Affiliate Marketing Success: How to Make it Work (Ultimate Guide)
How to Start With Affiliate Marketing the Right Way
Affiliate marketing enables you to make money from selling other people’s products, and it is one of the fastest and simplest ways to make money online.
Fast and simple?
Is it possible?
Yes, it is if you do it correctly.
If want to learn how to start affiliate marketing, keep reading.
Note! To follow steps from this guide you should already have a blog up and running. If you haven’t gotten so far yet stop reading and go to my ultimate guide on how to start a blog.
Step #1: Stay Within Your Niche By Finding an Adequate Affiliate Program to Join
When applying for an affiliate program you have two options:
- You can work directly with a merchant and enroll in their affiliate program
- You can join an affiliate network and apply for an affiliate program through their platform.
To find an affiliate program just use this search string “keyword”+affiliate program.
Step #2: Take the Step Forward By Finding Profitable Affiliate Products to Promote
Here’s the step by step process for choosing the right affiliate product:
1. Identify the Targeted Audience for the Product
This nails the “who” question.
Who is your audience?
The more specific you can get, the better.
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to try to appeal to everyone. Rather, narrow down everyone to a smaller group of people who want to buy and have the money to buy your product.
For example, if you sell dog jumpers then a person who doesn’t own a dog isn’t part of your audience so you don’t want to appeal to them.
You may think that the targeted market and targeted audience are the same, but they are completely different marketing terms.
A target market is anyone who might be interested in your products or services.
The target audience is the group of people to whom you recommend a specific marketing asset or ad. The target audience is a part of your target market.
Facebook is a great example of what you should do.
They allow you to narrow down your audience based on demographics and other characters. You can set an income range, target males or females, or exclude anyone who doesn’t have children. All depending on your marketing plan.
Try to establish empathy with the audience you are planning to target.
Know what their difficulties are, how they feel about it, and what are they doing to figure it out.
The best way to learn this in my experience is through monitoring conversations in groups, forums, blog comments, and social media.
Some of you might think it’s hard, I know I did. Just try to do this the best you can because it’s an important piece of the success puzzle.
2. Identify the Main Problem That Your Affiliate Product Solves
This replies to the “what” question.
What problem does your affiliate product or service solve for that target audience?
It is all about cutting it down to one main problem.
If your product isn’t solving any problems then why would someone want it?
3. Identify The Special Advantage Of Your Offer
This answers the “why” question.
Why should they believe in what you are saying, and click on your affiliate link?
Are you offering a unique solution or is it something that everyone is offering?
4. Try To Provide a Different Solution
This replies to the “how” question.
How is that product or service promoted?
Can you do something unique from others?
With answers to those 4 questions, you are ready to fill in the blanks of this sentence:
My affiliate product is assisting the “ target audience” with “the main problem” to “benefit” through “your solution”.
If you can’t provide a different solution to promote your product you’ll have less chance to get clicks on your affiliate links.
5. Check Popularity Of Product
The problem your offer is solving should have a decent amount of monthly searches so when your content ranks high enough you’ll get all that organic traffic visiting your site and clicking your affiliate links.
So go to your keyword tool, for example, Ubersuggest.
Let’s say you’ve chosen to promote the course on how to get traffic for your website. So you type in the search bar how to bring traffic to your website.
As a result, you will get the number of searches that term has during the month, the average cost per click for that term, and estimated competition in organic search.
You can also use Google Trends to discover popularity over a longer period.
Don’t be obsessed with a high number of monthly searches.
For example, maybe 220 monthly searches don’t seem to be much but imagine you are on page one and you are getting all those eyes on your affiliate links.
You’ll be earning some decent commissions for sure, don’t you think so?
Try to avoid promoting products you don’t use.
Can you write convincing product reviews without actually using those products?
You can, but it will be hard to convince visitors that you are telling them the truth about that product. It’s all about building trust so be careful.
Step #3: Make Visitors Take Actions You Want Them to Take By Creating Compelling Content
And here we are at the hard part of this guide, content creation.
It’s easy to create content, but it’s very hard to create great content. And great content is what you need to be a successful affiliate marketer or web store owner, blogger, or freelance writer. Great content is a must-have.
