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15+ Affiliate Marketing Strategies to Drive Sales in 2022! 💰

Affiliate marketing is a crazy-popular way to make money, but you need to leverage affiliate marketing strategies for it to pay off.

Don’t know how?

Well, it’s a good thing you’re here then.

There’s a reason affiliate marketing strategies are a popular topic in the world of digital marketing: they work exceptionally well!

We’re going to give you a practical and comprehensive overview of the best affiliate marketing strategies and why they are the awesome sauce for making more sales.

And, it’s easier than you think!

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when a company uses a performance-based digital marketing strategy to pay affiliates for sales generated from promoting their products or services.

Affiliate marketers receive a commission or flat rate per click, lead, or sale generated, depending on the company’s preference and affiliate marketing structure or program.

It’s a powerful marketing strategy because it takes less work to equip others (well-chosen affiliates and influencers, of course) to sell digital products and services at a reasonable fee than to spend a larger budget on ads and campaigns.

Affiliate programs are very often compared to referral programs. Not to be confused, their main difference is that referral programs are more personal.

This means that referrals will have to be actual clients or users of your brand in order to sign up for the program.

The majority of people who are involved with affiliate and referral marketing use both of these programs simultaneously since both of them can generate passive income.

This type of marketing also increases your brand awareness.

When done right, it’s usually also more effective.

Affiliate Marketing Strategies

1. Select your affiliates carefully

This is the most crucial part of setting up your affiliate program.

Take the time to research and look for the right affiliates people who have a following who would be interested in your products or services.

Excited Season 3 GIF by The Simpsons

If you’re selling animal products, it would be dumb to collaborate with a fashion influencer, for example, unless animals are part of their fashion branding.

Look at the affiliate’s audience size and, more importantly, their customer engagement rates.

Having a huge following doesn’t necessarily mean that a large percentage of that following will spend money.

Ideally, you want affiliates who are already successful marketers and have enough street cred to indicate that you will benefit from collaborating.

Use affiliate recruitment software to find these beautiful unicorns (they do exist!).

2. Optimize your site for conversions

If you’ve chosen your affiliates and you’re itching to start, first assess your site for conversions.

Check on your search engine optimization or get a professional to check it out and give you a report and recommendations.

You want your site to be ready to handle more traffic, sales, inquiries, sign-ups, etc.

Make sure the content on your site communicates what your customers are looking for as clearly and simply as possible.

Use videos, personalized emails, and targeted landing pages to focus on your top affiliate product.

The content on your site, along with the navigation and structure, must make it as easy as possible for newcomers (hot leads from your affiliate marketers) to find and buy what they want.

This part of your effective affiliate marketing strategy is worth spending extra time and money on.

(Side Note: You don't have to do all of this yourself. There are plenty of marketing automation tools and marketing analytics tools to help you out!)

3. Create a diversified affiliate program

As the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

affiliate marketing strategies - image of eggs and cash in a basket

This applies to your affiliate marketing program.

Create diversity in your strategy and the affiliate marketers you choose to work with.

Establish relationships with people on multiple platforms and set up a marketing strategy for each type.

A diversified affiliate program is about putting as much power as you can behind this marketing strategy and helping your affiliate partners to help you.

The easier you make it for everyone involved, the more commissions the affiliate marketers get and the more sales you make. Cha-ching!

Another benefit is that it gives you more sales and digital engagement to optimize your content marketing and email marketing.

Review the efficiency of your affiliate partners every few months and zoom in on the methods that work the best.

4. Go all-in with niche influencers

Partnering with influencers is like putting your affiliate marketing strategy on steroids.

affiliate marketing strategies - young woman beauty influencer

The more closely the niche of an influencer aligns with what you’re offering, the better and easier it will be.

They already have a relevant target audience who trusts them and trusts their recommendations and product reviews.

There is an authentic relationship between them and their audience, making it easier for them to persuade people to trust your brand by association.

Better still, they don’t need to be celebrities. Most customers like following ordinary people who create engaging content online.

Niche influencers can help you up-level the success of a new product launch or bring a whole new crowd of customers to your business.

Keep this in mind to create a reasonable affiliate commission structure that makes it worth their while.

(Pro Tip: check out our guide to influencer marketing and our top picks for influencer marketing tools!)

5. Boost sales with coupons and special discounts

Most people love a good deal, and if it offers sufficient value, they’ll even consider buying something that wasn’t on their radar until they saw the affiliate offer.

affiliate marketing strategies - smartphone with a coupon

Use this to your advantage by boosting sales with coupons and special discounts.

The shoppers who actively look for good deals and coupons before spending will go for it.

