Effective Affiliate Marketing Strategy [33 Expert Tips]

Effective Affiliate Marketing Strategy

An effective affiliate marketing strategy requires a lot of hard work and patience.

Earning passive income doesn’t mean you can just put an affiliate link on your website and watch the money roll in. While that would be really great, it’s not quite the case.

Affiliate marketing is a relatively simple concept. It is a marketing practice that involves an advertiser rewarding its partners or affiliates for bringing in clients. Although, in theory, this sounds quite easy, in reality, running a successful affiliate marketing gig is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Most affiliates typically earn a few dollars every month, while experienced ones can bag a six-figure income. So what sets apart the newbies from the veterans?

Below are some tips for an effective affiliate marketing strategy that experts swear by:

1. Follow the Rules

If you are a beginner, you first need to acquaint yourself with all the basics of affiliate marketing. For this, you can go through the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines for affiliate marketers. Although the original document is a bit dense, you can go through blogs that provide summaries of its content for better understanding.

When partnering with an advertiser, make sure you follow all the rules because the last thing you need is to get busted for a scam and betray your readers’ trust.

2. Identify Your Industry

If you want to generate an income through an affiliate channel, you first need to identify the industry, category, and niche that you relate to the most. When we say relate, we mean that you should have a substantial interest and some experience in the area that you are entering.

New affiliates who are only driven by the thought of earning boatloads of money may not strike it rich if they approach it with this attitude. That’s because affiliates will only be able to sell their affiliated product if they are able to convince their visitors about the virtues of their marketed brand.

3. Select White Hat Verticals

Shopify is an example of white hat verticals

Verticals are the type of products you are promoting. When opting for an affiliate program, make sure they offer super white hat verticals. You don’t want to get banned and lose your account just because you are catering to shady websites and products.

Since the pool of white hat verticals is enormous, you shouldn’t have any problem finding one that fits your niche. Some of the most popular ones are e-commerce sites, like Shopify, WooCommerce, and other similar platforms.

Adult dating is also very cool, and even though you may not get a high return on investment, it is easy to break even. It is a great vertical to start with since it will teach you how to handle offers, banners, and landing pages. It will also teach you the essential skills and funnels of affiliate marketing.

Some other safe verticals you can invest in are gambling / casinos, gaming, Nutra, health and beauty, education, and sweepstakes.

4. Know the Product

One of the biggest mistakes that affiliates make is not educating themselves about the product. If you don’t know what the product or service does, you will not be able to design an effective strategy to promote it. How can you convince your visitors to click on the referral link?

Moreover, people tend to intrinsically know when you are not an authority on a product or service you are pushing.

A bigger point of concern is how your website is impacted by the products you are promoting. If your visitors are referred to another page, will they find something they are looking for, or will you only be wasting their time? Remember, once you start an affiliate business, your own brand and website will be attached to your advertiser’s company. And if your visitors do not like the products and services, it will ultimately reflect on you.

So, don’t let yourself get into this lose-lose situation. If you are not intensely familiar with the product, do not promote it. This may be a tough pill to swallow, and you may miss an opportunity to earn some money. But in the long run, it is the right thing to do.

5. Try the Products Yourself

The best way to know about the products and services you are affiliated with is to try them out firsthand. Since you will soon be representing them, experience them yourself, and figure out what value they have to offer.

You should then offer them to your audience in an authoritative way. You can add photos and videos of yourself using the products to build trust.

Always make sure you keep your audience in mind and make your promotional efforts visitor-centric. This will make them feel like the recommendations are just for them, increasing their willingness to click on the affiliate links and buy the products.

6. Select a Profitable Affiliate Program

A profitable affiliate program may not necessarily mean a high-paying one but one that generates a steady and recurring commission.

There are thousands of affiliate products that you can use for your venture into affiliate marketing. However, it is not easy to choose which one will be best for you.