You can think that your writing sucks but you have to try. Maybe you don’t know that you know how to write.
In the end, you can always outsource or rewrite other articles.
If you decide to outsource just go to UpWork and you can pay someone to write content for you.
You can create content yourself even if you don’t know much about the subject you are writing about.
Just search for content about the topic and use two or three different blog posts to compile a paragraph for your post. Please never copy and paste a complete paragraph, use your own words to describe what you read.
If you are brave enough and decide to create content on your own then you should know what makes content great.
What Makes Content Great
1000 words at least… Many studies including one from Backlinko, have shown that the average length of blog post ranking on the 1st page of Google is 1447 words.
With a magnetic headline… Copyblogger claims that 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 of that 8 people will read the rest of your content.
Even if your content is outstanding and creative, a weak headline will harm its chances of being successful.
With good openings… this is the second most important part of your content. Lots of people will read your opening and then decide do they want to read the rest of the content.
Keep sentences short. You can start with a question that your audience needs an answer to, or make some controversial statement so they get interested in your story.
Solves a problem for your audience… People use a search engine because they want an answer, and the search engine has to deliver that answer.
Answering your audience’s questions will improve your chances of high ranking. You can use Quora to find questions that people ask and create content around answers to those questions.
Actionable… Actionable content targets your specific audience and handles their needs. It provides value and establishes trust while communicates clearly and effectively.
And the most important thing it gets your audience involved.
Easy to read… Subheadings, bullet points, and lists separate big blocks of text. They deliver lots of information in a concise form.
People like lists. The white space around them makes them separated from the rest of the text and draws in the eye. So keep sentences and paragraphs short.
Written how you speak… Throw in some of your personality. Talk with passion about your topic and show your sense of humor. Try to get personal, because that is the best way to create a connection with your audience.
Includes images or screenshots, infographics, and video or audio recordings…When you have quality multimedia in your content, you satisfy a larger part of the people that visit your site.
But add them only when they adding value to your content and avoid insignificant stock images.
The images you use in your content tell a story just like the words do.
I use Canva to make the visuals for free. I know they are far from perfect but I created them and it’s much more satisfying to do that than to use stock images.
Have a good conclusion at the end… It should contain a quick resume of your post and a clear call to action at the end to suggest to your visitors clearly what you want them to do next.
Ask your readers to leave a comment, share your blog post, follow you on social media, or buy your product.
Just make sure you explain what you’d like them to do. A good call-to-action is something different and stands out.
Make sure to always write like you are having a conversation with one person, and always finish your post with a question… It will help to get people to engage in comments.
From my experience, it’s best to go with reviews of products within your niche.
But don’t do it one by one.
Rather make posts like “7 Best Leather Coats to Keep You Warm Through Winter” or “Top 5 Kids Smart Watches to Always Know Where Your Kids are”.
I hope you get the point.
Your visitors will appreciate researched and well-written blog posts that answer their questions.
When you write affiliate reviews always be honest. Don’t try to sell anything you wouldn’t recommend to your family and friends.
I don’t suggest having only a review in the post. Add some more informational content to make your review useful.
Like I said, your content needs to solve a problem so it’s best to talk about the problem first and then offer the affiliate product as a solution.
Most people will read lots of articles online and if you are the only one that is positively presenting a bad product, you will lose the respect and trust of your visitors.
Also, don’t forget grammar. The easiest way is to get a free Grammarly (affiliate link) keyboard, it will check everything for you and even give you suggestions on which words to use.
Next, I’m going to show you the steps you should do when creating your promotional content.
How to Create Promotional Content
Here’s the step by step process for creating your promotional content:
1: Find the Best Performing Content on Your Topic
Every blog post on page one of Google has the best performing content so this step should be easy to complete.
All you have to do is type your keyword in a Google search box and you will get the best performing content you are looking for.
Check results for a couple of keywords and pick 3 or more articles that you will use as a template for your blog post.
I do it like this:
First, go to Google search and type in your keywords that are relevant to the topic of your content.
