Best Practices for Successful Affiliate Marketers

Making money online is one of the most rewarding careers you can have. It offers the opportunity for you to profit from your efforts in sharing information, but also allows you to earn commissions off of the work others create.

Working as an affiliate means you can make recommendations to your subscribers and readers and get paid whenever that referral results in a sale. You can be an affiliate for both digital and tangible products.

But there’s one mistake some new marketers make when trying to earn money as an affiliate marketer. They haphazardly review anything and everything just to make a buck and it backfires on them and ruins their ability to earn anything subsequently.

Choose Products That Reflect Upon You Positively

Your readers need to have faith in your ability to guide them properly. Not only do they want good tips, advice and motivation from you, but they also want to be able to trust you with product recommendations.

While you might be seeing dollar signs whenever a product creator approaches you asking you to promote for them, you have to understand that you’ll face the wrath of an angry list if you cause them to waste their money on something that’s not worth it.

Whenever you’re reviewing digital products, such as an eBook or video course, make sure you get a review copy from the seller so that you can properly vet the advice given to your readers.

This means you need to take time to go through the information (and even implement it to test it out if time permits). What do you do if the seller won’t give you a review copy? You have a couple of choices.

You can choose not to promote it at all, or you can buy a copy for yourself and go through it before recommending it to your subscribers. It’s understandable that you can’t do this with tangible products such as treadmills because who has thousands of dollars per product, not to mention the space to house various brands and models that you review?

But digital items leave you no excuse for not analyzing them. You have a duty to your customers. What’s neat about building this kind of trust with your readers is that they will often buy anything and everything you recommend simply because they know if you say it’s good, they’re going to be pleased.

Break their trust, and you’ll find it harder to convert them into a sale from that point on. Be careful not to get caught up in a buddy system where sellers try to strong arm you into promoting their product, even when you feel it’s not very good.

Your obligation is to protect your readers, so be honest with the seller and let them know why you can’t promote it. If you’re the type of person who worries about hurting their feelings, just remember you’re a business owner – it’s not about feelings – it’s about doing what’s right for your customers.

Personalize and Be Thorough with Your Product Reviews

Many product reviews you read on blogs are so stale and boring. It’s hard to get through them because all they do is spout off the stats of a product such as its dimensions, color, features and more.

Consumers do want to know those specifics, but they also want to learn some other things and to have an enjoyable experience when they go looking for a recommendation.

The first thing you want to do is make sure your product review is thorough. That means going through any and all possible questions your customer might want to know and addressing those.

You can find the questions in forums or if it’s a tangible item in the customer review section on sites like Amazon. See what people are asking and address those issues in your review.

To add a bit of authenticity, add some personalization to your product reviews. There are a bunch of competitor affiliates touting the basic specs of a product, but what will set you apart is your personality.

You want to include things such as why you’re recommending the product. Aside from cost and quality, etc. What made you want to write a review on it? Do you remember how confused you were setting up a blog and you want to help others avoid the same confusion by recommending a blog course?

If it’s a blender, can you tell them you’re the type of person who likes to mix up strawberry daiquiris during the summer months and you needed a blender that’s easy to clean and doesn’t take up much space?

Anything you can do or say to paint a picture of how you understood their needs, and want to help them based on your own experience will help seal the deal. In fact, adding pictures if you own a product can help the reader trust your opinion even more because it’s proof that you own it or have used it, too.

Vary the Types of Product Review Formats

Product reviews can be created in many different ways. You can obviously pick a product and write a review about it for your audience. This is where you would thoroughly go through every single thing about the product and tell why it’s a good investment.

But there are other review methods, and your site should vary them from time to time. Or, you can stick to one formula for your site, but at least learn the various options available to you before you start to review things.

Top 10 lists (or top 3, top 5, etc.) can be very popular with consumers. People love lists and when you give them options, that’s fantastic because then they get to choose. Think of how many people devour a bestseller’s list with books. They want everything that’s rated near the top, not just the best one.

To do these types of reviews, you might have one extremely long blog post or simply write a paragraph about each product and then link to it so that they can go and read the specs themselves.

Comparison reviews are a good way to get people to spend money on your recommendations. People like to see one item pitted against another. It’s okay to have faults with each product – you just need to convey how they stack up against one another.

