The coronavirus pandemic rages on. There are signs that it is getting worse in some countries than getting better. Nobody knows when the pandemic will end. Countries like the United States and the United Kingdom are keen for people to get back to work to stimulate their economies again – but there are clear dangers with doing this.
The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the economies of countries and the whole world. As the world slowly gets back to normality the experts are saying that it will take a long time for economies to recover from the shock they have endured.
So where does affiliate marketing sit with all of this? Some people believe that affiliate marketing is dead and it will not recover until the global economy does. Others believe that there are opportunities for affiliate marketers to grow their businesses during the pandemic. The truth lies somewhere in between and in this article we will reveal all.
How the Pandemic has affected Affiliate Marketing
The pandemic has spared very few industries. Hardly anyone is traveling anywhere so airlines and other transportation providers have seen dramatic downturns in their business for example. Some affiliate marketers focus on the travel industry and their commissions are almost nonexistent now.
Although there is still demand for physical products during the pandemic, there are supply chain issues that make consumers think twice about ordering items from websites such as Amazon. But Amazon has seen its revenue soar over the last few weeks as people are prepared to wait for the delivery of non-essential items.
So what did Amazon do? They slashed the commissions that they pay out to their affiliates. This has led to outrage in the affiliate marketing community and several marketers have pledged to stop promoting Amazon products any more. Will this drastically affect Amazon’s revenue? It is not likely.
Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?
The commission cutting antics of Amazon has just added fuel to the fire that affiliate marketing is dead during the pandemic. But it is not dead. Some marketers are doing well at the moment. And we are not talking about sleazy tactics here like trying to jump on the bandwagon of selling masks and hand sanitizer at extortionate prices.
We are talking about promoting products and services that are in demand right now. If you have been a successful affiliate with Amazon for years and now see your business decimated by the recent commission cuts then it is time for you to adopt a different affiliate marketing strategy. It is certainly not the time to throw in the towel.
Many people are in quarantine at the moment and have a lot of time on their hands. Some of these people will just waste their time watching movies but others will be thinking about their situation and their future:
- They will be concerned that their jobs are under threat even when things return to normal
- If they are business owners they think about how they can prepare their businesses for a return to normality
- They will be concerned about their health during the pandemic
- They will think about how they can keep themselves and their families entertained during quarantine (it gets boring watching TV all day)
These are just three examples; there are other things that people will be concerned about. The media paints a picture that people are sitting at home watching every penny. But is this true? Well yes and no. Some people will cut out unnecessary spending on things that they don’t need. But they will be prepared to invest in their health and their future.
So what the smart affiliate marketers are doing is following the money. They are researching what people are looking for online during the pandemic and finding ways to help them get what they want. This is what you need to do as well.
Affiliate Marketing is still a viable Online Strategy
Just because Amazon has decided to cut their affiliate commissions doesn’t mean that all affiliate networks are planning to do the same thing. Online retail is still in demand and affiliate networks like Awin and ShareASale are seeing growth in their affiliate commission payouts.
The giant affiliate network, Awin, recently published an article that shows global commissions up 25% in April 2020 compared with April 2019. The article discloses that certain sectors such as homeware and beauty have doubled at specific times during the pandemic.
This article also revealed that digital services are seeing unprecedented demand levels. They quote an example of the United Kingdom where despite an overall retail sales slump of 5%, the ONS (Office for National Statistics) stated that 22% of sales in recent weeks were e-commerce driven.
The ONS has never seen e-commerce levels like this before and predicts that soon one in four UK pounds spent online will be through e-commerce. So it is not a time to give up on e-commerce affiliate marketing just because Amazon has changed the rules for their affiliates.
But it is not all good news of course. Before the pandemic, there were affiliate marketers making a lot of money by promoting sports betting services for example. With the cancellation of most worldwide sporting events, options for sports betting are severely limited and so are any resulting commissions.
At this point you may be thinking “this is all obvious” and you would be right. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that some industries are suffering more than others during the pandemic and that some are positively booming.
So the point we are trying to make is that there are still great opportunities available to make good commissions from affiliate marketing and that you should not believe that it is dead. Stop listening to the “doom and gloom” merchants and take action to make your affiliate marketing goals a reality. A common-sense approach works best here.
