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How to Succeed at Affiliate Marketing

The Overview.

Affiliate marketers are the salesmen of the digital age. They write marketing materials to sell another party’s products and earn commissions.

Affiliate marketing is a way to monetize existing content. You’ll need to create some form of sales copy before you can earn money through affiliate marketing. This can be in the form of a website, email campaign, or even through social media. To be really successful, you’ll need to provide your potential customers with value.

The Target.

This puts you pretty much in the freemium model. You’re providing a significant amount of content for free in the hopes that a subset of your users will pay for whatever it is you’re selling. The key to the whole freemium market is whales.

Whales account for 90%+ of a freemium business’ earnings. Let’s rewind a bit. You’ve probably used a free app or service where the user can pay to unlock additional content. If not, please do so now, this is a good learning exercise! You likely have used similar apps without spending any money at all. In fact, you may wonder how these apps make any money as neither you nor any of your friends spend money on these apps. The fact is that the majority of users don’t spend anything. It’s actually a small minority spending a large amount that accounts for most of these apps’ profit. The members of these minorities are called whales. They’re the big catch. They’re your focus.

There’s a few different ways to catch a whale. You can cast a very large net and snag a few along the way or you can target them by only selling premium products and guarantee that if you do catch anything it is a whale. Whatever it is, try to stay out of the middle ground. You don’t want to be selling mid-range products to people looking for free, high-quality advice.

The How.

Adding affiliate content is simple. You just add a link from your materials. Writing the sales material is a bit harder, but that’s copywriting a separate topic for another today. For now, I’ll tell you the resources I use.

First off, Amazon is a fantastic starter affiliate program. You can affiliate market anything they sell and they sell just about everything, so setting up as an Amazon affiliate will get you started quickly.

I use Genius Links as it localizes the Amazon link. Each Amazon region has its own store. I started off with a U.S. Amazon affiliate account. However, I wouldn’t earn a commission from any British users as they’re outside the U.S. Amazon affiliate program. Any users that you refer with a standard link end up at the Amazon region’s site that you used to create the link. If that’s a different region from where they shop then you won’t earn a commission from them. Genius Links ensures that your link directs the customer to their own Amazon region’s site and that you earn a commission. You must be an affiliate in each of the Amazon regions in which you wish to earn a commission. I chose U.S., Canada, and the U.K., but then added several other European countries as you can choose to do them all at once during the U.K. application process.

Have better tools to use? Think the comparison with the freemium industry is inaccurate? Think whales are cool and want to talk about them? Drop me a comment and I’ll get back to you!

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