There are different ways that you may make affiliate marketing work for you, but in this blog post I’m going to share with you my own experience promoting affiliate programs on my website and on YouTube.
What I Think Works Best in Affiliate Marketing
As a blogger, I have got a lot of pages on my blog, some of which make affiliate referrals. I have made posts that are really popular on learning about Patreon and I get thousands of visits each month. I then give you a link in those pages to go join Patreon through my referral, which I have not earned a dollar yet on.
You really need to have a website with lots of organic traffic to earn money doing affiliate marketing without running ads or having an email list.
What I’m going to continue doing next is some YouTube videos that intentionally do affiliate marketing like talking about website development and hosting for example.
Then, I will have affiliate links to GoDaddy, to my WordPress theme, and that way people who are searching for GoDaddy or my specific WordPress theme, can find the video. If they are searching for how to build a website or just browsing videos they have already watched, or a subscriber with me, they can see that too.
I’m going to test this out and I think YouTube has huge potential for affiliate marketing. Just doing affiliate marketing on a website is difficult, not only because of how hard it is to actually get someone to go through, but because you can’t track it very well. I can’t track when I have made a sale on my GoDaddy for example.
Now I’d like to share with you 4 points that I think are very important to reflect on if you want to succeed with affiliate marketing.
1) Think about your intent with your affiliate marketing
Do you genuinely want to be of assistance to people? Do you genuinely want to help people find products and services that would be helpful for them, or are you strictly doing it to make money for you without an honest regard to what other people need?
Most of the time I have done affiliate marketing without an honest regard for what other people need. The majority of my affiliate marketing has been driven by my desire to make money. That’s probably why most of it hasn’t worked very well, and that which I did get to work fell apart within a few months.
2) Do you have a setup where you can integrate affiliate marketing naturally into what you are doing?
I have YouTube videos and I do tutorials on everything. The Coinbase videos I’m filming are integrated naturally into what I’m doing.
“Look, I trade Bitcoin this certain way. Here’s what I used for my wallet. If you want a wallet, you can use the same wallet I do using this link, and you’ll get $10.”
This is very natural.
These videos are likely to have good potential. Even with Udemy, I was advertising my courses on Udemy, so I was trying to make sales on my own courses as an instructor. It naturally fit in to do an affiliate link with it.
Are you trying to do an affiliate link unnaturally? I say unnaturally when you have no personal interest invested in it and you are just trying to make money. You are trying to often just do search or display ads, or Facebook ads, that go straight to the affiliate website. If you are doing things like that, your odds of success are really low, especially in the long term. Even if you get something to work, the better you get something to work, the more attention it is going to draw, the more likely you will get banned.
I might not have even got banned from the Udemy affiliate program if I still hadn’t been probably a top affiliate after I was banned. If you use something where you don’t have a natural interest in it, and you are just skimming to make money, doing well is likely to mean the end too.
3) Do you feel good about the affiliate marketing you are doing?
Most of the affiliate marketing I have done, I didn’t feel that good about. Now, the affiliate marketing I do, I feel pretty good about it, still a little unnatural for me to sell someone else’s product on commission because I’m so self-interested and I like to sell my own.
I have got a resources page with a list of things that I use in my business using affiliate links and I feel that’s an honest system. I share things I use, and then I remove things I don’t use.
If you feel good about the affiliate marketing you are doing, if you are willing to sell your friends and family straight through the affiliate marketing you are doing, like, “Hey Mom, I really like this product. Would you go buy it through my website so I get a commission?”, that’s probably good.
If you are selling something that you wouldn’t want to tell your mom about as an affiliate, then well, that often might be a bad thing in terms of long-term success with your affiliate marketing.
4) Are you doing your affiliate marketing as part of a bigger long-term vision?
Are you doing your affiliate marketing as part of a bigger long-term vision where it is a productive part of your business, along with everything else?
Are you doing it today with a slash and burn philosophy that, “I want to make some money! Today, I’m going to get rich! We’re going to pop bottles.”
The affiliate marketing I have now, and as they were on Udemy, were part of a long-term plan. Now I couldn’t help that things worked out the way they did on Udemy’s end of it, but my whole affiliate system was set up as something I could do indefinitely on a long-term plan.
My system now is set up the same way. When I go to make some YouTube videos about what I use, and have the links in them, it is set up so that it is long term. I put the video out showing what I use to host my website, and my WordPress theme, and then that’s out there indefinitely. I could be a productive affiliate for years with a video like that.
If it is set up for long term, it is worth going through all those short-term growing pains, it is worth messing everything up, it is worth failing enough times until you get the exact formula right.
Affiliate marketing can be really powerful, but also a big area of shame triggers.
Affiliate marketing is a great tool, as a part of a complete business. It is not your salvation. It is just a tool like selling products and services. It can work great. It also can be a giant waste of time.
It can be a big area of shame triggers, like you get banned from affiliate programs. You get rejected. I know I hate the feeling of getting rejected from something, and I have got rejected from lots of affiliate programs. They have all these default rules set up if they reject you.
Match.com rejected me. I was so excited because I met my wife on Match.com, I wanted to tell everyone about it and they rejected me from the affiliate program.
I asked, “Why?” and they said, “You didn’t match our website category.”
It was an automated rejection. Here I felt bad about it, and they only accepted affiliates with three certain types of websites, out of like fifty, and I didn’t pick one. I did get manually approved, but then something, I don’t know, they changed or updated their terms. Now I have to get manually approved again, and I’m lazy about it.
Plus, I haven’t used Match since I met my wife in 2011, so my affiliate video might be a little bit out of date on that one.
I’m grateful for the opportunities I have had to do with affiliate marketing. I hope honestly that sharing my experience with affiliate marketing is useful for you. I try to make references where appropriate to relate to the things you might see, and stick with what I know, because that’s honest.
Thank you very much for reading my views on affiliate marketing.
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