Aayush Bhaskar Verma/ April 24, 2018/ Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing isn’t new, it has been practiced since blogging and internet marketing has been there. Most of the new marketers and enthusiasts will never try to do this strategically, facing losses every day, this post will guide you through some ideas, tips, and techniques on how you can leverage your online income through affiliate marketing.

 

Affiliate Marketing In a Nutshell:-

Affiliate marketing is a form of business in which promotion of third party products take place.

Simply put – Affiliate marketing is done by selling the products you haven’t created. You pick an outstanding product, become it’s affiliate and market it in pursuit of making sales.

Once a qualified sale is made, you get a fixed percentage of commision. Read here furthermore about affiliate marketing.

Type Of Affiliate Programs:-

  1. CPC
  2. CPA
  3. Recurring
  4. Bonded

You would have heard of the first two, however, the later one may confuse you. Below I’ve explained how all four of them differ and work and after that, we will discuss which one works the best (and for whom).

1.CPC – CPC stands for cost per click. When you join an affiliate program which gives you commission based on CPC, you get a commision whenever a person clicks on your affiliate links, banners or other marketing materials such as custom images and infographics.

This term is often used in impression based advertisement sector, however, some affiliate programs do pay with this criteria.

2.CPA – CPA Stands for cost per action. In This mode of Affiliate marketing, you get a commission only when a visitor converts into a paying customer for the merchant you are promoting. That means, the person you’ve referred to the merchant should buy something in order to make your referral eligible for a fixed commision. Examples – WPengine affiliate 

When you join a program that pays you on CPC basis, it means that you have to drive real customers to that merchant which will do an action such as buying a product, renting a product or giving a lead.

3. Recurring – Must similar to what the word recurring stands for, The recurring paying affiliate programs are the one which pays you again and again either for a fixed period of time or for the lifetime. This means you have to refer a customer once and then on, anytime the customer renews or extends its subscription, you will be paid a commission.

The criteria can be seen on SaaS and hosting affiliate programs which require recurring payment by the customer for using the service. Examples – Social Pilot, cloudways, SEMrush etc.

4. Bonded – This is far most the highest paying and “not so popular” affiliate program commision rule. The bonded commision system goes like this – You refer a customer to an online course or subscription-based product website.

The customer then fills up a form and generates a lead and enters in the sales funnel of the company. That’s it.

The customer is then bonded to you. Every activity of this customer will be tracked and if any further sales are made by this customer, you will be paid.

When an affiliate program pays you on a bonded commision rule, it means that your affiliate commisions will be paid without you doing anything at all.

Now that you’ve understood various commision system of affiliate programs, I would further move on to one step closer to the affiliate marketing strategy.

Based on the above four types of affiliate marketing, our strategy will be choosing and promoting the products which would pay us recurring commisions.

However, it still has a small share in terms of merchants to promote. The most famous and openly practiced affiliate marketing strategy is the CPA. Almost every other merchant has an affiliate program which pays you on CPA basis.

Making Money from CPA programs

Affiliate programs generally pay for Cost per action. to make most out of your sales, you need to make sure you choose products based on certain standards and rules.

I follow a couple of rules and set of norms before promoting any product on my blog and below, I’ve shared all of it.

Rule 1 – Promote A relevant product

Following up on my previous agenda I won’t promote any irrelevant product on this blog. Neither it creates a sale nor it impresses any of the visitors at all.

I recommend you to choose the affiliate products very carefully. A few months back, I found an incredible affiliate marketplace called Flexoffers. It’s great to find high paying affiliate programs every niche possible.

I searched for WordPress and web services niche on flexoffers and found several affiliate programs including MaxCDN and Popup domination.

Promotion of relevant products has been a major contributor to my affiliate earnings. From $200 to more than $1000/month in 6 months of blogging, I have seen a lot of tactics that support you in escalating your affiliate income.

It helps my readers to take a better decision as they can relate to the product I am promoting. You can check out my income and traffic reports here.

Rule 2 – Cloaked Links

Cloaking my affiliates links have given me a sense of peace. I don’t have to fear that my affiliate earnings would be stolen or I won’t be paid for my hard work. I Have discussed it in detail here.

It also helps me to track the percentage of valid clicks as well as it provides a branding for external links. With a link cloaker plugin, you don’t have to manually add a Nofollow attribute (which keeps my SEO healthy)to each and every link and this also helps the link management by stacking them into categories.

I suggest you add a link cloaking plugin as soon as possible because it will help you to work more efficiently if you start doing it from the very beginning. I am using ThirstyAffiliates on my blog since 2016 and it works great. Here is a step by step guide to cloaking your first affiliate link.

