Covid-19 and affiliate marketing are two phrases that you don’t see together very often at all. But I want to discuss with you the impact that this pandemic has been having on our industry. It feels as though we’re in a time bomb waiting to go off. And for new affiliates out there like ourselves, we’re unsure as to whether we will be left standing at all when this is all over. If it’s ever all over. So what has changed and how can we rest assured to come out the other end?
The challenges we face
Let’s start with what has changed in the way of challenging the already underdog of a new affiliate. Because going into the world of online affiliate marketing is no easy start. So add a pandemic sweeping the globe and it truly feels as though we’re set to fail before we’ve started.
Current economic situation
To start with unemployment rocketed during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. In the US alone figures on unemployment went from 3.6% in January 2020 to a massive 14.7% in April 2020. It has started to recover since but still the figures as of August 2020 still sit at 8.4% of Americans are unemployed.
This is staggering and so it’s not hard to see why so many people just aren’t buying anything except the bare essentials. This really comes down to groceries and toiletries. I’m sure you, just as most people, have been affected by the pandemic in some way or another. So we can all relate to as to why the economy is in an unbalanced state right now.
And this doesn’t help with a new affiliate marketer trying to break through into the industry. They really are challenging times and when we rely wholly on promoting the goods and services of other companies. It’s a tough nut to crack.
People just aren’t buying
This leads to the plain fact that people just aren’t buying as much as they were before Covid-19 hit at the beginning of the year and this has had a knock-on effect for affiliate marketing. We all know that not being able to go out earlier on in the year meant that many of us were stuck indoors.
And when you’re stuck inside for days on end you don’t really need to buy any new clothes. You don’t need the new laptop that you were going to treat yourself to before lockdown hit. And now as the world struggles to get back on track with second waves of the virus potentially causing further lockdown measures. Many are holding onto all the cash they can right now.
Travel restrictions and other niches besides
Now, this is a huge one to read up on. We all have our own niches going into affiliate marketing and you can read more through two of our blogs on ‘What are the best affiliate marketing niches in 2020‘ and ‘You absolutely need a micro-niche in affiliate marketing‘. But what happens when the niche your marketing in is one of those which has been most affected by Covid-19?
Well, you have two very simple options. Number one you sit back and see your commissions drop, your traffic dries up, and you wonder how you will get it all back again when and if this is all over. Or number two, you leverage what you can from the niche and change tactics.
You see affiliate marketers will always face new challenges throughout their career and it depends how you take on these bumps in the road. If you want to be successful then you need to find another way. Adapt, for example, if you’re in the travel niche of promoting holidays abroad then be honest with your audience.
Tell them through email or blogging that you’re not going to be going abroad yourself. That instead you’ll be following the guidelines and holidaying in your local area. Then market the local sites in your area and what to do while you’re there. What you need to understand is that everyone is in the same boat.
So if you find the solution to this dilemma of what your subscribers are going to for a holiday this year. Well, then their trust in you will rocket too. Turn what you can into a positive and you’ll see the rewards, along with new subscribers and visitors to.
And if your niche truly is in the depths of nowhere to go, then get a new one. It’s either sink or swim so try anything you can to make yourself swim with the tide on this one. Find out the new current top niches and edge your way into one of those. Think outside the box in your business.
Affiliate programs are becoming tighter
If it wasn’t hard enough to get into an affiliate network and program six months ago, it certainly is now. More and more networks are clamping down on new affiliate marketers from joining because they want to give the best to their companies which are in their network.
Equally the companies themselves are tightening their regulations because people are shopping less with them. And they want to be paying out commissions to their top affiliates because they know they have a proven track record in getting those customers to their products. It’s security on their behalf.
Some programs are even closing down temporarily as they want to protect their own business from the steep decline of customers buying from them as a company. We must bear in mind that even the biggest brands out there will suffer from the pandemic. Even if it is only temporary.
