15 Top Affiliate Marketing Strategies to Boost your Earnings in 2021

Affiliate marketing strategies

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The battle for organic traffic continues and affiliate marketers are coming up with different strategies to ensure that they convert traffic to leads. It’s hard to argue with statistics. Currently, Statista reports that affiliate marketing spending in the US is going to rise from $5.4 billion seen in 2017 to $8.2 billion by 2022. That’s why whenever you bump on most affiliate marketing websites, they’re flooded with links prompting you to buy or enroll for a course. We don’t intend to sell anything, the knowledge offered here is free. If we could request you one thing, share the knowledge gained here and help others.

The sole intention of this piece is to help you on how to improve your online marketing sales by adopting the best affiliate marketing strategies. We derive our happiness when you succeed in your business, and always send your testimonials whenever you find these strategies working. You’ll be surprised that you’re already using some of these strategies. Probably, you’ve tried almost all the best strategies and you’re not seeing results. If so, two things might contribute to that. You’re either impatient to see the results, or not doing it correctly. Listen carefully now. Don’t expect to rank on Google first page after doing all the things mentioned here for a week, you could be impatient.

Disclaimer: We focus on strategies rather than tips, hacks and tactics. Keep scrolling down

You’ve heard it several times that content is the king! That’s not true in the digital age. Context is the king! Here’s is what I mean, it’s the context of your writing that brings traffic and boosts your affiliate commissions. The quality of your articles and the kind of engagement you make with your visitors turn them to be readers if not loyal customers. Consequently, you become an authority in your niche. That’s context. The dream of every affiliate marketer is to be regarded as the lead authority in their niche, do you also aspire to that? Imagine being the only one whom the world trusts on bicycles, diet, nutrition, crypto, marketing, education, technology, name it! How would you feel? Here, I break it down for you, keep reading.

What is Affiliate Marketing


I’ll define affiliate marketing using illustrations.

Think of any instance when you want to purchase goods or services online. We hope you just go online and place it on the cart without thinking twice right? No, that’s a black lie. You didn’t even check specifications prior to that? You wouldn’t blindly make purchases before reading the opinion of other people about it. If the reviews seemed satisfactory, you’d make up your mind and make an order.
Before making any purchase, you may be reading several product reviews and comparisons. Whenever you want to spend a few bucks on any online course, you read reviews, conduct in-depth research and sometimes call the product developers for clarification. You may also consider the refund policy! What if the product wouldn’t be fit for your goals, do you have a guarantee for the money? When satisfied, you then click the purchase button to complete the order. Oh, in the process, you might have read a review that led you to the website where you’ll make the purchase. Cookies will be stored on your computer, that’s link tracking. Finally, the day you decide to add the item to the cart and pay, the website that directed you to the seller earns a commission. It may be a one-time or recurring commission depending on the product. That whole process is affiliate marketing.

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Image: Courtesy

As if the analogy wasn’t sufficient, let’s give another case. During this covid-19 pandemic, you probably want to buy infra-red thermo guns. Such items can be bought from various vendors on Amazon, Walmart, commission junction, eBay, and others. Since there are many brands in the market, you may need to know the experience of customers who have attempted to use these products. Through their reviews, you could make up your mind on a specific brand to order. One of the links that you click re-directing you to the vendor will be tracked and commission paid to the source. The whole process is called affiliate marketing.

What do you Need to Start Affiliate Marketing?

The basic necessity is internet connection. You can then choose whether to do affiliate marketing from your website or other sources. I’ll quickly take you through the two processes.

