12 Powerful Keys for Beginners to Become Successful at Affiliate Marketing

Hey there! Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

Want to find out how to become a successful affiliate marketer?

Affiliates are getting paid for promoting other people's products. They receive a commission for generating sales, leads, or clicks to the merchant’s website.

Here are some benefits of affiliate marketing:

  • Affiliate marketing can be very lucrative. Michelle Schroeder states in her income reports that she is consistently making $50,000+ a month from affiliate marketing alone. If you want to learn from someone who's doing extremely well in affiliate marketing, check out Michelle's course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. You can read my review of Michelle’s course here.
  • You can work anywhere.
  • You have very flexible work hours.
  • You make passive income. You can literally make money while you're sleeping or on vacation.
  • You don't need to have your own products.
  • Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to get started in internet marketing and make money online.

How you can become successful in affiliate marketing

A super affiliate is a top-earning affiliate who consistently generates the highest amount of sales for the programs they are promoting.

To become a successful affiliate, you must treat affiliate marketing as a business, learn some Internet marketing basics, and be persistent to become good at it. If you’re doing this, affiliate marketing can change your life and replace your 9-5 job.

Below are some tips to become great at affiliate marketing.

1. Focus on a niche market. 

Don’t market every affiliate program you see. You must focus on your niche. Only promote products that cater to the needs and wants of your niche market.

It’s important to know what your audience wants and give them what they want. What are their problems? What are their goals? Solve their problems and help them achieve their goals with the products you’re promoting.

Read my blog post on How to Find a Profitable Affiliate Niche here.

2. Select great affiliate products.

One of the first and most important steps to becoming successful in affiliate marketing is to find quality affiliate products to promote that are targeted and useful to your audience.

If you promote bad products, you’ll lose credibility and sales.

Here are several ways to find affiliate products:

  • One way to find great affiliate programs is by using affiliate networks and directories. Read my article: the 10 best affiliate networks here.
  • To find affiliate programs in your niche, go to your favorite search engine and search for “your keyword “+ affiliate programs” or “your niche” + affiliate program.”
  • Many businesses have their own affiliate programs in-house. If you like a product, go to the website and see if they have a link that mentions “affiliate” or “affiliate program” or “associate.”  If you don’t find a link to their affiliate program page, go to Google and search for “the website URL” keyword + affiliate programs” or the “product name” + affiliate program.

3. Choose the right products for your audience.

Selecting the right products for your audience is the first step to becoming successful with affiliate marketing. This topic could cover a course in itself.  But here are a few tips.

  • Choose products that fit your niche and benefit them.
  • Choose only quality products.
  • Choose products you understand and are familiar with so you can write about them and better recommend them.

Also, check those criteria when selecting affiliate programs:

  • Check how much the program pays. Keep in mind that it takes just as much time and effort to promote a product that will pay you $7 as it takes to promote a product that will pay you $1,000 in commission.
  • Check what affiliate tools they provide. Do they provide text links, banners, email messages, or articles? It's also very important to check to see if they provide good statistics that will tell you what works and what doesn’t.
  • Choose programs with a long cookie time. You won’t get paid after cookies expire.

4. Build a website or blog.

build a blog to promote affiliate offers and be a successful affiliate

I’m sure that you’ve heard some people say that you don’t need a website to promote affiliate programs. And yes, there are several ways that you can promote affiliate programs without having a website.

  • You can send people directly to the merchant’s website through your affiliate link.
  • You can promote affiliate programs through email and social networking.
  • You can put your affiliate links in your tweets, Pinterest pins, and other social media.

However, you can be a lot more successful with affiliate marketing and do much more if you have a website or blog.

Here’s why: Potential customers go to websites to get information about items they are looking for but they usually don’t purchase right away.

When you have a website, you can capture your visitors’ email addresses so you can stay in touch with them, remind them of the affiliate product and promote additional products. 

