If you’re interested in making money online, then you’ve probably heard of affiliate marketing. Indeed, you’ve probably given it a try – perhaps starting by selecting a product that seemed cool and then advertising it on your website. When the hordes of screaming customers didn’t flow in, you naturally assumed that it’s just a scam. Does this sound at all like familiar? If so stay tuned and I’ll show you how to actually make money with affiliate marketing.
What Works and Does Not Work With Affiliate Marketing
Now there are lots of sites online stating that they’ve got the secrets to success when it comes to affiliate marketing. They offer lots of special tactics to help you in your journey and while some of these ideas do work, it’s safe to say that many of them do not.
What you’ll see as a strategy with many of these sites is that they don’t really presell you. This simply doesn’t work, as preselling is critical in my opinion. Without an understanding of why someone should make a purchase and what the benefits TO THEM are, it’s difficult to persuade people to buy.
If you’re able to convince people that a product has direct benefits to them, your conversion rate will skyrocket – and you can only do that if you let the buyer understand that you know what you are talking about! It’s important to demonstrate your skill and knowledge. You’ll see what I mean shortly as I’ll now describe some of the most common strategies and why they don’t really work. Then we can talk about the real secrets that do!
This tactic has been used by marketers since the beginning of the internet. Basically, you would find a somewhat related article on your site and slap a banner on the sidebar or in the middle of the article, without any preselling.
Banners are probably the most common and least profitable strategies online as they are completely impersonal. They are also really obvious! You will get some traffic because there is a relationship between your banner and the content. However, your earnings per click (EPC) will be very low.
In Content Links
Direct links that are embedded in the content might have a slightly higher chance of converting compared to banners. They are more relevant to the readers interests, and the recommendation often comes from the voice of the author.
You should expect reasonable conversion using in-content links, but it’s important to note that theses links are not obvious to everyone. Also the readers really have no incentive to click on the link except for the trust they’ve built up with you through the content you provide.
Product Review Pages
In contrast to Banners and Direct Links, this strategy is one that actually converts! Product review pages have links that are targeted based on what people are looking for and as such, they convert really well.
It’s important to ensure that your review does not look biased or focused purely on selling something. It should be informative and targeted and needs to be useful.
Review posts aren’t a magic bullet to success – they still have problems with the biggest being traffic. To make substantial money, you will need a lot of visitors to your site. Since you are competing with millions of other sites online for the same keywords, relying on SEO alone won’t likely bring you the results you wanted. You could always use paid ads to get more people on your website, but it’s not ideal if you want to build long-term traffic.
The Better Way of Making Affiliate Marketing Works For You
The previous methods mentioned do work, but it is hard to make a substantial amount of money with just those methods alone. The reason being is that they are being used by everyone, thus the effectiveness is not as good as the early days of internet marketing.
Generally speaking, no one wants to share sites that are blatantly selling a product or service on social media. You will have trouble finding organic traffic with just the content strategies mentioned above. People tend to avoid this as it makes them less trustworthy in the eyes of their readers.
Now this lack of sharing means that you need to either pay a ton of money for traffic through ads, or you’ll need to spend hours if not days or weeks doing tedious link building and wait for months before SEO starts to drop some traffic. This is simply not an economical undertaking and is definitely not cost effective for the long haul.
So what’s the solution? You want your site to be shared, but you also want to make some sales – what can you do?
The short answer is, give people free stuff and provide value. People are more inclined to share free and valuable content with their friends than a sales pitch. I’m sure you’re asking yourself, if I’m giving stuff away, aren’t I losing money, where does the selling part come in?
It’s actually quite simple. If you provide free value upfront, the people that want more free stuff will give you their email addresses. It is now cost you almost nothing to sell things to them over and over again.
You might worry that you would losing sales if you’re not trying to sell directly on the main page, but let’s be honest, if they’re unwilling to give you their email address, they are even more unlikely to give you their credit card number to make a purchase!
The whole process is basically like this- you use a lead magnet, which is something of value, to exchange for their email addresses. A lead magnet can simple be an ebook, training webinar, or exclusive deals. Once they opted in, they would then be introduced to the offer in the thank you page.
If they didn’t bite on the first try, don’t worry. They might just be busy and didn’t have time to take a closer look at your offer at that moment. You have their email remember? You can now start emailing them about the offer again with more details. What I’ve just explained is essentially the concept of a sales funnel. It is a crucial strategy in making money online! If you’ve never heard of it, I’d strongly recommend you to read DotCom Secret by Russell Brunson.
Here is what the funnel I just described looks like in details
This process has proven itself time and time again
- By ensuring that you’re not actively selling on the main page, you get significantly higher levels of traffic and sharing.
