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What comes into mind when you think about affiliate marketing? For many people beginning to seriously wonder about affiliate marketing as an income opportunity, thoughts usually begin by seeing oneself sitting on the beach, a computer on your lap, ringing up sales while ordering another Mai Tai.
While this is a great goal, don’t fool yourself, you have to still do work. Unlike working for a paycheck, the harder and smarter you work in affiliate marketing, the more the sales will ring and the more money you’ll make! So let’s narrow down how exactly to get started in building an affiliate marketing career.
In a prior article we discussed the steps of choosing a product, contacting the seller, and establishing an affiliate connection with the company. Once you’ve done this (received your affiliate link, swipe files, etc.), it is now time to decide exactly what method of marketing you are going to use. Let me further explain…
One facet that knocked my socks off when I started truly getting into affiliate marketing was the wide variety of ways in which you can make commission sales. Following are some options of how you can get started:
- Blog Posts
- Video Tutorials
- Paid advertising
- Social Media
- Email Campaigns
- Sales Pages
Let’s take a closer look at the different options of which you can affiliate market a product.
Perhaps the most well-known mode of affiliate marketing is Blog Posts.
If you’re just starting out, you will find two schools of thought regarding how to blog for an affiliate product. One thought is to pick a theme you are passionate about (or at least interested in) to create your blog website. It is much easier to compose written articles on a subject that interests you. Once your blog website is created and has great content articles, you can advertise related affiliated products by both mentioning these products in your blog and by hosting ads for the products.
The other camp argues that it isn’t necessary to create your affiliate blog website with a personal interest. Choosing a niche based on what is gaining the most interest and selling the most products is also an option. Here, what really matters is what will provide you financial success as an affiliate blogger. After some initial research, most anyone can talk intelligently about a wide range of topics. Good persuasive writing need not have personal experience.
If you’re just beginning to affiliate market the best way to choose which path is best for you is to define your goals. If you have a passion for a specific topic and are interested in seeing if you can provide some additional income while addressing your passion, then this is a great place to begin. But don’t limit yourself.
The main consideration when starting blog posts is to affiliate yourself with a profitable and reputable company. Check out this blog post to guide you through this process.
You know the expression, “You gotta spend money to make money.” This is the philosophy behind paid advertising.
Before we get into details, let’s define the difference between organic traffic and paid traffic. Organic traffic is when a person does a search and ends up on a website from their search. You can imagine how hard it is to get on page one or two of Google (search results) to have a chance that a person will organically find your website. Get beyond page two, and your chances of anyone finding your website becomes minuscule.
Conversely, paid advertising helps drive people interested in your product and/or service straight to your website without them doing a Google search. This happens when you click on an ad on your Facebook page, another website, and email link, etc.
It would be logical to wish that you were advertising for a huge company like Home Depot. If you were selling lawn mowers, the Home Depot landing page is the very first listing after the paid ads. No need for paid advertising, right? WRONG!
Companies like Home Depot still depend on paid advertising spots – even with being #1 on the google search. You see those Home Depot orange advertisements spots everywhere across the web.
Because big companies and small businesses both know the value of “being seen.”
Remember the adage, “Location, location, location?” Paid advertising on the web is like having your storefront on a popular business corner with billboards up and down the highway pointing potential customers to your store.
Two major platforms provide such paid advertising:
- Facebook ads – with Facebook being actively used 1.73 BILLION times daily, this platform is a gold mine for marketers
Google ads – 5.6 BILLION Google searches are done every day, why wouldn’t you place Google ads?
- Master these two paid ad platforms, and you’re off to the bank!
- Simply direct the traffic to your vendor’s sales page,
- Send them to a blog post that you’ve written so they can learn more about the product,
- Direct them to your explainer video hosted on YouTube (more about that below),
- Or forward them to a sales page you’ve created.
While the easiest option might be to send them to the vendor’s sales page, this often isn’t the best way to go. Often, sending the prospect to a specific sales page that YOU’VE written is the best choice. You have the most control with this option.
Not to bad-mouth any vendors out there, but some sales pages we’ve seen from our affiliates could be better.
But there’s even a more important reason to write your own sales page. And that is continuity of style.
