How to succeed in affiliate marketing? That’s a good question to ask, given that becoming an affiliate is one of the easiest ways to become an ecommerce entrepreneur.
This is why we’re talking to a very special guest today – an affiliate marketer with over 10 years of experience and a highly diverse background. Let’s hear him out!
Hi, please introduce yourself!
Hello, my name is Gonzalo Estrada, I am from Mexico City. I am 63 years old, married, and have two children.
My hobbies and passions are painting (acrylic, oil, and watercolor), writing (I have 5 books published for sale on Amazon, and 6 more on other platforms), and cycling.
And of course, I’ve been passionate about the Internet since 1995 when I built my first website on a platform that was called Yahoo GeoCities.
I have a degree in Economics. Earlier, I have worked as Procurement Director in several international companies, such as Heb, Costco, Walmart, Waldos, in addition to running an import business, travelling to China and Europe to buy merchandise. Now I have my own office, my own consulting firm, Forocomercial, and I give advice to companies in purchases, sales, and marketing, including advice on how to succeed in affiliate marketing. I have more than ten years of experience as an affiliate.
Why did you get interested in affiliate marketing?
I found the affiliate system while looking for the best options to earn money with the Internet, that’s something I’m always looking for.
As I said, I have been an entrepreneur, Procurement Director, teacher, politician, etc., and I used to have working schedules from 8 to 8. I sacrificed vacations, traveled a lot because of my job in South America, Europe, and China, I lived in Mexico and in the US… Of course, this meant a good salary, good benefits, etc., but there were so many sacrifices on the way, that is something that people tend to forget.
When I was working as a top executive, I used to leave home very early, seeing my little children still asleep. Coming home back at night, I saw them already sleeping,..
It took me years, but then I made the decision to open my own consulting firm. First, I started to import products from China for Coca Cola. After that, I started to go more into the ecommerce and making money online. One thing led to the next, and from there I started to see different Internet options such as affiliate systems, online books, AdSense, etc. etc.
These decisions were made in order to obtain that freedom to manage my life.
How did your ecommerce affiliate journey begin?
In my case, since I started doing websites to sell products, blogs, and web pages, I have always liked the scope we have thanks to the Internet. I also created a private network, PBN, where I was doing Arbitrage with Google, using AdWords and AdSense buying cheap traffic and sending it to sites with ads that paid well.
As I was selling on Amazon and Mercado Libre, sometimes on eBay, this was taking me to affiliate marketing step by step. To me, it became a desirable option for the type of business it represents and the freedom that came with it. It generates passive income (create something like a book with Affiliate links, or sell books on platforms such as Amazon, and leave it – it will be working for you) and I am always open to trying to experiment.
There are many people who taught me a lot on how to succeed in affiliate marketing. Some of them are widely known on the market, but I learn from everyone! I am always watching videos, reading about it, I do not stop learning from all of them. Indeed, you can browse YouTube and someone you did not know yesterday can show you a strategy, a tactic you did not know, and that can help you a lot.
Could you list the affiliate programs you’re a member of?
I am currently a member of ClickBank, JVZoo, Amazon Affiliate, SEO Content, SEnuke, AliDropship, and Sellvia. Until last December, I worked helping a friend to build his own affiliate business and make it work. In general, if I see some product that I like and I guess that it has the potential, I look for the affiliates section and I sign up. You can always make some extra cash, especially if the product you are using is good.
What about your profits from affiliate marketing?
I want to rephrase this question a little: “What about your benefits from affiliate marketing?”. As you can see, I have changed the “profit” point for “benefits” and I will explain why.
The benefits that I get came in two great lines. Profit is an essential line of course, but freedom, independence, and autonomy are just as important for me. Let me explain why.
Autonomy and freedom mean in my case that I have reached the point in which I can choose how much time I want to work, where I want to work, and from where I want to work. It is a value that means a lot to me – the best use of my time.
I am on this path not because I have no other options, but because it is the option that I chose.
It’s the ability to go on vacation when I want to, be with my family when they need me, go out for a bicycle ride… Managing my own time is worth a lot, and it has a very high specific weight for me.
Now, for the profit. Today it’s about $4,000 per month on average from my affiliate programs and consulting services on how to succeed in affiliate marketing.
How do you market affiliate products to succeed?
I have several options that are the most useful to me:
- Email marketing
I create publications, videos, emails, posts, etc., redirect them to a landing page, capture email addresses, and periodically send emails. In these emails content, 80% is information on the subject or niche and 20% are promotional elements.
- Word of mouth
I recommend products that I found exciting because of the potential I see. If a product does not convince me, I do not promote it!
- Social networks
YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter – they are all working for me. I have approximately 44 pages on FB, as well as Facebook groups (one of them, called Earn money with the Internet, must have 40K followers). There also are 2 Twitter accounts (used to be more, but I closed some of them), 2 newly opened TikTok accounts where I am experimenting, 4 Instagram accounts, and a YouTube channel. I’m rotating, testing different options depending on what I want to promote.
