To Succeed Doing Affiliate Marketing

u/Keegan
How likely is someone to actually become somewhat successful doing Affiliate Marketing?
I have been hearing all about affiliate marketing for a while now. Everywhere from Tiktok to YouTube. They all say anyone can do it and it is super easy. But I don't know if I believe all of that. I am not the type of person who thinks that I will immediately find success doing this, but, I am interested and am willing to work hard to be successful. What I am wondering is if I seriously put the work in and stay committed, how likely am I to be successful? Because I don't want to waste a ton of time and money if I will likely go nowhere with it. I like the idea of starting an online side business but I am a bit hesitant. Thanks for the feedback.
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jayseventwo
If you keep regularly posting content to your blog/YouTube/whatever your platform, you'll eventually see results. How much results you see really depends on the quality of your work.

You don't need to initially spend too much money – I would recommend Ubersuggest for keyword research (they have a one-off cost that is much cheaper than paying monthly for more expensive services), and eventually some social media advertising (Facebook, etc.).

I have no idea what your niche is, but if it's applicable, create social pages/groups, and also join subreddits (or create your own, if there isn't one in your niche). Post regularly to these, putting your name/brand/etc out there (without spamming the community).

Just keep sticking with it and you'll eventually see results. From there, you can upscale as much as you want or can. It took me 6 months before I saw my first sale, but steadily improved from there.

However, I can tell you that I have more dead affiliate sites than live ones, haha, so it's very much trial and error initially until you find your groove.

Just my thoughts – I know others have had different experiences, so take all info on board.

Keegan ✍️
Thanks for the insight! I like hearing peoples stories and learning from them. I'll take keep some of the recommendations in mind for when I get started since I'm getting a better idea of what I'm getting into. Thanks!

Mareks
The reason why you hear about it everywhere is because it's heavily promoted by people who sell courses. Most of the sellers don't know that much, or know plenty, but don't tell about how hard it actually is, because that wouldn't make sales.

It's not super easy, it's ridiculously hard at the start, due to how many small things and decision you have to make and learn (hosting, domains, WordPress, plugins, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media, etc)

On the other hand, it's really simple, and the basics are easy to learn. People tend to overcomplicate everything, me included. The basics are relatively simple and the fundamentals don't change that much.

For the second question, if you truly are a person who can stay committed for a long time 6-12 months minimum, without seeing any real traction (a dollar here and there), then you do have a real chance to make something decent out of it.

That's just one part of the equation though. If you choose the wrong niche, mess up something technically, get penalized and so forth, then you can put in a lot of time and money and not succeed.

Honestly, don't spend money on any course and go look for free resources, as a beginner, that will be enough, unless you really have extra funds to spend for a organized course, which will cut out the guess work in a systemized way.

Go join some Facebook groups about affiliate marketing, this subreddit, and some blogs.

If you are interested in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) side of things (that's were I know the most), then I can recommend Authority Hacker and Matt Diggity, for free material on their blog.

Best of luck.

Keegan ✍️
Someone else mentioned them as well! Thanks for the insight! I'm trying to take in all the advice and determine what I want to do with it so thank you!

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AWizard

What I am wondering is if I seriously put the work in and stay committed, how likely am I to be successful?

It really just depends on the person.

I've personally never actually had a campaign fail, I've just realized that the way I want to market that offer is not going to work out for one reason or another.

That doesn't mean that I haven't wasted tons of time, lost money, had accounts banned, or had a company basically filter what I was doing.

All of those things I've had happen and that's why I will continue to give the advice of:

You have to do things the right way: Rely on nobody, build your own email lists/notification service, and try to structure your marketing efforts into a way where you build your own brand equity, so if you want to switch business models, to say ecommerce, then you can.

This might sound strange, but it's actually just normal internet marketing. Many successful companies built an email list one way or another and promote a mix of affiliate offers and their own offers. The only difference is that you want to build your brand by getting their email first with some kind of giveaway, then send them a warmup sequence that explains what the brand is and what it's all about.

