Chapter 14. Affiliate Marketing and MLM

More than anything else, the key to making money off of affiliate and multilevel marketing (MLM) sites is by gaining social proof through social networks. In either case, you’re a middleman, so you’ve got to show that you, above all the other middlemen, are the most trustworthy and interesting.

In the past, an affiliate or MLM marketer would simply have to build a small website, buy some ads targeting relevant keywords, and, if she could successfully optimize her site, she could receive a decent amount of traffic and earn a decent amount of money.

Unless you were going door-to-door or in some other way leveraging your local community, social proof was largely lacking. That was great for many affiliate marketers; you could be a relative nobody, and because you were ranking highly for your keywords, people would find you and potentially buy based on your recommendations.

That’s all changed. People now rely heavily on social media for product recommendations, reviews, and social proof. This is not a limitation—it’s an opportunity. To succeed long-term, you need to look at social media as a key part of your master plan, not simply as a quick way to make sales.

Think about it. Would you be more likely to buy a product promoted by someone who had 10 fans on Facebook, or 10,000? Would you rather buy from someone who spends all his time spamming on Twitter, or someone who is constantly expanding his number of followers by building authentic connections ...

Get Social eCommerce now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.