I buy domains where the name helps me with the sale. For example, one of the domains I just bought is called Fixsales.expert: I use it to promote SEO services. I use some of these domains to redirect users to the product page, others – for landing pages, and include the links into posts, videos, networks, emails, etc.
I have several blogs with different topics. It allows me to create a sales letter and then promote that specific blog page.
How to succeed in affiliate marketing when you’re just starting out?
If we are talking about people who are just making their first steps in the affiliate system, here’s how they can win their first referrals.
#1 Do your research
Check the program carefully before signing up. Read all the details given to you: is it a serious company? Research the product you will promote: is it something you would use? Does it go well with your niche market, with your image? Will it benefit the person who buys it, or you’re just advertising it because you want to win a commission?
#2 See what you’ve got
As you register for the program, check the tools it gives you for the promotion. Are there ready emails, graphics, banners?
#3 Focus on users’ gains
Make a list of the benefits of the product you are going to promote. What is the primary use that you see? In general, people work with the WIFM model, or What’s In It For Me. In which way will the product benefit the customer?
People want to know how your product will solve their problem. They want to hear benefits, so you should find and understand these perks and show them. Remember that people enter the Internet for two significant reasons: to reduce pain and increase pleasure.
#4 Work on your messaging
Learn the basic rules for an offer structure:
- What you offer, what is the benefit this product offers
- How your product solves or help solving the issue
- Why should anyone buy it from you
- Social proof, positive reviews
- Call to action
All of these are important elements of a professional and catchy message that resonates with the reader/viewer.
#5 Target your efforts
Search for the right niche where you will promote your product. If you are in the right niche and talk to the right people, you have more chances to get more sales. If you are trying to sell a small sports car to a couple with four small children, you are preaching in the desert.
#6 Listen and learn
We have two ears and a mouth for a reason! Listen, pay attention, understand your potential client, see what motivates them. Knowing it is an art, and the client has all the desire to share their problem with you. You should go to the groups related to your niche: go to Reddit, listen to what they want, if you are open to listening, you will learn what they want.
#7 Test, test, test
Try and try again, try and try again, measure your results always! If something worked, take a note and repeat, if it doesn’t work, change the approach. Do not be discouraged, just try another route, “but act, if you do not do anything, nothing is going to happen”.
On Facebook, for example, try different photos: men, women, children; try other texts, additional calls to action, try and test, and come back again.
And in general, if you are testing an ad on Facebook or AdWords, make at least three versions of the ad and watch their performance. In a week, eliminate the worst one and introduce a new one – let them fight! At the end of the second week, do the same “wash-rinse-repeat”: this process requires discipline and constancy.
In general, how does it feel to be an affiliate?
It’s fun, and I have a lot of fun as an affiliate.
It’s convenient. I do not have to close the sale or charge the customer, the vendor does it.
I do not have to develop the product or make upgrades; those are done by the provider.
I am a person who likes people, so dealing with people is easy, and I like to offer solutions.
Where my laptop, my iPad, and my cell phone go, there is my business, and I can work on the beaches of Cancun or while visiting friends in Canada.
Do you have an ecommerce store yourself?
Yes, I have my own stores, but I use them more to run tests and learn how the system works, try different plugins, etc., than to sell products through them.
I work on the WordPress platform which I’m well familiar with. I tried Wix and Shopify etc., but I feel more comfortable with WordPress.
Tell us more about your experience with Sellvia!
In the beginning, I had no idea what it was until I took the time to look closely. If I’m not mistaken, what caught my attention was the fact of having the warehouse in California and delivering in less than four days.
That was the key issue that made me take an even closer look. Within the standard dropshipping system, shipping from China takes much longer; those factors were decisive.
Basically, you buy in the USA to sell in the USA delivering in 4 days, that’s great.
On the other hand, Sellvia allows me to manage my time as I like it, and with the 14-day trial it is excellent, and it is a perfect selling point for an affiliate to offer prospects.
Sellvia is an excellent opportunity for people who want to be owner of their own business. You can escalate it, and if you start to understand how this works, you can really grow the business at the level that you want.
What can you tell about Sellvia as an affiliate?
As a former importer, I know: with brick-and-mortar business, there are all sorts of troubles, permits, requirements that you have to fulfill in order to buy merchandise to resell. You have to be in the process from the approval of samples to production in China, need to be for that order at least three times: before production, in the middle to supervise, and when you ship the merchandise. There are a thousand things that can go wrong. Once I was traveling to China just to supervise the loading of the cargo: no more than a week, I calculated. But the production was wrong so I needed to stay for months!
So when I saw the opportunity of selling in the USA, I knew this was a winner. I will recommend this one for sure because I know that with the right marketing, this is really powerful.
Since it is the perfect combination to sell in the USA, it is an exciting option, and in fact, it is the option that I have been recommending to people who approached me and asked me for advice on how to have a business of their own. I have had two video conferences this week with people who have asked for advice, and Sellvia is the option I give them because I think it’s an excellent choice.
Fascinating! We are beyond grateful to Gonzalo Estrada for his priceless tips on how to succeed in affiliate marketing. There’s no doubt that affiliates all over the globe will find his advice helpful and use it to set and break new records!