Lab Report: Affiliate Marketing

Our educational website is not merely full of teacher resources, it’s also providing a good education for us. Since we’re using it to test hypotheses about SEO and online marketing, we’re getting opportunities to hone in on the most effective methods and to check on some fondly-held industry beliefs.

We’re also using it to learn about affiliate marketing. People often ask us to set up affiliate marketing arrangements for them, or to assist them to improve their results. We haven’t known a whole lot about it before — how to set it up, sure, but not necessarily how best to prepare content for affiliate marketing. Frankly, most of the people we know who’ve tried their hands at affiliate marketing haven’t earned more than a few dollars a month that way.

Now we’ve had six weeks to research, we’re ready to share our initial impressions and experiences with you.

Looking at people who do well with Amazon affiliate marketing, and comparing them with those who don’t, this is what we see:

  • Really good, fresh content is a must. No one does well with unremitting ad copy. Nor do people do well with occasional updates. The people who are doing well have a lot of good content, and a high level of knowledge and authority.
  • Persistence is key. People who are doing well have usually been doing it for quite a while. That’s one reason that they have lots of good content and high traffic. As with so many other things in life, most people who try this give up quite early on. Those who keep at it have a better chance.
  • A narrow focus is best. We’re not seeing success among people who have a general focus and link to lots of different stuff. People who succeed are experts on cameras and link to cameras, or are experts on dog training and link to dog training gear. Charming little essays on life are not the ticket.

We’re beginning to get orders. We can see that, since the items we link to are inexpensive books, it will take a lot of orders to get much in the way of results. We are therefore going to focus on traffic building next.

We’ll keep you posted.


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