The right affiliate product should be something that appeals to your niche. Even though you will likely see plenty of big brands that offer partnerships, do not only chase those. Such products have an extremely high rate of competition, which can result in low conversion through your site.

Instead, look for a brand or product that has low-to-moderate competition, so you have a better chance of driving sales. Also, make sure that your affiliate program offers you all the necessary information related to the product so that you can promote it effectively.

7. Explore Low-Payout Programs

Low Pay-Out Affiliate Programs Can Yield Better Revenue

When you are starting out in the affiliate marketing industry, it can be tempting to leap at the ones with the highest payouts. However, before jumping the gun, you need to know why those payouts are so high.

Take a look at some of the metrics that show the health of the campaign, like conversion rates, earning per clicks, and geo coverage. Typically, if any of these are low, it is an indication that you will have a lot of difficulty in landing a qualified sale. Highly competitive campaigns may have high payouts, but they also reflect low volume.

Let’s say, for example, you received two offers: one with a payout of $3 per sale, and another with a payout of $10.

Inexperienced affiliate marketers may have the urge to grab the second offer.

Don’t do it, though!

It’s possible that the $10 offer only has a high payout because it has a low conversion rate. Conversely, the $3 payout may have a conversion rate ten times higher than the $10 offer. If the $10 offer has a conversion rate of 1/1000 and the $3 offer has a conversion rate of 1/100, this means that after 10,000 clicks, you would have earned only $100 if you took the $10 offer. However, you will get $300 if you opted for the $3 offer.

It’s as simple as that.

So avoid running after affiliate campaigns just because the payout seems high, and prevent nasty surprises.

8. Content Marketing and Affiliate Marketing Go Hand-in-Hand

One of the best ways you can stand out from the competition is to provide value to your customers in ways that are being neglected by your rivals. You can do this by providing useful information and insights about the product by treating it as your own.

You can create epic blogs, video posts, and written reviews about the products you are promoting.

A lot of times, visitors hesitate to click on an affiliate link when they are unsure about a tiny detail of the product. In this case, making yourself available as an information source for your affiliated product can go a long way in improving your conversion rates.

A simple answer to a question can make potential buyers feel more secure with their purchase decision and prompt them to click on the link.

9. Welcome Questions

An effective affiliate marketing strategy means welcoming questions from your visitors. This does not mean that you have to be on call 24/7. However, when you are promoting your product, just give your visitors a shout-out to let you know if they have any questions.

When you do this, your visitors will feel that you care about them and that you will be there to address any concerns about the product.

Many people worry about their inbox flooding with hundreds of emails if they do this. However, you will rarely have so many questions you will be unable to answer them. However, this little encouragement will give you tremendous value and will instill trust in your visitors.

Remember that the people who will email or message you about your affiliate products are the ones who are the most interested in buying the products. So don’t waste this opportunity to earn more commission.

10. Always Be Honest

When you are working for an affiliate program, you may feel inclined to excessively praise a product even though it may not be very good.

This is a big mistake and can cost you the trust and confidence of your visitors.

When it comes to affiliate marketing, it is best to be completely honest. If you have any concerns or detect any shortcomings while using the product, do not be afraid to voice your opinions to your visitors.

In most cases, letting your readers know the product has a few issues will not be a deal-breaker. Most people will appreciate your honesty, and may even go ahead and purchase the product since they know you have given them complete information about it.

11. Compare and Review Products

Another good tactic for an effective affiliate marketing strategy is to review and compare different products of the same type. Give your visitors a breakdown of all the products features and benefits, and let them decide for themselves which one works the best for them. While giving your recommendations, make sure you add your affiliate link.

The reason is that when people are shopping around, they like to check different products. So instead of making them search all around the web, you can keep them on your site by providing them reviews of various products of the same type. A well-written or videoed review can drive up qualified sales.

12. Use Personalized Language

When you sign up to an affiliate program, the affiliate management team will often send you marketing literature for your blog posts, social media messages, and emails.

