Affiliate marketing is a great way for anyone with a website, blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account to earn extra money through the Internet. It’s really easy to get started and start growing your affiliate marketing empire. I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss some ways any ambitious affiliate marketer can maximize their efforts and start generating revenue with their time spent online.
The first step most affiliate marketers take is to launch a website or blog. I recommend a 100% free Blogger.com website. All you need is a gmail account and you can launch your first blog on Blogger.com about whatever you want. Pick a “niche” that you know something about or are passionate about. For instance, if you are an avid gardener, launch a gardening blog. If you are really into politics, launch a political blog. Once your blog site is live, you can apply to some “affiliate networks” where you can access companies you want to partner with. Then, you just need to add those company’s banner ads or links to your website and you are in the game! So here are some tips and strategies to start building up your affiliate marketing presence and earning money on the Internet doing many of the same things you are already doing like posting content and interacting on social networks.
1. Be timely – during various times of year, i.e. New Year, Spring, Summer, Fall, and the Holidays, people are shopping online or looking for services that match those times of year, therefore the traffic volume surges for products relevant to those times. For instance, in the beginning of the year people are looking to do New Years resolution oriented things like: lose weight, stop smoking, find love, and get healthier, so you should be ramped up with your promotions with companies that are in those niches. Similarly, in the summer, people are looking to slim down, vacation, and buy products like swimwear, sunglasses, and travel packages, so you be affiliating with companies that sell these types of products or services. You have to start your promotions some time prior to the season hitting so you are early with content as opposed to putting it up last second, that way you can plant the seed in your visitors’ heads about what they might be wanting coming up in the calender year. Since content is the key to getting free traffic, make sure you are posting fresh content daily on your website or as frequently as you can. Stay away from re-publishing content already on the Internet, because the search engines don’t respect it and you won’t get much traffic. Once you join some affiliate programs, they will start sending you deals and promotions that you can turn around and make a post about on your blog, which you can then share the url to that page on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and anywhere else you spend time socially. This generates repeat traffic back to your site.
2. Building Your Subscriber List – make sure you are prominently positioning “sticky” items in your blog layout such as: a newsletter sign-up box, Twitter account, and Facebook Fan Page widget in order to increase the overall rate at which you gain new subscribers from your traffic. This is always a good idea because you can re-market to those people, which become your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and email subscribers during the year. Some site use pop-ups or pop-unders to ask the user to join their list like aweber.com, this can be very effective if you present a good value for their sign-up, like offering some helpful tips or an ebook. Don’t use a pop-up on your homepage if you are running a Google Adwords pay per click search because they don’t allow that. Incorporating the Facebook Fan Page widget into your blog or article pages is a must so you can build your fans from your visitor traffic. Most blog platforms have plug-ins to allow you to easily add these widgets to the website’s layout.
3. Sharing Your Content – Once you have posted a new company write-up, product review, deal, or promotion on your blog, make sure you are sharing your content on your social networks, i.e. Facebook profile, Facebook Fan Page, and Twitter account. You should be including the affiliate banner ads and text links within or under the blog post every time. By sharing each page or blog post you are spreading it around for others to share it, like it or comment on it, which allows other people to be exposed to your content. Once you post a new page of content or article, you should run it through a process where you are sharing it around the Internet in various venues. Hootsuite.com is a great way to post your pages to several social networks at once. By doing this you can maximize the views and traffic of each page of content on your site. Once you have hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of original content on your site and have shared them you will definitely be seeing higher traffic levels and affiliate commissions. Make sure to use Google Analytics on your blog so you can see where all of your traffic is coming from and it will motivate you to produce content more frequently.
4. Amp Up Your Social Networking – Always make sure to be adding new Facebook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, Pinterest friends, Foursquare friends, and connect with people on forums and other types of sites that allow you to build friends. Building more friends and followers is always a great idea because you can interact with them later and share your content and pages with them. Building up your social networks should be something you work on daily with some kind of process, like every morning you add friends and interact with your friends status updates, although you can do it randomly and get a good effect. Then, when you proactively interact with your connections’ content postings, they will be more likely to reciprocate by interacting with your content postings which brings more traffic and exposure through the social sharing effect.
5. Engage Your Audience through Email – Now that you are building your email subscribers to your newsletter, what are you sending them? Make sure you are sending quality, purposeful messages that will be well-received. This is a process that should improve over time until you are sending really professional, effective messages to your subscriber base. Send timely types of promotions and balance your promotions with good content and articles so it will be better received. Have a really nice HTML newsletter designed that you can send to your lists of subscribers that is professional looking and has a purpose. There’s nothing worse than receiving an ugly newsletter, it just won’t get any action. Also, make sure you are creative and compelling with your subject lines and always be testing new subject lines to try to increase open rates. Use an email sending program like iContact or ConstantContact, so you can gauge the success of your email campaigns. Also, make sure to have the unsubscribe link at the bottom of your emails and follow email sending best practices so it will be well received every time. Make sure the “forward to a friend” is included in all your newsletter campaigns. Email is still the #1 thing people do online, so you can look place affiliate offers and banners in your newsletters to generate clicks and commissions from your email sending.
