Does Affiliate Marketing Work for You?

Does Affiliate Marketing Work for You?

What’s more important than asking ‘can it sell’ though, is to ask ‘can you sell it?’.

In other words, you need to look at whether the product you’re considering works within the context of your niche and your current market. You probably already have a number of social media followers and you likely have a mailing list that you’ve built up. These  are your ‘routes to market’ – your direct access to your audience that you can use in order to start marketing your items.

So what you really need to think about, is whether or not the item is something you can easily sell.

For instance, if you have built a list of hobbyist writers, then you should look for a product that tells writers how to earn money or that suggests how they can get published. It doesn’t matter if there’s an SEO or fitness book that offers a lot more profit per sale – your audience is much more likely to buy a writing product and so that is the kind of product that you should focus on.

Likewise, you should also be thinking about your areas of interest and your areas of expertise. We’ve already discussed how much content you’ll need to be producing as an affiliate marketer and that a lot of your success will come from writing articles and blog posts, from entering into discussions on social media and from writing e-mails. These all need to be within the specific niche or industry that you’re selling in and that your products are in.

If you pick a product that you know nothing about then, you’re going to have to spend  an awful lot of time writing about something that you have no interest in and no understanding of. This will come across in your text and make people far less likely to trust you as a brand and far less likely to want to subscribe to your mailing list. Likewise, it means you’re much more likely to get bored with what you’re doing and give up.

One of the wonderful things about affiliate marketing is that in theory, you can make a living from just writing about topics that you love and really enjoy thinking about. But to do this, you need to choose the right subject and the right products.

Remember earlier when we discussed the kinds of articles that some sites shared that were just generic and derivative? Those articles like ‘How to Get Abs’ or ’10 SEO Tips’ that everyone has heard a thousand times before? People are tired of that kind  of content and they want something more unique, more cutting edge and more exciting. The only way that you’re going to be able to provide that for people is if you are clued in on the topic you’re writing about and marketing. If you really know and understand what it is that you’re discussing then you’ll be able to make amazing content because you’ll know what kind of things people want to read.

The Value Proposition and USP

We talked already about how to write a great landing page and get people to buy things. And when we did, we discussed the importance of emphasizing the value proposition and the USP. How does your product make lives better? What single problem does it elegantly solve?

When you choose your product then, you need to be able to see that value proposition or that problem that it solves right from the offset. You need to be able to look at whatever it is you’re thinking of selling and to see immediately where the value lies. This is something that the creator should have considered when they built it – and if they did it will make your job a thousand times easier.

But at the same time, this should also be a value proposition or USP that you can understand and empathize with. You need to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and to think how someone would be able to sell this product to you. Ideally, you need to really want the product yourself. This way, you don’t have to lie about what it is that makes it so good – you can simply share your very genuine enthusiasm.

The Bottom Line

The real bottom line is that when you’re choosing your product, you need to already know how you’re going to sell it. Don’t pick a product that’s doing well and then come up with a plan. Instead, take the products that offer good potential and then select one based on what appeals to your experience and your gut instinct. And before you do any work or put in any effort make sure that you have already come up with a strategy and a plan. You should already have a monologue forming your head as you look at the items explaining why they’re so good and how they’re going to change your life. You should already be thinking of the kinds of articles you can write around this subject. You should already know which social media networks you’re going to post to and whether or not your mailing list is the right mailing list. Once you have begun your marketing process, the product itself should simply be the last piece of a perfectly constructed puzzle!

Other Considerations of Affiliate Marketing

Extra Incentives and Indicators

If you are torn between a few different products that all show a good likelihood of making a lot of money, then you might have a hard time picking between them. One good strategy then is to look at whether there are any differentiating factors that can help to seal the deal.

One of the single most important differentiating factors is whether or not you can get a free sample (or in the case of Amazon, whether or not you already own the item). Being able to actually test the product for yourself and to see whether it is good and specifically what’s good about it will make a massive difference to your ability to sell it. It will make a huge difference right away to your belief in the product and if you’re like most people then you should feel much more comfortable selling something that you have already tried yourself and found that you enjoyed. People will often feel a little awkward selling something they haven’t seen and try as you might, that can tend to come across in your sales pitch.

