5 Do’s and Don’ts for Affiliate Marketing Campaign Success

By Shane Barker / 28 February 2019

Affiliate marketing may generate easy revenue but only when you get it right. This post provides important tips that will help readers succeed at their affiliate marketing campaigns.

Affiliate marketing is one of the top revenue sources for publishers, according to a study by VigLink. And 76% of publishers say that their affiliate marketing programs make it easier to monetize their site or content.

That being said, it’s not easy to succeed as an affiliate marketer. You need to put in tons of hard work and patience, and you need to know how to do it right.

As a digital marketer, I’ve witnessed more than enough affiliate marketing failures over the years. And I’ve worked on finding solutions to get those campaigns back up and running for success. Based on my experience, I’ve put together some useful tips that will help you succeed with your affiliate marketing campaigns.

Check out these five do’s and don’ts for affiliate marketing success:

1. Do Create Quality Content

Your content is the foundation of your site, so it should always come first. I’ve seen tons of websites that produce subpar content and try to stuff their affiliate links into it. This just creates a bad experience for readers because the content is neither helpful nor compelling. They’re just pushing the products to readers without providing them with anything useful.

It’s easy to make this mistake when you’re focusing too much on profit. But before anything else, you should focus on providing value to your audience. That means creating content that’s valuable and timeless.

You could do an honest review in the form of blog posts or videos. You could create comparison charts, “best of” lists, unboxing videos, first-look videos, and more.

Take CNet, for example. CNet creates extremely high-quality content in the form of reviews, best product lists, deals, and how-tos. Rather than focusing solely on how to make a sale, CNet provides valuable information that will help readers make an informed purchasing decision.

CNet reviews

Source: CNet

So, it’s no surprise that CNet is one of the biggest referral sites for shopping. In November 2018, it drove more than 1.3 million visits to shopping sites such as Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart.

Quality content is essential.

2. Do Improve Your Social Media Game

Social media is everything when it comes to promoting your affiliate marketing campaign.

You may think your website will eventually run itself if you up your SEO and content marketing game. But even if those efforts do pay off, promoting your campaign on social media will amplify the results. That’s because social networks are the most influential source of purchase inspiration, according to a PwC survey.

And considering the average person spends around 135 minutes of his or her day on social media platforms, the channel has huge untapped potential to promote your affiliate marketing campaign. Build your social media presence by sharing valuable content, participating in relevant conversations, and hosting giveaway contests.

You can then share your content with your followers to try to drive them to your site. If your budget permits, you can even pay to promote this content to reach an even bigger audience. But remember not to over-share affiliate content or you could drive your followers away. 

BuzzFeed does a great job of promoting its affiliate content on social media. It creates buying guides in the form of list posts and then shares these posts on Facebook, where it has more than 11 million followers.

BuzzFeed Facebook post

Source: Facebook

BuzzFeed is a good example of promoting affiliate content on social media.

Promoting your content on social media ensures you reach the most people possible.

3. Do Be Genuine

Authenticity is crucial for the success of any affiliate marketing campaign. It helps to avoid being too pushy and instead become more trustworthy. And trust is an important factor in influencing people’s purchasing decisions. Plus, the more people who trust your opinions, the more loyal they will become.

This means your authenticity could help you build a loyal community of people who look to you for purchasing recommendations.

To maintain authenticity, you should always reveal your affiliate partnership at the beginning of your post. You also need to give your honest and unbiased opinions about the products you’re promoting.

If there’s some design flaw or feature that fails to meet expectations, don’t hesitate to mention it. You could always follow it up with a few sentences about why this flaw isn’t a complete deal breaker.

For example, TechRadar doesn’t hold back when it finds something less than ideal about the products it reviews.

As you can see in the screenshot below, TechRadar has made sure to mention how the new Apple MacBook Pro is expensive and has a disappointing battery life. But all the positives it highlights about the product are likely to make up for it and compel many readers to buy it.

TechRadar MacBook Pro review

Source: TechRadar

TechRadar isn’t afraid to focus on the negatives of a product, despite the fact that the company is paid to write a review.

Even if you are being paid to write a review, it’s essential to be honest. That will make you more reliable and trustworthy.

4. Don’t Focus on Just One Program

All affiliate programs are not the same. There will be variations in terms of payment structures and benefits. Some pay you for every click you drive to their site, while others pay you for every lead you generate. Others may also pay you a percentage of every sale you help convert. Some programs offer a lifetime payout on the sales you drive, but others may limit it to just a couple of months.

So what works for one affiliate marketer or publisher may not necessarily work for you. Before the start of your campaign, study the various affiliate programs in your niche and shortlist the ones you want to try. Check out this comprehensive list of affiliate programs for some ideas. Test these shortlisted programs to see which ones are most profitable for you.

If any program isn’t delivering, try to assess what it was about the program that made it a failure for you. This will help you improve the way you choose affiliate programs that will work in your favor.

Herepup is a dog news source that monetized through affiliate marketing. When the creator, Perrin, sold the website, its baseline revenue was $6,988 per month. After NohatDigital acquired it, the company increased the baseline revenue to $14,677 per month. It took NohatDigital only four months.

Although several other improvements contributed to this growth, switching affiliate programs was the main trigger. The company doubled its revenue by switching from Amazon to Chewy, which offered a higher payout. Although Herepup saw a slight decrease in clicks to affiliate programs, its revenue actually grew.

Herepup revenue

Source: Cloud Living

The website didn’t remove Amazon completely, and it was still generating sufficient revenue from its Amazon affiliate links. Combined with Media.net ads, Amazon generated $5,000 in the fourth month. Meanwhile, Chewy affiliate products alone generated more than $9,000.

This is an excellent example of how publishers can benefit from trying out different affiliate programs.

5. Don’t Be Impatient to See Results

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers and publishers who try out affiliate marketing for a few months. Then they give up when they don’t immediately see the expected results. It’s important to remember that affiliate marketing takes time, and your campaign may take months to generate sufficient revenue. In general, it will take you at least six months to see the kind of results you expect.

So, don’t quit just because your campaign hasn’t generated much revenue in the first couple of months. Instead, keep looking for ways to improve your existing campaign. See if you can create better, more compelling content. Try out various tactics to promote your content and website, and make sure you test out different programs.

Bottom Line: Keep Improving for Success

Affiliate marketing can be a great way to generate passive income for bloggers and publishers. But it’s not easy to succeed unless you put in the right effort. From my experience in developing affiliate marketing campaigns for various clients, the most important lesson is this – you need to prepare for constant improvement. 

This involves constantly creating high-quality, authentic content and promoting it on social media. It also involves testing out various affiliate programs to find the most profitable ones. But most importantly, you should patiently seek out areas of improvement instead of just rushing to get results.

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