I LOVE Affiliate Marketing. But the truth is, I wasn’t always so in love with it.

I had first learned about Affiliate Marketing when I started my online business, back in 2007. It sounded awesome. You sign up for some affiliate programs, and you promote your affiliate link, and you start earning commissions.

Except, I wasn’t earning very much.

I had heard stories about these “super affiliates” who were earning tons of money with Affiliate Marketing. What was my problem? Why couldn’t I do this?!

I’ve changed some things and now I’m making affiliate income on a very regular basis.

Here are my “secrets”…

1) Think About Your Reader

This is one of those things that is obvious – and not so obvious. If you are a health coach and you create content about eating more vegetables and working out, you wouldn’t become an affiliate for a motorcycle parts company. Your readers aren’t coming to you for info on repairing motorcycles. You would be more successful as an affiliate for things that are in line with being healthy – from vitamix blenders  and cook books to digital workshops about health and exercise.

You always want to be thinking about your reader – and what problems they have. You want to help them find solutions. Sometimes it’s easy to think “Oh, my readers will like this or that” … but you always want to be thinking about if the item you’re promoting is something that will help them.

2) Recommend Products You Use

When you are promoting a product as an affiliate, you’re putting your “seal of approval” on that product. Your readers trust you, and if you are promoting shoddy stuff, that trust is going to go out the window. The best way to know if a product is worth the money is to have actually used the product.

Now, there may be some cases where you haven’t actually used the product you’re promoting. For example – I personally use Camtasia to record my videos. But it is on the pricey side. I may find another screen recording software that is more affordable, and I’ll tell people about it. But I will check it out thoroughly to see what kind of reviews it’s getting, and I’ll let people know I haven’t actually used it, but is an option if they don’t want to purchase the software that I do use.

3) Adjust Your Expectations

Oh, those stories about Super Affiliates. They make it seem like you become an affiliate for one product and you can earn your living on the commissions from that product alone. But, in reality, you need to diversify, diversify, diversify.

You may be a business coach. And your customers and readers may want to start online businesses. You may become an affiliate for a web hosting company, but that doesn’t mean it will be a guaranteed “super affiliate success.” There are lots of web hosting companies. Some of your readers may take your recommendation and purchase their hosting from the company you’re an affiliate for, but some of your other readers and customers may purchase elsewhere.

This doesn’t mean you should stop promoting the web hosting company. IF you are genuinely a fan of the company, and you know some of your readers can benefit from what they offer, keep promoting them. But keep looking for other things to promote, too. For example, an email service provider, software, etc.

This is one of the biggest lessons I learned … When I first started promoting things as an affiliate, I didn’t earn the “super affiliate” income I thought I would, so I stopped promoting stuff. I had to re-adjust my expectations (big time!)

4) It Should Sound & Feel Natural, Not Sales-y

This is a big lesson. If you are promoting something, and if feels like you’re selling something, you want to re-think it. When you are promoting something, it should feel like you’re recommending a product to help your reader with one of their problems.

For example: If you and your friend were talking, and she mentioned that she was looking for a peanut butter alternative because her son was allergic to peanuts, and you told her about Sun Butter, which is made with sunflower seeds, you wouldn’t try to sell it to her, like a 1970s used car salesman.

It would be a normal conversation, where you are listening to your friend, you hear the problem she’s having, and you suggest that she try this other product.

That’s exactly what affiliate marketing is. (Except you don’t get commissions when you are telling your friends about the movie you just watched, the restaurant you just ate at, etc)

5) Be Consistent

This was another big lesson for me. As I mentioned earlier – when I started promoting a few things, and didn’t see huge commissions rolling in, I thought ‘Affiliate marketing doesn’t work!’ and I stopped promoting stuff, altogether. For years!

This was a huge mistake.

Once I started promoting several different products as an affiliate, and started promoting them on a regular basis, I saw a big difference.

Smaller commissions, that you earn on a regular basis, do add up!