You've researched affiliate marketing and spent time creating a great review site to hear crickets once your website goes live. Perhaps your SEO strategy has plateaued, and you're searching for new ways to draw attention to your site. No matter the cause, you're hungry for clicks, impressions, sign-ups, and sales after the usual avenues have been exhausted.
Most small businesses are aware of the power of Search Engine Optimization – the art of optimizing your site and content to please search engines, introduce more customers to your website, and drive traffic to your content. Without a doubt, performing keyword research and optimizing content is essential for any online marketing strategy. Likewise, paid ads on platforms like Google AdWords and Yahoo can also help drive traffic and boost your affiliate earnings.
For affiliate marketers, SEO and AdWords is the jump-off point. Your content and any tactics for off-site promotion, are the sustaining energy that drives your SEO campaign.
If you're looking to drive traffic to your review sites or social media posts, or however you get those clicks that make a profit, there's a whole lot more you can do besides optimizing your website.
Have you looked into supplementing your SEO effort with PPC, given that 46% of clicks go to the top three paid ads in search engine results!
Ever worked with bloggers or influencers to reach out to a broader audience?
How about attending an affiliate marketing conference to learn from the industry's brightest. Yes, successful affiliate marketing can involve some IRL interaction too!
Driving traffic to your affiliate links takes some work, but you can do something with little experience and on a small budget. Let's get started driving more traffic to your affiliate content without delving into SEO's messy business. Here are a few tactics you can implement right away.
It's pretty standard for affiliate marketers to deploy pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements to generate clicks on their content. You're paying for greater visibility in search engine results. PPC ads are the ones that appear when people search for targeted keywords in the search. Many platforms offer PPC. Place ads to attract people are browsing Google, Bing, and Facebook, to name a few.
With paid ads, you pay the platform each time someone clicks on your advert. The price you pay for each search term (keyword) is determined by the market value. Most PPC marketplaces sell ads auction style, where advertisers bid on keywords for their ads to appear in search engine results.
Year in year out, statistics tell us PPC is a reliable way to drive metrics, it's also well-known that PPC is not a viable option for affiliate marketers long term. As soon as you stop bidding on keywords, expect a dip in traffic. That's because you're again relying on your organic presence, social media success, and word-of-mouth to sustain your success.
With this in mind, it's recommended to use PPC depending on your other methods. If you're having a bad week, sure, give PPC a shot, just keep in mind that, unless your budget for your PPC ads for your keywords indefinitely, PPC isn't sustainable long-run.
Running a PPC campaign can be broken down into three steps. Choose where you want your ads to appear, create content to drive people's click toward, and design the type of ads that people want to click on.
We mentioned there were several places you can feature PPC ads. For brevity, we'll focus on the main platforms; Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook, and YouTube. First, let's take a look at each qualities to help determine which platform suits your needs.
Since Google handles the most online search queries, we'll start here. Google has a sizable reach indeed, which means you're most likely to find an audience for your ads, no matter how niche your niche is. Even if you've got the least common affiliate product, chances are, Google serves that.
Before you scramble over to AdWords in a frenzy, here's some pause for thought; There's no doubt that Google PPC platform AdWords is great for increasing search visibility. But, - Google AdWords is a highly competitive platform, with everyone fighting for the holy grail - a top three ranking (paid) position in their SERP.
To see a profit from AdWords, you need a strategy in place and a budget to stick to. Fortunately, Adwords was designed to offer marketers a tight reign over their spending, and within a few clicks, you can adjust your campaign expenditure when it suits.
Indeed, Google is #1, but don't be so hasty that you overlook Bing. Bing boasts 63 million searchers that you won't reach with a Google Ad. The best part? You're not looking at anything like the Adwords competition using the Bing Ads PPC platform. What's more, Bing provides better targeting options so you can be ultra-specific about who sees your ads, and generally, Bing provides less expensive costs per click.
Facebook's dominance in the social media world makes it a powerful platform for paid ads. One of the best things about Facebook Ads is the possibilities for targeting. With Facebook's PPC tools, you can be precise about small details like language, gender, age, job, interests, and more, as exemplified below.
