Affiliate marketing is simple in theory, but if you try it, you’ll find that it’s not as easy as joining affiliate programs and slapping links all over a website or on social media. Affiliate marketing is an art and a science. It requires:
- Communication skills
- Market research skills
- Technical skills (like writing, video, audio, and the ability to navigate the technology)
- Mindset, patience, and persistence
- Networking skills
- and more
It’s not a “get-rich quick scheme”. Instead, it’s a legitimate career field with amazing perks! Successful affiliate marketers are able to earn more income than doctors, lawyers and engineers! They can work from anywhere in the world. They can work in the mornings, nights, days, weekends, holidays, or whenever they set.
It’s an amazing payoff if you’re willing to do what it takes to make affiliate marketing work.
Why Affiliate Marketers Fail
Many people fail in the affiliate marketing industry because they get into it as an “easy” way out of a difficult situation they might be dealing with. Maybe they have lots of debt, no retirement plan, a growing family with more income needs, or some other reason they want a higher income. They hear the basics of how affiliate marketing works, so they underestimate what it takes. They think it only requires them to:
- Build a website
- Join Affiliate programs
- Make articles with affiliate links
- and, Make money
They may do the process once and give up, or they repeat the process for up to 6 months, then they give up when they haven’t seen the income they want. You might be able to relate.
Maybe you like the perks of starting a business:
- Setting your hours
- Having uncapped income potential
- Choosing where you live and work
- Using your creativity
But where most people fall short is:
- Keeping up with the quality required in a competitive landscape
- Choosing products with a sufficient price to support your financial goals
- Setting your own hours – Some people mistake setting their own hours as setting no hours at all. They work when they want, which means they’re inconsistent and not delivering anything reliably or at all.
- Being self-disciplined to maintain the output of work – They want to wake up when they want, sleep when they want, and serve customers when they want, but business doesn’t work like that. When you don’t have a boss, the market becomes your boss.
- Restraining your creativity to be all about market demand rather than what you want
- and the list can really go on
How Affiliate Marketing Works
Let’s say you’re having trouble planning your meals for next week, so you go online looking for meal planning ideas. You type in “best meal plans for vegans”. Several articles come up in the search results, and even some videos come up.
Affiliate marketers are the middle men. They don’t create the products or services. Instead, they add to the buying experience by giving you more clarity and confidence that the product you’re on the fence about either can or cannot achieve your goals.
In the case of “meal planning”, they may show you:
- Books or courses that could help you with meal planning better
- Software that might help you to sort thru ingredients
- Meal planning services
- Places to find vegan ingredients
- Or so on…
Affiliate marketers introduce you to products or services that can solve the problem you’re looking to solve–think of them like consultants. You can read the exact steps for how to go from $0 to $1000 or more per month here.
35 Affiliate Marketing Hacks to Increase Affiliate Sales
As an affiliate marketer, it can be tough to stick out in the competitive environment online, so that’s why I’ve compiled this list of 22 affiliate marketing hacks to increase your affiliate sales.
While many people try to understate the technical aspects of affiliate marketing, they exist! There are technical things within affiliate marketing that can separate a top-seller from a person that’s struggling to make sales. Here are a few:
1. Choose the Products you Promote Wisely
Many people choose products for the wrong reasons! They either:
- Choose low-ticket products because they feel uncomfortable with selling higher-priced ones
- They choose high-ticket products solely for commissions sake rather than based on their skills or what’s best for their audience
- They Suspect that some products sell in higher volume without thoroughly accessing market demand
- They calculate that the commissions are higher for certain products, but they don’t have the skills or passion to sell them
- and the list can go on
In summary, it’s important to choose products that serve your audience well, that are in demand in the market, and that are priced well enough to achieve your financial goals. High ticket and low ticket isn’t as valuable as high lifetime customer value. Companies that sell expensive products can make alot of money, but so can companies that sell low-ticket.
Think about who are the highest spending advertisers (for example: Coca Cola, McDonald’s, BMW, etc.), it’s not the price of their product that separates high earning companies: it’s who keeps customers coming back most and who has the highest lifetime customer value.
Choose products that are quality, will build trust, and will keep customers returning for more recommendations from you.
