The grand objective of running a website or blog is to make money off it.
This could be via Google Adsense, selling information, direct mentorship, any of the various PPC or PPV programs or via affiliate marketing.
However, the fact remains is that, of all these methods of making money online or monetizing a website, affiliate marketing remains the most elusive – despite being reputed as the most lucrative.
Bloggers fuss with affiliate links, get approved to more than 10 affiliate platforms and plaster affiliate banners all around their sites to crack the ‘affiliate code’.
However, after the business year runs out, an unhealthy chunk of such bloggers make $0!
In essence, they fail, COMPLETELY.
Now, if you happened to be in that lot or are in the lot at the moment, take calm; today, I’ll show you what you need to fix in other to change your circumstances.
Before that however, let’s get some basics right.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the act of helping someone else (typically called a merchant) sell his/her products or services.
For your efforts in making sure that a sale occurs, you’re rewarded with monetary compensation called a commission.
To track sales back to you and credit your commission(s) accordingly, special links unique to you are created and you must use them to promote the various products or services the merchant you signed up with offers.
The viability of your special links are determined by its cookie length (the time span from the click to the purchase within which a customer must act if you are to earn the commission) – inherent and unique to both your links and merchant.
Cookie lengths vary from the extremely short (like Amazon’s 24 hours) to affiliate cookies that last well beyond 3 months with some programs reputed to run “lifetime cookies”.
These cookies are stored right in the browsers of your intending customers and are valid for the duration stated unless they are flushed out/deleted or overridden by another set – if the affiliate program permits such a pattern.
Why is Affiliate Marketing so Powerful?
It is already crystal clear that affiliate marketing is not the only option open to bloggers who wish to monetize their blogs.
What is also clear is that, it is one of the most powerful methods available today of making money online.
What may however remain unclear is exactly why.
Here are quick, snappy reasons, however:
- Affiliate marketing requires no startup capital. This business model can be started right on a brand new blog and with $0 for that matter.
- The ROI is impressive. Affiliate programs like Market Health and JVZoo offer between 40-70% commissions. This could prove to be hundreds of Dollars for a single sale, especially of a high-end product.
- It is quite simple to deploy as it does not really need any special writing skill or expertise. A complete newbie can start and master the process in less than a month.
Let’s now take a look at what you need to change if you’re making $0 every month consistently with affiliate marketing.
Making $0 with Affiliate Marketing? Here’s What you Need to Change
As stated above, making money consistently with affiliate marketing is quite easy.
However, if you’ve not made a penny with this method of blog monetization – or are consistently making mere peanuts, here’s what you need to look carefully at – and subsequently change.
Here we go.
Your Promotional Methods
First, if you’ve been quite ‘unlucky’ with the affiliate model of blog monetization, take a quick look at your promotional methods.
How exactly are you promoting your affiliate offers?
Many newbies make the mistake of buying a large, non-targeted email list and blasting mails to the ‘subscribers’ on such a list.
This is certainly not the path to success with affiliate marketing.
Yet still, other unsuccessful ‘affiliate marketers’ make it a point of duty to run promotions on social media and search engines, believing that is the way to success with affiliate marketing.
This method too doesn’t work.
So, what really works?
Simple: SEO – and a targeted email list.
This means that, the first thing you’re to get right if you desire to make money with affiliate marketing is your SEO – coupled with the fact and reality of building an email list right from day one.
Choice of Keywords
Bloggers who notoriously get affiliate marketing wrong all have one thing in common: they target the wrong keywords when they’re optimizing their posts or offers for SEO.
In the business of affiliate marketing, keywords are very important and the earlier you start targeting the right manner of keywords, the sooner you begin to see positive ROI.
So, what manner of keywords should you target?
Simple: focus on keywords with buyer intent.
In other words, pay attention to the queries that persons who have a credit card in hand make.
This means one thing: focus specifically on the needs of readers who are already on their way to a merchant site. Intercept them halfway and make them use your links so that you’ll be eligible for a handsome commission!
Choice of Products & Services
There is absolutely no use promoting a bad product/service – or worse, a product or service that you have not used before.
Unfortunately, this is what the majority of bloggers today engage in. Instead of focusing on awesome products and services that they have used themselves, they mistakenly opt in for products or services with a higher commission, downplaying the need for quality – and superior service.
The sad fact however is that readers and consumers today are well smarter…they always have a sixth sense for spotting bloggers and marketers who are just interested in the commissions.
And you know what?
They ignore them!
If you’re going to be an exception to the ignored lot and wish to make serious money as an affiliate marketer, you must ensure that you promote only awesome products and services that you’ve used yourself.
If you’ve not been privileged to use a service but would love to run an affiliate inspired post or review about it, then, the least you should do is to thoroughly research your subject so that you know exactly what you’re doing…
…and ensure that what you’re doing is the very best for your audience!
Your Target Countries
Finally, target readers who have the ability and will to buy – not just anyone who catches your fancy 🙂
While this point appears quite controversial and the truth it bears is often too much for many persons, some countries are simply not yet ripe to target as an affiliate marketer.
This means that, targeting third world countries or chronically undeveloped countries with insignificant purchasing power (for example) will produce little or no results – as readers from such countries are often interested in informational content only.
For affiliate marketing to make a difference for you as a smart blogger thus, focus on developed countries like the UK, the US, Canada or Australia. This way, you’ll be certain that the readers who will be attracted by your content by means of SEO will also have the purchasing power to actually pay for the products or services – ensuring a nice, clean commission for you.
Many bloggers and webmaster hate the concept of affiliate marketing – their reasons being many and varied. As a matter of fact, you may also be amongst the lot that wonders why I hold that affiliate marketing is a superior option of blog monetization.
The truth however is that, affiliate marketing is hated by the majority of webmasters because they get it all wrong.
If you’re a blogger – or webmaster and you:
- Deploy SEO and an email list you built up yourself as the primary means of promoting your offer;
- You focus primarily on keywords with buyer intent;
- You select the products and services you wish to promote carefully, ensuring that you retain only the very best and
- You target the right audience (by country) –
Failure with affiliate marketing will well be impossible.
To that awesome new world, I welcome you 🙂
Akaahan Terungwa is a freelance writer, professional affiliate marketer and a passionate blogger who loves to teach other bloggers the secrets of the trade. You’re welcomed to see his latest work: how to create a blog online or engage him on Twitter.