I want to share a bit of what I have learned after spending nearly a million on ads this year online.
For those of you who might not know, I have been in the CPA affiliate game for over 10 years, but just recently left a full time job to join my many “full time affiliate” friends. This industry can be super tough, but when you find a winning campaign it makes it all worth it.
This year started out EXTREMELY well after spending over $400,000 on native ads in the first 4 months of the year. I will talk about native ads in a minute.
The rest of the year focused mainly on Google Adwords, Facebook and at least 7 other traffic sources all with CPA affiliate offers and lead generation style campaigns.
What I have learned from all of this and why this is just going to keep getting BIGGER AND BADDER….
NATIVE ADS…WILL I CONTINUE TO SPEND MONEY THERE?
Let’s talk about Native ads first. As I mentioned, at the start of the year I was spending nearly $100K a month just on native ads…if you want to see exactly what I spent all that money on then check out the Premium Native Ads course we did inside Powerhouse Affiliate.
Inside that Native Advertising course I share the 4 main campaigns that totally dominated native ads for me this year. (There is also a great webinar in there showing a strategy to grab some winning placements and we will be doing some more live case studies soon)
Before I start this rant…I want to mention that this should not take away from the hard work some of my friends do at these native ad networks. While there are a ton of different types of native ads out there, I am focusing on the most common ones – the ones you see EVERYWHERE. 🙂
While native ads can explode your traffic numbers there are many things that buyers need to consider. There are competing forces that I need to contend with that can make it difficult to optimize my ads for long term. First of all, most of these places where I buy native ads from use a technology that allows “publishers” or people with affiliate marketing sites to place a code onto their website that will display ads. This is much different than buying ads from say Google or Facebook. My ads are shown on sites that these ad networks do not control, and in turn this opens me up to more click fraud and inconsistencies, or as I like to call it SHITTY traffic.
Here is what I mean..the “Native Arbitrage method” (not to be confused with “Affiliate arbitrage”) is still in the industry, with thousands of people rushing to create very viral websites with viral stories, or just plain fake news. You might have seen this in the media lately where CNN is even bitching about fake news, but they actually have links to fake news on their front page…(WTF)
Anyway, what these “arbitragers” are doing is they are placing tons of advertisements onto their page such as adsense, banner ads, and you guessed it… native ad code that will show my ads if I buy traffic from a native ad traffic source. (Examples: Taboola, Content.ad, Revcontent, Spoutable etc…) Their method works (although it’s dying). Arbitragers buy super cheap clicks and when people arrive on their site, they are presented with a barrage of advertisements. Visitors are pretty much forced to click through multiple pages before they can get to the end of the article. This results in increased page views, which ultimately increases the chance of people clicking on another advertisement, resulting in a few cents or even a few dollars being paid to the site owner. Did you get all that?
Ok, so here is the worst part about all of this. A majority of traffic that I am buying is likely coming from these arbitrage sites. So first and foremost I have to spend alot of time weeding out the terrible sites from showing my ads. This is done using tracking software like CPV Lab that will collect the “site id or widget id” of every site my ad is shown on and will tell me which site converted. After weeks and tens of thousands of dollars spent…I might finally have a good list of high converting sites that I am laser targeting…woohoo let’s laugh all the way to the bank….right?….NOPE.
Just when you think all is fine and dandy, you start to notice some of those sites start to suck hard…but why?
Well without even considering competition at this point, there are many reasons these sites can start to suck. One big reason I think is because the arbitragers are testing traffic sources themselves to try and bring more traffic to their site. This means more people click on ads, and they make more money. The problem is the arbitragers don’t give a rats ass on how good or bad that traffic is as long as the people arriving on their site are clicking ads. (even if its by mistake)
So while I may have some great conversions for a long time on a site because they were buying Facebook traffic, the site owner may change his mind someday and start buying traffic from some low quality native ad traffic source that doesn’t screen any of the publishers. It’s no secret that there are a ton of native ad networks popping up that allow just about anyone to put ads on their websites…and this results in extremely terrible traffic, and in some cases completely fake traffic.
