There’s a lot of affiliate marketing advice for bloggers circulating around. And I’m sure you’re familiar with the basics on how to promote this and that. But is the “common knowledge” the same as what some of the popular blogs actually do.
To be honest, I’m writing this post just as much for myself as I do for you. You see, I’m preparing a re-launch of my blog and I want to get every “money making” insight I can, so I’ve decided to spent the afternoon browsing around the internet and searching for some interesting tricks.
The standard path of internet income for bloggers hasn’t changed a lot over the years:
- create a blog
- provide value
- build an email list
- promote products
And even though it surely seems like a sensible approach, I’m more interested in some side-techniques and alternative paths you can take. Like, for instance, making money off your first-time visitors, even if they don’t want to subscribe to anything.
By doing my short research I found that this is more or less what Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income does. Even though his blog gets visited by a stream of loyal, regular visitors, his monetization methods are very immediate in nature, so to speak.
Being a blogger-affiliate RARELY means finding just one product and promoting the hell out of it. Looking into a bigger number of products and promoting each one discretely looks like a potentially more effective method.
If you take another glance at Pat and his site (in one of his income reports, for example), you’ll notice that he’s promoting something like 30 different products.
Such an approach allows him to capitalize on all current bonuses and make sure that he can provide something interesting to every member of his audience.
Therefore, the thing worth noticing here is that you – the site owner – never know what’s going to make you the most money. Since you’re not paying for traffic to your individual posts, trying out multiple affiliate products is a good idea because some of those products will to stick.
For Pat, the top performer is a hosting company affiliate program. What it’s going to be in your case … you’ll have to find out on your own, but this can’t be done without trying out a lot of stuff.
Monetize your top content
A situation common on most blogs is that some content can get extremely popular over the long haul.
Normally, there are two periods of a certain blog post’s popularity (where the second one doesn’t always happens):
- The initial popularity – due to your subscribers, social media, and the ranking of your homepage.
- The long-term popularity – due to the content quality, SEO, and the fact how well the content speaks to the audience’s needs.
Corbett Barr from ThinkTraffic publishes (at least he used to) monthly traffic reports. The latest report (Oct 2012 at the time of writing) showcases the list of the most popular content (image below). Some of that content has been online for a long time, and has become the pillar of Corbett’s site.
The conclusion here is that popular content is exactly where you should place your main monetization elements.
I know that this might not sound like anything groundbreaking, but it really is easy to get mixed up in all the work and simply not monitor what your top content is at the moment. Therefore, every month, check your traffic, and identify what your top posts are, include affiliate links or other forms of affiliate promotions.
Also, this popular content is a great place to include your newest promotions. For example, even if a given post has been online for two years, editing it and adding a link to some product launch that’s currently being rolled out can be a great idea if the post receives healthy traffic.
Being real sells
If you take a look at every major blog, you’ll quickly notice that the common characteristic of successful bloggers is transparency. After you read a couple of their articles you can almost feel like you know them.
Creating such a level of connection with your audience is way more difficult than it sounds, but one of the main steps is to promote only the products you actually believe in and use yourself.
If you do this, including some simple one-sentence promotions into any given blog post is not difficult at all. You already have experience with the products and know when they can be of some specific help to your audience.
On top of that, you don’t even have to hard sell anything. Mentioning a given product just “by the way” can work well in the long run, especially when your posts are constantly building up their search engine rankings.
Reviews are probably one of the most popular ways of promoting a product. However, you really have to be careful here. The blogosphere is full of both good and bad examples.
Most authority sites with strong brands would never review anything they don’t have any first-hand experience with. The main goal is to provide some real world info about the product.
On the other side of the fence there are people who review products without ever laying their hands on them. The reviews are written purely from the promotional material, which is a really bad practice.
Of course, you can make a quick buck that way, but your reputation will get hurt during the process.
In a nutshell, do what successful bloggers do, review only the products that you have some genuine experience with.
