Affiliate marketing is a business that has boomed over recent years. But due to Google’s crackdown on affiliate content, tighter legislation and an overall rise in competition, it’s becoming increasingly harder to succeed as an affiliate marketing business.These parameter changes have begun to wean out the weak among affiliate marketers and soon only the best will be left to tell the tale.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance based marketing where one business rewards another for driving its conversions through their own marketing efforts. The affiliate marketing industry has four core elements to it; the merchant (large retailer or company), the network (the platform through which offers are selected and payment transactions are carried out), the publisher (the affiliate) and the customer.
So, now we have an understanding of what affiliate marketing is, let’s look at the keys steps to take if you’re going to run a successful affiliate marketing business?
Focus on a specific niche
Like with any business,its key to hone in on one product area or service and become a specialist at that. As an affiliate marketer, you’re better off being the best at one thing rather than average at many things. For example, betting expert tipsters offer tips on various sports, as well as bookmaker reviews, for example Betfair, and great bonuses too. This is because sport is an industry that they know well. It would be counterproductive for them to also delve into an affiliate marketing programme trying to promote cooking book sales via Amazon; all that this would do is dilute their reputation as sports betting experts.
By concentrating on one niche you’re also able to ensure that your focus isn’t spread too thin. By trying to get into too many markets you could end up with a portfolio of 15 websites across many random industries,all with poor domain authority that generate no sales.
Create the best content
One of the greatest challenges that’s faced by affiliate marketers is ensuring that their content is better than the competitors (as well as their merchants). The advantage that affiliate marketers have is their ability to be agile and act quickly to changes in their chosen industry with content marketing.
The large brands that affiliates work with often spend a long time developing and approving a structured content strategy, whereas by nature affiliates are smaller and much more able to push out quality content more quickly.
Quality content that’s well optimised and published quickly has a great chance of driving large amounts of traffic. For affiliate marketers, it’s just a case of keeping up-to-date with their industry and having the available resources to be reactive.
Add value to your brand
It’s all well and good having a beautifully designed logo and a brand that appeals to people, but if it doesn’t actually offer customers any value then why will they visit/buy from you?
The reason why you find so many affiliate marketing companies in the online gambling industry is because it’s perceived as an easy industry in which to add value. As well as providing customers with tips on what to bet on, these affiliate sites can also collate list of the best bonuses and offers from all the major gambling companies. As a customer, this is something that is very appealing.
Target topics, not keywords
If you’re an affiliate of Amazon for example, then trying to rank at the top of Google for keywords such as ‘Amazon books’ may seem like a pretty solid strategy. However, when people are searching for ‘Amazon books’ they will actually find is exactly what they’re looking for; and that’s Amazon.
By focussing on more long tail key phrases such as ‘best scary stories for kids’ affiliate give themselves a much better chance of ranking highly, driving traffic and subsequently generating conversions.
Drive traffic through multiple sources
Relying on one single traffic source such as search engine traffic or social media is a dangerous game. As previously mentioned Google are constantly changing the goalposts, as are our social media platforms. If you’re solely reliant on just one traffic stream then your future success is essentially in external hands.
Driving traffic through a multitude of channels is the best way to protect against any changes made by Google or any other major online platform.
Many people see affiliate marketing as a no-lose business choice, and although there’s no doubting the potential profits, it can also be a risky business. Before deciding to go into affiliate marketing you need to do your due diligence; define your niche, find the right merchants and ensure you have the resources available to be the top of the pile when it comes to driving high quality traffic.