Sadly to say I thought by now ad networks would have a more robust system in place to protect us buyers from the rampant and growing problem of fake traffic bots, ad fraud or whatever you want to call it. I mean just look at the story on Wall street about the Russian hackers, where they say these hackers “elevate ad fraud to a whole new level of sophistication and scale”
While there is work being done to combat some ad fraud, it seems we are getting absolutely nowhere.
But does all this mean I am going to stop buying native ad traffic? HELL no….
I know I am probably padding up someone’s bank account in some obscure country somewhere every time I buy an ad, but I guess that’s just the price I gotta pay…cause as long as my bottom line is profiting I will buy traffic. I mean yeah it REALLY sucks that this still happens, but I can’t lose sleep over it.
So what is going to change for me in native ads?
Well I am going to spend less on testing “Run of the Network” native ad traffic that is for sure. I am really getting sick of all the ad networks telling me I have to spend 5- 10K Run of the network just to get some data. Why the hell would I do that now, especially when I KNOW about all that bot traffic that runs through your networks that you are trying to sell me.
By now you networks should have enough data to know which sites in your network are absolute scams, and you should be taking them off your list before you tell me to test $10K RON.
Why should I be the one blowing thousands of dollars proving what you already know, when I can just go to Facebook and laser target my audience? Please talk some sense into me. I know I am just a pebble…in the grand scheme of things, I mean why in the world you ever consider just giving me the data so I can start spending hundreds of thousands on real traffic….
Now before I get heat for this preceding rant from some of my peers at these ad networks, let me just say that some of you are fantastic! You help me, you give me data, and you tell me where and where not to spend money. For that I REALLY appreciate you, and you know EXACTLY who you are. THANK YOU.
So as a recap on native ads, yes I will continue to spend there, but I am much more aware now that the traffic is just being tossed around like a hot potato, between ad networks all day, and I am much more aware of the rampant ad bots. So you ad execs out there, stop pitching to me the “you need to spend $10K for data” pitch…cause there are many other places to buy traffic and it seems your competition is only getting bigger and bigger.
In the grand scheme I think internet users are getting much smarter and can see this whole scheme for what it is…and pretty damn sure in the coming years all this “news” and fake news is gonna be much less lucrative, and we will all be looking back at this like it was the wild west…some of us will miss it, and some of us will likely be recalling the “good ole” days. 🙂
My Year with a great friend…GOOGLE ADWORDS. Here is what I have to say about you…
Google I don’t care what anyone says about you…I love you.
Speaking of the “wild west” . My friend Google do you remember when you nearly wiped out an entire planet of affiliate marketers? That was a site to see. (pun intended). I was only new in the game but I have learned a lot since then. I learned how to become an affiliate marketer and how to legitimately run affiliate campaigns on Google adwords. 🙂 We all know SEO takes years, but adwords takes hours.
Now I admit…I might have cheated a bit and spent some money on Bing this year, but Bing was never the true friend like you are. Although I had a lot of great times at Bing, the volume and scale was always lacking. Bing is definitely a great place, and I have done extremely well with CPA there.
Now I must say Google Adwords has proven to be one of the most consistent traffic sources. It’s one of those set and forget places. I like that. The main thing I have learned is that increasing the budget too sporadically can decrease the conversion rate, and I am going to spend more time learning more ways to scale on Google without just increasing the budget.
I have also learned that using their auto bidding tool to optimize for conversions will only result in me spending way more money than I need too. Lastly I have also learned that they have put a lot of time and effort to improving their customer support and users can now get dedicated account managers.
I have actually learned a lot from my account manager there, but one thing I will caution is that the account managers obviously have a job to get you to spend more money. Of the 3 or 4 times I took the advice from my account managers I had lost more money and spent more. So while they can be great people to talk to, and I can sometimes sleep well at night thinking I might have an “insider” at Google, I don’t take their advice at face value…I proceed with caution.
So will I continue to buy traffic from Google? You’re DAMN RIGHT… We will also be releasing more specific courses on affiliate campaign ideas for Google Adwords inside the Powerhouse Premium membership this year.
