakily do a sale without providing exactly what was asked for. But many affiliate marketers have now evolved to providing value to their clients, again, to create a long-term relation and a strong personal brand.
How does affiliate marketing work?
Before we go into the details Affiliate Marketing, first we need to understand how Affiliate Marketing works.
So, as an affiliate, your job is to basically promote and sell the product. The way it works is that, you first need to find a product that you can sell. Ideally, it should be a product related to your niche or something that you have expertise on. At the very least, something you should be confident that you could sell.
Once you decide on the product, the next step is to make the sale. Now there are two ways of doing this. One is, the old school way, you get the product. And you start promoting it. There are various platforms where you can find a certain product. For instance, Clickbank, JVZoo, etc. allow you to sell products that are listed there and earn a commission for it.
You can take the product and start advertising it on Social Media, on YouTube, etc. But this method lacks the “gaining data” part. So, what the marketers usually do, is they create what is called a funnel. So, between the buy and the checkout, they create an intermediate page where they collect the data of the customers such as email address, name, etc. to contact them in the future.
That is one way to do it. But the way I prefer the most is creating your own Blog or website. It is a tedious task but trust me, if you play the long game, you will win big. When you create the Blog, then in your Blog you can promote products that are related to your niche.
Being a successful affiliate marketer in 2021
They say the only constant is change. Every day, every year, technology is getting better and the world is changing. In order to be successful and remain at the top, you always have to evolve with time. If you try to hold your ground, people will surpass you.
Here I have gathered some of the tips that you could employ to be a successful Affiliate Marketer in 2021.
Choose your product
The first thing that you need to be careful about is what product will you sell your customers. It is just like launching your product in the market. In case you display products that are not interesting, it doesn’t matter what you do. The customers will not buy that, and you will not be able to earn money. So, choose products that you are interested in.
The right choice of product is the most important aspect of a successful affiliate marketing campaign. Research about the different products. See what is trending among the consumers. Go for products that people are looking for. Products that have a free trial, free delivery, warranty, etc. sell easily compared to those that don’t.
Moreover, certain products bring more profit than others. For instance, I am a big fan of selling digital products compared to physical ones. The reason for that is, say a digital product like an eBook or a software can be sold several times. There is no shipping charges and as such, the commissions that can be earned from these products tend to be more than those from physical products.
Maintain your website content
If you decided to go with my recommended strategy i.e., building your own website. Then It is necessary to maintain your website content. It is almost losing its worth by how many times I have repeated it. But again, choose niches that you have the expertise or appropriate knowledge in. Nobody buys makeup from a fruit market; you must keep your website content maintained and the products you are selling and vice versa.
If you are affiliated with lifestyle products, post up to date and trending lifestyle guidelines. Products having instant results excel in the lifestyle market. Your content should be based on and associated with what you are convincing your readers to buy. Be honest with your readers. Don’t just go on mentioning the pros of a product just because you want to make a sale. Talk about the cons as well.
You always must remember; the goal is to win the war. Not just the battle. The goal is to win the customer’s trust, not make the sale. If they trust you, they will always buy your sales pitch. So just be honest with them.
Provide value to the customers and tell them that you will earn commissions if they buy it through your click. The truth is, if they trust you, they will actually make an effort to buy it through you (in case they actually want to go ahead), to benefit you as well. It is a win-win situation in that case.
Grow your email list
Email marketing is still the number one method of communication. You can multiply your profits by using email marketing properly. Email gives you direct access to a targeted audience.
There are various tools used for email marketing, such as MailChimp, ConstantContact, etc. So how it works is basically, the customers are asked to subscribe to your newsletter, and as a result, you will get their data and compile them in a mail list.
The best email campaigns for affiliate marketers are:
- Drip campaigns
- Welcome email series
- Downloads and eBooks (lead magnets)
- Product reviews and overviews
- News and announcements from affiliates
You can collect emails from doing one of these campaigns. Then, you have to segregate your audience. You have to see, which links they have followed, and why they have signed up for your newsletter. And once you segregate them, you target them based on their preference.
Say, if they went to your fitness page, and then signed up to your mail list. You send them emails promoting fitness products, etc.
Attract your customers
There are affiliate marketers who even though they follow the above tips, still fail to generate profit.
Now here is where we must address the elephant in the room. That is the lack of traffic on your webpage. Now, how would someone buy anything from your webpage if they haven’t even visited it? The remedy here is to generate traffic.
Utilize the email addresses of those who have subscribed to your website. Email them with reminders and exciting offers, appreciate their feedback, and provide them with promo codes for extra discounts.
Gaining traffic to your website is perhaps a topic on its own. But there are basically two ways to do it, one is by running ads on social media and paying per click (PPC). The other is to do it organically through search engine optimization. The former is fast but short-lived. The latter is tedious but sustainable.
So, depending on your style, you have to choose one of the methods and go ahead. There is no harm in running ads as long as they are making you profit. Say if you are spending $100 to run ads, and you are selling products worth $200. Then you should go on with that.
But if your preference is to establish yourself and gain organic traffic, then search engine optimization is the way forward.
Search engine marketing
As I just mentioned, the key to organic traffic is search engine optimization (SEO). So just to expand on that, if you choose to go down that route. You have to make sure that your content is SEO friendly. As a matter of fact, SEO friendly content attracts considerably more traffic than the ordinary one.
Now what is SEO friendly content? It is basically a fancy term for making sure that your content is optimized such that it reflects what users are actually looking for. It contains the keywords that are being searched by the customers.
There are various websites that give you keyword analysis. Say Ahrefs for example. They give you keyword analysis i.e., which keyword has what volume and what is the search engine difficulty.
So ideally, your content – should target keywords that have a higher volume and lower difficulty. But it is really difficult to find keywords with higher volume and low difficulty.
So, if you are a beginner whose domain has lower authority, you have to target keywords with perhaps lower volume and lower difficulty. Once you grow your website’s authority, you can then target keywords with slightly higher difficulty which most often have higher volume as well.
Too long didn’t read (TL;DR)
Affiliate Marketing is one of the easiest ways to earn money online. However, the competition in the field is intense. Affiliate Marketing has evolved a lot over the last few years. Instead of just promoting a product and going about their business, marketers are trying to gather data by various methods, such as landing pages, email marketing campaigns, etc.
The way affiliate marketing works is that you are basically a salesman. You must select a certain product and sell it. Ideally, you would want to select a product that you are familiar with, and confident that you would be able to sell. There are two ways to do a sale, either through direct promotion as I just mentioned. Or by creating your own website.
There are various tips that we need to consider in order to be a successful affiliate marketer in 2021. Some of these include the choice of product. Say digital products earn more commissions compared to physical products (mainly due to no shipping costs, etc.). Next is maintaining your website content and making sure that your content is related to the product you are advertising.
The next tip is to grow your email list by running email marketing campaigns. Once you get the emails of the customers, you can then send them emails promoting a certain product. At the same time, you have to make sure that there is traffic in your website otherwise none of the strategies would work. You can earn traffic through paid advertising or organically through search engine optimization.
Search Engine Marketing is a long-term game. You have to tailor your website to make sure you include keywords that the customers are looking for.
The key to being a successful affiliate marketer, like most things in life, is patience and perseverance.
About the Author
Fahim Ahmadi is an entrepreneur, blogger and marketer. Follow Fahim at fahimahmadi.com as he writes about making money online, emerging software and technologies, and his journey as an affiliate marketer.