The 5 Biggest Affiliate Marketing “Secrets” Finally Revealed
Feb 04 2019
15 min read
15 min read
Table of Contents
- The Affiliate Marketing "Secrets" Revealed In This Post:
- Before I Uncover The Secrets: Here's 6 Things Successful Affiliates Avoid Like The Plague
- The "Secret" Strategy Affiliate Marketing Experts Use To Make Millions
- Examples of Understanding The Needs Of Your Audience & Selling Solutions/Benefits
- Here are some ways you can give value as a middle-man / affiliate:
- What's Your Excuse for Not Making Money From Affiliate Marketing Now?
You've never earned a single dollar in affiliate marketing commissions You're struggling to make your first sale.
The experts, on the other hand, are banking huge commissions and enjoying fat paychecks every month.
Do you know why?
Because they have "secrets" they're not sharing with you.
Don't just take my word on this, see what many NicheHacks Mastermind members are saying.
Your failure has nothing to do with you not taking action, not making enough mistakes and learning from them, not building an email list, not producing awesome content etc.
It's all because of you not knowing the "secrets" that the gurus know.
Even Matthew Woodward, a six-figure affiliate marketer, couldn't convince people otherwise.
So I've finally decided to give up, lay down my arms, and reveal the "secrets" Stuart, Matthew Woodward, and so many other successful affiliate marketers use to execute 5-figure product promotions on JVZoo and ClickBank, milk Amazon Associates for fun, and bank more money in commissions than you could ever make.
Stuart might fire me for revealing this but I owe this to the community because I want you to be rich and finally live the life you've always dreamed of.
So hang on tight and keep reading...
The Affiliate Marketing "Secrets" Revealed In This Post:
What the best affiliate marketers know that you don't (this might surprise you)
How to differentiate yourself in the sea of mediocre affiliate sites (and blindly copying the affiliate sites you see online won't work).
How to be an actual affiliate marketer (not a slimy car salesman-esque person like most affiliates).
The secret to repeat affiliate sales, over and over and over again, for years if not life (without ever "selling").
Before I Uncover The Secrets: Here's 6 Things Successful Affiliates Avoid Like The Plague
Now that we're openly discussing secrets, let me first tell you the things that all successful affiliate marketers avoid like the plague.
Newbies think these tactics work faster than the boring "give value, build a tribe" kind of advice.
But, in reality, doing any of these things will only set your affiliate site up for failure.
Killing Your Credibility With Overly Promotional Reviews
Everything in this world has pros and cons.
Nothing's perfect; not even the product you're promoting.
But when you sing non-stop praises of a product, instead of objectively reviewing its benefits and drawbacks, you come across as a cheap salesman desperate to make a commission.
By doing so, you not only lose credibility but also kill your chances of making a sale.
Because remember, people buy from people they trust.
Inviting a Google Penalty by Using Copied and Spun Content
If you think you can copy the content from a product's sales page, spin it, make a few edits, and use it on your review site without anyone knowing it, you're in for a surprise.
Google is smarter than ever before and it will catch you sooner or later.
But even if it doesn't (just saying), have you ever read a spun article that made sense and was convincing enough to convert a cold lead into a customer?
Don't waste your time and resources with these cheap and outdated tactics.
Promoting Every Product Under the Sun
When you target everyone, you end up serving no one.
You can't promote hair dryers, welding machines, and weight loss supplements on the same website unless you're BestReviews or Wirecutter.
These multi-million dollar sites are only able to cover so many unrelated products because they're owned by huge media groups with million dollar budgets for content creation and advertising.
You don't have any of that.
This is why for you the only way to succeed is to niche down, focus on a closely related set of needs, and promote products that fulfill those needs. This is how you brand yourself as a niche expert and this is how you build trust.
Slapping Banner Ads All Over Your Site
People hate banner ads. In fact, a study by Nielson shows most people don't even notice banner ads anymore.
But newbies think filling your site up with banner ads somehow increases your chances of making sales.
