My name is Spencer Mecham and I’m a full-time affiliate marketer. Now I know saying that can bring up visions of terrible things. Thousands of spammy comments on a YouTube channel. Robo dialers. Instagram DMs flooding your inbox and offering everything from money-making schemes to viagra alternatives.
Suffice to say I’m not that affiliate marketer. And neither are thousands of other online personas that focus on affiliate marketing or at least include it in their business model.
This article is going to be about where affiliate marketing is going this year and beyond, and let me give you a hint – those ways up above aren’t going to cut it. But to start, let’s give a little background on what affiliate marketing is.
What is Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is simply a business relationship between a company and someone with an audience or access to people (an affiliate marketer). The company offers the affiliate marketer some form of compensation for referring customers their way.
This makes sense from the companies perspective because they are spending money to reach people anyway. They might as well do it through people that already have access to their potential customers because they have already spent time cultivating that relationship.
This is done through a special link that is given to the affiliate. When someone clicks that link and signs up for the product, the affiliate gets paid. If this interests you, I wrote a post recently about how to get started.
Nothing shady there right? It just gets shady when people start doing things like this.
These are all comments on my YouTube channel on a single video. Notice the link attached to every single comment. The second guy didn’t even bother trying to hide or adding a few words of value to the link – just shucked it on there hoping some random person would see it and click (because who doesn’t love to click shady looking links in YouTube comments with no idea where they go).
Affiliate Marketing Success in 2020
LIke everything else on the internet affiliate marketing is constantly changing with new laws, trends, social media companies, etc. Old methods that used to work stop working and new methods can bring massive gains extremely quickly.
All About Content
The reason those comments above still get slapped all over my channel is because they still work a little bit. Five years ago something like that could make an affiliate massive profits. Not only were people more susceptible to easy things like that but major companies like Facebook and Google were struggling to stop the massive number of affiliates pushing their links.
Today all of those comments above were caught by YouTube and put in a “review” folder. They don’t go love unless I approve them – and I never look at them.
Facebook is creating similar measures to stop many affiliates links from ever going live and also removing accounts of those using spammy methods. Obviously Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest are on board as well. Each site is also making it harder and harder to create new accounts, so once someone get hit for spamming, it’s harder to start back over.
So what does all that mean? It means it’s time for affiliates to step up their game and start creating content. And not the run-of-the-mill content either. High-quality content that helps people solve life’s problems.
My affiliate business sees a direct correlation between content produced one month, and affiliate sales the next month. The more content I produce, the more affiliate sales I make. Even when my content doesn’t promote certain products, they seem to do better.
There are a variety of reasons for this, including that social media sites and search engines reward users that produce consistent content.
Content is not as hard as it seems. It can be broken down into 4 steps:
Picking a platform (think podcast, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc).
Research look at competitors, keyword research, etc.
Calendaring (taking all your new content ideas and calendaring out when to make them)
Production (creating the content – I would batch it)
Video and Images
Video content will account for nearly 80% of all online content consumption within the next year. That’s a humongous number and should be terrifying for anyone in affiliate marketing that isn’t producing video. Facebook is pushing massive amounts of money into video, Instagram just launched IGTV, YouTube has always been a powerhouse, and the list keeps growing.
People want video.
The beautiful thing though is that affiliates don’t need to produce content with massive budgets. People often buy from affiliates because they are regular people. It’s as easy as whipping out a phone and doing a Facebook live a couple times a week. This not only serves to keep the affiliate on the mind of the customer but it builds relatability and trust incredibly quickly.
Affiliate marketing is increasingly a game that is all about relationships and video is the best way to create a relationship with an audience. Think of it this way. Let’s say you have a pen pal that you write an email to every couple days. You have another pen pal that you video chat every couple days. You are typically going to have a better and deeper relationship with the person that you video chat. You will understand them better and know their personality better.
Same thing with affiliate marketing, it’s just often one way.
If you look at the general business marketplace there is one trend that stands out above almost all others. The subscription model. Companies absolutely love to be able to generate reliable income month after month.
Newsflash. Affiliate marketing is a business and wants the exact same thing. Monthly recurring payments that can be built upon. Many affiliate programs in certain niches have already adopted programs where they pay affiliates recurring percentages of what they make off their referred customers. Expect to see that more in the future as companies attempt to woo their affiliates.
As influencers become a more important part of major business models you will see all kinds of awesome things happening as an affiliate/influencer including more programs offering recurring commissions. Think ClickFunnels dream car program and you are on the right track.
All the changes are for the better of the industry. Affiliates that focus on quality will win and bring up the entire game with them. Affiliates that build a genuine audience will find it easy to build relationships with companies and monetize their audience.
What a great time to be an affiliate.