Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online. There are various benefits to it.
One of the major benefits that attracts me is that with affiliate marketing, you don’t need to create a product in order to make sales.
Creating a product is a tedious task (although for some businesses, this cannot be totally avoided).
Some bloggers might find it easier especially after they have created more than one product in the past.
But if you haven’t yet created a product, creating your first product can be a challenging and time consuming task.
It will require you to put in time and effort, usually leaving aside or moving aside your regular blogging activities.
But wait! I am not discouraging you against creating your own product. I actually insist bloggers to create their own products.
Apart from acting as a regular stream of income, a product of your own will speak for your authority in your niche.
But who doesn’t want to make money without doing much of a hard work ;)?
Well, I am in!
Affiliate marketing is one such way, where you don’t have to create a product of your own, but can still make money from others’ products.
You don’t have to worry about setting up your sales website, setting up payment processors, dealing with customer support and updating the product – Nothing!
But then affiliate marketing is not so easy-peasy as you might think of!
There is still a reasonable amount of “work” you have to do.
I am not going to talk about that in this post. Rather I am going to give you tips for long term success with affiliate marketing.
The key with affiliate marketing is to build trust.
These tips will help you become a trustworthy person in your niche, so people will buy your recommendations without a second thought.
#1 Do not promote a product that you have not tried yourself
OK, I’m sure not many will agree with me on this. And my statement is a generic one, isn’t?
Well you can’t always do this. There are exceptions.
But in general, do not promote a product that you haven’t tried out yourself.
This is why I say so: You won’t be able to clearly point out the positives and negatives of a product if you haven’t tried it out yourself.
Do you agree with me on this?
Well, I said there are exceptions! Yes you may not be able to afford to buy every laptop and camera you review.
And you may not need every software out there
#2 Research about the product
Before you promote a product (even after you have used it) research about the product to see for any scammy associations.
I usually do a search with “product name + negative keywords” – and negative keywords are usually stuff like “sucks”, “scam”, “waste” and words like that depending upon which product you are choosing.
As always a product cannot please everyone on the planet so there will be haters even for a decent product.
So make sure you are not jumping into conclusions by reading just one or two personal views.
When you research for such scam relations to the product, it is best to read user comments in additional to the original blog post.
Even better, if you research in forums you can see really useful information on the topic.
Nevertheless, as I said, do not judge a product by looking at what some people say.
The fact that some people write bad reviews about the product doesn’t mean that the product is crappy, but if you are seeing quite some bad reviews, then you should get that into account!
#3 Make sure the product promises what it delivers
This is one of the main reasons why it is important to try out the product before promoting it!
If you don’t use the product, you won’t know if it delivers what it promises.
Products with fake promises are really annoying. Sometimes, the product owners simply promise stuff to market the product.
Sometimes the product owner might simply hype things about the product because it is “their” product!
So if you are going to write a review of the product or put up a banner on your site or recommend that product to your readers in a blog post just by believing that hypey sales page, you could be doing injustice to your readers.
Since it is YOUR recommendation, it is also YOUR responsibility to check out the product thoroughly before you make a recommendation.
Don’t just take a glance at the sales page or read the product features and make recommendations based on your reading.
You really have to find out if the product delivers the promises!
#4 Make sure the product has a good standing in the market
This is something I am recently seeing myself. You come to know about a great product.
You buy and try it yourself. You find the product to be amazing. You find it to be reasonably priced as well.
And you find that the product also delivers everything as promised in the sales letter.
So you write your recommendation. But then things change after a while!
The product stops receiving any updates. Or the product owner disappears from the market.
Have you seen any of these? I have!
That is why recently I have it as a policy to specifically research for the “good standing” of the product and/or the product owner in the market.
You need to look at the following aspects:
- How long is the product in the market?
- Who/What company is behind the product?
- How long has the company been the market?
- How long is the company doing this (relevant) business?
- … and this kind of research.
Unless you clearly know about the company’s (and the product’s) standing do not recommend the product.
Remember, with affiliate marketing, it is all about building trust.
If you recommend a product that does not have a good standing in the market, you will only ruin your reputation and trust!
#5 Make sure the product gets good support from the developers
There is no point in recommending a product if the customers are not going to get proper support for it.
You are providing a recommendation as a blogger to *help* your readers.
