Affiliate Marketing Strategy
You’ve built up a degree of success with a consistent volume of website traffic, and have a more robust database of subscribers. You have a well established blog or have published several revenue generating books.
Here’s the cross roads… In addition to continuing existing growth, you’d like to enhance your business – Affiliate marketing, in this scenario, could be a great fit! On average, the general time frame is about 6 – 9 months before you start making money, hence the need to already have an established, revenue generating blog or online publishing business (with a substantial following). Your email subscriber database provides the exposure this business model thrives on.
Key strategy: Launch an affiliate marketing business when you already have a larger number of visitors to your blog, as well as a larger group of social media followers, subscribers, and so on. In this way, you not only have the traffic to justify the additional investment of your time, you’ll also have a better chance at realizing revenue earlier.
So what exactly is the gist, how do I earn money?
You earn money for referrals to products and services, when visitors that have used you referral link to make a purchase, you are paid a commission from the party offering the service, product, etc. Commonly the referral link is created by the operator of the affiliate program, and provides the sales tracking.
Key strategy: Start another online business strategy / model before launching affiliate marketing initiatives – Doing so gives you the time to build an email subscription list first (as you’ll need it for affiliate marketing).
One benefit of affiliate marketing is the savings in time and logistics. You don’t need to create, manage, or maintain the product or service, resulting in a lower overhead. All you’re doing is providing a genuine recommendation, to your visitors (that you understand will actually help them and provide value).
Can I start an affiliate marketing from scratch?
You could, but it’s easier if you have established a following with lots of traffic. No list of email? No social media traction? – It will take much longer to establish a revenue stream. Even more challenging, if you were to start a blogging or publishing business and include affiliate links from the start, those initiatives may also grow at a slower pace. Why is that? – Without establishing your brand, reputation, and so on, you’ve built no authority. This is why I don’t recommend starting an affiliate based strategy first.
Again, the best approach is to do this when you are already well established (in blogging and online publishing, for example).
Don’t start from scratch, if you can avoid doing so… Drive traffic to an email list (and in turn, later, funnel your subscribers to a product or service that is beneficial, and provides value to them). When you’ve reach critical mass, that’s a better time to include affiliate links. Without question, this can be a balancing act at times (as in “don’t overdo it with excessive affiliate links or too soon”).
Key strategy: Affiliate marketing compliments your other online business initiatives. Once you launch affiliate marketing initiatives, strive to maintain a balance between the types of affiliate products and services offered, with the value of your content. Always place the needs of your followers first, as a priority, ahead of your own affiliate building marketing activities.
The most simple tools you’ll require are a website (single landing page), a domain name, and continue to collect email subscribers.
Can I still operate affiliate marketing as a passive revenue stream?
In affiliate marketing, you are rewarded for sending traffic (via the affiliate programs you have joined) and promoting products or services. You don’t have to do anything else because the service or product creators pay you.
In reality, this can be a passive income (running on autopilot). It can also be active (as in your activities at marketing, promotions, and so on).
There are a few things to consider, that will help you…
Given the raise for all things video, a good approach is the use of Youtube videos to review products. Share your firsthand experiences, product benefits, features; promote salient aspects in the video (YouTube video description) and include your affiliate link.
In turn, also create blog posts of those product reviews, and be sure to include the YouTube video in each related blog post.
SEO optimize the blog post!
Key strategy: SEO also includes website loading speed, mobile capability, social media reach, etc. Be sure to consider such things as part of your strategy, as a fast loading, mobile friendly website will provide enhanced business growth.
Again, whenever using links, ensure they are your affiliate links; not only in your blog (website), but in email, video descriptions, social media comments, and so on. Naturally, there will be many instances where the link to one of your specific landing pages (yes, you’ll end up with more than one well performing landing page) is more appropriate (and effective). In fairness, and to ensure transparency, and good business ethics, include an affiliate notification on your website.
In terms of a passive approach, create video content about the products and services you’ve personally used, provide reviews as one-time feature videos, as they remain posted (over time), becoming passive income.
Key strategy: Chose products or services that will consistently be available. You won’t have to go back and update content.
How is this all rolled together, what’s the big strategy?
The all out, #1 Strategy is… Funnel visitors from your blog, video, podcasts, all social media, etc. into your email subscribers list.
Have a good CTA (Call to Action). Offer something free of value, that is genuinely helpful to the subscriber. You do this via a landing page (a one page website), that describes the benefit and free giveaway – And provide access immediately, to each subscriber!
In turn, you can reach out to subscribers with products or services that you have personally used and benefited from. Only offer referrals for products or services that you truly and genuinely believe will add value to subscribers.
To continue to build the list, use each of your landing pages, optimizing each one for SEO (including mobile friendliness, page load speed, etc.) On element to pay attention to is to ensure your landing pages are higher converting (don’t be afraid to tweak them). Over time you’ll see what works best, and what not so much.
Use your subscribers list to broadcast (one time email that share a product, video, blog post, etc.) as appropriate to their needs. A common approach is to use a “follow up series” (a series of follow up email messages , first email, second email at some later, and so on).
Further, consider the following as one short series: Immediate (upon subscribing), after 2 days, after the next 5 days, the next 10 days.
Which is the best mailing list provider?
While I do maintain professional preferences, I commonly see a two pronged approach:
#1 In the initial stages, some people use MailChimp, as they provide a free tier service (thereby reducing costs).
#2 Once the subscribers list grows, many migrate to Aweber, in my opinion a premier service.
Again, some may need to start on a low budget, and use Mailchimp because they have a free tier, later, when established and the cash flow justifies, you can migrate from mailchimp to Aweber. Aweber even gas a helpful, usable, hands-on guide here (this link will open in a separate tab): https://blog.aweber.com/moving-from-mailchimp-to-aweber
When managing your subscribers list. Never (ever) over promote! Add value, be helpful, useful, nurturing.
Aweber also maintains strict policies in place, which results in them maintaining a well trusted acceptance by other email networks (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) Therefore deliverability is enhanced. Aweber allows affiliate marketing email. Whatever provider you happen to prefer, make sure to ask if they permit affiliate marketing email.
Where do I find the best things to include in my affiliate marketing initiatives?
The short answer: Search products and services in Google to see if you are able to become an affiliate. You can search for each product and service that you use.
How to get traffic to click, and go to products and services recommended? Promote your other business channels (the ones you already established, such as blogging and online publishing). Funnel subscribers to your email list, then provided affiliate links in email material.
Again, you must already have a following! If not, it will take much (much) longer to build revenue.
Parting words of advice…
Always make sure products or services are good and that you have used them! Put visitors before yourself – This builds trust and enhances reputation.
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For almost twenty years, my expertise in business management has helped businesses bring their goals to fruition. I provide practical, logistical services for your business website. The key strategies to help realize greater business freedom through smarter operations is paramount in today’s global marketplace.