ContentRobot, while WordPress Experts, are definitely newbies when it comes to affiliate marketing.

We asked some industry gurus the following question:

What should newbies know about affiliate marketing to attain some success with their sites?

– is it what they sell?
– is it what programs they sign up with?
– anything else they should know?

Stephanie Agresta of Stephanie Agresta Consulting said:

  • Sell what you know – be targeted and deep in your category.
  • Know your merchandise – make sure you understand the marketplace, offers, coupons, deals, etc. Do not feel obligated to be exclusive to one advertiser (unless that works for your demographic). make sure you keep the consumer’s needs in mind, and consumers like choices and selection.
  • Be as aesthetically pleasing – make sure your creative is up to par!! no one likes an ugly site or ad.
  • Be authentic, transparent and ethical – say who you are and what your motivations are; do not spam people.
  • Dive into the industry – read the blogs (Affiliate Tip, Revenews), go to the shows, get to know the players. even if you can’t go in person – you can get to know them online through social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter).

Sam Harrelson of Revenews said:

  • What you sell might have some impact on your success if you’re looking at a timeline. In other words, if you’re going for a niche, it takes time to build up a community, reputation and revenue as compared to going after something like selling Britney Spears wigs which have more “mainstream” appeal (or not). My advice is to stick with what you know, what you are passionate about or what you might want to buy yourself to complete your own [insert something here].
  • All of the “big 4 networks” (Commission Junction, Linkshare, ShareASale, Performics) have their identity and can deliver different types of offers. You also have to consider places such as indy agencies, Outsourced Program Managers or even CPA Networks (MarketLeverage, AdDrive, Rextopia, RocketProfits, etc.) if you’re thinking about network flavors. My advice is to sign up with as many programs as you can find and see who you gel with the most. Affiliate and performance marketing relies a great deal on the relationship factor.
  • Like anything, affiliate marketing success depends on studying. I don’t mean detailed and boring research… instead, read blogs, lurk the forums and ask people questions. No one in the industry is at the point where they consider themselves too high and mighty to help a newbie… even the CJ or Linkshare execs will give you a return call or email if you present your question in the right light. Network, go to conferences, study who’s who and build a reputation. Oh the places you’ll go if you do that off the bat.

Carsten Cumbrowski, a internet marketing guru who blogs at Revenews, offered a bunch of resources for newbies, including:

We also featured Carsten’s information in our next post here.

Thanks to Stephanie, Sam, and Carsten who offered wonderfully detailed insights into affiliate marketing. We have a feeling will be asking them more questions along the way. We appreciate it!