How to Ace Affiliate Marketing: A Beginner's Guide
Now that you're a pro, people are going to rely on you to recommend the best products and services in your niche. There's no shame in monetizing your website — especially if you do it right. That means being credible, honest, and only promoting products you really love or can stand behind. Your reputation and your business are on the line, so endorse products to your readers the same way you would to a dear friend. Or your mom. Here are some guidelines as you move forward.
1. The Basics
Affiliate marketing is pretty simple. It's all about revenue sharing — you promote other peoples' products, often through an affiliate network, and you get a commission when someone buys an item you've recommended.
2. Build your Credibility and Extend Your Reach
You're a pro, so you're probably already writing and talking about techniques, tactics, and products as well as building authority in your niche area. Ideally, you've published some blog posts, hosted webinars and/or you're emailing your customer list about once a week. If you're not already doing those things, check out marketing guru Neil Patel's post on how to use those content marketing tools to build authority in your area of expertise.
3. Use Affiliate Link Services
When you're ready to add affiliate links to your website, the best place to start is with Amazon Associates, the number one affiliate network on the web. Once you sign up, you simply get a short link from the product page and embed it in your own website. If you're writing reviews, you should direct people to buy the product with your affiliate link. You can also try services like Clickbank, Avantlink and even eBay, which runs its own affiliate marketing program.
4.Get to Know Your Partners
Just like any other relationship, the hardest part is linking up with the right partner. You know what your audience is interested in, so it's a matter of finding products that (a) align with those interests and (b) meet your standards for promotion.
Once you've decided whose products you're promoting, email the product owner and introduce yourself. According to Pat Flynn, an expert affiliate marketer, taking the time to establish a relationship with the product-makers, and not just their products, can pay off in a number of ways. For instance, Flynn regularly interviews the CEOs of the products he markets for his podcast. "No one knows that product better than the founder, so they will likely be able to share the features, benefits and results in a way that will optimize conversions," he explains in his e-book, Affiliate Marketing the Smart Way.
5. Don't be Sleazy
Affiliate marketing is based on relationships and relationships are based on trust. Earn and keep your audiences' trust by recommending only those products you can really stand behind and by being honest about the fact that you're going to profit from an affiliate link. It's not just a good policy — in the US, it's law, and it might actually win you even more conversions.
Don't be shy about letting everyone know you're a pro by putting it right in your domain name! Get started by searching for the perfect .PRO name to complement your business.