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By Luisa Garcia-Amaya

May 14th 2024

Social media

The Ultimate Affiliate Marketing Checklist: What to Do Before You Launch

May 14th 2024

Thinking about a way to make some extra income or growing your business exponentially to make it your primary source of income? For you, we have created the ultimate affiliate marketing checklist to guide you on how to setup affiliate marketing campaigns as well as many other aspects of affiliate marketing.

As you probably know, affiliate marketing is a performance-based strategy where individuals or companies promote products or services on behalf of a merchant. They earn a commission for every sale or lead generated through their unique affiliate link.

To kickstart a successful affiliate business, it is extremely important to prepare correctly before launching an affiliate marketing campaign. In this way, you are less likely to make mistakes that might cost you further down the line.

The 9 steps to kicking off a successful affiliate business:

  • Understanding Your Niche
  • Analysing competitors' strategies
  • Selecting the Right Affiliate Programs
  • Building Your Platform
  • Creating Compelling Content
  • Implementing SEO Strategies
  • Leveraging Social Media
  • Compliance and Legal Considerations
  • Tracking and Analysing Performance

Understanding Your Niche

These are pretty basic affiliate marketing tips for beginners, knowing your niche and your audience is key to successful affiliate marketing. It helps you to narrow down your focus and target the right people. It also allows you to select the best affiliate programs for your niche and maximise your income.

The main thing to do is to start researching your target audience, normally this will depend on different variables, such as the product you want to sell and/or the industry you want to work with. Once you've identified your target audience, you can start researching the best affiliate programs available. It's important to choose affiliate programs that are relevant to your niche and that offer good commissions.

Selecting the Right Affiliate Programs

Now the real fun part begins! Although it might be difficult to know where to start (we do know the amount of products available to do affiliate marketing) fear not; a clever Google search can help you target the most profitable industries to begin. Plus, you can always start searching within the industry you are most interested in (which we recommend doing).

Normally plenty of sites have guides on affiliate marketing programs for beginners and programs that are the most profitable for new publishers; Clickwire publishes blog posts about the top 10 affiliate programs per industry that depending on which market you decide to explore, could greatly help your start on affiliate marketing.

Once that part of the research process is done and you have a nice list of possible options, you might want to analyse and compare between programs for different reasons, including:

  • Networks available: There are a lot of programs we can choose from, but some are only available on certain networks throughout the globe.
  • Commission rates: As different programs exist for the same product, different networks have different rates of commissions per sale.
  • Payout limit: Most of the time, programs will have conditions for publishers that wish to join, and that includes the payout limit, which refers to the amount of commission you must make before the program deposits the money into your account.
  • Publisher benefits: As there is plenty of competition between the programs as well, they will also list benefits for the publishers that wish to join and promote their products, which can be discount codes, merch, free products and much more.

It is crucial that the programs you choose to work with have relevance to the niche that you want to work in. For example, if you are working in pet care, then working with makeup might not be a good idea.

User conversion rates are higher when they arrive at a site that has more authority on the topic they were searching for, that’s why a niched approach is important. It's okay to expand your niche as long as the industry you work with is the same for all your programs.

Building Your Platform

The next step is to decide where you will place the links you need to promote in order to make sales and commissions after you decide on the industry and the programs you want to join.

Decide what platform is best to promote your links depending on your niche, your target audience and their purchasing patterns. Let’s say that you decide to sell sneakers, the target audience for sneakers is quite large therefore having a blog, a website and a social media presence is of absolute importance to maximise the reach your links can have, and in the same way increase the possibility of a sale (which equals to the very desired commission).

If you also decide to create a website for your site, then it is very important to design an user-friendly and visually appealing site. Clutter and very powerful visuals will be discouraging for a possible new visitor that wants to read your site. The goal is to attract users, keep them in your site and encourage them to purchase with quality content to purchase the product they came to your site looking for in the first place.

Remember that if you create a website it is important to create essential pages, these are the About, Contact, Private Policy, Affiliate disclaimer, among others. This will be important for Google to rank your site and avoid future penalizations.

Creating Compelling Content

As mentioned in the previous section, the goal of your platform is to attract, maintain and encourage your audience, and for this, one of the best affiliate marketing tips for beginners is to focus on creating useful and incredible content that your audience loves. To do this you must develop a content strategy that covers the important selling points for your company; this will base on website awareness, how useful the content you create is to answer the user questions and pages that incentivize the conversion of those clicks.