2. Install Heatmaps and Analytics to See How Visitors are engaging with your Content
Offline businesses have the benefit of being able to watch cameras and visually SEE how customers are navigating their stores, but most online business owners don’t know their capabilities. Installing heatmaps, thoroughly understanding analytics and how to interpret them, and using the data at your disposal to make well-informed decisions can help you to increase affiliate earnings.
3. Add Internal Links to Make sure you’re Posts Rank high in Searches and Drive more traffic
There are several ranking factors. Search engine algorithms are each proprietary and patented, so it’s private info no one is privied to without employment and lots of legal secrecy contracts. What we do know is that things like:
- Internal links
- External links
- Meta Tags
- Meta descriptions
- and Quality content
…Are very important. Most online entrepreneurs who practice search engine optimization know that they need to place external links, meta tags, meta descriotions, and the best content they can, but it’s the internal links that are commonly forgotten. When they’re writing a new post, they may send internal links to another post, but once they hit “publish”, they forget to point links to the new article!
As a result, the new post is considered “orphaned” and it makes it hard for the new post to rank.
4. Use Pop-ups conservatively
Pop-ups can completely ruin the experience you have when visiting a website. For that reason, many website visitors hate pop-ups, but website owners love them. Hahahaha.
When used well, they can:
- Improve sales
- Help visitors to navigate better
- Answer questions
- and, Improve the customer’s journey
Alternatively, if they’re used poorly, they can:
- Look scammy
- Be irritating
- and cause visitors to leave quicker than they would otherwise
Test your pop-ups. Get user feedback on whether they help them understand what your site is about and how to use it, or if they’re simply in the way. Don’t be selfish with pop-ups because it can damage your bottom line in the long run.
5. Set Analytic Goals
Reading analytics is one thing, but did you realize Google and other analytic software will measure the percentage of people that land on your website, and how many of them reach your conversion goals? This can be key information!
For example, let’s say you have a fashion blog. You have posts like:
- “20 Top Trending Handbags in 2020”
- “20 Top Trending Fashion Accessories in 2020”
- and “10 Women Shoe Styles you Can’t Live Without”
You notice that you’re getting sales, but you don’t know which post is converting best. How do you figure out which post should be optimized better? That’s where analytics can come into play. You can set up your goals to see which posts are converting people best, and have Google record the activity. When you want to know areas to improve, you can look at your goals, and see which posts and pages were converting best, then you can improve conversions based on proof–that’s where improving calls to action, adding pop-ups, or adding more quality content can come in.
6. Create a site structure that’s easy to navigate
Have you ever been somewhere and felt completely lost? It can be extremely frustrating (especially if you’re in a rush). When you’re lost and frustrated, you’re more likely to leave earlier than you planned and shop with a competitor. Knowing how frustrating it can be for you should make it very important to pay attention to navigation and user experience.
- The menu
- Internal links
- Table of contents
- and other navigation features
…can be designed to serve as “navigation signs”. Having a good site structure has its benefits:
- It improves search engines ease of scanning and indexing your website
- It lowers bounce rates
- It makes it easier for visitors to find solutions they’re looking for and buy
- It makes visitors happier to come back
Content Marketing Hacks
Affiliate marketers are heavy content creators or leaders of organizations that create lots of content. It’s important to know that. I’ve heard many people who get into affiliate marketing and say they don’t like to create content. Hahahaha. Content creation is the primary task that’s done in affiliate marketing (whether ad content, video content, blog content, graphic content, or otherwise. If you don’t like content creation, it’s like starting a landscaping company and disliking landscaping.
These are some content marketing hacks to increase affiliate sales…
7. Publish content!
First, publish content. I know you may think this is common sense, but it’s not. Most people I’ve worked with are willing to play around with blog design, post on social media, and keep tweaking old content, but for whatever reason, they struggle with creating enough content to meet their goals.
Regardless of which platform you decide to get on (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress, Google, Youtube, etc.), they require either a large social influence or alot of content. If you don’t have a large social influence on the platform, then you need to create lots of content to get results.
I like to get started on a new platform with a 90-day challenge where I’m publishing daily content to see whether that platform is somewhere I’d like to invest my time for a longer term.
8. Write buyer’s guides, review posts, and comparisons
As affiliates, we help give clarity when buyers are in the buying process. As a result, it’s important to find people online who are on route to making a purchase. Content like list posts and how to’s can attract buyers, but they’re more likely to attract people in the awareness phases of the customer journey.
