Whether you’re just starting out or not, affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetise a website.
People say it’s easy. But don’t be fooled. Just because you’re not creating products, doesn’t mean you won’t have trouble making money.
There’s a lot that goes into promoting other people’s products effectively.
In this affiliate marketing guide for dummies, we’ll show 29 tips that will help you become a wealthy affiliate marketer.
Let’s get started.
#1: Don’t Promote Junk Products
When you’re trying to make money as an affiliate marketer, it’s all about promoting the right products to the right people.
If you don’t sell products that fit and solve your readers’ problems, you’re going to have a problem. Choose affiliate websites wisely.
Sure, you might get a sale here and there. But it would be highly unlikely for you to get the commission because of refunds. (Most affiliate programs lock/hold your commissions until the refund period is over. Typically, this is 30 days.)
When your audience starts to realise that you’re not really helping them, because the products you endorse are crap, they likely will never come back to your site.
Low-quality products are generally easy to spot. They will have low ratings and negative reviews from both customers and website owners (like bloggers and affiliate marketers).
So before you pick a product, do your research. Also, consider buying it yourself (we’ll talk more about this later).
#2: Prove Your Products Work
Here’s the deal:
When it comes to being an affiliate, your job is to help your visitors by showing them products that’ll solve their problems.
To get them to actually make the purchase, showing them the product in action will get their wallets out. There’s nothing like seeing your problem being solved right before your eyes.
If you’re wondering how to actually do this, you’ll have 2 options:
i. Video – if it’s physical, meaning you have the product on-hand, you could use basically any camera you can get your hands on (your smartphone will work). If it’s digital, like a Kindle book or software, you’ll need a screen recorder. There are several tools to choose from, but I’d recommend Camtasia.
ii. Screenshots and Images – if it’s physical, your smartphone camera will work just fine. If it’s digital, you’ll need a screen capture tool. Snagit is probably the best all-round tool, but there are free options that are good. There’s Skitch from Evernote and Jing from TechSmith.
#3: Don’t Go Crazy About the Pricing
Whether it is $40 or $400, you’re still going to make money if the product is a legitimate problem solver. If it has a good commission rate, 30% for example, you’re going to be all right.
If a product has a 50-dollar price tag and a 25% commission rate, that’s $12.50 per sale. If you can generate one sale per day, that’s easily $375 per month. And one sale per day is totally doable. Even 5, 10, 20+ sales every day can be done.
So don’t let the price tag choose what products you promote. The better the product, the more sales you’ll generate.
#4: Create High-Quality Content That Helps
As an affiliate marketer, website content will likely be your number one generator of traffic, leads, and sales.
To generate traffic, you will likely get it from Google Search and from social networks. And you need content to rank in search and to share on social media.
To generate leads, you will need landing pages and opt-in forms to get people to sign up. And even they will contain lots of quality content.
The same thing with sales. Without content, there’s no way to get people to click on your affiliate links.
And if you want your content to be successful, it will need to help your readers. If you’re creating content just for the eff of it, it won’t generate traffic. It won’t generate leads. It won’t even generate a single penny.
So what is helpful content, you ask?
The next six points talk about certain forms of content that are specifically designed for affiliate websites. Let’s check them out.
#5: Create Product Reviews
Product reviews are the most common forms of affiliate marketing content. Every affiliate website has at least one of these.
Why? It’s because they work. Everybody reads them. According to a Vendasta statistic post, 92% of all consumers read online reviews.
Back in 2013, MarketingLand wrote about a survey from Dimensional Research and ZenDesk where they found that 90% of customers say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.
If you think about the number of people online who look for products on sites like Amazon, that number is in the hundreds of millions. It’s crazy.
So if you’re not creating reviews for your website, you better start now.
For help on writing great reviews, check out this guide from NicheHacks.
#6: Create Product Roundups
A product roundup is probably the easiest form of content you can create for an affiliate website. It’s basically just listing a bunch of products and summarising them with 2 or 3 sentences.
You don’t even have to compare them.
And, you can create these lists around broad topics. For example, best video games or top 100 WordPress plugins.
You can also include affiliate links for as many products as you want. If you’re featuring 25 products in your roundup, you can have 25 affiliate links.
