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Are you interested in making money online? Freelancers and business owners alike are always pursuing new ways to make a living from their home office. We all know that there are plenty of legitimate ways to make some extra cash online.
Today we are going to take a look at one of the oldest and most effective online occupations, affiliate marketing. In fact, the idea of affiliate marketing was used by big businesses long before everyone had access to the internet.
First, let’s go over a general definition of affiliate marketing, along with some helpful examples. After we define the term, we are going to show you five tips you can use to grow your affiliate website.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Let’s define the term affiliate marketing before we go any further. It’s essential to understand the term and the profession before taking a look at the tips.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of affiliate marketing reads as follows:
“A marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.”
When we talk about affiliate marketing, we are coming from the point of view of the “external website.” Your affiliate website hosts products from businesses in an effort to sell products in exchange for a commission. Below is a chart that can help you visualize the process.
Most affiliate marketing websites don’t open standard drop-shipping or eCommerce-style storefronts. Instead, they focus on creating great content with the products they are promoting plugged in naturally.
For example, a marketer selling products centered around beauty would likely make various makeup and style guides, while promoting the makeup, lotion, or lip gloss from another company. If someone read that post or watched the video, and decided to buy a beauty product, the marketer gets a cut of the profits.
Now that we have the technicalities out of the way, let’s start with our first tip — understanding your target audience.
Fine-Tune Your Target Audience
It’s nearly impossible to run a successful site based on affiliate sales if you don’t fine-tune your target audience. In order for you to offer products to consumers, you have to make sure you’re connecting with people that are interested in your niche.
In the example we mentioned earlier with the makeup marketer, they wouldn’t promote their posts to men in their 50’s, right? Instead, they would target girls from 16-32, the demographic where makeup is the most popular.
Customer personas are a great way to figure out who you should target when promoting on social media or through email. Customer personas are descriptive sheets that list the goals, pain points, and personality traits of your target audience. Generally speaking, you should focus on one broad topic or even a small segment within a niche for a personalized audience. Below is an example of a customer persona sheet that shows the things you should think about when analyzing your audience.
You can find out what consumers want and expect from brands in your industry by engaging with them on social media, reading their comments on your feedback form, or even feedback on websites where you’re considering a partnership.
Choose Your Partners Carefully
Choosing the right partners can have a massive impact on the success of your website. We always look for transparent businesses that have a positive brand image and make high-quality products.
Think about it: if someone comes to your website and sees a brand that they already know and trust, they are far more likely to click your affiliate link. But if someone lands on your page and sees that you’re recommending a product that averages below two stars and has a history of shady business practices, people will begin to see your website in that same image.
This situation is a case of you associating with someone unsavory, which makes you untrustworthy by default. Research potential partners carefully and never accept the first offer that comes your way. You never want to put yourself in a position where you accept an offer, only to receive a marginally better offer an hour later. Too many partners on your site will confuse your audience and could result in them leaving because it’s easier to buy the same product off of Amazon.
Create High-Quality Content
Your content and social media marketing strategy can make or break your website. It doesn’t matter if you have all of the best products on the market; if your content is sloppy, people will not take the time to read what you have to say.
We suggest creating a draft for each post and letting it simmer a few days before editing. Revisit your article with fresh eyes and make adjustments as necessary. You can go as far as to hire an editor to review all of your posts before they go live to ensure that you’re delivering high-quality content.
Varying your content can help you grow your website. Video content is popular right now with platforms like YouTube and the instant sharability of posts on Facebook and Twitter. There’s a serious demand for more video content. A staggering 43 percent of consumers say they wish there were more video content available.
Social media research will show you how popular video content has become over the past decade. One of the most famous makeup influencers, Huda Kattan, promotes products on her Instagram with video tutorials. Ready for the kicker? She has over 25 million followers. When Kattan promotes a new makeup product, millions of people watch her video. If a tiny percentage of those people follow her link and buy something from the partner site, she still manages to make a ton of money from commission.
As long as you create entertaining, inspiring, or educational videos centered around your niche, interested consumers will find your channel. You can cover news, create step-by-step tutorials, and much more. Additionally, you can repurpose your old content and put it in a video format to make it more digestible for consumers. Don’t forget to include your affiliate links in the description of your videos!
Segment Your Email List
Email marketing is a useful tool you can use to engage with your existing audience. You can also use your email list as a way to drive website visitors through your sales funnel.
The first thing you should do is segment your lead list. Chances are, there are sub-niches under your general topic, and each segment has its own interests, goals, and pain points. There’s a ton of research showing that segmenting your list can result in more sales and click-throughs. One study revealed that by just segmenting your lead lists, website owners could improve their click-through rate by 100 percent.
For example, if you run a pet blog and sell affiliate products, you can segment your list into groups that include cats, dogs, rodents, birds, and more. Once you’ve established your segments, you can create personalized content delivered through drip campaigns. The goal is to build rapport with subscribers and show them the value of what you’re offering.
Host an Online Giveaway
Giveaways are a great way to spread brand awareness and increase your traffic. As your website grows, you may notice that your subscriber list and traffic turns stagnant. If so, creating an online contest can help you gain more attention from your target audience and current subscribers.
The prize you choose will vary depending on your intent. Website owners that only want to pull in a segmented section of their audience should offer a prize that resonates with that user. Let’s revisit the pet product website we mentioned earlier. If your goal is to attract more cat owners, you may want to offer a unique package of cat toys, collars, treats, and more.
On the other hand, you may want to generate some additional traffic and expose your brand to a broad audience. If that’s the case, your prize should be something that everyone can use. You can offer something like a 50 dollar Amazon gift card, or an Echo, like in the example below.
Share your event on social media and create entry rules that will help spread brand awareness. You could ask consumers to share your contest, tag their friends, follow you on Twitter, or a combination of all three entry methods. The possibilities are endless, but make sure you’re promoting your post to the customer personas you created for maximum effectiveness.
Over to You
Now you know how to grow your affiliate website using social media, email marketing, great content, and accurate customer personas. The last thing you should remember is your site will take some time to grow. At first, it may seem disappointing that you’re not getting tons of sales every day, but persistence pays off. Make sure you don’t give up and build a website with high-quality content and products that are valuable to your target audience, and one day, you’ll have a thriving affiliate business.