Step 5 – Building Your Marketing Platforms
Later in this post I share with you some great ways to get started. However, before I offer an overview here, let’s deal with the Elephant in the room! This is where some people get unnecessarily worried. They think it’s all going to get super technical and they won’t be able to do it.
Ditch those fears now.
If you run a blog already you’ll appreciate how easy and straightforward platforms like WordPress are. Software systems like WordPress allow you to build great looking sites with a simple click-and-play approach. To quantify that, if you have ever sold something on sites like eBay, Gumtree or Autotrader you are capable of working with WordPress.
Of course, there’s no need to build a website straight away when you can get started with something as simple as a Facebook page.
I am no techie, I’d never used WordPress before 2010 and I’ve had zero formal training. I’ve built my e-commerce business by being completely self-taught, using Facebook groups for help and watching YouTube videos if there’s something a little challenging.
It’s all relatively easy these days and there’s masses of free support out there. Actually, as the software improves it seems to get easier each year! If you’re new to WordPress it’s worth taking a look at www.wp101.com a great training resource for people starting out.
Now we’ve dealt with the Elephant let’s look at the platforms…
Your marketing platforms can consist of any one or combination of the following:- WordPress Website, Facebook Page or Group, Twitter Channel, LinkedIn Company Page, YouTube Channel, Instagram, Pinterest etc. the list could go on and on.
The important aspect is that you consider where your hungry audience will be. Everyone is online so a WordPress Website makes a lot of sense. But as for the Social Networks it’s worth taking a little time and reviewing your research from Step 1 – where are you competitors? What hungry audience have they attracted on which platform? What platform do they seem most active on? Where do they seem to generate the most engagement and user conversations?
Identify the top 2 and then priorities the top 1. Don’t try and do everything at once, it’s best to start with your number 1 and make a success of it.
On my training course I show you step-by-step via my video tutorials exactly how to make a great start on each platform. For now let’s go through my Top Ten Ways To Start:-
1. Get an online presence
Most affiliate networks require an online presence. This can be a website, a blog, or even a great Facebook page. If the idea of having to create a website seems daunting, take heart.
There are all sorts of easy to use programs and site builders out there, from WordPress, to Web.com, to Wix.com and more. Most will allow you to create a site for free, but for a small fee you can purchase your own domain.
Once you have started your site, blog, or page, you are ready to begin looking for products to promote.
2. Consider the resource site model
A resource site usually consists of helpful content such as how-to articles or do-it-yourself tips. When you regularly add fresh content, it keeps visitors coming to your site and you will build your very own hungry audience.
Meanwhile, some carefully placed advert banners around your site promoting your affiliate products can direct visitors to the businesses website with your tracking code automatically embedded. When the customer proceeds and makes a purchase you will earn your commission.
3. Promote your products with a review site
Once you’ve researched and/or tried the products you’ll be promoting, write reviews, and be sure to add banners or links to the businesses sites. You will find that the networks help you build these links or banners with ready-made advertisements and easy to use ‘fill in the blanks’ software. This model is less labour intensive, as you will strictly be writing about the product, and a weekly update or two with a fresh link will keep the search engine rankings positive. Much like the resource site, you will earn commissions as an affiliate when your visitor follows a link from your site and make a purchase.
4. Blog your way to big business
Blogging is the easiest way to create an online presence, and it allows for creativity and product-rich writing. If you already have a blog that is relevant to a certain niche, such as photography, travel, childcare, or fitness, you are already set up to add affiliate links from your partnering businesses.
Simply follow my 7 steps and find high quality, trending products that are relevant to your niche, then include them in your blogging, along with advertisements and links.
5. Dominate with downloads
The download site is one of the most lucrative ways to make money as an affiliate. In this case, you would partner with a software business, for example, by offering a free version or trial version for customers to download and try.
Most of the time, assuming the software is good at what it does (you’ll know this because you’ll have tested it…right?) these customers will want to purchase the software once the trial is over, or they will want the full version once they get a taste of it from the free version.
Software can be great at building recurring income stream too. I talk about this key strategy more on my course, but for now I’m sure you’ll appreciate that making commission from a monthly subscription is a great way to make money and build your sustainable affiliate marketing business.