#7: Create Product Comparisons
Product comparisons are similar to the roundups, with a couple differences. First, it’s more specific. It can be about a certain type of product, such as WordPress SEO plugins. Or, it can put 2 or more specific products against each other, such as the Xbox One vs the PS4.
A great example of a comparison that features products in a specific category would be this one where it compares 7 of the top plugins for WordPress landing pages.
If you take a quick look at the post, you’ll see that each of the 7 products featured in the guide have the following:
- a subheading.
- a review/summary box.
- a few paragraphs describing the product and how it’s used.
- a ‘Top Features’ section.
- and a button that links to the sales page (could be an affiliate link).
That’s a great template to follow.
So when you’re creating your own, consider using it as a guideline.
As for the A vs B type of comparison, you’re basically just talking about the differences, the main features, and the advantages + disadvantages. It’s also good to have a section where you give your own experiences (and perhaps your recommendation).
#8: Create a Resource Page
Like the product roundup, the resource page is another one that’s easy to create.
A resource page will basically list everything one would need to achieve their goals. For example, if you’re in a marketing-related niche (specifically WordPress), you might go with something like this…WordPress Resources: Everything You Need to Build Successful Sites.
You could also just list every resource you can think of and title the page “Recommended Resources”. There’s no wrong way to do this.
Here’s an example of our monster, 14,000-word blogging resource post.
#9: Create a Buyer’s Guide
A buyer’s guide is often overlooked by affiliate sites and blogs for some reason. It’s an essential page and is one of the most viewed by website visitors.
If you’re not sure what this page actually is, it’s essentially a guide where you talk about what to look for in a product. The page also creates a great opportunity to recommend your best affiliate products.
A great buyer’s guide I like and have followed is this one from UAV Coach: How to Buy a Drone. It does everything so well. Check out its Table of Contents:
So, if you need help or inspiration, consider following their guide as a template.
#10: Create a ‘What’s Your Budget?’ Page
If you’re not sure what a ‘What’s Your Budget?’ page is, it’s where you have dozens of products under 3, 4 or more pricing categories.
For example, let’s say you have a site about gaming headsets. And let’s say you go for 6 categories:
You won’t really have to review the products you feature either (unless you want to). All you’ll need is a summary box section that’ll look something like this:
Quick note, it only takes a few minutes to whip up. And, you can copy it for every product and just fill in the blanks, basically.
#11: Use the Affiliate’s Expert Roundup Post
Expert roundups are posts where the author/blogger asks dozens of industry experts a specific question and publishes the answers. They were crazy popular for a few years. Still are.
For affiliates, instead of asking advice-based questions, such as “what is the best way to shed 10 pounds?” You ask some that is product-related. Particularly, something where you can become an affiliate for the products the mention.
Here’s an example:
Robbie Richards is in digital marketing. He has an expert roundup post where 105 pros shared their recommended keyword research tools.
There are 105 experts on this list. That’s a lot of content to consume. People won’t read every single word.
That’s where the leaderboard comes in handy.
This is where you can add your affiliate links because it’s what everyone would rather read (instead of reading the whole post).
If you’re not sure how to create your own, this guide will walk you through.
#12: Don’t Go OVER Your Niche – Relevancy is Key
That’s right…relevancy is key.
There’s absolutely no point in writing a blog post, for example, on ‘how to make money from YouTube’ if your niche is ‘losing weight after pregnancy’.
All it’d be is a waste of time.
Your content should always try and help your readers.
#13: Build Your Mailing List From Day 1
For every $1 spent on email marketing, it has the potential to bring back $44. That’s a whopping ROI of 4400%.
That’s why it’s recommended by nearly every expert marketer to start collecting emails as soon as possible.
If you haven’t gotten started yet, Pat Flynn has this actionable guide on Smart Passive Income that includes videos.
If you have, but have not seen great results, perhaps you need to implement new strategies. Backlinko has 17 of them you might not have heard before.
#14: SEO Traffic is Still Number One
There’re plenty of SEO strategies to turn into action.
#15: Don’t Rely Just on SEO
The SEO game is a long one. It can take months until you start seeing some real progress in the SERPs. It can even take anywhere up to a year to see your organic traffic numbers spike into the hundreds of thousands.
That’s why I recommend looking at other reliable traffic sources, such as paid advertising and social media.