Although the text can be handy when it comes to getting full information about the product, it is not necessary to use it verbatim. In fact, you can use bits of it to craft your own personalized message for your visitors.

That’s because your visitors trust you, not the advertiser of your affiliated product. They are accustomed to hearing things in your voice, and it will be evident to them if you are copy-pasting from somewhere else.

13. Become an SEO Shark

Note that you will only get traffic on your website if it has a good standing with the search engine. This will also impact the number of clicks on your referral link.

To develop an effective affiliate marketing strategy, you will need to rely heavily on SEO practices for organic and relevant traffic. You will need to outrank your competitor on Google’s search results.

A lot of people deal in shady black-hat practices to direct traffic to their websites. However, such methods are only effective for a short period of time until the search engine algorithm cracks down on them and de-indexes their page.

Affiliate marketers who are serious about their work will only ever use white hat practices, like creating useful and resourceful content. This will help keep your site on the top-ranking pages for longer, bringing more visitors to your site. As it stands, they will be more likely to click your referral links resulting in more commission for you.

14. Stay Away From Bad Links

Since we are on the subject of SEO practices, getting authority links to your website also counts towards a better ranking.

New affiliates who are not very familiar with the concept of SEO may have an urge to get as many links for their websites as possible. In their quest, they often wander the shadier alleys of the web. Some of these links probably give their site a temporary boost, but it is not a great idea to bet against Google.

Remember that the search engines will penalize anything abusive or unethical. Your bad links may be deleted before they even get enough momentum. That’s why it’s best to stay away from bad links and focus on making great content and nurturing a few useful authority links.

15. Give Your Own Bonus

Reward customers who buy through your affiliate links with a bonus

This is one of the most underutilized tips. However, its effects can be very powerful. When you are selling someone else’s products, you can sweeten the deal by giving away a little bonus to anyone who purchases through the affiliate link.

Chances are a lot of other websites may also be promoting that product, and your visitors are just as likely to buy from them as they would from you. Therefore, you need to hook them in with a “cherry on top,” so to speak. Just ask your members to email or message you a copy of a receipt for verification, and you can send them the bonus.

As for what that bonus should be, it doesn’t have to be anything costly or huge. It could just be exclusive, unrestricted access to premium content on your website, or addition to a closed Facebook group. You could also give buying customers a freebie product which complements the affiliate product. It could also be a discount code, coupons, or promotional deals for your own products and services.

16. Avoid Coupon Sites

One of the best ways to ensure you get relevant traffic that can be converted into paying customers is to run a niche-specific website. However, do not make the mistake of adding coupon codes to your site. Even if you do, keep a check on the links and audit them regularly.

A lot of people think that adding coupon codes regularly to their website will add value to the customer. However, most of the time, this doesn’t happen. That’s because coupon codes sites don’t usually drive traffic.

The visitor lands on the site because they have already decided they want to buy an affiliate product, but are looking for a discount. When you type a query into Google, Coupon code sites like Coupon.com show whether their affiliate has a working coupon out or not. When visitors click on the affiliate link, the sale gets attributed to the coupon code website. For the merchant, it means they are paying their affiliate a commission for a transaction that would have happened anyway.

Therefore, many merchants will pay a reduced commission to such sites, or will not partner with them at all. There are thousands of coupon codes sites out on the web. Many of them are big players willing to accept a commission at the rate of 1%, or even less.

17. Never Spam

Inexperienced affiliate marketers often complain that all their efforts are in vain and they are unable to drive traffic to their site. So, why does affiliate marketing sometimes yield no results?

One of the biggest reasons is spamming.

In their haste to get as many convertible visitors as possible, affiliates bombard their followers with dozens of requests to purchase the product they are promoting. They will keep emailing or messaging their visitors every day, or worse, every hour. No one likes a nag, so chances are your visitors will be too miffed to click on your affiliate link and may unfollow you as well.

Another reason why affiliate marketing efforts fail is that you may be targeting the product to irrelevant audiences that are not interested in your promoted products. Therefore, research is crucial.

