Affiliate marketing is proof to anyone who has doubt that good money can be made online. From the health and fitness category to the “quit smoking” vertical, there are plenty of legitimate opportunities to be had for aspiring marketers. This practice goes great with blogging, but making the most of it is much harder than it looks.
While some entrepreneurs hit a home run right out of the park and go on to enjoy great success, others strike out at the plate and fail miserably. These five tips will help bloggers both survive and excel at affiliate marketing.
1. Know Your Platform
Where and how you host your blog is crucial for an affiliate marketer, mainly because the practice itself is generally considered a form of advertising. Most blog service providers don’t allow it, so while you could freely promote a program on a self-hosted version of WordPress as you would on a conventional website, you would likely run into problems when trying to do the same on Tumblr, or even the non self-hosted version of WordPress.
It would be a shame to ruin a good start by having your account suspended for violating the rules. So before getting started, make sure you have the right to run an affiliate marketing program on your designated blogging platform.
2. Connect with Your Audience
One of the most attractive things about affiliate marketing is the hassle-free aspect that typically sees the marketer doing very little work. For instance, a visitor reads your review, clicks your affiliate link, and then decides to make a purchase. From there, it is up to the company you’re partnering with to deliver the product and provide customer service. However, operating from a blog gives you a chance to be more involved, and this works to your advantage.
Regardless of how great the product is, people want to know that they can trust the brand or person promoting it — you, the affiliate marketer. With a blog, you can earn that trust over time, and build relationships that eventually make them feel comfortable enough to buy. Your ability to engage your readers with solid, interesting content is key here.
3. Adopt a Narrow Focus
As an affiliate marketer, you face a level of competition that is about as fierce as what the company you’re selling for has to contend with. This is why I highly recommend narrowing your scope and targeting specific niches. So instead of focusing on the whole sector of weight loss products, maybe go with products specially designed for mothers who want to drop weight after their pregnancy. Once you have your niche — all narrow and targeted, make sure your blog content is tailored to achieve the utmost relevance.
4. Write Original Content
The chances of you being the first blogger to hop on a given niche are slim. No matter what you’re targeting, there are sure to be competitors using articles, reviews, and other content designed to influence the purchasing decisions of your ideal audience. It is not uncommon for unscrupulous marketers to copy and paste information, and then add in their affiliate link.
It’s okay to use such material for inspiration, but don’t steal content from your competitors.. Google frowns down on duplicate content, and purposely plagiarizing is just a crappy thing to do.
5. Stay True to Yourself
With so many niches out there and all the money they generate, you may be tempted to choose an affiliate program based on nothing but your potential to profit. You might make money, but you might find yourself a victim of backfire as well. Your loyal readers would probably feel cheated if they knew you were trying to sell them a product that you had either never tried yourself, or didn’t believe in.
If you’re serious about affiliate marketing, don’t promote a shady product or unethical service just for the sake of your pockets. This is a surefire way to lose the trust, confidence, and respect of your audience.
There are quite a few ways to monetize a blog, and affiliate marketing is one of the most attractive options on the list. It offers the potential to earn much more than a little extra cash. Play your cards right, and you can create a steady revenue stream that helps boost your bottom line in a big way.
Any bloggers out there indulging in affiliate marketing? What’s your niche? What’s your motivation? What’s your story?