The other reason to sample the product is that this then gives you the opportunity to  find out what makes it so good and to go into detail on those factors. Why is it different from the competition? How did it specifically help you? Can you feel the difference in quality? Did the creator throw in some extras that really impressed you? Was the customer service good? All this will make your pitch far more convincing and encourage the buyers to think that you actually know what you’re talking about and have their best interests at heart.

And as one more added bonus of sampling your item – if you have a product then you can take photos of it and create videos of it which can also be useful for selling. Affiliate sales through YouTube are highly underrated!

Of course it’s also just nice to get free stuff to try out!

So that’s one type of additional incentive that a product manufacturer can offer to affiliates and it’s common to find this through JVZoo and the like. Another common type of additional material is the sales material. Many manufacturers actually supply the very landing page, e-mail sequence and sales funnel that they use in order to sell their product and that has proven successful for them. While this might come as a surprising, remember that they have nothing to lose here. The more products you sell, the more extra income they’re going to make and it will have no negative impact on the amount they’re earning on their own. From their perspective there’s no reason not to share the materials they’ve used and to thereby help guarantee your success.

And if they’ve been shifting lots of units using a specific set of materials then there’s no reason you can’t do exactly the same thing. This really is a ‘cut and paste’ business and that’s very appealing, especially to someone new.

Are there downsides to using ready-made materials? Of course. One of these downsides for instance is the simple fact that you won’t be promoting in your own voice if you use these. This can be quite jarring if you’ve built a relationship with your audience via e- mail and social media and off-putting as a result. At the same time, it removes some of the skill and fun from the job and there’s always the possibility you could have done better.

So you shouldn’t rely on ready-made marketing materials for your affiliate marketing activities. But if you are looking for a very quick and easy ‘cut and  paste’ business you can set up in no time at all, then this is a good way to achieve that.

The final extra incentive? Some kind of bonus or special offer. This way, you can offer your customers a discount that they won’t get anywhere else. That provides them with additional value by being your subscriber (thereby increasing their brand loyalty and encouraging them to buy more of your future products/open more of your future  emails) while at the same time encouraging them to buy quickly and through your link. Usually this is accomplished in the form of a ‘promo code’.

Promo codes have another advantage too in that they make your business appear more professional. The assumption is that you have somehow gained access to a special deal through your connections with the product manufacturer and that makes you look good. Everyone wins!

Ethics and Barriers of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can bring up a surprising number of ethical issues. If you’re selling a product you don’t believe in then of course this is an ethical consideration you’re going  to have to deal with – and most people will be much happier seeking out something that they do think is a good product.

But beyond that, there are ethical considerations around certain products too and you need to think about these before you jump in and start selling. For example: does the product pose any potential health risk? Does it go against beliefs you might have?

If the product contains health advice, then is this something you should be selling? Likewise, is there any way that the product could harm your potential audience? This is something that puts many people off of gambling affiliate programs. You stand to earn an awful lot of money promoting gambling sites but in doing so, you could potentially  be responsible for someone losing all of their life savings or even developing a bad habit that becomes highly destructive. Gambling in itself isn’t wrong though and it’s not illegal

– it’s just something you will have to consider and that means looking at your own views before you go ahead.

Likewise, you should also think about the way that these issues can create further problems. Some products for instance might create a backlash from your audience. If you’ve built up the trust of your followers and then you e-mail them with a promotion for a gambling site, then this could understandably lead to displeasure from those same people. Likewise, it’s also useful to keep in mind that gambling promotions aren’t permitted on Facebook Ads. And if you are selling a gambling product and you have Google AdSense on your site, you might be banned from the AdSense program. Suffice  to say then, that if you intend on using either of these platforms, you should steer clear of gambling as a niche.