Ah Facebook…you have made so many of us RICH
Facebook Friendly Offers
Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy? For the most part ecommerce and straight sale offers are starting to become the trend. I mean there is definitely much more to it…but what I have learned this year is that Facebook is a beast and makes people rich.
I admit that 2-4 years ago I spent a lot of my time buying ads on Facebook that today would likely not be allowed anymore. It was nothing really fishy, but Facebook has tightened up, and massive account bans are a real thing.
I have focused more time on finding facebook compliant ad campaigns. The fact is there really are a ton of compliant offers out there that can be run on Facebook.
Stick to what you are good at…don’t try to become a “Jack of All Trades” like I did…
One thing that I see happening more and more, (and this may scare affiliate networks) is that the bigger affiliates are starting to shift towards building out their own offers and protecting themselves from not being paid! Be-bye advertisers who don’t pay, and be-bye networks who pass that loss onto the affiliates…
I have tried building offers myself, and in 2016 I built 4 offers. If you think it’s that easy you are completely false, which is why I went from owning 4 offers to only one. I own one offer and believe me, if you are good at affiliate marketing, stick to being an affiliate and find an advertiser you can trust. That is the biggest lesson I learned.
I spent so much time trying to “protect my empire” by building offers that I had absolutely no experience in, where I could have spent that time partnering with someone who knows their stuff about CRMs, Customer support, fulfillment, processing, product creation, manufacturing, risk management, legal and the list goes on…and on.
If you know traffic, stick to traffic, and find a partner or network you can trust.
Meanwhile I spent tens of thousands in building out products that lacked a real solid business foundation…I could have spent all that money on traffic and made WAY more money…and had less headaches.
This problem is going to continue to plague affiliates who think they can just build their own products and run with it, especially since there is a SURGE of people out their selling courses on how to start a Shopify or Woo-commerce empire.
TRUST ME – it’s not that easy. If you want to make sick money ask 80% of my Facebook friends in the industry how they did it and they will likely tell you to stick to being an affiliate. (the other 20% are probably drunk in Vegas or pushing continuity pill offers.)
I understand that many affiliates don’t see the long term vision of affiliate marketing, and that at the end of the day they want to “own” something.
I struggled with this myself, but I have learned new ways to build out affiliate campaigns so that in the end I still own something. That something is a massive email list or branded website. While some advertisers will struggle constantly with processing, legal battles and product fulfillment, my list will always be actively ready for whatever affiliate offer I want to pitch their way.
Bad Deals, Shady Deadbeats, and Advertisers Who Don’t Pay
If anything I have learned that the industry has its idiots and many of us deal with the same idiots.
If you think the idiots can only be the networks then you are wrong. The networks I work with are fantastic and up front and pay ALWAYS.
I have learned in a few bad deals, that everyone involved in the chain from the moment a product is created, to the moment an affiliate gets paid is a potential risk.
I have been screwed by advertisers who don’t pay, networks who don’t pay because advertisers didn’t pay them, I have been screwed by shady terms in agreements that make me pay for things that I shouldn’t have to pay for, I have entered into risky deals that I never should have been part of, and I trusted people when I shouldn’t have.
Yes, I know I am part to blame, and in the end I am the one who needs to do more due diligence when deciding who I work with.
No matter what level you are, you can stand to get screwed by the wrong people. The online performance marketing industry is full of scammers, but they are only a fraction of the people in this game.
The truth is the majority of us are real people who want to work together to build real businesses that last, and we have goals to build the industry to its true potential.
So What is the future Going to Look Like?
There is a lot on the plate for Performance Marketing and I am very pumped to keep things going!
Definitely going to continue building new campaigns and share insights inside the private affiliate forum, and going to continue building mail lists and followers to my niche sites. Facebook traffic is going to be a major focus.
We have hired 2 more people to help enhance our affiliate training program even more inside the premium members area, and we will be sharing more ideas on how to build highly effective online marketing campaigns. We plan to highlight a new campaign strategy every 2 weeks and share it with our members for discussions. This is in addition to the already existing businesses in a box, and premium training content inside.