So what once was a challenge can now be a colossal nightmare trying to sign up to a network for you to get started with. But this isn’t to say it’s impossible but rather you just have to research and dig a little deeper to find one.
Starting up with a new niche therefore can seem almost pointless. But it’s not, I mean what are your other alternatives? If you don’t want to go down that route, then as a fledgling entrepreneur you’ll need to find another way.
Many programs in affiliate marketing are cutting back on their commissions as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. This is because they are getting fewer profits and therefore are cutting back on their spending too. Which unfortunately for affiliate marketers, means us.
This has a knock-on effect on how much you earn through each program and could potentially leave you short each month as well. Just because you have an online business doesn’t mean you don’t have all the bills to pay for like everyone else.
And most of us live to the means of what we can afford. But when that paycheque is cut through your commissions received, it is the same as being furlough or losing hours in the job you may have or would have had. So this can be a real blow and a huge challenge that many are facing each day in the industry.
There is so hope between affiliate marketing and Covid-19
But you’ll be happy to know, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are the huge challenges that we face, but along with them come new opportunities.
Niches on the rise
As I mentioned earlier as some niches decrease in traffic and popularity right now. Many are on the rise as well. So if you are looking to change your niche and pause your current one then these are a few examples that might just help you out.
Now it’s clear to understand why health is on the significant rise during the coronavirus pandemic. More people are looking for ways to stay healthy. This could be through physical and mental health and the number of micro-niches is endless in this sector.
If you have a niche that can relate back to this in any way then you could link the two together and therefore still be targeting your current viewers as well as growing your new audience. Mental health is a huge market right now and with people being under local lockdowns constantly around the world. There’s never been a better time to help those people out as best we can.
Food is essential that everyone needs and the niche again can be massive here. From home cooking and baking to trying healthier food styles, you can market almost anywhere in the food market.
When people are stuck at home and unable to get out so much, they may want inspiration in the kitchen to help out. You could inspire them to go vegan for a month. Maybe try growing their own produce if they have a garden and depending on the time of year to what is seasonable. Or simply cook up some good hearty dishes.
So a little more of thinking outside the box. But pet supplies have been on the increase throughout the pandemic. If you are at home with your feline friend or taking more time to walk your pooch, people are looking for ways to improve that experience.
Now needless to say that if your niche is already one of these then you’ve probably seen an increase of traffic to your site and through your ads. This is great news and for the new affiliate marketer starting out. This could be the take-off that you need to get traction going.
Companies need our help
So yes, the commissions might have dropped off, and new programs could be hard work to get into. But every company out there with an affiliate program does need our help. They don’t want to go under as much as we don’t want to lose our businesses. So affiliate marketing can be done throughout the Covid-19 pandemic because businesses and affiliates will together to make it through.
We can help one another as we always have done, to keep each other afloat. And to build stronger relationships along the way. They might not be able to pay out the commissions as they have done before, but hopefully, this will only be temporary until the economic situation settles back down.
What is key though through coming into the end quarter of 2020 is that you don’t panic about how long Covid-19 will go on for, because affiliate marketing will continue even if we have to adapt. Yes no-one knows quite how long this will last. And just as we see the light, it seems to be taken away just as quickly in many areas of the world. But what we do know is that we are here.
And as long as we are still here and in the industry then we stand a fighting chance. There will be many changes to come, and some will be harder to adapt to than others. But if we are willing to grow as affiliate marketers then we must go with these changes and build ourselves up stronger than before.
We’ll get through what feels like a ticking time bomb right now. And it will defuse before it can do us any harm. We just have to face it head-on and keep learning along the way. Knowledge is power and although we can’t see into the future, we can prepare and adapt to it as best we can.
We hope you find our walks and adventures in the Lake District helpful. And we wish you much fun and success on bagging the Wainwrights yourself. If you want to share any stories with us all then please feel free too. Have a super day!
Hazel and Zoe
Co-Founders of True Freedom Seekers.