YouTube is another popular place for affiliates to place paid advertisements. Why? That's simple; you're placing ads for an engaged user looking for help and finding your content. Generally, YouTube users look up things they are passionate about, like a hobby or anything else that interests them. They are there to do something, learn something, or even buy something. This makes YouTube visitors' high-intent' viewers. Targeting these people right, you can show them exactly the type of content they are already looking for.
The downside? Unless you have a background in video production and editing, you'll need a budget to make a decent advert for this platform.
Regardless of the platform you choose, it's recommended to start small and scale up to get more familiar with the account and your objectives.
Most people are looking for solutions to guide them into making a purchase and why landing pages are invaluable. A landing page is a standalone web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result, online ad, marketing email, or promotion. Creating a landing page with the answers your readers are asking questions is a crucial component in solving potential visitors' problems.
A relevant landing page can easily double your conversions versus sending clicks to the home page.
Conversion rates are higher for the ads that go straight into selling. Instead of sending people who click on your PPC ads to home, product, or contact pages, send them to a dedicated landing page.
Not all PPC content looks like what we've seen in the examples above. Content will be displayed differently depending on your objective. Above all, always keep your customer in mind and keep the content concise, relevant, and specific.
Google has two PPC campaign types. These are centered around Google's advertising networks: the Google Search Network, the Google Display Network, and the YouTube Network. These three networks cover all of the places where your ads can appear, including Google sites and websites that show relevant Google ads.
Keywords are essential to search network ads. If you're unsure about the most common keywords for your website, Google Search Console can help. Once your Google Ads campaign is launched, you can add more keywords, or remove them to keep improving your chances of conversions.
Microsoft released some guidelines for copywriting effective Bing Ads. They recommend using your visitors' most popular search query keywords in the titles and text of Bing Ads. Use the remaining characters to highlight your products and benefits (rather than exclusive promotional language), and use compelling action words to encourage people to click on your advert straight away.
Facebook Ads offer different formats, including video to show off product features, an image to drive people to a website, or an app, and a collection of images to encourage shopping. You can use it to display items from your product catalog. To make sense of creating content to suit each format head to Facebook's guide to PPC ads. This helpful post is packed with advice covering the creative and technical side of using Facebook Ads for businesses.
Facebook Ads are just like any other form of advertising; your ROI is dependent on the quality of your copy and creativity. If you're stuck for ideas, think about mastering persuasion, infuse your Facebook Ads with some classic persuasion principles.
The other types of advertising call for simple static visuals. Naturally, creating ads for YouTube needs a bit more attention, namely creating videos. There are many ways to create a video; use animation, stock videos, or big out all with proper video production if your budget will run to that.
Advertising on YouTube is naturally very different from the classic paid social campaigns. You must work with specific creative constraints, and there are many options to familiarise yourself with for this platform, including the different advertising formats available. You should have some knowledge of video editing to make the most of paid opportunities with YouTube.
There was a time that publishers alone could drive traffic, but today, it's bloggers and social media stars. Unless you can afford to miss out on potential customers' swaths through blog recommendations and social media, form partnerships with the brightest stars covering your niche.
One of the best ways to get publicity and generate buzz is to get other bloggers to write about you. The more blogs and influencers that mention your website, your reviews, or however you are driving traffic to your affiliate links, the better. Often, this comes in the form of a hyperlink back to your site. This is the text that's highlighted for people to click on for further information, like the one below. Any such link back to your website is known as an inbound link, and they are really good for SEO.
If you've got a blog, absolutely push for sales this way. This section is focused on how you can earn lucrative partnerships to give your affiliate endeavor that much needed added push.
Blogs and bloggers play an influential role at every step along the marketing and sales funnel. Similarly, social media stars are driving startling metrics. Both of these crafts are sought after in the affiliate industry. This isn't surprising; these online personalities can have a broad, loyal audience with targeted and unique content.
A positive nod from an influencer that aligns with your niche can serve as a powerful way to convince potential customers to head over to your website and buy the product or services you're promoting. Popular alliances include reviewing your website, recommending your blog, or even offering giveaways to their followers (such as your ebook) – think about it. Any mention of your site helps with promotion.
Influencers are people who have amassed a large audience base across social channels like Facebook and Instagram. Social media has become increasingly shopper-friendly, and this isn't lost on people referred to as influencers. Implementing a strategy that cultivates leads from social leaders in your niche can inspire conversions from their followers.
