The longer you work as an affiliate, the more you realize that this is easier said than done.
It’s taking you longer than expected to see your desired results.
But you’re not giving up anytime soon because you know that this is what will give you the steady source of passive income that you’ve always wanted.
And that you can only get to this point if you are able to stay long enough.
If you want to get to the peak of success much sooner, one thing that will contribute to this is the right choices and decisions that you will have to make on a number of aspects related to your affiliate marketing business.
Since you’re a newbie, you’re probably wondering how you can make the right decisions when you’re not yet an expert.
You might also contend that it’s perfectly acceptable to make mistakes as you will learn from these eventually, and this is what will teach you to become better.
To save you from making costly mistakes, here are the ways on how you can make the right decisions.
# 1 – Do your homework
Research is crucial in the setting up of any type of business, whether online or offline.
If you’d get started with affiliate marketing, obviously, you would need to do your research.
Conducting extensive research on each aspect of the business, and each step that you need to accomplish will help you avoid any costly mistakes, and make sure that you are able to make the right choices.
Here are just few of the many important aspects of affiliate marketing that you need to research about:
- How to set up an affiliate website
- How to formulate an effective marketing campaign
- Where to promote your affiliate products
- How to create product reviews and other content suitable for this business
- How to establish credibility and expertise in the niche
- How to connect with your audience and earn their trust
Let’s start with setting up your website. You need to find out the proper procedure for doing this right from the registration of your domain to the purchasing of your web hosting to the setting up of the CMS, theme, and so on.
This can be overwhelming if you do not have any background in coding and website building.
But you’d be glad to know that there are many tutorials that can help you go through this process without a hitch.
Plus, some CMSs are actually very user-friendly. A good example would be WordPress.org, which is highly recommended for affiliates.
As for the marketing campaign, you need to do your research on the following marketing channels so you can utilize each one the right way:
- Social media
- Online forums
Aside from your own blog or website, there are many other possible venues to promote your affiliate products and links, and you need to research about these as well.
Then there’s the long and arduous task of establishing your credibility and expertise in the niche, as well as earning the trust of your target customers.
These goals can be achieved more quickly if you are able to craft excellent content. And you know what excellent content requires? Yes, you guessed it right—research!
# 2 – Compare your options
For each decision that you will have to make right from the very beginning, you’ll be facing countless options from which you should choose only one (sometimes you can use more than one, but often you have to pick a single choice).
Again, let’s start with the website building, which is always the first step in setting up an affiliate marketing business.
Here, you already have to make a choice for the CMS, hosting provider and domain provider that you will use to build your website.
For the CMS or website builders, some of your top options include:
Most experts will recommend using WordPress.org, just like what we mentioned earlier.
But it would still be a good idea if you’d take the time to compare the options that you have.
For web hosting, you would want to consider any of these:
Some of these already provide free domains like Bluehost. But if you want to spend extra money, which you probably don’t, you can get the domain from a separate provider such as GoDaddy or NameCheap.
Aside from comparing your website building options, you also have to pick a specific niche and product type to work on.
Here, you’ll have countless options to think about, and it can get really overwhelming.
What will help is to narrow down your choices by including only those that fit the following descriptions:
- Profitable enough and has enough consumer demand
- Related to your passion and interests
- Within your area of knowledge and expertise
Another important choice that you’ll have to make is with regards to the product type.
There are two primary types of products that you can choose from: digital and physical.
Then, there’s the online marketing campaign, which again presents numerous choices.
Each marketing channel provides a plethora of strategies, platforms, and online tools. Comparing all these will help you make the right pick.
Here’s one example, for email marketing, you will have to compare the top choices for email marketing services that will do the job of automating the sending of messages to your email subscribers.
Your top choices are:
- Constant Contact
Another example would be for social media marketing. As you know, there are now a hundred social media sites that affiliates can use to promote their products.
But you have to limit your use to those that will do great things for your online business.
Some of the most popular social media sites are:
- Google Plus
For each of these sites, you will have to choose strategies that you can include in your marketing campaign.
Not only that, there are countless social media tools that you can also make use.
