So, you’ve joined an affiliate program! That’s great news. According to Forbes, affiliate marketing is now responsible for more than 15% of e-commerce sales. That puts it in the same league as email marketing and ahead of social commerce and display advertising—whoa!
But we’re probably not telling you anything you didn’t already know. What you’re here for today is to get some answers to the question, “How can I make more money with my affiliate program?” So, on with the affiliate marketing tips and tricks!
1. Choose Affiliate Programs Wisely
Not every affiliate program is created equally, and not every affiliate program will make sense for your customer base (we’ll cover that in more detail in section two). In addition to those factors, there are other considerations you’ll want to make:
Consider promoting products that renew monthly. It’s okay to promote products or services that generate a single commission, but receiving a monthly recurring commission makes your affiliate business more predictable and stable.
2. Understand Your Audience
Studies show that people don’t hate ads—they hate bad ads. One aspect of a bad ad is irrelevance. Let’s say you run a fishing website. It wouldn’t make sense to run affiliate ads for a computer just because almost everyone probably has a computer at home. Your customers aren’t there for this type of content; it will confuse them, annoy them, make them think you’ve run out of content or, worst of all, make them think you’re trying to sell something shoddy to make a quick buck.
Successful affiliate marketing means promoting only items that match the immediate needs and wants of your audience. The more relevant the product or service, the more likely they are to buy; in addition, educating them on relevant products or services can be considered value-added content, not weird or unexpected advertising. So, always think about why people are coming to your site, joining your email marketing list, or following you on social media.
3. Be Trustworthy
Some people use affiliate marketing only for profit, not to benefit their customers. Some will even mislead their audience with spammy, dishonest affiliate ads and promotions, or they try to hide the fact that it’s an affiliate link. Here’s a tip: most readers can smell them a mile away—and that’s okay, if you’re honest about the intent!
If the product or service you’re promoting is relevant to your audience, they won’t mind the content. However, if they feel you are trying to scam them or take advantage of their readership with too many irrelevant ads, they’re liable to leave and not come back.
Remember, it is your repeat visitors who are most valuable to you; they are the ones who will give you linkbacks and recommend your site, growing your customer base—not the ones you lured in one time by misleading them. You need to be honest and ethical with your customers, building relationships with genuine content. If all they see is a profit motive—that you don’t ultimately have their best interests at heart—they won’t be back.
Pro Tip: One way to show your trustworthiness is to address any weaknesses of your affiliate product or service. Wait…what? It’s true! If you advertise something as too good to be true, they’ll never believe it.
Instead, highlight the strengths, then address a weakness to gain trust (but, always include a work-around to show how you make it work regardless of the weakness, or note that almost all similar products or services share this weakness, etc.).
4. Offer a Bonus
When you disclose an affiliate relationship—and you should, because as we already noted, building trust is a must—consumers will appreciate your honesty and won’t mind contributing to your bottom line by using your link (the opposite can be true; if they feel you’re not being honest about your affiliations, they may go directly to the vendor just to avoid giving you the referral credit!).
Of course, by disclosing an affiliate, they still have the opportunity to go directly to the vendor (and they’ll know that other sites are probably hosting the affiliate link too). So, consider offering an incentive to use your affiliate link. This is a great way to give your affiliate sales a boost and differentiate yourself from the other competing affiliates out there!
5. Create a Variety of Ads
Typically, a vendor will provide you with a variety of ads to use on your website, social channels, and through email. If they don’t, you’ll have to do all the work, so keep that in mind. However, even if they provide you with some assets, you’ll still want to create your own ads (if they allow it) so that you can stand apart from the affiliate competition.
Once you have a good arsenal of ads, you’ll want to change them up frequently and test different versions to see which are most effective with your customers. It may take some time before you figure out the best formula, and you may also find that you need to continually rotate ads to attract more attention.
6. Keep Your Ad Strategy Relevant
Don’t be complacent when it comes to your affiliate ad strategy. Keep up to date on the latest product and service offerings of your affiliate programs and swap out ads as soon as they become available (or create one yourself if you’re allowed).
Also, stay on top of the current trends and always be willing to explore new opportunities. For example, if those hot weight-loss pills have cooled off, or a particular clothing trend has died out, replace that content with something new and popular to reflect your timeliness.
Finally, you should always be on the lookout for new products that are useful and relevant to your audience; the more you can promote, the more you can earn.