Rule 3 – Reputation of the Product, Service or Merchant

This is one of the most important aspects to look for before promoting a merchant, product or service on your blog. It might happen that a product may seem to be very promising at first, but what about its performance. Is it accurate enough, is it stands on industry standards, do people love it?

You should do a thorough research on the past and present of a product you are going to promote and make sure it is reputable enough and stand on its promises.

Rule 5 – Buy, Use, Experience and Promote 

This rule is excellent in making cents to dollars. Before you promote a product, Buy it. Think of this purchase as an investment. Take a few days and discover the inner sides of the product and try to find in-depth pros and cons.

After having a first-hand experience of the product, write a detailed review or an in-depth tutorial mentioning the experience and time you had with the product. Add your opinions and tricks and help people better understand the product.

Promote The Established Products and Services

When it comes to selecting the product for promotion, many affiliate marketers are missing out this strategy.

It’s quite tough to generate a sale or even a lead by promoting a fairly new product as an affiliate where all fo your earnings depend on a sale. So what I do is I pick a product from one of my similar niche site that is converting well enough to promote.

This helps me to build a relationship with pre-existing merchants that are seeing good results from my niche website and this helps me to get exclusive offers too.

Let’s take an example. LongTailPro is a keyword research tool which is has a sales ratio of 16.2 (approx) out of every 100 leads on one of a blog. I see it’s converting very well on some of the blogs that are similar to my niche. Now there is a fairly new keyword research tool KWfinder which is having a lesser sales count and is not converting well enough.

In this case, I can confidently promote LongTailPro on my blog. This has helped to verify the quality of the products as well as the need of my readers without spending a single cent.

promoting established products strategy as an affiliate

Similarly, for hosting, I know Bluehost performs exceptionally well due to it’s attractive and straightforward landing page. I can signup for Bluehost affiliate and promote it without any worries since it delivers the highest quality of service to most of the beginners.

This Affiliate Marketing Strategy will work for you forever. Use it and I hope your sales will double at least in 30 days or less.

Email Marketing ( Of Affiliate Products)

Email marketing is one of the hidden strategies for generating direct affiliate sales faster than any medium. Since the beginning of online communication, email has been a sustainable source to connect with customers and readers.

However, List building today is helping many bloggers and online marketers generate thousands of sales with minimal efforts for a long time. The first step to email marketing is setting up an email marketing service.

On the next stage, you will have to collect as much as emails possible by using some lead generation plugins and tools. This will help you to convert your visitors into potential customers.

email marketing for promoting affiliate products

A very great way of earning through affiliate marketing is setting up automated emails which work on autopilot and give you more time to focus on further campaigns that will generate more income and profit for you. You can also add a signature affiliate link to your emails for a product you use regularly and would love to recommend to your subscribers too.

Sales Funnel

Sales funnel is a multi-scale project. You can set up a sales funnel to promote an affiliate product strategically. This can be done on your website but the best of sales funnel can be extracted by pairing it up with email marketing.

sales funnel for better affiliate marketing

credit – fitsmallbusiness.com

Sales funnel works this way – You capture a lead through one of the optin forms on your website. Once the subscriber confirms it’s subscription to your funnel list, the promotion starts.

The first email is a set to give a sense of introduction and getting familiar with your subscriber. This doesn’t include any affiliate promotion in any case. keep it as personalized as possible to create a remarkable first impression that stays forever.

The second email is set to ask your reader about their interests and opinions. You can also include a QnA in your email to acquire the list of problems they are facing.

The third email will include an affiliate link to most relevant product or service that is the best option you think for solving a particular problem. Remember to show them the value by including your personal experience with it and most importantly, Try to write the emails to a mentor rather than being too salesy.

Content Marketing

If you never came to this term, I will assume you are unaware of how the blog works for a website. when we say to promote a product on a blog by writing a post or if we say driving traffic to a website to promote a product for commision, It’s all about content marketing.

Simplified – Content marketing is about driving targeted traffic that generates sales through powerful content creation.

When I write a blog post about a keyword research tool for PPC, or when I write about the mailerlite or about the fiver affiliate program, it’s all content marketing.

Here, I am trying to drive traffic from search engines in order to send more traffic and generate more sales on these websites which pay me the commission on every successful one.

My content helps me market these products which in turn helps me to earn money since I am an affiliate to whatever I am promoting.

Keeping this point in mind, Long review posts that are high on value will be a primary affiliate marketing strategy.

