It was interesting to see Yaro talk about Affiliate Marketing as I had also been having a discussion on the topic and wanted to share my own advice. Do check out Yaro’s post. The key point I want to repeat is this one:
Those early days taught me that patience is a virtue when it comes to building an affiliate marketing business based on a blog. I’ve learned a lot about what goes into effective affiliate marketing since then, yet in many ways, I still walk into most promotions completely blind and with little expectation. You never know how well something will sell and I’m constantly surprised by my results.
Many people go into each monetization technique thinking “this is the one where I make the fast, big bucks”. Yes, you can make money, good money, with affiliate offers, but do not be disappointed if you don’t buy that Ferrari right away.
Some people will know I started my online marketing career in the traditional way, building websites for companies, helping them sell everything from tomato ketchup to condoms. Having several successful campaigns under my belt I had to see if I could make money for myself as opposed to helping billion dollar companies make more billions. It turned out affiliate marketing on a shoe string was not quite the same as promoting the official site of a well known brand.
When you start out with affiliate deals there are three things that happen:
- You get lucky and make a lot of money without knowing exactly how
- You make a small amount of money, slowly
- You lose a lot of money in PPC fees
For me I experienced all three. My first experience convinced me that I was a master marketer and before long I would be taking early retirement. Unfortunately competition soon moved in and wiped me out. My next attempts had me in the second two categories.
You can make a great deal of money with Affiliate marketing. I would say for most people they can make more money with Aff than advertising and certainly more than adsense. Most niches have a product or ten you can promote this way. The only thing to beat aff is to have your own products, but I don’t believe for most people they would need to be mutually exclusive. Most of the internet marketing gurus make as much money promoting each other as they do their own stuff.
I would say the “GoogleCash” method, where you drive traffic to offers using Adwords ads, while probably being the fastest route, is the most risky in terms of your own money. Blogging and small web sites combined with SEO are the safest. Luckily any losses I made were more than compensated when I finally found offers I could promote, had mastered the techniques and had Google Adwords battle scars to prove it. Around the time I made my money back I decided the pure affiliate stuff wasn’t for me and moved into just blogging.
The key for bloggers, particularly Authority Bloggers, is to not abuse the trust of your audience. Only recommend things you personally believe in.
You will see on this blog while I do not display advertising and make most of my income through selling services, I do occasionally post an affiliate link. Those links haven’t made me a fortune by any means, but they have brought in additional money, and all were for products I would vouch for. That would be my recommendation for how to get started, sign up for Amazon associates and do some book reviews, or find a merchant in your niche with an affiliate program that you can honestly recommend.
While it is true the more traffic you have the more money you will make, it is also true that with Aff the right audience is more important than scale. A smaller but more motivated audience will always beat a massive but disinterested one. I made several hundred dollars from an extremely niche product, a “wireless flash slave unit” sold on eBay with my old DSLR Photography Blog because the audience and product was a 100% match.
Have you tried affiliate marketing? Think you will give it a go? Tried and didn’t like it? Share your thoughts in the comments …