Ten Things Every Affiliate Marketer Needs To Know

Becoming an affiliate marketer sounds easy. Just add a few links to your website and you'll be on your way toward making thousands of dollars each month, right? While affiliate marketing is a great opportunity, it isn't as easy as it initially seems and common misconceptions often lead many new affiliate marketers to fail. In order to become a successful affiliate, you need to learn the tricks of the trade and work consistently to generate top results. The following are ten of the most important things every affiliate marketer needs to know in order to do well in this growing industry.

1. Affiliate marketing takes time and effort.

Affiliate novices often mistakenly believe that all they need to do to start earning money is to place a few affiliate links on their website. This is simply not the case. In order to achieve real and lasting results, you need to be willing to work on your affiliate websites and promotions on a daily basis.

2. Understanding your audience is essential.

In order to choose the right affiliate offers, produce the right website content, and effectively market your affiliate offers, you need to have a solid understanding of your target audience. Who are your customers? What are they looking for? By learning all you can about your potential customers and then tailoring your marketing efforts to their needs, you'll be able to increase your site traffic, generate more link clicks, and sell more products.

3. Choose the right affiliate programs for your audience and your needs.

Give careful consideration to affiliate programs in order to find those that are best for the needs of your website and your audience. Before you join an affiliate program, carefully analyze what the merchant has to offer. Do their products match the needs and interests of your audience? You should also consider the payment model, payout dates, and affiliate tools that each program provides before you decide.

4. Keyword research is crucial.

Once you have chosen the affiliate offers you want to promote, you need to create website content that complements your affiliate links. Simply adding a lot of links to your site without back them up with sufficient content is a recipe for failure. In order to develop content that achieves high search rankings and draws in potential customers, you need to spend some time on keyword research. Utilize tools such as the Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool to discover which search terms your audience is using to find information on the Web.

5. Always measure your results.

In order to determine which elements of your affiliate marketing efforts have been successful, it is important to carefully track and measure your results. Determine which links are generating the most sales as well as which advertising methods are drawing in the most traffic. Use this information to make adjustments to your site and plan for future campaigns.

6. Diversify your marketing tactics.

Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Having only one income stream is a dangerous risk, possibly resulting in disaster if the market changes and that revenue source dries up. By having multiple sources of income, you'll be better equipped to cope with changes that might occur.

7. Genuine consumer advice is more effective than a sales pitch.

Instead of extolling the virtues of every offer you are promoting, focus on providing genuine and balanced reviews. Consumers can sense a weak pitch, so always stay open and honest with your audience. Point out ways the offer might benefit the reader, but don't be afraid to note potential weaknesses. While it might seem counterproductive, personalized reviews generate far greater conversion rates.

8. Always links to quality products.

Online viewers are granting you a certain amount of trust and credibility once they visit your site. Don't throw away trustworthiness by linking to low-quality products. A great rule of thumb to follow is to never promote anything that you would never buy yourself. Remember that your affiliate links are a direct reflection on your business, so never promote anything that isn't up to your high standards.

9. Link to individual products.

Many new affiliates start by simply placing an ad to the main page of an affiliate merchant, expecting viewers to visit the site and buy products. However, this is one of the least effective ways to promote affiliate products. In order to motivate users to make a purchase, you need to provide a link to an actual product.

Think of your affiliate links as something similar to contextual online advertising. Your links should relate to the information on each page. If you have a Web page titled "Top 10 Digital Cameras," then your affiliate links should be directly to each of the product you mention in the article. By providing links to specific products, online readers will be far more likely to make a purchase.

10. Generate website traffic.

It is next to impossible to truly thrive as an affiliate marketer if you are not generating sufficient website traffic. Because only a small portion of your viewers will click your affiliate links and an even small portion of these users will actually make a purchase, it is essential to draw a lot of traffic to your website. In many cases, the more traffic you generate, the more products you will sell. Great traffic-building ideas include search optimization, blogging, viral marketing and free email newsletters.

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