Just a few examples are:
- Sprout Social
One thing to remember whenever making any comparison: don’t just compare the price.
Analyze also the features and benefits of each to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money, and the option that is most suitable to your needs and preferences.
# 3 – Do a background check
For decisions involving third parties, you should always do a background check.
Here are some of those that you’d have to probe:
- Affiliate program
- Affiliate network
- Team members
So let’s start with the merchant. Before you sign up with any affiliate program, you need to do a background check on the merchant or the owner of the product to ensure that you are not working with someone who has a shady background. Even if the merchant’s product is great, if he/she has questionable ethics or business practices, you’d be better off with another program.
Speaking of program, you also have to research what people think of a program or network before signing up with any. Read online reviews so you know how the program treats its affiliates and how its payment systems work. You do not want to join any program or network that takes forever to send payments or treats the affiliates unfairly.
Finally, if you are going to hire anyone to be part of your business, or you’d be outsourcing some of the tasks to a freelancer, don’t do so without taking a peek into the person’s background. Check the social media profile, online reputation, reviews and so on to see if this person will help you with your business or will just give you a headache.
# 4 – Ask around
Word of mouth, crowdsourcing, or simply asking family and friends or any person you know.
All these can help you make the right choices in your affiliate marketing business.
Of course, you need to ask the right people.
For example, if you have a question or if you need to make a decision that is related to your audience, consider asking someone who is in need of the product that you are offering or who is currently using it so you can get an accurate answer or at least a useful insight.
There are times when your mind is no longer capable of thinking about everything. There are times when you need the help of other people.
And this is the perfect time to ask around if you are having a hard time deciding about anything about your business. Of course, in the end, it’s still up to you.
# 5 – Weigh the pros and cons
For every decision that you have to make that involves two or three choices, a good way to come up with something that’s right on track for you is to weigh the pros and cons.
Here’s one example, once you’ve decided to get into affiliate marketing, you’ll start looking for products to promote.
Now before you can decide what specific products to promote in your website or blog, you need to decide first whether to go for physical products or digital products.
Each of these two options has its own pros and cons.
For the physical product, you’ll find out that it’s easier to sell because people are more inclined to buy a product that they can touch. Conversion rates are found to be higher for physical products. But the downside is that this can be more costly as it entails shipping and delivery.
For the digital product, selling is more convenient as there’s no more need to ship the orders. Sale is done more quickly because the merchant only has to send the file or give the customer a link to the file that he/she bought from you. The quicker the sale is, the quicker you get your commission. Now the problem is, not too many people are excited to buy digital products because they do not see it as “real”.
Now that you are able to weigh the pros and cons of your choices, it’d be easier for you to make the decision that will get you closer to your business goals.
# 6 – See the big picture
Make it a point to stand back and analyze the big picture of your scenario.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to do this when you’re feeling overwhelmed with so many choices, so many things to think about, so many factors to consider and so on.
But take the time to analyze and think things through.
Close your eyes and imagine how your decision will affect not just one or two aspects of your affiliate marketing business, but your business as a whole.
This way, you can see if the decision to be made is worth it, or if it will be the cause of your downfall.
Look not only at its immediate effects but its long-term effects to your business.
# 7 – But don’t overlook the small details
It’s important that you’re able to look at the big picture whenever you have to make a decision.
Look far and wide so you can see everything.
But sometimes in doing this, you get to miss out on small details which might also be crucial in coming up with the right decision.
So let’s say you’re in search of a profitable affiliate program.
It’s easy to figure out what factors should be considered in order to pick the most profitable option.
These factors would obviously include the commission rate, product price and average product sale.
As you know, all these contribute to the earning potential for a certain affiliate product.
But aside from these major factors, you might be missing out on one small detail: the cookie life.
The cookie life refers to the duration of the cookie of your affiliate link. For example, if the affiliate product has a cookie life of 365 days, it means that any sale made within this period will be credited to your account. Simply put, the longer the cookie life is, the better.
Now if you only consider the above mentioned factors (commission rate and so on), you might be missing on those affiliate programs that have very long cookie durations.