And if the product does not get proper support from its developers, those who buy the product will be left confused and annoyed!
Personally, I value support very much! Whenever I research to buy a product, I see how good the support is.
You can see this by visiting forum threads that talk about this product, read reviews and so on.
Mainly, I value a product by not only seeing its features but I give weight to the support (and documentation).
Basically it doesn’t matter how great the product is – if I cannot get help when I am stuck with something, there is no point in using that product.
And whenever I face such an issue, I not only find the product useless but I also get annoyed! So it is quite natural that I need to put myself in the shoes of my readers.
Tip: As a reviewer/affiliate, be prepared to answer questions about the product – or notify the product owner about the review and arrange for him/her to answer some of the critical questions about the product.
#6 Don’t write an all-positive-buy-it-NOW kind of review
In your review, make sure you point out both the positives and negatives of the product. I am 200% sure that no product is perfect!
Why? Because “perfect” is a word that is person-dependent. Something that is “perfect” to me would be crappy to you! And vice versa. Why? Because we all have different preferences.
I might have different needs with my business and your needs could be different from mine; so are the features with any product.
So make sure you don’t paint an all-positive picture. If you write such a review people will see you as a “desperate” affiliate marketer who wants to push sales.
If you write a “genuine” review which points out both the positives and negatives of a product you will not only make the review really useful to your readers, but you will also build trust in the industry.
Rather than simply pointing out the features, if you do tutorial, it would be great.
While you do a video review showing a hands on session, people will be able to actually look at the product being used – these kind of reviews are highly helpful for products that don’t have a free or trial version – you will help people look behind the walls before they can actually invest in the product.
They will also be able to “see” the challenges in using the product and/or how easy it is to use the product for a particular type of usage!
#7 Update your review often
This is something I have to do myself with my current reviews – I can say this is a note to myself.
Reviews need to be updated regularly, don’t you agree? Things change! So do products and their updates.
With every update, a product could be fixing a bug, or could come out of beta, or could introduce new features, or could change its pricing or something like that!
So it is important that you keep yourself updated of these changes. Usually all product owners keep their affiliates informed of these changes.
Make sure you stay subscribed to the affiliate list of the products for which you are an affiliate.
This will help you easily stay updated. Otherwise it would be a tedious job for you to manually check the updates of those products!
Once you find out that there has been a change of any form (as the ones mentioned above), please do update your review accordingly!
Think of this scenario – when people land on your review page when they see that your review is outdated, they are simply going to bounce off. Nobody wants to read an outdated review.
Affiliate marketing: Takeaway tips and conclusion
As I said, the key element is to build trust. If you look for making some quick commissions, you will only fail trying. Just put yourselves in the shoes of the buyer.
Let’s say you come across a recommendation from a person you trust and then you also read another product promotion review from a person who you barely know or a person who have been in the market for a very short time!
From whom will you make those purchases? From the person you trust, right?
Even if you were on the fence about buying that product, a recommendation or an endorsement from the person you trust will surely make you buy it!
So focus on building trust.
Be honest and transparent when you make product promotions or recommendations.
It will take some time. But you will make it!
Hope you found these affiliate marketing tips useful!
Ann Phil says
It is indeed a great joy to meet you today via Twitter. Happy to read this post on affiliate marketing. I am new to this and am sure this post will help me to get more information on affiliate marketing. I a bookmarking it for my further study.
Thanks for the share. I am following you on twitter.
Anil Agarwal says
Hi Jane, excellent post.
I really loved your 6th and 7th tips Jane. Most people (especially the beginners to affiliate marketing) don’t realise the importance of writing honest product reviews.
No matter what industry you are in, if you really want to increase your affiliate sales, make sure to create unbiased product reviews by talking about all the pros and cons, features, pricing and all so your audience can easily decide by themselves whether those products are worth their money or not. Don’t give them a conclusion by telling them this is the perfect product, so go buy it.
No one buys if you say tell them to buy. People buy only those products that solve their problems. So be cautious while writing product reviews. Don’t create them just for the sake of increasing sales.
Updating product reviews with latest information, videos or images with the latest discounts or offers is a fantastic way to increase your affiliate sales as only few people update their product review pages. Also make sure to build links and add relevant keywords (buyer keywords) while making changes to them.
Thanks for sharing the tips Jane. Keep up the great work!