5 Truths on Easy methods to Succeed at Affiliate Advertising: What It Actually Takes!

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through links. I will only recommend products that I have personally used! Learn more on my Private Policy page.


By now, I’ve written plenty of guides covering the nuts and bolts of getting started on ClickBank, understanding the skills you need to begin as an affiliate marketer, and selling successfully on different marketing channels. I’ve also shared the top offers on our marketplace, month after month, so you can easily find high-converting affiliate products to promote.

But succeeding at affiliate marketing – or anything worthwhile – needs a certain mindset. It’s you deciding that you’re not going to stop until you succeed.

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing many of our most successful marketers, and the #1 thing they had in common was continuing to work at it until they succeeded – and then, rinsing and repeating. 

So, in this guide, I want to dig even deeper into the nitty-gritty of how to succeed at affiliate marketing! 

What is Success as an Affiliate Marketer?

Let me begin by stating a few facts first! Affiliate marketing is a multi-billion-dollar industry. In the U.S. alone, the expenditure for affiliate marketing will reach over $8 billion by the year’s end.

A small percentage of affiliate marketers earn more than $250k per year, which just happens to be the threshold for Platinum clients on ClickBank. This is easily enough money for a full-time income to replaces any 9-to-5 job you may have.

But with that said, only 9% of affiliate marketers make $50,000 annually, and many more (48%) make less than $20,000 – with the remainder making almost nothing. It sure does sound like a bummer if you consider money to be the sole factor for success.

However, let’s consider the other benefits you enjoy when you start an affiliate business:

  • You’ve got the option to work from anywhere around the world. You’re not tied down to one place!
  • You have the flexibility to choose a niche – technology, health, finance, travel, cooking, etc. – that’s a fit for your unique interests and skills.
  • You can enjoy a business that’s low-capital and low-risk compared to more traditional options, like starting a retail store or restaurant.
  • You get to choose whether this should be your career or merely a side hustle alongside your current job or business.
  • Your affiliate business grows as much as you do. As a result, you have control over your total income and your opportunities for success.

Having said that, an affiliate marketer will be successful once they know how to drive traffic and have their knowledge and skills dialed into a repeatable, scaleable process!

5 Truths That Top Affiliate Marketers Know

Affiliate marketing strategy is a distinct combination of quality brand collaborations, content marketing, influencer marketing, and the business’s other secret ingredients, which we will now explore.

1) Think like a CEO.

As an affiliate, getting stuck in the minutiae of just one audience, one product, and one traffic channel is easy. But that’s thinking too small if you want to build a real business with a brand and the potential to grow year after year.

That’s why you need to think like a CEO. What is your company’s vision? What audience segments will you go after, with what products, and on which traffic channels? What does your brand stand for?

What kind of content can you produce to cultivate a credible reputation in your space? And most importantly, what happens if any one of the legs on your three-legged stool of audience, product, and traffic channel ends up breaking?

As a CEO, you can (and should) diversify your business model, so that you never have all your eggs in one basket. Start by first considering your weaknesses and strengths. Then, decide which aspects you can actively work to improve on and which ones you should hire out to grow your business.

At the end of the day, being CEO is all about how well you enable your company to sell more and grow!

Action Step: Make a one-page business plan.

2) Be Audience-Focused.

Your primary job as an affiliate marketer is to improve your target audience’s life, typically through information, inspiration, or entertainment. If the content you create isn’t adding value somehow, then you’re redundant in the buying process.

It’s not hard for someone to purchase a product online – the hard part is knowing which products are worth best for someone’s particular circumstances. By providing quality product reviews, helpful “how-to” content with product recommendations, or intriguing content focused on solving a pain point for your audience, you can move them to take action.

Become a user first and share your expertise second. What I mean by this is when you understand the product from a consumer’s perspective, half of your job as an affiliate marketer is done.

Apart from what the brand advertises, find aspects of the product that make it unique and valuable for your target audience.

Action Step: Create a buyer persona for your ideal customer profile (ICP).

3) Invest in Yourself and Your Affiliate Business.

This isn’t a short-term venture, and you’ll not likely to experience “overnight” success – and certainly not predictable, repeatable success!

If you want to make affiliate marketing work for you, then you need to keep investing in your own affiliate marketing skills, as well as the technology and marketing for your business.

That could mean getting a new landing page software tool or a third-party tracker, or it could mean purchasing an educational course and following what you learn there to find success.

Whether you’re a newbie or have been around for a while, you’ve got to stay on top of your game. The best way to do that is by constantly staying up-to-date on the latest and greatest marketing tactics.

Wondering where to find the right affiliate program that fits your style? Look no more, because we’ve got you covered! Spark by ClickBank is a bundle of courses tailored especially for affiliate marketing professionals who want to grow their business. We have a dedicated community and special tools to help you kickstart your efforts to promote products and earn an affiliate marketing income.

These courses were created by some of the most experienced and knowledgeable minds in the industry, including experts at ClickBank and trusted partners like Paul Counts, Ian Stanley, Rachel Pedersen, and more. Spark will teach you how to promote affiliate offers with free or paid traffic.