20 Must-Know Steps for Effective Affiliate Marketing on Your Website (Both for Beginners and Expert Affiliates)

  1. Decide on your niche and brainstorm on the best brand name to use. You can consider using your name or name related to your niche. An example of a website using personal names is Neil Patel. To use your niche name, consider a niche like cryptocurrency where names such as cryptoexperts dominate the market. Preferably, use .com domains otherwise, other alternatives such as .net, .org also exist
  2. You’ll need to purchase a domain name. The best approach to purchase a domain name is checking with web hosting service providers where you’ll be hosted and offered a free domain(s) for one year. Web hosting service providers that predominantly do this include Bluehost ($2.95/month), Hostgator, Cloudways ($10/month). Don’t consider the cost only when ordering for hosting services. Honestly, Hosting services are affordable. Consider Bluehost’s cost of $2.95, break it down to daily, it’s $0.098 daily. This isn’t enough even for your breakfast right? In case you’re on a tight budget and wants free web hosting services, you can consider the options listed in our article.
  3. Install WordPress through your host and see your website live in the next few minutes. You may also consider Wix, Weebly, Joomla, Site123, Jimdo, Squarespace, or other alternatives to WordPress,. We recommend WP because it is has a user-friendly interface and comes with various free themes and plugins.
  4. Install a theme that matches your website category, WP will offer many free themes and you can consider pro/premium themes. We recommend that beginners, go for free themes
  5. Install essential plugins such as Elementor, Yoast SEO, JetPack, etc that will help you in your blogging. There are also premium/pro versions of plugins although we recommend that you begin with free for a start.
  6. Set up your website and write essential pages such as Homepage, About us, Contact us, Privacy policy, Contact us, Mission and Vission statement, etc
  7. Do keyword research on your niche. This can be done on platforms such as UbberSuggest, Jaaxy, Ahrefs, etc. Platforms such as Jaaxy will offer you 30 keyword searches per month which is okay for a start. Always go for long-tail keywords with a high volume of searches and low competition for better output. With time, you may have to upgrade for better search results and analysis.
  8. Write your first affiliate blog, follow all the best SEO practices. Use Yoast SEO to check your readability score and other SEO criteria if it meets. Add meta title and meta description for all your blogs. You may use Grammarly for checking the grammar of your content. Even if you don’t get everything right, don’t be a perfectionist. You’ll learn more with time and adjust your flaws. Our main objective is to see you pressing on!
  9. Have a schedule for writing and posting blogs and articles on your website. Consistency is the key to successful affiliate marketing. You need a high level of self-discipline. Ensure you update your website on regular basis with new content. You may begin by posting at least 2 articles per week. The word count of each article should be not less than 1500 words. You can also post once weekly, an article of 5000+ words. Don’t assume that people don’t read long articles, they do.
  10. Search for affiliate programs related to your niche and update your blogs by inserting the campaign links, banners, and videos where necessary.
  11. Continue updating your website with high-quality content consistently for 6 months before expecting any return. In affiliate marketing, let your goal be to educate and entertain your audience. I’m sorry, if money is your main objective, you’re likely to give up after three months of following all the above without any return. The primary goal is to educate and entertain your audience.
  12. Make high-value content and offer free training, webinars, ebooks for your audience. In the process, you can capture their essential details to such as email addresses for a follow-up. This process is now referred to as list building and you can read more on this.
  13. Keep updating your website with quality content, engage your audience in the comment sections, update the blogs you wrote the previous weeks because there are often changes in the market. For example, those who wrote that AWeber never offers a free plan should update the recent changes that a free plan is now available. Stay updated. Sometimes, your readers may comment that your article needs some updates.
  14. Do link building by Guest posting on high domain authority websites and Q&A platforms such as Quora, Reddit, Medium, Pocket. Always ensure that you follow the set rules for each platform to avoid spamming or being blocked for violation.
  15. Upload some quality video content on your YouTube channel specifically for your niche and embed the video in your articles. Ensure you share your articles on relevant groups and platforms.
  16. Google algorithm will begin recognizing your website and soon your page will be ranking on different such engines including Yahoo and Bing.
  17. You can consider registering for Adsense to offer advertising space. Don’t overdo this, only give one or two spaces
  18. In the eighth month of consistently following the above, you should start receiving congratulatory emails that someone bought a product through your link. Look, you can’t be a jerk of all trades, specialize in your niche!
  19. Once you receive your first affiliate commission, we always advise that you begin monetizing your website. Set up ads account on Facebook, Google, Quora, Instagram or TikTik etc. You should create a saleable landing page and target your audience so that you receive better outcomes. Think of if you invest $1 on paid traffic and earn $1.84, that’s 84% ROI. That’s why we advise that you also consider paid traffic as much as you concentrate on organic traffic.
  20. Make follow-up with those who provided their emails through your lead magnet, offers, newsletters, pop-ups etc. At this stage, you’ve advanced from affiliate marketing to email marketing. During this digital age, information is everywhere on the internet. Whenever you’re stuck, check on YouTube for illustrations. Affiliate marketing is not a quick make-money scheme!

Can you do Affiliate Marketing Without a website?

5 Ways to Conduct Affiliate Marketing Campaigns Without a Website

Several affiliate marketers are making money online without a website. Here are some of the ways of doing affiliate marketing without your website.