6. Build Your Social Karma – social networking is a dominant medium and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Make sure you are proactively interacting with your friends and followers on your social networks by liking, sharing, commenting, and retweeting their status updates (where appropriate). By doing this you will build up a lot of good “social karma”, which increases the likelihood they will share, comment, like, and retweet your content, which helps it go viral and get more traffic. People in general aren’t very proactive with their online social networking, so you have to be the one that makes the effort by scanning through your friends’ postings and seeing what you can interact with every day. The more you interact first, the more they will return the favor and your content will get more action, which brings in more traffic and eventual commissions from affiliations.
7. Get Higher Payouts – make sure to ask your affiliate advertisers and merchants for higher commission amounts on a regular basis, especially if you have produced for the company in the past. Most advertisers hold back what they can payout, so there is room to go up with commission amounts. If they balk at your request tell them you will go to their competitor and I bet they change their tune quickly. Over time, as you generate quality customers for your advertisers, they will be more inclined to increase your commission rate because they can gauge the lifetime value of the customers you are generating for them.
8. Make Sure to Promote Deals – make sure you are promoting the latest deals and coupon codes from your advertisers because people like getting and using deals, and they increase the conversion rate on the click-though. If people come to your site and find no promotions or deals they may go elsewhere looking and someone else will get the sale. You can also obtain “vanity coupon codes” from your advertisers that match your site title, which are nice because it brings a certain amount of branding to the user experience and they may remember they got the coupon through your affiliate site in the future and return. Try to have a site where you can easily edit the pages you are creating, something like Blogger or WordPress, so you can easily update the page with the most current coupon promotion for each merchant you profile. Promoting coupons tends to increase the conversion rate of the visitor making a purchase, so make sure to promote them on your site whenever possible and share the pages as soon as you are done posting. Most advertisers will offer coupon codes on a fairly frequent basis, so keep on the look out for them. As soon as they send you the affiliate newsletters, go create a fresh content post on your blog about the deal and how great it is, when share it.
9. Learn From Others - making friends and learning from other affiliate marketers is a great way to further your own knowledge. Don’t be afraid to share what you know with others so you can get ahead together. Attend affiliate conferences like Affiliate Summit so you can meet others in the industry and gain bits of knowledge and strategy you can apply to your own efforts, not to mention you can share your successful strategies with your new friends!
10. Ask for Products to Review/Samples- reviewing products and services on your blog is a great way to provide valuable content for your readers and subscribers. Providing an actual product review can be very effective in selling the benefits of the company you are promoting. Once you have a decent amount of traffic and/or subscribers to your site or blog you can ask advertisers for samples you can use, review, and post about. Not all companies will do this with you but it can’t hurt to ask. Then you can make a nice review on your site and link to their site through your affiliate tracking link/banner so you get credit if someone buys. Don’t make misleading reviews or untrue reviews, rather if you can’t review the actual product, write about the company itself and what a wonder line of products they offer!
11. Produce More Content – content is everything, so make sure to write until your little fingers get sore…and then keep writing! Working on your typing speed, since the faster you type the more content you can product. Affiliate marketing is definitely mainly about content, unless you have a bunch of money to dump into PPC traffic. Also, websites tend to rank better in the organic or free traffic results when you post frequently to your site or blog, so don’t be afraid to post several times a day to your site or blog. And make sure you are sharing all of your new posts socially! Try to become a faster and more accurate type over time, so you can produce more content quicker. The more content you produce the more traffic you will get, so always live by that rule. You can also outsource some of your article production on a per article basis, this can be effective if you find the right writers. These days there are tons of people on Facebook that would respond to write some articles for you for $5-10 per article. Only original content though, accept nothing less than great, original content!
12. Google Alerts - Setting up Google alerts is a great way to stay on top of any keyword or industry. Once you sign up for the alerts you will be emailed as soon as new content hits the Internet about your chosen keywords. This is a great way to feed yourself ideas to post about and keeps you on the cutting edge of your niche or industry.
13. Turn Your Phone into a Cash Register - adding the Blogger or WordPress apps to your mobile phone will allow you to post pictures and short bursts of content right to your blog from your phone! You can also use the Hootsuite app to then share your new content pages on all your social networks right from your phone. Image posting to your blog as you go around doing your daily routine or on your next vacation, now that’s using technology productively!
I hope you enjoyed reading about affiliate marketing and how to start earning money through a blog site, social networking, and email sending. Make sure you have a good strategy and cover all the bases, it’s not enough to do a little bit and not bring a full effort to your website. Make sure you are on a site platform that will allow you to publish content/pages quickly and easily, so you aren’t caught up on your site design, which is wasting time. Make sure to tie Facebook and other social networking plugins and buttons into all your content so you can really facilitate sharing of your own content. Build sites/blogs about things you know about and are passionate about and the writing will go easier, although learning something new to build a site about is great too! Most of all have fun with it, be clever in your writing, and make friends with everyone! Hope you liked the article, and feel free to share it on your social networks. Have a great day!