Hey everyone! I hope you had a really nice 2013 and are ready to crush it in 2014 with your affiliate marketing and online marketing projects. The “New Year” brings a whole flood of potential circumstances and issues into people’s lives that can be targeted with content on websites, blogs, and social media. People will be actively searching for topics related to their new years resolutions, so make sure to heavily focus on niches like self-improvement to fully capitalize the surge in search volume. Also, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so make sure to start posting content and creating pages about Valentine’s Day topics and products to stay ahead of the curve. So, I wanted to discuss some ways web marketers can take advantage of the New Year to earn more commissions and generate more website traffic. Here is a list of ways affiliate marketers can market online better and be more effective at generating revenue during the Q1 time-frame:
1. Focus on New Years Resolution Products and Services – during the new year time-frame (January 1-April), people are extremely focused on topics like:
- Losing weight – dieting, eating healthy, healthy lifestyle
- Quitting smoking – e-cigarettes, therapy, books
- Finding love – dating, finding a soul mate
- Getting in shape – fitness, working out, running, lifting weights
- Finding a new job – switching careers, adding skills, improving your LinkedIn Profile
- Saving money – switching services, managing money, getting a raise
- Starting on taxes – finding a tax service, finding a CPA
- Getting organized – home, life, finances
- Reducing debt – paying down debt, refinancing credit cards
- Traveling – planning a trip, planning a vacation
- Getting Married – finding wedding services of all types, buying attire
- Budgeting – saving money, managing money
- Switching/adding – insurances, policies, membership plans
- Moving – new house, moving services, car moving
- Kids – new babysitter, nanny, tutoring, education, devices
…and many other related types of life objectives. So make sure to heavily promote “New Years Resolution” oriented products and services on your sites and blogs because they tend to have a large amount of search traffic and covert really well during the Q1 (January through April really) time period. People will be flocking to Google, Bing, and Yahoo to search for various types of content and media like: information, strategies, videos, and products related to achieving their new years resolutions. So you want to create content on your websites talking about these types is subjects, so your pages can rank in the search results and you can possibly get those visitors to your site. Likewise, you should be posting on your Facebook Page and tweeting helpful information and articles designed to help people, and also save them money with promotions and coupons from great companies you are affiliated with through the affiliate networks. And what a great time to email your subscribers with helpful articles about new year’s resolutions and how to attain them! Make sure to craft your blog posts, page titles, and content really specifically so you can get search rankings under various keyword phrases related to new years resolutions and the issues associated with them. Set up Google Alerts for certain keyword phrases you are interested in following online, which is a great way to keep yourself up to date on all the latest news and Internet published content about any subject, so make sure to take advantage of that Google tool..it’s great!
2. Focus on Building Your Email/Subscriber List – Make sure you are prominently displaying your newsletter sign-up, Twitter account, and Facebook Fan Page widget on your sites and blogs in order to increase the overall rate at which you gain new subscribers, fans, and followers. This is always a good idea because you can re-market to your fans, followers, and subscribers throughout the year. Also, running a sweepstakes or contest on your website is another great way to opt-in your site visitors and subscribers and capture their contact information so they can become part of the growing audience you are marketing to and engaging with. If you have a decent amount of site traffic take a look at aweber.com, which collects name and email via a pop-up widget on your site. It’s a great way to maximize your site traffic and grow your email list. Aweber.com also features Facebook integration which makes for sure fast opt-ins from your site traffic. Email is still the best way to generate web sales, so make sure you are always focused on building your emails lists by offering some value in exchange for their subscriber-ship.
3. Syndicate Your Content Better – Once you have written and posted a new review or blog post, make sure you are “syndicating” your content by sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, Stumbleupon, and your other favorite social networking sites. You should have a process you go through of sharing your new content on your social networks after posting it, which helps each piece of content or page get more exposure and traffic back to your site. By sharing each page or blog post you are spreading it around for others to share or like, which allows their friends to be exposed to your content. I use Hootsuite to post my new pages/posts to all of my social networks at once, it’s a great tool. Also, consider launching online press releases which will build inbound links to your site and can also get your site additional organic search engine rankings depending on your press release release title and release content. This is a very cost-effective way to spread the word about your site or company. Over time, as you do more releases you will see your traffic increasing from your releases. It’s another way to broaden your content beyond your own website and your social networks.
4. Increase Your Social Networking Presence – Always make sure to add new Facebook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, Instagram followers, Foursquare friends, Pinterest friends, and connect with people on forums and other types of sites that allow you to build friends. Make sure to use these sites’ mass friend invite features to really ramp up your connections. Spending time building your connections is always time well spent and will pay dividends in the future. Building more friends and followers is a great idea because you can interact with them later and share your content and pages with them via your status updates. You can never have too many friends, followers, and subscribers to your content. But I don’t recommend buying likes or followers, it will do nothing for you except create headaches down the road. You should be focused on building all of these areas so you have more people overall to market your content to. Rapportive is an amazing tool that connects right in your gmail account and allows you to invite anyone in your email box to connect with you on all their social networks.
