The Top 7 Affiliate Marketing Skills: What Affiliates Need to Know in 2023
Ready to have the business success you’ve been dreaming of? You should try affiliate marketing, an online business model where you refer customers to buy a product in exchange for a commission.
ClickBank makes it easy to get started (you can sign up for a free account here), but the industry is pretty competitive, especially for beginner affiliate marketers looking to break in. Affiliate marketing is a rapidly growing industry, with a projected market size of $8.2 billion in the United States alone!
That’s why you will need to master a handful of key affiliate marketing skills to achieve your goals. In this article, I’ll share 7 top affiliate marketing skills that you’ll need on your affiliate marketing journey!
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What Are Affiliate Marketing Skills?
Affiliate marketing skills are the skills you need to succeed online as an affiliate. As I explained in my article on digital marketing vs affiliate marketing, many of the tactics you use as an affiliate are basically digital marketing skills.
That’s because most of affiliate marketing is done online now. But with that said, affiliate marketing is still a very specific type of business model, so the specific skills you need are based on how you choose to approach it – and what you’re naturally good at!
Affiliates can be individuals or organizations, and they typically promote a company’s products or services through a variety of channels, such as a blog, paid ads, or email lists. You may never be the best at every affiliate marketing skill, but if you get good enough to promote products and drive sales consistently, you can always hire contractors or employees to fill in the gaps.
So, what kind of affiliate should you be? Here are the 5 types of affiliates we usually see here at ClickBank:
1) Content Publisher
A content publisher produces and publishes content for the web, such as articles, blog posts, videos, and podcasts.
Content publishers may produce their own content or curate and publish content from other sources. In the affiliate marketing world, many content publishers have their own blog and get organic traffic to it through search engine optimization (SEO).
2) PPC/Paid Media Buyer
As a paid media buyer, you’ll be responsible for running paid advertising campaigns, such as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, social media ads, or display ads.
The goal of a PPC/paid media buyer is to drive targeted traffic to a website or landing page and convert that traffic into sales for the affiliate product they’re promoting.
3) Email Marketer
Email affiliates create and design marketing emails, craft compelling and persuasive subject lines and content, segment their email list, and analyze and track the performance of their campaigns.
If you want to be an email affiliate, you should get familiar with your chosen audience segment so you can deliver messaging that will drive them to click and ultimately make a purchase.
4) Social Media Influencer
If you have a large following on social media and can influence the opinions, decisions, or actions of your followers, you can try your hand at social media influencing.
To be an effective influencer, you need to have a strong personal brand and a loyal following on a social platform like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or Facebook.
5) Community Manager
As a community manager, you’ll be responsible for managing and engaging with a community of people online, such as on a social media platform or a discussion forum.
Community managers are responsible for moderating discussions, responding to comments and questions, and creating content to foster engagement and build a sense of community among the members. If you can do this, then when you recommend products to your audience as a trusted expert, you can generate affiliate revenue.
The Top 7 Affiliate Marketing Skills
Do you have an idea which type of affiliate you want to be? That’ll help you narrow down which skills to focus on first – but regardless, you’ll want to get familiar with all of the most important affiliate skills in the industry right now.
I want to emphasize that you don’t have to be an expert in all of these areas, but you do need to be competent in every one of them to be an effective affiliate marketer. With so much complexity required to turn traffic into affiliate commissions, having one skill isn’t enough.
If you’re ready to develop your skills, here’s what you should know!
1) Writing Copy
Copywriting is the process of creating written content that is meant to persuade or influence an audience. As an affiliate, you’ll want compelling sales copy in virtually every communication, including emails, paid ads, pre-landers, blog posts, social media posts, and videos.
Effective copywriting requires a strong understanding of the target audience and the ability to craft a message that resonates with them. It also involves the use of compelling language and persuasive techniques to convince the reader to take a desired action (which is usually clicking through to a sales page).
Copywriting is an important skill for anyone working in the field of marketing or advertising, as well as for affiliates looking to promote products or services through different channels. By developing strong copywriting skills, you can create compelling marketing messages that are more likely to convince your audience to take action, which means more affiliate sales!
2) Building Pages
Building pages is a hugely valuable skill for any affiliate marketer, whether you’re looking to build a full-fledged authority site or a simple bridge page. This can involve a variety of tasks, such as creating the layout and structure of the page, writing and formatting the content, and adding images and other media.
Building pages requires a combination of technical skills and creative skills. On the technical side, you may need to have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS to build and style the page, especially if you want it to load quickly. You should also be able to use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress to create and publish the page.
On the creative side, you’l need to have an eye for design and be able to create a visually appealing page that is easy to navigate. This may involve choosing the right fonts, colors, and layout elements to create a cohesive look and feel – and doing so while optimizing the page to encourage a desired action.
Check out our guide to popular landing page builders that can streamline this process for you!
3) Creating Video
Creating video is a powerful tool in affiliate marketing, as it allows affiliates to build rapport with their audience and showcase products and services in a dynamic way. Video can be used in a variety of places in affiliate marketing, including video sales letters, product demonstrations, product reviews, and tutorials.
Being able to work with video as an affiliate has several benefits. For one, it can help affiliates grab the attention of their audience and stand out in a crowded market. Video is also a highly shareable form of content, which can help affiliates reach a wider audience and drive more traffic to their affiliate links.
