How do I build my audience? How do I get views? In this article we look at 3 tactics that gain subscribers and grow your list. They are not the only affiliate marketing tactics but are popular and successful. To a certain extent building your list is a numbers game, if you get enough people clicking for a free offer, the bigger your list is. However, what you really want is quality not quantity. A quality list will generate residual income for you. Read ahead ...
The 3's - Essential Affiliate Marketing Tactics
This is the second post in our series. Our first outlined 3 essential affiliate marketing tools. The company and platform I recommend is listed in that first post. This post looks at affiliate marketing tactics you should use when beginning in this business. They are not all the tactics. As with all things in life some will disagree with my choices, but that's life!
So, the tactics I have identified for this piece are:
- Product Page Optimization.
- Free Reports or Educational Series.
- Getting the Right Traffic through Micro-Influencers.
Let's check in on our resident entrepreneurs, Fred and Donal. When we left them, Fred had written the next big work in literature and enlisted Donal as an affiliate. Donal had built his website and got it into a great hosting package.
He updated his social media exposure. Next he used his embroidery club email list. Donal told them about his Facebook presence. They created a new Facebook business page and group to keep in touch.
All were free to like and join the group, it was to be a centralized group for advertising their products. It happened, by chance, that Donal's book push was the first advertised product. We will check in with our book drive later.
One of Many - Affiliate Marketing Tactics
The affiliate marketing tactics listed are three of many an affiliate may use. They are tactics that have and currently do work in the online marketing world. With them, you will generate your first sales or increase current sales. You may even flourish and grow to Super Affiliate level with them.
Try, test and evaluate them, if they work keep them in your arsenal. If they do not work then put them aside for a different project. They do work but may not for every product you launch.
This is the important point to make about these affiliate marketing tactics. It should not matter whether you like the tactic or not. An expert says there is a better way, a more successful one then you should test it. If a tactic is used by the top 100 affiliate marketing websites, may be you should be using it.
What matters is, is it the right tactic at the right time for your product! What sells your product may not sell mine or Donal's book. You need to test and test and test to find the right tactic or combination of tactics.
There is no best approach to marketing your product. Or to generate leads or converting to sales. There is no right approach because the market is constantly changing. This may appear scary but if done right, it can be fun.
- There are many tactics, techniques or strategies to build your affiliate lists.
- Social Media and giving something useful for free are two great strategies.
- Tactics aren't evergreen, just because a tactic worked last year, doesn't mean it will this year.
- Test, test and re-test - constantly.
Let's begin with Affiliate Marketing Tactics!
Tactic #1: Product Page Optimization
First in the chute is your website and it's product page conversion rate. There are number of ways you could promote the different products you wish to profit from. How you structure your business website, is your decision . Here I outline my best practice.
Splitters or Lumpers? - Affiliate Marketing Tactics
Donal has always been a splitter. Fred a lumper. Their success in the affiliate marketing arena is due to their different styles. Head-to-head Donal makes three times the income from marketing than Fred. Fred does very well with the products he produces but never seemed to have the knack of selling.
It's because Fred was a lumper! He had a one stop shop website, selling everything from health books to model train manuals. Anarchy reigned as a shopper clicked through his site. There was no structure to it.
Donal set up a website per product. He believed in splitting so unless products fell into the same genre (say yoga), he created a new site per product. A single item store gave an air of exclusivity, but also expertise, for each product.
Donal's yoga website had three different affiliate eBooks he marketed. It made sense to him to combine them under a single site. But unlike Fred, who was trying to save on web hosting fees, adding a Ford Escort mechanics book to the yoga site? Well that didn't make sense. Ford got it's own site.
- Decide whether you are a splitter or a lumper?
Build-out - Affiliate Marketing Tactics
Donal had created a new site for Fred's book and started to add content to it. The content he added were reviews of other embroidery scandal books, of which there are many? Donal gave these products honest reviews and scores.
His belief was Fred's book was quality and it could hold it's own against honest reviews of other books. There are some page-turners in the genre, Fred's book did well even against other products that scored well. Donal wanted the shopper to feel they got value from his site. Even if they didn't buy the book.