After you’ve scanned content on the first 3 spots on the first page, write down on the paper list of short subheading ideas that you’ll use for your blog post.
This is called outlining.
Then go to Ubersuggest and type those same keywords one by one in a search box.
Check the given results and scan your top competitors for that particular keyword. You can find competitors if you click on Content Ideas from the Menu.
Make sure to check what types of content do they publish (articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, or something else) so you can know what to do to outperform them.
Do I have to say that you should read all those blog posts, especially if I don’t know much about that subject?
Check if there are any more subheadings that you can use in your post before moving on to the next step.
If you aren’t satisfied with your list of subheading ideas feel free to check posts from page 2 or 3 of Google for more ideas.
2: Find the Best Long-tail Keywords
In this step, I’m going to show you a technique (an SEO technique by the way) that you should be using for 4 things:
- Discovering the best topics for your content
- Finding the best keywords
- Driving traffic fast
- Getting quality backlinks
All of that will skyrocket your rankings if you do it right.
The objective of this technique is to find content on competitors website that already has plenty of links, traffic, and shares and to create a better version.
By better, I mean longer, more up to date, more detailed, and better-designed blog posts.
Blog posts so amazing and so valuable that people don’t see other options than to link to your site.
With this technique, you will publish only relevant content that people would want to read.
It’s called the Skyscraper technique.
Brian Dean from Backlinko introduced this technique as a link-building strategy but it’s very effective in bringing visitors to your website and getting shares on social networks.
It doesn’t matter what is your niche or do you have a big following. You’ll have a chance to read about all benefits of this method if you stick until the end of this article.
You have probably seen that most of the guides out there mention keyword research as the most important thing for creating content. But no one tells you that even if you optimize your blog post for important keywords there is no guarantee that Google will rank you for that specific keyword at all.
My advice is to concentrate on creating quality content, both for your audience and other bloggers. Don’t concentrate on keywords because they will be naturally in your blog post and later you can optimize it for keywords you already rank for.
Don’t get me wrong, keywords are important but not like they used to be.
With this tactic, you’ll find only content that is proven to work. You just need to create a better version of it.
But first, let me show you how to find keywords. I’ll show you how to do this with a free tool, Ubersuggest. You can do it with any other free or paid keyword tool, but I like this one because I can do it all in one place.
This is how you do it:
Go to Ubersuggest.
The first thing you’ll see is a search box. If your blog is, for example, about coffee tables then type coffee table in the box.
As you can see, it will show your keyword along with suggestions and related keywords.
I wasn’t aware that coffee tables are so popular.
In ten seconds you already have a couple of good keywords and ideas for your future blog posts.
I usually write down keywords and content ideas on paper. It’s easier to keep an eye on them while writing posts.
When you scroll down you’ll see a list of top pages for that particular keyword.
Click on Show Keywords to see which keywords are driving visitors to those pages.
Write down all the valuable keywords on paper.
Try to focus on the long-tail keywords. Those are the phrases with three or more words.
Remember this, you are looking for keywords with high volume and CPC, but with low SD (up to 50 is good).
The Volume shows you how many searches your keyword has.
CPC or Cost Per Click shows your average cost per click for advertising. High CPC means that it’s a valuable keyword and marketers that are paying for advertising for sure are getting much more money back through commissions.
SD or SEO difficulty is your competition. Higher SD means more competition and you’ll rank much harder for keywords with high SD.
Ideally, you want your keywords to have a decent volume, high CPC, and low SD.
3: Write Your Post
When you have the outline and the keywords it’s time to write the informational part of the content as well as the review of your affiliate product.
I’ve already explained what to do to write it, and if you go to the Downloads page you can get the templates for a single product review, as well as a template for the comparison review.
What to Do Before Clicking on That Publish Button
Before publishing your post ask yourself these questions:
- Does it have a purpose for my audience?
- Are arguments backed up with reliable sources?
- Are images adding more value or they just break up the text?
- Does it have enough subheadings?
- Does it have a strong headline, opening, and conclusion?
When you have everything answered with yes, your post is ready to be published.