18. Capitalize on Right Opportunities

Your affiliate marketing venture may also fail if you are not sure when to capitalize on your opportunities. For example, holiday seasons are the perfect time to promote products and give away coupons.

A lot of people also forget that affiliate marketing takes some time and effort to produce results. If you are only in the business to earn some quick cash, affiliate marketing is not for you. If you want to build a reliable affiliate marketing structure, you will need to be patient. People who give up in a few short weeks miss out on a lot of opportunities.

19. Thank Your Visitors

Thank Your Customers

Our mothers taught us always to say “thank you” whenever we receive something from someone. In affiliate marketing, it is a good idea to thank your visitors in advance for going through your affiliate link.

If a visitor makes a purchase through your affiliate link, see if your tracking system will disclose their email or contact information. If it does, you can send them a simple thank you note.

Even though it is such a small thing, it makes people feel important and valued — and this can increase loyalty.

20. Give People Multiple Chances to Access the Affiliate Link

Even though this is common sense, sadly, a lot of inexperienced marketers fail to implement it and miss out on potential revenue. When you add a single affiliate link at the top of the page, people are less likely to see it and click on it. So try to place more than a single affiliate link on your page.

Having said that, don’t go overboard stuffing your entire page with unnatural links. The best thing you can do is sprinkle them in naturally, so they don’t turn your visitors off.

A lot of people may click on your first top link just because it is there. But those who prefer to scroll down and read your content are the ones who are more interested in what you have to offer. So adding affiliate links in the middle of the content in a natural way is better.

You should also consider adding affiliate links to your YouTube videos, podcast notes, and Resources page. The bottom line is that you need to make it easy for people to access the relevant affiliated link.

21. Mobile Optimization

It is the new form of advertising to reach the most customers

These days, more people are using their cellphones rather than desktop computers to shop online. Many marketers optimize their desktop websites ads but forget to do the same for their mobile responsive ones.

This means they miss around 50% of their ads not being seen by potential buyers.

22. Track Click-Throughs

Keeping track of your affiliate links and visitors’ activities is crucial in affiliate marketing.

Check which sources are the most profitable and generate the most traffic. If you only place a single referral link on just one of your web pages, videos, webinars, or blog posts, you may never know where you can get the most traffic from. Also, find out which type of visitors are the most revenue-generating so that you can figure out ways to further promote your products to them.

Perform AB testing on your banners and creatives to see which of the designs are generating more conversion. Also, find out at what times you get the most conversion. It could be certain hours of the day, or it could be certain seasons. Make sure you collect all this data through tracking and compare their rates.

23. Use Link Localizers

Link localizers help redirect visitors to location-specific sites. For example, if you use an Amazon affiliate link and visitors from all over the world click on it, you may lose out on potential revenue opportunities if the site only takes them to the Amazon.com page, which is only useful for people in the United States.

To grab the other global revenue opportunities, you can add a link localizer plugin which will redirect your visitor to their country-specific Amazon page. This way, they can easily find and buy the items they are looking for, and you will get a commission for it.

It’s a win-win situation.

24. Cloak Your Links

Visitors need to click on your affiliate links and buy a product from a merchant to ensure that you get a commission. However, some unnecessarily long affiliate links with special characters can set off alarm bells for your audience. Take a look at this link:


Such URLs are not easy to read and can look spammy.

However, a cleaner link which indicates the product you are buying looks neater and more trust-worthy. Take a look at this: www.abcsite.com/recommends/productX.

The above link is descriptive, short, easy to read, and therefore, it is SEO-friendly as well.

To make your affiliate links shorter and neater, you can cloak them. There are plenty of free tools, including Pretty Links for WordPress users, which can easily edit the slug of your URL. Once that’s done, you can use that affiliate link anywhere you want.