Buyer’s guides, reviews, and comparisons are most likely to attract people to your website who are in the buying phase of the customer journey. In this phase, you can provide those final details or respond to the last objections they might have before making a final decision.
9. Make calls to action jump out
Having used Hotjar quite a bit, I’ve been able to study the behavior of visitors to my website and clients. People like to scan especially on mobile devices. They might be reading your blog post of digesting another type of content while cooking, cleaning, driving, or multitasking on a plethora of other things!
As a result, they’re quickly scanning and if your call to action doesn’t stick out, they might miss it. Try split testing color, pop-ups, buttons, and other things that can make your calls to action more noticeable. Don’t go overboard and make them too “in-your-face”, but make them noticeable.
10. Make Attractive and Compelling Graphics
In many cases in the online world, your graphics will be the first impression someone gets of you and your brand. They see your thumbnail before a video, your featured image before a blog post, and your social media graphic before clicking in links, so it’s important to make them attractive!
We live to think that people don’t judge books by their covers, but studies show that we do! I’ve split tested my graphics over and over, and I can tell you from experience, an attractive graphic is almost always more likely to get conversions than an ugly graphic, so take time with that. Don’t take quality graphics for granted.
11. Make your conversion goals easy to find
Similar to making your calls to action stick out, you want to make your conversion goals are easy to find. If you make the highest sales on a specific page on your site, consider making that page a part of your top level menu (if it makes sense). If you want people to go from one page to another where a conversion is more likely, then make it clear.
Don’t use verbiage that makes it sound like you’re uncomfortable with the sales process.
12. Feature high converting posts
When you have a post that converts, amplify what’s working! Consider:
- Running ads to the post
- Putting a link to the post in a prominent place on your website
- Sending the post out in an email sequence
- Setting the post out to publish regularly on social media
Make sure to get the most out of what’s working.
13. Link to Relevant Offers on Tutorials
Tutorials can be great tools to demonstrate the practical use of affiliate products, but they can be very low converting if you’re not careful. Some people will check out your tutorials with no intention to buy anything, but others will be ready to take action right away. You want to optimize your tutorials for both: the buyer and the observer.
You can optimize your tutorial for a buyer by:
A post that takes them to the next phase of the buyer journey. For example, you can write a post like, “5 Ways to Tie a Scarf on Your Head”, which is solely a tutorial, but you can use an attractive scarf in the tutorial, and link to a post called “Top 5 Scarfs Women Can’t Live Without”–this post will have affiliate recommendations.
When the reader reads this post, they’re more likely to be interested in the scarves, and you can link from there to review posts that give more details about each scarf. In the review post, you can link to your affiliate partner. In this way, your content can bring someone from the awareness phase (where they’re learning about how to tie scarves) to the buying phase (where they’re making a purchase), and you’re doing it without being pushy or without sending them off without giving clarity and guidance.
Affiliate marketing is largely about communication: whether in text, video, audio, or face to face. Affiliate marketers have to be good at communicating to understand customer needs, customer concerns, and to relay a solution to the end user with confidence. These are communication hacks that can help you to communicate better.
14. Educate rather than Sell
People don’t like to feel “sold” to. They percieve sales as being pushy, manipulative, and dishonest. As an affiliate marketer, you want to make sure your approach to sales doesn’t have that characteristic.
You want to be a good listener, and instead of listening during a live conversation, you have to use internet tools to listen like data, analytics, heatmaps, ,keyword research, trends, statistics, and feedback. When you hear what customers are looking for, you have to respond with content, and create what’s in demand. In your content, it’s important to educate rather than to push your readers into doing something.
15. Have Personality
Aside from providing a great education, it’s important to be entertaining and to have personality. People like to read and watch others who are engaging, captivating, and who interrupt normal patterns by doing something unique.
16. Demonstrate, Demonstrate, Demonstrate! Show how the Product Solves a Problem
As a part of educating instead of selling, you don’t simply want to say “this is the product” and “buy from my affiliate link”. Instead, you want to capitalize on demonstrating how the product your promoting could be put to practical use in a way that would make life easier for someone else.
17. Understand the Needs of Your Audience
I’ve touched on this before, but it’s so important to understand the needs of your audience. You want to know what their problems are, what terms they’re using to search for a solution, what options they might come across on route to an answer, and who would be ideal for the product you’re promoting.
Empathy is going to be a valuable skill in your affiliate marketing journey. You want to be able to put yourself in your audience’s shoes.
