Written by Andrey Novoselov, Affiliate Manager at Travelpayouts
Go through this checklist to see if you haven’t missed out on anything in your affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketers are paid for referring new clients and customers to other businesses, products, or services, often through tracked links posted in blog posts. While profits vary from hundreds to hundreds of millions of dollars (for those who are on top — think Pat Flynn, who makes over $100,000 per month), and tactics vary from niche to niche, these are the tips that would be helpful to anyone who is going to earn money through affiliate links:
1. Conduct experiments
To maximize revenue, it is crucial to experiment. Here are a few examples:
- Try different tools — for example, you can place banners with CTA buttons.
- Parameters of tools — play with the size of a widget or banner, color of hyperlinks, and other available options.
- Tool locations — remove the map widget from the site's sidebar or insert a block in the middle of the article.
Gear up all the measurement tools so you can understand how the experiment performed and choose the most converting solutions based on the results.
2. Diversify your traffic channels
No matter what the scope of your project or what it is about, do not depend on a single traffic source. It often happens that a site consumes 80% of Google traffic. It is important to develop other sources, such as:
- Social media traffic
- Google search engine
Such strategy reduces risks when one of the sources is disabled. Additionally, there's traffic from outside Google. This is also a signal for Google that people actually land on your website and read it (aside from when they close it immediately), which gives an additional advantage for SEO.
3. Drive “hot” traffic
Try to drive your most hot leaders, those who are close to buying something. For example, in a travel niche, they can land on a website through these queries:
- Capital of England
- Tickets from Marseille to London
In both cases, it is about London, but in the first scenario, the person was not going to buy anything, so the conversion rate is going to be much lower. We wrote a solid article on our website on how to set the right search intent.
4. Place tools in the right places
Your revenue depends directly on where you place your banners, CTAs, and other tools. Keep experimenting and moving them from one part of the site to another.
5. Organize your team's work
Based on vast experience with others, no matter how effective you are, you can’t facilitate growth that well on your own. You can use services like Fiverr or Upwork to hire freelancers. At some point, it becomes crucial to delegate tasks as much as possible, such as drawing banners or writing articles so that you can focus on growing your affiliate business.
6. Automate your work
There are many automotive systems helping affiliates to unload. You can automate updating links, checking dead links, rotating affiliate tools, and many more.
In the beginning, it may seem unimportant to collect statistics or replace links manually. As you grow, it becomes more difficult, and when the website has more than 1000 links, it is almost impossible to replace them manually.
Therefore, try to automate everything you can from the very beginning. For example, you can set up redirects for partner links and use them so that you can automatically change links in articles in the future.
7. Analyze incoming data
Travelpayouts and most other affiliate networks provide a lot of statistics to affiliates, such as:
- Popular products
- Pending income and payouts
All this needs to be analyzed to find the most effective solutions. For example, it will allow you to find out which page products perform better, and then analyze the page and apply that knowledge to other pages.
8. Combine multiple advertisers
You can sell several services and products to certain users in a bulk. For example, you can sell air tickets and hotel rooms to tourists. Think about the needs of your customers/readers and, if possible, offer several necessary products and services. Just don’t be too intrusive!
If your visitor didn't buy anything and left, you can catch them with retargeting, a form of online advertising that can help you keep your brand in front of bounced traffic after they leave your website. For example, you can use Facebook pixel to track.
10. Don't focus on one niche
Once you figure out how affiliate marketing works and are able to set up a system that helps your website grow, you can apply your experience to other websites and niches. Try different niches; for example, ecommerce and travel. This will also save you from a crisis, such as the current one which highly affected the travel market.
You can also sell products through your travel website. For instance, tourists need not only air tickets but also suitcases and gadgets. You can enroll into the Amazon Affiliate Program or sign up affiliate contracts with manufacturers directly.
11. Update old data
Evergreen content is a rare phenomenon. Keep all your content and pictures up to date. It is better to do this regularly. You can set it into your schedule, such as by going through all articles once a quarter.
You are going to learn a lot from your own experience, but to speed up the process and earn more, you need to learn from others’ experiences.
If an affiliate thinks he is already a superstar and knows everything, then you can always find a course of new skills, such as learning how to configure contextual advertising, etc.
13. Use referral programs
Travelpayouts and other affiliate networks have referral programs. They allow you to earn additional money every time when someone registers through your link.
Good affiliates are surrounded by webmasters and other affiliates, and so they can earn a percentage of their income. Referral programs are often neglected, but it is a great way to generate additional revenue, especially for those who are actively involved in the community.
14. Build your brand
As with other businesses, you want to have returning customers,- those who didn’t just buy once from you, but rather those who want to come back, read, and click on the links.
Building your brand is a tough process, and it pays well in the long run. The best way to hook people is to invest in your content and consistently pay attention to high-quality pieces.
15. Reinvest your income
This also works for most businesses. To grow faster, you need to put more money into your company. Rather than largely celebrating your first wins, you can reinvest in additional content, design services, and so on. Reinvest in those parts that you feel bring you the most income.
16. Follow market trends
Nothing lasts forever, especially trends. Some products may be popular for a short time, and you want to seize that opportunity. Follow advertisers’ news, Google Trends or its analogs, and read news.
Some trends are seasonal. For example, in the summer, demand for sunscreen increases, and normally people travel more. This can be independently analyzed and predicted.
17. Be a part of the community
Affiliates come to conferences, such as STM Forum, to collaborate and share experiences. Being a part of the community means you get insights that other people might not get; thus, you are more competitive. Obviously, such meetings may lead you to find partners, coworkers, and new opportunities.
18. Analyze your competitors
While looking at your competitors, try to look at working frameworks.
For example, you can pay attention to how competitors create landing pages, which CTA they use, and so on.
Just don’t steal from anyone. Only look at those stronger than yourself. You can figure them out using a Google search. As a rule, projects with higher income occupy higher positions.
19. Work with reputable products
Affiliates don’t need to test every product themselves. There are thousands of products in iHerb affiliate program, but you can pick those that have good reviews and look reliable.
Sometimes you would go and see from the website that the process is tedious, delivery time is too long, and so on—those could be signaling that your readers are turned off during the purchase process, and you won’t get money even though you lead them to your partners’ websites.
20. Don't limit yourself to affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn money, but successful affiliates earn money from different channels. See how other types of revenue sources, like contextual ads, can complement affiliate marketing. “Capital of England” in this case might work better and bring you more revenue than the phrase “Tickets from Marseille to London,” which works better for affiliate marketing.
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