Action Step: Sign up for Spark and level up your affiliate marketing skills!

4) Get Really Good at Something.

At some point, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “Jack of all trades, but master of none.” However, that is only one part of the saying!

The full expression goes:

“Jack of all trades but master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”

Well, we need to turn that on its head a little: if you want to be a successful affiliate marketer, your best bet is to become a jack of all trades AND a master of at least one! (Sometimes referred to as being a T-shaped marketer.)

These days, affiliates can’t realistically just focus on a specific skill and not care about how everything else works around them. The best affiliate marketers tend to be world-class at something – that’s the secret sauce that propels them to success. But they still need everything else that comes with a successful affiliate business in order to make sales.

Take me as an example. I’m a copywriter by trade, and I’m experienced at SEO. Those are my two areas of mastery – but I also know how to build a website and webpages, run email campaigns, track analytics and traffic data, and work with video.

I relied on my mastery of SEO and copywriting to build an affiliate website and get organic traffic to it, but I still use my other skills to help generate results from those skills.

Let’s say you’ve got five solid skills related to affiliate marketing and truly excel in one of them – then you’re a T-shaped marketer already! As an affiliate, you have broad knowledge of marketing tactics and skills, as well as in-depth expertise in at least one or two of them.

Having varied skills is a huge advantage. Fortunately, if you’re good enough at one or two things, you can always hire freelancers or employees to fill in the gaps!

Action Step: Block 5–10 hours per week to practice your chosen marketing skill.

5) Just Keep Going and You’ll Make Money.

If you want to succeed, you need to continue putting in efforts in a single direction for a long time. Don’t jump around constantly, chasing shiny new objects like a new niche, product, or marketing tactic. You can’t hit 10,000 hours in something and reach mastery if you only practice something for a few hours before realizing it’s hard and moving on to the next thing!

Then again, it’s not wrong for you to try new aspects if you’re not satisfied with how things are currently working. The most effective way to move ahead in this career is by seeing what you did yesterday and how you’re doing today. Gauge your past and present work tactics to determine your next steps.

However, ensure that you keep your business and services running despite all the ups and downs. Having realistic expectations for yourself and your business will align you with the right targets and push you to keep walking on your chosen path.

You won’t become a millionaire overnight – but you can make progress by building reasonable goals and dividing them into short-term and long-term categories. It’s all about taking one step at a time!

Action Step: Keep an ongoing task list that filters up to your business goals.

By now, you’ve learned most of the essential steps to becoming a successful affiliate marketer. However, that’s not all – I have a few more insights that I’ve picked up over the years. Here are some exclusive bonus tips to help you maintain consistency in this space!

Bonus Tip 1: Become an Expert in Affiliate Marketing Strategy

Mastering the art of affiliate marketing doesn’t require you to spend years getting off the ground. To skip the “paying your dues” stage, you should get familiar with a few simple yet powerful strategies and use them regularly in your business.

Finding the Sweet Spot

Here’s the critical part: Find the sweet spot between your audience, product, and traffic channel. How do you find that? It’s simple. Maintain transparency between you and the other three. Let me explain them a bit more.

The way to build a loyal audience is to write about the things they want to read and provide real value. If you don’t think a product is worth your audiences’ time and money, being upfront about it will benefit you in the long run.

Having said that, with time, marketers often get greedy and fall into the trap of blindly marketing products that they haven’t tried firsthand and may have quality issues. This will affect your credibility, and hence, the downfall may begin.

Further, always mention or give a heads-up about the product’s affiliate links. While being appreciated for your transparency, you’re also getting the affiliate marketing task accomplished.

Make Multiple Strategies

When it comes to promoting an affiliate product, you need to have two or more strategies—at least two—to see which one performs better. This is also called A/B testing. Promote the brand by considering various aspects of placing the link. If you’re putting it on your blog, then how are you promoting it on your platform? Is it at the top or the side? You’ve got to decide cautiously because UI/UX matters.

The parameters will change drastically for different platforms. For example, you can’t apply the same strategy entirely to a social media platform.

For blog-based affiliate marketing, the search engine has rules for you to follow. Maintain proper SEO strategies and optimize your domain and hosting website. Different countries have different standards, so ensure that you customize the link and your content to match theirs. Following these might seem tedious at first, but they’re necessary to reach your target audience better.

Bonus Tip 2: Choose Proven Affiliate Products

Don’t Fall for Gimmicks

Many affiliate marketing professionals fall into the trap of expecting to make a lot of money quickly! Unfortunately, there are several affiliate programs that claim to make you a millionaire in a month or two.

How do you avoid falling into such ‘get-rich-quick’ scams? Use Google to research all affiliate marketing programs in your niche. Gather all the data, and you’ll understand the difference by making a simple comparison.

As an affiliate professional, begin by dissecting the legitimate and illegitimate programs and learning about the ones that match your goals. Some programs might host a mix of good and poor products – make sure you apply the same filters to find the best products to market!