It doesn't work that way anymore.
Relying Solely on Google Search Traffic
Google is a huge traffic source for affiliate sites but it should never be your only source.
Otherwise, you're just one algorithm update away from losing all your traffic and earnings.
Most newbies don't understand this point until disaster strikes.
The experts, however, diversify their traffic sources so even if Google wipes them off it's search index they'd still remain in business.
Creating an Amazon Specific Affiliate Site
Amazon Associates is the world's biggest affiliate program with the most diverse product range anywhere on the web.
But it's still just one affiliate platform, like many others, that you can use to monetize your site.
The mistake that newbies make, and the experts don't, is creating a website based entirely around Amazon products.
Why is this mistake?
I've shared several reasons in this post. (Hint: not a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket)
With this mandatory part out of the way, let's move on to the real secret of selling affiliate products below...
The "Secret" Strategy Affiliate Marketing Experts Use To Make Millions
I'd be lying if I say that successful affiliate marketers don't know more than you; they do
But the things that you call "secrets" are not secrets at all.
The top marketers simply have knowledge of fundamental marketing techniques, hard-won experience and lessons learned from the countless mistakes they've made over the years.
There are no loopholes or hacks that can help you game the system.
There are however tried and tested strategies that are based on reliable frameworks.
They work 100% every time.
But you still have to execute them.
No genie or magic wand will do it for you.
So if you're ready to do some hard work, here are 5 proven tips that will help you drive affiliate sales every time.
01 - Understand the Needs of Your Audience and Promote Benefits
Before you start creating content, choosing products, or even setting up your website, you need to ask yourself some key questions about your target audience.
Who are my buyers?
What are their needs, problems, and challenges?
What are their aspirations and dreams?
What are their fears and doubts?
What is it about their lives that they want to change?
What are the products that can help them solve their problems and achieve their goals?
Why would they buy that product from me?
The expert marketers that you dream to emulate one day, spend hours upon hours understanding the real needs and wants of their target audience.
They don't just create content out of instinct or gut feeling.
They research and find the problems that people are so desperate to solve that they'd spend any amount of money for it.
And once they understand the core needs of their audience and their reasons for buying a product, they create content that addresses those needs and focuses on the benefits of the products instead of promoting their features only.
Examples of Understanding The Needs Of Your Audience & Selling Solutions/Benefits
They don't promote mattresses, they sell a good night's sleep, an active workday, a high-performing career, an enjoyable time with family. Again, not just a mattress.
They don't sell weight-loss eBooks, they make their prospects dream of a perfect body.
They don't promote matchmaking services, they make you imagine a life full of love, comfort, and cherished memories.
They don't sell website hosting services, they promote a better user experience and higher sales
Because people buy benefits, end results, solutions, escapism, and, convenience among other things (i.e. what they believe the product will do for them and their life), but they never buy "features".
Take this article in the screenshot below, from a blog in the "ethical spending and environment-friendly products" niche, as an example...
This article promotes several brands and ethical apparel products. But both the title and the content of the post-stay focused on the benefits of the products and the needs of their target audience instead of promoting product features.
Here's an even better example of how to write a product review while focusing on the customers' needs and the benefits of the product you're promoting, in this screenshot below from a pain blog...
Again, the content of this article focuses on the needs of the buyer and connects it with the features of the product it is promoting, not the other way around.
You can only create such content when you're actually aware of your buyers' needs and their decision-making process.
Expert affiliate marketers never make this mistake, but newbies often do.
This explains why most newbies write boring and ineffective product reviews that fail to engage their prospects - they have no insights on their target audience.
They fail to identify the real needs of their prospects and the reasons that motivate their average buyer to purchase a product. As a result, their content lacks depth and offers no actionable insights.
But you can avoid that fate.
Because I've recently written a super detailed post that'll help you research the hell out of your audience and find their pain points.
Make sure you read it...
02 - Understand Your Role in the Affiliate Marketing Cycle
People can buy whatever they need directly from Amazon, eBay, Walmart Target, or any other retailer.
