One of the first things that comes to mind when I hear Adam’s name, is sales funnels. I’ve known Adam for a few years now and have even had the chance to peek behind the scenes and can say the guy knows his stuff and is one of few ‘marketers’ who spend an equal, if not greater, amount of time... in the trenches and testing to see what’s working right now.
This topic is extremely broad; there are countless strategies for increasing visibility (and ultimately click rate) on your affiliate links, ranging from incorporating links into your content to sending emails to your newsletter list. Check out some of the affiliate marketing gurus on our Best Monetization Blogs overview for an extensive supply of tips and tricks for boosting the number of clicks your affiliate links receive.
It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales.
As search engines have become more prominent, some affiliate marketers have shifted from sending e-mail spam to creating automatically generated web pages that often contain product data feeds provided by merchants. The goal of such web pages is to manipulate the relevancy or prominence of resources indexed by a search engine, also known as spamdexing. Each page can be targeted to a different niche market through the use of specific keywords, with the result being a skewed form of search engine optimization.
Don’t go too broad — Earlier, we mentioned that a benefit of affiliate marketing is that affiliates get to choose the products they sell. Because affiliates are building out their brands, they shouldn’t cast their nets too wide. There are affiliate opportunities for everything you can think of: technology, fashion, health, fitness, and even dog training. If you’re trying to get into affiliate marketing, try and stay relatively within a certain niche.
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VigLink is an intermediary platform, so it can serve as a backdoor for affiliates who have previously been banned/suspended from working with other affiliate programs like Amazon. And while you can choose specific merchants or offers, VigLink can be set up to work automatically by scanning your published content and dynamically generating affiliate links, making it a great choice for established content producers who are looking for a simpler way to generate revenue via an affiliate program.
4. Sales incentives. Structure your commission rates so that you have additional margin to offer sales incentives. For example, perhaps you are launching a new product line and you want affiliates to focus their marketing efforts on it. If you have room in your commission structure, you can offer a temporary increase — or perhaps sales bonuses — for hitting established revenue targets. I addressed sales incentives here previously, in “Affiliate Marketing: 3 Incentives to Drive Sales.”
The affiliate marketing industry is growing steadily. An independent survey commissioned by Rakuten Affiliate Network found that affiliate marketing is set to reach $6.8 billion by 2020. Ninety percent of advertisers included in the survey said that affiliate programs were important or very important to their overall marketing strategy, with the majority of publishers reporting that affiliate partnerships drove more than 20% of annual revenue.
Of the many key reasons these sites are so massively successful, one stands out in particular: they are genuinely helpful to their visitors. When you need to renew your car insurance, do you seriously go filling in forms on every individual provider’s website, or do you instead just fill in the one form on a site like Comparethemarket to get all the quotes you need at once? If you think about the answer honestly, you’ll realise exactly why comparison websites like this are so genuinely useful to a visitor.
At the other end of the spectrum is the small merchant who is only willing or able to work with a handful of affiliates. In this case, the merchant and affiliate may come to an agreement and utilize a “low tech” solution to determine commissions earned (e.g., a custom referral path and an earnings statement powered by Google Analytics). This type of affiliate relationship will typically develop when there is a logical affiliate relationship between two parties, but the merchant isn’t interested in opening up the affiliate program to a wide range of partners via an affiliate network.
If your website doesn’t have much traffic to speak of, there’s probably not a big opportunity for you now in affiliate marketing. Focus on producing high quality content, building some links, and getting a recurring stream of visitors to your site. But if you have a website that is already attracting a significant number of visitors from referring sites, organic search, and direct visits, affiliate marketing could be a logical way to monetize.
(a) Promotional Materials. Amazon may from time to time provide you with a standard form template and other marketing assets for use in promotional marketing materials (“Promotional Materials”), subject to the limited license in Section 4(b) of this policy. Amazon reserves the right to review your Promotional Materials at any time for compliance with this Local Associates Policy. Any failure by you to provide the Promotional Materials in accordance with our request will constitute a material breach of this Local Associates Policy.
The service Wealthy Affiliate, who I actually used to promote, offers a training program to teach people how to make money online. One of the things they entice people to do is, of course, promote Wealthy Affiliate! But how, exactly, do they teach people to do this? By creating reviews of their competitors, saying why those other services suck, and then of course offer Wealthy Affiliate as the perfect solution.
There is a reason why many major merchants prefer to utilize affiliate marketing networks instead of setting up their own infrastructure. Just as the administrative burden can become overwhelming for publishers with multiple relationships in place, it can be too time consuming for merchants as well. Maintaining direct affiliate relationships involves building out an infrastructure to track referrals, calculate commissions, and process payments. While that may sound like a relatively straightforward process, it can become a major investment with plenty of potential complications and liability issues.
Another survey from VigLink offers a closer look at just how much income affiliate marketers are bringing in. According to the survey, 9% generated more than $50,000 in affiliate income in 2016. The majority, 65%, said they were making between 5% and 20% of their annual revenue from affiliate programs. The survey also showed a link between timeframe and revenues. Among the publishers with the largest revenues, 60% had been utilizing affiliate-marketing strategies for five years or more.
Of course, this is a generalization, and there are some programs that have made themselves exceptions to the rule. For example, I’ve seen many affiliate programs that offer low commission rates on products that are worth very little. I’ve also seen a few programs with items priced into the hundreds or thousands of dollars that offer commission rates of 20-30%.
This is where we put the “marketing” in affiliate marketing. It’s up to you as the affiliate marketer to make sure that your audience sees the affiliate links and offers you have on your site. You can’t simply throw them into the right sidebar and hope that your audience seeks them out and clicks on them. There’s a great deal that you can do to increase the likelihood that your visitors click on the links and get in front of the affiliate offer.
Anyway, that was kind of cool. He looked at me and said, “Dude, Russell, do you understand what you guys have done with Clickfunnels?” “What do you mean?” “You’ve changed marketing forever. You’ve changed affiliate marketing. You’ve changed everything.” I’m like, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “Pre Clickfunnels, I had maybe 5 or 6 guys come to me that had an offer that we could run. Now I’ve got 16 year old kids with offers that are converting and they’re making millions of bucks. That never happened. You’ve literally given everybody the ability, everybody equal playing ground, everybody can be in this business.”
Amazing article. One question I have is about how to avoid the risk of FB terminating an ad account for using it to drive traffic to this kind of landing page. The first part of that question is, do you think a simple opt-in page like you described (with no content other than a "hook" that FB might argue is deceptive) would result in the ad being disapproved and possibly the ad account at risk of being terminated? The second part of the question is do you think the FB ad itself would need to be toned down, or do you think it's safe to just repeat the hook? It seems like FB is getting more and more strict about this kind of thing.