Donal added book testimonials from some embroidery community heavyweights. But, he got permission from ordinary people to post their testimonials as well. Most were from his embroidery chapter but they were genuine.
The site was looking good, it gave value without asking for something in return. To add to that, it had a great product to sell. All was good, right? No! Donal was not happy about something with the site. Optimized? it was not optimized yet for the shopper.
The site looked good but needed to convert the visitors to buyers. It was fine to give value without asking for something in return. But you want some of the visitors to become customers. To do this your product page must convert leads to sales.
- Always provide value to your audience.
- Only use honest and genuine reviews.
Optimization - Affiliate Marketing Tactics
Donal hired an expert. His friend, Bob, was an expert website designer, eCommerce sites in particular. Bob understood "Search Engine Optimization" (SEO). Wikipedia states "it's the process of affecting the online visibility of a website/page in a search engine's unpaid results. Often referred to as "natural", "organic", or "earned" results."
Bob set about making the websites pages attractive to the eye. He ensured the right keywords (important for SEO) featured on the pages. Individual posts and reviews also included a unique keyword. Each page had a captivating headline with relevant graphics.
Highlighting of the most important points and calls to action were included on pages. Bob only put the calls to action on specific pages. A call to action encourages the viewer to click a link or button to complete an action. For instance, buy the book.
Back-links - Affiliate Marketing Tactics
Bob didn't believe in buying back-links on the internet to increase the website's visibility. Instead, he preferred to create links to other pages within his site. This worked as well. There was the content that Donal was creating, the reviews and posts that helped as well. It was well-written with correct grammar and interesting copy.
Donal already had a great hosting platform and so loading speed was not an issue for him. No-one wants to sit waiting for web pages to load at the speed of treacle. The graphics on the site were high quality images and enhanced the site.
Bob had optimized the product page but also the complete site. Donal's site was good. So much so he could use the product pages to upsell and cross-sell relevant products. It was ready to capture and convert any leads that visited the site.
- The importance of SEO cannot be understated.
- Good keywords when used correctly are essential for ranking.
- Remember to add text to the "Alt-Text" section of your images.
Tactic #2: Free Reports or Educational Series - Affiliate Marketing Tactics
Donal was taking a marketing course at the local community college. During class the lecturer stated not all customers buy on their first visit to a website. Yes, there are the impulse shoppers (guilty as charged your honor!), but there are also the tire kickers.
The tire kickers will look at the product from every conceivable angle. They will grunt and mutter to themselves about is the item worth the money. Scratch the chin then the head and mutter some more. These are the customers who either want a discount or something thrown in.
Bargain Basket! - Affiliate Marketing Tactics
They need to feel like they got a bargain. So Donal knew he needed to provide something that the visitor felt they were getting for free. Some extra value that they feel they extracted from the seller. He didn't mind this, sure he wanted to make some money but he also wanted to help people.
"6 easy ways to make money with your knock down stitch - Free Report!" read the text on the page. Bob had created a landing page with a big red button saying "Click Here." Another line of text read "Plus a six-week email course on how to perfect the Knock-Down stitch!"
- Repeating for emphasis: give value to your customers
The Affiliate Marketing Plan
The cunning plan Donal had devised; a tire-kicker lands on the site. He would see the landing page and offers, but would ignore them (he's not impulsive) and mooch around the site. If they perceived value in the site may make them commit to the free offer. He knew they would not buy on the first visit.
If the tire-kicker clicked the big red button for the free report, he was re-directed to another page. Here, they enter their name and email address. A confirmation email gets sent to their email address. Once they confirm they want the report, they can download the free report.
At the same time, the first email in Donal's six-week "Knock-Down Stitch Revealed" email course arrives in their inbox. Now every 7 days they will receive the next installment in the course. Their perceived value increases in the site.
Bob had set it all up to run automatically using an email autoresponder service, like Mail Chimp etc... Bob advised Donal not to use the word "Free" in his email headings. Explaining spam filtering engines will block, delete or put emails with that word in a quarantine folder. So together they wrote meaningful email subject messages that were non-spammy.
