How to increase your affiliate earnings

by Irune

Many affiliate marketers feel disappointed at the volume of sales and earnings. The following are some tips on how to increase affiliate earnings.

Affiliate marketing is a popular home business choice because it doesn't require any infrastructure, upfront payments or even specialist knowledge, besides being technically confident enough that you can create and maintain a website, Twitter account or mailing list. Since you are only marketing a third party product you don't need to deal with client payments or refunds, but at the same time you have little control over how good the product is, or how high their own pages conversion rates are. But if you are just starting as affiliate marketing professional you may be wondering why your sales are low, even if your traffic isn't.

Your money depends on the ability of your chosen advertisers to actually close the deal, which sometimes can be disappointing. Increasing your affiliate earnings will require you to look at both the advertisers you promote, the way you contact your potential leads and the kind of traffic that your website receives.

Choose affiliate networks carefully

When you are learning how to start an affiliate marketing business is easy to get away signing up for any affiliate marketing program that will accept you and has any product you can promote. However, the best strategy is to be picky and select only affiliate programs and products with a good commission structure and a good reputation.

Commission structure and tracking timespan

Some merchants implement a tracking policy, where a user that arrives to their website using your affiliate code is tied to your account for a specific length of time. This is done because often the visitor will make several visits to a website before actually purchasing the product. A merchant binds users to your tracking code for an extended period of time may be better than one with a higher commission, but a shorter time span.

Reversal rates

Some affiliate advertisers are infamous for rejecting a large number of affiliate leads as fraud, making the sale and saving themselves the commission. A legitimate affiliate marketing program will let you see each merchant reversal rates. If it looks suspiciously high, even if the commission is great, that merchant is probably best avoided.

Advertise products that are useful for your audience

The key to increasing your earnings from affiliate marketing is only advertising products or services that can be useful to your audience. Spamming them with all sorts of unrelated ads and pitches for things they don't want is not only useless, but counter-productive. Niche affiliate marketing is the most efficient way of making money from affiliate sales, and the reason is that niche audiences are much more inclined to buy than non niche ones.

Learn to create websites quick

If you want to diversify your affiliate income by advertising different types of products you'll need different websites for each niche, as the more segmented your audience is the easier you'll have it to find exactly the right products to advertise. This can be time consuming, unless you use a content management system such as WordPress, and learn how to edit themes to make the website look good for the niche you are targeting. You can make money fast and easy using AdSense on those sites while you wait for your mailing list to grow, or to test if the niche is profitable. In most cases, that will pay your start-up costs, even before affiliate sales kick in. 

If you aren't technically inclined you may prefer to purchase a subscription to a premium WordPress themes club, such as Elegant Themes, to get access to many professionally designed Wordpress Themes for a single payment. Another alternative is purchasing a theme framework such as Headway or Thesis, and learning to create quick child themes based on the original one. This will give you both the power of a search engine optimised theme framework and endless customization options without having to pay each time you decide to launch a new niche.

Work on creating your own mailing list

Most successful affiliate marketers will tell you that their mailing or leads list is the most important bit of their business and primary affiliate sales channel. Sometimes people need to be told several times about a product before they decide to purchase it. If you don't capture the email address of your visitors you may be losing on valuable leads, since you won't be able to contact them again to recommend the products you are advertising. At the same time, a person who already purchased an item you are advertising may be interested in related products.

Capturing email addresses ethically

Very few people will just give you their email address because they want you to send them emails about your affiliate products. Instead, you need to provide value if you want them signing to your mailing list. Offer eBooks or free reports to those who sign up for your newsletter, or create great content that people want to get on their inbox.

Managing your affiliate marketing mailing list

If you want people to purchase the products you recommend you need to add value, and that means sending newsletters full of information, offers and great reasons to buy that product. It also means using a reputable mail list provider, such as MailChimp, and making sure people can unsubscribe from your mailing list if they want. Never, absolutely never, send email to somebody who hasn't signed up for it or you'll be labelled as a spammer. And never share your mailing list with a third party, no matter the price. The hit on your credibility and the potential legal liability are not worth the money.

Updated: 10/30/2011, Irune
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