Why do they buy from middlemen (affiliates) like you?
You need to understand this to fully appreciate the importance of your role in the affiliate marketing cycle.
As an affiliate marketer, you play the role of a bridge between the customer and the supplier.
Though that doesn't simply mean you can just dump yourself down in the middle between a Google searcher and Amazon and hope to skim off a click via your affiliate link and net an easy commission for no work.
You can't simply regurgitate product features, specifications, pros and cons, and other basic benefits that can be found already on Amazon.
No, you must learn how to give added value to the consumers so that they have good reason to go through your website instead of the direct source.
Here are some ways you can give value as a middle-man / affiliate:
By solving the problems of your visitors and connecting them with the best product for their situation over just hard pitching products at them.
By providing information or value that the end retailer like Amazon isn't providing or making clear.
By offering bonuses on top of the product that compliments or extends the purchase.
By showing ways to use or benefits of the product that aren't obvious.
By helping users find the best price or discount that they wouldn't get by going directly to the end retailer.
By answering all their questions and objections around the product that are holding them back from purchasing.
By clearly showing how the pain, problem, discomfort, or inconvenience they are experiencing will be removed when they own the product.
Spend a couple of minutes studying this infographic as it explains affiliate marketing perfectly...
You're not stealing money from someone else by making a commission.
You're an influencer that a certain group of people (small or large) trusts.
When you vouch for a product, your audience not only buys it with confidence but also thank you for suggesting it.
But this only happens when you actually have an audience and a group of people that finds your advice reliable (more on this later in the post).
The best affiliate marketers understand this fact and use it to their advantage.
They know their opinion counts and, once their audience trusts them, relevant brands love working with them.
A study by SideBuy, an influencer marketing platform, found that bloggers generate 2x more sales for brands as compared to paid advertising, this image below explains it...
The same study also shows that 81% of consumers trust information shared by relevant blogs.
That's you - if you can take the time to build an audience that trusts you.
As the size of your audience, and their trust level in your advice, grows your affiliate earnings will grow with it
This is why Stuart and all other successful niche marketers keep saying that you need to look at affiliate marketing as a long-term game not just a quick way to make money.
Michelle, the owner of Making Sense of Cents, is an amazing example to follow.
Her latest income report shows she made over $150,000 in December 2018, and $1.5 million overall in 2018, mostly from affiliate marketing, look...
That's an insane number that looks like an unattainable dream.
But browse over to her earliest income reports from 2013 and you'll find that she was making just over $1000 from affiliate marketing when she started documenting her income.
As the size of her audience and their confidence in her content grew, her earnings grew with it.
Your job is to keep providing value to your readers and help them make more informed decisions.
How exactly will you do it?
That's what I explain in the next point.
03 - Offer an Authentic Experience That Goes Beyond the Product Sales Page
Trust is the key to selling online.
But how do you build trust with first-time visitors?
By offering an authentic experience that goes beyond the original sales page of the product you're promoting.
Any Tom, Dick, and Harry can create an affiliate site, write a vague product review with no in-depth details of the product, and use spun content copied from the product's original sales page.
The internet is full of such rubbish (no one trusts it).
The best affiliate marketers stand out from all this noise by creating authentic and credible content that's based on their personal experiences. They don't rehash the same information that's already available on the internet.
Instead, they use the product themselves and share insights that are not available on the product's sales page.
Their reviews don't read like product advertisements, they discuss the pros and cons of the product in detail, and help the readers determine whether its the right product for them or not.
Doing so immediately makes their recommendations more reliable and gives them a much higher click-through rate (CTR) than the sites that churn out non-stop promotional content. And this is exactly why a reliable affiliate marketer can get 10x more sales from the same amount of traffic as compared to a newbie.
Authority Hacker, for example, is a site known for its high-quality content that's based on the personal experiences of its owners. Here's a detailed review they published on the best and the worst content writing services.
Check out the post in this screenshot below...
