There are many different Affiliate Marketing strategies available and they are determined by factors such as traffic sources, verticals, offers and content.
One question that you might be asking yourself is how do I choose the right marketing strategy for my vertical? However, you could just as easily be asking yourself, how do I choose the right vertical for my marketing strategy?
In affiliate marketing, people often test out different verticals and offers and use them on their preferred traffic source, or they challenge themselves to understand new traffic sources to see if they can find new niches to improve their performance.
If you are just starting out in affiliate marketing, then we would advise you to find a vertical where you have some knowledge and then start creating your strategy. You can even mix the strategies later on, to build bigger and better target audiences.
To help you out, we’ll also tell you which strategies are beginner-friendly and which are for more advanced marketers.
Here are the most common affiliate marketing strategies and how they work.
Social Media - Suitable for Beginners
Most people have some knowledge of social media and this means that you most likely already have some knowledge of the basics. Having a familiarity with a social media platform can make it a lot easier to start out. But, you should be aware that social media platforms are icebergs. If you’re not a marketer, then you’ll only see the 10% of the platform that’s above the surface. The real 90% lies underneath.
The good news is that testing the waters on social media doesn’t have to be costly, however, you should be prepared to invest if you want to make it work. You’ll almost certainly see ‘bad’ results when starting out. Everyone does. The important thing is to learn from your tests and always review the data that you get. After all, this is what affiliate marketing is all about.
Social media platforms have their own tracking tools, so that you can see what’s working and what isn’t. You can also see how much everything costs including clicks, views, leads, purchases etc. Over time, you’ll grow to understand performance indicators and what to look out for, so that you can determine whether or not a campaign is likely to work, so you don’t waste time and money on bad campaigns.
There’s no one size fits all method to campaign success, at least not in terms of the data you should be looking out for. Instead, each vertical/offer will come with it’s own challenges. The only way to be successful is to follow the numbers you’re getting, and not other people’s.
Webmasters and Site Owners - Suitable for Beginners
Webmasters and site owners who have lots of traffic streaming through their websites can work directly with advertisers and networks to promote offers. Similarly, affiliates wanting to try building an organic audience can also build a website with the aims of running offers from their chosen vertical.
Building and maintaining a working website with high traffic volumes is no easy task, however, and, depending on how your site is set up, switching between different verticals isn’t always easy. After all, ads that you run on your website should be relevant to your audience, and if you have a website dedicated to health and nutrition, it’s unlikely that you will have much interest if you start advertising casinos.
Review sites can give you the ability to jump around between verticals more organically, as people expect there to be reviews of different products or services, so this is a great way for beginners to enter the market. It’s also a good way to drive people to your site, rather than the competition, as people may view the offer posted elsewhere, but need more information. If you can provide a decent and convincing review, along with a strong CTA (Call To Action) to purchase, then people may buy from you instead.
Marketing on a website is usually done through Banners, Pops, Widgets and Links. These things are often provided by advertisers and sometimes networks.
Affiliate marketing via a website can, in the long run, bring much cheaper organic traffic, but you’ll probably need to invest a lot more time and money into your site early on until you become profitable. A lot goes into making a working affiliate site, however, once you have a good blueprint, then it’s easier to do the second and third time around. Just be sure when first starting out not to sweat the small stuff such as the design as this can always be changed later.
When starting, focus on the funnel and try just to create a site that works. Once you know that you have a functioning funnel, then it’s time to add some meat to the bones.
SEO or PPC Affiliates - Intermediate
This category of marketers employs PPC skills to drive customers to the advertiser’s websites via SEO, AdWords, or social media advertising.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising or Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO and PPC Affiliates pay for traffic based on the number of clicks they receive. The aim of the game here is to get conversions with X number of clicks in order to maintain a profit from your payout. For example, if the payout on an offer you are running is $100, and each click you get costs $1. Then you need to average at least 1 conversion in every 100 clicks to be at least break even. If you can average 2 then you are profitable.
When it comes to PPC and SEO there are factors that drive the CPC (Cost Per Click) up and down. If you are in a very competitive market, then your costs will likely be higher.
Examples of PPC/SEO advertising platforms are Google Adwords and Yahoo Search Marketing, but there are many others out there.
Newsletter or Emails - Advanced
Email marketing is still alive and well, and it’s still possible to make good earnings. However, gone are the days when you could spam people’s inboxes day after day. Nowadays, compliance is king and if you don’t follow the rules you’ll end up blacklisted, with your emails never seeing the light of day.
Email marketing affiliates need to spend a lot of time building up an email marketing list and ensuring that people on it are relevant. Sending out thousands of emails to random people will not only get you blacklisted, it could get you arrested and fined. Plus, it isn’t worth the risk as a cold audience will hardly ever convert.
Email marketing is more advanced because it involves sourcing a high-quality list of emails In the first place. This can be done using the previous methods, and funnelling traffic to a sign-up sheet. It can also be used in tandem with other strategies to give you an additional traffic source.
Affiliates often use free Ebooks to entice people to sign up to their mailing lists, but there are a lot of incentives to choose from including prize draws, offers and discount codes, regular detailed info and invitations to webinars being some of the most popular.
The Bottom Line
Whichever strategy you choose, be sure to stick with it and don’t jump ship early on just because it seems as though things might not be working out. It’ll be much easier if you pick a strategy that you feel comfortable with. For most people, this will be social media, as the majority of people are at least familiar with it, even if they don’t know exactly how it works.
Once you’ve chosen a strategy, then you need to make sure you can track and test every stage of your funnel until you see that people can get from A to B without problems. Once they can do that, then you need to get people to A. You can draw on multiple sources for this, but be sure to get one working before trying to add a second traffic source.
There is no one size fits all blueprint for establishing a successful strategy, but the basics are always the same. It may sound obvious, but people who fail tend to fail because they forget to have a decent plan in place. Remember, if you fail to plan then you plan to fail.