Is Affiliate Marketing Right For You?
A couple of years ago, blogger, Darren Rowse, asked his readers whether they’d been involved with affiliate marketing on their blogs. The results were interesting with 2/3 of the readers as regular, occasional, or never affiliate marketers. Interestingly, 14% said they didn’t know what affiliate marketing was. Darren defined affiliate marketing as “a way of making money online whereby you as a publisher are rewarded for helping a business by promoting their product, service or site. In most cases,…earning a commission when someone follows a link on your blog to another site where they then buy something.”
Darren points out that one of the biggest reasons why affiliate marketing works best is when there’s a relationship with trust between the publisher and their readership. He goes on to say that while affiliate marketing can be “incredibly lucrative” that it’s not easy money. As Darren suggests, the work entails building up a high traffic site, finding relevant and quality products, developing trust with your readers, having a readership who is in a buying mood and writing good sales copy.
In other words, you can’t simply put a link on your site and expect that someone is going to click on it and buy. Or that it’s going to have the effect you were hoping for.
Chris Brogan explains further: “Promoting a product or service that someone else has created to your community with the hope of providing benefit to that community, and to be compensated for that promotion,” and “done ethically is one of the best, most genuine ways to advertise something.”
Chris says that if there are products and services that you love, and you think your community will benefit from knowing about them, then why not find an affiliate relationship from that organization? He cautions though that if your site isn’t a site about selling something, then affiliate marketing can sometimes come off as “a bit crass in between other items of value.”
Chris suggested the sites Commission Junction, Share-a-Sale, LinkShare, and the Google Affiliate Network to see if they have sales relationships with brands you already love. You can easily see on Chris’ blog too the fact that he’s an affiliate of StudioPress a commercial WordPress Theme Developer. His blog runs on one of their themes and so it makes sense. Chris also shoots a lot of videos and says people ask him about what camera he uses, so he provides the link and discloses that it’s an Amazon affiliate link.
How to be Successful with Affiliate Marketing
Gregory Go suggests the Top 10 Commandments for Affiliate Marketing Success.
- Know Your Audience
- Be Trustworthy
- Be Helpful
- Be Transparent
- Select Carefully
- Try Different Programs
- Write Timeless Content
- Be Patient
- Stay Relevant
- Content Comes First
As Gregory says, your content must be your highest priority on your blog. And, while a few extra dollars a month might be nice, you certainly don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize all the your hard work and efforts you’ve put into your blog.
Affiliate Marketing Advice
We checked in with a few affiliate marketers for their advice. John Schulte, President and Chairman of National Mail Order Association (NMOA) says, “In our case we are part of affiliate programs that are related to the marketing needs of small business. They must be of high value with a good reputation. My advice would be to create valuable content around a subject you are an expert in. Perhaps in a Blog, Facebook and Twitter medium and find good products and services that you can recommend and have an affiliate program. You will not be successful if you create junk content with junk promotions. You have to provide/produce value. And it’s a long road to get there.”
Jeff Gordon, Founder of InterActive99, says, “Don’t jump into an affiliate program without testing display or email first. You should have a good idea as to which landing pages, CTA’S and creatives incent higher conversion. The affiliate space is getting hyper-crowded so it’s best to go to market with a well thought out program. It’s never good to launch, rescind and re-launch. Do your homework. Spend time really researching the affiliate space and look at what your competitors are paying and how they’re working with their affiliate partners.”
What have your experiences been like with affiliate marketing? What would you advise? Let us know in the comments below.