How to Do Social Media Affiliate Marketing – Easy 10-step Guide
To be successful at social media affiliate marketing, you just need to do TEN simple things in regards to your posts and social media channels.
In this article, I will explore, step by step, how to set up a successful social media affiliate marketing business.
For affiliate marketing, social media is one of the most widely used tools. When done right, you can create a successful stream of income for yourself.
For an in-depth outline of marketing affiliate products through social media, read this article. For detailed understanding of all kinds of affiliate marketing tools, feel free to sign up for Powerhouse Affiliate’s free affiliate marketing course.
Quickly Jump to any Section:
- Sign up for an affiliate program and choose products to sell
- Identify your audience for social media affiliate marketing
- Choose a social channel for affiliate marketing
- Create quality content
- Engage audience through two-way interactions
- Use photos and videos to engage audience
- Post actively
- Promote quality products through social media affiliate marketing
- Use short and clean redirect links
- Promote you social posts
Here’s how to use social affiliate marketing:
1. Sign up for an affiliate program and choose products to sell
Choose one of the many affiliate programs out there. Choose an affiliate program that is reliable, offers good commissions, has a good brand value, and has a good affiliate cookie duration. You do not have to tick for all the criteria while choosing an affiliate program. Decide what’s important to you. One feature of the program might make up for another. So, evaluate various programs like Amazon Associates, PowerHouse Affiliate, and CJ Affiliate, and choose one or more for yourself.
Ensure that you do not fall in any scams. We have written an article on identifying and avoiding affiliate marketing scams.
2. Identify your audience for social media affiliate marketing
Identify the audience that you will target through social media affiliate marketing. Learn about their age group, their interests, geographical location, etc. After that, learn about the kind of social media channels your audience is using and engaging with. For example, your audience might be Women aged 25-45, who use Instagram and Facebook and have interest in startups, cooking, and home decor. Learn such details about your audience before you go for social affiliate marketing.
3. Choose a social channel for affiliate marketing
The next thing you do in social media affiliate marketing is to choose a channel to promote through. Once you know which channels your audience prefers, choose social media channels you think will be the most effective and profitable to work with.
You can choose all or a few relevant channels to work with, depending upon your execution capacity. It is best to stick to one or a few channels and work on them properly. Here are a few popular social media channels to work with for affiliate marketing:
3.a. Facebook affiliate marketing
Facebook affiliate marketing is straightforward. This platform offers a lot of opportunities and features to sell affiliate products. Facebook has 2.37 billion active monthly users.
Affiliate marketing on Facebook is used to create a user base that is influenced by your recommendations on the channel. It is a good way to reach a wide audience that can be engaged well through various features of Facebook. Facebook analytics also help you narrow down your audience and help you create informed Paid Ads on the channel.
To learn how to affiliate marketing on Facebook, you can explore our Affiliate Marketing Course or read Point 10 below.
3.b. Instagram affiliate marketing
Instagram is a fast-growing platform. It had 1 billion monthly active users in June 2018, as per Statista. These users have varied interests and demographics. You can easily target your prefered set of audience on Instagram through features like sponsored Ads, organic hashtags, insta stories, verified Instagram accounts, collaboration with other influencers and high user engagement.
To learn tips and tricks on how to affiliate market on Instagram, Jump to Point 10 below.
3.c. Twitter affiliate marketing
Twitter affiliate marketing is also very popular. In this era, where opinions and news can be shared and people can be influenced in as little as 280 characters, Twitter is gaining popularity among affiliate marketers.
Affiliate marketing on Twitter can be very effective with little effort, as the platform had about 330 million daily active users in Q1 of 2019, as per Statista. Like other social media platforms, it also offers various paid and organic modes to reach a wide audience.
3.d. Pinterest affiliate marketing
Pinterest works like a charm, when it comes to affiliate marketing. It’s where you can use powerful imagery to attract users to your affiliate products. The platform feeds users with posts as per their interests, which helps marketers reach their audience automatically.
Affiliate marketing on Pinterest can be very lucrative, considering the platform reportedly had about 322 monthly million users in the 3rd quarter of the year 2019. You can add meaningful content and links to your posts to ensure that they reach the right audience.
