If you have been following my recently published blog post, at this point, you’ve learned what affiliate marketing is, how you get paid as an affiliate, and what steps you need to take before getting started.
Throughout, we’ve looked at the two primary ways that affiliate marketing happens: blogging and paid ads.
But the Internet is full of variety, and just because a lot of affiliates are doing things a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the only way.
There are a variety of methods you can use when approaching the broad topic of how to do affiliate marketing.
It’s up to you to find what works best, then innovate and find new ways to sell.
So in this blog post, we’re going to dive into the specifics of how you can use a wide variety of affiliate marketing methods to help you make money online as an affiliate marketer.
You’ll learn how to do affiliate marketing with a blog, paid ads, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram subsequently.
Best Practice For Affiliate Marketing Blog
As we’ve seen throughout, an affiliate marketing blog is one of the best ways you can start taking steps toward your ultimate income goals.
By building a website and publishing content, you’ll effectively be creating your own online brand that can make money for years to come. But learning how to do affiliate marketing with a blog requires you to understand online marketing at a deeper level.
So I want to show you a tried and true technique that will help you find winning topics that generate traffic.
From there, we’ll look at ways you can convert your traffic into customers in a way that helps build your credibility and your revenue.
In essence, affiliate marketing blogs have two primary objectives:
- Gain traffic.
- Convert that traffic into customers.
If you are creating content focused around these two goals, you’ll be much more successful than simply going with your gut.
So to start things off, how do you create content that gains blog traffic?
If you don’t already have an audience, this can be a huge struggle.
Thankfully, there’s a proven method called the skyscraper technique that can give you a shortcut.
The technique is relatively simple, and consists of three steps:
- Find link-worthy content
- Make something even better
- Reach out to the right people
In one case, this technique doubled a blogger’s traffic in just two weeks. Bloggers and online brands around the world use it.
So if you’ve chosen your niche, determined some keywords, and done everything else I discussed in the last blog post, this is where you put that information to good use.
Let’s say, for example, that your chosen niche is helping people build websites.
You’re selling a product like InstaPage 2.0 from ClickBank that provides users a drag and drop method for creating their site.
You’ve got your keywords, and have some ideas on what type of content you should create. But how do you find link-worthy content for this topic that helps you create something better?
The best place to start is the front page of Google because that’s what’s already getting traffic and links.
For example, if you Google ‘drag and drop website builder’, you’ll see two main results.
First, you have other services that let users build a drag and drop website.
Second, you’ll see links to articles that compare various services. You want to click on the articles to see what makes them worthy of the front page.
At the very least, this gives you a good idea of what type of content you’re up against should you make your own comparison blog post.
You can input every keyword you’ve gathered in your research and click through to each article to see what they have to offer.
It’s also a good idea to start a spreadsheet that will help you easily reference your research when the time comes.
This way, you have less to scroll through and can make additional notes on what you find.
But the front page of Google provides a limited picture of how effective content like this is.
It’s a great place to start learning how to do affiliate marketing with a blog, but you need to dive deeper.
One alternative to the front page of Google would be a service like Buzzsumo.
You can insert keywords or phrases and see engagement statistics for the best pieces of content in your niche.
Here’s what shows up when you insert the ‘drag and drop website builder’ search phrase here:
You see just how many engagements these pieces get across a wide variety of channels like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
More importantly, you can see how much engagement they get overall, and it doesn’t look good for this topic.
The top article got barely above 2,000 clicks, whereas the second got only 85.
If you want a good article to improve upon, the top one is clearly the winner. Add it to your research, and then continue with the rest of your keywords you researched earlier.
Last but not the least, you need to ensure that the pieces of content you find are truly representing all of the variety your niche has to offer.
You can approach any niche you choose from a number of angles that can ultimately help you generate traffic as you master how to do affiliate marketing.
To do that, consider using a tool like SEMrush’s Topic Research tool to help see if you’ve missed anything.
When you input your keyword phrase, it suggests a wide variety of different topics that your keyword can fall under.
And even better, it gives you links to pages that are relevant to your search. Clicking on the ones that meet your topic and audience will navigate you to that page, which lets you continue your research.
Once you’ve researched enough pieces to get an idea of what you’re up against, the next step is to recreate it as your own.
It should be said here that you should not plagiarize in any way.
Plagiarism is never okay, and it will ultimately undermine your site’s traffic, your credibility, and your relationship with merchants.
The key here is to take the ideas others have presented and shed new light on them.
Provide visual examples, keep your data fresh and relevant, and link to sources that boost your credibility.
Your end product will very likely look nothing like the pieces you’ve pulled from, and that’s okay. As long as it’s shareworthy, it will generate traffic with time.
But generating traffic is only half the battle when learning how to do affiliate marketing.
You’ve put in the time to research keywords, find content that works, and create something special, but how do you close the deal?
That’s where you make money after all.
Closing this gap is probably one of the most blogged about issues on the Internet amongst marketers.
As an affiliate marketer, the choice is yours how you want to do it. But the biggest takeaway is to go the extra mile with your content.