Don’t be shy about being honest. You might have one product that’s over priced, but price may not matter to the consumer if they’re looking for a different feature that’s more important to them.

Warning reviews are very effective. People often avoid writing product reviews against a product, but this helps your reader see that you have their best interest at heart – that you’re looking out for them.

You can write a review warning them against buying a particular product. But then, you’ll also be making a recommendation on what they should consider buying instead. That’s where your revenue comes into play.

Charts of features are something many consumers love especially when you’re talking about certain niches like electronic gadgets. People love to be able to quickly glance at a chart and see which feature each product has.

In fact, Amazon often has this type of chart included on the page of a product, especially if they can compare various items for a brand, such as Omron electrotherapy gadgets for example.

If you look one of them up and scroll down, you’ll see that checkmarks and text differentiate whether one of the 5 devices being compared has a certain feature. Features might include number of batteries required, whether it has auto shut off, if it has an LCD screen, whether it has heat, and how many pain relief modes it has.

There are plugins that can help you create charts on your blog post. Or, you can create an image using something as simple as Paint or PowerPoint and embed it in your blog post.

You can also write reviews of the best products for a specific person or purpose. So for example, you might review the best paid blog theme for a writer, for a teacher, for a chef, and so on.

Or you might be reviewing the best anti aging cream for women in their 20s, 40s, 60s or those who have sensitive skin, dry skin, or oily skin. Narrowing down the review to a particular subsection of your core audience helps them pinpoint what’s right for them to spend money on.

Expand the Review to More Than Just Product Details

Product reviews are great. They gather the information about a product and share why (or why not) a consumer might want to invest in it. But you can go above and beyond with your product reviews.

You can expand on them and make them tutorials and tip sheets for using the products or getting the most out of them. You can also come up with a complementary lesson. Something not directly about the product itself, but related to it.

You can give these away within the blog post or as a gift or make it available only to those who purchase the product through your affiliate link, depending on what you’re promoting, and from where.

So let’s look at a few examples. Let’s say you were recommending a treadmill. You could have a portion of your review include a tutorial on how to develop a treadmill walking plan to take off the weight.

What about an anti aging skincare course? Your product might be all about beauty items they can use to moisturize their skin and remove sun spots. But your tutorial can expand on that and go over hydration from the inside-out, or tips for protecting your skin from future damage like toxins and the sun.

Some people like to include games as a bonus or expanded tutorial. SO let’s say you were reviewing a set of golf clubs – or a digital course on how to shave 10 points off your handicap.

You could develop a fun eBook download of 20 golf games you can play with friends on the course. They can be just for fun or betting games, since those are popular among golfers.

Look Outside the Typical Affiliate Programs for Untapped Resources

You’re going to find that many people promote the same things everyone else does, nothing more than the bestsellers’ lists. But you can actually do very well promoting items outside the norm.

If you’re promoting tangible products, look for hot new releases in a category and sign up on brand manufacturers’ websites so you get advance notice of whenever something is getting launched.

Don’t simply stick to Amazon, either. Go to Commission Junction and Share a Sale to see what’s available on those merchant sites that you can promote, and add those to your list.

Not only is it good for your readers to see that you have the skill to seek out more than one option for them, but it also protects you in case your source ever closes your account, like Amazon did to many affiliates.

Aside from well-known affiliate platforms, you can also contact product developers directly if you have a list and ask them if you can promote for a share of the sales. They may have a specific affiliate program that’s closed to the general public.

With digital products, look on sites like ClickBank, JVZoo and Warrior Plus. But don’t forget to look in other places, too. Again, you can approach sellers who may not have thought of opening an affiliate program publicly.

But you can also type in your niche on search engines, and add the words affiliate program. This might take you to other places like Zaxxa or an affiliate program set up on someone’s site through a tool like JRox Jam where it’s not going through any other platform but PayPal.

These are resources that most of your competitors may not know about, so if you find something of good quality, it will thrill your subscribers to find out about it, especially when no one else has advised them about it before.

Being an affiliate marketer can be lucrative and can shave much of the expense and time from your profit potential when compared to info product development. But don’t mistake that shortcut with an invitation to slack off and spam your readers with any deal that comes along.

Pretend that every recommendation you make is being told to a dear friend or family member. Be just as protective of your subscriber as you would them. That will help you build a rapport with your audience that is an unbreakable bond serving both of you well now and in the future.

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