4. Create quality content
It’s cliched, but the content is the Key! Post regular educative and entertaining content on your chosen social media channels. Your generic and affiliate posts should in 80-20 ratio. Do not post too much promotional and affiliate content. Create videos, images and articles that educate and entertain users in your niche. Once you have gained the trust of your audience, you’ll easily be able to influence them to purchase your affiliate products.
5. Engage audience through two-way interactions
Aim for high engagement rates to keep audience interested in your content. Your posts shouldn’t be a one-way communication. Use features like polls, comments, and reactions to get your audience’s opinion. This helps in people being able to relate to you and trust you as a content creator. Actively reply to comments and reviews to show that you are listening. Modify your content to suit your audience’s preferences.
6. Use photos and videos to engage audience
Photos and videos tend to get better response on social media than text-based content. Link relevant images to affiliate products to get a better click-through rate. Videos are great to hook users and, hence, are great to motivate users to purchase your affiliate products.
7. Post actively
Persistence is important. Make a schedule and stick to it. Your audience needs to understand that you are actively serving good content. Give them a reason to stay connected to your channels. If you go missing in action for long or if your posts are sporadic, then your users might lose interest in your channel over time.
8. Promote quality products through social media affiliate marketing
One important thing to keep in mind is to put your name to products that are of good quality. Refrain from marketing low-quality affiliate products. People will trust you in the long run only if they have a good product experience after making a purchase. Good quality products will earn you a good word of mouth, adding to your follower base.
9. Use short and clean redirect links
Affiliate links are generally untidy and long. Try to use clean redirect links from your website to ensure that people are comfortable clicking on them from your social media pages and posts. You can also use link shorteners to make the links look clean.
10. Promote you social posts
Once you have created good content, you need to promote your posts for three reasons—get more followers, higher content engagement, and more affiliate sales.
Here are a few ways you can promote posts on different social media platforms.
10.a. How to do affiliate marketing on Facebook
Create quality content (pictures, text and videos), add affiliate links, join relevant groups on Facebook, share posts on relevant groups, and create paid ads and optimize them.
Affiliate marketing with Facebook can also be done through Facebook stories. Create a product catalog on Facebook and promote it. Write and promote entertaining and educative content for your niche to build audience and to gain your audience’s trust. Invite people to like your Page. If you are learning how to start affiliate marketing on Facebook, then you can try our Free affiliate marketing course.
10.b. How to affiliate market on Instagram
Instagram affiliate marketing can be done by adding sponsored affiliate links to your Instagram posts, reach a ‘verified’ status to add links in Insta Stories, or add a link in your Bio to get traffic to your affiliate links.
Use the right hashtags to organically reach your audience. Reply to comments to improve the engagement rate of your posts. Overall, affiliate marketing on Instagram will work only if you are regularly posting interesting and engaging content for your users and not just selling.
10.c. Affiliate marketing on Twitter
Twitter affiliate marketing can be done by promoting your posts using the right hashtags, choosing a theme of posts, creating a story with your posts, and promoting through Ads. Add links to affiliate product images, so that users can reach your products to purchase them.
10.d. Affiliate marketing on Pinterest
To promote your posts on Pinterest, you can add the right keywords to the titles and descriptions of your posts. Understand the interests of your audience and create content around it. Relevant keywords will help Pinterest show your posts to the audience with an interest in the content and products that you are promoting.
Add links to your posts to direct users to your affiliate products. You can also use Paid Ads on Pinterest to promote your posts among users who search, browse and discover content.
Social media affiliate marketing can be very effective when done right. It gets you a higher ROI as you are able to engage users easily and frequently.
Affiliate marketing through social media can be done through channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Choose the channels your audience prefers, create quality content, and promote that content organically and through paid Ads.
Choose quality products to promote through social media affiliate marketing. Create educative and entertaining content to engage your audience. Publish affiliate product posts only 20% of the time.
Build audience, brand, engagement and trust to be successfully able to sell affiliate products.