Your job as an affiliate is to build trust, educate and presell your visitors, and then send them to the merchant’s website through your affiliate link. You can’t do that without a website.

To build a website or blog, you need a domain name and hosting. I recommend choosing a domain name that is related to the topic of your site. I use Namecheap or Godaddy to check domain names.

For hosting, I recommend Bluehost.

After getting a domain name and hosting, you’ll need to build a website or blog. I recommend using WordPress to build your site.

Recommended reading: How to Set up a Money-Making Blog.

5. Provide valuable content.

promote affiliates with valuable content

Don’t only put ads in your website’s sidebar. Those are the least converting ads so don’t expect many sales from those.

It is important to understand that people go online to look for information – and not necessarily to buy something right away. You want to build good content around your affiliate offers.

Instead, provide valuable, related content that informs your audience about the product or topic.

Display your knowledge by providing original, relevant and useful content. This builds credibility and makes you a more trustworthy endorser of the product or service you are promoting.

For example, write a product review, explain how you use the product or compare it with other products to help people make a good buying decision.

Read my blog post: 12 Super Fast Easy Ways to Create Quality Blog Content.

Free Affiliate Marketing Mini-Course for Beginners
How to Get Started in Affiliate Marketing and Become a Successful Affiliate
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6. Create your own ads and promotional images to stand out from other affiliates.

New affiliate marketers are often using the ads and promotional images that are provided by the merchants. But many people are using the same ads. You will get more attention when creating your own ads. Your ads should attract people and make them curious enough to click through to your website.

Use unique images to stand out. 

You want your images to be unique. If you’re using free images, many people will have the same images and you won’t stand out. Initially, I was using mostly free stock photo sites for my website and social media images. I found good free images but other people are using the same images in the same niche on Pinterest and other social media sites.

Now, in addition to using paid images from DepositPhotos, I’m still using some free stock images but I’m modifying them a bit so they’re different from anyone else’s. I love the images from DepositPhotos and they are very affordable at about $1 per photo.

I create my own promotional images, affiliate ads, and Pinterest pins with Canva, which is a super easy graphics program.

7. Build a list.

build an email list to promote affiliate programs

Building a targeted list is the key to being successful with affiliate marketing.

Capturing people's email addresses enables you to contact your visitors. Building a list will enable you to market to your list over and over again. An email list helps you turn prospects into buyers and customers into repeat customers.

Read my blog post about list building: how to build a list.

8. Develop a strong relationship with prospects and buyers.

Your job as an affiliate marketer is to increase awareness of the merchant’s products that provide a solution to potential customers and build trust with potential customers.  This is called “pre-selling.”

Getting loyal customers and developing good customer relationships is the secret of successful affiliates. That involves providing quality content.

Some great ways to promote an affiliate product is by sharing your own experience with the product or providing a tutorial or steps on how to use the product based on your personal experience. When you buy, try, and use the product you’re promoting, you’ll be able to better answer your potential customer's questions and it will be easier to pre-sell the product.

Be totally honest about the products you are marketing. If you find out that the program you were promoting is a scam or low quality, stop promoting it and inform your readers about it. This will help you build credibility. Everyone makes mistakes at times and admitting your mistakes will boost your reader’s confidence in you.

9. Protect your affiliate commissions by cloaking your links. 

I highly recommend that you cloak your affiliate links. Link cloaking is disguising your affiliate link URL to hide your affiliate ID.

Why you should cloak your affiliate links:

  • Cloaking your affiliate links protects your affiliate commissions from theft and ensures that you get paid for your affiliate marketing efforts.
  • Cloaking hides your links from dishonest people. (yes, some people try to replace your affiliate ID with theirs so they get the commission instead of you.)
  • Cloaking changes an ugly affiliate link to a link that looks like it comes from your website.
  • Cloaking allows you to track the traffic on your affiliate links (which is very important).

You should cloak all your affiliate links in your blog, in your email messages, and when sharing on social media.

