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8 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting Affiliate Marketing

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8 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Starting Affiliate Marketing

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

is one of the most interesting and lucrative industries on the Internet, in which commissions are earned from promoting a company and/or driving a sale. It consists of a vigorous hub of web publishers who want to monetize their sites, and is a great opportunity for marketers and advertisers to partner with others to promote their products, services, brands or affiliate programs. I have been involved in this field as an affiliate marketer since 2007, and can safely say that I love what I do, not least because it allows me to connect directly with my audience without having many intermediaries.

However, there are a few things I wish I had known before I started.

1. Track success metrics

There is no way to grow an affiliate website or earn more from it if you don’t know how many visitors visit that site every day, and where they come from. Therefore, it’s critical to track analytics and determine which marketing channels are bringing in the most traffic so that you know where to focus efforts when it comes to promoting affiliate offers.

Here are some of the metrics you need to track:

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  • Monthly visits and unique daily visitors. The more your site gets, the higher chances there are for making sales.
  • How many sales did you garner this week? Track each affiliate offer’s performance to determine which offers are converting the best.
  • How much was earned from each offer? It’s vital to track how many sales are generated from each affiliate program, since every publisher gets a different commission from selling the same product. This will help determine which affiliate network and products convert better for your site or blog, and to make better offers to get yet more sales.
  • Which countries are visitors from? This metric will indicate which country’s audience converts better to yours, and so help select the right offers for your market.

Related: Top Social-Media Marketing Essentials for Small Businesses

2. Don’t expect huge earnings overnight

If you’re just starting out as an affiliate marketer, don’t expect success too quickly, because thousands of web publishers have been doing this for years, yet still struggle to find revenue. I’m not suggesting avoiding goals, merely that it’s important to be patient and to work enduringly hard in order to see significant results. This is a like any other, so income will depend on how much time, effort and patience you’re willing to invest.

3. Never stop learning

One of the most important lessons I’ve internalized over years as an affiliate marketer is that there is no end to learning or knowledge sharing. This industry changes very quickly; new trends appear all the time, and old ones die out quickly. So-called gurus retire their affiliate sites every few months only to launch new ones, so you need to be ready to take advantage of changes and to spend resources on learning — absorbing affiliate marketing blog posts, interviews and case studies along the way.

4. Avoid overvaluing your product or service

One of the first things many marketers do when they start an affiliate website is to promote their own products and services, but it’s important not to overvalue them, because this will only backfire in the long run. Remember that you need your audience more than they need you, so provide valuable resources, information and insights that will help them to solve their problems. Start by building authority in a niche, share free content consistently and get involved in the community. Then, once you get real traffic coming to your site, create an offer that’s closely related to what you’ve already shared on your blog or website.

Related: 4 Fool-Proof Steps to Getting Your Authority Marketing Off The Ground

5. Don’t sell visitors short

One of the biggest mistakes I see affiliate marketers making repeatedly is trying to sell their visitors short instead of providing high-quality offers that match well with what they want and need. For example, if someone is looking for a dog bed or a leash, they wouldn’t buy an offer related to yoga classes, because it’s completely irrelevant and doesn’t match what they’re searching for. So, before trying to sell your visitors something, make sure that you’ve done research and arrived at offers that closely match what an audience is looking for.

6. Embrace testing

Another blunder I see often is guessing what works best instead of testing ideas before investing time, effort and money. This is why I suggest A/B testing tools for at least some campaigns, as they will give valuable insights on what’s working right now, without any risks.

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7. Don’t leave money on the table

Many affiliate marketers are quick to start promoting a new offer the moment it goes live. Still, they fail to fully optimize and promote before making it available. In many cases, this means that you’ll be leaving a lot of money on the table by not testing your landing page, images, copy and ad copy first. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending days or weeks running A/B tests, but at least try to split-test before promoting an offer broadly. This will give you a better chance of converting more visitors into subscribers or buyers, because you’ve taken the time to work on optimizing everything from start to finish. This is the process I use for every new campaign for my online shop, and it works like a charm.

8. Don’t be afraid to give up

Lastly, remember that it is not a vice to give up on something that’s clearly not working. Even though it might be hard to walk away from an affiliate campaign or website, it’s vital to ask if results are worth the time and effort, then possibly put that energy into something that has a better chance of succeeding. Don’t let others make you feel bad about switching things up, because there is no such thing as doing everything right, so just do what makes sense.