Let’s say you’re writing an ad for birdseed. Your ad talks about filling your backyard with the songs of nature. You paint a quaint picture with your artwork and your written copy. Now, let’s say that the sales page provided by the vendor hypes the various types of seed available as well as the unbelievable prices they offer. Their landing page is ‘hard sell’ and is done in bold, vibrant colors. Their landing page has nothing to do with the quaint picture you presented in your ad.
That’s a huge disconnect.
Many, many prospects would simply leave the landing page – either not thinking they’ve landed on the correct page or just not happy with the change of “attitude” on the sales page.
To solve this situation, write a landing page that continues the story of filling your backyard with bird songs. The copy you write should compel, answer any objections that the prospects may have, and paint a picture to the prospect that compels them to buy.
When you do this, you can often send them directly to the vendor’s check-out page (bypassing their disconnected landing page).
Sales pages are actually interesting and fun to write. It’s where you can really bring your writing style to life and have fun with it. Create entertaining stories – share the benefits of your products – and make it easy for your prospects to purchase.
Just when you think, I don’t need to advertise on YouTube, think again. Did you know that according to the Google commissioned Nielson conducted in 2016 found that on mobile alone, more 18-49-year-olds watch YouTube during prime time in the United States than they do the top 10 prime-time shows combined.
Still, think you shouldn’t advertise on YouTube?
They call their traffic program “Find My Audience” and with that, you can connect to people who matter to what you are selling. In addition, they have a great statistical dashboard so you can adjust and tweak your ads to increase your profitability margin.
And if you’ve ever gotten frustrated with other platforms charging you for 1-5 seconds of viewing time, know that YouTube doesn’t charge you for a “view” unless the viewer has watched at least 30 seconds of your video.
Four things will help you build a successful YouTube channel:
- ) Find your niche – as in all marketing, it is best to speak to a specific audience, one who will respond (and buy) your product or service.
- ) Post regularly – your followers will be more likely to engage with your channel if they know to expect new information every week, on Tuesday (for example). A regular posting also brings followers together to chat on social media the following day about your recent post and offerings.
- ) Get good gear – no one wants to view videos with bad lighting, poor sound, or shaky, out-of-focus videos. Videos don’t have to (nor should they) look like they were shot in a professional studio, but sloppy doesn’t cut it either.
- ) Edit, edit, edit! – special effects, cutting for appropriate length, placing in introductions, all will polish your video to make it a cut above those that just “get it out there.”
And just so you know, there is a difference between hosting your video content on YouTube and delivering it to the world (free) and actual paid advertising on YouTube.
Even in our world of social media and instant messaging, email is still king. For one thing, the cost for running email campaigns is significantly less than many other advertising ventures.
The beauty of an email campaign, besides the cost benefit, is that you can include a wide variety of messaging. Meaning, you can send out links that will take the reader to another website, you can play a video right in the body of your email, and you can even include everyone’s favorite – emojis!
The issue becomes, where to get a list of appropriate emails. There are two ways to tackle this. First, you can use a service that collects emails and groups them for you into target audiences. You buy their service and decide who would be the best audience for your product and how many “clicks” you want to purchase. This is called SOLO email marketing.
The other way is to collect email addresses on your own and send out your own emails to your private list. The question then becomes, how to get a large quantity of emails that are the appropriate audience.
The easiest way to do this is to offer a free product to people interested in the product you’re marketing. An opt-in page before a webinar or sales page can collect emails and an opt-in widget on your website can collect emails for a weekly newsletter.
Let’s go back to our Home Depot example. Let’s say you are running a landing page for them during spring and summer. A great giveaway would be, “The Top 10 Things You Need for Backyard Living.” Do a little research on what Home Depot offers for the great outdoors, build interesting content around that, and ship to a graphic designer to make it look professional.
Now have your potential clients leave their email address to receive this PDF and you are now on your way to building an email list.
Once you’ve built an email list, then work with an email service of your choice to send out your message. If you have an ad that has a timeline (for example a 20% off sale that is good only to the end of the month), then you can build excitement through your emails making sure they are well aware that this offer ends soon. You can send out daily reminders until the sale ends.
However, be careful not to spam your email list. An email list is a very treasured thing, and since you need to include the ability for your recipient to “unsubscribe,” you want to assure to keep as many emails live and active. Whatever you send out to your email recipients, make sure it has meaning and is of good quality.
