This is episode 5 of 7 of the Authority Hacker New Year Starter Series. If you haven’t been through the previous episodes, we suggest you go and check those out first.
What you will learn
- What affiliate marketing is and how it works
- The pros and cons of affiliate marketing
- How affiliate marketing can help when selling your own products
- How to research different affiliate products / services to recommend
- How to create and structure content that does the selling for you
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is referring someone to a product or service in exchange for a referral fee.
Normally, you’ll be given a window of time for your referral to convert. As long as that person makes a purchase inside that window, you’ll get paid a commission.
Most affiliate programs offer a generous window (weeks or months), but the most common affiliate partner, Amazon, only allows 24 hours. It does, however, give you a cut of ANY products purchased inside that window – which is usually not the case with other programs.
While most people default to slapping ads on their site in order to make money, we recommend starting with affiliate marketing.
Pros And Cons Of Affiliate Marketing
- Revenue per thousand visitors to your site (RPM) is very high with the right kind of content and traffic
- ZERO upfront costs
- You don’t need a ton of traffic to make decent money
- You can write about a wide variety of products
- You take advantage of pre-built sales funnel
- You can’t build a buyers list, offer up-sells, cross-sells, etc.
- Your revenue source can disappear because of someone else’s decision
- Your commissions can be lowered at any time
- You have no control over the quality and service being provided
Selling Your Own Products
If for some reason you choose not to go with affiliate marketing, you could sell your own products instead. That could be physical products, digital products or even services.
These alternatives offer a higher RPM but there’s a lot more work involved. You need to think about processing payments, customer service, actually delivering the product, etc.
Not to mention testing and developing sales pages and sales funnels, and the cost that goes along with that. Of course, you need to consider your revenue per hour (RPH) when looking at these options, because you could end up spending a lot more of your time to make a little extra money.
The good thing about starting with affiliate marketing is you can figure out what sells before investing time and money into your own products.
Before diving into content creation, you should always research which products are available.
This approach allows you to structure content around products you know you can potentially recommend to your visitors.
For affiliate product research, we recommend checking out:
You can also use Google to find private affiliate programs. Most companies have an affiliate program, even if they don’t advertize it.
Let Your Content Do The Selling
The way you make affiliate sales is through your content.
The idea is to look for high buying intent keywords. Find what you’re going to sell and create the content that sells it, not the other way around.
We recommend taking a few different product categories related to one topic and see where the bulk of the search volume is, for example:
- Paintball masks
- Paintball guns
- Paintball grenades
You should also consider creating solution-oriented content. As in, content that solves problems but also makes sense to recommend a product or service, for example:
- How to protect your eyes during paintball
- How to repair a paintball gun
- What are the best paintballs?
Since the bulk of your sales will come from product review style articles, it’s important to understand the process behind that.
If you’re going to be reviewing a large number of products, it’s just not practical to buy each one and manually review them. That’s why we leverage the advice of trusted sources like Top10reviews.com and Outdoorgearlabs.com, because they’ve already reviewed the product.
Essentially, we do the research, filter out the irrelevant information and present the facts to our audience in a more digestible way.
Structuring Your Content
The first thing you want, right at the top of the page, is a table with your product rankings or specifications clearly laid out with affiliate links.
This helps people who don’t want to read the entire article find your recommendation quickly, and click through to make the purchase.
The bulk of your article should be the buyers guide. This is where you give the reader genuine advice on what to buy and why they should be it. Weigh up the pros and cons and give logical reasons why they should pick X over Y.
Starting out, we think you should have at least 50 articles written for the launch of your site. They don’t need to be published, but at least pre-written.
It’s also important that you write some of these yourself, not only to get a feel for the market, but to develop a content creation process that you can later outsource.
As for where to go to for outsourced content, we recommend the following: