When it comes to making money online, affiliate marketing is one of the more popular business models. It’s relatively easy to set up, can generate income quickly, and can be done with little to no startup capital. With that said, to be successful at affiliate marketing in today’s ever-evolving digital world, you need to have a few strategies in place to optimize exposure and convert traffic to sales.
Ministry of Freedom founders Jono Armstrong and Cice Armstrong learned the hard way just how difficult making money online can be if you don’t have the right knowledge. They started out selling physical products on e-Bay, then tried Shopify and Amazon Affiliates, but none were able to produce decent results. It took years of testing out different methods and programs, but today their online business pulls in seven figures and they dedicate their time to teaching other entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses. These are their tips for success in affiliate marketing.
1. Choose your niche wisely
Affiliate marketing is about promoting products and earning commissions when people buy those products. But how do you convince people to buy the products you are promoting? It all comes down to trust. You need to position yourself as an authority in a particular area and offer people valuable information about particular products.
Your niche should be something that you are knowledgeable and passionate about, as well as something that people are interested in and want to buy. Narrow down your niche to an area of interest that is underserved online.
2. Shop around for the best commission rates
When the Armstrongs began their journey in affiliate marketing, they went through a number of programs that paid minimal commissions maxing out at just 5%. At those rates, they needed to make huge quantities of sales to make meaningful money, which was impossible without significant traffic.
It wasn’t until they discovered digital products that they saw better potential. “Digital products like software and training courses offer anywhere from 50% to 100% commission per sale,” Jono says. “I knew if I could find a way to promote these products, I could be making more money for less work.”
3. Find innovative ways to reach new audiences
Product reviews are essential for affiliate marketing, so it’s important to think about how you will engage with your target market. Think about what platforms they use most and what type of content they consume.
For Jono Armstrong, video reviews resonated best with his audience. “After months of trial and error, I discovered the power of YouTube,” he says. “The breakthrough came when I did a review of a training course and put my affiliate link for the course into the description of my YouTube video. After a few days, the video had made over $200 in commissions.”
4. Create quality content that provides value
The biggest mistake that many affiliate marketers make is creating content to only drive sales. People can see right through the sales pitch and if there is nothing else that provides them with any value, they will quickly leave and likely never return.
Think about what you want when you’re searching online for particular products or topics. Try to give your readers something they can take away with them such as an answer to a question they may have, useful information about a product or service, or tips that they can use to make their lives easier.
5. Use clear calls to action
While you don’t want to inundate your audience with sales pitches, you still want to give them the option to purchase the products you’re promoting and make it easy for them to do so. Use clear calls to action on your site that are easy to spot such as “buy now” buttons, tables that prominently display products, highlighted links, and images that showcase the products and encourage people to click. If you create video or audio reviews, be sure to let your audience know how they can purchase the products you are discussing and include your affiliate link or promotional code.
6. Create your own products
As an affiliate marketer, you have a unique insight into what people want in a certain genre. By creating a product that fills a gap in the market, you can add value for your customers, create an additional stream of income, and even leverage the sales of your product to increase your affiliate sales.
The Armstrongs explain, “With our digital training course and software, each buyer is added to our email list. Our newsletters direct them to our next review where they can purchase the product we’re reviewing via my link. It is now at the point where one simple newsletter and review video can make me $1000 to $3000 a day.”
7. Build connections with a community
Finding a community of like-minded people can be invaluable for your business. Other affiliates can give you advice about various companies or campaigns and switch you on to useful tools and resources that can boost sales.
Affiliate communities can also keep each other in the loop about ever-changing algorithms, as these can have a profound effect on your traffic and in turn, your sales. You can find affiliate forums online, on social media platforms, or through programs like the Ministry of Freedom.
8. Find a mentor
An experienced affiliate marketer can help you avoid costly pitfalls and guide you to the next level. “In January 2020, I met with a mentor for a three-day paid ads session,” says Jono. “It cost me $70,000 for the mentor fees but he’s one of the top expert paid traffic marketers. Was it worth it? By the time the pandemic hit, I had created the Ministry Of Freedom and with my newfound knowledge of paid ads, I hit a record month of $300,000 profit.”
Affiliate marketing can be incredibly profitable if you set the right strategies in place. The power couple is evidence that all it takes is determination and a bit of know-how to create a wildly successful affiliate business that can generate passive income while you sleep. While their journey took years and involved a great deal of trial and error, new entrepreneurs can benefit from and build on the knowledge that the Armstrongs and other experts have gleaned.