Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners – Understanding the Basics

Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate a decent income online. If you want to make money working online, then affiliate marketing can put you on the right track. Don’t expect affiliate marketing to make you rich overnight, but if you do it right, it could help you generate a decent income over time.

However, if you are only just starting as an affiliate, there are several things that you need to know. Every affiliate wants to maximize their income, and this often causes them to look for high ticket affiliate programs. Essentially, high ticket affiliate programs have high value offers with high commissions, usually above $500. 

While such programs sound very interesting, you have to understand that targeting your audience effectively with such programs is much easier said than done. A general rule of thumb is that the higher the commission, the more difficult the niche and the more difficult it is to achieve conversions. While this doesn’t mean you should not try high ticket items, when you are first entering the affiliate world, you might do better with easier products till you have a firm grasp of things. That is one of the main reasons why most affiliate marketing programs for beginners don’t usually feature high ticket sales. If you have just taken your first few steps in the world of affiliate marketing, it is important for you to set achievable goals and grow from there. 

Starting with a few affiliate marketing programs for beginners is a great idea and you can reap the benefits by joining an affiliate network. ATraffic is a reputable affiliate network that is ideal for all levels of affiliates, and they have a massive network of merchants from various niches, including dating, lifestyle, gambling, education, and finance. 

Important Metrics and KPIs to Track 

When you join any affiliate marketing program that’s designed for beginners, you will get access to a dedicated reporting dashboard and a host of tools that you can use to track your performance online. However, a common mistake that many beginners make is that they fail to track the key metrics that indicate the performance of their campaigns.

As an affiliate marketer, you need to be aware of the potential of your traffic and the performance of your affiliate campaigns. Are you putting in more money in your marketing than what you are making? It’s important to understand the major KPIs and metrics that you need to always be conscious of. Here are a few.

  • Conversion Rate

This is arguably one of the most important metrics that you need to focus on. The conversion rate isn’t just used by eCommerce store owners, but it also applies to the traffic you send to the merchant. Essentially, the conversion rate indicates just how well your visitors are converting into customers. 

More importantly, it shows that your audience is actually quite interested in the product or service that you are marketing. If your conversion rate is incredibly low, then you need to figure out what you are doing wrong. For instance, if you are regularly pushing out quality content but haven’t added any CTAs or buttons to divert your traffic’s attention to the next step in the sales funnel, you are doing it wrong. 

The conversion rate is the ratio of leads to sales, or if you are being paid for lead generation then you could look at the ratio of clicks to leads. But what is an acceptable conversion rate? This will depend on many factors such as the niche and it could vary from offer to offer within that niche. As a beginner, reach out to your affiliate manager to understand what the average conversion rate is for a particular offer. Knowing this number will give you a good target to aim for. If you are not coming close to the average rate then you need to figure out where things need improvement. On the other hand, if you are way above average, then you are doing really well, and your goal should be to see how you can even further improve your performance. Essentially, having a baseline conversion rate to aim for is vital for success. 

  • Number of Clicks

This might seem like a vague metric, but it’s actually quite important. The number of clicks on your website or any affiliate channel simply indicates how much exposure it has received. For instance, if you run a PPC campaign on a popular keyword, you might get more clicks. 

However, simply getting more clicks is not an indicator of your affiliate marketing success. Sure, you are getting more exposure, but more clicks don’t always translate to more sales. It could mean that you haven’t optimized your affiliate marketing channels for conversions, or it could also indicate poor tracking.

For instance, if you have put up a new landing page that’s getting lots of traffic, but little or no sales, it’s a clear indicator that your landing page needs to be optimized. You may want to look at the design of the page or figure out what you are doing wrong. 

More importantly, it may indicate a disconnect between your audience and the affiliate product or service you are promoting. A/B testing is a good way to figure out what works on your landing page, allowing you to optimize the elements on the page in a more effective manner. 

  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) / Return on Investment (ROI)

An extremely important metric for use by affiliate marketers is the return on ad spend. This simply indicates the amount of return generated from the amount spent on ads. You can easily calculate your return on ad spend by dividing the affiliate revenue you have generated by the costs incurred on running ads or any other marketing costs. 

However, that’s much easier said than done. In the beginning, it’s important to just try and maintain a bit of profitability, however, it might take you some time to turn your campaign profitable. Also, don’t be despondent if not every campaign is profitable; even super-affiliates sometimes have campaigns that don’t deliver the ROI they want. 

When you join different affiliate marketing programs for beginners, you will want to figure out the average ROI. Some of this data might be available from the affiliate network you join, or the merchant might be able to give you a clue. However, in most cases, you’ll have to figure this out on your own by exploring different marketing channels. 

ATraffic is a fantastic affiliate network with a team of incredibly experienced performance marketers that can help you to determine your ROI and ways to improve it.  They focus on a range of different niches, including dating, gambling, entertainment, health and wellness, and several others. 