25. Create Product Review Tables

WooCommerce Product Table Lite free plugin

An effective affiliate marketing strategy is to make comparison tables that describe the features of the products you are promoting. You should include product images, pros and cons, prices, product ratings, and the buy button with the affiliate link.

There are a lot of free plugins you can use to create product review tables easily, including WooCommerce Product Table Lite and TablePress.

Adding product tables can help your visitors decide which products they want to buy without searching for their features all over the web.

26. Use Multiple-Traffic Sources

Successful affiliate marketers know not to put all their eggs in one basket. Since the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Facebook has reduced the organic reach of pages, and Google’s Penguin algorithm has shut down many affiliate sites.

You don’t want to spend your nights tossing and turning, wondering whether Google will penalize your website too.

That is the reason why you shouldn’t place your affiliate links on a single website. It’s best to place them on multiple sources, including your blogs, video channels like Youtube, and podcast show notes. That way, if your website does get penalized, you have other active sources from where you can generate income.

27. Don’t Engage in Fraud

When your affiliate marketing ventures do not generate profit as quickly as you would like, you may have the urge to turn to fraudulent activities. One example is cookie stuffing.

This technique involves the affiliate attaching cookies from multiple merchants to every visitor, regardless of whether the visitor clicks on the affiliate link or not. Later, if the visitor purchases on any of these sites, the affiliate can claim a commission from the merchant.

Another type of fraud is where affiliate places several 1-pixel ads within a single Iframe. These ads are located beneath valid advertising buttons, and when a visitor clicks on a single ad, they inadvertently click on all of them. This way, affiliates can collect unearned commission claiming multiple click-throughs.

Both of these practices are illegitimate, and if your merchant finds out, you can be banned from their CPA network. Worse, the affiliate can report your site to Google for illegal dealings, which can penalize you as well.

28. Nurture Consistency and Credibility

You should strive for consistency and credibility in affiliate marketing since this is a long-term business strategy. This means that you should not sign up for too many affiliate programs. This can make you overflow from your niche and cause ambiguity and doubt among your visitors.

Whenever you add an affiliate link to your products, let your visitors know what they do and why you are recommending them. Make sure you also track which links have gotten the most hits so that you can determine what products your customers are most interested in.

29. Work Through Partner Networks

If you are a beginner in affiliate marketing, chances are that if you directly contact individual advertisers, you will be ignored. Instead, start your affiliate marketing venture with partner networks.

Partner networks serve as an intermediary between the affiliate and the advertisers and can help you connect to many major sites. You can collaborate with multiple partners and can even negotiate higher commission rates through them.

However, make sure you do not compromise quality for quantity. Make sure the affiliate network you are working with is aligned to the goals of your brands. Focusing on fewer partner networks can have a positive impact on your conversion rates and experiences.

30. Establish a Relationship With The Merchant

Establishing a relationship with the owner of the products you are promoting can lead to more credibility and brand trust.

If you get the merchant(s) to do a video where they answer questions about some of the concerns your visitors have about their products, your visitors will know you are not just in it to get money. You want to come across as someone that genuinely cares about their well-being and satisfaction.

This will foster a relationship of trust between you and your customers.

If you cultivate a good relationship with your merchant, you may also get offers like longer free trial periods, discount and deals for your visitors. For yourself, you may also have better leverage to negotiate better commission rates.

31. Disclose Your Affiliate Links

If you want to gain the trust of your visitors, you need to be transparent in all aspects — and affiliate links are no different. So whenever you place an affiliate link on your website, make sure your audience knows you will be earning commissions from them.

Besides appreciating your candor, many people will likely return to your website and buy more through your referral link to pay you back for your honesty.

Aside from this, disclosing your affiliate links is required by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of how many ads you see about making quick money online, always remember that legitimate ways will always take some time.

Consumer attention is high in demand and is extremely competitive. It is important to create an effective affiliate marketing strategy that sets you apart from the competition.

By following these inspiring tips, you can turn your extra pocket money into a major revenue source. All it takes is some dedication and time.