Affiliate Marketing Strategy: Guide for Bloggers, Publishers, Creators, and Influencers
Affiliate marketing offers bloggers, media sites, creators, and influencers a way to earn money by promoting products and services. You can earn a commission when a purchase is made based on your recommendation.
This sounds straightforward enough, but how do you get followers to click on your affiliate links? Or to even find your blog article or YouTube channel in the first place?
This article will cover some proven affiliate marketing strategies for affiliates to increase their earnings and build a network of premium business partners.
We’ll go over some easy-to-implement solutions to increase your affiliate revenue and cover some common FAQs related to affiliate marketing strategy, including some basic definitions.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a way to make money by endorsing a brand’s goods or services. When one of your readers or viewers clicks on an affiliate link, you can make money. Commonly, you will earn a commission for any purchase made, but you can also be paid for other actions like if your follower signs up for a newsletter or makes a call to get a free quote.
There are lots of different ways to structure your affiliate marketing program: how much you’ll get paid, when, and for what action. And there are a number of strategies you can utilize to make the most money from your efforts.
We’ll discuss nine proven, simple strategies you can use to amp up your affiliate marketing program.
9 Affiliate Marketing Strategies
1. Choose a profitable niche
Make sure that you choose the right niche. If you’re a YouTube video creator, focus on creating content for a topic that is profitable (lots of related products, services, and brands to promote) and has a broad following. And make sure it’s also a product or service you’re passionate about.
The most profitable niches you can write about or create content for include technology, home & garden (including DIY), travel, fashion and beauty, health and wellness, self-improvement, personal finance (including ways to make money online), food and cooking, or pets.
Look for a niche that is wide-ranging and has lots of search interest (as demonstrated through high search volume). For example, if you’re interested in gardening then you could create an Instagram account focused on DIY landscaping, urban gardening, or organic gardening. These niches appeal to a large audience. But if you get too narrow, like symbiotic gardening or growing heirloom carrots, there’s much less potential for traffic and affiliate opportunities.
2. Shop for the best rates and best programs
Many affiliate programs will pay minimal rates of 1% to 5%–or even less–making it nearly impossible to scale any meaningful growth.
These are commission rates paid for clothing, home decor, media, and other consumer goods. But if you promote digital products, like VPNs, software, or fintech apps, you can see a much better return for your efforts. Promoting these services and apps can pay commissions of 50% to 100%, delivering more money for less work.
3. Diversify your affiliate partners
Just like investors diversify their investment portfolios to reduce risk and maximize returns, you can take a similar approach toward your affiliate program. Using one or two affiliates when you start out is fantastic, but in the long run, it may not deliver enough growth (revenue) or be sustainable.
What if an affiliate is acquired by a larger company and you are dropped from its program? What if the rates lower significantly, or the program requirements change drastically like suddenly you’re required to have 100,000 monthly views when you’re only getting 12,000?
To protect yourself and maximize your earnings, you’ll want a range of partners, including direct affiliate marketing programs and affiliate networks, and a diverse range of products or services that you are promoting.
Also, consider which social media platforms or blogs you want to be on and the type of content you want to produce. Broadening your presence can help you reach a larger, relevant audience but be careful not to spread yourself too thin.
4. Use affiliate marketing software
Using software can help you keep track of the many affiliate marketing campaigns you are running. When you start out as an affiliate marketer, you may only have 1-2 affiliate network partners and limited affiliate sales. But as you scale, there can be hundreds, or thousands, of different links to keep track of, along with different rates, different contacts, and different payout thresholds.
Spreadsheets can be effective for a little while, but as you scale, you’ll want an easier way to manage the process.
Affiliate marketing software can:
- Automatically track all of your affiliate marketing efforts.
- Show sales and revenue numbers and trends.
- Calculate payouts (i.e., how much will be paid out to you next month and by whom).
- Manage all marketing assets (i.e., affiliate link repository, ads, other creatives).
- Streamline all your data for your affiliate marketing partners and affiliate marketing income in one location.
- Integrate with eCommerce platforms and other merchant and WordPress sites.
Many affiliate marketers use these popular software programs:
5. Continually create and innovate
Don’t box yourself into just one form of affiliate marketing. An effective affiliate marketing strategy is continually innovating and trying new things to see what will resonate best with followers.
