Affiliate marketing is just like any other industry when it comes to its progress; it evolves. What worked in 2000 would never work today. The affiliate networks that are available today also evolved far beyond the platforms that first kicked off the trend. The kind of products people pick, too, have changed. So have consumers’ preferences.
If you’re looking to succeed in affiliate marketing, you’re going to need to keep up with the trends. Otherwise, your entire business model will be dated and prone to losing on business you’d otherwise keep.
As an affiliate marketer myself, I’ve learned a couple of new trends that are worth checking out. Here’s the scoop…
Using Influencers In Your Affiliate Campaigns
If you have a blog that works through affiliate revenue, then congrats. You are all prepped to start working a new level of affiliate marketing into your campaign. Bloggers are now paying influencers to promote articles featuring affiliate links.
Depending on the influencer you choose, this can result in a major uptick in sales that’s well worth the investment. Studies show that people identify with influencers and place trust in them, which makes a huge difference in the turnout of your sales.
Using Large-Scale Affiliate Networks
Tired of sticking to one retailer, like Clickbank? We get it—and so do most affiliate marketers, too. That’s why people are beginning to use tools that automate affiliate sales that come from large networks that include big box retailers as well as online giants like Amazon and eBay.
The concept behind this is simple. By giving you a larger network of easy-to-access affiliates, the tools give you a faster way to monetize your site. If you want to give these tools a try, check out Skimlinks. Their payouts are pretty decent and the toolbar makes integration with your site a cinch.
Avoiding Digital Products
Yes, ebooks are commonplace among affiliate marketers. Unfortunately, there have been one too many bad apples that spoiled the reputation that digital products once had. Because they’ve had a bad rap for the past couple of years, most affiliate marketers are starting to back away from them.
Sure, the payouts are good, but what does that matter if they don’t actually get people buying? Truth be told, there are better products that you could be selling out there. You don’t need to waste your time with digital products that could be easily copied.
One of the newer genres of affiliate marketing involves marketing apps to affiliates, and unlike most digital products, apps are on fire. Though you won’t find apps that cost serious money, the sheer number of people who are willing to give apps a try make it fertile ground for people who want to earn through large scale purchases.
Since Amazon and other major players have gotten into the app affiliate world, it’s safe to say that this will continue to remain a strong trend for years to come.
Meal Kit Marketing
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are high that you’ve noticed ads for meal prep kits like Hello Fresh or Sunbasket online. This isn’t a coincidence. They’ve been a major trend for the past couple of years, and now with COVID-19’s work, they’re becoming even more popular than ever before.
Most meal kits offer great payouts and are fairly easy to market through positive reviews. If you are working on becoming an influencer, this is a good way to show that you can market wares well while still keeping things health-oriented. Needless to say, it’s a popular gig.
When it came to affiliate marketing back in the day, the way marketers would advertise to readers was simple: pitch it and explain all the benefits of using the product. It was a classic song and dance, with very minor tweaks.
The most important thing that always rang true was the way people broached a problem. Sometimes, it’d involve a person talking about how they made money. Other times, it’d involve creating a sense of urgency to buy it before they’d trot out the “solution” to the problem it solved.
These days, things aren’t so easy. People are used to being pushed to buy stuff. They don’t like to be sold. They want to be helped! That’s why how-to’s work. They enourage people to buy items by showing them what they can achieve using them in a subtle, non-salesy way.
Unlike the days where keyword jamming and article links were all you needed to score big, affiliate marketing doesn’t have a cut-and-dry formula during this new era. Having good SEO is great, but you need that extra punch to make people really splurge.
Witty writing can only go so far. The same can be said about informative articles or videos. To get the kind of loyalty you need to build up an affiliate marketing empire, you’re going to need to set a trend—and it often has to be one that has an air of authenticity.
People are no longer willing to accept the pre-packaged sales pitches that worked 10 years ago. They’re also not willing to deal with sites that strike them as insincere. If you’re going to survive in the rugged world of affiliates, you’re going to need to be unique. That alone can propel you to success.
If you’re not a fan of the concept of having to drag people off your website to order stuff from Amazon, there’s another option that you should consider: dropshipping. This uses store platforms like Shopify to act as a middle man between you and the suppliers of the products you’re selling.
With dropshipping, you don’t need to get products to store. The dropshipper does it for you. All you have to do is sell them on your site, making it a very affiliate-friendly option for all parties involves.
3 Awesome Affiliate Marketing Review Strategies That Actually Work
I’ll be honest. Affiliate marketing can be downright intimidating when you first start out. It’s a little wild to think that you need to sell a product to a person who you can’t see and can’t speak to directly, right?
Like with most other types of sales, selling is all about strategy. If you go too heavy-handed, then you’re going to end up making your readers feel like they’re being sold to. If you go too light, then you won’t actually sell anything at all because no one will be engaged enough.
