Setting up new streams of revenue is a time-intensive, labor-exhaustive, resource-stretching endeavor, to say the least. Whether you’ve plateau in your earnings or are looking for an extra boost in income, affiliate marketing may be the next logical step in the process.
If you have an existing product or service and want to generate more revenue without the investment of time, energy, and resources that are normally associated with traditional marketing initiatives, then affiliate marketing is for you.
This word-of-mouth, referral-style marketing tactic is used in virtually every industry. As an affiliate, every time you refer a customer, you get paid. This method of advertising typically has higher conversion rates, and as an affiliate, you’re able to provide your customers with more services through this referral program.
It’s virtually impossible for your company to be able to provide all of the solutions for your customers, which is why affiliate marketing is beneficial to all parties involved.
In the process, you’re setting yourself up as the authority in your industry as well. You’re providing an excellent product while having the knowledge and connections to deliver quality referrals, reinforcing your position as a business leader.
Signing up to be an affiliate is relatively easy. You can quickly generate some additional income without much hassle. But my goal here is to really harness the power and profits that lie in affiliate marketing. I want you to become a super affiliate!
Just follow the steps I’m going to provide below
Create Your Goals
The general consensus for affiliate marketing is that we’re in it to make a profit. It’s simple and to-the-point, but with such an ambiguous goal, you’re likely to fall short of what your expectations may have been.
When you’re setting affiliate marketing goals, you’re going to want to define the following answers:
- How much will it cost to pay for your business tools with affiliate commissions?
- What value can you provide your audience beyond your skill set?
- How can your affiliate companies help you boost your authority as an agent of discovery?
Your goals need to be a mix of the concrete and the abstract; A balance between profit and psychology is the key here. Make a difference to your audience while ensuring that you’re able to ‘pay the bills’.
Another point to consider is how active you want to be as an affiliate. There are one of two options here. For starters, you can be more of a passive affiliate. For instance, if you set up a resource page with links out to the products you use (which go to your affiliates), you’re still able to reel in a little profit from those who wind up on that page, but you aren’t actively pushing folks to your affiliates on a regular basis.
As a super affiliate, you’ll want to take a more proactive role in affiliate marketing. When your affiliates provide you with new content to push to customers, make sure you utilize it in the most organic ways possible. Be engaged in the process. We’ll get into these promotional strategies in step 4.
Select Your Products
There are hundreds of businesses out there who you can promote through affiliate marketing. The ones you choose can greatly impact your integrity as well as your ability to truly ‘sell’ the referrals.
When you’re selecting products, keep the following 10 tips in mind:
- Audience Relevance
- 2. Related to Your Industry or Product
- Brand Reinforcement
- Fills the Gaps that Your Product Can’t Fill
- 5. Solves a Challenge Your Product Reveals
- Recurring and Back-End Commissions
- 7. Easy to Promote and Share
- High-Converting Landing Pages
- Effective Follow-Up Process
- High Degree of Focused Marketing
The first five of these tips are about the services you can provide your audience while the last five relate to how appropriate the product is for you as a business.
Characteristics of High-Quality Affiliate Programs
You may have a huge list of potential affiliates you want to promote, but you can chip away at that list quickly by taking a closer look at what they have to offer. When you’re searching for the programs you want to promote, look at the brand, and look at the product. Do they have the following?
- Good reputation: When you promote an affiliate, you’re putting your reputation on the line. It’s like recommending a friend to your company for a new job or doing a little matchmaking. If the relationship doesn’t work out, the parties may look to you as the cause. Pick a company and a brand with a good reputation that reflects what you see in your own company.
- Commission: Make sure the commission your affiliates are providing reflects your revenue goals. If you’re doing a lot of the heavy lifting but seeing pennies in return, then the company may be taking advantage of the situation. This should be mutually beneficial for both the referrer and referee. Look for a high percentage for the commission as well as a recurring theme so that you can reap the benefits for the lifetime of the customer.
- Ease of Promotion: Does the affiliate provide you with what you need to be successful? Remember, you shouldn’t have to do the heavy lifting Look for companies that give you banners and ads and other promotional products that look great and fit in nicely with your existing setup. Similarly, they need to have a great back-end setup as well to ensure that the process is seamless for your customers and, consequently, their customers as well.
- Great Customer Support Functionality: You want to make sure that once you refer someone, they’re taken care of. The way your affiliates treat their customers will become a reflection on you. The better they handle their sales, the higher your proof becomes.