Set Realistic Expectations

Trial and error is an effective way to discover what works well for you and your niche. So, add experimentation, failures, and successes into your timeline while building your goals!

Choose the product or service you already know about or have read trustworthy reviews about. You can also subscribe to their content to learn more about the brand’s offerings and services.

Make Deeply Informed Decisions

Search for information about the company/network you plan to work with and know if there are any loopholes in their affiliate programs. Take the time to deep dive into their terms and conditions, payment policies, and other similar agreements to make an informed decision.

Here’s a catch you need to be aware of:

Check if the website or online store is leaking affiliate traffic. You’d be surprised to see the number of companies that do it, knowingly or unknowingly.

Let me explain what happens here: the affiliate program website’s landing page has other link ads; when visitors click on the link, it takes them to another website. This may not feel like a big deal, but when the customer makes a purchase, they get the profit share while the affiliated professional doesn’t.

Read up on Different Types of Commissions

While you’re careful to avoid these mistakes, also learn about the types of commission rates these affiliate programs offer. A few networks offer subscription-based commissions; the affiliate gets paid every time the user subscribes again within a certain time frame.

Some other networks have a pay-per-scale model, where you get paid a share of sales profits.

And then there are others with pay-per-action systems, where you get a commission when the user performs a specific action. Know how they’re paying to decide if it matches with your requirements. 

Bonus Tip 3: Write Product Reviews for Organic Reach, Invoke Curiosity to Get Paid

Gain First-Hand Experience with Products/Services

Did you know that 84% of people trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendations? Affiliate professionals come into the picture because people are no longer interested in old-fashioned ads and want relatability and authenticity, something that only you can provide!

You don’t sell the product or offer free advice as an affiliate professional. Instead, you present logical and qualitative suggestions to your audience. As a result, you must write product reviews only for products you’re intimately familiar with.

However, there are instances where you’re required to promote a service that you’re unfamiliar with. During times like those, you can stick to the idea of generating curiosity amongst your crowd.

Work With Communication Models

With time, you’ll learn different communication models like AIDA, Hierarchy of Effects model, innovation adoption model, etc.

Among these, AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. This model is particularly effective because you answer all the queries and suggest the product without sounding like a typical ad!

Don’t exaggerate the products unless you’re sure they’re worth it. People are very cautious about spending their money and will nitpick when needed.

Write Content that People Find Valuable

You can use communication models to write witty product reviews and share your honest thoughts about the same. These work very well with products that add particular value to their customers.

Another type of content that people love to read is brand comparisons. They’d love to learn which product works better and who its competitors are. Offering insights like these are the holy grail for making the ultimate purchase.

So step up your game and set high standards by mentioning such quality insights. Also, starting a discussion with your network is okay as long as it’s healthy.

It not only creates active engagement but also helps you learn new things that you wouldn’t otherwise. Whether it’s organic or paid, maintain product transparency by promoting the affiliate links as they are. A successful affiliate uses their platform to promote content that doesn’t sound like an ad!

How to Succeed at Affiliate Marketing Wrap-up

Affiliate marketing is the practice of earning commissions by promoting products and services. It’s one of the most popular ways to make money online, but it can be hard to start.

Succeed at affiliate marketing by following the points mentioned above. Here are a few other tips to help you level up your game:

  • A social media platform is a great way to reach your audience. Use relevant hashtags to get indexed by Google, and shorten your URLs to save space. These things can be easily forgotten, especially when active on multiple platforms.
  • Using landing pages and email marketing to promote your affiliate offers can be a great way to convert visitors into customers. The key here is that you want the landing page or email content to match the content of your website, so they should maintain consistency with what you have to offer there.
  • Google is the most important search engine, and it’s where most people find information. It’s used by over 2 billion people daily and has an index of 100 million web pages. It is also the most effective search engine for affiliate marketing. To get higher rankings in Google, you need to optimize your site for these keywords.
  • Use Google Analytics to track traffic, which will help you see what is working and what isn’t. Once you’ve identified issues with your site, please take steps to fix them before they become more significant problems down the road!
  • Understand how to use ads. The first step in creating a paid ad campaign is understanding what ads work best for your chosen affiliate product. There are four main types of ads: text-based (like Google AdWords), video-based (YouTube Ads), image-based (Pinterest Ads), or audio-only (Spotify). Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on the niche market where it’s being used!

Have you observed that it’s not just about publishing blog posts anymore? Nowadays, affiliate marketing can be done in many different ways, like guest posting on other blogs, creating videos, writing email newsletters, running ads, etc.

The goal of an affiliate should be to create an effective content marketing strategy, help people find what they need, and make them feel informed and excited about buying the products or services you’re promoting.

Are you interested in learning more about affiliate marketing and leveling up your game so you can build the business of your dreams online? Be sure to try Spark by ClickBank, our official affiliate marketing education platform featuring the courses, tools, and community you need to shorten your path to success. Check it out!


Recent Articles

Related Stories