Step #4: Boost Clicks By Inserting Your Affiliate Links Strategically
One of the best ways to pitch affiliate products is to share a story about how that affiliate product helped you because it’s easier to connect with people.
Because connecting with people through storytelling is a great way to gain their trust and after story, it’s a perfect time to pitch your affiliate link.
When you’re engaging with people and you’re writing a review or maybe creating a YouTube video, you always want to create a list of pros and cons. After listing several pros people will be more confident about buying the product and that’s a good place to post your affiliate link.
Another option is in an exit pop-up. so an exit pop-up is a code that makes an image or a video appear when people are about to leave the page.
All those people that come to your blog are gonna leave, that’s just the fact.
Placing an affiliate link into an exit pop-up is just another intelligent place to post your affiliate link which increases the chances of you making more sales.
If you are interested to learn more then check out my post about free affiliate marketing training.
Step #5: Drive Traffic to Your Affiliate Links
If you can’t get people to come and check out what you have to offer then what are the chances that you’ll make money?
Learning to attract people to your content is one of the most important things. I hope that makes sense to you. it wasn’t for me until I learned this the hard way after years of failures.
You’ll get traffic by promoting your content. That means putting it in front of as many people as possible.
I have already explained the Skyscraper Technique in the previous steps and now you are going to use it to promote your content. You won’t be promoting to random people but to people who have already shared similar content.
Now once again I go to Ubersuggest to type the keyword.
The result of the search will show related keywords and the top content for that keyword will be at the bottom half of the results page.
Check every website from results and click on Show Backlinks and follow them to the website.
Go straight to the contact page to reach out.
I send something like this:
Another way to find popular content and people who shared it is with BuzzSumo. It’s a paid tool but they have 14 days free trial which gives you plenty of time to do what has to be done. Assuming that you plan your content in front as I suggested in my start a blog guide.
If you did that then you already know what will you write about in the following months so you can find sharers for your upcoming content during the free trial.
The tool is simple, just enter your keyword and it will show you the most popular content on social media platforms and people who shared that content.
An additional thing that I have started doing recently is done with the help of the Semrush Backlink tool (affiliate link).
This is a very useful free SEO tool ideal for affiliate marketing, which includes the Link building feature, which I recommend you to try. You’ll have to sign up but their free plan is worth exploring but of course limited.
How to Use SEMrush to Promote Your Content
After signing up and starting a new project, open the Link building tool and enter keywords that you used in your post. They allow us to use up to 10 keywords.
The next step is to enter your competitors. Find up to 10 big names in your niche and enter their URLs and click on Start link building.
A pop-up window will open where you should click on View prospects and in 5 seconds you’ll have a list of nearly 2000 websites rated from 5 to 1, with 5 as the best option to reach out to.
Not only that, but they will also provide all known contact info for each website.
How cool is that?
Reaching out is kinda automated so all you need is a template to use and you are good to go. A nice addition is that your emails sent through this tool will be addressed like they are sent from [email protected]
Here’s the template you can use:
Of course, you can’t expect to have success with every email so send 200 or 300 or more. The more you send more chances you’ll have to get results.
There is one more technique for driving traffic to your promotional content that will work only if you already have good performing content on your blog.
If you don’t have it yet, I suggest you read my start a blog guide and follow it.
How to Boost Rankings Using Authority Sculpting
Authority sculpting is strategically transferring authority from one page to another with internal linking.
Your promotional content and product and category pages don’t put much importance on the web. Which means they’re almost impossible to promote.
Fortunately, you don’t need links pointing directly to them to rank higher in Google.
Instead, find your best performing content around a topic that’s semi-related to your affiliate product and build internal links to the content you want to boost.
If you don’t have good performing content and you are not sure how to create those types of content, go to my Start a Blog Guide and learn.
Then, after you promote that content, simply send authority from those posts to your product page. And the rankings for your promotional content will go up.
Here’s how it’s done:
Step #1: Create and promote a complete list post or ultimate how to post
Step #2: Identify promotional content, product, or category page you want to boost
Step #3: Build internal links from your good performing content to your promotional content
That’s all there is to it.
What Kind of Affiliate Products You Should Avoid
This product is called a 12-minute affiliate, with an insane gravity of 180 on Clickbank.