Now, if you try to do what I did and start an ecommerce brand with zero email list or audience on social media, you can get screwed very badly as I did. I tried running Google ads into my store and the Call to Action (CTA) was like $100… So this was fine if my profit was > $100, but that was only a handful of items that didn't sell very frequently. I ended up liquidating the inventory on Ebay and the brand ultimately failed.

Learn from that story and you'll do better than most people.

You need a brand and an audience. Brands are for certain groups of people and do specific things. Audiences are groups of people that have things in common and they like specific things. So what is your brand's identify and who is the audience?

Figure that part of it out and you can build a brand just by giving information away. Once you have a traffic source where you market to an audience of like minded people where you know their interests, it's super easy to sell them stuff because they trust your brand.

As an example: So Levis is a brand that, objectively speaking, sells cheap jeans made in foreign countries. But that's not what their customers think about the brand. They think it's a brand that sells cool looking jeans for people who are into trendy fashion styles.

To come up with your own brand is certainly not easy, but once all of the pieces are in place, it stands a really good chance at working because people are accustomed to brands and affiliate businesses are very cheap to operate. That's the big advantage to being an affiliate marketer, but that doesn't mean that don't have to get everything else right.

I hope that all helps.

Keegan ✍️
That was very detailed and very good advice! Thank you! I definitely have a lot to think about when it comes to this stuff. I'm fairly new but like I said I am willing to put the work it. Thank you
Giac
About the brand thing: with Affiliate Marketing you're "selling" products of others brand. I'm wondering if it might be difficult to build a brand selling other brands. Could be easier to build a brand selling your own product? This is the main reason of why I'm skeptical about Affiliate Marketing. What do you think? Thanks!!

AWizard
Great question.

You will always have the trust problem no matter what you do.

If you start an ecommerce store, you will find out that most people won't trust you. When I tried to do ecommerce, my Cost Per Action (CPA) was $100 when running PLA ads straight into the products.

So to build trust, the concept is that as soon as they get on your email list, you send them what is known as a nurturing sequence. These emails along with the text on the index page, about page, and the landing page are the absolute most important part of your brand and they are what defines your brand.

You are going to have to brainstorm out problems that you think a skeptical person would have and then explain them away. This is a copywriting technique that is pretty effective, but you have to make sure that it doesn't sound outlandish.

Examples:

Solving the trust problem: Explain in the nurturing sequence that your brand is trusted by your audience because of whatever reason that you know the audience is concerned about.

Concerns about spam: Explain that your brand does not send spam and if they want to unsubscribe, that they can use the unsubscribe link, and if they do that you will always stop sending emails. (You have to, that's the law. You are just telling them how the law works.)

What is the brand: You need to define what the brand is and does. Obviously people are not born with some kind of innate understanding of your brand so you need to teach them about your brand and what your brand values.

Concerns about value: This is the big one with honestly any kind of marketing. So you've hooked the user with some kind of free offer and you have their attention for a little bit and you need to use that space to answer questions like: What's going to keep the user coming back for more? Why should they keep opening your emails? What's in it for them? This part is so critical that it's often repeated different ways in the nurturing sequence and the main sequence.

Could be easier to build a brand selling your own product?

From a difficulty to be successful perspective: It is easier to sell your own product.

From a financial and business perspective: Affiliate marketing is way easier. Look I mean sometimes these marketing ideas just do not play out well.

If your starting a brand for people into skydiving, during the testing process, you might find out that people into skydiving don't really buy their equipment on the internet and trusting the brand is really important to them. So your options then become either pivoting the brand to something else, or starting a new brand entirely.

This process is relatively easy to accomplish as an affiliate marketer, but it's not really possible at all with your own product. Getting the product right, the marketing right at the same time, the very first time is definitely much harder to do and I would advise you to go to an agency, so now your costs are going up and I hope you're starting to see why it's much harder…

So, if you can convince a bank to give you a million dollar loan before you've made even a single sale, you can afford to invest into building out a sales funnel and you'll have a relatively high chance at getting that business to be profitable. But, if you lack experience, then a bank isn't going to loan your business any money at all.

