Are you considering getting into affiliate marketing?
Perhaps you already started your journey with all those things you’d need to do anyway: affiliate networks, affiliate managers, merchants, offers, traffic sources, campaigns, ads, blogs, landing pages, websites, and what have you.
Affiliate marketing, at the outset, might really simple. I mean, how hard can it get to send traffic to a merchant offer page and wait for conversions to roll in 24 x 7, all the rear round. Eh?
That’s exactly the issue with affiliate marketing. It looks simple, it just isn’t.
As such, here are a few things you should make sure you embrace as a serious affiliate, especially if you want to be in business for the long haul:
Never stop learning
You won’t have mastered everything by the time your first campaign starts going green. It’s only one campaign, and it’s only the beginning.
If you though there was a learning curve until you got to the point of the first campaign showing positive ROI, there’s an even longer learning curve “after” you get to your first profitable campaign.
In affiliate marketing, as with most things, your learning begins every new day. There’s always something going on and it’s crazy if you think about just how many things you have to work on to get this machine going.
Don’t get deluded into thinking that a few “tweaks” and shifting “traffic sources” would help you sustain in this business. That’s not going to happen.
Build a list
I am sure you’ve heard about the importance of “building a list” — almost every marketer says it, and only a few do it. It’s all fine and dandy to promote merchant offers directly or through landing pages in the beginning when you are just getting started (so that you get a taste of how it feels to get your first dollar).
At some point, you’d have to switch gears for a much more sustainable way of doing affiliate marketing and that’s through building your own list.
Once you set up your list, and as your lists grow, your dependency for relevant traffic tends to reduce quite a bit. Your revenue and profits are just a matter of sending out emails.
If you are up for long-term, think about harnessing the power of email marketing.
Aim for the BHAG
BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goals and as an affiliate, this should be the next level of profitability you’d want to look at after you’ve had a certain degree of success at the first level of low to medium level payout offers.
To put this in numbers, you’d want to move out of $2-$10 level payouts per conversion to $150 to $300 level payouts per conversion or per sale.
This is the exact point at which all your efforts in list building, content marketing, and all other digital marketing channels would have matured to the point that your next level big payouts happen naturally (just as easily as your $2-$5 level conversions happened).
Work up Your Budget
It’s nice to be ambitious and all that but if you don’t have a budget to start with (or plenty of time or both, you are going to find it almost depressing to do affiliate marketing.
To grow fast, you’d need a budget to match.
Now, I know that not everyone comes with big daddy’s Amex cards so you’d have to focus on working up your budget. if you have a day job, keep it and use spare cash to spend on your campaigns.
If you are self-employed or if you run any other business, use the proceeds from profits to set aside a fixed amount each month to build your budget.
If you have to get a part-time job, do it.
Master Your Traffic Sources
It’s easy to get distracted with traffic sources, given that there are many different channels or traffic sources that you can use to drive traffic from. Here’s the thing: she traffic sources work really well, and some just suck.
Either way, you’d first need to determine which traffic source you’d want to depend on and then master that traffic source. You’d want to profit from any traffic source you’d have chosen and until you are a master at it, don’t even think of moving to another one.
Jumping traffic sources and blaming traffic didn’t do good for any affiliate that we know of.
Invest in what You Need to Invest
Apart from Budgets and teams (if you need to), there are tools that’ll make your affiliate marketing business much smoother to run.
You’d need some essentials, some nice to haves, and there are even luxury products in the space of SaaS tools to streamline your business.
You can’t absolutely skip on essentials such as high-quality hosting and servers. Then there are tracking tools that you’ll need to make sense of incoming traffic, clicks, conversions, and more. On the “nice to have category”, you’d invest in research tools, spying tools, and other tools.
If you are making profits, you’d want to invest in building a team too. If you are going to be in affiliate marketing for long, your team and all these investments will work in your favor.
How are you going to incorporate these mandates into your business?