Related: How Affiliate Marketing Can Work for Entrepreneurs

At the end of the day, there is no absolute right or wrong way to do affiliate marketing, but you should at least have a rough plan — one that includes knowing how much you’re willing to spend on advertising, where your niche traffic is coming from and what offers are converting best. The more time and effort you invest into learning and testing everything first, the more likely it is that you’ll succeed.


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Grab Microsoft Project Professional 2021 for $20 During This Flash Sale

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Grab Microsoft Project Professional 2021 for $20 During This Flash Sale

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

If you’re in charge of a business and you don’t have a clear understanding of how to approach projects in an organized and effective manner, that’s a problem. Like many leaders before you, consider leaning on software that’s designed to streamline the project workflow for companies representing a wide range of industries.

A rate that will only be available from April 19 through 22, you can get Microsoft Professional 2021 for just $19.97 (reg. $249).

This well-reviewed software comes with a range of pre-built templates that you can use to set your project off on the right foot. It supports a number of helpful functions like building complex schedules with varying timelines, auto-populating those schedules in instances where it can, and submitting timesheets that can be distinguished by project work and non-project work.

Some additional features of Microsoft Project Professional that can help entrepreneurs and their teams include what-if scenario generation capabilities. Microsoft Project Professional also allows you to sync projects on your local server with those online, which is massively helpful for remote teams.

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Its comprehensive and well-curated offerings are part of why Project Professional is rated an average of 4.7/5 stars on the Entrepreneur Store.

Don’t miss this limited-time opportunity to make a worthwhile investment in your business for the price of a beer at the ball game.

A price that will only last from April 19 through 22, you can get Microsoft Professional 2021 for just $19.97 (reg. $249).

StackSocial prices subject to change.

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AI Will Transform the Workplace. Here’s How HR Can Prepare for It.

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AI Will Transform the Workplace. Here's How HR Can Prepare for It.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Our workplaces are about to undergo an unprecedented level of transformation, and HR will take center stage. Artificial intelligence will dramatically reshape HR in a way that goes beyond recruiting, hiring and talent management. Leadership teams at all levels need to embrace this change to transform and lead their organizations forward.

It’s the people, and not the technology, that makes AI initiatives a success. Intrapreneurs, in particular, are the driving force behind it. As I shared in Fearless Innovation, I noticed this when I was working on the innovation agenda for the Great Places to Work study — the most innovative companies were those that had a leadership team that was embracing intrapreneurship and were open to change.

HR is the beating heart of any organization, and as such, it needs to take center stage in both adopting and leading ethical and innovative AI transformation across the organization.

Related: How Artificial Intelligence Is Reinventing Human Resources

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4 tectonic shifts AI will drive in HR

1. A new wave of massive reskilling

As AI becomes more prominent across business functions, the need for new skills will only grow. Forty percent of enterprise leaders believe that their workforce would need to reskill as a result of AI and machine learning. In fact, research shows almost a third of all hours worked in the U.S. could be automated by 2030.

All of us need to reskill to some extent to be relevant in the AI era. Not only would people need to re-train, but generative AI is introducing a whole host of professions that have been non-existent until recently, from AI ethicists to human-AI interaction designers. Some of these roles might sound futuristic, yet they are becoming increasingly relevant as technology advances.

2. The great restructure

As automation takes center stage across more business functions, there will be the inevitable need for organizations to restructure and rethink how they work. This transition will not only involve the integration of new technologies but also introduce a shift in the workforce dynamics. Intrapreneurs will need to identify gaps both in skills and operational processes and forge brand-new roles for themselves and those they manage. HR must play a key role in enabling a smooth and easy transition in this regard. The transition will not be smooth or easy, and it’s only HR that has the capability to make it impactful.

3. Arrival of “digital humans”

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“Digital human” may sound like an oxymoron, but that’s the term that’s starting to appear in business and operational plans. More roles, regardless of industry, are becoming digitally enhanced where some form of AI assistance is embedded in their everyday work. A real-life example is the introduction of the digital nurse — AI-powered healthcare agents which have already been proven to outperform human nurses in certain tasks.

Imagine the impact these digital roles will have on the workforce the more sophisticated and prevalent they become. Eventually, HR will need to create policies and systems in place that account for this new type of “staff augmentation.”

4. Regulating the robot

The threat of AI bias and misuse is serious. Not only can the technology put many jobs at peril, but potential improper implementation can expose organizations to serious liability and negatively affect the workforce. From avoiding bias to inclusivity, HR teams play a critical role in the ethical deployment and management of AI technologies.

HR professionals will be tasked with navigating the delicate balance between leveraging AI for efficiency and ensuring that its application upholds fairness, privacy and non-discrimination.