Social media connects the world unlike what anyone could even imagine just 15 years ago. Above, you saw the stats that 1.73 BILLION people log onto Facebook every day! And that’s just Facebook!
Twitter has 145 million daily users while Instagram has 500 million visits their site each and every day. These three are the biggies, but there are countless other sites.
The trick with social media is to get the right message, on the right platform, to the right people. The following chart from PEW research is one way to understand where to go to get the most out of your advertising dollar:
Once you’ve reviewed the chart and determined what platform matches your target audience, then your next step is to do a little research to determine how best to attack each site.
All sites have their preferences, regulations, “tips and tricks,” and advertising stipulations. The easiest way to get started is to google “advertising on SnapChat” (for example) and follow their advice.
Using influencers will set your affiliate marketing ad heads and tails above other ad copy presented by other affiliates.
We’ve all seen influencers – the George Foreman grill, Santa being spooked by M&M’s, or Beyonce wearing Daisy Duke jeans.
So, how do you get Beyonce to hock your product? Truth be told…you probably don’t.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use influencers to your advantage.
Here’s a real-life example that shows how you too can up your product sales with the power of influencers.
One of our associates, Ben, interned a summer for a local Mom ‘n Pop coffee shop. Being an intern, he was ambitious and encouraged many current marketing trends to the owner.
After a few weeks of his internship, Ben came up with a great idea! What if he could contact one of the local distilleries (popular at the time) and have the distiller use the best-selling coffee from the Mom ‘n Pop coffee shop in the distiller’s most popular ice coffee drink?
What took this idea over the top, was that the bartender from the distillery had a HUGE Instagram and YouTube following and he was happy to create social media stories of the new coffee drink on both sites.
What a great idea!
The lesson here is – you don’t need a Hollywood star to be talking about your product. Instead, be creative and see who’s out there that would have an interest in what you’re selling (and has a social media following) and see if you can make a win-win connection.
The first thing that anybody in affiliate marketing would recommend to a newcomer is to get signed up with an affiliate marketing forum. Google “affiliate marketing forums” and you’ll get a surprising number of choices showing up – some of them free to join.
This is the place where you can ask questions, learn from other’s successes and failures, and get motivated by people who are making it work.
Newcomer Tip: If you join an affiliate forum, and have a question that you’d like to post, be sure to use the forum’s search tool to search for your question there first. You may find that your question has been asked and answered before in the forum. Nothing is more frustrating to the “seasoned” affiliate veterans on the forum than to have to respond to the same question over and over.
Once you understand how forums operate, it is time to go out and look for forums where you can place ads of products you’re affiliating. Placing ads on a forum is much like placing ads on someone’s web page. As with websites, each forum will operate differently as to how they accept advertising. Be sure to do your research so you know all that is expected.
You might also want to “reverse engineer” this process. Instead of looking for forums for your products, look to find out what are the most popular forums. (Bonus if you find forums that interest you.) When you select a forum, now go out and find an affiliate product that would work well to advertise on your newly found forum.
As with any advertising, the trick is to match the ad to whom is expected to see it. A group of horse lovers will probably not jump all over an ad for city apartments.
Saving the best for last? Maybe. Affiliating with a coach, trainer, or teacher can be a very lucrative avenue. Why? Because people who offer video training often have more than one class that they want to present. Get connected with a video trainer and you most often will receive an affiliate commission on every class that your affiliate student signs up for.
In addition, video trainers will quite frequently have an abundance of videos cued and ready for your advertising campaign. This is their medium. And as we all know, video advertising outperforms all other types of messaging.
Affiliating video trainers also have another advantage. It is often easy to find their “niche” to send your ads to. Your video trainer’s class will have a predetermined, desired audience. Do some planning with your Facebook ads, get your SEO established, and write a blog that speaks to these people and you’re all set.
Hopefully, this information has sparked a few ideas for taking that first step in affiliate marketing.
Time to get to work!
After that, grab your laptop, sit on the beach, and watch your sales ring in!
Now that you’ve mastered Facebook Ads and Google Ads, as mentioned above, you need a site to drive traffic to. You have options here.