Bloggers are also known to influence purchase decisions. Bloggers can be considered the original influencers. Recent stats on what a blog can do for businesses may astound you. According to statistics compiled by BlogHer, a publishing network of female bloggers, 87 percent of consumers have made a purchase based on a recommendation from a blog. More than eight out of ten people value blog posts and reviews when making purchase decisions.
In an ideal world, bloggers would be more than happy to give you a relative stranger a positive mention on their blogs, social media posts, and rest. That's not how it plays out. Bloggers have an audience that looks to them as thought leaders, and they'll want to make sure that they maintain that status. So, how do you earn these partnerships?
Create some buzz about your website across social media. When a blogger checks out your credentials, everything from your website's look, the quality of your content, and the breadth of your social interactions will shape their opinion on whether you're credible enough to work with.
Create content that gets your community excited and passionate and use this momentum. -Only the best content gets shared, and certain emotions are shared more frequently. For example, your readers are more likely to share a piece that inspires awe. When was the last time you hit the share button on a dull or negative part?
Another way to push for shares is to communicate with your followers. It's common practice in online marketing to ask your readership things, such as whether they enjoyed your latest Xbox game review. If so, ask them to share your post and spread the word.
Don't stop at commenting on your posts. Reach out to bloggers through their social media channels. Follow them, comment on their best work, and let them know when you have something you think meets their criterion.
Some people are concerned that readers will lose interest if a post is too long, so they stick to smaller blog-style posts. It might come as a surprise that longer content--between 6,000 and 10,000 words--is becoming the new standard. People are getting more sophisticated when it comes to the content they expect to see and start consuming more words on the page, especially if they are given clear navigation.
With long-form content, you've got more room to go into greater depth to address a problem fully. There isn't a clear-cut answer for everything when each reader's situation is different, and longer-form content provides solutions that can satisfy the most. Providing in-depth and actionable information from one place saves people's time compared to reading multiple short articles designed with brevity in mind.
Perhaps you've written a longer piece that expands on a blog published by someone big in your niche. Check their readers' engagement. If this is the type of content their readers would drink in, approach the blogger. They might include a backlink on the original blog ("for a more detailed explanation of XYZ, head over to (link to your blog). Or, you could suggest publishing a guest blog post that includes a backlink to your leading site.
It can be tempting to use tools to repost your latest content to your social channels. These tools grab bits of your post, such as the title and meta description. Automating parts of website management have their benefits, but auto-generated content falls flat. Customized posts get better reactions and more shares. What's more, bloggers will check how your social is faring to partner with you. What good's a backlink from a site with no social media traction?
With this in mind, put some thought into making titles exciting, and adapt post descriptions to the platform's audience. Aside from Twitter, most platforms allow posts with embedded video or a featured image. Where possible, use eye-catching visuals to draw people to your posts.
It's not just social media posts that benefit from visuals. Humans drink in exciting images. Your website visuals bring your content to life and help people understand what they are reading.
Has your website got enough going on looks-wise? Relevant images placed on a web page make written content more appealing and more interesting.
The blogger you choose will naturally be dictated by the types of products you're promoting. Are you looking for a tech expert, or would a mommy blogger fit the bill? Whatever the niche you're working in, you're going to need to build a blogger outreach list. You might have already searched Google for potential bloggers in your field, but how do you determine which one to recruit? Check for the following:
Contacting bloggers should be reasonably straightforward, considering they are naturally social creatures. With a little research such as scanning their social network pages, you should find a contact form, Twitter handle. or email address.
When you're satisfied with your lineup of potential candidates, it's time to make contact. To save everyone's time, avoid confusion, and start building a rapport, there are some things you should include in your reach out to an email.
We touched on guest blogging further up the page. Guest blogging refers to the process of writing blog posts that are posted on a third-party blog. This is a common practice among online marketers looking to build visibility for their content by exposing themselves to a broader audience. If you've got the knack for writing content, how about writing a post for someone else's blog? The benefits of guest blogging are twofold:
First up, ask whether this is something your potential blogger would be interested in. Then it's time to discuss the topics that fit their readership.
While big-time blogs will have guest blog guidelines on the topics you can cover, smaller bloggers and influencers will appreciate you taking the time to think through your guest blog topic. Your first port of call is their blog's most popular posts or influencers' most-watched YouTube video themes. You can also use a tool like Ahrefs to get a list of a blog's best-performing articles.
