Affiliate marketing is all about relationships – and like most relationships, success comes from good rapport, mutual benefit, and trust.

Affiliate marketing can be a serious income-generator, so it comes as no surprise that it’s a popular avenue for industry professionals, influencers, as well as casual and career affiliates alike. But, signing up for an affiliate program isn’t just as simple as throwing some links out into space and hoping you see some money at the end of the month; you want to approach it with a sense of commitment and dedication that will produce the best results for you and the publisher.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a quick overview of some of the most important aspects to think about when committing to becoming an affiliate.

Is it a right match for your audience?

Do you know who your audience is? Are you well-educated on what they’re looking for and what they respond to? If not, the time to find out is before you commit to an affiliate program.

We’ve talked about vetting affiliates, but it’s also important for affiliates to be sure they are signing up for something that is suitable for their own needs. It’s okay to be selective; it’s better to promote fewer products that are more appropriate for your brand and audience than it is to take on loads of promotions that leave your audience feeling spammed – and you with fleeting, impersonal publisher relationships that don’t last.

It’s also just so much more effective to promote things you actually like and want to use. Is the business or product you’re considering promoting something that you can sincerely recommend?

Your subscribers, followers, or customers are more likely to buy if they know you’ve used the product yourself, or if they generally trust your advice. Trust takes time, but you can start by only promoting offers that are relevant and useful to you and your audience.

Can you dedicate your time and attention?

Simply put, affiliate marketing works best when affiliates are actually dedicated. Sure, if you’re just doing it part time for side cash, that’s one thing, but even then, why bother unless you’re going to try and make the most of it? Dormant affiliates can even end up getting booted after long periods of inactivity, so it’s essential to keep active in order to remain in the game.

If you want to perform well as an affiliate, it’s important to dedicate some time to crafting quality social media posts, incorporating promotions into your content, and learning about your publisher’s brand, among other things.

Do you know the publisher’s brand?

If you’re going to commit to promoting a business or product, it’s wise to fully understand the brand you’re representing. You want to have a firm grasp on the brand voice, style elements, and the language the publisher uses, so that you can adapt it to your own brand voice and create something that will speak to your audience while remaining true to the publisher’s brand as well.

Many affiliate programs will provide things like creatives, brand assets, and other content to use, so it might not necessarily take much digging to get what you need. Look for a branding assets page (if your publisher has one) to equip yourself with all the logos and other graphics you’ll need.

Brand assets page (AffiliateWP)
Brand assets page (AffiliateWP)

Check the publisher’s website and social media accounts to get a feel for how they speak to their customers, promote their products, and present their brand. What kind of imagery is being used? Is the tone casual, trendy, professional? Who are their customers?

Do you understand the benefits of the products you promote?

It goes without saying that you want to be informed about the products you’re promoting, but it’s more than just listing features. Understanding the benefits – the real world benefits – of what you’re promoting allows you to speak directly to the needs of your audience.

Do some research on how people are using the products you’re promoting, what their feedback is, and the way the products affect their lives. Of course, you also want to know everything you can find out about the product specs, too!

Are you willing to learn and adjust?

One of the things that will help you cultivate long-term affiliate marketing relationships is the willingness to learn new things and adjust your methods according to the needs of your audience and the needs of the publisher’s brand. Trends change, and publishers make changes and updates to their brands over time, so enter your affiliate partnerships with that in mind!

It also pays to invest in your career (or side hustle) as an affiliate marketer. Consider joining affiliate marketing discussion groups and forums, attending conferences, workshops, and meetup groups, and making an effort to learn as much as you can, hone your skills, and network with other people in your industry.

Developing trust and rapport with your publisher

Trust is the foundation of any relationship, and affiliate marketing is no different. To be successful, you want to make sure your publisher knows you can be trusted to represent their brand according to their standards, and actually put in the effort required to bring in sales.

It’s crucial to stick to your word and fulfill your end of the deal. If the publisher is providing quality products, quality affiliate creatives, and a positive and personal affiliate experience, show them you appreciate them by being responsive, respectful, proactive, and reliable. Good affiliate programs are going to prioritize affiliate relationships, too, so it shouldn’t be a chore.

Does your publisher need you to make their affiliate program work? Sure. Do you need them to make money with affiliate marketing? Well, there are certainly plenty of options out there, so you might be tempted to say no.

However, finding a quality affiliate program that’s the right match for you isn’t always super easy – and when you do find the right one, the results can be extremely lucrative. So, considering that your time and efforts are valuable, it’s safe to say that nurturing your relationship with the right publisher is both necessary and beneficial.

Patience is your friend

As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It takes time to develop trust, consistency, and expertise.

If you select the right affiliate program for your audience, dedicate your time and attention, know the publisher’s brand and understand the benefits of their products, continue to learn and adjust, and develop trust and rapport with your publisher, you’ll be ahead of the game – that’s for sure!

If you’re an affiliate manager, or a site owner or business owner and you run your own affiliate program, feel free to share these tips with your affiliates!

If you’re an affiliate, we want to hear from you! What insights do you have to share? What have you taken into consideration when committing to promoting a business or product? Drop us a comment below!

Mandy Jones

About the author: Mandy is a content writer at Sandhills Development, singer/songwriter/musician, and founder of Looplicious. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, she's a frequent traveler and animal lover with a passion for creativity and maker culture.

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