13 Affiliate Marketing Tips for 2020. How We Got to 4 - 5 Figures. (How You Can Too)
This post written in conjunction with TDomena.
Today is January 10th of 2020. It's officially the first month of the new year, and a new decade!
The idea (with this first post of the year), is to share 13 affiliate marketing tips to help you be more successful in the new year :)
I'm writing this post a bit differently though. I'm actually writing this post in partnership with another fellow WA member here, Tiffany Domena.
In late 2019, Tiffany and I ended up exchanging good dialog in the comments section of her post: 4 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid.
I asked her questions and we shared good insights on her topic. We had similar backgrounds and just seemed to get each other. I was excited to exchange information, tips and analogies with another affiliate marketer here at Wealthy Affiliate.
Based on our comment engagements, I reached out to Tiffany with an unusual ask. A no pressure ask to see if she would like to write a WA post together. The benefit for you is that you get two different inputs on the same topic. (Just think more knowledge, even more value!)
Tiffany excitingly agreed. So, here's our first joint post together.
If you find this post useful, then please let us know by liking this post and letting us know in the comments section! (Thanks : )
13 Affiliate Marketing Tips For Your Success in 2020
Tiffany and I are two different affiliate marketers.
We are both in the Make Money Online (MMO) niche but we focus on different sub-niches. Tiffany had her first 5 figure year in 2019. I had my first 4 figure year.
Based on our experiences...
If we could both provide you with real (tried and true) affiliate marketing tips to help you be more successful in 2020, what would they be?
Here's what we came up with.
(We're talking over 3,000 words. Geez, that's a LOT of juicy content for you!)
Enjoy the read.
Tips from Kim
1. Only 1 Website This Year
- Tiffany says this tip in her: 22 month case study
- Nathaniel says it in his post: Running ONE Website Is A Full Time Job
- Mary Ann says it here: While I was Sleeping
Yet I continuously read how someone is getting started and focusing on 2 - 5 websites at a time. Or they've been at WA for a year or two now and have big plans to launch 2 more websites, before they are making decent money from the first one.
The reality is that you have so much to do for just one website.
- Research and plan your first 100 "connected" content ideas
- Write and publish your first 100 posts of 1,000 - 2,000 words each (that's 100,000 to 200,000 words for every 100 posts)
- Create 1 custom image for each post (that's 100 custom images)
- SEO every post using Jay's SEO checklist (estimated 20 minutes for each post x 100 is 2,000 minutes, about 33 hours)
- Find checklist here in comments: 4 Core Traffic Strategies for Affiliate Marketing
- Internal link all your content together (this is a continuous effort)
- Organize your content through thoughtful categories and tags (another continuous effort)
One website requires a lot of time by itself.
These basic tasks do not even include other strategies like creating videos, publishing on YouTube or driving more traffic from Pinterest, Facebook page or Group, etc.
If you want to see real results in 2020, only focus on one website this year. There’s plenty to do here, and plenty of opportunities to make good money with just one site.
2. Plan for "100" Milestones
Some affiliate marketers may disagree with me on this tip. Because there is no real "true" number for defining success with your affiliate website.
So me saying, you need 100 posts to get the sales you want IS COMPLETE CRAP.
I'm not saying 100 is the magic number.
However, I am saying that "100" targets are good to plan for.
Planning to publish 100 posts on your website requires you to focus.
This plan requires you to reduce the "other stuff" so you can really learn how to do one thing well.
In WA's case, writing posts yourself or learning how to train other writers to write for you. And learning the ins and out of SEO, which can be a major free traffic driver if you do this right.
If you think 100 posts is a lot, then you need to reconsider the authority affiliate websites strategy. Because 100 posts is just getting started to show you know a lot about a specific topic.
100 posts is 1 milestone. Then you go for 200 posts. Then 300, and so on.
If you look at who has successful affiliate websites, they have large numbers of posts. And they usually talk about seeing more traffic after these "milestones".
- Tiffany has published 396 posts on her website which helps to drive the traffic for 4 figure months.
- Nathaniel has published hundreds of post on his website for a successful 6 figure business
- Steve has published 244 posts which made him $2500 in 2019.
- MarlaineB has published 44 posts (ranging from 4 - 6,000 words each, that's still 176,000 - 264,000 words!!!!) on her 26-month-old blog which made $21,000 in 2019.
Perhaps, it only takes 44 posts for you to earn really good commissions depending on your niche. I am referring to affiliate commissions that can impact or change your life. Not a $2 Amazon affiliate commission here or there.
The actual numbers you need in order to generate life-changing commissions will depend on your niche. You will figure out what works with a clear long term plan.
Planning for something in "100's" is one way to get there.
3. Find Lower Competition Keywords with the KGR Method
I can’t take credit for KGR Keywords, but I found this keyword research method really interesting.