5. Message Your Fans and Subscribers More Effectively – Now that you have fans and subscribers to your newsletter, what are you messaging them? Make sure you are sending quality, purposeful messages and emails that will be well-received and deliver value. This is a process that should improve over time until you are sending really professional, effective messages to your subscriber bases. Send timely types of promotions and balance your promotions with good content and articles so it will be better received and not perceived as just marketing to them. Try to enrich people’s lives with your website’s wonderful published content and also articles from respected 3rd-party sources. Don’t forget to be super-friendly to your fans and followers and seek to engage them in discussions. Also, polling and surveying your fans is a great way to spur interaction on your Facebook wall and get the sharing ramped up. Try Facebook Boosted Posts, which allow more fans to see and interact with your content…they work great!
6. Build Your “Social Networking Karma” – Social networking is the most power tool there is in online marketing to get your content out there, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, so it’s imperative to take advantage of the medium to the fullest. Make sure you are pro-actively interacting with your friends and followers by sharing, commenting, retweeting, and liking their posts (where appropriate). By doing this you will build up a lot of good “social karma”, which increases the likelihood your own connections will share, comment, like, and retweet your content, which helps it go viral and get more traffic. I usually spend a good part of my day going through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn looking for status updates I can interact with. I always notice an uptick in activity on my own content when I do this regularly. This is something you have to work at, to become more effective at interacting with other people. The more you interact with others the more they will interact with your posting which makes it go viral and increases website traffic. Over time, you will build up a tremendous amount of social karma and have an army of people sharing your content with their audiences.
7. Ask for Higher Commissions and Paid Placements – Make sure to ask your affiliate merchants and affiliate managers for higher commission amounts in the new year, especially if you have produced for the company in the past or have the capacity to produce in the new year. Most advertisers hold back what they can ultimately 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. Tell them you can produce more sales if you were at a higher commission rate. Some companies may reward content-based publishers more than other types of affiliates, so if you have an impressive blog or content site you should be able to get a higher commission rate than what is published on the affiliate network. Sometimes you can even get an advertiser to sponsor a contest or sweepstakes you are running, which can be a great way to whip up excitement on your site and social networks. If you have a large enough audience you can create a “rate card” of all of your paid placements, and see which companies you are affiliates with might be interested in getting in front of your audience for a fee. Some options for paid placements include: solo email advertisement, email newsletter placement, homepage placement, top of side column placement, Facebook Boosted post, Twitter sponsored tweet, Instagram post. Over time, if you build up your audience sizes in their mediums, you can get paid advertisers to buy the placement, with a commissions as well on the back-end sales that are generated.
8. Make Sure to Promote Deals from Your Advertisers – People LOVE deals and discounts! In fact, these days they likely won’t buy without one. So make sure you are promoting current deals and coupon codes from your advertisers because people like getting and using deals, not to mention promoting coupons and deals increases the “conversion rate-to-sale” on your click-throughs to companies you are affiliated with. If people come to your site and don’t find promotions or coupons they may go elsewhere looking and some other referrer may get the sale. Promotions and discounts tend to increase the likelihood a visitor will make a purchase, so make sure to offer people coupons and discounts when you promote and share posts about companies. You can mention it’s a special discount and even get a “vanity” coupon code which will match the name of your site. This can increase branding and make people remember your site in the future if they think they can get special discounts through your site.
9. Learn from other Affiliate Marketers – 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. Don’t get sucked into “make money online” courses and systems, as they usually are worthless and just want your money. There is plenty of free information out there on the Internet to guide your online marketing efforts. Making friends with other bloggers or webmasters can lead to opportunities like guest posts and blog roll links that can help your SEO rankings a little bit. Do your research and see what other websites in your niche look like and what they are doing, and do similar things.
10. Ask for Products to Review (Samples) - Reviewing products and services is a great way to provide valuable content for your readers and subscribers. Providing an actual product review can be very effective at selling the benefits of the company or products you are promoting on your site. Also, you can ask for sponsored prizes to give away in your sweepstakes and contests. Check out Woobox.com or Rafflecopter, for inexpensive ways to run sweepstakes and contests. That way you can really ramp up the excitement level on your sites or fan pages. If you can’t get a prize donated, you can try a $25 gift card to kick off the sweepstakes!
11. Produce More Content – Content is everything, so make sure to write until your little fingers fall off, or outsource your content writing to get more content written and published faster. Websites tend to rank better in the free traffic results when posting frequent and original content, so don’t be afraid to post several times a day to your site. And make sure you are socially sharing all of your new posts. The more pages of original content you have on your site the more free traffic you can bring in from Google, Yahoo, and MSN/Bing. So make sure to post like crazy so you can build your free traffic up over time. Look at your site like a house you build bigger and bigger, until it’s a mansion that gets a ton of traffic! Make sure to post about new year resolution oriented topics, issues, and problems during this time of year. Then you can go back next year and refresh those posts for the following year so they stay relevant.
12. Stay Focused - having too many sites or blogs can really put a damper on your efforts to grow on the web. Pick some main sites and really grow them with content.
13. Become a Merchant - becoming a merchant yourself will allow you to sell products online and make a large margin per sale. Check out Shopify.com which allows you to start your own ecommerce storefront. They even have companies you can partner with that will create and fulfill your product sales on things like Tshirts, posters, mugs, and more. Check out Merchify to create your own product storefront.
These are some ways to improve your affiliate marketing efforts in the new year. Let me know if you have any questions at all about these strategies, I would love to review them with you on the phone or email. Now get to it and build out the web with a bunch of great content and share it! Good luck in your 2014 affiliate marketing goals!