Five ways to dominate your market as an affiliate

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Find out how to make the most of our website and audience with this strategic guide to help you succeed as an affiliate marketer in 2021 and beyond. 

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How do  I succeed as an affiliate marketer? 

There are many ways to succeed as an affiliate marketer, with success looking different for everyone. For some, it may be to earn a coveted spot as a ‘super affiliate’ making upwards of five figures per month, for others, it’s simply about earning semi-passive money in a field you’re passionate about. 

Regardless of what success looks like to you, affiliate marketing is not an industry that guarantees overnight success. It takes time and effort to find what works for both you and the audience you’re hoping to build. However, with a little hard work and perseverance, there are ways to dominate your market as an affiliate.  

As "ceating a digital strategy" is incredibly fundamental to success, we won’t even list this as one of these tips. Your research into affiliate marketing and digital strategies can begin with Awin’s Market Insights. This should start to form your ideas about what niche you’d like to target, who you’d like to speak to and the methods you’ll use to do so, all of which should be the core of your digital marketing strategy. 

Review products in your niche 

Figuring out your niche is vital as a publisher. When starting out, it can be tempting to join every program that sounds fun or interesting to you. However, too many different ideas can confuse your audience. Working around one topic or idea builds an audience’s trust and helps them to understand who you are, which is the foundation for being a successful affiliate marketer. 

Having said this, finding a niche doesn’t necessarily mean finding one product and sticking to it.  We recommend joining a minimal amount of affiliate programs in the early stages. Once you have found your feet and understand your audience, the buying process and the data a little further, you can branch out. Diversifying the products and programs you align with can alleviate risks and increase your ability to earn. 

This is not just advice for beginners. Find affiliate program partners within your niche who you can work with, instead of work for. After all, this is a partnership in which you should support each other. Developing strong relationships with advertisers can allow for favorable, and often exclusive, promotions and incentives for publishers down the line. 

Reviewing products within your niche that aren’t necessarily part of affiliate programs helps to build the credibility of your site. Your audience will know to expect genuine reviews, and subsequently trust your opinions without forming the belief that you’re only being paid to make positive comments. 

Validate your idea 

So you’ve found an idea you think works, but does it actually work for the audience you’ve created? Also known as "assessing the market," there are a few ways to find out if your audience connects with a program you think is suitable. 

First, you can outwardly ask them. If this sort of transparency is normal with your audience you can always ask, "What would you like to see more of from me?," ‘What types of products do you have more questions about?" or ‘What confuses you about X niche?" This is especially common in an influencer setting. 

You can also create A/B testing on your content or ads. Run the same or similar styles of content or advertisements over a specified timeframe to see what your audience clicks on more. The more evidence you have that your audience connects with a type of product or content, the more likely it is you’ll gain click-throughs and drive sales for your affiliate program partners. 

It’s also beneficial to understand the quality of an advertiser’s program before you onboard as a publisher. Your work with them should be to increase their audience and brand awareness, but if their product or brand is not converting already, it may not be a path to success. This will also further validate your content ideas and strategies for what will or won’t work with your audience. 

Use organic and paid traffic 

You can certainly achieve great results from simply using organic traffic: a cost-beneficial way to make money as a publisher. Organic traffic to your website, posts or other digital content are visits that you did not pay for; they are often the result of good SEO practices leading to algorithms working in your favor. However, as previously mentioned, this can be a slow burn method. Organic traffic requires more time commitment to gain the same exposure paid traffic can provide, but organic traffic is better at building a genuinely connected and more trusting audience. The more an audience trusts and connects with you as a publisher, the more likely they are to make a purchase you have recommended. 

The benefit of paid traffic is an exponential increase in exposure far more quickly. There is value in this too if you find yourself not getting the sort of reach you desire, particularly on social media.  

Notably in 2020, the online market became even more flooded with both brands and content. Paid traffic takes many forms but platforms include Google, Facebook and Instagram Ads, all of which can help you cut through the ever-present noise online. It’s important to be very specific about your target audience when running paid advertising. While this will reduce the reach numbers, which can seem daunting, casting a wide net tends not to be best practice. Click-throughs from the wrong type of audience may not result in a conversion and therefore give you a bad ROI for your ads. 

Some marketers choose to run paid ads alongside creating a wealth of organic content to build traffic. Paid traffic can increase your exposure while organic content continues to build trust with your new audience. 

Be consistent 

Consistency is incredibly important. While you will have successes and failures, it’s important to not let either of these things distract you. Posting regularly will ensure your audience remains interested and actively engaged, allowing for a greater likelihood of influencing sales. 

Choose instead to let results become learnings and continue to create content consistently around these learnings. Be sure to make sense of the data and information given to you throughout a campaign (Awin’s tracking systems are thorough) to form your plan for next time. If you look closely at what worked and what didn’t do as well, you can tweak appropriately for further success next time. 

Affiliate marketing can be a long game and for those who succeed as affiliate marketers, it is almost never a ‘set and forget’ approach. Building an audience who will want to purchase what you are recommending takes trust, so be consistent in creating content for them.   

The final word 

Marketing is an ever-evolving beast, particularly online. In a world that has become incredibly unpredictable, you have to learn to adapt quickly. Changes in trends happen fast so you always have to be willing to learn, develop and grow. 

Dominating your market means delving deep and looking at the data. This may sound overwhelming, but it can certainly be made easier. At Awin, we provide unique tools such as cross-device transaction tracking, and visibility on data points such as order value, click to sale lag time, new and existing customer split and influence contribution - showing how many sales you've had a touchpoint in without necessarily securing the last click. More information on our data tracking can be found on the Partner Success Center.

For more information on how to succeed as an affiliate marketer and begin your journey, sign up to become a publisher. 

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