In the past, many affiliate marketers focused on a catch-all approach, offering traffic up to hundreds or thousands of sites, even if they had little authority or traffic to give. But in 2018, advertisers will laser their focus into smaller groups of highly credible, targeted, and popular influencers. To map your strategy, focus on a few key influencers in your industry. Start with them, then nail your niche before expanding outward.
Since the emergence of affiliate marketing, there has been little control over affiliate activity. Unscrupulous affiliates have used spam, false advertising, forced clicks (to get tracking cookies set on users' computers), adware, and other methods to drive traffic to their sponsors. Although many affiliate programs have terms of service that contain rules against spam, this marketing method has historically proven to attract abuse from spammers.
Find an audience for your passion or hobby and you’re all set to make money online doing something you love via a niche website. That of course, is easier said than done. Creating a profitable niche website takes time and is not intended for the faint of heart. But, if you can hurdle the steep challenges and positively answer a few key questions on whether the website business idea you’re thinking about is profitable, then you can begin building it and eventually monetize through advertising, affiliates, or other relevant products.
The phrase, "Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business", which is often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little if any influence on a possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the advertiser's website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control and influence up to the point where the prospect either a) signs the contract, or b) completes the purchase.
Don’t forget about FTC regulations! The government agency has begun cracking down on brands that don’t enforce disclosure of an incentive-driven relationship between the advertiser and the publisher. This applies to both influencers and affiliates, and in the past it has been fairly common for neither group to disclose the proper information. However, influencers seem to be even less aware of the rules than affiliates. In these situations, the advertiser, not the influencer or affiliate, incurs the wrath of the FTC in the form of penalties, fines and bad press. One need only look at the Lord & Taylor fiasco from last year to see that this can indeed be a serious issue. The FTC charged that the brand “deceived consumers by paying for native advertisements … and Instagram pictures.”
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