With popular affiliate programs, you need to have a reason to buy through you instead of another affiliate.
For example, in my niche, there are tons of affiliates for the same course launches and online business tools.
Just promoting my affiliate link inside a blog post or on a resources page on my website, which are basic best practices for my competitors, isn’t going to be enough.
Instead, I focus on marketing every program not only as seriously and consistently as I would my own product, but also on figuring out ways to make my offer unique from other affiliates.
For example, I’m an affiliate for a lot of popular programs around starting and growing my business.
Many other affiliates for them offer bonuses for customers who buy through their affiliate link, but they’re usually just that person’s own products, regardless of how related it is to the main offer’s material.
Instead, I host a group coaching/mastermind call for anyone who buys through my affiliate link.
That way I’m not throwing them more content to consume, I’m helping them take action on the investment they just made.
For example, here’s a list of ways you can potentially edge your audience closer to a purchase:
- Custom landing pages
- Downloadable materials
- Calls to action
- Opt-in forms or data collection forms
- Email campaigns
- Remarketing ads
- Recommend products in your content
- Keep creating interesting content
All of these methods engage with your audience and build interest in the products you’re selling over time.
Even simple efforts like an email campaign can be all you need to close thousands in sales.
For example, here’s a look at a creative email sent by the brand Cook Smarts.
It starts with a helpful weekly meal prep menu. Each contains a link to a grocery list, and even makes specific product recommendations that complete the recipes the best.
It’s the perfect segue from helpful content to affiliate links.
The email goes on to give helpful tips for cooking the recipes, and then ends with this short invitation from the brand.
Without being pushy, the brand invites you to re-engage with them on Facebook and asks you to share the love with your family and friends.
The unique combination of helpful content, appropriate linking, and personal connection has the potential to make this email incredibly effective.
By combining a tool like this email, or any of the other tools above, with your blog, you’ll be positioned to engage and sell more as you study how to do affiliate marketing with a blog.
It’s not an easy process, but an affiliate marketing blog can stand the test of time and help you make money if you take the right steps.
Paid Ad Affiliate Marketing Methods
Affiliate marketing doesn’t require that you take the limelight. In fact, most affiliate marketers are probably not ever going to be the center of attention, and that’s okay.
They still get paid, because they use paid ads. But that doesn’t mean you can just sit back and relax.
Hosting paid ads is a complex and time-consuming endeavor. They require experimentation.
And from a merchant’s perspective, they want to know that the ads you run are both effective and on-message.
So in this section, we’ll take a closer look at steps you can take that will accelerate your path when learning how to do affiliate marketing with paid ads.
Develop an audience-first approach
For those unfamiliar with paid ads and other paid media, the basics look pretty simple.
A marketer puts up an ad, backs it with a budget, and users click if they’re interested.
But the reality isn’t that simple, especially the part about users being interested.
While the ‘spray and pray’ mentality could work, it can also fall flat and fail to close any deals.
The solution then is to go with an audience-first approach from the start of your train on how to do affiliate marketing.
And to kick that process off, you need to learn as much as possible about your target audience. Developing audience insights begins and ends with market research.
To sum that process up, it means you need to find four essential points of information:
- Which products sell the best?
- What prices drive sales and profits?
- Where is the best placement for my ads?
- Are ads really the best way to sell in your scenario?
By conducting market research, you will be able to find products and craft ads that help you sell to online customers.
Without the right data to base your decisions on, you’ll only be going on your gut when building an ad.
That isn’t likely to pan out.
Thankfully, there are numerous sources of information that are reasonably easy to access.
Not all of them are free, but the price you may have to pay can be worth it once your ads are up and running.
Once you’ve done your research on your target audience, the next step to learn how to do affiliate marketing with ads is to make a guide that will help you stay on-message at all times.
These guides are commonly called ‘customer personas’ or ‘buyer personas’.
Of course, you don’t have to make it look pretty, but you should create something that helps you create ads that speak to your audience above all else.
That means making general bios, understanding your target audience’s goals and frustrations, and finding out where they like to shop.
Equipped with this information, you’ll be able to target your audience with pinpoint accuracy.
The key to successful paid advertising is to simply experiment.
Within every ad, multiple variables are always at play.
Your copy, images, links, and even the ad type or positioning can ultimately make or break your efforts.
While you can always see what everyone else is doing, the only way that you can truly improve is to experiment.
So when it comes time to experiment as you learn how to do affiliate marketing, what are your options?
The gold standard of online experimentation when it comes to paid ads is known as A/B testing.
This is a method where you use a control ad and then change a single element on a duplicate.
When running simultaneously, and for a long enough period, this will give you feedback on whether or not that one change made a positive or negative impact.
If positive, the idea is to keep the change and then build off it with another experiment.
If negative, then you can move to another element to see if anything changes.
It’s also good to keep in mind that you’re still trying to build an audience with paid ads. While you may not take center stage, your merchant does.
Just because you don’t have to deal with the audience in the long term doesn’t mean it’s not a consideration.
You still want to build an ad that provides a positive return on your investment and gives value to your customers.