Today, we’re going to discuss affiliate marketing review strategies that work. More specifically, we’re going to talk about three formats that work remarkably well at converting sales and why they work. Let’s get started!
The Product Roundup
The first affiliate format that’s been proven to work has been a staple in fashion magazines since before the internet was a major conduit of information. A roundup is just what it sounds like—a collection of products that the marketer thinks are awesome.
The product roundup comes in a wide range of different sub-categories, including top tens, collections of products all relating to a special occasion, and gift lists. As long as there’s a general theme to the roundup, it’ll work well for you.
Product roundups work well because they are organized, let people learn about products they’re already interested in, and also happen to serve up info in a way that’s easy to digest. If you’ve ever wanted to know what the best X’s for Y’s are, then you’ll get why it works.
To make your roundup work well, you need to choose elegant photos and also give people a good idea of what each product offers in terms of benefits. Comparing and contrasting the products can also work, if you are doing a top ten review.
Reviews have become a mainstay among modern affiliate marketers, especially those that consider themselves to be up-and-coming influencers. The reason why is simple: it works on a personal level, especially if it’s done in a story format.
Studies show that people tend to remember stories better, and tend to get more emotionally invested in the product as a result. It’s also fairly obvious that reviews offer a far more in-depth glance at a product, giving people a better understanding of what they should expect if they buy it.
What really sells a review, though, is the personal touch. By showing yourself as a real person who is interacting with the product, you boost the trustworthiness of your review immensely. That, in turn, gives people a lot more reason to believe in you, your brand, as well as the product you’re hawking.
Reviews might seem egotistical to do at first, but they’re not. They appeal to users because they add a human touch to a type of sale that’s not usually very “human.”
This is an affiliate marketing method that is starting to pick up in popularity, and rightfully so. We all know that people don’t like the idea of feeling “sold to,” which is why some product roundups end up feeling too salesy to be effective. That’s where a how-to comes into play.
So, what does a how-to do? It’s simple. Think about the last time you went online to find out how to do something—a craft, maybe cleaning instructions, or a makeup look. Did you ever notice how many guides involve supplies that you may or may not have?
Makeup looks need special shades of makeup. Home improvement guides will tell you to get specific tools, paints, or cleaning solvents. Craft how-to’s will suggest that people buy up a bunch of different kits. See where this is going?
The how-to is a great way to sell without selling. You’re not explicitly telling them to buy something, nor are you sitting there, talking about how amazing it is. You’re just showing them what they can do if they owned that object.
The key feature here is that you’re providing actionable, SEO-friendly content that subtly shows the value of what you’re trying to sell. It’s the ultimate affiliate marketing format for people catering to crowds that may not be open to other affiliate styles.
Which Strategy Is The Best?
Here’s the thing that everyone needs to realize: different strategies will work for different people and products. Your best bet, if you want to get as many sales as possible, is to use all three in varying degrees.
A little variety can go a long, long way. So, give each a try. The more you work with each affiliate strategy, the better off you’ll be.
10 Signs You Shouldn’t Work For An Affiliate
Let’s just be honest here. I’ve harped and waxed poetic when it came to just about every aspect of choosing an affiliate. It’s literally the biggest issue that you will face as a marketer. Bad affiliate, bad time, no money. I mean it.
The thing is, there are so many different affiliate sites out there and so many products that you can choose to sell. We all know about the big ones like Amazon or ClickBank, but others still pop up that are new every single day. Sometimes, it can be hard to get an idea of whether or not an affiliate is worth it. These signs below indicate something might be up…
- You can’t find any reviews or information about them online. Every affiliate worth their salt will have at least one or two reviews from affiliate marketers who’ve worked with them backing them. If you can’t find a single ounce of information on them, you might not be dealing with a legitimate company.
- Any information you DO find seems to warn people against the company. If you end up finding nothing but bad reviews online, it’s better to trust the warnings others give you. It may save you from getting badly burnt.
- The promises are way too good to be true. Though affiliate marketing is fairly lucrative, it’s not going to be an overnight success. It takes months or even years to get a site that’s totally geared towards affiliate marketing to work. If you’re seeing ads telling you that you’ll earn millions, back away.
- People mention that it’s hard to actually get money from the affiliate in reviews. A very high minimum payout, having to jump through hoops to get your money, or being asked to pay a high fee for access to your account are all signs that you’re going to get grifted.
- The products are terrible. I can’t emphasize this enough, and it’s something I’ve spoken about at length when it comes to my other articles. If the product is crap, no amount of selling, hawking, and talking up will suffice. Bad products will only wear you and your business down. Skip bad products!