  • YouTube– Once you’ve created a large audience base on YouTube, you can place your affiliate links at the description or comment section of your YouTube videos. 93% of marketers reported that the use of video is a crucial part of their marketing strategy. Some affiliate programs may require that you declare to your audience that by clicking on the links, you may earn a commission. Musicians, artists, and Influencers mainly utilize YouTube to earn affiliate commissions. Besides, YouTube earnings will also be paid separately. Most music-related affiliate programs accept the use of YouTube for marketing and referrals.
Sample affiliate marketing on YouTube
Image: Courtesy of YouTube
  • Paid ads on your landing pages– Some affiliate programs such as AWeber will allow you to make landing pages on their platform then monetize it. Many affiliates without websites can set up ad accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, TikTok, Instagram, Quora, and other advertising platforms. When you set up a landing page that follows all the guidelines, your conversion rate will be high and the returns are enormous.
  • Facebook Groups and Pages- You can advertise your affiliate products on your Facebook pages and Groups. Most affiliate programs will accept your Facebook page/group as your website URL provided you prove ownership. Influencers also find it easier to earn more commissions through their Facebook pages.
  • Quora and other Q&A platforms– Some affiliate marketers use Quora predominantly for their affiliate marketing campaigns. You need to ensure that you don’t spam your followers and always answer questions related to your niche. We recommend that for every 10 questions that you attempt, only insert two links. By doing that, Quora will not regard you as a spammer. Besides, you can add pictures, put your answers in point form and share your answers in several quora spaces to get a larger audience.
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok– Just as Facebook allows one to share affiliate links, other social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, TikTok also allow link sharing. You just need to write an attention-grabbing headline and let your followers click the link. Always avoid oversharing your links because they may be monotonous to some of your audience.

Back to the main subject now, you need to have some tips when writing affiliate marketing blogs. The devil is in the details below;

Top 15 Affiliate Marketing Strategies in 2021 and Beyond

#1 Be Honest & Authentic

In affiliate marketing, morality is your nickname. Whether writing a landing page or blog post, always be frank with your audience. Your intention shouldn’t be to sell the product even when you know it’s not going to serve the main purpose. Integrity is paramount when you’re directing your visitors to make a purchase or reject a specific brand. Always tell the truth, based on your experience.

Here’s a case where you know a particular software has poor functionality, mention it to your readers. The best you can do is to give them alternatives and let them decide. If you know that a specific feature lacks, mention it. Our reviews will always mention that AWeber doesn’t offer webinar hosting services, unlike GetResponse. When your readers have to make a choice, they will consider if such a feature is necessary for their business or not. Sometimes, you will be prompted to read customer responses and reviews on the particular item to give a detailed picture. It’s important to exclude information that you haven’t verified.

Conveying dishonest information is also a violation of the affiliate marketing rules for most companies. You could be sued and pay hefty charges for portraying a bad picture of a company. We wouldn’t wish that you be on the wrong side of the law. Even if your sales have dropped and things are not working as expected, never accept payment to taint the image of a certain brand. Look, we’re offering you a brotherly advice, if you think marketing is like politics where deceit pays, continue with the trend!

Honesty in affiliate marketing
Image: Courtesy

#2 Embed Videos in Your Blog Posts

Video illustrations with step-by-step procedures or details on your product. It’s also a way of integrating your YouTube channel to blogs. You end up getting more video views because of your blogs. You can also include your affiliate links in both blogs and videos. To embed a video from YouTube, click on share button then go to embed as shown below;

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Apart from YouTube, you can also make your videos on Vimeo and other video creation apps.

#3 Optimize your images for SEO

The inclusion of relevant images for your SEO is critical for your ranking. Notably, you need to optimize your images by including features such as caption, alt text, description, and others. Particularly, alt text of your image boosts your SEO ranking. Considering that an image delivers more than a thousand words, always include high-quality images in your blog posts.

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You can also include links redirecting your readers or campaign banners. The campaign infographics and banners can be placed as HTML codes.

#4 Comply with all Affiliate Program Rules

Comply with rules

All the affiliate programs that you join have a set of rules that you accept to follow. Before clicking on the “AGREE” button, ensure you read and understand the terms & conditions. Whenever you face a legal suit, the T&Cs act as the major reference document. Any attempt to breach the set conditions leads to automatic disqualification from the programs. Some programs may not even notify you that you’ve violated the rules, and as a result, you may continue with your campaigns without returns. The failure to notify you of a violation may be part of the T&Cs that you accepted while joining the program. Some programs are also strict and require that you generate sales else your account will be deactivated. Amazon is one such program where failure to deliver at least 3 sales within 180 days else you’re terminated. Other than the affiliate program rules, you also need to comply with GDPR. Most affiliate programs comply with GDPR.

#5 Number/list your major points

Numbering or providing bullet points for your writing enhances scannability. It’s easier for content that have been broken down into bits to be read than standard paragraphs. You can always number your key points or provide a bullet list. Having read this content to this extent, it’s likely that it’s been attributed by the fact that the points are well numbered.

#6 Use short sentences and paragraphs

The internet has may ‘experts’ who teach and write crappy content. The best way to communicate your ideas is by using short sentences and paragraphs. You also don’t need to use ambiguous words that may confuse your audience. Legal niche may have some words derived from other languages such as Latin and Hebrew. The point is, always try to make short sentences with meaning. Each sentence should convey useful message. Remember the rule, teach or educate your audience or else, someone will do it and capture all your traffic.