Now we've got some impression of what's working for their readers. To avoid stepping on their exact expertise, or covering the same ground, use this information to find an angle. Maybe they've not covered a specific aspect. Stick closely to a popular theme, while shedding light on something new. With this tactic, the post you suggest is highly likely to generate traffic and comments.
Some bloggers will respond better to paid placement opportunities, known as sponsored posts. Sponsored posts serve as a less labor-intensive way to work with bloggers and influencers.
When reaching out to discuss paying a blogger to publish on your behalf, ask for a media kit. This should include everything a potential collaborator needs to know about their blog, including their paid placement fee. These vary depending on the blogger.
You can also suggest a flat fee or a paid placement based on revenue sharing. You can track resulting traffic and sales through affiliate tracking tools. Based on these numbers, you'll make a final payment, in this case.
If you're prepared to invest in content marketing, so-called 'sponsored content' is another way to go about it. Sponsored content is another form of content marketing. Typically, it is created by the publisher that distributes it and paid for by the advertiser (you), to promote whatever it is you are targeting. Publishers take a fee to create useful content that engages their readers while delivering on your objectives.
It is often referred to as native advertising because it looks like other native content on the site. There is no single form for Sponsored content, pay for articles, infographics, video, to entire microsites. Time Magazine displays its sponsored content at the bottom of a related article, as depicted below.
Facebook and Linkedin display sponsored links on the users' wall.
If sponsored content sounds like something that could work for you, you're going to need it. This article from Search Engine Journal covers the benefits of using sponsored posts, in far greater detail.
Building relationships with bloggers and influencers is a great way to increase traffic to your site. It's essential to stay active on your own social media channels and message boards and in social groups.
Promote your blog post(s) and any other content assets such as those you've negotiated with a third party, across your social media channels to help your followers head back to your site. In addition to sharing content on social media, get involved in the comments section, Start conversations, answer questions, or even simply show your gratitude in your posts' comments section.
Small businesses can look to recognized brands to help come up with a social strategy. For example, Poptarts is doing everything right with their Twitter account. Their social media manager uses a tone that speaks to the audience. Using a sarcastic tone, their tweets and posts caters to a younger, more Twitter-savvy demographic.
Part of affiliate marketing is choosing placements and partners that achieve the highest return on investment. You can utilize several content publisher types to drive clicks on your affiliate links for a better chance of conversions.
We're focusing now on getting exposure for your content, without spending big bucks. To get press coverage for free, focus on the following:
Be clear about the people you want to reach. Who are they, and what they are reading. If possible, ask your customers directly. Create an online survey from a small number of people who fit your target audience. Use the feedback to create a shortlist of publications to target.
You might fancy the Wall Street Journal or Gadget Weekly to give you a mention, but, if your visitors read the Daily Mail, then, aiming for one could mean wasting your time, and no change in your revenue.
Another sensible tactic is to aim your sights at a focused publication. A shout out for your danish chair website in an interior design magazine or Architectural Digest is more likely to reach your target audience and inspire them into looking you up.
One way to connect with publications and journalists is by making their lives easier. If you're comfortable with writing, you can help them out by suggesting to write a piece related to their industry, or their focus users, which is also associated with your site's niche. The content should solve a problem and refer to your website to answer it. HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is a great resource to find journalists to work with.
By now you should have a good idea of who you are writing for, it's time to think about the different formats you can use. Let's take a look at the types of text used to draw attention to your affiliate content.
Forums and discussion boards like Quora and Reddit are a fantastic source for affiliate marketers. First up, they let you research the sentiment of potential buyers. Browse the board to familiarise yourself with their worries, desires, interests. You can even pick up on the language they use, such as inside jokes and slang, and tailor your message accordingly.
Another benefit is that you can blend in more naturally in the forum and notice board environment instead of looking like another money-driven corporation. Instead, answer questions, engage in debate, solve problems. For example, If a forum poster is interested in buying an electric car, but not sure how they work, link to your content describing that. Perhaps they are searching for the best electric car model around - here's your chance to link to your car reviews site.