The tire-kicker reads the report and learns the knock-down stitch. Six weeks later, they return and buy Fred's book. In fact, they become loyal customers of Donal and even join the embroidery club.
- Create a marketing plan.
- Put together some free items (course, report, etc) that give perceived value.
- Automate the process.
Tactic #3: Get Targeted Traffic via Micro-Influencers -
Affiliate Marketing Tactics
From marketing class, Donal learned about influencers. A new type of marketers. They are accounts with many followers on social media. They impress their audience by showing items on their profile.
Of course, it does not have to be an item, it can be anything. The influencer wears a certain watch brand. The audience may buy it because their idol has one. They have this large followings for many reasons. They could be:
- Top Amazon reviewers
- Pioneers in an interesting project field (think tiny houses or living off the grid)
- Or they may be exceptionally beautiful looking and people fantasize about them.
Getting one of these people to review or use your product, allows you to reach their followers. People that listen to and value the "celebrity's" opinion. A great way of getting your brand or product known and generating sales.
The influencers are not going to do this for free. They get paid or receive free merchandise from those wishing to use their "services." Donal had wanted to try this marketing method for a while. He saw benefit in this type of traffic for the following reasons:
- Interested/Targeted traffic.
- Trust between influencer and follower.
- Cost effective.
Finding the One - Affiliate Marketing Tactics
Donal searched the internet, looking at blogs, videos and social media accounts. He wanted people with large embroidery followings. Working with these people in his target niche was a no-brainer for him. No point in contacting a survival prepper to sell embroidery books. Or was there? Think about it!
No, he wanted arts and crafts people. Especially, in the embroidery world. He decided he needed some rules to help him search and locate the right people. He searched for arts and crafts accounts in each social media type. Accounts with millions of loyal followers were wanted. He created a spreadsheet. Donal added the contact details about each account he found.
Donal reached out to some influencers that matched his rules. The large accounts wanted large payments or a percentage of your profit. Some didn't have regular contact with their audiences. Others had young hip followers, who were into the free-form style.
Then there were the "dodgy" influencers. Those who appeared one day, had a huge number of followers the next and then none a few days later. Overtime, Donal built out his excel spreadsheet taking all the metrics into account. He had finally decided on using 3-5 micro-influencers as he liked to call them.
These were influencers who aligned with his view of embroidery. Not that hippidity-hop free style form. Their followers demographics matched his clubs. But also, they matched who he viewed the books buyers would be.
Smaller might be Better - Affiliate Marketing Tactics
The micro-influencers have followings between 10,000 and 50,000. Hence, the name micro. Weekly contact with their followers was a minimum requirement. There base was constructed over time and was still growing. He had a list of accounts who may send him targeted and interested traffic.
Over time, people saw value and trustworthiness in their influencer. It was built post-by-post and review-by-review. The audience believed in them. They listened to their opinions. They read the reviews, the posts and responded to the call-to-actions.
One-by-one Donal contacted the influencers and explained his business to them. He emailed each a copy of the book to read, even if they did not work together. He offered payment in return for running an ad, a "shout-out", a post or a review. All asked for a payment that was affordable.
For a small marketing budget as Donal had set aside for this project, he got access to 200k embroidery fans. His influencers had targeted and engaged audiences for him to market to. He fulfilled his three reasons for wanting to try this approach.
Many of the influencers' followers visited the site. The majority signed up for the free report and 6 week course. Some were impulse buyers and bought straight away. Others waited and bought 6 weeks later. Others decided it wasn't for them - all good.
- Having a targeted audience to market to is huge. You already have people interested in the subject of your business.
- Don't jump at the first influencer you find.
- Never pay more than you can afford, in case they turn out to be a dud.
The Skinny! - Affiliate Marketing Tactics
There are many approaches, tactics or strategies out there for affiliate marketing. There are NO SECRET affiliate marketing tactics or strategies. They have all been tried and tested to varying degrees of success. Some fail because they are implemented incorrectly. Others because it is the wrong target group.
Find tactics that are right for you! The only way you will find that out is by testing, testing and testing some more. What works for me, may not work for you or Donal. We all may market the same product but have varying success with the same marketing methods. This is not a race, you need to be a tortoise!
If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
All the best,