There are all kinds of affiliates in the Network Solutions affiliate program, from individual bloggers to large websites. In working with the various affiliates, I noticed that there are several things that make some affiliates successful and others aren’t, regardless of the type of websites that they manage.
Here are the five things that successful affiliates do:
1. They focus on content
It’s so easy and cheap to create a blog these days; just sign up on Blogger and voila, your blog is ready in a few minutes. I have come across so many affiliates who only have AdSense ads and affiliate links on their sites or blogs, that I closed my browser even before the page loads completely. I know that you want to make money from your website, but you need to keep your visitors on your website in order for them to check out your affiliate ads.
Regardless of the type of site you have, whether it is a coupon site or a blog that talks about your dog, you need to build content that people are interested in. It’s great that you can generate traffic, but are your visitors staying on your website? I’ve heard advice from well-known bloggers numerous times that if you want to start a blog, write about something that you’re passionate about. If not, then you’ll lose interest and you won’t make the time to generate your posts.
2. They listen to their customers
Good websites change over time because their customers’ needs most likely change over time. Listen to what your customers or readers are telling you. If you’re not asking them about your site, you should. If you have an email newsletter, send them a short online survey to ask them about things that they like and don’t like about your site. You can also place an online poll on your site for an informal survey.
3. They build relationships with merchants/advertisers
It’s easy to apply to affiliate programs. Some program managers even automatically approve applications (I don’t know why they would do that, but unfortunately this still does happen). After being accepted to the affiliate programs, reach out to the affiliate managers to introduce yourself. Don’t be afraid to say that you are new to affiliate marketing; good affiliate managers will want to help you out! If you have an established affiliate program, it’s not too late to introduce yourself to the merchants. Attend affiliate conferences if you can, such as Affiliate Summit, and find out if the affiliate manager is planning on attending the conference. If so, schedule a time for a quick meeting with him/her.
4. They employ technology
I was meeting with a top affiliate at a conference to discuss how we can improve our program on their site. In our 30-minute meeting, he pulled our reports, double checked our links, updated our coupons and put us on prominent placements on his site. All of these were made possible because he built an database to gather the information quickly and easily. You don’t need to be a programming genius to employ technology to your affiliate program, but you need to utilize available tools to help you run your site and affiliate program more effectively. For example, check out PopShops to aggregate coupons, Google Analytics to understand your website metrics and search for plug-ins to rotate affiliate ads on your site.
5. They try new things
It’s easy to get bogged down in day-to-day management of your site, so set aside an hour or two per week to think about new things that you should do on your site. If you have asked your customers for their feedback, read through their comments and see what sticks out. Check out your competitors’ sites and see what they’re doing. Look at top websites outside of your category to spark some ideas for your website.
Image via Flickr (Creative Commons) by ahansGoogle+