Written by: Guest author, Simon Slade
Those of us who have been involved in the affiliate marketing world for a while are all too aware that it is an industry prone to change, and lots of it. A website that makes you money one day, might literally disappear from the search engine rankings overnight, and leave you struggling to find a reason why. The terms of service (TOS) on one of your favorite Web 2.0 sites might change in the blink of an eye, and you suddenly find yourself losing an important traffic or income source. Wouldn’t it be nice just to have some reliable marketing constants for once? Well today, you are going to learn about the three constants in affiliate marketing; these are the things that won’t change any time soon, and they should form the foundations of your affiliate marketing efforts.
1. Content is King
You’ve probably heard this term referred to many times before, without actually paying too much mind to it. However, one of the constants of affiliate marketing is that search engines and readers alike reward quality content. Not only are you going to rank higher in the search engines by creating original, well-researched content that provides value to readers, but you will also build trust. This trust factor will help you to achieve better conversion rates and more sales, since people are far more likely to buy from someone they trust.
Creating quality content IS actually an exact science, and there really isn’t much guesswork involved at all:
- Find a problem that people in your niche have
- Research a number of different ways to solve the problem
- Write it out in a clear and logical fashion
- Make sure your content contains good grammar and spelling
- Teach what the headline of your article/content piece promises to teach (this is by far the biggest secret to creating quality content)
Many websites provide free and informative lessons on creating quality content.
2. Keyword Research
I used to have a high school history teacher who swore by what he called the “5 Ps” system – “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.” Not only was this great advice for passing exams, but it relates directly to affiliate marketing as well. Proper keyword research is going to help you prevent poor performance (i.e. not making any sales).
For as long as people have been searching for information online through search engines, keywords have been relevant. According to Wikipedia, Google receives several hundred million searches per day, and with more people coming online every day, this number is only going to increase. It seems unlikely that search engines are ever going to disappear as one of the cornerstones of the Internet!
Keywords are at the very heart of search engine queries, so it makes sense that keyword research – getting to the bottom of what people are actually looking for – is a constant in affiliate marketing.
Look out for keywords based around the following:
- Urgency (‘fix bad credit score quickly’)
- Crisis/desperation (‘how to get ex back’)
- Product name + review (‘The Truth About Abs review’)
- How to/learn (‘how to fix a broken Xbox 360’/ ‘learn to fix a broken Xbox 360’)
- Product type (‘dog training DVDs/eBooks/guides’)
To find keywords you could try the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, or get a free copy of Traffic Travis (a little bit of self-promotion there!).
3. Proven Affiliate Products
The final constant in affiliate marketing is making sure you promote proven products. There is always a massive temptation to jump on board and promote the latest products from the Clickbank Marketplace that promise huge commissions and launches, and then fade to nothingness after a while (leaving you stuck promoting a product that isn’t really going anywhere).
As an affiliate, you want to avoid promoting “fly by night” products if you plan to build a reliable income stream that has good growth potential. Instead, focus most of your energy on promoting products that have been around for a while and have a proven track record.
Our SaleHoo affiliate program, for example, has been running since 2005, and provides plenty of resources for affiliates, with new ones added regularly. Look out for affiliate programs of this nature, which provide consistent support and potential on a going forward basis. Take your time when picking products; research here will save you potential headaches down the track.
Some things to look out for are:
- How long has the product and affiliate program been around
- Does it offer free resources to help you, the affiliate, do your job properly
- How easy is it to get in touch with the product owner/affiliate manager
- Are customer reviews of the product largely positive (look for unbiased reviews in forums or blogs)
- Is the product high quality (consider asking for a review copy first)
In conclusion, you can see that there are some constants in affiliate marketing – a world that usually evolves at such a rapid rate it can even give experienced marketers a headache. Quality content, solid keyword research, and promoting proven affiliate products; these are the three “bedrock” constants in affiliate marketing that are unlikely to change any time soon.
About the Author
Simon Slade is the CEO of Affilorama, an affiliate marketing training portal that offers free video training, education, and affiliate tools to both beginning and advanced affiliate marketers.