In addition, video can be an effective way to demonstrate the value of a product or service, which can help affiliates convince their audience to make a purchase. Finally, video can be a useful tool for building trust and credibility with an audience, as it allows affiliates to showcase their expertise and personality in a more personal way.
4) Managing SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website, blog or webpage to rank higher in search engine results and attract more organic traffic. It involves a range of tactics and techniques that are designed to improve a website’s visibility and number of visitors, such as keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building.
SEO can be an important strategy for affiliates looking to drive traffic to their affiliate links and increase their chances of making a sale. By creating content that’s optimized for search, affiliates can rank for relevant search results and attract targeted visitors who are ready to buy.
There’s a lot to SEO, including a range best practices for keyword research, content creation, and on-page SEO. Check out our keyword research guide for a step-by-step guide to SEO for affiliate marketing.
5) Running Paid Media Campaigns
Running paid media campaigns means promoting a product or service through paid advertising channels, such as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, social media ads, or display ads. When running a paid media campaign, affiliates need to carefully plan and execute their strategy to achieve their goals.
This may involve researching and targeting the right audience, creating compelling ad copy and visuals, setting up tracking and measurement tools, and continuously testing and optimizing the campaign. Several factors can impact the success of a paid media campaign, including the relevance and quality of the ad, the targeting of the audience, and the offer or call-to-action included in the ad.
These days, the best platforms for paid ads affiliates seem to buy YouTube, Google, native, and Facebook.
6) Email Marketing
Email marketing is the process of using email to promote products or services, build relationships, and drive customer loyalty. It involves sending marketing messages or advertisements to a list of subscribers who have opted in to receive emails from a business or organization.
To be successful with email marketing, affiliates need to have a strong understanding of their audience and their needs, as well as the ability to craft compelling and persuasive messages. It is also important to follow best practices for email marketing, such as using a clear and actionable subject line, segmenting the email list, and including a clear call-to-action.
7) Optimizing Conversions
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. CRO involves analyzing and identifying the factors that may be preventing visitors from converting, and then testing and implementing changes to improve the conversion rate.
Some common techniques for CRO include A/B testing, where different versions of a page or element are tested to see which performs better; usability testing, where the website is tested for ease of use and user experience; and customer research, where affiliates gather feedback from customers to understand their needs and preferences.
Along with CRO, a general aptitude at working with data and tracking is a huge benefit for any affiliate.
What These Skills Look Like in Practice
I want to briefly touch on how these skills can help with an example based on my own experience.
So, I built my own affiliate website in the music niche using my knowledge of the content management system, WordPress – along with a small dose of HTML and CSS. Then, I used my SEO and copywriting skills to add optimized content to the site that brought in relevant traffic from search.
I made sure I had tracking in place, so I was able to see where people were visiting on my site and make sure my highest-trafficked pages were optimized. Then, I kept going with my process until someone clicked my affiliate link and bought a music course.
This process helped me get my first sale on ClickBank. But my journey is just getting started – I still have a lot more skills to grow!
I should have a dedicated landing page for any affiliate offers I want to promote. I should also be building an email list, and I really ought to have my own video content on the site. I could have better tracking and CRO, and I’ve never tried running paid ads to the site or a landing page.
With all that said, you can see how these skills all work together to produce a successful affiliate campaign. And this is just one example – whatever type of affiliate you become, these same 7 skills will come into play!
The Need for Soft Skills
Before we wrap up, I just want to point out one more important thing: while hard skills like coding and CRO are incredibly valuable, this doesn’t invalidate the need for soft skills in your affiliate marketing journey.
I’m talking about networking, building relationships, getting to know your customers, managing projects, critical thinking, and adaptability. The truth is, affiliate marketing is a fast-moving and challenging field – and no matter how good you get, there’s always something new around the corner that can change how you do business!
That’s why it’s so important to build strong connections with other people in the industry, get a solid foundation under your feet, and always be ready to pivot. Even if you can go it alone, you’ll find it much easier to get ahead with industry connections, partners, and a team.
And most of all, you’ll need a willingness to forge ahead when the going gets tough. You’re almost never going to hit a home run on your first time up to bat – and even if you do, that’s not enough to build a career on. If you’re determined keep learning, keep testing, and never give up, you’re much more likely to build the skills you really need to break through and find success!
Affiliate Marketing Skills Wrap-up
In the end, affiliate marketing will push your abilities to the limit. You’ll need both hard and soft skills to turn traffic into sales, from copywriting and page building to interpersonal skills and time management.
Of course, many of these skills apply not just to affiliate marketing, but to a whole range of jobs or businesses you may want to pursue – so investing in your skills actually opens up more options for your career, not fewer!
But trying to develop these skills on your own is a slog. Why not learn straight from experts in the industry who do this day in and day out? People like Robby Blanchard with Facebook Ads, Paul Counts and Shreya Banerjee with organic traffic/SEO, or Ian Stanley with email marketing?
If you’re ready to take your affiliate marketing success to the next level, you need Spark by ClickBank. With Spark’s comprehensive affiliate marketing coursework, tools, and community, you’ll get the essential skills and knowledge you need to find success as an affiliate.
So, why wait? Boost your skills in affiliate marketing today with Spark by ClickBank! We’ll see you inside!