Take advantage of the Flexibility you have as an Affiliate Marketer
There are several advantages to being an affiliate marketer:
- You do not need your own products or services to sell
- You do not need to employ others
- You do not need to carry inventory
- You do not need a physical store or office
- You can get started with very little money or even for free
- There are thousands if not millions of affiliate offers available
- If something doesn’t work you can try something else
- There is a great deal of training material for affiliate marketing success available online
- You can choose the hours that you work
- You can work with several different affiliate networks and companies
There are also some different affiliate marketing strategies that you can adopt:
- Create a blog with related affiliate offers
- Use paid advertising to drive traffic to affiliate offers
- Use video marketing to make affiliate sales
- Use content marketing to generate affiliate sales
- Use social media platforms for affiliate marketing
If you have been involved with affiliate marketing for some time you may use a combination of these strategies to make affiliate commissions. As a newcomer to affiliate marketing, you can see that there are several options available to you.
The key takeaway here is flexibility. Unlike a conventional business owner that has invested everything they have in a brick and mortar store, for example, you have the flexibility to change your approach at any time. If one industry is suffering due to the pandemic then find another one that is booming.
OK if you have built up a successful blog about sports betting over several years and received a good affiliate income regularly it sucks to have to make a change. But you just need to be realistic here. The same goes if you have built up an affiliate business promoting Amazon products and your commissions have gone through the floor.
Here is a harsh reality – you either adapt to the changes that the coronavirus brings to the affiliate marketing world or you look for another way to make money. There are plenty of affiliate marketing opportunities that you can take advantage of during the pandemic so face facts and be prepared to move on.
We are not suggesting that if you have a successful blog in a market such as sports betting that you ditch it. At some point, sports will be back and you can continue to make good commissions from this. So if you are in a niche that has been temporarily affected by the pandemic, just do something else until you can start generating commissions with it again.
Choose the right Affiliate Marketing approach
If your sole affiliate marketing approach was creating blogs and ranking posts in Google or the other search engines for traffic then you will need to change your approach. Nobody knows how long the pandemic will last but one thing will not change – the time and effort it will take to rank a new blog in the search engines.
Google doesn’t care that your affiliate marketing business is suffering. It is not going to rank your new blog any faster because of the pandemic. If you are struggling for cash then you need to consider other ways to drive traffic to your affiliate offers.
Although Google will not rank websites fast, it will rank videos fast. As you are probably aware, Google owns YouTube and is firmly committed to the fact that videos are will always be in higher demand than words.
So why not try video marketing as a way to drive traffic to your affiliate offers? A lot of people dismiss the idea of creating videos because they think that it is too complicated or they have a fear of appearing on camera.
There are many tools available now that can help affiliate marketers jump on the video marketing bandwagon:
- Video creation tools and services which help to create stunning videos very quickly
- Keyword research tools specifically geared towards YouTube and other video sites
- SEO optimization tools for ranking high on YouTube
- Other services to help promote your channel and your videos
If you want to show your face on your videos and narrate them yourself (highly recommended) then you do not have to spend a fortune on equipment and software to do this. You can create a very high-quality video with an inexpensive HD webcam, a USB microphone, and free or low-cost video editing software.
The reason that we recommend you show your face in your videos is the “know, like, and trust” factor. People will always buy more from people that they know, like, and trust. Yes, it is easy to create a slide-based video that uses an AI-generated voice these days – but in general, this is not what people want to see.
So it is time to take steps to overcome your camera-shy fears start recording yourself. To inspire you, there are a small number of affiliate marketers that make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month promoting product launches on YouTube. Don’t let your fears prevent you from grabbing a slice of this action.
People will want to see a quality video on YouTube but they will not be expecting a Hollywood production. You can use a free video editor such as iMovie for the Mac and Windows Movie Maker for the PC for quick and easy editing. There are other free and low-cost editors online as well that have a lot of great features.
The bottom line is that you can create high-quality videos that promote affiliate products on YouTube inexpensively. If you optimize your videos correctly then you can rank high in YouTube search and also Google search which will bring you targeted traffic fast.
To make good profits from paid advertising you need to promote affiliate offers that are in high demand and pay high commissions so that you can generate good profits. There are several paid advertising strategies that you can use including:
- Google Adwords pay per click (PPC)
- Microsoft Ads PPC (Bing and other networks)
- YouTube Ads
- Social Media ads
- Banner ads
- Native ads
- Solo ads
The advantage of paid advertising is that it is quick and you can test your offers to see how well they convert. Of course, the disadvantage is that they can be expensive if you get it wrong. Let’s take a look at the various options for paid advertising.
