Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways of earning money on the web.
But how can you get the most from your affiliate marketing?
Are there some things you can do to increase the return on your investment of time (and maybe money) in your affiliate marketing business?
Build a list of your own
Building a list is something that a lot of internet marketing beginners are wary of.
Lists sound scary with lots of moving parts.
And that’s true.
Here’s the basic process of building a list:
- Get an autoresponder. This is a specialist email program – usually paid for on a monthly subscription basis – that holds all your email subscribers, keeps them neatly segregated (so you’re not sending emails about keeping chickens to your vegan list for example), sends out pre-written emails at intervals you decide, sends out bulk emails when you want to contact your whole list, handles all the join and leave (subscribe and unsubscribe) requests and gives you all sorts of handy stats so you can keep track of everything.
- Buy or create a giveaway product to attract subscribers to your list. You know the deal. You’ve almost certainly swapped your email address for something that you think will be valuable to you and that you can’t easily find elsewhere. But this time it’s you that will be creating the giveaway product. The can be a link to an unlisted YouTube video (or even a listed one, there are so many videos around) or it could be a short PDF report or a voucher or anything else that your target audience would like to get hold of. Normally the giveaway product is delivered digitally so it’s available instantly and there are near enough no costs involved with the delivery. Depending on how precious you are, you may ask subscribers to confirm their email address (the autoresponder company handles that for you) before giving them the freebie. Or you may decide not to do that. It’s your choice.
- Create a signup form and maybe a squeeze page. Your autoresponder company will have templates for signup forms and will give you all the code you need. Creating a “squeeze page” is an art and, like all art, there are lots of different views about what is good or bad. In essence, a squeeze page is a short sales pitch that has an attention grabbing headline, gives people reasons why they should part with their email address in exchange for your free gift and has a box or two so that they can enter their email address (essential) and maybe their name. Or you could just make the signup a clickable link to the copy of your squeeze page that your autoresponder company host for you. You’ll get stats to show you how well that’s working.
- Create at least one “follow up” message. This is the first email that people get when they sign up to your list. You can create more than one message and send the remainder out over a series of days or you can simply send broadcast emails when you’ve got something to say to your list. I like to use a mixture – usually between 10 and 30 follow-up emails that are sent out over the days after a person has joined and also broadcasts that get sent to everyone. But it’s up to you what you do. There’s no single correct approach.
- In your messages, include affiliate links. You’ll know from your stats and your PayPal (and other) wallets how well that’s working and can adjust accordingly.
Be active in your niche
- If there’s a forum, write helpful responses on a reasonably regular basis.
Don’t respond just for the sake of it – make sure that you have something worthwhile to contribute to the discussions taking place. And put a link back to your website wherever it’s allowed within the forum rules – often in your “signature” or on your profile page.
- Create new content for your website.
Informative pages will gradually get crawled and indexed by the search engines and will slowly but surely get shown occasionally in the search results.
Don’t expect overnight results from the search engines. That rarely happens nowadays – amongst other things, we’ve got the spammers to than for that – but it happens over time. Often quite a long time because the spammers have forced the search engines to only reward those who are in it for the long haul. But it does eventually happen.
Don’t sit around waiting for something to happen.
Instead, make things happen by regularly creating new, useful, informative content.
- Create content elsewhere on the internet
Sites like YouTube and SlideShare and LinkedIn welcome new content. So do lots of other sites – apart from anything else, it’s a cheap way for them to get new content for their sites.
Put up a video or share a document or a post or whatever else fits with that site.
Put links back to your site – that’s better than directly linking to the affiliate product and helps you stay within the terms of service of the sites you’re using as well as promote your site in the eyes of the search engines.
Providing you’re creating good content that helps people in your niche, you’re on the right track.
Over time, that will increase traffic to your website, hopefully increase signups to your email list and generally increase the amount of clicks you get on your affiliate links which, in turn, will earn you a commission.
Be like a trusted friend
Trust needs to be earned, which is why you should be doing the things mentioned above.
The closer you can get your website and other content to be the same as the help you’d give a friend, the better.
People tune out of sales pitches and overt adverts.
Most people automatically click the “x” or “close” button on pop up adverts – you could probably give away $100 bills and get almost no response, we’re so attuned to closing them.
If you regularly use a forum or a website that has adverts, chances are you’ve tuned those out as well.
I know that when I use YouTube I concentrate on the countdown to when I can click the link that lets me go to the video I wanted to watch in the first place – I don’t click the advert. When I’m watching catch-up TV I take my browser out of full screen mode while the adverts play. An increasing proportion of your audience will do the same, always assuming they haven’t got an ad blocker installed to do the job for them.
Being friendly and helpful cuts through the advertising barrier.
Even though you’re sending people to affiliate links that earn you a commission.
It’s maybe the only sustainable form of advertising left available and probably explains why firms pay people to be their ambassadors.
This also means that any reviews you do should be real.
Amazon are (finally) cracking down on fake reviews although I suspect it’s the tip of the iceberg and that – whilst I could be wrong – regardless of the bluster surrounding it the lawsuit is most likely being done for posturing. They could close the affected accounts and remove the reviews a lot quicker and cheaper than trying to find the identities of people on sites like Fiverr and then sue them in a multitude of different countries.
Fake reviews are everywhere and consumers are getting wise to them.
So keep your reviews real and don’t be afraid to mention a few negatives about the product or service you’re reviewing. You could even offer a bonus report that was sent to anyone who purchased through your link that outlined how to overcome the negatives. That’s a powerful selling point for the product and potentially grows your list as people have to email you to get the bonus.
If you’d like more help to get the most from affiliate marketing, click this link.