Affiliate Marketing - Things you should know about affiliate marketing and some of the common misconceptions
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- Things I have learned about Affiliate Marketing
- This is not quick and easy cash.
- Cutting corners doesn’t work
- It requires thought and strategy
- You’re going to need to invest money
- Look at what you have before you begin
- Paid Courses are usually BS
- Assume Nothing, Test Everything
- Myths About Affiliate Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing Is Shady
- Affiliate Marketing Is Too Competitive
- It’s Passive Income
- You Have To Pick Lucrative Niches
- Your Affiliate Network Manager is Your Friend
- In Conclusion…
Before we jump into building your affiliate marketing empire there are things you should think about and things you should know. Many more people fail at this than they do succeed. If you don’t have the energy, patience and resources there are easier ways to make money online.
The advantage of affiliate marketing is it’s something that makes money that doesn’t rely on your time. It’s not like being a consultant who is trading hours for cash. If done correctly, your income should flow whether you’re sat on your laptop or not.
In this article we are going to look at some of the things I have learned as I transitioned from wage slave more into affiliate marketing as well as common misconceptions by people who read and write about the theory of affiliate marketing but have never actually done it.
Things I have learned about Affiliate Marketing
This is not quick and easy cash.
This is one of the most important things you should know before you begin. If you’re online right now looking for ways to make quick money because your cat is dying or your rent is due, stop. There are many easier ways to make $12-$15 an hour.
A successful affiliate website can take months to create, rank and get decent traffic. You’re going to be creating something from scratch, this does not happen overnight.
Even if you found instant success, you publish some content and you made $10,000 in commission in a week on Amazon. Did you know you’re going to be waiting nearly 90 days for the cheque to arrive? We are in February as I write this and I’m still waiting for my Black Friday/November cheque from Amazon.
Pay-outs are not fast but once you get to a decent and consistent level you will get cheques every month, it will just be delayed.
What I am pointing out is you need to know this before you begin, lots of people trying to make money online are in bad situations. If this is the case and you can’t wait for a return on your investment try something else.
If you are starting from nothing with no real experience, I would expect you to work 10-20 hours per week on this and not get paid for 6 months. If that doesn’t put you off, go for it.
Cutting corners doesn’t work
People beginning affiliate marketing who don’t have a background in digital marketing are going to have a mighty steep learning curve. As a beginner you will be enthusiastic, probably join a stupid internet marketing forum and read a lot of content from 2012 and get unreal ideas about how it works.
If your plan is to write 6 articles, spend $50 on “Harry Potter and Spiderman SLAY the G monster FOR THE FINAL BATTLE v31” links and retire you’re going to be a bit gutted when it doesn’t happen. You need to expect that you’re going to have to put in the work and grind away. The best affiliate sites in terms of quality and income provide real value to its users. They have solid content and lots of it. Real people link to them as resources for their topics, yes, real links. Can you believe it?
If your competitors have 200 pages of content rich 2000+ word articles all beautifully interlinked and planned around a topic very precisely hitting every keyword, then you’re going to have to match them if you expect to compete.
Search engines are decent nowadays. While anomalies occur from time to time which don’t make sense for the most part there isn’t much that you can get away with long term.
Get some realistic ideas of your niche before you go into that area. If you’re trying to shill VPNs but you’re not willing to write (or get written) 300,000 words on security, networks, phones, encryption and loads of other boring nonsense then perhaps entering another niche which requires less investment or is more interesting is best.
It requires thought and strategy
This sounds simple yet for some retarded reason I didn’t think about strategy for a long time and it means I left a lot of money on the table over the years.
My affiliate income comes from Amazon. I shill for Big Jeff and it works well for me. But for a solid 3+ years I was Corey Preiss level stupid and didn’t really understand the program. I was building beautiful product review sites with lots of content and got decent traffic, but in my short mindedness I was concerned about selling the readers the actual product on review. That’s not really the affiliates job.
Amazon have a 24 hour cookie. If a user clicks on your affiliate link there is a 24 hour period where you get a commission no matter what they buy. They don’t have to buy the product you review, it almost doesn’t matter. If they click on your affiliate link for a microwave, but they get distracted and buy rope you’re going to get commission for the rope.
On realising this I began a 3 month tear down of almost everything I had built up to that point where I was designing articles and content to drive clicks. Product review articles became top 10 product shoot outs. “Check Price” buttons were implemented. Lots of little changes to my UI occurred all of which were designed to drive clicks to Amazon.
This increased my EPC (Earnings Per Click) over time by 475%. I was retarded, if I pulled my head out my ass and read through the Amazon resources properly, I would have realised this a long time ago.
About 40% of my products currently sold on Amazon have nothing to do with my websites. I have a website for tools that regularly sells sports equipment and sex toys. I have a pool accessories site that sells children’s toys.
