Tips to Succeed at Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to make what I call “side hustle money.”

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of folks making fantastic livings marketing and selling other peoples’ products, but how much money you will make totally depends on the niche (and products) that you choose, and how skilled and motivated you are when it comes to selling the products you’re marketing.

So, in the beginning, my loves, be prepared to only make some side hustle money. 

Before I delve any deeper into the subject, I want to make sure you understand the difference between being an Affiliate Marketer and being a Brand Ambassador. It’s crucial that you know the difference between the two before you commit to being an affiliate for any brand. Too many people are confused, and that confusion creates expectations that shouldn’t even be there.

If you are not 100% clear on the difference, shoot on over to the blog post I wrote Brand Ambassador vs. Affiliate Marketer – Don’t Get Used and Confused and get clear on the difference and the expectations that you should have for both of them.

Now that you’re clear about that, we can move on.

 

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Affiliate Marketing from the Brand’s Perspective

One of the many hats I wear includes content marketing. Inside of that hat, so to speak, is physically writing content for websites and blogs. I’ve been doing that for more than a decade now.

Anyway, many, many moons ago, I wrote what is called “sales copy” for a client. I didn’t realize exactly what he wanted the writing for until he told me months after I was bringing in thousands of dollars each day for him. I’m not exaggerating, either. This dude was banking thousands per day.

He was building a whole bunch of websites, and each website focused on selling one specific product. I was instructed to write articles in the first person that discussed healthy lifestyle tips. Some would be focused on eating healthy. Others would talk about specific exercises women could do. Yet, others, and these were the most compelling articles, talked about weight loss and the struggles that came along with being overweight.

At the end of each article, he wanted me to talk about how much life had changed for this imaginary person since she started practicing her healthy lifestyle, as well as taking this specific weight loss supplement. Each article ended up sounding like a personal testimony when it was finished. The writing always had to be compelling. It had to sound real. It had to be convincing enough to sell the product.

He ended up explaining everything he was doing, and even showed me the websites, as well as his beyond enviable PayPal account, in which he was making – like I said – thousands of dollars each day. Just because of a little weight loss supplement.

He had found a niche, narrowed down to one specific product, and although he was only making a small percentage off of each bottle of weight loss supplements, he was banking because he was selling tons of the product.

What Have You Learned?

This one example should teach you several things about affiliate marketing.

First of all, you don’t have to approach your affiliate marketing the same way my weight loss supplement dude did. You don’t have to purchase a ton of websites and you don’t have to pay someone to write sales copy for all of those websites in order to be an affiliate. In fact, it can be done a lot easier than that.

When you become an affiliate for a brand, you are typically given either a personalized link that you can insert into web copy or you are provided with a “coupon code” people can enter when they are placing an online order.

***Don’t be confused, though! Just because a brand gives you a coupon code for your followers does NOT mean that you are an affiliate and it does NOT always mean that you will be earning a commission when you sell their products. You should always ask the brand what that coupon code does for you – or if it only provides your followers with a discount.***

So, if you have a link, that is typically used on your blog, either in an in-text content link in a blog post, on banner ads, or you could insert it into your YouTube description boxes. Obviously, coupon codes can be promoted just about anywhere, including social media. The difficult thing about the links is that they are not as easy to use on social media – it can work, though, so get creative!

Think outside of the box. For example, if you use LinkTree in your Instagram profile, you can add your affiliate link/s in your LinkTree on Instagram!

Stick to a Few

One of the things you should have learned from my weight loss supplement dude is to keep focused and stick to one product. As an affiliate, you are better off promoting the same product all of the time, rather than trying to make commission off of hundreds of different products. After all, how much time do you have?

When you first start off, focus on one product – or at least one brand. Once you have gotten a handle on being an affiliate, and you start making some money, then you can decide whether you want to add more products or brands.

When choosing a brand to be an affiliate for, you should consider those you already have products from. That way, you have something to take pictures of and you can also talk about your personal experience with the products.

Personal testimonials and reviews are huge! Think about products that you have thought about purchasing – what did you do before you bought them? You looked up reviews, asked your friends and family, and generally did your research before investing your money in the product.

Right? 

Everyone does that. Before we spend our hard-earned money, we want to know that most people would recommend the product – and that we can actually live with any complaints people have about the product. 

And, if you look at my weight loss dude’s example, that’s what he used, too. In fact, he used very specific and personalized testimonials. People love those! They want to know that whatever they’re buying is of the highest quality and that it’s going to work.

How Do I Sign Up To Be an Affiliate for My Favorite Brand?

So, you want to be an affiliate for Too Faced? Pur Cosmetics? Sigma Beauty? BH Cosmetics? Or how about Sephora? Just click on the links and sign up! You will find that most beauty brands will offer their affiliates anywhere between 3% and 15% commission.

Most brands that you want to work with will have an affiliate program, because they would love for you to sell their products for them! All you have to do is do a Google search for the brand name and affiliate. For instance, “Sephora affiliate.” It’s that simple.