  • Cost Per Sale 

This is another very important indicator that could help you figure out which of the marketing channels you are using are performing better. For instance, is Google AdWords more profitable for you or are you getting better profits from running ads on Facebook? 

Essentially, cost per sale is also the cost of consumer acquisition. It’s the amount you are paying for each new customer. Ideally, all of this information is available directly from your affiliate dashboard, provided you have set up proper tracking for all your channels. 

  • Completed Transactions

The amount of completed transactions is an important indicator because it is not directly tied to your sales revenue. Simply put, this shows how quickly you are able to acquire new customers.

  • Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)

This is another useful metric that beginner affiliates often ignore. The lifetime value of a customer indicates the amount of revenue generated by the customer for as long as they subscribe to a service or continue buying. It’s important to deduct the initial expenditure of acquiring the customer. 

For instance, if a customer signs up for a subscription through your affiliate link, you are probably going to get a commission for every month they choose to continue with the subscription. Over the passage of time, they will end up generating a considerable amount of revenue for you. It is not always possible to establish this data, especially if you are receiving a CPA commission and not a revenue share. 

  • Rate of Chargebacks 

Most affiliate marketers don’t actually consider the chargeback rate, but you should know that it’s capable of providing you with very insightful information about the quality of your traffic. If more people are filing chargebacks or reversing their sales, you may want to consider the quality of your traffic. It is important that you consider the rate of chargebacks and take steps to bring it down. If you have a very high chargeback rate, you could risk the affiliate program reducing your commissions or blocking you from certain offers. 

Common Affiliate Marketing Mistakes Made by Beginners

If you have just joined a few affiliate marketing programs for beginners, you must tailor your strategy for maximizing your profits. However, there are some very common mistakes that new affiliate marketers make, which you may want to avoid. 

  • Signing Up for Too Many Programs from the Start

While there’s nothing wrong with setting up multiple income offers, you should know that joining several affiliate marketing programs for beginners could cause you more problems at the start.

When you attract traffic to your website, they will be able to gauge your knowledge of the product based on the content you produce. Thus, if you are promoting multiple products, it’s highly likely you won’t know each of them in detail. Also, are you really sure that you will be able to promote all of these products on your website?

Ideally, when starting out, choose one or two products, and test them out thoroughly. Then, you can create content that promotes the use of that product, including case studies. Once you start seeing your traffic move through the sales funnels and eventually converting, you can then start exploring other products. 

  • Not Testing The Products They Promote

Another common mistake that many new affiliates make is that they do not try out the product or service before they start promoting it. This ultimately creates a disconnect between the content they produce and what the audience is actually looking for. 

In order to produce authoritative content, you need to make sure that you try out the product or service yourself. If you have personally tested the product or service, you will automatically be able to write better content. Ultimately, your audience will start trusting your words, so if you decide to promote another product, they will happily buy it.

Many affiliate marketers who have a channel on YouTube often post reviews of products that they promote actively via affiliate links. By showing themselves using the product in normal life situations, they are able to generate a better response from their audience. 

More importantly, because you will have used the product yourself, you will be able to answer the questions posed by your audience in a much better manner. Remember, it’s important that you present all the facts for your audience, as it’s necessary for building a modicum of trust with your prospective customers. 

  • Affiliate Disclosures and Links

Affiliate disclosures must be added on your website if you are promoting affiliate products, as is required by the Federal Trade Commission and in various other markets too. You need to make sure that you add a proper affiliate disclosure on your website and also cloak affiliate links properly. 

Affiliate links are generally quite long and may seem suspicious for your audience when they hover their cursor over the anchor text. This could affect conversions, so it’s important that you cloak your links properly and then weave them in the content. Most new affiliates are unaware of affiliate link cloaking and fail to add disclosures. 

More importantly, you should know that Google also requires affiliate websites to present disclosures and add the “sponsored” tag on affiliate links, so make sure you add those as well!

  • Not Using Different Lead Generation Strategies

If you are just starting out, it might be a wise idea to check out different lead generation tips and start working on building a strategy that best works for you. By generating leads through different sources, you could easily maximize conversions over time and generate higher commissions.

The number one reason why most affiliates give up in the early stages is that they simply fail to understand the numerous traffic sources. Producing quality content is one thing but you also need to know how to market your content. From organic search to different social media channels, it’s important that you understand your traffic sources, and create comprehensive lead generation strategies that are relevant to your approach. 

You can market your content on popular social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and even Twitter. You can also launch a blog to promote your content. 

  • Use Your Head and Not Your Heart – Data is the Truth

In the world of performance marketing and especially when it comes to affiliate marketing programs for beginners, data is the truth. What this means is whatever campaigns you run or channels you choose to use, you must track everything and understand the analytical data. Decisions must be made based on data and not on a gut feel. Data tells you what is working and what is not. 

Join ATraffic today!