So aside from the big picture, it’s also necessary to see the smaller details so you don’t miss out on anything important.
# 8 – Check your goals
Whenever you have a decision to make, it’s a good idea to go back to the goals you’ve set when you were first starting out.
It’s possible that you might want to revamp these goals or to update them to keep up with the latest development in your business.
So why is there a need to go back to your goals?
How can this help you make decisions in the latter part of your business?
As you know, your goals are what should guide you throughout your business.
After all, these are the things that you want to achieve.
Your goals come in two primary forms: short term and long term.
You need to see if the decision that you are going to make will be in line with your goals, and if this will help you get closer to what you want to achieve.
For example, if you are thinking about setting up a second affiliate website.
You are having doubts if this is the right route for you.
Now, if you go back to your original goals, one of which is to create several streams of passive income, then you can see that deciding to give this a go will help you achieve one of your goals.
# 9 – Heed advice from the experts
Aside from asking people around you, which was previously mentioned in one of the earlier tips, it would also be a smart move to get advice from affiliate marketing experts.
These experts have been in the industry long enough to know the ins and outs.
They are in the right position to tell you whether you are making a right choice or not.
They can also give you insights that you might not have thought of, and alternative suggestions that may prove to be the better route in the long run.
Just make sure that you approach the real experts.
It’s a must to be aware that there are now many so-called experts in the affiliate marketing industry. If you make the mistake of consulting a pseudo-expert, you might end up getting the wrong advice or suggestions that can create disastrous consequences to your business.
Check the expert’s background and reputation before asking for any advice. It’s easy to find out through online reviews and testimonials if an expert is a real expert or just someone pretending to know what he’s talking about.
# 10 – Never stop learning
This tip is actually applicable to any type of business, not just for affiliate marketing.
But it’s all the more necessary for businesses that operate online since the internet dynamics change too frequently. Sometimes, it changes more frequently than most people can keep up with.
This is why, it’s a must that you never stop learning.
Continually educating yourself about this online business model helps ensure that you are able to make right choices and decisions here and now.
It’s possible that some of the strategies that you know to be true and effective before may no longer work today. If you are unable to keep yourself updated, then you are going to have a hard time coming up with a sound decision.
It is imperative that you recognize that affiliate marketing is ever changing.
# 11 – Don’t believe easily in hype and unrealistic claims
The affiliate marketing industry is unfortunately replete with fraudulent practices and online scams.
There are also plenty hypes, unrealistic claims and offers that are too good to be true.
What’s the reason behind these? Scammers.
Scammers are working day in and day out to lure more victims into their traps.
If you make the mistake of falling into one of these traps, this can cause you to make a series of wrong choices and decisions.
For example, a scammer invites you to join an affiliate program that promises instant $200 bonus upon joining and earnings of $5,000 per week doing one or two hour worth of work online.
Since you’re desperate for money, you fall for this, and make the decision to join the program.
Then, you will be advised to create a website using the scammer’s fake website builder which costs you $300 (but since you’re promised to earn $5,000, you don’t really mind). You think that you are making a sound investment. You will also be asked to purchase “necessary” plugins and tools that will help you get the promised earnings.
In the end, you find out that you’ve been fooled and scammed. You’ve lost money and made costly mistakes that you could have avoided if you played it smart.
# 12 – Don’t get swayed by misconceptions
Like scams, misconceptions can also sway you into making the wrong decisions.
It’s very important that you’re able to determine what affiliate marketing is truly about, and what it is not.
For example, if you believe the common false notion that affiliate marketing is a get-rich-quick scheme, then it’s possible that the choices or decisions that you will make later on in your business will be due to false expectations about it. You might only be choosing to get a web hosting for one year (even though this is more costly) because you think that you only need a year to achieve great success with this online business.
But if you know the truth about affiliate marketing—that it is not the route to instant wealth, you’d probably avail the longer-term web hosting package.
It’s not always easy to make a decision. Sometimes, it’s hard to determine whether you’re making the right choice or not. But if you think things through and you follow the strategies mentioned above, you can minimize the possibility of committing costly mistakes that can hinder your affiliate marketing success.