7 min read
Let’s breakdown some misconceptions.
Affiliate marketing is the epitome of the phrase, “You get out what you put in.”
There are people making thousands of dollars every single day from affiliate marketing. And then there are some marketers who place their affiliate links in one place and think it’s going to drive insane results.
As the Affiliate Manager at ConvertKit, I get an inside look at what affiliate strategies our top affiliates are implementing as well as see trends in the affiliate industry.
For reference, a few of our top affiliates are making $15,000/month because they have a highly diverse affiliate strategy. I only share this to encourage you because there is SO much opportunity in the affiliate space to make a living while also sharing the best resources with your community.
Want to learn how to promote affiliate links that drive that kind of income?
Well, it’s rare that posting your affiliate links in one place, on one page, will drive enough traffic to product results.
But there’s a common misconception that “passive income” like affiliate marketing is easy.
You must first commit to active marketing and intentional strategy before you can just sit back in your chair, book a ticket to the closest beach, and watch the dollars roll in. You need to build trust with your audience first.
Think about affiliate marketing in the same way you build a brand.
Your core brand is the center of the wheel, but you need the spokes (the top of funnel interaction) to make the business go round.
How else do you attract eyeballs to your site and leads in your funnel? You need traffic.
In the same way you build a diverse brand with touchpoints in multiple places, you need to do the same with your affiliate links.
It might be daunting at first, but it’s important to combine at least three to four of these strategies for your affiliate products instead of focusing on one. It just won’t drive high enough volume for maximum impact if you don’t.
Think of it this way: more traffic = more conversion opportunity = more affiliate sales
Let’s dive into the core ways you can market your affiliate link.
The best affiliate links have complimentary content that supports the idea and solutions of the suggested product.
A way to organically plug an affiliate product would be to talk about it naturally within the content you post on your website, also known as native ads.
Native ads — advertisements that are consistent with the look, voice, and style of the platform they appear on — will eventually crowd out banner ads. Marketers are increasingly leveraging social media like Instagram Stories to show ads in ways that users hardly recognize (or mind) as ads.
Research via eye-tracking technology shows that consumers look at native ads 53% more frequently than display ads. And Business Insider forecasts that native ads will provide almost 75% of all ad revenue by 2020. To improve your results, create native ad experiences that your customers enjoy consuming right alongside the rest of their content.
Let’s say you have a food blog targeting people with a gluten free diet/intolerance. Your core objective is to sell gluten-free flour via your Amazon affiliate link. So in every recipe or blog post when you talk about gluten free flour, you highlight the product(s) you’re trying to sell.
It sounds incredibly simple, and for the most part it is. Just make sure you have the appropriate parameters in place to comply with FTC laws so your audience knows some of your links could be affiliate links.
An email list is one of the most valuable and sustainable ways to build a community. They are your trusted, inner circle. And because they want your emails in their inbox, it means they trust you.
Emailing your list about products and tools that you use is another great way to get your affiliate link in front of an engaged audience. You can offer them special deals and offer exclusive content here because it’s a more intimate way to communicate vs. social media.
Some of our top affiliates make over 80% of their affiliate income from their podcasts. If you host your own podcast and don’t want to clutter it with inauthentic ads, suggest products and tools that you already use.
There’s something more honest about slipping in resources that you already use vs. pushing a product you’ve used once. Building a story around the product is a great way to make the affiliate promotion more organic too.
Showing the visual aspects of a product can really sell it to your audience. Talking about it vs. showing them how to use it can go a long way. Testimonials and tutorials are assets to your community because it showcases how you use the product so they can see it for themselves.
The best part is anyone can make a video. It can be on your phone, computer, or camera. As long as it’s honest and helpful the quality doesn’t matter quite as much.
This is another form of native advertising (as mentioned before).
Let’s say you have an online course about productivity that teaches people how to get the most out of their day. Part of the content could be you suggesting tools that you use to be productive like Calendly, Evernote, etc.
You can easily become an affiliate for products that compliment your content and earn a commission when people sign up! Now that’s passive income.
It also doesn’t feel forced because the solution you are offering is inside a solution oriented product, your course!
This is very similar to the option above. The core difference is that this course would be free.
Free courses are a great way to offer value, build your list, and insert affiliate links when it’s beneficial for the customer taking the course.
For example, if you had a free email 5-day course about workouts you can do from anywhere, you could include affiliate links for any products you recommend using like yoga mats, resistance bands, or a free hand weight set.
This entire article from Matt McWilliams is incredibly helpful when it comes to running Facebook ads to your affiliate link.
At its core, affiliate marketing comes down to trust. And you need more trust the higher the price of the product you’re promoting.
Strategy depends on the type of product you’re promoting. Is the product a:
Think about the purchase process from the consumer’s perspective.
The more involved and expensive the product, the more content and strategy you need to build around your affiliate links.
Determine what kind of products you are going to promote and then build a strategy that matches that level of product.
Strategize how you can build the appropriate amount of content and sales tactics around the affiliate link that supports the purchase.
Then sit back and monitor your traffic, make appropriate tweaks, and continue to reiterate based on traffic and feedback from your audience.
I can’t stress the word trust enough. You need to build trust with your audience over time in order to truly drive affiliate sales.
Without trust and value, affiliate marketing is a waste of time.
Download this issue of Tradecraft as a PDF to read and reference at your own pace.