It's one of those seemingly impossible problems to solve that affiliate marketing fixes.

So, you can build a brand, get experience, and build an audience with out a loan or a product. Then you have data that you can bring to a bank and say "We've got 10,000 leads, our CPL is $.75, our EPL is $1.50, we think that we can boost our EPL by marketing our own branded products, we also could use more money for advertising. So if our idea about the branded products fails, that's fine because this would be in additional to the sequence that already generates $1.50 per lead."

In a situation like that, a bank will happily loan your business money. Maybe not all of them, but many will because they can see that you are making money and will replay the loan.

This is a massive problem that you will encounter and I highly encourage you to take my advice on this. I've done this before and there is a sever order of operations problem with building a brand that if you get wrong you will almost guarantee failure.

Starting with an email list solves a big problem that you will have if you try to do organic marketing like building audiences on social media or investing a lot of money in to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You're not going to know your EPL for months, so you don't really if what you are doing is worth it.

Trust me: When it's month #4 and your sitting there thinking "Uh is Google ever going to rank my stuff? I've invested 1,000 hours of my time into this and would like some traffic now." You're probably going to quit.

Hey, guess what? You've actually got a bigger problem then that. You still haven't tested out your landing pages, the email sequence, or found offers that convert and your traffic is coming in at a rate of a trickle which is going to make any testing nearly impossible.

But, if you've tested this out paid traffic first, then you know that your Earnings per lead (EPL) is $1.50 and you want to invest in this brand long term, so now it makes financial sense to invest time and money into things like social media marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), or building out a YouTube channel.

If you're concerned about advertising cost (you should be) then understand that there's a lot of options besides Google search ads and Facebook ads. If your brand is not for kids, but is rather geared for adults then under absolutely no circumstances should you get stuck on the traffic problem.

Let me introduce you to my friend TJ. If you have a problem like you need to test out a landing page, TJ can do that in a few hours. It's no big deal for TJ because that ad network has what I would describe as a HURRICANE OF TRAFFIC… For $100, you can have a flood of traffic violently hit your website, so don't try to solve the traffic problem the wrong way, there is absolutely no reason to get stuck on that problem…

TJ may not be an ad network that you want to work with long term and that's understandable, but after going through the testing process and you have found a working angle, working ads, and working landing pages, now you can transfer the campaigns to other networks. Then target relevant placements and optimize those campaigns to drive your CPL down.

The ability to a/b test things at a high of degree of statistical confidence in near real time is just so absurdly powerful that it can not be understated. Also, it's not like the traffic is fake or something, it's real people who might buy stuff.
Giac
wow thank you for this answer!! I'll study this thank you!

ps: what're CPL and EPL?
AWizard
EPL = Earnings per lead

CPL = Cost cost per lead.

CPA = cost per action, the action I was referring to was acquiring a new customer.

CPM = cost per mille (mille is the metric word for 1,000, so it's cost per thousand

eCPM = earnings per CPM, (earnings per 1,000.)

Also, technically a person who utilizes that strategy is a "performance marketer" and not an "affiliate marketer." It's affiliate marketing, but performance marketers are primarily focusing on marketing their brand, not the affiliate networks or the affiliate vendors that they partner with to monetize their brand.

An "affiliate marketer" is a person that is directly promoting the concept of affiliate marketing, an affiliate marketing network, or a vendor on an affiliate network.

That is critical to understand when dealing with services like email marketing or ad networks (especially Facebook/Google) as many of them do not allow "affiliate marketers" or "affiliate marketing." That's why the brand can't be about affiliate marketing and it can't have affiliate links directly in the emails. It's to work around all of the rules.

