Affiliate marketing can be a powerful money maker for any blog if used correctly. Aside from creating your own line of products, affiliate marketing is easily the most bankable strategy for internet marketers. You don’t necessarily even need to market through emails either. You can provide your audience with contextual links and banners in order to earn a profit.
Today, I’ll be providing you with some easy to follow tips that will help you turn a profit by promoting affiliate offers directly onto your site. These tips don’t take any real prep time and can be employed as soon as you finish reading this post!
Before we begin, it’s important to note that affiliate marketing through contextual links and banner ads is a relatively simple approach, it is by no means easy. For those just starting out, a lot of traffic is required. Even once you’ve acquired traffic, it takes time to figure out what offers your audience best responds to and how to promote them for maximum effectiveness.
Let’s get started…
Knowing Your Audience
This is somewhat of a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people simply throw a niche affiliate link onto their site without knowing whether or not their audience will actually find that product useful.
Put yourself into the shoes of your audience members. Why are they on your site to begin with? What is it they may be trying to accomplish by reading your content? Can you find an affiliate offer that coincides with the needs and wants of your audience?
An easy way to determine the answers to these questions is by creating a survey for your readers. Instead of guessing what types of products they may be interested in, why not just ask them?
Survey Monkey is a free service that allows you to create custom surveys and questionnaires and post them wherever you’d like. Survey Monkey is incredibly flexible and will allow you to place your surveys on your site, on social media, in your emails, or anywhere else you can add a basic html code. If I were to create a survey for MY site, here are a few questions I may ask…
“What area of marketing would you most like to learn about?”
- PPC / Adwords
- Affiliate marketing
- Email Marketing
- Social media marketing
- Something else
From these answers I can come up with a general idea of what my readers are most interested in. I’d also take their answers into consideration when brainstorming for blog ideas.
But wait. I can narrow these choices down even more. If I want to create affiliate offers that are super targeted to what my readers want, I could create a second survey that would look like this.
“So the results are in from the first survey and the majority of you are really interested in learning more about blogging. That’s awesome! In order for me to provide the best content possible, please take a second and answer this second survey (I promise it’ll be the last one).
What area of blogging do you have the most difficulty with?”
- Creating content
- Driving traffic
- Blog design
- Something else
With the answers from the second survey, you should easily understand what your audience is most interested in and be able to find a product that fits their needs. Again, these are just sample questionnaires. You may want to fine tune your questions so that they’re as effective as possible, because the analytic data received is priceless.
Personal Recommendations Always Convert Higher
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ve undoubtedly amassed a following. This following is made up of people that are genuinely interested in what you have to say and trust your writing. They cling on to every word.
The most effective affiliate offers are ones that you’ve tried yourself. Tell your audience what problems you were facing that drove you to try that specific product or service. Walk them through every step of the process if you can. Most of all, tell them in detail the results that you encountered.
In order to remain transparent, it may be best to also tell your readers what you liked about the product, but also what you DIDN’T like the product. Not only is this more helpful for your readers, but you will come off as more genuine as well.
It’s important that you ONLY do this with products you’ve actually tried. People aren’t stupid and will be able to smell a phony. With personal experience, you should be able to provide more intimate details. This approach works extremely well when trying to gain affiliate sales.
Think about it from the reader’s point of view; Here is a person that they’ve grown to trust that may have had the same problems that they do. The recommendation from an authority is always taken in high regards.
Promote, Promote, Promote
Don’t just leave an affiliate link within one of your blog posts and expect the sales to come rolling in. Nothing is that easy. After all, the majority of your traffic may not have even clicked on the link because they were too busy reading your post.
Instead, multiple promotions may be necessary to maximize the effects of an affiliate campaign. This will not only plant a seed within their mind that the product they keep seeing is legit, but will also reinforce that idea because they will see the offer proposed more than once.
One method for planting that seed and reinforcing it is to…
Step 1 – Create a blog post providing some details about the product (i.e. pros and cons). The entire post does NOT have to be about the product. The topic should come up naturally within your post. An example being if I owned a Forex blog, I could create a post dedicated to automated trading and mention a specific software as a potential solution. This step plants the seed.
Step 2 – Create a follow up post that includes an interview with the product owner / creator. This step plants the seed and waters it.
Step 3 – Over the course of several days, send your email list the link to the original blog post from Step #1 and the interview post. This is something that you should be doing anyway, but also works as reinforcement by watering that seed.
Step 4 – Follow your posts up with social media. Tweets, Facebook posts, etc. either pointing your audience to your two previous blog posts or to ask your audience for reviews on the product (for those that purchased it). By this time, that little idea that you planted as a seed in Step #1 should have grown to be a fully fledged tree by now, potentially driving affiliate sales like crazy.
Dispelling a Myth
Despite what others may say, affiliate marketing is not that easy. On the other hand, it’s not that hard either. It takes time to develop your own strategy that fits your audience.
There are plenty of reputable bloggers and internet marketers that make a full time living through the affiliate offers they promote on their site. However, it took them quite some time to build an audience large enough to make those campaigns worthwhile.
Driving affiliate sales is not a set it and forget it process. It often takes work and a little bit of ingenuity to drive sales to your affiliate campaigns. Simply having a large following is not enough.
This should not be considered a short term solution, but instead, be looked at as something to build upon. As your site progresses and evolves, you will be able to hone your skills and create offers that really sell.