42 Things You Should Know About Affiliate Marketing Before Getting Started

Although affiliate marketing has always been promoted as one of the easiest online businesses to set up because it does not involve the process of creating a product, it is actually not as easy as it sounds.

So before you become an affiliate marketer, you need to know everything about it first.

This way, you will know exactly what you’re getting into and that you do not make any false expectations.

Here are 42 things you need to know before you get started with this type of online business.

  1. Affiliate marketing takes a lot of time and effort – Yes, they say that it’s easy but they only mean that this is easier than other types of business. And “easy” is a relative word that depends on various factors. It’s important to realize that this type of online business also requires work and your patience, and that it also time consuming.
  2. It is not a get rich quick scheme – Many people make the mistake of thinking that affiliate marketing will give you instant success and wealth. This is not true at all. Just like what was previously mentioned, it takes a lot of time and work before you can see any results. You need to set realistic expectations about this type of online business so you don’t get yourself into any trouble, particularly financial trouble.
  3. It is a highly saturated industry – There are thousands of affiliates in almost every niche that you can think of. With so much competition, it can be difficult to get your business to take off right away.
  4. You need to choose a specific niche – Choosing the right niche is one of the first steps that will get you closer to affiliate marketing success. To help you stand out from the competition, it’s always a good idea to specify your niche. The more specific your niche is, the easier it is for you to get ahead of the competition.
  5. You need to choose the right product – Aside from the niche, you must also take the time to choose the right products to recommend to your target audience as this will largely affect the success of your online business. You need to find something that’s not only of high quality and has a high effectiveness rating. You also need to consider the product’s value for money, and whether it will solve your audience’s problems or not.
  6. It’s crucial to get to know your customers – For you to be able to choose the right products, you need to get to know more of your target audience first. You must find out about their needs, concerns, problems and issues. You can do this by spending time in online places where they hang out, such as in social media groups and online forums.
  7. Building trust and loyalty is necessary – The foundation of your success as an affiliate marketer lies on trust and loyalty. While it’s true that you need to exert effort in finding new customers, you need to exert more effort in holding on those customers that you’ve found. Earning their trust and building their loyalty is what will give you the success that you want in this type of online business.
  8. You can earn your customers’ trust with expertise and credibility – One of the many ways to earn the trust of your customers is to establish your expertise and authority in the niche, and at the same time, become known for your credibility. Many affiliates are known for their unscrupulous ways. Distinguish yourself from them so that it becomes easier for your customers to put their trust in you and believe your product recommendations.
  9. Honesty and transparency are highly appreciated – Another way to get people to trust you more easily is to be honest and transparent at all times with all the processes involved in this type of online business.
  10. You always need to disclose that you are an affiliate – You need to always disclose that you are affiliate. This is also to minimize one of the most common risks of affiliate marketing and this is getting your affiliate penalized by the affiliate network.
  11. You need an affiliate website – Setting up an affiliate website is one of the first steps in getting started with this business. You can do this using the top CMS option, which is WordPress.org. This is the preferred choice by many affiliate experts simply because it is efficient, versatile, flexible, affordable and safe to use.
  12. Your website should be quick to load and easy to navigate – Online users have become notorious for their extremely short attention span and lack of patience. This makes it imperative to create an affiliate website that does not take longer than five seconds to load. The website should also be easy to use and navigate. If not, you are going to suffer from a high bounce rate, and you will not get conversions as much as you’d like.
  13. You must create valuable content for your audience – Provide more value to your affiliate customers by filling your website or blog with valuable content that they will find practical and useful. Some of the best types of content to publish as an affiliate include product reviews, product comparisons, tutorials, how to guides and product demonstration.
  14. You can also use a video sharing platform – If setting up a website or blog is too tedious for you, you can choose to have a YouTube channel instead. Here, you can promote your affiliate products by creating related videos. Take note that the videos should not be blatant advertisements of your products but should also provide useful information to your target audience.
  15. You have to formulate a marketing strategy – As with any other type of online business, you need to create an effective marketing campaign for your affiliate business. The purpose of the marketing campaign is to drive traffic to your site and create conversions. Conversion is the process of turning a website visitor into a buying customer.
  16. All channels should be included in marketing campaigns – Your marketing campaign should not only focus on one strategy. You know what they say, you should never put all your eggs in one basket. You need to include as many effective channels as possible. Be sure to include email, social media, content, video, online forums and other online channels for your marketing campaign. For social media, you should make use of the top social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
  17. It’s essential to consider both free and paid traffic sources – In affiliate marketing, driving traffic to one’s site is of primary importance. Even if you’re selling the best quality products, and you’ve chosen the highest paying affiliate programs, if there’s no traffic coming to your site, all your efforts will be useless. You need to invest on paid traffic sources such as PPC campaign as well as make use of free traffic sources.
  18. There is no shortcut to affiliate marketing success – Since affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick scheme as mentioned earlier, you have to expect that the journey to success is a long and arduous one. It’s replete with hurdles and challenges that will make it a lot more difficult to reach the success that you want. You’ll need to go through every step of the process as there is no shortcut to the finish line.
  19. Affiliate marketing is not free to set up – Some people might think that just because signing up with affiliate programs is free of charge, it does not mean that getting started with this type of business does not require any capital. You’ll need to spend money on building your affiliate site. You’ll also need to pay for certain types of traffic sources. Then there are also those online tools that you need to use for marketing and productivity that also cost money. But you’ll be happy to know that affiliate marketing does not cost as much as other types of business as you don’t have to create your own products.