Google is still the king of traffic. The concept of Google Ads is very simple. You set up a campaign targeting related keywords for your affiliate offer. Your ads will appear on the first page of the Google search results above or below the organic search results. When someone clicks on your ad then you pay Google for this.
If you want the top position in the Google search results for your keywords then you are going to pay the highest rates per click. This doesn’t always mean that you will get the best conversions as you need to take the quality of your ad and your landing page into account.
Some affiliate marketers are making a fortune with Google Adwords even during the pandemic. They are promoting affiliate offers that are in demand and have tested and optimized their ads for the best conversions.
Microsoft Ads work in the same way that Google Adwords ads do. You determine the best keywords for your affiliate offer then create ad campaigns that will appear on Bing, Yahoo, and other networks.
A lot of people dismiss Microsoft Ads because they believe that there is not enough search volume available. While it is true that volumes will be considerably lower than Google, they still represent around 20% of search traffic and are worth considering.
The cost of Microsoft ads is usually considerably less than Google Adwords. So if you are on a budget then Microsoft Ads can be a good place to start as you can test and optimize your ads at a lower cost. When you have a winning formula you can try using Google Adwords as well for higher traffic levels.
YouTube is the second largest website on the planet. It is also the second-largest search engine. Video ads are often more effective than text-based ads for some affiliate offers. With YouTube Ads, you can have your ad played on videos that are related and already have a large number of views.
It will take you longer to create a high converting video ad than it will a text ad. But the results can be worth it. As Google owns YouTube the rates for ads are not going to be cheap, but some affiliate marketers have had great results with YouTube Ads and will not use anything else.
Social Media Ads
Virtually all of the social media networks now offer ads. They are certainly available on the following:
- Tik Tok
Many affiliate marketers use Facebook and Instagram ads. Facebook is by far the largest social media network and it owns Instagram as well. The good thing about social media ads is targeting. You can determine who you want to target with your ads which you cannot do with PPC ads.
There are some different ad types on social media networks which include:
- Boosting posts
- Video ads
- Image ads
- Carousel ads
- Page likes and shares
Although it is generally cheaper to run social media ads than PPC ads this is not always the case. You will need to run some tests to see which type of ads convert the best. The targeting is a great feature and the reason why a lot of successful affiliate marketers use social media ads.
A lot of affiliate marketers shy away from banner ads because they believe that they do not work. But they do work in the right niche. There are banner ad networks available now such as BuySellAds.com and AdClerks.com that have access to many high traffic niche websites where you can run related banner ads.
With banner ads, you will usually pay by thousands of impressions. So, for example, you can run a banner ad on a high traffic niche blog through Adclerks and get around 500,000 impressions for $50. This is a cheap way to test your banners for conversions.
Many affiliate marketers are reporting good results with Native Ads. Native ads work well because they blend into a site without standing out as an ad. A lot of very high traffic websites such as Yahoo and popular news sites accept banner ads.
Native ads can be worthwhile if you are promoting more general niches such as weight loss. They are not targeted so the more general your affiliate offer the better. You will pay for impressions with native ads and the prices are fairly inexpensive when compared to PPC and social media ads.
It is best to use solo ads in the make money online niche. The concept here is that you will pay an email list owner to run an ad to their subscribers. You pay based on the number of clicks to your offer page.
Solo ads vary in quality. You need to be careful as there are some unscrupulous solo ad sellers out there. Look for recommendations on Facebook or use a website like Udimy.com where you can see honest reviews.
A solo ad is going to cost you between 40 cents and a dollar a click. We recommend that you send the visitors to an opt-in page so that you can build your email list as they may not purchase your offer right away.
The Best offers to Promote during the Pandemic
The trick here is to think about what people will be interested in while the pandemic is in full swing. We gave you some examples earlier and there will be more you can come up with. Think about ways that you can genuinely help people during this time of crisis.
Consider the evergreen niches that are always in demand no matter what is happening in the economy. These include:
- Weight loss
- Health and fitness
- Make money online or work from home
- Relationships / Family
- Personal development
Let’s take a look at each of these niches in turn.
When people are stuck at home in quarantine they can become easily bored and keep visiting the refrigerator for comfort. If they were fairly active before the pandemic and have now significantly reduced this by being at home then there is a good chance that they will put on weight that they will want to lose.
