Affiliate Marketing involves the process of referring new clients and customers to other businesses, products, or services, through tracked links posted on websites, blog posts, social media, email campaigns, and other forms of ads. Being an affiliate is like being self-employed, you are not required to produce and stock items or ship them – you are only required to do marketing.
Today I’m not going to give you detailed guidelines on setting affiliate marketing or its benefits etc – all this info can be found in thousands of articles online e.g. on BigCommerce, HubSpot, SmartBlogger, etc. I will write about my personal experience with affiliate marketing.
Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
I can personally answer that question from personal experience and tell you that, yes it does work. But it requires effort – marketing effort.
It may be difficult and will take time to earn a steady income from affiliate marketing. Your best channel to start with is your website, have a blog posting interesting daily content, maintain social media profiles and reach the right audience by sharing interesting content. Depending on your website’s theme, you should be focusing more on promoting relevant products and services.
If you have a website on Financials, then you should be recommending to your readers’ relevant products and services. If you have a website about traveling then you should be promoting flights, hotels, and anything related to travel items. Your content should be based on a certain topic you are promoting. Don’t confuse your readers. Be consistent.
My Affiliate Story
I have both experienced affiliate marketing in the Travel and the Financial Industries. Having developed one website to share my travel experiences and another one to recommend Forex Brokers was just the start of my affiliate marketing journey.
BUT, having two websites to maintain along with a full-time job can be very challenging when it comes to dedicating time for updating the website and promoting to reach the right audience and drive traffic to my websites. After 1 year of maintaining two websites, I decided that I didn’t have time to focus on both, and with the compliance restrictions in the Financial Industry and being tougher to advertise, I chose to close my financial website – it was new, it required a lot of effort, and I didn’t really have the time. My travel website already had a lot of content that was bringing organic traffic, so I decided to maintain that and focus on my full-time job.
At some point, I stopped writing. Did I see my traffic falling? Yes, I did. I stopped adding content, so I stopped getting traffic, I had nothing new to share on my social channels, nothing new to promote. Covid restrictions and personal life changed resulting in no traveling and therefore no stories to share.
But I did see my affiliate marketing generating some cash. How? I managed to have a few good SEO-ed articles which are currently driving organic traffic to my website without any efforts on my side. On those articles, I am recommending products/services that my readers are clicking through and they land on the website which I am affiliated with (they have already clicked my affiliate link so whatever they purchase I will be generating my decent commission).
My Advice to You
Before you decide what to market through affiliations, buy the product, test the service, know what you are promoting. Do you want to promote that Forex Broker? Register with them, trade with them, so you know how to correctly market their brand. Want to spend your marketing budget on promoting beauty items? Test the items first and build content about them e.g., posts, videos, photos. The focus should be on the brand and the recommendations coming from you – this will help your followers trust you will most likely click through your affiliate link.
Go on and try what works for you. Not all affiliate programs will work. Booking.com works well for me. Amazon didn’t – I got banned because I didn’t generate the expected amount of sales. Don’t get disappointed if you don’t see anything working at the beginning. You will eventually!
If you are already working with affiliate marketing or thinking to pursue it, you need to understand that it’s not a fast business model to make money. It requires effort and time. Then you will see your efforts generating money.