So you want to be an affiliate marketer. It looks easy enough right? But, what is the truth about affiliate marketing?

Seems like all you have to do is pick a product to promote, find an eager group of buyers, slap up a banner ad, and you’re in business, Right? That last sentence is pretty much dead wrong. I kind of wish I had a neuralizer (you know, one of those men in black memory eraser things) But I don’t have one so…

If you’ve started messing around with affiliate marketing and you’re not making money, then you’ve been fed bad information. That’s not your fault, but we need to get rid of the misinformation. I want you to scrub your brain of everything you’ve heard about making millions overnight in your sleep. 

Look right here

It’s not really that easy (or we’d all be rolling in a big pile like Scrooge McDuck), but it’s also not that hard if you just remember a few things.

  • First you pick a niche Then you find products in that niche. Basically you’re going to find the money stream first and then put yourself in front of it. 
  • Second, you’re not going to get you anywhere just slapping up a few banner ads. Maybe you’ll get a couple of clicks here and there, but as the saying goes even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. No you need good solid targeted traffic, and well get to that in another article.
  • The third thing you need to know is that an affiliate marketer wears a whole bunch of hats. We’re not talking about ball caps (forwards or backwards), not the cowboy kind, or those stupid little beanies with the propellers on top. We’re talking about business hats, and there’s one that arguably is more important than any other. 

Okay, so let’s unpack this hat thing a little.

  • You’re a marketer first which means you’ll quickly get real good at Social Media Marketing (guessing you already know about sharing on Facebook). Then there’s  joint ventures, search engine optimization (SEO), media buys (paying for traffic), guest blogging, and all sorts of other ways to drive targeted traffic. 
  • You’ll also wear a filtering hat, like the sorting hat on Harry Potter, except you sort through potential affiliate products to find the best solution for your audience, not students into different houses.
  • You also have to wear a mind reading hat, they’re usually made of foil and have a little radar dish on top (just kidding). Okay you won’t actually have to read minds, or wear the hat. But you will do market research to get inside the heads of your target audience and understand what they want. Once you do this then you can pick products that will really help them, and they are anxious to buy and write sales copy to get them pulling out their wallets.
  • Speaking of sales copy, don’t forget to put on your writing hat because you’ll be writing sales copy newsletters, blog posts and other types of content. If you find you don’t like writing you can always hire that part out cheap. Just be sure to edit and remember you get what you pay for.
  • Sometimes you’re going to throw on your tech hat. That and the design hat are my two favorites. Sure just like writing, you can Outsource your tech jobs but why (it’s a ton of fun) and really with tools like WordPress and others it’s pretty dang simple. 

The most important hat you wear is the relationship expert hat. Now that brings us to the next important point that you need to know.

The number one secret that you need to know to be a super Affiliate that gets people lining up around the block to buy from you, Isn’t what a lot of affiliate marketers think. It’s not just adding value to an offer by giving a special bonus to those who buy through your affiliate link, sure that is part of a good strategy, but it’s not the number one secret.

Are you ready for the number one secret? It’s super simple.

People buy from those they know, like, and trust.
that bears repeating.
People buy from those they know, like, and trust

You know it’s true. Think about your own purchases for a second. Have you ever spent a little more money for something just because you prefer to buy from someone you know, like and trust? Then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

maybe you buy tylenol instead of equate. Same ingredients, same effect, but you trust the brand name more, and even though it costs a little bit more you still buy it.

I’ve bought a lot of camping equipment over the years because, well I kinda dig camping. And you know what? There’s one company that I buy a lot of my stuff from, and really their prices aren’t the best. I even travel to buy from them.

I do this because I like to do business with them, their service is great, they’re nice people, I know I can trust their recommendations, and the store is super cool. I know the store thing is kinda stupid but I like it and I’ll pay a little bit more because of it. 

The same thing goes for just about anything you’re going to buy. I’m sure there are plenty of times you spent a little bit more because you wanted to buy from a place or person that you knew, liked and trusted.

So in case you haven’t figured it out, here’s the thing. Your prospects are the same way they’re not gonna buy something from you just because you dangle some super special bonus in their face they’re gonna buy because they know, like, and trust you. If you engage with them you can build a relationship with them. 

So now you see why you need to wear that relationship hat.

Yeh it’s possible to approach cold prospects and sell a couple thingamigers here and there, but it’s a much better thing if you can build a list of interested people. Then engage engage them, you know, build a relationship with them and then promote solutions that you know will really help these folks and that brings us to the final Point 

what sort of things should you be targeting here’s a key. Find a niche of rabid buyers who are likely to buy from you over and over (if you treat them right). Find people who are super passionate about some topic, (that’s all a niche is, a topic of interest). 

Here’s a couple of examples rabid markets.


Serious gamers buy a ton of stuff they buy games, game guides, gaming consoles. They subscribe to YouTube channels about their favorite games. They pay to play games online. They buy books, cards, dice, little figurines. I could go on an on

The point is that serious gamers are a wildly rabid market Looking for a lot of information  and to purchase a wide range of expensive, mid-range, and consumable stuff.

Scifi and fantasy geeks,

Here’s another example of a rabid market. I should know, I’m one of them. I mean good lord there’s comic cons, renaissance festivals, t shirts, posters larping equipment, the list goes on. We have money and want to spend it on cool stuff.

Let’s wrap this up

If you’ve gotten this far and you’re still asking, what is the truth about affiliate marketing I’ll sum it up. Affiliate marketers wear a lot of different hats, so there’s always a lot to learn. It’s not as easy as some would have you believe, but it’s also not that difficult as long as you remember the number one secret. You do remember that one, right? People buy from those they know, like, and trust. So grab your hat rack, pick a hat and let’s get to work.

Leave a comment below if you have suggestions for my next blog post or any questions regarding online income. I’ve got many more interesting articles coming out soon and I love to help!

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