Think about who your target market is and what will be most engaging to them, and where. If you’re a blogger or TikToker, you may find that YouTube videos also perform extremely well. This can enable you to expand your audience size by meeting them on channels where they prefer to engage, generating more leads and more revenue.
Podcasters, you may find broader success if you pursue other content marketing like publishing transcripts as blog articles and incorporating affiliate links and other sponsored content.
Blogs and written content are still powerful (and will remain so), but video is increasingly becoming the popular method to generate leads (and awareness) for new products and services. In fact, nearly 60% of Generation Z discover new goods and services through videos on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube and that figure is rising with younger generations.
Many brands or affiliates shy away from video because they’re intimidated, but it’s not more complicated than pulling out your smartphone and tapping the record button.
If you’re not sure how to create other forms of content, take a look at these tips from the marketing agency, Vibrant Performance, on how to promote your business with TikTok. You can also find creators to make content for you as you get started–this can help you get a feel for how to do it and what your audience will respond to.
6. Solve problems for your followers
Your content has to deliver value for your followers, and in order to do this, it needs to solve problems. An affiliate marketing campaign that can solve a reader’s real-world problems is going to be more successful than a campaign recommending a random product that’s possibly irrelevant and not solution-oriented.
What do your readers and viewers need? A way to get more sleep? A cleaner home? More hours in the day?
Now think about what products would solve their problems. If your readers are overworked and desperately need more hours in the day, think about products and services that would help them be more multi-task and be more efficient.
- A way to work out at home while you work from home, like a treadmill that automatically adjusts to the walker’s speed with a secondary screen, docking station, and adjustable desk tray.
- Better planner, bullet journal, and office assistant tool.
- Noise-canceling headphones drown out noisy office spaces.
- Portable laptop screen for increased productivity at coffee shops, on airplanes, or in hotel rooms.
Leading with a solution-based recommendation, you don’t have to look for creative ways to persuade your audience to buy snake oil or a product you’re not 100% hyped up on. Rather, you can share something genuinely wonderful that you’ve found that you believe will deliver benefit to them. Your recommendation will then come from a more honest and credible place.
7. Optimize your content and your platforms
In the affiliate marketing world, continual optimization is everything. This is just a lofty way of saying making continual improvements to your videos, articles, ads, or social posts so that they send more leads, generate more revenue, and remain relevant as time passes.
For many sites, the top-performing affiliate content (for revenue) may be months or years old. But the content is regularly tweaked and optimized so it never gets dated and it can continue to be a powerful conversion driver.
How well a social post or article does at turning viewers into qualified leads is the conversion rate. You take the number of qualified leads (i.e., viewers who make a purchase) divided by the number of people in total who saw your post.
Total # of People Who Purchase Something / Total # of People Who Saw Your Post = Conversion Rate
Conversion rates can commonly range anywhere from 0.001% to 10%. Typically, anything at or around 1% is pretty good — and not easy to achieve.
The goal is for you to continually improve your conversion rate for the content you post and for the different platforms you post your content on.
While an army of affiliates can direct traffic to an eCommerce site, your main goal should be conversions – not just the site visit. That is, when visitors land on your page, they should be engaged enough to take action, whether that’s to purchase a product or sign up for a newsletter.
Ways to increase your conversion rate might include:
- Having a clear call-to-action (“Download this eBook now!”) and a unique affiliate link.
- Shortening your video review.
- Adding additional calls to action to your videos and the right injection points (i.e., within the first 5 seconds, throughout the video, and at the end).
- Adding testimonials.
- Showing footage of the product in action.
- Creating a targeted affiliate website or landing page to send the traffic to. (i.e. When you direct a user to sign up for KashKick, they click a link and visit a page that says “Join Kashkick!” and not a confusing homepage that has lots of text about where the company is located or when it was founded.
- Send personalized email messages.
- Try different forms of content and different lengths.
- Use guest post content.
- Use search engine optimization (SEO) content marketing — create content with the relevant keywords to help users discover your page.
- Technical issues — make sure the site is mobile optimized and has quick load times. Google PageSpeed Insights can quickly give you a free overview of how fast your pages load and any changes you could make for them to load more quickly.
8. Form branded partnerships
Co-branding is a very effective tool in your affiliate and digital marketing toolkit. We’ve all seen co-branded marketing campaigns before like GoPro and Red Bull, Joybird and Sherwin-Williams, and Starbucks and Spotify to name just a few examples.
