In this post, we’ll explore how to become an in-demand affiliate marketer so you can make more money selling other people’s products and services.
How to Become an In-Demand Affiliate Marketer
While affiliate marketing is one of the easier and less expensive business models to pursue, many become frustrated when they’re unable to get approved by a company or vendor to be able to promote their products.
You have to understand that approving someone for promotions is a risky situation for the vendor and company. There are many unscrupulous individuals who will get approval and use stolen credit cards to make purchases so that they can earn commissions and get paid before the consumer realizes what’s happened and demands a refund.
If the vendor allows this to happen, they can have their account shut down on whatever platform they’re listing their products on. Not only that, but becoming a top affiliate allows you to get perks that others aren’t privy to.
So what can you do to prop yourself up as the kind of affiliate vendors are clamoring to bring onboard for their product launches? There are a few things that will set you apart from average or under-performing affiliates.
Position Yourself as the Go-To Expert in Your Niche
When you start out as an affiliate, you may be thinking that you’re just regurgitating the features and benefits of a product to the consumer who is considering buying it. But you’re more than that.
You’re the one who is not only showing people what to buy (and what not to), but teaching them how to put products to good use, how to get the most from their purchases, and what they should be considering next.
You can do that by building a niche blog and social profiles that ooze expertise and value. When vendors and companies see that you’re one of the leading experts, they will be on your doorstep hoping to convince you to mention their product on your blog.
What you have to do to achieve this level of expertise is first become good at learning and absorbing information. You’ll need to read books and trade or consumer magazines, watch videos and listen to podcasts about your niche topic.
When you expand your knowledge, you’ll be able to share with others and help them navigate the problems they’re experiencing to achieve their goals. You should set aside time every day to learn something in your niche.
Second, become a machine at developing value-packed content for that blog. You never watch to steal anyone else’s content, but create your own from scratch. Vendors who see bloggers with a thriving site that hasn’t sat stagnant for months or years will want you as their affiliate.
Consumers will also be turning to you in droves because they’ll appreciate the fact that they can log onto the Internet every day and find fresh information coming from you about something they need help with.
Rank High in the SERPs for Your Niche Keywords and Phrases
Companies and vendors love to approach the top sites ranking for keywords and phrases in an effort to get their brand showcased on the domain. You need to spend ample time learning the ins and outs of SEO (search engine optimization) so that your site begins to rank well for these terms.
People who have products ranking for terms your site shows up on page one for will often approach you and let you know they found you that way. They may then ask if you’d be willing to review their product if they sent it to you.
So how do you turn your blog into a high ranking site? Start with the set up. You want your blog to be an appealing experience for both human and bot visitors alike. Your navigation needs to be on point, and pages should load in a timely (fast) manner.
You want to optimize things like your images so that they reflect the appropriate keywords that a computer bot would understand. If possible, use keywords in your domain name so that it reflects the topic of your niche.
Pay attention to things like your bounce rate. Google and other search engines like it when people stick around on a site. Those are the sites they want to recommend to people – not ones people flee the second they land on a blog.
Make sure your content is thorough and not skim. Remember, quality over quantity is most important with SEO. You’ll want to conduct thorough research for keywords and phrases.
Don’t just focus on broad keywords. Those will take longer for you to rank for in the beginning. Instead, focus on a hybrid where you’re also targeting long-tail keyword phrases that will be easier for you to rise in the SERPs (search engine results pages) for.
You can use free or paid keyword tools and target things like, “best weight loss program for over 40” rather than just the keyword diet. You’ll likely rank for the longtail keyword phrase very quickly, and companies will sit up and take notice.
Create Unique and In-Depth Products Reviews
The sad thing about many affiliates is that their content is really very uninspiring and ineffective. Companies and brands with good products want the cream of the crop when it comes to who is recommending them.
Instead of just copying and pasting what equates to the sales copy into your blog, where you’re doing nothing more than rehashing the features the vendor mentioned, go further for the good of your readers.
Start by making sure you convince the reader that you can empathize with their dilemma or problem. They need to know that you understand where they’re coming from, whether they’re experiencing feelings of frustration, shame, confusion or another emotion.
Then, present the product solution(s) in a way that lets the reader know you’ve done your homework, have their best interest at heart, and can appropriately guide them in what they need to do next.
There are many different slants you can take with your reviews. You can do a case study if you, yourself have access to the product and want to take it for a test drive. This can span over the course of more than one post if it’s something that takes time.
