Affiliate marketing: three tips you must take on-board

One business model that has captured the imagination of the Ecommerce world is affiliate marketing. On paper it’s a relatively straightforward concept. Sole traders are given the opportunity to sign-up to affiliate programs, allowing them access to a retail organization’s product range. Commission can then be generated by click-through sales. The retailer benefits from having set up a series of shop windows without having to fork out for large advertising campaigns.

It does seem like a win-win situation, but for any newcomer to affiliate marketing, what are the key factors to be aware of? Here are three tips for you to pay close attention to.

Choose the right niche

While it might seem obvious, the key decision you need to make is which affiliate program to sign-up to. With so many products out there, how on earth do you come to that decision? Your starting point has to be research. Ideally, you want to be thinking about topics that are in high demand rather than specialist niches. (Although, as you gain more experience in affiliate marketing you might want to consider targeting untapped markets where there might be potential.)

Engage in keyword research. There are many tools available that you can use to gauge feedback from search engines, most obviously Google, in order to determine what product keywords are being typed into search bars most frequently. This will build a picture of customer demand. Check the monetization aspects, as affiliate programs generate different commission rates based on click-through sales.

Once you have homed in on a particular area, look around for an affiliate network that is offering a variety of these items to promote. Signing-up to this will enable you to develop a website devoted to turning over these niche products, and the stronger these are, the better your chances of gaining those all-important click-throughs that will generate sales; ultimately commission.

Target your audience

Another basic question you need to consider at the outset is the type of audience you are likely to attract with this product. A common mistake made by affiliate marketers is homing-in on some random item they assume will be a big-seller and simply gear their website towards this. But affiliate marketing should be about your enthusiasm for the subject as much as anything else.

So think about attributes such as your age demographic. For instance, if you run a website or blog devoted to health issues, you will be most likely (although certainly not exclusively) engage with younger audience. They will have different expectations about products, and these should be promoted in age-appropriate ways. You might think about ‘micro-niches’ within this sphere; in this example that might include healthy eating, home gym equipment or homeopathy. Each of these subtle sub-headings has its own unique potential in terms of the products associated with their respective customer bases.

Also, consider where your audience exists in the world. There is evidence that there is less potential in developing economies where the likelihood of a good conversion rate is not as high. According to surveys, in countries like India, for every 100 people clicking on an affiliate link, very few end up making a purchase. This compares with the USA where 5-10 customers will buy something. In terms of web traffic, 5-10% in a country of over 300 million is a potentially lucrative market.

Whichever product you target, another keyword to be aware of is passion. When you discuss the product you are promoting, do so as if it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. But don’t enthuse blindly, back up your claims with evidence. Create positive product reviews and share these on your social media platforms.

Analyze your results

Once your affiliate program is up and running it will require regular monitoring. Software will enable you to drill into your website statistics to check where customers are coming from, what times of the day or days of the week are most popular and so on; more importantly, how much revenue you are bringing in.

You’ll also want to know about specifics, such as conversion rates. What percentage of click-throughs led to sales and how much commission is being generated? Having a handle on which items are most profitable is crucial to your ongoing business development, especially if you are promoting multiple products or are collaborating with other affiliates such as

The degree of success of your affiliate marketing strategy is tied in with how much hard work you are prepared to put in, in terms of creating promotional channels. This isn’t simply plugging your products, but developing a community based on your customer network, nurtured through engagement with your social media platforms. Blog regularly and positively about your items. Build yourself up as an authoritative voice on the subject and customers will keep coming back.

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