#7 Use header titles

Headings when properly organized gives your readers the ease to scan your text. When blogs have header titles, it’s easy to automatically generate the table of content which helps you to read the content. The use of headers also have a significant impact on the SEO ranking. We always advise that you use headers H1, H2,H3, H4. The use of other headers don’t have significant impact on SEO ranking.

#8 Be precise and accurate

Always be precise. You don’t need to use a million words to explain something that can be easily understood by your readers in less than one sentence. It’s almost like using short sentences. However, the meaning of the sentences must be clear. When giving data, be accurate and back it up with a source. Whenever your website gives accurate information, you’re likely to be recognized as an authority in your niche. In case you don’t have full proof or not confident about a feature, it’s better to avoid it than giving false information. When your visitors recognize the accuracy of data from your website, they’ll keep checking on other facts. You’ll soon have returning visitors.

#9 Choose the right niche

I’ve emphasized how to choose the right niche. You need to choose the niche that you’re passionate about. Despite other niches paying a lot, the competition may be high. Take your time when choosing a profitable and low competition niche. You can take some online courses or read hundreds of articles before deciding on your niche. However, the most important aspect thing here is that you must be passionate about your niche. You don’t need to gamble in a thousand niches. You can’t be a jack of all trades. I sincerely mean that specialization in a specific niche is important. If you must eat a frog, choose the ugly one!

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Link building is one of the ways of improving your website online visibility. Backlinks are votes from another website to your website. When you build backlinks from high authority websites, it’s a clear indicator that your site is being authoritative. That’s the concept behind guest posting as well. Whenever you guest post on Forbes or other high domain authority websites, it boosts your online visibility. As much as you create backlinks, you should also consider linking your posts to other posts within your website. Inbound linking improves visitor engagement on your website. It’s recommended that if you’re creating links to other websites, you should customize the link to open in a new tab. This will make the visitors not to leave your website easily. It will also improve the duration that a visitor takes on your site.

#11 Create high converting landing pages

Sometimes, you may decide to monetize your website. This calls for creating ads on platforms such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, Instagram, TikTok etc. Whenever the ad is clicked, it should direct your traffic to a landing page. The landing page should be a saleable page. It’s important that you also have a contact form to capture details of your visitors. Through the email contact, you can make a follow-up and educate your audience. Since you’re aware that the average buyer interacts with a brand at least 7 times, keep informing your visitors. Information is power and your emails with educative content will reduce their level of skepticism.

#12 Regularly Post and Update Web Content

You need to have a schedule for posting content on your website. It’s recommended that you update new content every week. Slaves of Intelligence updates new content every week and the length of content matters. On average, the results that appear on Google’s first page are usually 1839 words. Ensure your content volume and quality is high enough to outshine your competitors. Information also changes with time. There are some websites that change their policies and payment plans. For example, some affiliate programs are now paying the affiliates using crypto coins. Such updates should be done on the blogs you wrote a few months ago. Regularly updating content can increase your traffic since the visitors know that you’re up to date with the current trends. When your visitors increase, your site impressions increases and you can earn more from Google Adsense and your conversion.

#13 Include a compelling Call to Action

At the end of each article, there’s always a call to action. You may need to reconsider your CTA to increase your conversions. You’ve already read all the points, then I need to give you my final thoughts and direct you if you should enroll for online classes or subscribe to our newsletters. Including a compelling call to action increases your sales both directly and indirectly.

#14 Offer Lead Magnets

To build your list and continue with your affiliate marketing campaigns, you need to offer something to your readers for free. It could be a cheatsheet, eBook, webinar, online training or any valuable video. In exchange, your visitors will offer you their contact details. You then make a follow-up, and this is more of email marketing. It’s also one of the strategies of boosting your digital marketing commissions.

#15 Focus on Educating and Entertaining your audience

The main purpose of your content is not to promote any product. The more you promote, the more your visitors are likely to go and never come back. Do you desire that? Obviously no. Always strive to have educational content and entertain your visitors. The world is full of boredom, make people happy. Include some content with humour. Educate, educate and educate your visitors. Always leave them wondering why you could offer such valuable information without telling them to buy something from you.

The Bottom line

The internet is full of people who teach and write crap, set a new standard in the marketing industry. Whenever the standards are set high, the other “experts’ will either step up or step out due to stiff competition. I’m saying this with utmost respect. Some of those who write crap are my friends and teachers. Don’t get me wrong, I love the people in this industry. All I want is that we adopt winning strategies for better returns in affiliate marketing. You don’t need to adopt all the strategies at once. You can partially adopt those that you’ve not used and analyze your results.

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All the best.

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