Source: Authority Hacker
Just by reading the title of this article, you know that even first-time visitors will immediately trust its recommendations.
Why? Because they've shared advice after thoroughly testing the services they're promoting.
Here's an equally impressive example.
There are hundreds of "Start a Blog" guides on the web but this one by Jorden stands out for a couple of reasons.
Most guides show you the setup process of a WordPress site only. Jorden goes a step further and covers Wix and Squarespace as well.
She shares her own experience of creating a site with WordPress, SquareSpace, and Wix and lists the pros and cons in detail which makes her review much more useful and credible.
The article has more than 10K social shares and I'm sure it must've earned her thousands of dollars in affiliate commissions, look at it below...
Here's another review post, in a completely different niche, that follows a similar strategy with running shoes and lab tests them...
Source: Runner's World
Again, the content here is reliable because it shares the pros and cons of all the products reviewed and suggests the best fit for the customers based on their preferences.
But you can't always test a product personally before promoting it, can you?
Of course, not.
There will be times when you don't manage to get access to a product or can't test it personally for any other reason.
Even then, the best way to come across as a credible and authentic information source is by thoroughly investigating both the pros and the cons of a product and sharing as many real-life examples as possible.
You can do that by quoting or interviewing other bloggers in your niche or by studying the negative reviews of the product you're promoting. It makes your content more trustworthy.
For example, the round-up post in the screenshot below quotes 60+ experts sharing their favourite email marketing tools.
I'm sure the author of this article hasn't used all the tools he's featured but he cleverly uses the experiences of other bloggers to create an authentic and credible resource that will earn him referral commissions as well.
Here's another example of the same strategy in a different niche, check out this fitness expert article in the screenshot below...
I think I've made my point pretty clear with all these examples.
To earn the trust of your visitors and achieve a CTR on your product reviews, your content needs to come across as authentic and completely unbiased.
But this principle isn't limited to just product reviews.
In the next point, I'll show you how the best affiliate marketers use super actionable and high-quality content to promote their offers without looking at sales.
04 - Solve Problems, Build Trust, and Overcome the Fear of Selling
What comes to your mind when you think of the word "salesman"?
A slimy car salesman, a pushy door-to-door salesman, or a cold calling agent hellbent on making a profit by selling you products that you don't need, want, or even like.
Like it or not, people hate salesmen.
But you're not a salesman.
You're a marketer.
And there's a clear difference between the two.
Marketers don't sell products, they solve problems and sell dreams.
When you adopt the right strategy, people not only buy from you but also thank you for offering products that they needed.
It's all about building trust with them, showing them that you care about their needs, and understand how to solve their problems.
Problem-solving is the keyword here.
No matter how useful and detailed your content is, if you only publish product reviews, you'll have a hard time building an engaged and loyal following for your site.
The top affiliate marketers make sure that, along with the conventional product reviews, they also publish a large volume of problem-solving content related to the different aspects of their niche.
Doing this can help you in a couple of ways.
It will build the topical relevancy of your site for Google Search and help you rank for a wider range of keywords related to the products you're promoting.
It will help you build rapport with your audience by answering their questions through high-quality content and makes them believe that you actually care about them.
Here's a good example of this from one of the leading website hosting review sites which makes almost all of its money from affiliate commissions by publishing detailed web hosting reviews like these in the screenshot below...
All the posts in the screenshot above are conventional product reviews or reviews of the services closely related to website hosting.
But along with such posts, they also regularly publish problem-solving content that targets other questions and needs of their readers related to website hosting.
For example, anyone with a web hosting account would also love to know how they could create a website quickly or dominate their niche, like in the examples on the screenshot below...
These posts don't promote web hosting services directly, but they do a great job of building an audience around the topic.
This, however, doesn't mean such content won't make you money.
In fact, it can often act as a catalyst for accelerating your audience's buying decisions and do a better job at convincing them of your reliability than a straight forward product review.
In easier words, problem-solving content helps you sell without actually looking sales.