  20. It’s possible to become a passive income source – One of the many things that people love about affiliate marketing is the fact that it can be converted into a passive source of income. This means that you do not have to work as actively as during the initial phase to generate income from it. In fact, it has allowed some affiliates to leave their day job and have more time to enjoy their other interest and pastimes.
  21. High traffic is not the same as high profit – A common mistake among newbie affiliates is thinking that high traffic automatically means high profits. This is not necessarily true. If the traffic driven to your site does not result in conversion, then there will be no sale made, and no revenue for you. Aside from driving traffic to an affiliate site, it is a must for any affiliate to get customers to buy the product, even those who are not that interested. This can be done through creative conversion strategies such as providing incentives and engaging customers with excellent content.
  22. Customers abandon affiliate websites for various reasons – While trying to increase conversion rate, you should also work to reduce the bounce rate. Bounce refers to the process of a website visitor leaving a site before completing any calls to action such as buying a product. There are many reasons website visitors leave a website—navigation is confusing, website takes long to load, content is not that engaging, it’s hard to find the products, and so on. It’s important that you get to the bottom of the reason why your website has a high bounce rate, and employ the necessary solution.
  23. 95 percent of affiliates fail on day one – Yes, the success rate for this type of online business is only 5 percent. This is not meant to discourage you but to make you see that only a handful is able to succeed with this undertaking. But if you’re able to get on with this, you’re going to enjoy priceless benefits, one of which is a steady income stream that will help you live a comfortable life.
  24. SEO is a necessary component of affiliate marketing – Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques that helps a website rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs). It is imperative for any affiliate to optimize his/her website for the search engine in order to get a higher ranking. A higher ranking means more traffic, more conversions and therefore, more profits.
  25. Hard selling does not work in affiliate marketing – Contrary to popular belief, hard selling no longer works for affiliates. Since trust is the foundation of affiliate marketing success, it’s never advisable to take on the role of the aggressive salesman as this approach will only drive your affiliate customers away.
  26. It’s better to focus more on helping instead of selling – If you want to make a sale, an affiliate expert will advise you to do everything except to try to make a sale. Sounds confusing, right? But what this advice really means is that you should make it the least of your priorities to get a product sold, instead focus more on helping and providing value to your customers. And this is what will give you long-term success.
  27. Diversifying income stream is always a good idea – Many experts will also advise you to register with various affiliate programs, and to set up affiliate websites on different niches once you’ve established your business. This is to ensure that you have a fallback in case one of your websites stop working.
  28. Commission rates vary depending on the merchant and other factors – There are various factors that affect commission rates provided by different affiliate programs. It’s important that you know about these factors so that you’ll know why certain programs only pay this much or why others pay higher.
  29. Scams that prey on affiliates are prevalent – As with any other online business, there also plenty scams that try to lure in unknowing affiliates as well as affiliate customers. You need to know about all these scams so you don’t end up becoming a victim. One of the most common is a fake affiliate program asking you to pay for membership fee. Never join a program that requires you to pay any fee.
  30. Procrastination and distractions are top enemies of affiliates – These two will always hinder your success as an affiliate. This is why, you need to stay on top of your schedule as well as do everything it takes to avoid online and offline distractions.
  31. Various online tools can make the affiliate’s life easier – There are many online tools that can help you with many of the processes involved in affiliate marketing. There are plugins that you can use to increase your site’s functionality. And there are also tools for increasing productivity, for spying on competition, for marketing your products and website, and so on.
  32. Social media popularity does not automatically mean more sales – It’d be a mistake to think that if your post on Facebook generates 100 likes, it means that you’re automatically getting a lot of sales. Social media presence can indeed help but you still need follow up steps to turn social media fans into actual buying customers.
  33. Affiliate marketing strategies change all the time – Affiliate marketing is an ever changing business. You need to be aware of the fact that some strategies that work today may not be as effective in the next few months. You need to prepare for this, and to always keep yourself updated with the latest trends.
  34. Affiliate networks are not your only options – Aside from affiliate networks, there are also individual affiliate programs that you can also check out. These are operated by the product creator or the company.
  35. Affiliate programs have terms and conditions you should follow – Never sign up with any affiliate program without first reading about its terms and conditions. This way, you can follow each rule to the dot, and you don’t get into any kind of trouble.
  36. Some affiliate programs take longer than others to pay – Aside from the amount of commission, affiliate programs also have different ways of processing payments. It’s always best to go for programs that make use of quick payment methods such as PayPal.
  37. It’s necessary to know about the link’s cookie life – The cookie life refers to the duration by which the cookie remains in the server. The longer it remains, the better. This means that you should be on the lookout for affiliate programs that have long cookie life.
  38. Low ticket items are not always easier to sell – Some affiliates prefer to go for low ticket items because they think these are easier to sell. There are some low ticket items that are indeed easier to sell but this is not true all the time. Also, you might want to consider selling high ticket items that have low commission rate but have high priced tags, in which you’ll earn even more.
  39. Some people associate affiliate marketers with scammers – Since there is a common misconception that affiliates are scammers, you need to work double time in building trust among your target customers.
  40. Digital products are more convenient to sell but not easier – Some affiliates opt to sell digital products because of convenience. It’s more convenient to sell something that does not have to be shipped. But you have to remember that many people prefer to buy physical products that they can actually see and touch.
  41. Tracking your metrics is not something you can skip – You need to install Google Analytics and to make use of this to measure the important metrics that will show you which strategies are working, and which ones are not.
  42. Affiliate marketing still works today – It works today and will still work in the coming years. The future is actually bright for affiliate marketers so there is nothing to worry about when you get started with this type of online business, as long as you’re able to do it right.

These are 42 things that you need to know about affiliate marketing should you decide to venture into this type of online business. Take the time to research more about the business’s ins and outs so you can stay on the right path long enough to get to the point of success.