You can create a top 10 list of the best products and solutions. You can pit one product against another for a complete breakdown of which has the best features, price point and benefits.
Don’t Give Everyone a Glowing Review
Believe it or not, the fact that you don’t give everyone a thumbs up is going to make you more in-demand than someone who never says anything negative about a product. Consumers can see through that façade.
They know when you’re trying to make a quick buck versus when you’re being authentic with your reviews and recommendations. So for a company to actually secure a positive review from you will be an honor.
This will help you weed out the shoddy products and vendors because they’ll be scared that you might tell the truth about how their products is lacking in quality. It makes those with good products clamor for the chance to have you tell the world about how great their product is.
What you don’t want to do is approach it in an unsavory manner. There’s a difference between being honest about a product and being cruel or hateful. If you start a war of words with another company, it’ll shine a light on you negatively, and everyone will want to avoid you – vendors and consumers alike.
This is where many affiliates go wrong. They’re more concerned with money than they are serving their readers. The first rule of thumb should be that you have their back. Of course, you want to make money, so you have to learn how to select the best products to review and know how to see through false claims and obvious hype.
When you’re someone who tells the truth and cultivates a big following based on your genuine approach, you’ll be seen as a blogger whose endorsement means a lot more than someone who is willing to endorse just anyone.
Be Able to Tout Your Traffic, List and Conversion Statistics
One thing you’re going to want to do is know your numbers and work on getting them trending in an upward path. The three they’ll be most interested in knowing are how much traffic your site gets, how many subscribers you have on your list, and what your conversion (and refund) rates are.
With traffic, you never want to falsely inflate the numbers because this is something they can check themselves to some degree. Don’t send phony (untargeted) traffic to your site because the bounce rate will skyrocket and you’ll lose power in the SERPs.
Instead, focus on creating quality content and using your blog and social networks to send or pull in traffic naturally. If you find a paid ad route you want to take, that’s okay, too – as long as the traffic you’re buying is relevant to your topic.
As you generate traffic, make sure that you’re maximizing your list building efforts. You want to have a landing page that has a lead magnet offer they can’t refuse. You want to also showcase that form in the sidebar of your blog as well as below all posts you create, and in a pop-up form, as well in some cases.
Make sure you’re doing everything in your power to get people on your list so that when you want to promote something, you can let the vendor know you have a list of 10,000 or 100,000 targeted individuals to promote to.
Make sure you work on subscriber retention, too – not just getting people on your list initially. You want to grow your numbers, not continually be scrambling to replace those who have opted out because they didn’t see value in staying on your list.
You can provide your subscribers with insider knowledge about your niche, such as added tips, advance notice of a product about to be released, and more. Create a loyal bond between yourself and your subscriber and this will make your recommendation more valuable to your subscribers.
Conversion (and refund) rates are also important to vendors. You want to grow your conversion rate by only promoting the best products in your niche. Likewise, doing this will reduce your refund rate.
If a vendor or company sees a high refund rate, they’ll almost always reject you because this could pose a problem for them. Even if you have a high conversion rate, a high refund rate will tank your ability to get approval.
You can do things such as offering an exclusive bonus to get higher conversions for your profile. When customers are getting more from their purchase when they buy through your link, it makes the process easier.
Be Selective and Have Some Requests of Your Own
If you’re promoting everyone and anything, brands will see nothing special about approving you to promote their product. As your profile grows as someone who is a competitive and high-performing affiliate, you’ll want to make some demands of your own, in a polite way.
For example, you might require that anyone asking you to promote first sends a review copy of the product (or a tangible product if applicable). You might also require an increase of commissions.
If a brand is only offering 30%, you might require 50 instead. Or, work out a deal if it’s a low priced funnel, where they’re paying 100% for the front end to you and 50% on the one time offer upgrades.
A bump in commission to top affiliates is very common, so don’t be hesitant to ask for it. This is especially effective when you have those statistics backing you up with a lot of subscribers and high conversions to showcase.
Some vendors might create an exclusive bonus for you to offer to your subscribers without you having to do the work yourself. You can either use this or couple it with one of your own for an even bigger bonus.
There are many other perks you can negotiate if you want to. From having an exclusive sales page with things you prefer to have on it (such as video) to a spot for a promotion of your site on their download page, there are ways to get more out of the vendor-affiliate relationship.
Becoming an affiliate marketer is often a go-to business model for newbies because it costs very little (the price of a domain and cheap hosting package). But unless you know how to maximize your position and efforts as an affiliate, you’ll never achieve the level of financial success that you’d dreamed of.