Many people go into affiliate marketing without realizing the skills that are required.
Although it may seem as easy as posting links to products, there is a lot more to it than that.
In order to be truly successful, a person will need to learn certain skills.
These skills will need to be updated in an ongoing manner, as the internet evolves and techniques change.
In this article we will look at some of the core skills needed
So, what are the skills needed to do affiliate marketing?
Customer research – Know your market
Although most people focus on the technical side of affiliate marketing, such as search engine optimization, they often over look the basics.
No amount of technical ability will ever be worth more than knowing your customer.
Being able to get your content ranked in search engines is a crucial skill, but it will make little difference if it is aimed at the wrong customers.
“But, if you rank for the right keywords, then you are ranking for the right customers?”
I’m sure that is what you are thinking right now.
True, but, if you do not know the current customer trends in your niche and what products people are looking for, then how do you know which products to promote to them?
Being able to get ranked for keywords is one thing, matching customers to products they actually want is another.
A product may have a great commission rate and price point, but what if that product is not as popular with customers as you may first think?
You should always research your potential customers by looking up product reviews and news within your chosen niche.
You may be very surprised at what people are saying about certain products.
I will use video games as an example.
There have been games that have been hyped up and had immense amounts of pre-orders for quite a while before launch.
There are sponsored posts all over the internet talking up the game and forecasting huge launch day sales volume.
Sounds like a great affiliate product to promote.
But, with a little deeper research in comments on YouTube videos and articles, you may find a different story.
Some games looked to be set to be an amazing hit if you bought into the surface hype.
However, in the comments sections on videos, articles, and in forums, many people were already saying they were going to give the game a miss.
Not one or two people.
The majority of the comments were saying such things.
At launch, despite all the hype and promotion, the game had less than satisfactory sales volume, let alone the smash hit numbers that were being forecast.
A crucial sill is knowing how to research your customers and current trends.
This can be done via comments on videos, articles, forums, social media, etc.
Also look for influencers within your chosen niche.
They do not call them influencers without reason.
If popular influencers are running down a product, company, or brand, then rest assured their will be swathes of people who listen to them.
This is why so many companies court influencers with sponsored posts and videos.
One of your affiliate marketing skills you should hone is customer research.
You may enjoy this article on affiliate niches
Your choice of niche can greatly impact your target market and therefore your potential income.
It will dictate what kind of products you promote, your type of customers, and also the amount of revenue potential in many cases.
It will also be the topic you will be spending a lot of time working within, so your interest and knowledge levels are very important factors.
We will go step by step through the process of how to choose an affiliate niche
Creating content that converts
Again, this is an overlooked skill.
Too many people focus on getting content ranked in results and neglect making sure that content actually converts.
If you are writing an informational article, then make sure it is informational and not just a sales pitch.
Many such articles touch upon answering a question and then offer to sell the solution.
Now this is not to say you should make your products redundant by giving away all the information for free.
But, if you write an article that claims to answer a question, then answer the question.
The product can be offered as an answer to further questions after you have shown some proficiency in your field and also built trust
People, online or offline, simply do not buy from people they do not trust.
I was in sales for over a decade, and I can tell you for 100% fact, if someone doesn’t trust you, they will not buy from you.
I don’t care whether its an ice cream or a 200 acre property.
Trust is key to sales.
Your content should display why you recommend a product, not just why you should buy it.
If I recommend a laptop because it’s well priced and a latest release, then I’m not really justifying why I would buy the product.
If I give a full review of features, benefits, tech aspects, and how it has been useful to me, then I’m displaying why I am recommending the product.
Do you see the difference?
Always try to be helpful to your potential referrals and reassure them as to why they should buy the product you are recommending.
Display why you are recommending it.
When you do that, you are building trust and not just writing a sales pitch.
If you build trust, then people are more likely purchase what you are recommending.
That is part of how you write content that converts.
An article you may enjoy goes into how to start a blog
A lot of people are interested in starting a blog, but it can look intimidating at first glance.
There are lots of new terms and phrases to learn and various new platforms to become proficient with.
There is plenty of information available online, but here I will put together a basic step by step guide for anyone considering starting a blog.
For this guide we are going to assume that you already have a topic or niche chosen already.
Read more information on how to start a blog
Search engine optimization
Above, I have pushed the significance of SEO to one side while I made my other points.
You can have the best researched and informative content that converts at a high rate, it will make no difference if few people see it.
In order for your content to get the traffic it deserve, it will need to rank in search engines.
So, of course, search engine optimization is a very important skill for affiliate marketers.
The aspects of this topic are far too great to cover in this article, but, rest assured, if you want to be successful online in any venture, affiliate marketing or otherwise, you will need SEO skills.
It is an almost an unavoidable fact.
A formula I often tell people about online revenue is the following.
Monetized content that converts + attention = revenue.
That is affiliate marketing in a nutshell.
Get monetized content that converts in front of enough people via search engine rankings and social media and you will earn money.
I have written an article about SEO you may find useful
One of the most important, if not the most important, skill sets to acquire for affiliate marketing is search engine optimization (SEO)
This skill set can be applied to all aspects of online marketing.
It doesn’t matter if you are doing referral marketing, running an online store, a blog, or any kind of online venture.
You are going to need how to optimize your content for the best rankings in search engines.
In this article we will look at what I consider to be the best place to learn SEO for affiliate marketing
Social media promotion
Although people think that posting on social media is easy, there is actually a lot more that goes into it.
Social media is saturated with companies, brands, and affiliates, all promoting products in amongst all the other slosh that fills social feeds.
Any hashtag that even remotely whiffs of potential profit is filled with a seemingly endless stream of ads, posts, and pitches.
As I said, it’s easy to post on social media.
The key is standing out.
When someone is trawling social media, they will be met with post after post pushing products.
In blogging, there is a well know term, “banner blindness”
In the old days, people would stop to loo at interesting advertising banners and they actually used to convert reasonably well.
But, as with anything else that provides success, it got abused.
Sites became covered in banners, and in the end, they lost their magic.
They no longer stood out.
People would scroll past them as if they were not thee.
Hence the term, “banner blindness”
Yet another effective technique abused out of relevance by the desperate and greedy.
Social media posts are currently suffering the same kind of customer fatigue.
Seth Godin coined the term “purple cow”
His logic is, when you are driving along and see a cow or two for the first time, you may actually take notice.
“Ooo a cow!”
But after a few miles and hundreds of cows later, you pay zero attention.
“Great, another cow”
So, what would grab your attention would be a purple cow.
It’s a cow, just like the rest of them, but it’s different and stands out.
This is the challenge on social media now.
What is going to make your post stand out amongst all the other posts?
Also hashtags are the keywords of social media.
Competitive hashtags are where your customers, and competitors, are going to be found.
But, as in search engine optimization, sometimes it is more effective to chase results in roads less traveled.
This is not to say you should chase obscure hashtags or keywords that no one ever views.
It is to say that many brands and marketers will spend their budgets and time chasing the main hashtags to the point of saturation.
Do your research and look for hashtags and keywords that get traffic and views, but are not a field full of “cows” all looking to get noticed.
Where can you learn these, and the other skills, needed to be successful at affiliate marketing?
There are plenty paces online to learn the skillset needed for affiliate marketing.
I have written an article on how to learn affiliate marketing
But the course I recommend is actually free.
The platform as 2.3 million members and has a step by step approach to teaching you the skills needed to be successful at affiliate marketing.
It has video courses and all the tools you need to start building an affiliate marketing business today.
If you wish to learn more then read my article on the free affiliate marketing training course