The Keyword Golden Ratio (KGR) method shows some of my “good low competition keywords” being more competitive than I realized.
As we are all taught here, the goal is to get high ranks in search engines with low competition keywords. We learn how to use the Quoted Search Results (QSR) number in Jaaxy, to help find a low amount of pages targeting the same keyword.
The lower the number, the less competitive that keyword is. Which can increase your chances for ranking on page 1 or page 2 of search results.
One thing I learned is, the QSR number only finds websites with that exact keyword in the post title. The QSR number doesn’t include websites that include other words, along with the keyword. This leads to some keywords being more competitive than what’s listed in Jaaxy.
Here’s an example:
“how to make money with affiliate marketing” gets about 3859 searches a month. The QSR number is 198. So, 198 competing pages for this keyword according to Jaaxy.
But if you do the KGR method on this keyword, nearly 7,000 pages have this keyword somewhere in the title. 7,000 is 3400% higher than 198 pages and indicates a much more competitive keyword.
I have personally scrapped some keywords to find better ones using the KGR method. If you are looking to learn this method too, this post is definitely worth the read!
KGR Keywords - A Slight Twist On Jaaxy's Method
Tips from Tiffany
4. Keep a Good Ratio of Money Posts
Informational posts feels really good. Many of us (affiliate marketers) like to teach and share our knowledge, but often times, we don’t see the money content as an opportunity for personal expression, teaching, and we may not feel helpful.
Let’s reframe what we think.
Money posts are posts like reviews, comparisons, “best of” posts, or any post that tells us the intent of the search user is to buy.
If we find ourselves questioning whether the search users intent is to buy, then it’s likely not a “money post”.
In my first year of blogging at How to Entrepreneur, I wanted to write “How to’s”, list posts, and completely avoid money keywords. The “how to’s” and list posts did very well on social media and attracted traffic, but aside from ad revenue, does traffic automatically mean sales?
People can visit your website with no intention to buy, and that’s what happens when you don’t speak on topics that clearly attract buyers. Google (and other search engine) enable us to attract qualified traffic, so why not place an emphasis on that?
As affiliate marketers, one of our main responsibilities is to help internet users solve their problems by promoting relevant solutions from our affiliate partners.
5. Identify a Mission Bigger than Your Current Financial Goal
Many people join Wealthy Affiliate in financial distress. They might have lots of debt that’s weighing them down, a growing family, lots of responsibilities, and overall, they have an insufficient income. As a result, they come to Wealthy Affiliate to find hope and a way out.
I can relate, and you may be able to relate too.
Unfortunately, when you take your desperation into your business principles, it can send off an aroma of selfishness and insincerity. Rather than thinking, “How can I help an audience of people solve ….?”, you’re thinking, “How can I make money?”, and it bleeds into your customer interactions.
To reframe this, it’s important to focus on a different “why” that’s bigger than your immediate financial goal.
- I want to teach moms they can start a business and raise young kids
- I want to show young men that woodworking is still a viable career path
- Or, I want to show single parents they’re not alone while raising their kids
Find what you stand for beyond the money. It helps you focus on the service and how you can effectively help. When you’re focused on helping people, your business benefits as a byproduct.
6. Challenge Yourself to Outwork, Outthink, OutSmart, and “Out-Quality” Your Competition (Rather than Look for Shortcuts)
The market is becoming more and more competitive. Articles that would rank organically fairly easily are not ranking as fast today.
Successful online business owners are noticing that it’s more tough to rank (even with long tail keywords). You can’t rely solely on writing an article that’s “good” to your standard, has the proper word count, and is “SEO’d”. Of course, following SEO and UX best practices is best to do, but there’s more people who are doing that too.
As a result, it’s also important to understand who your competitors are: in your niche and with the keywords you’re choosing. Analyze, who is competing for the same audience as you are.
When you write an article, see who is also trying to satisfy the same search queries you are and decide how you can have a competitive advantage.
Don’t be satisfied with “I’m doing my best” and staying singularly focused on your own efforts. Take a look at what the market looks like, and what it will take you to stick out. Lift the standard of “your best” to keep up with the market supply and demand.
You’d be surprised at how much more the competition can lift your productivity if you decide to outwork, outthink, and outsmart your competition.
Great entrepreneurs like Daymond John and Mark Cuban from Shark Tank describe outworking, outthinking, and outsmarting as their “secret sauce”, and it got them to multimillionaire status. Why can’t it be yours?
7. Don’t “Test if this Works” instead Commit
Harbor and invigorate your confidence in what you’re doing.
If affiliate marketing is going to be “it” for you, then commit. Don’t “test if it’ll work”. Commit.
Decide to stick it out for one year or more, educate yourself, and make it work.
8. Find Ways to Maintain Accountability
Many people hide behind their computers. They may be getting sales and they may not. They don’t tell anyone how they’re doing, and their only accountability is their self-conscious.