Besides social media marketing, you can also sell affiliate products by creating a website for affiliate marketing or making an affiliate marketing ebook.
Affiliate Marketing Scams to Avoid Online
Affiliate marketing is a legitimate business. Many marketers out there are making their living from affiliate marketing of products and services.
There are various legit affiliate marketing business programs and training courses in the market.
However, amidst genuine business and learning opportunities, there is a lot of grey matter that comprises of scams and bogus schemes. Such bad elements in the market often make people believe that affiliate marketing is a scam, but that’s not always true.
In this article, I will cover two main aspects of the negative side of affiliate marketing:
1. Multi level marketing or MLM programs
There are various Multi-level affiliate marketing programs that sell products or services that pay little commission. Such programs want affiliates to enrol more affiliates in the program, and that is what most of the commissions are attached to.
Such programs may seem attractive to begin with, but in the long run, they are not profitable for affiliates. The time and energy you spend on a program like this can be spent on a genuine program that will earn you affiliate revenue for a long time.
2. Affiliate marketing pyramid schemes
These are the most dubious affiliate scams. They offer no service or product. The whole model is based on getting more affiliate through existing affiliates. An affiliate program joining fee is generally charged by such programs. Your initial investment is distributed to the affiliates who helped in enrolling you. You dive in the same vicious cycle of enrolling other affiliates to earn commissions.
Affiliate marketing pyramid schemes should be avoided, period! You can use that time and money in setting up a genuine affiliate marketing business or on learning affiliate marketing methods that will earn you real money.
3. Paid affiliate programs
Like pyramid schemes, there are other affiliate programs that have paid entry. These programs have products or services to sell, but they charge a fee from affiliates to join the program. Often, such programs turn out to be scams that collect a small fee for joining, but often to not give back what is promised.
You can easily find free affiliate programs online. There are many reputed affiliate programs that are free to join and that offer transparent dashboards displaying the clicks and sales you drive for them.
4. Become rich quick affiliate scams
This is an age old trick in the book. Many affiliate programs promise that they will make you rich in a few days, weeks or months. They show shiny offers and reports, so that you are lured into subscribing to their programs, but at the end of the day, they turn out to be full of empty promises and substandard products.
You can become rich quick by genuine effort. It doesn’t always have to be hard work, but it has to be the right type of work. You will have to put in what is required to succeed at affiliate marketing. Avoid chasing fluffy programs and promises to waste your time and energy.
5. Inflated Income reports
One thing common about many fake affiliate programs and scams is that they display affiliate income reports of their affiliates, that are either inflated or fake. Sometimes such reports are true but they misrepresent the earning of an average marketer on their platform.
Always use your instinct and discretion to assess such reports. Do not be bedazzled by statistics that seem too good to be true.
6. Substandard or fake products
Always pay attention to the quality of the products you will promote through affiliate marketing. Do not fall into the trap of affiliate programs promising to pay high commissions on the sale of substandard products. Some products like AdFly and Pat Flynn are often categorised in this section, because of their unclear offering.
You can be successful at affiliate marketing only if you are selling genuine products and services. Marketing substandard products will require more time, energy and money and will not get you the desired returns in the long run.
7. Affiliate Marketing Training to Get 10,000 visitors per day
Not only affiliate marketing programs take you for a ride, but you will also find affiliate marketing training courses out there that promise to teach you the tricks to get 10,000 and more visitors on your website quickly. Some of these courses are genuine, but many of them are full of empty promises. These training programs come in the form of ebooks, podcasts, elearning programs, and more.
Always use your discretion in recognising genuine learning opportunities. Even if you can get less than 10,000 visitors a day to begin with while learning valuable affiliate marketing lessons, choose a legit place to learn.
8. Upselling of affiliate marketing courses
In the affiliate marketing training world, another trick that is popular is upselling of actual courses. Such marketing programs generally push a beginner affiliate marketing course that is priced low. They list the curriculum and all that you can achieve through what you learn. Such form of affiliate marketing lies and mislead beginners into buying programs that are not worth it.