- You can build a mailing list of interested customers. This is YOUR funnel and you can continually market to them as time progresses. You own this audience and its worth only increases over time.
Getting to this point isn’t easy or quick though, but there are some ways to expedite the process. Let’s cover them here.
Content Is King
You’ve probably heard this before but it cannot be repeated often enough. If you create informative, useful and valuable content, you will get traffic and link sharing. However, organic growth takes time, so what can you do to speed the process up?
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is your primary source for driving free traffic. By using targeted keywords within your content that is optimized for search engines, you’re going to help attract visitors to your site.
- Social – You can’t escape social media and you really wouldn’t want to. It’s an amazing catalyst for traffic as that’s where your audience is. It’s important to choose the right network based on your product as you want to get targeted traffic to your site. However, with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest as options, it’s quite easy to build a rabid fan base at a nominal cost.
- Question & Answer Sites – Some of the sites with the most traffic are ones like Reddit, Quora and Medium. These sites if targeted correctly can definitely push traffic, but it’s important to ensure that you’re answering the question being asked and not just fishing.
The focus here is on value. Provide information and try to establish yourself as an authority. Stay away from promotions and try not to be greedy – that’s an obvious giveaway.
To make this strategy work, you’re going to need an Opt In page that offers even more information than you have presented in your primary piece. For example if your article provides a list of tips, give them more bonus tips that they can download. It can be anything really, recipes, cleaning instructions, best times to buy something. Basically anything but the focus should be that it helps continue the discussion and will encourage the reader to give you their email address.
Remember that your site needs to have an opt in form either as a pop-up or in the sidebar that asks your readers for their emails. You should also ensure that you have content upgrades as a CTA (call to action) at the end of your content. Finally, if people don’t opt in, you can retarget them using paid ads and send them to an opt in page to get the great material you’re offering. After all, they might have missed all your previous attempts so it won’t hurt to try once more.
Thanking Your Readers
Now that you’ve got their details, make sure that you reward them by sending them to your Thank You page. This is also where you’ll finally start selling and promoting your product or service. As I said previously, you don’t want to sell on the main page, and the best place is after they’ve already provided you with their details.
Here’s where things get a bit more interesting. Most people would just send traffic to a sales page and hope that it will convert, but if it doesn’t, then all the effort and money spent are all wasted. Now that you have their email addresses, you can essentially sell them anything that they might be interested in. Although that doesn’t mean you can constantly spam them with sales pitches, as they’d just opt out very quickly.
Unlike the earlier steps, you’re not actually trying to find interested customers – you already have them! Make sure that you welcome your new subscribers with a couple of autoresponder emails. You can send the earlier offer to them again if they didn’t purchase earlier. Perhaps you have a different argument for why they need it or even send a new offer.
You’ll probably see some of these convert into sales by themselves and they do not take that much effort to establish. Once they’ve been exposed to the autoresponder emails, you can include them in your mailing list so that they get regular updates and new offers that they can pick and choose from in the future. As and when they opt in to the new offers, they’ll get added to a new sales funnel and the process begins all over again.
By focusing on this cycle of constant touchpoint and renewal, you’re only targeting those that are actually interested in what you are selling. If they don’t opt in up front, they won’t be in the cycle, but if they do by getting your lead magnet, you know they are interested.
To be able to do all of this efficiently, you wiIl need an email service provider. For that, I would recommend GetResponse. I’ve personally tried quite a few email service providers, and I can say that GetResponse gives you the best value for your money. (Click here to get a 30-day FREE trial)
Growing Over Time
This doesn’t happen overnight. Building this cycle takes time and patience, but once one funnel is built, there is nothing stopping you from building a second or third or fourth! Each funnel will have different sales and as you monitor which strategies are more successful you can focus your efforts to ensure that you’re getting the greatest value.
Once your funnels are established, you just simply need to increase traffic to the lead magnets to scale up. Here are a few things you can do:
- Optimize your SEO for specific keywords that are related to your products.
- Link build internally and externally to improve your sites rankings.
- Utilize paid advertising, especially through social media, to expand your reach.
- Do A/B testing to ensure that you’re always increasing your opt in rates.
This is a just a simple blueprint on how to succeed with affiliate marketing in 2019 and thereafter. However to successfully implement this, you must understand the concept of sales funnel. It is truly the secret to geometrically improve traffic, conversion and sales online. As you’ve already guessed, you can apply this concept to any type of online business.
Hopefully this guide has given you some useful information and helped you realize that through hard work and effort, it is possible to not only add value but also make some good money with affiliate marketing.