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Affiliate Marketing: How to Make Your Competition Work for You

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Affiliate marketing is a competitive business. Fortunately, there are ways to make your competition work for you, even as they're working against you.

Here are three prime methods for making your competition work for you:

Steal Your Competition's Partner List

This strategy may sound like a Watergate-style break-in to a secret room, but in reality it's just a matter of looking at your partner's website and seeing who they're working with as far as affiliate partners. Especially if you're starting a new site, this basic research is invaluable.

Build up a list of every affiliate partner your competitors are working with. Include companies that are advertising on competitor websites. Beyond the names of your competitor's partners, make a few brief notes about how your competition is using their affiliate partners. Evaluate, for example, how hard your competition appears to be working for each affiliate partner.

Once you've got that list together, it's time to find out one last very important fact: what each affiliate partner pays. Add that key piece of data to round out your file.

By now, opportunities to do deals with your competition's partners should be coming clear. If, for instance, you find that a particular affiliate partner is not receiving enough promotion from your competition, count that as an opportunity for you to step into the void.

Copy Excellent Content

By "copy" we do not mean, of course, copy. Not only is outright copying illegal according to copyright law, the search engines will penalize you heavily.

What we mean by copying is identifying compelling content being put out by your competition and then confronting these topics directly with pages of your own.

You can begin by making a list of the five best pages on your competition's website. If you have multiple competitors, make a master list of five pages for each competing site. Another way to identify high-performing pages is to search through Google or another search engine.

Now that you know what pages are doing well for them, do those pages yourself.

Learn What "Being Different" Means and Then Be It

In today's affiliate marketing environment, being different is essential, especially if you have limited resources to win traffic from pay-per-click advertising. But if you don't know what you're different from, how can you know what being different really means? You can't.

By researching your competition thoroughly, however, you can discover concrete ways to differentiate yourself from your competition.

If your competitors write about financial matters in a stuffy manner, for instance, you might choose a breezy style aimed at a younger crowd. If your competitors are all words and no video, you might choose to create a video-intensive affiliate marketing site. If your competitors are faceless corporations, you might choose to put your picture on the front page. Be different with an eye towards redirecting traffic--and the affiliate marketing commissions that come with traffic--away from your competitor's website(s) to your own.

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