Once you purchase the low-priced affiliate marketing course, you will, more often than not, be upsold the actual course. Your first purchase will most likely be useless without the final product that is priced high. You can stay away from such courses and try free affiliate marketing courses or courses that have good reviews online.
Now that we have listed the most common affiliate marketing scams and lies in the market, I will talk about the most basic and easy ways to identify an online affiliate marketing scam and avoid it.
1. Visit their company’s website
Always visit the company website of the affiliate marketing program to assess how genuine the the company is. Check the reviews on their website, see how old the company is, read about their existing affiliate network, read about their payment methods, etc. If a company is not clearly revealing their policies and methods, it’s most certainly hiding something. Online marketing scams often leave a lot of loopholes in the information they display. Read between the lines, if any form of essential information is missing from their website.
2. Google It
Always do a Google search about an affiliate program. When you Google a program, you will come across news, website pages, reviews, and much more about that program. Look at up to 2nd or 3rd page of the Google search engine results to learn about your affiliate program’s legitimacy.
3. Read Reviews
Try to find and read reviews about your affiliate program. If it’s a good program, you’ll know by the kind of review people have written, and if it’s a bad program or a scam, then you will most definitely find a lot of reviews about that, too. You can visit forums like Warrior Affiliate to read what people have to say about your chosen program. Reddit and Quora are also good sources to learn about programs and courses.
4. Follow your gut – Is it too good to be true?
After you have done the required online research, follow your instincts about a program and their products and services. If something seems too good to be true, then stay away from it. The internet reveals a lot about any product or service if you do the right research. Always know a program well to dive in and start marketing their products as an affiliate or to subscribe to their affiliate marketing courses.
So, if you’re wondering. ‘is affiliate marketing legitimate?’ The answer is, ‘Yes’. But you have to be careful in selecting a program that is genuine and trustworthy.
I hope this guide about identifying and avoiding affiliate marketing scams is helpful. If you have any specific questions about any particular program, then leave a comment below.
Stay tuned for more affiliate marketing-related content.
Top 12 Tips to Create an Affiliate Marketing Ebook
Affiliate marketing ebooks are often used to market and sell products. However, the book can’t be all about sales. It has to be educational, entertaining and value-driven.
In this article, we will explore the best ways to create affiliate marketing books that help boost your affiliate marketing sales.
As a bonus, I will also cover a short list of best affiliate marketing books and resources at the end of this article. (Unrelated to this article, but will help you in promoting your affiliate marketing book.)
1. Choose a product niche for your affiliate marketing ebook
First of all, choose an affiliate product niche that you know about. It’s important to write about a topic you are good at. You can always get to know more about a product through research, as long as you have an interest in the topic and would love to learn about it.
Also, ensure that the product you’re choosing has a good market. Your effort will be worth it if the product has a good demand in the market.
2. Find the right affiliate programs
Identify good and reliable affiliate programs that offer the affiliate products you chose.
There are five things to look at while choosing an affiliate program—Program’s brand positioning, product offering, commission rate, cookie duration and payment methods.
There are many reliable affiliate programs out there. Some give great commissions, some have longer cookie durations, while some have such good brand reputation that they make up in volume what they lack in commission rates.
Some good affiliate programs out there are Amazon Associate program (includes Amazon ebook affiliate program), Powerhouse Affiliate Program (our very own), CJAffiliates, ShareASale, etc.
3. Make a sheet of affiliate links
This step is optional, but I always suggest that you make an Excel or Google Sheet of your selected affiliate links. This helps you find all the relevant products links in one place.
It doesn’t have to be an exhaustive list. Choose the products carefully, so that you can plan your affiliate marketing ebook around them.
4. Write a working title of your ebook
Do some research on Amazon Kindle Store and see what books in your niche have good reviews. This will give you an idea about what people like to read about.
Write a few working titles for your ebook. Choose one to start with. This will make the base for creating an outline for the book and writing it. A title works as a broad theme that you keep in mind while writing the book. It can give a book direction.
For example, if my ebook is for selling home products, then I can write a book called ‘Organize Your Home and Save a Year of Your Life’ or ‘A Clean Home to Declutter Your Personal Life’.