If you have a healthy marketing budget, Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are two of the best ad networks around.
If you don’t, then you’ll have to get your traffic the hard way, like most of us.
If you’d like, I’d suggest you get educated on alternative traffic sources. Here’s a guide from Neil Patel you should read.
#16: Create Informational Content
Product reviews and other affiliate types of content are great for generating sales.
However, you should try and create other types of content. Content that is more advice-based and non-commercial.
Content like this will drive more traffic, high-quality backlinks, and even authority.
So what exactly is non-commercial content?
Basically, it’s everything that isn’t affiliate product reviews, comparisons, etc. Here are a couple examples:
- How to Lose Your Post-Pregnancy Fat: The Definitive Guide
- 17 Nutrition Facts That Will Blow Your Mind (And Make You Think Twice About What You’re Eating)
So consider creating a nice mix of both commercial and non-commercial content.
#17: Offer Bonuses (If Allowed)
Bonuses, or incentives, are great for getting a higher conversion rate. Especially when the incentive compliments the product you’re promoting.
For example, let’s say you’re promoting an online tool for SEO research. A great bonus would be eBook that shows people how to use the product effectively.
Another would be if you’re promoting a training course for losing weight. A great bonus you could offer is a document where you talk about a certain number of cases where people have lost significant amounts of weight. That’d be great for inspiration.
There are a lot of potential bonuses you could offer. You’ll just have to find one. Think. Get creative.
#18: Find Products With Recurring Fees
Recurring fees are usually with products or services that are a membership or some sort.
For example, there’s this online marketing membership program that offers training, community, domains, and a pretty great web hosting service.
Its price tag is $49 per month, with a discounted annual option.
The commission rate is about 50%. Affiliates get $22.50 per sale. That’s every single month for as long as the member pays.
Think about that for a second.
If you can generate 1 sale per month for a year, you’ll have 12 referrals. That’s $270 per month. That’s a decent start. Totally doable. But not much profit.
What if you get 10 referrals per month instead? In 1 year, you’ll have 120 total. That would add up to $2700 per month and $32,400 per year.
That’s more than a lot of people make. Hell, that’s even more than minimum wage in a lot of places.
If you ask me, a top-notch product with a recurring pricing point is where the passive income is. However, there aren’t membership-based programs in every single niche.
But if you do have one, I’d recommend at least seeing how it is. And remember, if it isn’t great, don’t even bother.
#19: Use Scarcity in Your Marketing
“Only 5 left in stock”. “Only 12 hours left before our doors close”.
Scarcity marketing is a great way to get people to complete actions like sign up for your mailing list or buy your affiliate product.
If you’d like to use this, you may need a special tool. Especially if you want to use a countdown timer. For this, I’d recommend Thrive Ultimatum. It has about everything you need.
You don’t have to use a tool, though. Phrases like “only 3 left in stock” may suffice.
#20: Use Video in Your Content
Thanks to YouTube, video has become almost essential for many. I know some people who won’t even click on something without knowing if it’s a video, first.
That’s pretty crazy.
People love watching videos. There’s not much else to say.
As an affiliate, adding a complimentary video for your reviews and/or comparisons should at least be considered.
#21: Use an Affiliate Link Plugin
An affiliate link plugin will help you manage your links with ease, but also cloak them for you.
I’m sure you know how ugly affiliate links can be. They have weird tracking codes at the end of them that don’t even make sense.
A plugin can turn this:
Pretty cool, right?
And you can do all that with just a few clicks.
Now…there are a few plugins to choose from. There’s ThirstyAffiliates, Pretty Link, and a couple other good ones.
But I recommend Easy Affiliate Links. I’ve been using for the past couple months and have had no problems with it whatsoever.
#22: Embed Links in Images
People like images. Images are more engaging than plain old text.
Whenever you read something online, you likely look at images first before you start reading.
When people go online to buy something, images work like buttons that send people to the sales page.
Have you ever noticed that?
Let’s say you’re on Amazon looking for a new the Call of Duty game.
Do you click on the link?
Or do you click on the image?
I know people are probably used to clicking on links. But you should also think about the people who prefer clicking on images.
Embedding affiliate links within your product images will only take a minute.
