Affiliate marketing a fairly straight up process. You sell a product of a service for a vendor, and you get paid each time you get a sale.

It has been my passion since 2013, and I get it’s your passion too.

However, it takes time and effort. It is definitely NOT a turnkey solution. Also, it takes a vision, and lots, lots of patience.

Fortunately, there are several things and tool you can do and use to make your success more likely.

In this post, I will go over some tips on how to make it in affiliate marketing.

You might have heard some of these before, but repetition is the mother of skills, so here they are. All of them  are pieces to build your foundation in your affiliate marketing business.

Here are the fundamentals to get you started.

1. BUILD TRUST

The very first thing to do is to build trust. People buy from people whom they know, like and trust. Trust takes time to build, and effort to maintain.

The reason why I’m telling you this right away is, I want you to expect things to take a long time.

You have to focus on building your community and your tribe from the ground up. Once you build trust, your visitors will become buyers and gladly spend their money on your product or affiliate link

The best ways to earn trust are:

  1. Give value for free. Give them valuable content, information, tips, even giveaways and gifts. You have to give before you can receive.
  2. Recommendations from others. Get on other people’s radar and have them do the marketing for you. Not for the affiliate products that you’re promoting, but you, or your brand. YOU. Trust is earned faster through the friends and relationships people already have with each other. That’s why it’s important to give to everyone, no matter how big or how small they may seem to your brand. Because you never know—they may know somebody who knows somebody who will become your biggest client, or a multi-product customer, or maybe the window to an opportunity that would have never happened otherwise.

Relationships with other people are extremely important to your success, and you won’t have sustainable success with your affiliate marketing until you earn your audience’s trust.

2. KNOW THE PRODUCT.

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when attempting to sell a product as an affiliate is not knowing much about the product. This usually stems from a desire to push a product for the primary purpose of earning money from it, which is a no-no.

Don’t get me wrong—it’s smart as a marketer to take into account what the commission is and how much money you might make per sale, but the commission shouldn’t drive the decision to promote a product. It should be just one part of the entire decision to promote a product. So, know the product. Why? Because if you really know the product, it will shape how you promote it, what you say to promote it, and the overall feeling people will get when you offer or recommend it.

So what’s the best way to get to know a product? Use it. Get to know it.

If you’re not extremely familiar with a product, don’t promote it. It may not be a rule most affiliate marketers follow, but it’s one I’ve followed for years with great success, because it helps with tip #1, building that trust factor with my audience.

All of the products I promote on my Resources page, such as ConvertKit for email marketing, Leadpages for landing pages, and Bluehost for web hosting, are ones I’ve used myself extensively. I know all about them, and I’m very comfortable with how they work, so I’m happy to recommend them to my audience.

This goes along with tip #3, which is . . .

3. ASK YOURSELF: CAN I TRUST THE PRODUCT WILL BE GOOD FOR MY AUDIENCE?

This is crucial. It’s the idea that you should be sharing or recommending something that will actually help your audience. Do you trust that after you send people through your link that the sales page for that product, the product itself, and the customer service for that product, if any, will be good to them?

This is important, because the dictionary definition of affiliate is:

Officially attach or connect to an organization.

The moment you decide to promote something as an affiliate, you attach yourself, your brand, and your business to that company and that product, and if that product isn’t going to be good for your audience, then it’s going to reflect ultimately on YOU.

If it’s an awesome product that totally helps them out? Awesome! You’re going to look that much better and be thanked for it, and it’ll be a win–win–win for everyone.

If it’s bad? It’s a lose–lose–lose for everybody.

I was once approached to promote a product I knew would sell well and make me a lot of money. But I didn’t end up promoting it, because I didn’t like the way the company managed the upsell process—it was very aggressive, and even ended with an automatic 30-day trial. That didn’t sit right with me, so I didn’t promote it. I may have lost some money up front because of that decision, but in the long run, it was the right thing to do.

4. SHOW YOUR OWN RESULTS (PROOF).

One of the biggest ways I’ve been able to take my affiliate income to the next level is by showing people what I’ve gained as a result of using those products.

For example, I use a tool called ConvertKit to help me run my email campaigns to build an even bigger following. I then use these results as proof when I’m promoting ConvertKit as an affiliate product to my audience.

By showing that I’ve actually used and succeeded with a product like ConvertKit, it helps to build that trust and lessen the “I don’t know exactly what this product is about so I’m not going to buy it” mentality among my audience. You want to show them as much as possible, which leads us to our next tip . . .

5. HELP YOUR AUDIENCE LEARN AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE ABOUT THE PRODUCT (EVIDENCE).

So a person sees an affiliate link for a product you recommend on one of your sites. Big whoop!

Instead of just a paragraph or two explaining the product and what it can do for them, show them how it works. Tell them what it’s like to sign up for the product, share some tips to make the experience of using that product even better, give answers to the most frequently asked questions about that product . . . show them everything.

The more you can show, the more comfortable people are going to be actually making a purchase.