18. Build an Email List
While growing a social media following is a good thing and building website traffic is also good, those two communication channels aren’t the easiest to instantly access your audience. For example, let’s say you have an affiliate partner who sold their business to new owners that don’t operate using best practices, and you want to warn everyone you referred, social media or posting onto your website may reach some people, but it’s likely to be ineffective for most.
Having an email list helps because:
- Most people aren’t likely to buy on their first site of a product or service, but thru email, you can explain more and address objections
- Mass communication is much more effective thru email than on social media and on a website
- And, email is a great way to keep previous customers informed of new things going on
19. Grow Social Channels where You can Easily Reach your Audience
Although email stats show that it’s the most effective way to communicate and sell online (aside from webinars), social channels are still valuable and important. The social media sites are some of the highest trafficked sites online, therefore, they’re great places to meet prospective customers and to drive interest in the products and services you promote.
Take your time to focus on one social network, improve your skill with it, learn what it takes, and scale into others. Each social network has different algorithms, guidelines, goals ,and requirements. It takes time to master each one.
20. Own Your Customer Relationships
As affiliate marketers, it’s easy to simply direct link from a traffic source to an affiliate partner, but when this happens, you miss out on the chance to build a long-term relationship with someone who was willing to take a chance and trust you. Each customer that earns you a commission has given their trust to you and taken a chance on a merchant because you YOUR recommendation–this isn’t something to take lightly.
Stats show that it’s easier to get existing customers to return rather than to make new customers–this means the pool of new customers is finite. You need to treat each person who trusts you as a new customer in a finite pool of people who have trusted you. Build a unique relationship with them, so they have an allegiance to you separate from your affiliate partners.
What if an affiliate partner changes in quality? Or a social media algorithm changes?
The thing that makes you business have value (aside from audience size or monthly income) is the relationships and the trust that you’ll be reliable.
21. Segment Your Audience
Don’t you hate when a solicitor knocks on your door to talk to you about something you’re not the slightest bit interested in? It can be frustrating. You probably say, “Do I look like I would want that?, but you can fall into the same trap of presenting offers that aren’t relevant when you don’t segment your list.
For example, if you have a lifestyle blog with very broad topics, it’s going to be important to narrow down a few topics that categorize segments of your audience so you can present a relevant affiliate offer.
Skill Development Hacks
The most successful affiliate marketers admit they’re lifelong learners. It’s important that you continue the journey to learning: regardless of how long you’ve been in the industry.
22. Take Courses to Hone your Craft
Continue to take courses to be better at understanding people, relating to people, delivering video content, copywriting, or other things that will help to improve the quality of your service as an affiliate.
23. Outsource to Bring More Skills to Your Empire
You don’t have to be good at everything. You might be great at content writing and graphic design, but maybe you’re horrible at Bookkeeping and Legal, so you’d want to hire people who can help in the areas you’re weak.
24. Continue Improving the Quality of Your Content
As the internet evolves more and more, the competition gets more fierce for business owners (including affiliate marketers). In the search rankings or on social media, you’ll find that many competitions will be won by the person with the highest quality content. Take time to continue improving the quality.
25. Master Sales, Copywriting, Persuasion, and Negotiating Skills
Affiliate marketing uses a lot of the same skills that’s taught to traditional salespeople. We have to understand buying motives, how to be a good listener, buyer psychology, and the sales process. While these things are fundamentals, it’s important to keep practicing and improving your sales skills.
Like brick and mortar business, affiliate sales is impossible without traffic. Getting traffic online isn’t “natural” just like its not “natural” offline. You have to put in effort to get people to stop by your website, give them an enjoyable experience, and get them to come back.
People will come to your site and procrastinate. Regardless of how good your article is, some people will read it, and decide “I’ll work on that later”, then they get back into their “groove” and forget to take action. I’m sure you’ve done this. We all have.
Sometimes you have to nag and repeat yourself to get results. Following up by way of email marketing, retargeting, social media posting, and communicating helps to get more affiliate sales. You may feel like you’ve said the same thing too many times, but the funny thing is, the most successful lifestyle brands repeat themselves.
Look at how many times Dave Ramsey says the same baby steps, and guess what the results are for his repetition: more sales, more people become debt free, and a reputable brand.