The legal definition of an affiliate has nothing to do with the affiliate marketing industry and it has to do with stake and ownership of a company. An example would be like how television news networks are "affiliated."

gardener
Very. But beware it is not easy at all. It's an extremely dynamic business. It can be stressful af. You need to be able to think outside the box. To depend on yourself. To develop new systems/websites, find new markets, opportunities, etc naturally. Like some kinda spidey sense. If you're just buying ebooks, watching YouTubers, etc you're already behind IMO. But if you have the knack for it, you'll see endless opportunity. I'd strongly, strongly suggest learning to code. AM is about automation IMO. You either do that yourself or you pay someone to. Are you willing to hire your own dev today? Or are you willing to hire yourself by investing in yourself for tomorrow?

My hat is grey. White hat marketing is for the birds. You don't have to spend a lot to make a decent amount. I've made $1k a month off free hosting and 15 minutes of work. Just by researching niches, rewriting an article, and dropping a few links. Can you think outside of the box? If you're committed to this idea spend a ton of time reading before you even think of opening your wallet, let alone for some guru's shitbook lol. If the guru's banked as much as they claim to they wouldn't be shilling get rich quick shit, ya know? If I can teach myself this shit in grade school you can too. This game hasn't changed much. Just the niches. The offers. The page formats. The traffic methods. It's all the same in the end.

Be patient. Experiment. Don't be afraid to take risks. But above all else be diligent about it! Test everything. Keep notes. Write down everything. Even that crazy idea you get at 3AM. That might be the one that prints money. Blah blah blah I'm stoned. It's a job. A fun and crazy one, but a job. Take it seriously and you'll succeed. Good luck & welcome to the club. Coffee is in the back. It's the best coffee in America, you should buy it – I won't mind the commission, I swear! Affiliate marketing is a trip. Take care.

Keegan ✍️
That's a lot of great advice! Thank you so much for the insight. What should I learn when it comes to coding? I already know some basic python https and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) but is there something else? Thanks again.

Posu
There's no one perfect and failproof way to affiliate marketing success, but there are proven practices that can help you save lots of your time:
• Pick a niche within a niche. I'll explain. Suppose you're running an SEO blog. But SEO topic is huge and you are unlikely to be able to cover all of it with high-quality content. Instead, you can choose a more specific area like SEO tool reviews, collecting case studies, or building backlinks.
• Check traffic potential. Of course, you should be passionate about the topic you're writing about, but it has to be interesting to other people as well. One way to check if the topic is interesting to other people is to see if they Google it and how often.
• Size your competition. Some of your keywords are probably already targeted by very powerful websites, so you won't be able to rank in good enough positions to attract visitors. You can use a rank tracking tool to check which keywords are too competitive.
• Don't obsess over exact match domains. They used to be extremely popular over a decade ago when they were a huge ranking factor. Today, Google looks at your content and not your domain name. Besides, there is really no need to pay huge sums of money just to purchase a highly optimized domain name.
• Avoid brands in the domain name. In most cases, affiliate program rules clearly state that using their brands in your domain name is strictly prohibited.
• Check history if purchasing an existing website. It's a very important step because you don't want a domain that spammed Google with bad content or bad links in the past.
• Instead of searching for big keywords, pay attention to long-taled keywords. Long-tailed keywords are longer, more specific search phrases with lower search volumes. These keywords are not attractive enough to be used by big brands, it's just too much effort for too little gain. But, for a small affiliate website, long-tailed keywords are a perfect opportunity to start ranking in search.
• Nofollow your affiliate links. For Google, your affiliate links are a means of earning affiliate commission (or, in other words, yet another type of a paid link). And since paid links are far from being a natural authority signal, Google would like to remove those links from calculating link authority. This is why one of the basic requirements for you is to add the no-follow tag to all affiliate links.
• Make use of vendor's special deals. Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays, Christmas, Easter. For most of these holidays, vendors tend to launch special time-limited deals and discounts. For you, as an affiliate marketer, it means easy commission to grab, since, obviously, these special deals see doubled and tripled conversion rates.

Keegan ✍️
Wow that was a lot of information but it all sounds very useful! Thank you! You've given me a lot to consider.

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