How to cloak your affiliate link:

I use Pretty Links (a WordPress plugin) to set up, organize, cloak, and track my links. Pretty Link makes it really easy.

pretty links link shortening and link cloaking

Here are just some of the benefits of using Pretty Links:

  • It’s easy to organize and keep track of your affiliate links.
  • You can easily find your affiliate links by searching keywords within Pretty Links.
  • Pretty Links also lets you organize your links into groups (like categories) – pro version only.
  • A huge benefit: You can easily change the affiliate link. If a merchant changes their affiliate program and you have that affiliate link many times in your blog and in other marketing channels, you can change the link in all those places easily by making just one single change in Pretty Link. Two of my affiliate merchants changed software in the last two months. And without Pretty Links, I would have had to change the links on over 100 pages. But because my links were set up with Pretty Links, it took me only 5 minutes to change them.
  • Another big benefit: You can easily see how well your links are performing. You just sort your links by the number of clicks they’re getting and you see which affiliate programs are getting a lot of clicks and which don’t. This is very useful. You can do detailed tracking with the Pro version.

Pretty Links has a free and premium version.  You can get the Pretty Link plugin here.

Want to learn more about cloaking? My article, How to Cloak Your Affiliate Links, provides more details.

10. Build traffic to your site.

Building traffic is one of the most essential parts of affiliate marketing. See 35 ways to get free traffic here.

Affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn part-time or full-time income. However, affiliate success doesn’t happen overnight for most people. Like any kind of business or job, you have to put work into it. Affiliate marketing can be very lucrative and once you get good at it, it’s easy to scale and repeat the process over and over again.

11. Be patient and persevere. 

Contrary to what some want you to believe, affiliate success typically doesn’t happen overnight. There will be a learning curve to becoming successful in affiliate marketing.

To get great results, you’ll have to learn affiliate marketing basics and be persistent to become good at it. You’ll have to learn:

  • how to choose great affiliate programs
  • how to get accepted for most affiliate programs you’re applying for
  • how to get your affiliate link
  • the best ways to promote affiliate programs
  • how to build a profitable site
  • how to cloak and track your affiliate links
  • how to get targeted traffic
  • and more.

But if you stick with affiliate marketing, you can make more money than you ever could imagine. If you get discouraged along the way, motivate yourself by reading income reports from other bloggers.

Interested in affiliate marketing but don’t know where to start?

Have you tried affiliate marketing but are not getting affiliate sales (or not enough sales)?

12. Learn from successful affiliates.

Stop wasting time with trial and error. Learning from someone who is successful with affiliate marketing it is the best way to learn. If you're ready to start making money with affiliate marketing or have tried affiliate marketing but are not getting enough sales, taking a course from a successful affiliate will speed up your learning curve and help you be more successful.

And one person I know who's very successful in affiliate marketing is Michele Schroeder-Gardner. I'm not saying that you'll make $50,000 a month as Michele does. Of course, not everyone will. But that is the real potential in affiliate marketing. Many people make a lot less. And some people make more than Michele.

Ready to Get Started in Affiliate Marketing?

Learn from someone who is making $50,000+ a month in affiliate marketing!

Recommendation #1:
Michelle’s course: Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

making sense of affiliate marketing

If you want to learn from someone who’s making $50,000 a month in affiliate marketing, I highly recommend getting Michelle’s course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

Michelle’s free ebook
Affiliate Marketing Tips for Bloggers

free affiliate marketing ebook

6 thoughts on “12 Powerful Keys for Beginners to Become Successful at Affiliate Marketing”

  1. someone recently recommended affiliate marketing to me and I’m just starting and so far its been amazing plus lots of knowledge to grasp from this post, thanks alot…

  2. Appreciate your post it’s a worthy read for any user like me who are looking for affiliate marketing ideas. for a beginner like me, this is a complete guide.

    Keep sharing!!

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