26. Use Retargeting
I have to remind my kids and my husband several times before they do things like finish their homework, go to bed on time, or eat their vegetables. Good things aren’t always done the first time we hear them, which is why tools for follow up like email marketing and retargeting are important. Use them.
27. Track Your Links
Let’s say for example, you live in a house with hundreds of entry doors. You notice you have bugs coming into your house, but you don’t know which door they’re coming into.
How would you figure out where they’re coming from? You’d start by tracking what doors open and close, right? Or, setting traps on suspected doors to narrow down the problem.
Similarly, when you have traffic coming into many different doors (posts), it can be difficult to decide where the conversions are coming from, so you can optimize the post or content strategy for even more sales. Tracking links can provide essential data to help with your decision-making.
Recommended Resources (from Wealthy Affiliate):
29. Don’t Spread Yourself too Thin
There are so many shiny objects. Once you get around other internet marketers, you can hear people saying things like:
- “I’m making money on Pinterest”
- “I’m getting lots of traffic from Google”
- “I’m making money on Youtube”
- Or, “Quora is driving thousands of new customers to my website every month”
It can be so tempting to jump around: from tactic to tactic to try to get the results you read or hear about. Unfotuntately, when you jump around, you don’t give enough time to figure out how things work, and you don’t build momentum. I learned from jumping around that it’s best to do 90-day challenges at least. With a 90-day challenge, you build the appropriate habits, learn the algorithms, understand the audience on the platform, and have more data to learn from.
30. Promote Your Content–Not a Product
On platforms like social media, people are getting to know you. When you start the conversation with pushy sales tactics, it makes them want to go away. Instead, if you identify a problem they might be having, and you connect your content as a solution (rather than immediately try selling a product), it can “warm them up” to solutions you might have.
31. Double Down on what’s Working
Once you’re tracking your analytics and tracking goals, it’s easier to identify what’s working and what’s not. When you identify an article or landing page that’s working, amplify the traffic or create more content like it.
32. Make Connections with Other Influencers in Your Niche
Yes, sometimes, people within your niche can be too competitive to make a harmonious connection, but most times, I’ve experienced a huge benefit from making connections within my niche. It’s given me opportunities to joint venture, to collaborate on projects, and to cross pollinate audiences.
33. Optimize Your Online Assets for Organic Traffic
Paid traffic is a great way to amplify, but it’s going to drive your customer acquisition costs much higher than if you can stabilize some organic traffic options. Optimize your content for search engines, social media, and shares. Make it easy for bots to index your content, social media algorithms to identify what you’re posting about, and for people who like what you’re sharing to share with their friends.
34. Encourage Shares
It may seem like you’re “tooting your own horn” by talking about how your content can solve problems for people, but if you can’t create content that solves problems and confidently share it, the odds are stacked against you. When you’re confident that you’re content is good, you’re more likely to avidly encourage others to share it.
Encouraging sharing starts with mindset, but it doesn’t end there. It’s also important to add share buttons, to include images that are sized appropriately for social media, and to ask people to share our content.
35. Run ads
Over my time in affiliate marketing, I’ve noticed that many affiliate marketers are in one camp: either paid ads camp or organic traffic camp. They may dabble in the school of thought they haven’t perfected yet, but they’re mostly in one camp.
Those who have organic traffic, paid traffic, and earned traffic are much better off. Identify what content works and amplify it with paid traffic.
36. Do 90-Day Challenges
Since starting my affiliate business, I’ve done several challenges. My challenges are mostly daily posting challenges (and much more when it’s a social media challenge). Challenges can be so helpful to break into a new platform, develop habits, improve skill, or get more data. You can so a daily paid ads challenge, and post one new ad per day. You can do a daily blog publishing challenge where you post one blog post per day.
There are many challenges you can do.
37. Be Hospitable
Hospitality isn’t solely for hotels and restaurants. Everyone likes to feel welcome, heard, and well-served, so it’s important for us to make our websites feel that way as well. Hospitality brings people back time and time again, so it’s a good metric to drive traffic.
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed these 37 Affiliate Marketing Sales hacks. I know this is quite a bit of things to consider, so I recommend reading this post more than once, applying things over time, and tracking your affiliate sales growth. If you have any questions about these things, leave them in the comments section below, and if you’d like more accountability as you grow your affiliate sales, I’d love to be your coach. Join Team How to Entrepreneur at Wealthy Affiliate and let’s get started!