You can always change the title of your ebook later, if you feel like it. You can also skip this step and start without a working title. It is recommended, but not compulsory.
5. Read a few popular ebooks in your niche
Read a few popular ebooks in your niche to understand what people like. This will help you write better by understanding what users want to read. It will also give you writing ideas. You can always write on an existing topics from a fresh perspective.
6. Create an outline of your affiliate ebook
To make your writing process more streamlined, it is best to create an outline for it. This will save you time while writing and editing the book. This is how the best writers write their books. They create a wireframe of the book and then start writing.
This will also help you plan where to add your affiliate links and suggestions so that the readers are convinced to purchase those products.
7. Write your ebook or hire a freelancer
This is the most important step of this whole exercise. Write your ebook to genuinely help people on a subject. You can even write your book to entertain the readers. Either way, your book should deliver real value to your audience.
Many people end up writing affiliate marketing ebooks that are too salesy. This can put off readers and get you bad reviews on Kindle and other ebook stores. Promote your affiliate products passively in the book.
Create a story or a theme that readers can relate to. Once they feel connected with you, you are more likely to sell affiliate products to them.
If you are busy or think that writing is not something you are good at, you can even hire a freelancer to write the affiliate marketing ebook for you.
8. Add affiliate links to your ebook
Add affiliate links to your ebook at the right places. Do not add links where the pitch is to salesy. Always be subtle in your promotions. Deliver content value to readers while suggesting an affiliate product.
9. Edit and proofread the ebook
Some people are really particular about spelling and grammar. Edit and proofread your book or take the help of a professional to do so. People can give a book bad reviews just because of some punctuation or grammatical mistakes.
10. Design your ebook and format it
Once you have written your ebook, format it as per the requirements of Amazon Kindle Store or other such ebook stores. Format your book neatly. Use readable fonts and heading styles. Convert your ebook to PDF and other acceptable formats.
11. Publish your ebook for affiliate products (and pricing)
Once your book is ready, publish it on Amazon Kindle Store and other such places. You can give your ebook for Free to begin with, till it gathers some good reviews. Later, you can increase the price, as you like.
People tend to download Free ebooks a lot. So, starting with an affiliate marketing free ebook is always a good idea. Some books do well even if they are paid, but to get to that point, it’s good to gather some good reviews.
12. Promote your ebook
Once you have created and published your ebook, promote it through various modes. You can create a website for affiliate marketing ebooks.
Search engine optimizing your website will help you get traffic through search engines. You can even promote your ebook through paid Ads on search engines and social media. Organic social media promotions can also help.
Best Affiliate Marketing Books and Resources
Also, as I promised, here’s a list of some of the best books on affiliate marketing. There are also various free affiliate marketing courses to help you learn how to promote a website.
- Ebook (Paid): Affiliate Marketing: The Beginner’s Step by Step Guide to Making Money Online With Affiliate Marketing by Kevin Ulaner
- Ebook (Paid): Passive Income: Ideas – 35 Best, Proven Business Ideas for Building Financial Freedom in the New Economy – Includes Affiliate Marketing, Blogging, Dropshipping and Much More! by Chandler Wright
- Ebook (Paid): Affiliate Marketing: How to make money and create an income by A Anderson
- Ebook (Free): The Beginner’s Affiliate Marketing Blueprint: How to Get Started For Free And Earn Your First $10,000 In Commissions Fast! (Make Money Online With Affiliate Marketing in 2019 Beginners Edition) by Alex Marketing
- Online course (Free): Powerhouse Affiliate Marketing Course by Joey Babineau
All the best with your ebook affiliate marketing project and feel free to leave a comment below if you have any queries.
Stay tuned for tips and tricks on affiliate marketing.
- How To Setup Clickbank Postback Conversion Tracking For Any Affiliate Platform
- How to Do Social Media Affiliate Marketing – Easy 10-step Guide
- Affiliate Marketing Scams to Avoid Online
- Top 12 Tips to Create an Affiliate Marketing Ebook
- The Fastest and Best Way to Learn How to Sell Affiliate Products
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