- Everyone in the affiliate market is selling the same product from the same affiliate. Back in the day, this was the issue that happened to some large affiliate networks. Their products became absolutely terrible in quality, and that meant that they had to trim down their wares. The problem is that this led to all of their thousands of marketers hawking the same product. The market was flooded and no one made any money.
- Their links and tracking system are glitchy. A company that has a reputation for glitchy or nonfunctional tracking is a company which will cost you more money than they’re worth. Unless you enjoy spending your time haranguing customer service or heading to court, you’ll avoid working for them.
- Something about the program just doesn’t make sense. If the program or product doesn’t make sense, seems too rough around the edges, or just doesn’t feel right, listen to your gut. It’s better to go with a program you feel comfortable with than to go with one you don’t fully trust.
- The company asks you to buy a service in order to sell their goods. This is never a good sign, and in many cases, the company in question is actually making most of their profits from people buying the right to sell their goods. Companies that are worth a damn won’t ever ask you to pay money upfront just to sell their goods.
- You’ve heard the company’s name mentioned as an MLM. Affiliate marketing is not the same as multi-level marketing nor should you ever mistake the two. One will make you rich, and the other will alienate you from others while draining your bank account. If you start hearing about it as an MLM scheme, run and don’t look back.
Should You Hire A PR Agent To Promote Your Site?
As a person who regularly gets paid to post on blogs, I work with a lot of PR agents. They are people who are known for having large Rolodexes of client contacts and blogger contacts, specifically made for the purpose of getting companies and people blog exposures. PR agents are a unique breed of people, simply because their networking skills are so on point.
Over the years, I’ve seen a wide range of different companies turn to PR groups to get more exposure and clients. I’ve seen companies like Blue Apron do it. I’ve seen makeup companies do it. I’ve even seen adult film stars do it. It seems like everyone has a PR agent of their own, but is this a must for every site owner out there?
Honestly, it depends.
Hiring a PR agent isn’t cheap. Most solid PR groups will charge anywhere from $1500 a month to upwards of $5000 a month. However, that money is often well-spent. PR agents are able to get you news coverage and can coach you through major public relations crises.
If you are worried about being able to afford a PR agent for your site, calm down. They aren’t usually necessary, especially if you are just beginning your journey in the affiliate or dropship world. Most dropship sites don’t require a PR agent to succeed, but rather, tend to use them as “icing on the marketing cake.”
Generally speaking, if you’re an affiliate marketer, you don’t necessarily need to have a PR agent. Like, ever. Public relations professionals tend to be more appropriate for people who have dropship companies, white label product lines, or for people who want to eventually grow their business away from dropshipping as a whole.
Wondering whether you’re at a point where your dropship company could seriously benefit from professional PR? If any of the following are true, then it’s safe to say that you will most likely benefit from having on on your team:
- You have extra money and want to get your site some exposure you otherwise couldn’t get. Let’s face it, most people don’t have a roll of blog connects they can reach out to for airspace. If you want to see your site in news headlines, a PR agent is the fastest way to do it. PR agents should only be hired for dropship companies if you’ve already gotten a lot of profit.
- For one reason or another, your site is going through a major image crisis. Did you post something really offensive on your site’s feed? Did something happen with an affiliate that dragged your name through mud? If you want to salvage your site, asking a PR agent for a consultation is a smart idea.
- You have a white label product that you want to get off the ground. White label product lines change your site from a regular dropshipper to something a little more involved. When white label lines are involved, you have more at stake, which means that you have more of a reason to hire a PR agent to work with you.
- Your site is quite successful when it comes to dropshipping, but you want to start having your own proprietary items. This is a common reason why people reach out to PR agents. It’s a moment in your business’s life when you’ve realized that you’ve maxed out what you can do with other peoples’ products, and when you’re ready to start selling something brand, spankin’ new. Bridging that gap can be difficult, and having a PR agent who can help guide you through it often reveals immense results.
- The marketing concept that you want to use isn’t based on SEO or Facebook ads. Sometimes, the marketing route you want to take can be reason enough to get someone on board with your PR endeavors. If you’re trying to sell goods through an “ultra exclusive” angle or through a unique content campaign, having a PR agent makes more sense than you’d think.
- Celebrities and influencers are involved in your brand. Don’t ask me why, but a lot of celebrities and influencers won’t work with brands that don’t have a PR professional on deck. If you’ve been hoping to do some influencer marketing, getting a connected PR agent is one way to make it happen.
If it sounds like there are a lot of occasions where hiring a PR agent or a PR company makes sense, it’s because there are. Public relations people get their high paychecks because they know how to handle a lot of different situations. If you’re in a tough spot, they may be able to help you out.
That being said, this isn’t a move that most new websites or website owners should be concerned about. At the beginning stages, you’re better off getting yourself established rather than worrying about the PR moves you make. After all, you have all the time in the world to get your company to the spotlight.