Of course, some people are overweight to start with and will see changing to a new diet as something that they can focus on when they are in lockdown at home. So products related to weight loss are always going to be in demand.
Where can you find these weight loss products to promote? There are a lot of weight loss digital products and physical products available on Clickbank.com. Clickbank is the world’s largest digital product affiliate network and they now have some physical products available as well such as weight loss supplements.
With most people at home, it makes sense to promote products that the customer can download immediately or have delivered through the mail. It is not a good idea to promote weight loss programs where the customer would normally have to attend meetings etc.
Health and Fitness
Since the coronavirus pandemic started there has been a surge in demand for home fitness products. People cannot attend gyms but still want to work out so they are purchasing equipment to enable them to do this at home.
Most people are aware that they need to keep their immune systems as healthy and effective as possible to protect themselves from the coronavirus. So anything that relates to boosting the immune system is likely to sell well. This could be supplements or information on how to take care of the immune system and keep it in optimal condition.
You can use Google Trends to see what people are searching for at the moment. Searches like “how to boost your immune system with food” and “how to naturally boost your immune system” are spiking at the moment.
There are a lot of health-related keywords that have seen a surge in popularity during the coronavirus. So do your homework here and you can find some real gems and some good products to promote to help people.
Make Money Online / Work From Home
This is always a good niche to be involved in but it is particularly hot right now while the pandemic is in full force. People will always want and need more money and if you can help them to get it from home then you will be their friend for life.
Some people will want a side hustle where they can make some extra money while they are in quarantine. Others will be considering making money online as a long term strategy because they are concerned about their jobs or just see this as an opportunity to make a change in their life.
There are several networks where you can find make money online and work at home offers to promote. Three of the most well known and respected networks are:
If you have not dabbled in the make money online or work from home niche before you need to know that there are some good products out there and some that are not so good. We recommend that you research any products that you are thinking of promoting to ensure that they are of high quality.
The best way to do this is to ask the vendor for a review copy or just purchase the product yourself. If the product is bad then you can get a refund just as your customers can. You do not want to promote poor quality products or your reputation will quickly take a nosedive. This applies to any niche that you choose but there tends to be more junk in this niche.
With make money offers there is usually an “upsell” process involved. The front end offer is cheap (often less than $20) and then the customer is presented with some additional offers that will enhance the original product. You can make a lot of money from this but be aware that these upsells will irritate some people.
Relationships / Family
A lot of people are spending a great deal of time with their partners or spouses right now that they wouldn’t normally do. This sounds great but it can put a strain on relationships. There are several products available offering good relationship advice that you can promote so that people can save their marriages for example.
What might surprise you is that there is still a steady demand for online dating services according to Google Trends. We would not condone anything that would break social distancing recommendations from governments, but a lot of people are lonely and are happy to meet new people online.
If things work out between them then they can meet up once the social distancing rules are relaxed. The Victoria Hearts online dating service has seen a surge in search volume and it could be worth you checking out their affiliate program.
The other thing to consider here is the need for people to communicate with their family, friends, and work colleagues during the quarantine. Services that allow people to communicate with others are in huge demand right now and most of these have affiliate programs including:
There are plenty of businesses that have asked their employees to work from home at the moment and they could be prime targets for these kinds of services. Check out their affiliate programs to see which suits you the best.
This is another profitable niche to be in at any time but right now it is spiking. Some people are at home taking stock of their life and the skills that they need to acquire to move forward. According to Google Trends, the search volume for personal development continues to track upwards during the pandemic.
There are many training courses available for personal development that you can become an affiliate for. The other thing to consider is skills training. A lot of people are using the time that they have available to learn new skills they consider beneficial.
Elearning is a very big business and some of the most successful platforms have affiliate programs including:
There are other platforms available as well. This is a market that is worth considering as like the other niches we have discussed in this “evergreen” section it will still be in high demand after the coronavirus pandemic.
Don’t accept that affiliate marketing has died due to the coronavirus pandemic. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are still opportunities to make a great deal of money as an affiliate if you choose the right offers and use an appropriate strategy to promote offers.
Some of these opportunities are obvious and some are not. Make Google Trends your friend and see what is hot in terms of search terms. At the bottom of the page for each query that you run in Google Trends, you can see the related search terms that are breaking. Find a good offer to match and you are on to a winner.
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