Affiliate marketing presents a great opportunity for making money online. But what really is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a marketing technique whereby a website owner (which we can now refer to as the affiliate marketer) promotes and/or sells the products of a merchant partner to the followers or subscribers of his website. The merchant partner supplies the products to the affiliate marketer, while the affiliate marketer expends the effort in promoting the merchant partner’s products with the ultimate goal of being able to sell the product. The merchant partner enjoys increased sales and potentially lower marketing costs, while the affiliate marketer earns commission on the sales.
The success of the affiliate marketing depends on the capability of the affiliate marketer to influence his followers or subscribers to buy the products of the merchant partner. And of course, the number of followers the affiliate marketer has is crucial.
How do affiliate marketers earn followers?
It is truly vital for affiliate marketers to have a lot of followers. Otherwise, merchant partners won’t even consider them for a business relationship!
It will all start with the affiliate marketer coming up with his website. He needs to generate a lot of followers so he will need to come up with a website that can do just that. That is the reason why a lot of affiliate marketers are famous bloggers.
Consideration can be given to buying traffic if it cannot be earned organically. However, even more consideration should be given as to whether this is even practical.
Conversion rate is the true measure of affiliate marketing success
Having a lot of visitors, followers, or subscribers is vital, but it is not everything. What is more important than having a lot of traffic is having a high conversion rate, which refers to the percentage of visitors who make purchases and become actual customers.
Websites with a lot of followers have higher chances of having some of these followers make a purchase, but it also means that there are more people that the affiliate marketer needs to convince to buy.
So, over and above the number of followers, merchant partners are looking into the strength, through the conversion rate, of a potential affiliate marketing partner who should be integrating content marketing with the affiliate marketing strategy
The content that the affiliate marketer produces has a direct effect on his ability to convince his followers to purchase the merchant partner’s products. The benefit of using a certain product is one topic that the affiliate marketer can talk about, which may encourage his followers to buy. But the content must not be just a plain write-up. It must be compelling – inspiring even. The affiliate marketer must be able to entice his followers to buy the products that the merchant partner is offering. For example, if you’re an affiliate marketer selling designer clothes, you don’t describe just a dress. The following content ideas provide source material on which you can work:
- ELLE’s Winter Fashion category
- InStyle’s The Fashion Girl’s Guide to Making True Winter Wear Look Chic
- Green Gift Guide: The Best Warm Winter Wear For Kids
When coming up with content, the affiliate marketer should not be obvious with his promotional motive. It will discourage your followers when it is apparent that you are trying to sell them the product. This is the approach you should adopt. The write-up should appear as if the affiliate marketer is a product user and he would like to share the benefits that he is enjoying with the product, in a similar way to what is portrayed in the examples detailed above. Informational content would also work. But what may work best is an article about the experience of the affiliate marketer in using such a product, and why readers must try to use the product as well. From there, go in for the kill and tell them that they should try the product for themselves.
Use social media to gain traffic
Social networking sites play an important role in affiliate marketing. Social media can help a website build followers. Posting content on social media also helps it reach a wider audience, and can make it easily shareable with a visitor’s own friends and followers. Social media also allows you to interact directly with your potential customers.
True enough, social networking sites are effective for networking, and thus earn you a lot of subscribers or followers. Social media can therefore be a really great help for your affiliate marketing initiative.
Landing pages as a conversion tool
Landing pages are also important for your affiliate marketing campaign. You need to give a lot of thought to how your landing pages will look because they can either help or ruin your chances with a potential customer. When a visitor goes to your page, the design is the first thing that he will see. The design of your landing pages then, is one of the things that you need to investigate carefully. Your design can tell whether he will stay on or leave your page. As a general rule, don’t put in too much text, and don’t put flashing graphics that may appear as irritating for the visitors. But above all, remember the purpose of your site – to promote the product of your merchant partner. Ensure that your website’s landing page is enough to entice your website’s visitors to stay and read the content on which you have worked so hard.
Since you cannot know exactly how your landing pages will be received, or if you will get it right the first time, consider running an A/B test. Try out different versions of your landing pages so that you will know which one will be most supportive of your campaign. It is smart to be proactive in determining how you can undertake an activity in the best possible way.
Thank your followers who become your merchant partner’s customers
When all your efforts result in an effective affiliate marketing campaign, your followers will buy a product from your merchant partner. And when they click on the link that will redirect them to the merchant partner’s portal for your leads, make sure that you use the opportunity to thank your followers on the redirect page.
Why? Not only because you will be earning money from the customer, but also because they believed in you. It is the polite thing to do.
Finally, keep abreast of trends and best practices
The thing about affiliate marketing is that there is no one technique that will serve you well in your campaign for ever. And your competitors know that. It is a good idea to learn best practices from bigger players. Also, don’t resist future trends in affiliate marketing – go with the flow! Do what’s best today, and do what’s best tomorrow, because, at the end of the day, it will always be about how you are able to reach out to your followers. It is about how you understand them, and your approach to making them want to buy the products that your merchant partner is offering.
Your followers are already following you for a reason. Capitalize on that and execute a well-planned strategy for a winning affiliate marketing campaign!
Erin Feldman is an eCommerce business owner somewhere in California, specializing in activewear and yoga outfits.