Once you build up trust, you don't want to ruin it with a way too obvious a sales push that looks unnatural, or just forced into the conversation. Subtly provide a link to your content. If you're tempted to drop your affiliate link into the conversation, make sure it's appropriate to the thread, and the platform allows it.
Similarly, Quora has a spam policy that you should be aware of before plugging any affiliate links. Their T&Cs say "It's alright to post about your product or company on Quora, either in answer to a relevant question or as a post on your Quora blog, but repeatedly posting the same information or intentionally misapplying topics on posts to gain more visibility may be considered spamming."
Few forms of communication are more impactful than newsletter marketing. Sending out a regular email newsletter is a robust tool to promote your website and, in turn, send traffic to your affiliate links. The best way to go about this is by combining an email newsletter with your blog or website posts. They can work in tandem for your marketing and communication efforts.
Any niche can utilize the power of the newsletter to reach their target audiences. If you're a cell phone review site, deliver a weekly update of the latest models available. If you run an affiliate coupon site website, provide your subscribers with a regular roundup of discount codes and coupons.
There is an abundance of newsletters online covering everything from Star Trek figurines to deals on last-minute flights. Reach out to relevant newsletters if there's any in your space.
If you've searched far and wide and found nothing that compliments your niche, that's an opportunity for you to shine and create something original.
No newsletter is alike. The design characters, tone of voice, frequency, etc. will differ depending on their target audience's needs and wants. Regardless of your niche, there are some necessary elements to make a successful newsletter. To create your newsletter from scratch, be sure to include the following:
Entice your reader to open your email, and make sure your headline represents the contents. For people to open your email, your content needs to be genuinely interesting, not just a sales pitch. In the subject line, deliver something educational, something entertaining, something provocative. Whatever works best so long as you have sparked their interest. Make sure you follow through on your subject's promise.
The most effective newsletters are informational, not driven by sales. How often is your inbox bombarded with sales, promotions, and special offers you ignore? -Aim for a 90/10 ratio, 90% information and the remaining 10% focused on sales. With this balance, your educational material will drive sales instead of bog-standard product copy.
They also give you the opportunity to demonstrate expertise and authority in your niche. Tell people why certain products are popular, why certain materials are better for the job. A newsletter can distinguish your review site, blog, anywhere you serve affiliate links -from everyone else out there.
Your content should be tailored to suit your target audience, for example. Be sure to publish at regular intervals, be it every Friday, twice a week, or once a month.
The format shouldn't be cluttered, confuse or overwhelm potential leads, and risk unsubscriptions.
What action do you want to be performed by the reader? Offer them a clear path to do it. Your call to action button should be easy to understand in just a few words. CTAs feature in a prominent position on the page and stand out from the rest of the content. Learn more about effective calls to action in our guide to creating an effective landing page.
Most affiliates send out a newsletter, most of them stink. If you don't have the time to pull together the type of newsletter that will engage rather than irritate your readers, feature in someone else's. Let's say you are an affiliate marketer focusing on makeup. What about getting your site featured as a good reviewer in someone's newsletter in a related field? For example, people interested in hair care products, skincare, or nails are likely to enjoy makeup.
Targeting more full groups of people is an excellent way to increase visitors to your site. How do you go about that?
You've found the publications you want to work with, so the next step is writing content that works to promote your affiliate links. How do you write content that helps meet your goals? Consider the following.
Research your affiliate products in detail. The goal is to offer readers new information, not regurgitate what they might already suspect. Your expertise is your distinct selling proposition. The unique value you can provide, the better your chances to earn their trust and motivate them to make a purchase or take any other action the article is driving.
Why do you pay for a service or buy a product? It's often because by doing so, you're solving an issue you're encountering or changing your life for the better. What problem can be fixed with the product or service you are promoting? Identify that, and you're halfway there. Explain it in clear and appealing prose.
If you're not familiar with writing or finding it hard to get started, take inspiration from influential bloggers and articles that cover your niche. How do they cover topics? Do they follow a particular writing style you can use to meet audience expectations? Perhaps you'd like to create something strikingly different from the average industry writings.
Research the requirements of the platform. Look out for things like the preferred article length, how many links you may include, the most desired topics to cover, etc.
Don't forget to mention your external publications in your own blog articles! This will have a positive effect on your SEO as well as your reputation.
