Top Ten Affiliate Marketing Tips for Growing Your Blog Income
Discover how professional bloggers maximize their income from affiliate marketing and get the best possible earnings per click.
Making the Most of Affiliate Marketing
If you have a blog, then you should be using affiliate marketing as a means to turn your blog traffic into cash. After all, affiliate marketing has everything going for it. All you have to do is place your tracking link on your blog, and you are on your way to making good money.
However, you need to do things the right way. It’s all too easy to sign up for the wrong program and end up making less money than you should. Your blog traffic is valuable…don’t give it way cheaply. When considering which affiliate programs to join, you need to screen them carefully. Only join programs that put affiliates first, and deliver a solid program designed to produce results.
Here are my top ten tips on what you should look for:
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#1: Quality Products
More than anything else, you need to look for products that you can be proud to promote. Your reputation is on the line here. Your visitors trust you to make recommendations that they can rely on. So only partner with affiliate programs that offer quality products you are proud to recommend.
There are literally thousands of affiliate programs online today, so you have a huge range to choose from. Remember that top-quality products have low refund rates, which prevents your commissions from being reversed. So it is well worth the effort to find the very best programs in your niche.
#2: High Commissions
In most cases, you will be getting paid a percentage of the sales you generate. So clearly, the commission rate being offered is incredibly important. You might want to think twice about signing up for Amazon’s affiliate program, where you typically make a measly five percent commissions.
Margins on physical product sales are often slim, which means that these merchants can only offer a small percentage of the sale. So consider programs that sell digital products, such as coaching programs. The margins on digital products are very high, so the merchant can afford to offer much higher commissions.
So if you have between making five percent on promoting Amazon products, or 50 percent promoting digital products, which is the better deal? Ten times the money for doing the same amount of work…it’s not hard to do the math!
#3: High Average Order Value
Another important factor is the average value of an order. If the merchant is selling eBooks at $9.99, you will have to generate a heck of a lot of sales in order to make a decent income. But if the merchant is selling coaching programs at $500 per sale, you only need to make a few sales to do well.
High-ticket items such as conferences, seminars, coaching programs and mentoring are a good choice. These programs often have upsells which can take the average order value to well over a thousand dollars per sale. If you are getting 50 percent of each sale, you can do very nicely!
#4: High Conversion Rates
All of the above means nothing, however, if the program does not convert. You need to look for a program that is designed to persuade as many visitors as possible to buy. You only make money when a sale is made, so you need to look at conversion rates very closely.
The best way to do this is to take a detailed look at the sales funnel. A good sales funnel will first build the relationship with the customer by offering them free content or something else of value. Once that relationship is established, the merchant is in a good position to make an offer. Finding affiliate programs with a high conversion rate can make a massive difference to your success.
#5: Lifetime Cookies
Affiliate programs typically work by placing a ‘cookie’ on the visitor’s computer when they click your link. Then when a sale is made, the affiliate tracking technology can check to see which affiliate referred the sale…and so the affiliate can be paid accordingly. Affiliate program managers choose how long these cookies are valid for – and that can be a problem.
Affiliate managers are often tempted to set cookies that expire after a short time – perhaps 30 days. The worst offender is Amazon, whose cookies expire after just 24 hours! This is just plain mean. There is no reason why affiliate managers cannot set cookies that are valid for much longer.
The best programs offer lifetime cookies that will never expire. When you find a program that offers lifetime cookies, you know you are dealing with professionals who care about their affiliates.
#6: A Wide Range of Creatives
The best programs do everything they can to help affiliates promote products. That includes offering a wide range of creatives, so that affiliates have plenty of options. The more creatives there are, the more choice you have in choosing how you will promote the program on your blog.
Creatives will typically include text links and banners. However, the better programs will also offer you other ways to promote the program. These may include QR codes, page peels, videos, PDF documents and other promotional options.
#7: Experienced Program Management
Sadly, a lot of potentially great affiliate programs are let down by inexperienced affiliate managers. All too often, these managers simply don’t understand what affiliates need, and they are not focused on delivering quality results.
Look for programs which have an experience affiliate program manager. That is, someone who will go out of their way to help you succeed. That may mean offering you custom creatives, helping you to design the right strategy, or offering the right terms and incentives. The quality of the management has a huge impact on the success of the program, so don’t overlook this important point.
#8: Reliable Tracking Technology
This issue is often overlooked, but it is a very important one. Your affiliate income depends entirely on sales being tracked correctly. Unfortunately, many affiliate systems are flawed in this respect, and many sales go through untracked.
You will make more money if you take care to only join programs with a solid technology platform in place. That way, you can be sure that you will make the best possible income on every sale.
#9: Avoid Programs that Cheat
It’s sad, but true. Many affiliate program managers try to cheat affiliates out of the commissions that they are legally due. They do this by ‘shaving’ commissions. That is, they manipulate the tracking code pixel that records sales, so that many sales go untracked.
This is unethical, of course, and also illegal. But it goes on, and it can make a huge dent in your commissions. Many serious affiliates check out merchants by placing test transaction themselves, and seeing if the commission is recorded correctly. Certainly, you should monitor transactions very carefully, to ensure that you are getting the right kind of income for the traffic you are sending.
#10: Choose Programs that Match Your Niche
One of the most common rookie mistakes is to promote the programs offering the highest earnings per click (EPC), instead of looking for programs that match your blog and your audience.
The EPC figures for programs in the finance niche, especially, can be very tempting. But if your blog is about cross stitch, then these programs are unlikely to work well for you. You would be much better off finding a good cross stich affiliate program. The average EPC figures may be much lower, but on your blog such a program is likely to convert very well…leading to great results for you.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Affiliate marketing is a complex topic, and there is a lot to learn. These tips will certainly give you a head start on making the most of the opportunity, but this is just a primer. The only way to learn about affiliate marketing is to jump in and try it.
The more you test different affiliate programs, the more you will learn about which ones are good…and which ones are not. Be prepared to dump the programs that don’t perform, and switch your efforts to the ones that do. Then you will be well on your way to making great money from affiliate marketing.
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