Related: How to Successfully Implement AI into Your Business — Overcoming Challenges and Building a Future-Ready Team

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What HR intrapreneurs must do to embrace AI the right way

The future of work is being shaped by AI adoption, and its success hinges on the right approach from the outset. My experience shows that for successful organizations, one universal trait stands out: the presence of change agents. Every organization, regardless of size, benefits from intrapreneurs who are open to change and committed to spearheading transformation efforts. These intrapreneurs are pivotal in driving the future of work, as they help orchestrate the integration of new technologies into their business models.

HR and talent leaders should harness this dynamic, encouraging a symbiotic relationship with intrapreneurs to develop customized solutions for AI adoption, ensuring that they are not just keeping pace with technological advances but are actively shaping their trajectory.

Securing a seat at the table:

HR should take a proactive stance in the adoption of AI, even if it is still in its early stages within your organization. By securing a position at the forefront of the AI initiative, HR can and should facilitate and guide the entire organization in embracing this significant change.

As AI has the potential to impact every facet of the organization, it is imperative for HR to not only understand and advocate for this technology but also lead its integration across all departments. HR should encourage and support intrapreneurs and all employees to leverage AI in their daily tasks, demonstrating its value not just for operational efficiency but for personal and professional growth as well.

Master the technology:

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To effectively navigate and regulate AI, HR must first understand it thoroughly. Grasping the full potential of this technology is crucial for reaping its extensive benefits. HR plays a vital role in identifying the necessary tools and skills that employees must acquire and then integrating these learnings into daily work practices.

Before implementing AI more broadly, HR should initiate comprehensive training programs that not only educate but also reassure employees about AI’s role in the future of the business. By leading these educational initiatives, HR can shape the structure and effectiveness of these programs, ensuring they meet the needs of the organization and its workforce.

Related: 3 Ways to Prepare Your Business For an AI Future

Looking ahead

Generative AI has the transformative potential to redefine the business landscape, but realizing this vast potential hinges on more than just the adoption of technology. It critically depends on the talent within the workforce, driven by HR and bold intrapreneurs. These visionary leaders don’t just implement new tools; they exemplify their use, demonstrating the profound impact of AI across every level of the organization.

HR plays a pivotal role in fostering this environment, enabling intrapreneurs to guide and inspire every individual they touch. Together, they turn each employee into a catalyst for change, igniting a widespread passion for innovation that deeply resonates and sustains long-term success.

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Samsung: 6-Day Workweek For Execs, Company in Emergency Mode

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Samsung: 6-Day Workweek For Execs, Company in Emergency Mode

Four-day workweeks might have all the buzz, but one major tech company is going in the opposite direction.

Samsung is implementing a six-day workweek for all executives after some of the firm’s core businesses delivered lower-than-expected financial results last year.

A Samsung Group executive told a Korean news outlet that “considering that performance of our major units, including Samsung Electronics Co., fell short of expectations in 2023, we are introducing the six-day work week for executives to inject a sense of crisis and make all-out efforts to overcome this crisis.”

Lower performance combined with other economic uncertainties like high borrowing costs have pushed the South Korean company to enter “emergency mode,” per The Korea Economic Daily.

Related: Apple Is No Longer the Top Phonemaker in the World as AI Pressure and Competition Intensifies

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Executives at all Samsung Group divisions will be affected, including those in sales and manufacturing, according to the report.

Samsung had its worst financial year in over a decade in 2023, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that net profit fell 73% in Q4. It also lost its top spot on the global smartphone market to Apple in the same quarter, though it reclaimed it this year.

Though employees below the executive level aren’t yet mandated to clock in on weekends, some might follow the unwritten example of their bosses. After all, The Korea Economic Daily reports that executives across some Samsung divisions have been voluntarily working six days a week since January, before the company decided to implement the six-day workweek policy.

Entrepreneur has reached out to Samsung’s U.S. newsroom to ask if this news includes executives situated globally, including in the U.S., or if it only affects employees in Korea. Samsung did not immediately respond.

Research on the relationship between hours worked and output shows that working more does not necessarily increase productivity.

A Stanford project, for example, found that overwork leads to decreased total output. Average productivity decreases due to stress, sleep deprivation, and other factors “to the extent that the additional hours [worked] provide no benefit (and, in fact, are detrimental),” the study said.

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Related: Samsung’s Newest Galaxy Gadget Aims ‘To See How Productive You Can Be’

Longer hours can also mean long-term health effects. The World Health Organization found that working more than 55 hours a week decreases life expectancy and increases the risk of stroke by 35%.

The same 55-hour workweek leads to a 17% higher risk of heart disease, per the same study.

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