The 12-minute affiliate is created by a very established internet marketer Devon Brown and this one is all about coming up with a done-for-you system that will allow you to plug in and then get results straight away.
If you look at the sales page you can see that you can test drive the system for 9.95$. After that, it is 47$ per month.
It’s a system that allows you to plug and play and they have a whole bunch of different templated websites.
They give an opt-in page, a capture page, sales pages, they give you the emails and you can choose a few different industries to sell into.
When you are reading this it doesn’t sound hard to make money with this product, right?
They say that they’ve got done-for-you traffic but essentially the traffic is just solo ads. It’s not done for you, and you have to go out there and purchase the solo ads yourself which can be quite expensive.
I hate solo ads, for me, it is one of the worst things you can do to get traffic and leads.
This system is called the 12-minute affiliate because of the impression that you don’t have to do any work. That you can use a system and you can plugin and get instant traffic and start making sales straight away.
If you look at their sales page you’ll see that it’s structured like any other not working done-for-you systems and scams. There are also lots of upsells before you hit the final page.
When you get the 12-minute affiliate you do get a series of websites that are all set up for you and all you have to do is you have to go to a solo ad vendor to buy a solo ad. A solo ad is email traffic.
And then you just send it to your sales funnel and then cross your fingers and you hope that the system is going to do its work and sell for you.
Here’s the reality of how this works.
Common Problems With These Affiliate Systems
Most done-for-you systems out there don’t work very well because all the affiliates that have bought the 12-minute affiliate are using the same pages.
Even though it is technically done for you, you’re not branding yourself at all. And the only way that you can get traction inside of the affiliate marketing industry is to go out there and brand yourself.
If you’re relying on other replicated websites generally speaking you’re not gonna get great results because there are thousands or even tens of thousands of affiliates just like you using the same pages.
You don’t stand out from the other affiliate marketers that are using the same pages which means that the conversions will go down.
The other problem is that a lot of the sales pages are very static and there’s nothing about them that makes them interesting. There’s no real reason why someone would want to buy from those copy and paste templates and stuff like that.
This is what people have been teaching since 2005, it’s the same strategy. Buy solo ads and send them into a replicated sales funnel and then send the emails back to a product page.
You might be able to make a little bit of money but overall you’re not gonna be profitable because everybody is doing the same thing. The whole psychology of how this kind of marketing isn’t effective.
I honestly think that the worst way to learn how to become an entrepreneur is to use done-for-you systems.
The best way to be successful on the Internet is to learn how to generate traffic, not to buy it.
Learn to build your capture page, learn to build your own sales funnel, learn how to promote products properly instead of using done-for-you replicated websites that don’t give you the results they are claiming.
You have to get out of that mindset that you can’t do it and that you need some sort of replicated system.
If you want to learn how to do affiliate marketing, all you have to do is read about it, watch videos, attend webinars, and start implementing what you’ve learned.
When I was starting, 10 years ago I stumbled upon a platform called Wealthy Affiliate.
It’s still live today and it’s the best place how to learn the basics for free. No matter if you’re just starting or you have some experience this will help you to boost your chances to succeed.
That’s my affiliate marketing guide. I hope it helped you to better understand this monetization method.
Affiliate marketing is working and it can work for you.
Just be willing to learn and be open to receive information and treat your business like a business.
Don’t expect things will happen overnight but except that things will happen if you’re consistent and persistent and if you’re willing to learn.
Then you can make it happen.
It’s your turn now.
What are your thoughts about this affiliate marketing guide? Are you going to try to execute any tactic from this post?
Tell me in the comment section below.
Anthony Miller is the guy who’s responsible for the invention of the robotic exoskeleton, multi-use rocket, and a hair growing helmet.
His inventions helped him to become the first man who flown to Jupiter, where Jupiterians greeted him exuberantly and even adored him divinely because of his long curly hair.
“Such lovely beings”, he reported on his return back to Earth.
He’s also been blogging successfully for over 10 years and he took an enormous amount of online courses before he was enlightened by God himself to start helping beginners to transform into successful bloggers.