No matter what program you get into or what product you jew out on, read through everything and build your sites and content to take advantage of everything they allow. In most cases your conversion as an affiliate isn’t really the sale, it’s the click. As the saying goes you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. You have no control over how the merchant handles the user you deliver, so it’s almost pointless worrying about that side of it unless you can find better merchants.
I recommend people use an analytics software to monitor outbound clicks on their affiliate sites once they begin to get traffic. Which pages drive the most clicks? Which links are users clicking most? What UI features (buttons/tables/text links) are driving the most clicks? Does different content structure change click through rate? These are all things you should know. Doubling click-through-rates on traffic is easier than doubling the amount of traffic, yet most people worry about the later.
You’re going to need to invest money
While you can do this for free, you’re going to have a far easier time if you have money to invest. Opening bottle necks in website production by outsourcing content writing for example is going to bring you success much quicker than writing all your content yourself.
If you go with SEO as a traffic source, you’re also going to need links. While building web 2.0’s and many other types of link is also “free” it’s a far better use of resources to just spend $100-200 and have people handle this for you.
How much money you need to invest will depend on your niche. If you’re going after something super competitive like payday loans it’s not unusual to be competing with people who have $100,000 budgets for links and 10 content writers on their payroll. Some of these terms can make you $30,000 per day so throwing that kind of money at a project is a drop in the ocean.
If you’re going to be building an Amazon site aimed at a reasonable keyword (which this series will focus more on later) then I would suggest starting the project with $500. I think this is a good amount that will allow you to focus on the parts that need attention and outsourcing the slightly less important aspects.
Even if you’re going to use social traffic money for shout outs from “influencers” or automation tools is going to increase your success a lot.
Look at what you have before you begin
If you already have a background in internet marketing, you might already have avenues to create money right away. A decent starting point could be:
- Facebook pages or groups
- Community forums for local groups
- Email lists from various places
- Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat/Other platforms accounts
- Sub-Reddits you own/moderate
Any kind of place that real people visit, sign up to or hang out at can be used for affiliate marketing.
Even if your affiliate network does not allow Facebook traffic and you own a Facebook group, there is nothing stopping you posting your website into your group and using it as a stepping stone to your affiliate offer or using these people to help get links in some way.
If you have people’s attention it’s going to be useful to you, it doesn’t really matter in what form. Find a suitable offer and you could have a great head start over starting from scratch.
Paid Courses are usually BS
If you’re just learning about affiliate marketing, I urge you greatly to never purchase a paid course. Never spend money acquiring knowledge in this subject. I’m not being sarcastic, genuinely.
The only people that write these guides are people who tried making money with affiliate marketing, failed, but decided to then sell courses to noobs on silly marketplaces.
There is no openly available knowledge out there that isn’t available for free. By all means read blogs, forums, articles and whatever else you need to read but if there was a secret piece of information out there and available that will make it all “click” for you, it wouldn’t be available for $19 in the form of an ebook.
Assume Nothing, Test Everything
If you’re going to really get into this, you need to assume nothing and test everything.
Use data, not feelings. Don’t go with your gut when you can get actual information. Run constant tests and really try to get the most out of everything, lots of inches add up to a mile.
Before you even have traffic you should have a site that you can use to test link building services on. The main reason for this is most Indians are liars. Just because Sarkark21 says his Dr Who vs Lady Gaga link package will work doesn’t mean it will. There’s a equal chance that it will in fact ruin your rankings, you should know this before using it on your money site and losing all your time and money you invested.
Once you have traffic you should be running split tests on your traffic and working hard to increase CTR to your affiliate offer. You should try different offers, banners, ad positions, user interface designs… Try it all.
Some of my most profitable wins have been over very retarded tests. Adding a CSS layover on product images that said “View On Amazon” increased my image link CTR by 60%. That’s a lot of money in the bank for a 10 minute site wide change to code.
This is my test site in Ahrefs, you can see just how many ups and downs it's had. This is due to me recovering the site after testing various amounts of shit on there, some worked but most didn't.
Myths About Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing Is Shady
There seems to be some autistic view that affiliates are shady, they are dishonest and cheat their way to riches online…
The internets users seem to be against people making money, I’ve never understood that. People get mad when YouTubers flaunt their wealth and all CEO’s are evil people that only got rich by stealing from others.
This continues into affiliate marketing where I regularly get comments saying “I BET YOU DIDN’T EVEN PHYSICALLY HAVE ALL 10 OF THESE PRESSURE WASHERS WHEN YOU WROTE THIS REVIEW DID YOU? YOU MAKE ME SICK. YOU ARE SCAMMER.”.