Saving is no longer for the minimalistic, the struggling, or the frugal.

Due to the pandemic, saving is necessary, making it an important selling point.

The beauty of using coupons is three-fold:

  • They are cost-effective and trackable, so you can see exactly how many were used.
  • They entice new customers and existing customers to keep coming.
  • They lead t a lot less cart abandonment.

Test your coupon offers by changing the amounts and selected products to see what gives you the best ROI.

You can also use them as a tripwire on landing pages to upsell or make bundle offers.

6. Establish brand-to-brand relationships

Brand-to-brand collaborations, like influencer marketing, can help you go a lot further and faster if you do it right.

The same principles apply look for brands with whom a collaboration would make sense and whose target audience would be interested in what you offer and vice versa.

It also creates more creative room in marketing strategies, combined offers, and content marketing.

As with choosing an affiliate partner, look for brands whose values align with yours to ensure a smooth brand partnership.

Then, come to an agreement on how you share your target audience to direct them to subscribe to your mailing list, doing cross-promotions on the ground and online.

Decide how to create offers that benefit you, them, and of course, the customers.

7. Launch your site with content marketing

As with any business endeavor, there’s no such thing as making affiliate income overnight (unless you get lucky and go viral, possibly creating a supply-and-demand problem!).

Before you initiate affiliate marketing, make sure your website is ready to launch with a proper content marketing strategy that includes well-researched pieces.

affiliate marketing strategies - GIF of dog typing on computer

You need sufficient content already existing on your site (at least 20 pieces or more) so that clients can see you are truthfully recommending excellent products.

You want to create the impression that you are at least established. Your affiliate website won’t be visible or attract much affiliate traffic with search engine content marketing without sufficient affiliate marketing content anyway.

Create informative content, including customer reviews, detailed product reviews and tutorials and comparisons, and content that answers customers’ most frequently asked questions in your niche.

Don’t forget to make sure images are high quality and that your site loads quickly!

8. Be mindful of your payment model

Select a payment model that makes sense for your business, offer, prices, and marketing goal because customers will not always buy from your affiliates alone.

Choose to pay your affiliates in one of 3 ways:

  • Pay per sale (most popular) this allows you to focus solely on the number of sales generated, and you pay the affiliate a percentage commission per sale completed.
  • Pay per click (typically second-most popular) this is more useful when your goal is specifically to direct customers to a specific platform or website, i.e., when you’re generating and directing traffic. You pay affiliates based on the increased traffic.
  • Pay per lead this doesn’t necessarily involve getting an affiliate sale from customers. It’s more focused on affiliates guiding consumers to your website and persuading them to sign up, subscribe, or download something.

Whatever model you choose, make sure that it fits your goal without emptying your pockets.

9. Market through multiple sources

Use a variety of sources in your affiliate marketing strategy. If you zoom in on only one or two, you’re still missing out on a large piece of the pie.3

affiliate marketing strategies - grumpy cat meme "I have my sources

Use product review blog posts with affiliates to create a highly targeted inbound marketing strategy.

These types of pieces answer the interested customer’s questions.

Affiliates can also help demonstrate, discuss, and explain your products or services to their target audience on webinars.

There’s nothing like a demo promotion to guarantee hot leads!

If webinars seem extensive, ask your affiliates to feature your products in their social media posts and videos.

A more personal approach is to ask your affiliates who have extensive lists of engaged email subscribers to market your products or services to them and drive the traffic and sales to you.

Testing various methods will help you see what works best and optimize it.

10. Focus on SEO

SEO marketing is a crucial part of your affiliate marketing strategy.

It takes time to implement, but it’s foundational to getting relevant traffic to your site and your landing pages.

You can get effective results without spending a fortune on PPC campaigns, provided you do some keyword research on non-competitive keywords, long-tail keywords, search intent, etc.

It’s also the perfect way to compensate if you are not an influencer with a large following or reputation in your niche.

Suppose an affiliate recommends your product and a potential customer looks for your brand on Google. In that case, a carefully researched, SEO-optimized page will pop up and take your customer to the next step.

11. Become part of an affiliate network

If you’re just starting out with an affiliate marketing strategy, join a network where you can offer your affiliate program to many affiliates, and the right ones will find you.

Another way to build your own affiliate network is to start with what you have inform all potential affiliate marketers in your current business network of what you’re doing and offering, the commissions, related tasks, etc.

Once that’s off to a good start, you can also encourage your successful affiliates to recruit sub-affiliates and pay them extra for sales generated via the sub-affiliates.

After a while, you can reward your top-performing affiliates with a higher commission rate and extra incentives like discounts, vouchers, free products, etc.

