I have a confession to make, and you’re not going to like it.
Yes, I earn a living with affiliate marketing but here’s the thing…
I’m a shady, scammy and highly-manipulative marketer lurking in the online dark and preying on unsuspecting victims to have them part with their cash faster than they can realize what’s just gone down.
Pick out the highest-paying, highest-converting products in existence disregarding quality and people’s best interests, and proceed to shove these typically low-quality yet highly lucrative products down the throats of as many unsuspecting web surfers as possible with slick sales copy, aggressive mass-spam advertising, highly questionable SEO techniques, and any other means necessary that will lead to me stacking more piles of cold hard cash.
When I suck somebody in and make a sale, my eyes turn $ $ and I snicker to myself at their gullible stupidity just like DiCaprio in the Wolf of Wall Street after reeling in yet another sucker and closing a win-lose deal.
That’s how you succeed online, right?
Ok, hopefully by now you’ve realized I’m pulling your leg and 1000% kidding 😉
But here’s the thing: the reality is that people like this exist. And probably in more numbers than you think, even in this day and age where the internet has matured a lot since its inception and users are generally smarter.
The internet truly is the wild wild west of the 21st century and everyone is trying to make a buck in good ways and bad, and affiliate marketing is no exception because of its low barrier to entry.
What’s my point?
If you plan on getting into affiliate marketing, or you’re already an affiliate marketer, there are some critical underlying principles and overall philosophies that you MUST stick to at all times.
That’s if sustained long-term results, credibility, trust, peace of mind, and generally being a good human being is important to you.
I fully believe in the whole “people over profits” philosophy – and sticking to that mindset will ultimately increase your chances of profiting over the long-haul anyway.
In the digital age we are now living in, transparency is the new marketing.
The following 5 important principles that I’m about to share with you have held me in good stead with affiliate marketing and is a big reason why I’ve managed to do so well with this strategy for many years now.
But don’t just take my word for it, if you look at every single long-standing (and credible) affiliate marketing success story you’ll see these 5 principles at play.
Deviate from them at your own risk.
1. Stay 100% Relevant
If you have site about the Paleo diet, don’t be hawking some skin care product, the latest make-money-online course, or some random real estate seminar.
Sounds super obvious, and it is – but you’d be surprised how many people try to sell anything and everything on their site just to squeeze out some extra short-term money.
Straying from your chosen niche industry to sell unrelated products in lure of more profit is the fast track to losing trust and credibility.
Only ever stick to promoting products that are completely relevant to your specific target audience, unless you have an extremely good reason.
2. Choose Your Products Wisely
Only ever promote quality products you’ve either used yourself OR that you would have zero hesitation in using.
Trying to sell average or straight-up rubbish products on your site solely because it pays or converts well, or “some other guy is promoting it” isn’t setting up a good foundation for your online business success.
Maintaining credibility and trust with your readers is a vital part of growing a successful site, or any legitimate business for that matter, and if you have low standards for quality you’ll quickly be found out in this transparent world and you won’t be getting anywhere fast.
The ideal is to stick with products you’ve actually personally used before with (positive) results, but in some cases it’s not always practical (or financially possible) to personally buy and try every single product before recommending it.
An example of this is if you’re in a niche with tons of expensive products that it would be impossible to get your hands on them all yourself. In that case you had better do your homework on making sure you can stand by your recommendations 100%.
Before trying to sell anything, think to yourself “would I actually buy and use this myself without hesitation?”.
A big reason why my best-performing affiliate site that currently earns me 6 figures in passive income has stood the test of time is because I’m always careful about only promoting credible, useful and high-quality products.
The site gets many repeat visitors, repeat sales, thank you emails from happy readers, and word of mouth visitors and natural links because I’m very careful about my product choices.
Also, I think that if you’re somewhat of an authority in your field and people look to you for advice, you’ve got a responsibility to keep their best interests on your mind by only leading them to products and services that will genuinely benefit them.
3. Avoid Over Selling
When it comes to affiliate marketing, you don’t actually want to be doing much selling at all. The product, or the company’s product page, should do the selling for you.
Don’t blow your chances by being too pushy and “salesly”, and doing things that scream the equivalent of “PLEASE BUY THIS NOW SO I CAN GET PAID!”. People will see through this.
Instead, you want to focus on “pre-selling” products. In other words, warm people up to your recommendations by sharing your unbiased opinions as if you were writing an Amazon review on a product you just bought.
Do things like share specific experiences you’d had with the product, explain the ins and outs of the product in detail, mention its benefits and how it can help your reader solve a problem or make their life easier.
People want to hear about other people’s direct experiences with something when deciding whether to buy or not, and they especially love taking recommendations from people they trust or those in a position of authority.
4. Don’t Promote a Gazillion Products
As well as carefully considering which specific products you promote, you want to be selective about the number of products and affiliate programs you stand by.
Say you’re recommending a specific product to your readers, and there are literally 100 different versions of that product made by different companies. In most situations you’d only ever want to suggest the best 1-2 best options.
Whatever you do, don’t tee up all 100 options or your recommendations will lose their value and it won’t come across as sincere (because it’s likely not). Think about it, if you want to buy a certain product and there are a ton of different options..not all of them will be created equally. Do the tough decision-making for others, assuming you know what you’re talking about of course.
Overwhelming your audience with too many possibilities decreases the likelihood that they’ll even buy something in the first place.
When I go to a trusted source for a good recommendation on something, I don’t want them coming at me with 20 different options. Dude, just tell me what’s the best and I’ll buy it. I ain’t got time for that!
Sure, sometimes it makes sense to include a lot of varied options (maybe they’re all good options), but in most cases: less is better.
5. Content Come First
What I mean is that creating useful content – whether that be written articles, videos, audio, or any other type of content – should always take priority over your affiliate recommendations and links.
For example, don’t ever make an affiliate link the main focus of a page on your site with the actual content being a quick afterthought and something to just rack up a minimum word count.
Make your content the priority at all times, and add in your recommendations naturally to support the value you’re bringing.
It’s easy to spot a site that is all about the affiliate links and very little about providing genuine value. Don’t be that site or you simply will not last.
Affiliate Marketing is Awesome
Hopefully you’ve got something out of this, and that you also agree with me on these principles.
When done right, affiliate marketing is a truly great win-win strategy for all and the opportunities are endless.
Just stick to the light-side, alright? 😉