For example, here's an article that shares different healthy juice recipes for weight-loss in the image below...
It offers nothing but value to its readers and shares some great ideas on how you can lose weight with juicing.
At the end of the article, they've added a small guide on buying the best juicers depending on your needs. Because you need a juicer for juicing, right?
I don't think anyone would mind seeing a juicer review at the end of an article about juicing. It makes complete sense and doesn't look salesly at all. In fact, it's quite helpful.
This is why seasoned affiliate marketers create lots of helpful and problem-solving content along with conventional product reviews. As a result, their audience considers them experts (not salesmen) in their respective niches and happily buy the products they promote.
If you're still not sure how to overcome your fear of selling, you definitely need to follow the step-by-step framework Stuart has shared in NicheHacks Academy for this very purpose.
05 - Use Email Marketing To Start an Ongoing Relationship With Your Buyers
For some odd reason, most affiliate marketing newbies (especially those promoting Amazon products) consider email marketing a waste of time.
If you're one of them, I've got news for you.
From Patt Flynn and Spencer Haws to Yaro Starak and Charles Ngo, every successful affiliate marketer considers email list building one the key components of a successful affiliate marketing strategy.
In fact, a survey by Affiliate Summit found that email is the top traffic source for nearly 42% of affiliate marketers
Source: Affiliate Summit
Because even though you can't directly send Amazon product links to your subscribers via email, you can still use an email list to repeatedly bring traffic to every new piece of content you publish (with affiliate links) on your blog.
Seriously, I'm surprised I even have to make all these arguments to convince you about the importance of having an email list.
It gives you uninterrupted access to your audience so that you can offer them massive value with your emails and build a relationship based on trust. If you're on the NicheHacks email list, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.
Stuart regularly sends amazingly detailed emails with so much actionable value. He has built such a strong relationship with his subscribers that they trust every tip he shares and every product he promotes.
Just look at this case study, for example where Stuart generated over $15,000 in affiliate commissions for one single product in just over 10 days through an email campaign, this level of income isn't possible without building an email list.
And he's not alone.
And here's the best part.
Starting and building an email list, and automating the whole email marketing process with autoresponders, doesn't require any technical expertise. I've explained the whole process using three of the best email marketing tools (GetResponse, MailChimp, and AWeber) in this post.
What's Your Excuse for Not Making Money From Affiliate Marketing Now?
Believe it or not, I've spilled the beans in this post for you.
There's nothing more to making money with affiliate marketing than what I've shared in the points above.
These are the affiliate marketing "secrets" you were looking for (even if you think otherwise).
Some naive marketers won't accept this truth and continue to go hunting for the "real" secrets to 'click-button overnight riches' that they are 100% convinced exist.
They'll continue to build thin and valueless "affiliate sites" that just hard-sell products and hammer home features and pro's and con's with affiliate links and buttons everywhere...yet wonder why they still don't make any money.
However, the secrets you're looking for honestly don't exist so if you choose that path be prepared to stay stuck and searching for secrets forever, OK?
What about you, will you accept the truth about affiliate marketing or continue to hunt elusive, non-existent, secrets?
If you're ready to accept the points discussed in the post are the " affiliate secrets" you've been looking for then all that's left is for you to start taking action on the above.
Seriously, try the affiliate marketing strategies above and give value to the end-user over just pitching products and trying to skim a cheap affiliate commission by tricking people to click your affiliate link, writing fake product reviews, spamming random products at people and whatever other cheap tactics are out there.
And also, be a problem solver, connect pain points with solutions, sell hopes, dreams, convenience, escapism, happiness, stress-free, saving time and money...don't just try to sell on product features and specifications.
And most importantly fail regularly and learn from those mistakes so you can gradually progress towards success.
That's how it is for even the best affiliate marketers in the world.
As I said before, no one else is going to do this for you.
You already have all the information you need.
Imperfect action is always better than perfect inaction.
It's time for action using the "secrets" I've revealed in this post.
So what action will you take first today?