If you’re still stuck on where to start, we have a few no-brainers for you here. Think about it: Your customers look to your brand as an authority in the industry. What they really want to know is what YOU’RE using. So, start with some of the following:
- Your web-hosting company
- email service provider
- Your WordPress theme
- or your payment system
These are easy sells for you. You’re already familiar with the products, and chances are, if you’re using them, you’ve got the tools in your arsenal that you’ll need to adequately refer more folks. You can answer questions and really boost the conversions over to your affiliates.
The best part here is that since you’re using these services, you can pretty quickly get those accounts paid for with only a few referrals. Start with your top five tools and become an affiliate marketer for those tools to get started.
Create a Redirect Link
When you’ve selected the products you want to refer, you’ll head over to those company websites and sign up for their affiliate program. You’ll get your affiliate link wherein you can start promoting right off the bat.
Before you go copy/pasting that link all over your pages, we highly recommend that you make a redirect link first. The affiliate link you’re given will probably be riddled with special characters, and that’s aside from the fact that it’s going to be long and ugly. Secondly, your affiliates may change their programs at some point, making the raw link void. With a redirect, you don’t have to worry about this issue.
There are a few ways to create a redirect. First, many affiliates will actually have a page set up where you can create the redirect link on their site. This will differ from business to business, so you’ll need to check with each of your affiliates.
Second, you can use alternatives like a LinkToURL WordPress plugin or a cPanel redirect. We don’t recommend that you use third party URL shorteners like bit.ly simply because you can’t foresee if those services will be shut down at any given time.
Promote Like a Rockstar
High-level engagement promotional strategies are the name of the game if you’re really in affiliate marketing to boost your revenue and not simply pay for your products and business tools. Here are our top 5 favorite active strategies to try out:
Catered content for your specific audience can yield incredible conversion results when done in a co-hosted webinar. Many affiliates are willing to help set up the webinar, the registration page, social/email copy, etc that you can use to send to your customers. It’s a made-for- you webinar that really aims to provide a solution to your current customers. With conversions around 20-30%, you’ll want to make the most of the webinar. Remember, more conversions mean more money in your pocket.
Custom Affiliate Links to Specific Blog Posts:
Many affiliates will create the content for you to promote. When you see an article on an affiliate’s blog, you can send a quick email to see if they’ll make a custom link to that specific article that you can use to promote their content. Instead of just sending folks over to a landing page, you’re instead sending them to the useful content that will drive up the conversion rates and make for a more confident, lasting sale.
Use Additional Content:
Podcasts, templates, and any additional content that your affiliates push out can be used actively by you as marketing tools. Surround yourself with the product that you want to promote, and use the variety of tools that your affiliates provide you with.
Creating an Exclusive Bonus:
If you have a product with high value but low conversions, consider offering a bonus to folks who purchase. You’re still getting the affiliate revenue, and your customers get the tools you know they need. What happens here is that you’re getting a better sense of the value that you can provide yourself.
Create a course that requires the use of an affiliate product. Here, you’re getting the front-end and the back-end profits simultaneously while providing customers with some highly-useful tools for their business.
Measure Results Effectively
You’re going to want to measure your results right from the beginning of your affiliate journey.
There are a few numbers in particular to keep an eye on and measure consistently:
- Commissions: This is the amount that you’ll be paid based on the actual sales that you produce.
- Free referrals that you send to the vendors you’re promoting: This will give you an idea of future sales.
- Number of sales you keep: With this, you can prepare the conversion rate across different programs.
One of the easiest ways to keep track of all of this is in a spreadsheet. With each affiliate, you’ll want a column for the affiliate program, the contact info for that program, the affiliate link, the redirect link, and then columns for referrals, sales, and revenue. Just fill in the blanks at the end of each month to keep track of everything, and then you have a snapshot of every program as well as the numbers needed to calculate conversions to see which programs are working well for revenue and which ones are more work than their worth.
Affiliate marketing can be a huge stream of additional revenue, and it can solidify your position as an authority in the industry while giving your customers additional tools they need to succeed. It’s a winning situation for all involved — if you do it right.
To really succeed in affiliate marketing, you need to:
- Set your goals
- 2. Select your products
- Create a redirect link
- Promote like a rockstar
- 5. Measure results effectively
In this way, you can deliver more products and bring in more profits without all the work of creating those products yourself. When you’re growing your business, opening up all outlets of revenue is the key, and affiliate marketing is a keystone in the process.