Playing off the strength and popularity of the co-branded partner, a brand can increase its customers or email subscribers.
You don’t have to be a major global influencer or brand to reap the benefits. You just need to partner with a brand that has characteristics or values that align with your audience.
This can be a win for both entities. Each one is tapping into the other brand’s audience base.
You can find or form branded partnerships by reaching out directly to brands, attending networking events, attending industry conferences, or joining influencer marketing networks and directories.
9. Join an influencer or content creator agency
Join an influencer network or a marketing agency that specializes in TikTok partnerships and working with content creators for all kinds of platforms.
Influencer programs for creators
Marketing agencies for creators
- Viral Nation
- The Shelf
- Lets Tok
There are many benefits to joining an agency or related program.
- Access to brands: Agencies have relationships with brands you simply couldn’t reach on your own and these relationships can take your affiliate marketing business to the next level.
- Contract Expertise: Agencies have the expertise to help you navigate rates, terms, and other negotiations.
- Support: Agencies can offer their guidance (and resources) as you grow your affiliate marketing. They can help you find the right brands (and the partnerships to avoid), recommend content, and provide backend support (track sales, pull reports, monitor analytics).
FAQs about affiliate marketing strategy
Here are some common FAQs about what goes into creating an involved affiliate marketing strategy.
What’s an affiliate marketing strategy?
An affiliate marketing strategy is a way for a publisher (blogger, vlogger, creator, writer, influencer) to promote products or services for a business as an affiliate partner. Here, the affiliate earns a commission for each sale they generate.
This strategy enables a publisher to make money by recommending products or services they trust, and it enables a brand or business to reach more customers.
What is the best affiliate marketing strategy?
The best strategy for your affiliate marketing is to create helpful content that solves problems for your audience and helps them make a more informed decision about the problem they are trying to solve.
Based on your audience, the best medium to use may be a DIY video, short reel, infographic, blog article, review, or unboxing video–it depends on your audience and what their needs and preferences are.
What are the best affiliate marketing products?
The best affiliate marketing product is one that is relevant to your audience, relevant to your brand, has a high conversion rate, and has relatively high commission payouts.
To make affiliate marketing work–as a worthwhile income stream–you’ll need to find profitable products or services you can promote. Ideally, these products have a high conversion rate (lots of people who see it want to buy it) and a high payout rate (the commission is high for each sale).
Some of the most profitable affiliate marketing products include:
- eBooks (getting paid for eBook downloads on Amazon, Kobo, Lulu, and other digital platforms)
- Software (like LastPass, Norton, CyberGhost, or ExpressVPN)
- Digital products like graphic art, templates, or stock photos
- Game apps (affiliate partnerships with Tether Studios and other game developers)
- Fintech apps (like Truebill, Stash, Acorns or Varo)
- Courses (for paid platforms or free courses that are monetized with ads)
- Other digital products
- Higher-priced physical products (i.e., furniture, electronics)
What is the hardest part of affiliate marketing?
The hardest part of affiliate marketing is to get people to click or tap on your affiliate links and then buy the product or service that you are recommending. This is a challenge because consumers are overloaded with “Try this!” messages all day long, and there’s a lot of noise in the online space. To be successful, you need to provide unique, high-quality, relevant content.
Another similar hurdle is to earn affiliate income that’s substantial enough for you to be able to quit your day job. There are many affiliate marketers who make a full-time living by promoting different products and services because they have expertise in creating content–for a variety of digital channels–that resonates with their audience. It takes skill, patience, and continually learning and trying the best online marketing tips.
What is unattached affiliate marketing?
Unattached affiliate marketing is a type of affiliate marketing where the affiliate has no connection to the product or service they are promoting.
As you start affiliate marketing–or continue building out your affiliate campaign–there are many different angles you can pursue to find the right products and services that will be appealing and relevant to your followers.
While future affiliate marketing trends will change, consumer needs for solutions to their problems will not. Look for solution-based goods and services that will solve your audience’s real-world problems, and make sure the companies behind them align with your values, your audience’s values, and your branding. We’ve shared a number of different avenues you can seek out to find affiliate programs and simplify the process.
Finally, make sure any program you join makes economic sense. The payout or commission needs to be worth your time and effort. The best affiliate marketing strategies drive value for the publisher (blogger, writer, or creator), the affiliate, and the customer.
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