Unfortunately, the self-conscious is also very easily distracted by emotion, pride, greed, and personal gratification. It’s difficult to make the best logical decisions 100% of the time, to notice when things are going well and when they aren’t, and to troubleshoot obstacles without accountability.
Whether you decide to publicly post your goals, join a mastermind group, write your income reports, hire a coach, or be vulnerable in some other type of way, find ways to be held accountable.
For me, I’ve done monthly videos of my traffic and income growth here at WA to be accountable to myself and others. I’m not sure how many I’ll publish here, but you can take a look and see my learning lessons along the way:
- 22 Months Case Study
- 20 Months Case Study
- 19 Months Case Study
- 18 Months Case Study
- 17 Months Case Study
- 16 Months Case Study
- 15 Months Case Study
I’ve had my biggest growth curves by collaborating with like minds. This year, I did quite a bit of collaborating on my YouTube channel. From my collaborations, I was able to see my highest surges of views and pageviews.
Many people praise backlinks, but if the backlinks are spammy and don’t pass legitimate credibility or relevant interest, what good are they aside from “gaming” Google?
The best “backlinks” come from real and genuine collaborations where complimentary audiences are, and trust is transferred from one audience to another.
10. Create Sharp Small Business Habits
Affiliate marketers are small business owners. As a result, we still have to be concerned about things like bookkeeping, accounting, and legal (in addition the marketing stuff we learn here).
Entrepreneurs outside of WA are working on business plans, budgeting for their startups, and tracking their spending. They are incorporating and making sure they’re making legally sound decisions.
Lets not treat our affiliate marketing businesses like experiments. Instead, let’s take the same pride in our businesses as your local grocery store owner or tire shop. Let’s incorporate those sound business habits that will make our businesses grow and thrive.
11. Lead with Empathy and Service (Rather than WIIFM)
(WIIFM = What's in it for me!)
This one piggybacks on #2. People can sniff out who’s in it for themselves versus those who genuinely want to help them. Empathy is the muscle you want to build in order to extinguish that selfish aura.
You need to be able to put yourselves in the shoes of other people around you. Empathy will reflect as a strong benefit when you’re trying to discover what you should write about, what products to sell, or what service to deliver.
Rather than first thinking about the income, you’d start by thinking about what does your target audience need most. When you launch a solution your target audience needs, then you’re bound to attract them better, and get sales.
12. Leave no Stone Unturned and Escape Ruts
There have been several occasions where I’ve networked with entrepreneurs in a rut. They’re not where they want to be, not making the money they want to make, not getting the traffic they should have, not seeing the success they believe is possible, and when you ask them, “What’s holding you back?”, they go on and on with a laundry list of things to blame.
They say Google, their husband, their wife, their knowledge, their budget, their training program, and other things are to blame, and while these things may be legitimate setbacks, isn’t there a point where you say “enough is enough”?
If knowledge is your setback, and you’re not sure what you should be doing, leave no stone unturned and find someone who knows. If having proper support is your setback, leave no stone unturned and find people who support you.
Escape the ruts! Don’t stay stagnant for days, months, or years trying to troubleshoot your circumstance when there are others who can help you.
You can go from 5MPH to 100 MPH towards your goals by connecting with good advisors.
13. Practice Gratitude and Celebrate Wins
In his most recent post, 2,000,000 reasons why we care, Kyle talks about a common rat wheel we put ourselves on as entrepreneurs. We’re ambitious. We make goals and before we accomplish one, we’ve already got many more after that.
Unfortunately, this can lead to a feeling of never being satisfied or enough. We forget to pat ourselves on the back and celebrate the milestones in between.
Having a gratitude practice can really help to stay in the moment and appreciate the journey and not simply focusing on destinations. I’ve noticed gratitude helps with parenting, marriage, and many other walks of life too.
For example, my 3-year old wants to learn to swim, so I signed her up for swimming lessons. She has lessons once per week and it’s phases to get thru before she’ll be able to fully swim. Can you imagine if I only showed her my support and congratulated her once she’s proficient?
People would think I’m a bad parent if my kids said, “My mom only congratulates us when we complete a grade level or when we’re the best in our recreation activities”, right? Why do we do this to ourselves in business?
Instead, break down your goals into milestones. Decide what it looks like to be on track to accomplish your goals and celebrate the milestones. Learn to appreciate the journey and not only the destination because the majority of what you’re in for in business is a journey.
And there you have it folks. 3,000 words of pure gold. If you made it this far (and didn't cheat by skipping to the end...), FANTASTIC JOB!
Take these words to heart. Practice every day. And make 2020 your BEST YEAR YET!
Pro Tip: You can bookmark this post by clicking the star above. Give it name like "affiliate marketing tips" and refer back to this as often as you need.
Don't forget to chime in below!
- Kim AND Tiffany :)