Also, let’s say someone clicks on your affiliate link, but doesn’t buy any products that day, you can still make a commission! Most brands have a window of 15, 30, 45, or even 90 days when someone who has clicked your link (your referral) can go back and purchase items and you can still get that commission! 

For example, say you are an affiliate for Sephora. One of your blog readers clicked your affiliate link on your blog and visited the Sephora website a couple of weeks ago, but decided not to purchase anything that day. She couldn’t stop thinking about the palette that she wanted, though, and went back to the Sephora website today and purchased the palette. You will still get your commission.

The only way you wouldn’t get your commission is if that blog reader cleans out their cookies on their Web browser, because these programs can only remember by using cookies. That’s another blog post for another day. All you have to know is that there is a time period that your affiliate link is “active” after someone clicks on it, and as long as they make a purchase within that time frame, you will get paid.

Create Excellent Content

Whether it’s blog posts or posts on Instagram, be sure that whatever content you are posting is high quality. Your pictures should be excellent and your writing should be proofread perfectly. Show the products that you are promoting in the best light possible, verbally and visually.

When you read your blog post or look at your Instagram post, ask yourself, “Would I buy this item?” When your answer is Yes, only then can you press the Publish button.

Think about my weight loss supplement dude. He had gone as far as to hire a professional writer to create the sales copy for his websites. Because he knew if the sales copy was compelling enough, and if he created a presentation on his websites that intrigued people who were trying to lose weight, he would sell the product.

That’s all you need to do. Present the products so that people want to buy them. The awesome part about this in the beauty industry is there are plenty of products that people already want to buy – without any convincing on your part. In fact, if you were an affiliate for Too Faced Cosmetics, how hard would it be to talk people into buying the latest eyeshadow palette?

Always remember that your content should also be “evergreen,” which means that it will always be useful and relevant for your audience, five years from now, ten years from now, and even twenty years from now. That way, you don’t have to worry about going back and deleting posts that are no longer relevant several months or years down the line.

Build an Audience

This is one of those “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” type of things here. Do you create excellent content first or build an audience first?

Well, excellent content will lead to building an audience, so I would say Creating Excellent Content comes first. Then, you can work on building your audience. Obviously, if you have already built a sizable audience, you won’t have to worry about this step.

Just keep posting good content, socializing on social media, responding to comments and questions, and your audience will grow.

Promote, Promote, Promote!

This is the part that you will get better and better at as time goes on.

As I mentioned earlier, you could use the products that you own to create eye catching photos and you can also provide your own personal recommendations and experiences.

Be sure to offer real, honest opinions about the products. That is the only way that you can build trust with your audience. I have heard people talking behind the scenes about reviewers in the beauty niche who always rave about the products they have used. The thing is – we all know that not all products are perfectly awesome.

In fact, most products are not perfectly awesome. Maybe the smell of it is a bit off or the color isn’t appealing. (I posted about an organic face mask that I absolutely loved, but the color of it was a puke green.) Say that! Those are the things that people love to hear! People will eat up a negative review faster than they will indulge in a positive review. In the news media business, there’s a saying, “If it bleeds, it leads.”

That basically means that brutal, bloody, and gory news stories get higher ratings.

Okay, but yeah…we’re supposed to be selling products, so we can’t be too negative. But, don’t always be too positive, either, or it will become redundant and boring.

Pay attention to when the brand is having sales, giveaways, or other promotions. This is a good time to get people to purchase their products (and for you to get a commission)!

Keep Doing What You Are Doing

Continuing to build your blog or social media is really the only way to create a decent revenue stream with affiliate marketing. This isn’t something that is going to happen overnight. It didn’t happen overnight for my weight loss supplement dude, either. He said that it took years of building websites, paying someone to write the content, and then testing the websites before he figured out a good strategy.

Track Your Sales 

He was continuously working on making his websites better all of the time. He added videos, images, even voice clips that talked to people when they came to the websites.

You’re going to have to do the same thing. Track your sales figures and match them up to the promotions that you have posted. For instance, if you notice that last Wednesday, you had a lot of sales, look at the different posts that you published and try to determine why they were more successful than others. Some things will work. Other things won’t. You will have to try different types of content and tweak things as you go along.

So, now you see why sticking to one brand – and even one product – will make your trial and error so much easier. There’s no way you can do all of this when you are trying to promote for sixteen brands at a time.

I hope this has been helpful and you have a better understanding of how to make money as a brand affiliate. Of course, these are my opinions (well, mixed with the opinions of other successful affiliate marketers), and you can do whatever you want. If you want to be an affiliate for eighteen different brands, you are welcome to do so.

Final Note About Affiliate Marketing

Anyone can be an affiliate for a brand! Don’t try to tell yourself that you cannot do it! If you can review a product, you can be an affiliate. You don’t have to have a ton of marketing in your background. In fact, you don’t have to have any type of background! You can be a stay at home mom with no experience at all in the working world!

All you have to have is the desire and the motivation to do it. Love for a particular brand can be helpful, as well, as that will show in the content that you post.

So, go for it! You can’t lose anything by trying.

I wish you luck in your endeavors! You can do this!

 

Xoxo,

Bethany  

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