6. Catch more flies with honey than with a sledgehammer
One of the biggest mistakes I come across is when people become too focussed on the word “marketing”.
An affiliate marketer is not a salesperson; you become the guide who share great products or services and gives the potential customer to the salesperson. The business sells the product; you just attract and direct the potential customers.
Avoid flashing “BUY NOW!!!” messages and high pressure “If you miss this you will lose your will to live” tactics. People are barraged everywhere with these transparent methods, and a smart customer will find them cheesy and annoying rather than attractive or enticing.
Instead of threatening your readers with the doom that awaits if they don’t “ACT NOW,” give them helpful information teasers and then direct them to the product that will help them even more. Let them make the decision, and they’ll be more likely to stick around as a hungry buyer and buy more, more often.
7. Use “socially aware” social networking
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+…the list of social networking avenues continues to grow. And as they do, the door is open wider for the affiliate to share great products. However, you have to be wise and socially aware in order to use these social networks to the best advantage.
Imagine it: Judy is worried about her teenage daughter’s mood swings. Then she finds a great book, How to Deal with a Problem Teen. She clicks “like” on Facebook.
Next thing she knows, her mother is calling her with parenting tips, her husband asks if there is something going on, and her teenage daughter is so embarrassed she unfriends Mom. All because Moms newsfeed says “Judy liked How to Deal with a Problem Teen.
As people become aware of just how much they may inadvertently be sharing, advertisers have to get savvier. The modern social networker shares things that are helpful, that reflect what is important to them, and that is entertaining. Instead of just promoting a book about teen drama, create an article about using Facebook to connect with your teen. That is an article that can be shared without embarrassment, and it can be a springboard to direct the customer to the bookseller’s website so that THEY can sell the book.
8. Work WordPress to your advantage
WordPress is one of the easiest to use platforms for websites and blogging. And they have countless design layout (themes) to choose from, many of which are free. In addition, they have all sorts of additional, helpful software programme (plug-ins) that make it easier to create and maintain a very professional site. All my sites are built and maintained on WordPress (including this one!).
One of best software programmes (plug-ins) which can help you as an affiliate is: the WordPress Affiliate Network Plugin. This plugin is an affiliate management programme that is very easy to use.
As an affiliate who is running campaigns for your products and services, you can use the WordPress Affiliate Network Plugin to accurately measure the conversion rate of each campaign to find the most profitable ones. This allows you to eliminate the non-profitable campaigns and simply focus on what your hungry audience are really interested in.
9. You’ve got mail…and money
Take advantage of capturing your site visitors with competitions and discount codes. Build your own list of hungry buyers. Use websites like Getresponse; AWeber and my favourite Mailchimp (www.getresponse.com, www.aweber.com, www.mailchimp.com) and send emails promoting new products, sales items etc. with your affiliate links. This works even better if you use paid traffic from a site such as Safe Swap (www.safe-swaps.com).
The key to making this method a success is writing engaging copy that directly helps the reader. An intelligent, conversational, soft-sell approach, and a subject line that captures interest. It is also a good idea to include a link in several places within the one email message to best capture the scan reader and the detail reader. Personally, I regularly use P.S’s at the bottom of my emails when I have an important link to share. Try it for yourself, you’ll be amazing at the number of clicks the P.S line generates.
10. Launch a coupon coup
Everyone loves to save money on the products they buy. Whether it be a coupon, a promotional discount, or a loyalty reward, people take notice when a product they need has a discount attached.
You can include coupons, promotions, and loyalty discounts within affiliate marketing methods, such as websites, blogs, social media and emails. One of the great perks of this approach is the opportunity to gather information and garner repeat business.
If they subscribe, sign up for discounts or, a loyalty programme then not only do they have an investment in the information they receive, they have also given you valuable information as well.
Without doubt the most successful coupon coup is Groupon. Take a look over their website. Groupon run their affiliate programme through Affiliate Window – you might like to take a moment and sign up!
These ten approaches to Affiliate Marketing can help you to succeed and earn more revenue. And if you employ more than one of them, your chances of success skyrocket. Take advantage of all of the avenues that Affiliate Marketing has to offer, and watch your own business grow.
Here’s to your success.
This article is from a series called '7 Simple Steps To Make Money From Your Website'
If you haven’t done so already, grab the full series in my FREE eGuide.