Alex Micol, CEO + Founder of Scalers.
The popularity of affiliate marketing has grown significantly in recent years, with more companies turning to this industry as a cost-effective way to promote their products and services. The industry in the U.S. grew from $2.5 billion in 2012 to $8.2 billion in 2022. By partnering with affiliates, companies can tap into new audiences and reach customers who may not have found their products otherwise.
For affiliate marketers, the benefits are equally compelling. You can earn a commission by promoting products you believe in, without having to deal with the hassle of creating and selling your own products. So, whether you’re an experienced affiliate marketer or just starting out, it’s clear that there’s plenty of opportunity to succeed in this space. In the following sections, I’ll share tips and strategies to help you improve your affiliate marketing process and get the most out of your partnerships.
Let’s get started!
What makes affiliate marketing a great online business model?
1. Low Startup Costs
With affiliate marketing, you only need $200 to $400 per week to launch your first campaign. This means there are low barriers to entry and plenty of room for trial and error until you start generating real profit.
2. Profit Potential
While most companies only offer between 5% and 30% of a product’s purchase price as commission, if you’re dedicated and persistent, you can find commission rates of up to 100% of the purchase price of the items you’re selling. Your goal should be to find products where your commission will be at least 50% of the sale price. Because affiliates are responsible for all of the costs of creating the ad and the ad spend, that commission does not equal your profits. However, with the right products, your profit margins can still reach 50% or more.
Once you start seeing results on a campaign, you can turn around and put those profits right back into your ad spend, generating even more profit!
3. Simplified Workload
With other types of online businesses, you’re stuck shipping products yourself or dealing with vendors and customers—all of which takes more time and can reduce ROI. Affiliate marketing is pretty simple by comparison, although there is the initial learning curve and the work of finding partners, identifying strong products to market and generating ads that sell.
How can you improve your affiliate marketing process?
The road to success in affiliate marketing is often less complicated than you might think. If you get your system flowing just right, it can lead to greater profits for fewer work hours. Here is a checklist that I have found brings the best results.
1. Set up your accounts.
You want to ensure that your payment methods and ad accounts are all set up and ready to go. I recommend starting with Facebook and YouTube because they are easy to use, but others have had success on TikTok, Instagram and even Twitter. If you’re on TikTok more than Facebook, then go ahead and try your ads there!
2. Join an affiliate network.
When you’re starting out, the easiest way to find products to sell is by joining an affiliate network like ShareASale or ClickBank. These are sites where companies upload product specs, marketing materials and even video clips that you can use to create your ads. Most affiliate networks also assign you a manager who can recommend products and help you get started.
3. Find a winning product.
Once you’re on an affiliate platform, find a product you believe in. Start by asking, “Is this a quality product that I would use or recommend to a family member? Would I spend money to try it?” If the answer is no, chances are not many other people would, either. Also, look for products that have an excellent ratio between the cost-to-consumer and your commission—for instance, if the product sells for $50 and you can make $25 commission (50%) for each sale.
4. Test sales.
Once you’ve selected a product, create two to three ads and test them for scalability. Plan to spend five to 10 times the amount of the commission earned on product testing. So, if a product yields $20 in commission per sale, spend between $100 to $200 to determine if it has potential. When you’re testing, just put a few dollars behind each ad and let them run for a week or so to see if you get any sales. There’s no sense in putting your whole ad budget into a product that looked good but doesn’t actually sell.
When creating ads, remember that you have only a second to capture someone’s attention before they keep scrolling. The most common mistake beginners make is producing an ad that takes too long to get to the point. Think about what draws you into the videos and ads that get you to engage. Maybe it’s humor, a heartwarming connection, even something totally absurd—the list is endless. Don’t be afraid to try something unexpected!
5. Scale your ads.
If one of your ads takes off, start putting more money behind it and watch your sales grow! You can also keep testing to see if changes in your ads increase your conversion rate.
Don’t worry if you hit some bumps in the road—everyone loses a little money at first. That’s just part of the testing process. But the great thing about affiliate marketing is that you can generally expect some sales, so even if your first campaign isn’t profitable, it shouldn’t be a complete loss, either.
There’s a lot of great business to be had in this industry. With winning products and the willingness to experiment and push through failure, you can improve your affiliate marketing process and watch your business grow.
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