Take inspiration from Amazon Associates, one of the most extensive and most successful affiliate marketing programs globally. Their network comprises over 900,000 affiliates!

12. Let your audience pick your affiliates

The key to successful affiliate marketing is, of course, your successful affiliate marketer’s audience.

The audience knows what they like, use, and would happily recommend to others.

Listen to their product recommendations and go with their suggestions!

Better still, test their suggestions. This will give you valuable data to use in your various content marketing strategies, blog posts, product reviews, comparisons, etc.

Keep conversations going with your audience ask them what works for them, what doesn’t, and why not, and what they are looking for.

13. Know everything about your products

Don’t sell products willy-nilly just because there’s an affiliate program with a good commission.

affiliate marketing strategies - cat wearing a tie meme "I know everythin"

It’s insincere, and your customers will find out. It will cost you affiliate revenue and your reputation, hindering your future success.

Before you sell something, make sure you know everything there is to know about it.

A wealth of knowledge and experience in your niche and product is one of the best ways to compete and stand out.

At the very least, you need to know enough for other people to learn something from you about the product you’re recommending.

If customers feel that they are in expert hands and don’t need to inquire elsewhere, your sales will go up.

It creates a trustworthy brand experience.

14. Use affiliate marketing tools

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of building and managing an affiliate marketing program or campaign, technology is here to help via affiliate marketing tools.

There are different marketing tools with the capability to set and track your goals.

It’s a useful way to optimize the affiliate marketing campaign that is working well and start scaling on successful brand partnerships.

There are a few key factors to consider in choosing the right affiliate marketing software for you:

  • All-in-one platform the ability to manage multiple programs within a single software account, so you have all your info in one place.
  • Seamless integration you want the ability to plug and play when connecting with your merchant sites. Look for efficient shopping cart solutions and ensure they have excellent customer support for your chosen platform.
  • Easy set-up you don’t want to download a bunch of tools or plugins; you’re just looking for something that works on your browser and your desktop and a user-friendly interface.
  • Mobile marketing compatibility because everyone is glued to their phones and shopping on them, so obviously, your platform including your landing pages must be optimized for mobile.

Staying on top of trends is essential for the best affiliate marketing strategy.

Current trends are an easy-to-follow indicator of inspiring profitable ideas, so use them to your advantage and create affiliate content to boost your sales.

It’s all about paying attention to the market, how people spend, why they spend, and on what.

Post relevant trending content that directs people to a relevant affiliate link, and you’re as set up as you can be for making some easy money.

16. Leverage busy shopping seasons

Though different from selling your own products directly, affiliate marketing still has the same goal as any other retail business making money.

affiliate marketing strategies - dog with package that says "black Friday sale" and cat with a package that says "cyber Monday sale"

Don’t neglect the more well-known affiliate strategy of peak shopping seasons for special offers and holiday-specific promotions.

Obviously, around the most prominent holiday season, you have Black Friday and Cyber Monday (which are always insanely profitable), and then, of course, Christmas itself.

There are also other significant holidays you can leverage. Think of Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day, for instance, or the 4th of July.

These are the perfect opportunities to spend a little money on paid campaigns, PPC, ads, and some A/B testing.

And don’t forget coupons and discount codes here!

17. Set up your own affiliate network

A more advanced affiliate marketing strategy is setting up your own affiliate network. Keep the goals and benefits in mind as you create your strategy: increasing more traffic to your website, better control over your transactions, your affiliates, and their commissions.

To do this, you need to choose a suitable affiliate marketing software solution that will help you manage, track, and optimize campaigns all in one place, with the other key features mentioned above.

Whatever you choose, it needs to make the job easier for you, not drown you in too many details and features.

Then, set up your program decide how it will work and what you expect.

Share this with your affiliates, along with what campaigns are to be done on which channels, and equip them with any resources that may help make it more effective.

This is crucial for avoiding pitfalls like misunderstandings, fraudulent affiliate links, and payment problems.

All these issues can damage your affiliate network, your business, and your reputation. Keep the plan and the execution as straightforward as possible.

Affiliate Marketing Strategies Your Guaranteed Business Booster

Are you excited?

Now you have a better grasp of affiliate marketing than most people do when they start out trying to “get rich quick”.

If you put the work into your affiliate marketing strategy, get clarity on what you will achieve and how, your success will be inevitable.

Affiliate marketing is worth it.

Heideli Loubser is a wellness and education copywriter and a content marketing strategist helping you grow your business. She is also a solo homeschool blogging mom of two kiddos. When she’s not wielding her powerful pen to help businesses and other parents, she enjoys gardening, painting, caffeine, and dark chocolate in large amounts.