As much as I want to reply, “Hey dickhead, do you think I publish pressure washer reviews because it’s my fucking passion?” I resist. People have a weird view of what we do and it can be deserved. There are shady people, businesses, verticals and tactics used in affiliate marketing but you will find the same kind of things in most forms of business.
Affiliate marketing is perfectly moral, god will still love you if you do it. There are shady niches like adult and shady tactics like cookie stuffing but 99.9% of us are perfectly respectable people. It’s certainly possible to reach great success without resorting to anything shady. Then again there’s a lot of money to be made if you are that way inclined.
But this stereotype also overflows into SEO also, lots of idiots claim that Google will penalise you if you post affiliate links or there are algorithms to detect them. Do not listen to these fools.
Affiliate Marketing Is Too Competitive
Out of all the myths about affiliate marketing this is the one I love the most, because it keeps people out the game which means there’s less competition for me.
There are 1,000,000’s of offers for affiliates to pick from. New affiliate programs are being launched all the time. New products are released constantly. How is it possible for all of this to happen continuously without creating 1000’s of niches for affiliates? It’s not.
If you have any kind of skills in keyword research, you should be able to find 100 low competition affiliate keywords with good search volume very easily. Even if you have no skills in affiliate marketing any retard can run keyword reports in ahrefs for sites that are already ranking and sort the CSV by keyword difficulty to find good keywords.
If people are telling you “all” of affiliate marketing is too competitive disregard them. They are retarded or a liar. Even in competitive areas like insurance there are 100’s of way to drive traffic.
For example signing up to a car forum asking for car insurance company recommendations from one account and then using 20 alt accounts to recommend your offer with “these guys quoted me $400 less than anyone else… [insert affiliate link]” and “yes I use those guys too they are very good” will get you clicks and possibly sales. There is no competition in doing this.
It’s Passive Income
This is and isn’t true.
It’s true that not every article or review you create will require regular attention. Once you rank most content in Google it will stay there for a while. During this period if you’re already ranking it doesn’t make sense to edit or update the content which can cause it to drop.
But during this time 300 other affiliate may be trying to out rank that page and that will probably happen at some stage. During this period of success, you can sit around and watch Alex Jones YouTube memes or you can work on your next piece(s) of content to replace the income you will lose when other affiliates catch you.
It’s during this period where your income can grow quickly. If you can build and rank 2-3 piece of content for every piece of content that is already ranking your little affiliate empire is going to grow rapidly. It’s like a pyramid scheme for yourself or a game of cat and mouse.
You Have To Pick Lucrative Niches
There’s a lot of people who think that unless you’re involved in a highly lucrative affiliate niche like pay day loans, pharma, gambling, insurance or health then you’re not going to make much money.
On the surface of things it does make sense, until you realise just how hard it is to make a dent in these niches. You’re going to be competing with serious organisations where 1 position on SERPs can change your fortunes by $10,000’s a day.
These niches have huge rewards because they are some of the most competitive. If you have the resources and energy go kill it, good luck to you. But for beginners heading straight into such areas will mean a lot of wasted time and money.
My general rule of thumb with Amazon is for every 100,000 visitors you can get on your review articles, you will make $10,000 on the low end.
It’s going to be far easier for you to get 100,000 monthly users for a garden furniture website than your pay day loan blog. You’re going to need a lot less resources and your competitors are going to be a lot less competitive.
Your Affiliate Network Manager is Your Friend
These people get paid commissions on what you earn and get paid bonuses to push certain offers. They are affiliate marketing affiliate marketers, but you must keep in mind that they only work as an affiliate marketing network manager because they suck at affiliate marketing.
If they could do what you can do, they would be doing what you are doing.
The reason they want you to push certain offers is they want a bonus or a merchant is threatening to leave because they have no sales. It’s because of this that the offers they send you are often not special or impressive, they are usually crap. These offers are like Amazon Prime day products where they try and sell the crap at the back of the warehouse that no one wants.
Ask your manager questions, bounce ideas off them before you do anything shady (but keep in mind they might steal/share the idea) and keep friendly with them. But don’t pretend you’re mates or let their slimy little words enter your head and cloud your judgement. Their goal is not your goal.
Affiliate marketing is tough, you’re going to need to grind for a while before you even think you’re close to success but once you get there it’s really nice. It’s a solid method for long term income that you can do at home, without a boss or a real care in the world.
It’s also an industry full of people that want to scam you for shitty ebooks and full of competitors who would happily cut your throat open with a shiv to get ahead.
If you’re interested in affiliate marketing, you should do it. For a long time while I was a noob and doing it part time my income was $60-$200 a month but that was fine, it paid for beers on Friday night or the occasional PC upgrade. I was ok with that.
I'm Hash Brown, I've done "computer stuff" for all my life.
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