By Tim Halloran
The affiliate marketing secrets I’m sharing here aren’t really “secrets” to some affiliates. But for me, when I started affiliate marketing back in the early 2000’s, they would have been useful to know about. It would have saved me several years of hard work if I would have known about these factors in an affiliate business.
I spent a huge amount of time trying out bad strategies and promoting low paying products. It was immensely frustrating not only to struggle getting results as an affiliate, but when they did eventually come to see such tiny little commissions that it was hardly worth all that struggle!
The fist insight I’m going to share is to get an email autoresponder. An auto-responder is a software which allows affiliates to collect emails from a website and automate the delivery of email messages to your list.
For a long time I didn’t have an auto-responder. I simply tried to get people to my websites and sell affiliate products directly from there. But there’s a problem in that customers will often need several contact points before they purchase something. So a single landing on a website will seldom generate a sale. On a website, a visitor only has a small window of opportunity to make a buying decision. But once you get your visitors email information, you can extend this time period by months, years and even decades!
You can give them many more “touch points” with which to showcase your offerings, give value and help your subscribers with whatever issue they are facing.
The next issue I faced was choosing the affiliate products which I would sell. The products I chose as an affiliate were those which I would have bought myself. This is a good policy because you can more easily create content around something you’re interested in. But I choose low value products and used affiliate programs which paid the least! I didn’t know this was an issue till much later when I discovered subscription affiliate programs which paid ongoing commissions for each sale.
With a low value product from eBay or Amazon, for example, you only get tiny amounts – usually less than 10% commission. Digital products pay more like 30%-50% commission. Then there’s high ticket products which have a much larger value. A high ticket product sale can earn you the same as by selling hundreds of the lower value item.
With a product range you can benefit from subscription products, one off commissions and high ticket sales. In addition to this you can also benefit from a built in sales team, who close sales on your behalf. With most affiliate products, you refer a sale and only get paid once. So you need to continue selling more and more products. With subscription and high ticket, you can continue earning from your referrals, potentially for years. So the same work is rewarded much more with such a strategy.
Another huge benefit of using such a product range is that paid marketing strategies are much more within reach. I struggled with free marketing tactics, making sporadic sales which amounted to very little income. With a high ticket product range, it’s much easier to make a profit while running paid marketing.
Plus, once you’re profitable, and are running paid advertising campaigns, you can scale up quickly. Simply increase marketing budget! With organic and cheaper marketing strategies, this is much more difficult. I was struggling for years because I was selling low value products and using free marketing strategies which couldn’t be scaled up!
Another affiliate marketing secret which I didn’t discover until a few years of struggle is to get help. Back in the early 2000’s it was far more difficult to build an online business from scratch. You needed more technical know-how. You needed to be able to build websites yourself. Today software takes much of the technical wizardry out of building online business. You can press a couple of buttons and have a ready made website up and running in minutes. You can also join a group of other affiliates which can help enormously with your mindset and personal growth.
Going it alone as an affiliate is tough, especially when well meaning family members and friends are trying to talk you out of it, and telling you that it’s a scam! Once in a community of online entrepreneurs, my confidence grew. I was able to ask questions and get things done more easily. Other people had similar questions to me, and joining groups where coaches and mentors were on hand shortened the learning curve.
Most of all joining a community of online business owners helped me believe that I could build an income from affiliate marketing. Before this I struggled with mindset issues and lack of confidence. If you doubt you’re going in the right direction, it’s much easier to quit, or dawdle. It’s easier to procrastinate and lose your direction.
To sum up, these are my affiliate marketing secrets:
1. Get an autoresponder – an email marketing service made a huge difference to my affiliate business
2. Use subscription products, high ticket products and a product range, rather than low value products which only offer single commissions
3. Get help – join an online community where you can build trust with a coach, find accountability partners and get questions answered.
Affiliate marketing is a tough business to crack and the drop out rate is around 95%. Remember the reason you’re doing it and find a good program and stick to it.