Was there any good advice you got when first starting out?
The best (and possibly the most generic) advice is to test campaigns all the time. You can never do enough testing. If five campaigns don’t work, test more! You never know. You could be half a step away from a sure-fire formula. The sky really is the limit with this.
Also, set your expectations. It’s good to know what you’re getting into. You are more than capable of succeeding, but you need to go in with a plan and keep an open mind.
And… sign up to a strong affiliate network.
Did you struggle to find an affiliate network?
I was recommended to one of the bigger networks.
It does help when you apply as a holding company or business entity. It carries credibility, but networks accept individuals all the time as well.
It helps to join and actively participate in affiliate marketing communities like the STM Forum. Networks will then be able to see from your profile and participation that you’re an active member of the affiliate community.
What’s the main misconception around affiliate marketing today?
“You can only make money with a product, vertical or niche that is brand new and hot”.
Although the latest products help a lot initially, some of them can lose momentum after a while. Especially if they’re solving temporary needs or crazes (like face masks or fidget spinners, etc.)
That being said, decent returns come from marketing evergreen products. Play for the long game and avoid chasing after the “here today, gone tomorrow” products and services.
Another misconception is that you cannot generate returns in old school ways (i.e, email marketing). Not true. Along with Facebook and Native advertising, email marketing is a strong option for every digital strategy.
How competitive has affiliate marketing become?
More competitive in the sense of there being loads of affiliate programs from all sorts of different companies, with trickle-down returns (affiliates, ultimately being the last to see revenue).
However, there really is no shortage of products to market and, the more unique and well-targeted your campaign content becomes, the better your chances to stand out and succeed.
As long as the product you’re marketing carries traction and the advertising methods you’re using don’t fall into gray zone tactics, you’re good to go.
Slow and steady vs fast and reckless?
Give it everything you’ve got and, analyze your success after a few months.
Where, with a bit of luck, it’s possible to make cash quickly on hot topic verticals, affiliate marketing is, in general, a long term financial play. If you’re dedicated and consistent with your testing, you can make a steady profit.
Affiliate marketing is also a cool springboard to hone your skills for other marketing channels. You’re constantly learning how to promote a range of different products in a range of different sectors, giving you the chance to diversify your knowledge base and sharpen your skillset.