Naturally, making money is a driving force behind affiliate marketing programs, and that's all the reason to attend an affiliate marketing conference. Take the chance to build your network, learn some stuff, and go home with many promising new business prospects.
You'll find a mixed group of merchants, vendors, and affiliates, of course. Pretty much any business marketing products online will find value attending one of these events.
Take the opportunity to learn about the industry and create additional value for your business. Think about it, when was the last time you forged a new business relationship face-to-face?
It's great to talk with like-minded business professionals to get fresh perspectives, new ideas, and learn from what they are doing. This can be surprisingly refreshing for an affiliate marketer that has grown all too accustomed to the often faceless world of web-based communication.
Affiliate marketing is big business these days, with an expanding menu of trade shows and conferences to match. Let's look at how attending these events is beneficial and can help gain traction for your content:
These are specific events where affiliates gain exclusive access and insight into the affiliate marketing industry's future. Stay at the forefront of the industry by using the latest tools and trends to help affiliate marketers drive more traffic to specific site pages, blog posts, etc.
Visit the developers on the expo floor offering demos of their apps and software for the latest ways to track links and sales, Ad intelligence tools to track your competitors, software for affiliate link cloaking, and so on.
Affiliate events book the brightest in affiliate marketing. By attending seminars, you'll hear experts giving real-world examples that are pertinent to your job. Discover their recommendations first-hand and apply them to your business.
The Affiliate Summit 2019, for example, boasts guest speaker Neil Patel (a top influencer on the web, according to Forbes –and recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations). Any knowledge gleaned from this man will be worth your trip alone.
Discuss popular topics and exchange new ideas and strategies with people interested in affiliate marketing. It's worth hearing both the challenges and success stories of others. Attendees likely share your struggles, and by having conversations, you can find new solutions.
Don't miss the chance to visit high-flying content creators and influencers for inspiration. –The best thing about listening to passionate affiliate marketers fired up about their job? -It's contagious. You'll leave them even motivated for success.
Of course, conferences are based around getting ahead in the affiliate marketing business, but that doesn't mean you can't cut loose and have a good time. You'll often find conferences that include 'networking time,' but take the chance to embrace people in your trade, in a more casual atmosphere.
Expect a reliable schedule of 'downtime.' Expect the end of day drinks, parties, and organized activities that provide ample opportunities to mingle in a more relaxed environment. The European Summit in Sitges just outside of Barcelona, for example, has a casual kick-off with fun activities, followed by two days of workshops, a product exposition, and networking opportunities.
According to the Affiliate Summit, "The best trade shows are those where you can leave the show with some actionable strategies, put those strategies into effect, and then quantify the results."
You've researched the speakers that interest you and have had the chance to listen to them and take tips from other affiliates you've met along the way. Conferences produce a unique opportunity to learn first hand and apply new strategies to your affiliate endeavor. Don't let this knowledge go to waste.
There is no shortage of events to attend. Conferences range from huge events covering every industry niche imaginable to more specialist ones with a clear focus. For example, the Phoenix Forum is a small but dedicated group of dating affiliates, advertisers, and operators. The Affiliate Summit is a yearly event on a much larger scale. Held in New York City this weekend covers all aspects of affiliate marketing.
How do you find something for your industry vertical? A smart idea is to Google your niche + affiliate conference. If you're just interested in learning more about getting into the affiliate industry yourself, attending a more general conference might fit the bill. You can check what's happening locally, or cast your net further afield and make a weekend.
Now that you're sold on attending a show, how do you prepare yourself before the event? As with all meetings and events, planning is key:
Whether people can find your affiliate links or become introduced to your website can make or break your affiliate marketing career, after all, you can't make sales without visitors. Fortunately, driving high-quality traffic isn't rocket science with the right techniques in place.
With the tactics mentioned, draw attention to your affiliate program. Whether you're focused on attracting people to your review site, click on your social media posts, or stumble on your landing page, it's about making all the effort you've put in worthwhile. In this post, we outlined four ways to do just that, all with an emphasis on targeted traffic.
Building traffic can be a slow process. Be patient and stick with it. The most effective way to drive traffic is by targeting more than one avenue. Try testing a few of those mentioned, and find out what works best for you. By combining a few of these tactics with a comprehensive SEO strategy, you'll be on the fast track to driving more clicks and conversion.