With this in mind create content that is in-depth, that answers multiple questions and alludes to the user journey from research to purchasing options. The content must be engaging, entertaining and useful; which also means you should include in a natural way the affiliate links you need to share for your commission earning in this content (on blog posts, on descriptions for social media posts, etc..)

Implementing SEO Strategies

On the content you create, you need to keep into consideration technical marketing aspects that you cannot leave out (it is because of the search engine that your new website will succeed, therefore we must make it happy).

At the beginning, technical SEO will not be as important, as many of the website builders you can find will offer you the opportunity to do that for you. You can however implement on-page and off-page SEO practices to help your site (such as improving titles, meta descriptions, building backlinks to your sites, etc…).

For tips on how to implement SEO on your website, check out our dedicated SEO articles here.

Leveraging Social Media

The use of social media for affiliate marketing is a given in this time and age. This post by Awin defines social media as one of the ‘largest and most dynamic mediums for affiliate marketing success’. Establish your presence on social media that is relevant for your audience, and engage with the audience in a way to build and grow your community.

Compliance and Legal Considerations

Very importantly, understand the legal considerations and affiliate regulations and guideline for the region and legal jurisdiction you are working under, such as:

  • Disclosure: One of the most important aspects of affiliate marketing is transparency. It's crucial to disclose any affiliations or financial interests you have in the products or services you promote. Your audience should be made aware of the disclosure by placing it near the affiliate link or recommendation.
  • Accuracy of Claims: Affiliate marketers should ensure that any claims they make about a product or service are true and accurate. False or misleading claims could lead to legal trouble as well as damage your reputation.
  • Compliance with Advertising Laws: Affiliate marketing content should comply with general advertising laws and regulations, such as those related to misleading advertising, unfair competition, and consumer protection.
  • Data Protection and Privacy: If you collect any personal data from your audience, you must comply with relevant data protection laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union.
  • Content Guidelines: Platforms like Google and social media networks have their own guidelines and policies regarding advertising and affiliate marketing. Make sure your content complies with these guidelines to avoid getting penalised or banned.
  • Endorsement Guidelines: If you use endorsements or testimonials in your affiliate marketing content, ensure they comply with the relevant regulations.
  • Unsolicited Commercial Email: If you use email marketing as part of your affiliate marketing strategy, make sure you comply with anti-spam laws.
  • Terms of Service: Make sure you review and comply with the terms of service of the affiliate programs you participate in. These terms may include specific requirements and restrictions on how you can promote their products or services.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation: Regulations and guidelines related to affiliate marketing can change over time. It's essential to stay informed about any updates or changes in the legal landscape and adjust your practices accordingly.

You should keep in mind that while these are general principles, the specifics may vary based on your location and affiliate marketing activities.

Tracking and Analysing Performance

It is also very important to track and analyse the performance of your affiliate marketing campaigns. This will help you identify what strategies are working and which ones aren't, so you can adjust your approach accordingly. When you are starting, you can make use of GA4 to track the traffic of your site and the performance of your articles. And when you are growing in the market, tools such as Clickwire can track all your affiliate links in one place, allowing you a broader overview of all the results of your hard work. You can also use Clickwire to monitor key performance metrics, such as click-through rates, conversion rates, etc…

Once you have the overview of your performance, you can analyse what channels of distribution work best and which ones do not so you can make changes to your strategy accordingly and optimise your results. This optimization can be tested with A/B testing and experimenting with different promotional strategies by constantly refining your approach based on the performance data you collect.

Time to Launch

Launching a successful affiliate marketing campaign requires meticulous preparation across various aspects outlined in the ultimate affiliate marketing checklist. Understanding your niche, selecting the right affiliate programs, building a robust platform, creating compelling content, implementing SEO strategies, leveraging social media, ensuring compliance with legal regulations, and tracking performance are all vital components.

By following this comprehensive checklist, affiliate marketers can minimise errors and optimise their chances of success in generating income or expanding their business ventures. Remember, continuous monitoring, adaptation, and refinement based on performance data are crucial for ongoing success in the dynamic landscape of affiliate marketing.

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