#23: Don’t Go Crazy With Ads
Trying to make money with ad networks like Google AdSense is tough. Especially since they pay by the pennies.
However, there are thousands of sites out there that make a killing.
With that said, it doesn’t mean you can, too.
You will need a content-rich website and a steady stream of quality traffic.
Another word about ads…
They slow down your site and make it look ugly.
So, even if you’re not into ad networks, putting up banner ads for your affiliate products are also just as bad.
If the ad images’ file sizes are large, it’ll take longer for your site to load. If they’re poorly designed, your site will look horrible.
#24: Prepare For Holidays
The holidays are a great time for the affiliate marketer. Mainly for Christmas, but it can also work for other holidays, too.
Why? One word:
If you can provide a high-quality product that would be the perfect gift for someone like a loved one, you could possibly generate more sales than you would on any other day of the year.
If you’re not sure how you can take advantage of the holidays, you have 3 ways:
- Create a blog post dedicated to the holiday and the product(s). Ex: Top 10 Custom Game Controllers That’ll Make the Perfect Xmas Gift.
- Market to your mailing list. They’re on your list for a reason. So sell to them.
- Paid advertising. Facebook Ads would be perfect for this.
#25: Black Friday is Your Friend
Black Friday is the one time where you can make a lot of sales. Even more than on any major holiday.
Since it’s about a month away from Christmas makes it even better.
If you don’t know how to take advantage of this, see the 3 points above (blog post, mailing list, advertising).
#26: Learn Who Your Audience is
Your target audience is your moneymaker. If you don’t have an idea of who they are, you won’t know how to get them to buy the products you’re promoting.
Or even worse…you won’t even know how to get them to visit your website.
How do you get to know your audience?
One of the best ways is to find where they hang out. There are thousands of groups and communities online. I’m sure there are at least a few within your niche.
Within these online communities, you can find questions from your target audience. These questions will tell you what their problems and pain points are.
You can sometimes also find demographics. For example, if they’re on Facebook and they have their profile settings on Public, you can find information like:
- And more.
Even on forums. Since most of them require you to have a profile to post, you may be able to find some basic demographic information from them also.
When you have enough information, you can step it up a notch by creating audience personas. This can help you create content so targeted, your audience will have to buy your affiliate products. 😉
#27: Don’t Forget About Mobile
Mobile traffic has steadily been growing the past few years. According to statcounter.com, mobile has about 50% of all web traffic.
So if your site is not ready for mobile users, you’ll be losing out on a lot.
Even for SEO. Back in 2015, Google rolled out an update that focused on giving mobile users the best search results.
Now, if your site isn’t mobile-ready, your site won’t show up in the SERPs if the user is on their smartphone.
How do you make sure you won’t miss out?
Easy. Get a responsive theme. This will ensure your site will look good on all screen sizes.
Note: Most themes are well-coded these days. Finding a mobile-friendly theme shouldn’t be difficult.
#28: Learn How to Copywrite
Copywriting is a skill where you use text to get your readers to complete certain actions.
In this case (affiliate marketing), you can use copywriting to prompt your readers to click on your affiliate link and buy the product.
So, how do you learn copywriting?
There are countless of resources out there. You can’t go wrong.
However, I’d recommend you start with Copyblogger’s Copywriting 101 guide.
#29: Understand That it Takes Time
One of the most common reasons why people fail at their online marketing and blogging careers is the time factor.
Sometimes, people will even quit just before they hit their breakthrough period. And you wouldn’t want that to happen to you, would you?
When it comes to affiliate marketing, time is a major factor to your success. You can’t just put affiliate links anywhere you want and money will appear after you snap your fingers.
The money you make comes from real life people. You have to understand that.
That means a living person with internet access will have to go online, for whatever reason, find your affiliate link and give their credit card information to the people whose products you’re promoting. You know what I’m saying?
For them to find you, that can take time. Especially, if you rely heavily on your SEO for traffic.
Wrapping it up
You can definitely earn full-time money selling and promoting other people’s products and become a real, wealthy affiliate marketer.
Choosing the right products and promotional methods are key. If you can add them to the 29 points we laid out above, then it’s only a matter of taking action.
If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you purchase or sign-up with one of the services, we may receive a commission. There is no additional cost to you. This affiliate relationship in no way has affected the structure of this post nor the items included.