Use of Banners (Strategically)

Banners are generally easy to use and work on autopilot. Set it and forget it. since we are talking about affiliate promotion banners here, we will be paid for any action that is made by a visitor we refer.

However, I strategically place every promotion banners so that people with different interest see a different banner.

An affiliate banner placed in relevant taxonomy post

If you will browse a post from WordPress category, You will See a Hostgator banner between the post after 5 paragraphs. This helps me to get the maximum click on that banner as people who are browsing the post from WordPress category should be interested in WordPress hosting.

Similarly, I place a HubSpot banner in the online marketing category and Media.net banner in make money category. I Suggest you do the same and in a few moments, you will observe a better CTR and action on your affiliate banners. I use WPAdvanced plugin ads for grouping and Ad rotation. This plugin helps me to target specific regions as well as visitors differently. The Advanced ads plugin helps me to Geo Target my banners as well.

High Ticket Products

Sure. This needs to be done. I promote many small as well as micro paying products on BforBloggers, But that doesn’t help me to earn a living out of it.

Some products such as Sucuri and updraftplus pay a very low commision to its affiliates. I still promote them because I use and trust them.

However, I do promote some high paying products such as Kinsta hosting. Why? Because when I talk to one of their team members or their affiliate managers, they give a series of certified customers with testimonials that prove they are best in the business.

High ticket products need to be promoted because they fill the gap between the low earnings and high expenses. While choosing the high ticket products, All of the same rules apply as we discussed above.You can find such programs from marketplaces such as shareasale.

Landing Page Promotion

landing pages need to be curated. When a visitor first lands on your website and finds your content interesting, the visitor is likely to explore more about you by going to your homepage.

landing page builder

If your landing pages have nothing but a simple pale appearance, you will eventually lose the sales. To make most out of your landing pages, either convert it into a lead capture page or make it a visitor funnel.

Read this guide to find your top landing pages and then, get yourself the Elementor Or LeadPages landing page builder. By using LeadPages, you can create high converting landing pages with a drag and drop builder.

You can also set up a funnel system through these pages. Imagine a visitor coming onto your landing page. the visitor then scrolls a little bit down and finds an interactive and beautiful demonstration of how you use Convertkit for email marketing. This visitor will click on the button to find out more about how that helped you.

Don’t sell the product directly, create a content that indicates and shows the useful side, and makes the visitor fall in love it.

Social Proofing

Focus on your memory and try to remember this, You visited a blog or a website that has a software, ebook or any kind of a product to sell. You were browsing the webpage and suddenly you see a Small Fomo bar like this –

socila proofing paired with affiliate marketing strategically

This popup was telling you that a moment ago, a guy named John, purchased a product form that website. This Fomo bar was giving you the proof and most importantly, this was giving a solid reason to buy the product. That is called social proofing.

You can use the WPfomify WordPress plugin to add the same fomo bars on your blog to promote your product reviews and increasing your revenue as an affiliate. Read the WPFomify review and learn how to use it.

It can be seen in action at the MonsterInsights blog.

Scarcity Marketing Of Affiliate Products

The very effective and high on converting strategy is scarcity marketing. While we browse through some websites, we come through some promotions that are offered to us for a limited time.

Sometimes, these websites may show us that a product has limited stocks that would end soon.

That is how scarcity marketing works. You can also start promotion of some affiliate products using scarcity marketing.

A very impressive WordPress is Thrive ultimatum by thrive themes which work great for promoting limited offers on WordPress websites. Discover Thrive Ultimatum.

Conclusion

The Affiliate marketing strategy is revolving around the content and search engine marketing. Being a successful affiliate marketer takes a lot of hard work along with supportive smart work.

That means without a preplanned strategy, you would miss out a great number of opportunities that could prove to be profitable to your business.

If you are just starting out with affiliate marketing, make sure you use the landing pages and banners from the very beginning. This will at least give you an opportunity to convert visitors.

I would stick to all of my rules before choosing a product as well as I would suggest you to start with some selected products at first. keep your focus on one or two product at a time and escalate your marketing skills as much as possible by continuous learning.

Email marketing should be done efficiently.Even if you’re starting a blog and don’t have any money to spend, you can still use MailChimp to collect your visitor’s email. This will help you to create a long list of potential customers in a short time.

You may want to read – Misconceptions about affiliate marketing

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Aayush,

    That’s a hell of an article and very helpful. Gurus make affiliate marketing seem simple but in reality it’s the opposite.

    It requires a learning curve and willingness to work hard if you want to succeed.

    Your article will help beginners to take educated steps.

    1. Hi Shafi,

      It’s my pleasure

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