Becoming the merchant
These days, more and more bloggers take the steps to launch their own in-house affiliate programs. While this approach is only reserved to those of us who have some actual products to sell, it is undoubtedly an opportunity worth looking into.
For example, some niche blogs that have successful affiliate programs are: Lifehack.org (via e-junkie), Firepole Marketing, Nerd Fitness.
What’s interesting about them is that, apart from Lifehack, these are not huge sites, yet they can still attract affiliates and provide them with a worthwhile experience.
In short, if you have some products (preferably digital ones), launching your own affiliate program can be worth the effort.
Now, there are some additional issues you have to take care of in order to even pull it off. For instance, payment processing.
Payment processing itself is pretty straightforward when you’re dealing with standard B2C sales (like when you’re selling a product directly). You just set up a PayPal button to handle the thing. However, it can get a bit more complicated when dealing with affiliates.
If you have a good development and marketing machine behind you, you can launch a custom in-house platform, which will handle your affiliate payments on its own. However, in this case you also have to do 100% of the job when it comes to getting affiliates, managing them, processing their data, tracking, and so on.
Doing online payment processing yourself is surprisingly not that difficult. There’s a number of services that can help you do it without having a big part of your money consumed by fees.
Anyway, as it turns out, different bloggers choose different solutions, so it’s hard to point out THE solution. This is mainly up to you.
Comment section promoting
The last trend I want to mention here is using the comment section as a place for promoting affiliate offers. This is done by many bloggers. Let’s take a look at an example found at Entrepreneur’s Journey by Yaro Starak.
Just above the comment section there’s a block with an affiliate offer (currently for BlueHost).
This idea may seem simple, but it’s actually a very clever thing to do. The readers who have managed to read your whole post and then decided to take a look at the comments are probably very interested in what you have to say, which can make convincing them to click on your promotions a bit easier.
Even though I have no data regarding the exact results bloggers are getting from this, there has to be some value there due to the apparent popularity of this approach.
I guess that’s it for my observations. To be honest, most of that stuff isn’t even that groundbreaking, but it’s often the simplest things that bring the best results. My conclusion is that we should always pay attention to not only what people are trying to teach us, but also to what they’re doing themselves.
How about you, did you notice anything interesting going on with the top blogs in your niche?
This post is written by Joseph. When he isnâ€™t reading research papers and articles on the psychology of getting people to pay, is working on marketing for ACH-Payments.com
Meet the Entrepreneurs and Experts of Affiliate Summit West 17
Thousands of internet marketers, entrepreneurs, content creators and brands will ascend upon Las Vegas this weekend for Affiliate Summit West 2017. Not only has Affiliate Summit become one of the largest affiliate and internet marketing conferences in the world today, it’s also one I’ve been closely associated with ever since the beginning. From it’s first conference in a small room in New York City with just a couple hundred people to now having more than 5,000+ attendees and conferences twice per year, it’s always been great to attend as both an attendee and speaker.
At the same time, it would be a huge mistake to discount Affiliate Summit as just another networking of marketing conference. The relationships, businesses and life experiences that are a result of the event is second to none — which I why I always recommend everyone to attend, no matter their current level of expertise.
By the way… if you are attending, don’t miss the awesome “How to Become a Millionaire Blogger” panel with myself, John Chow, John Rampton, and Syed Balkhi. It’s almost always standing room only, and rated as one of the highest attended and most valued sessions of Affiliate Summit.
Over the years I’ve literally met thousands of people through the conference and built many powerful relationships and business opportunities as well. With each new year, new speakers, entrepreneurs, and bloggers will take the next step in becoming financially independent, starting a side business or simply changing the world in some way or another.
To help you not only get inspired for this year’s Affiliate Summit West conference but also get inspired with just a glimpse of the talent at this event, I wanted to highlight some of my previous podcast guests, who will also be speaking at #ASW17. Enjoy, and I hope to see you there!
Inspiring Stories and Marketing Tips from Affiliate Summit Speakers
Below you will find a list of speakers currently on the agenda for ASW 17. However, through my podcast I’ve interviewed more than 80 different industry experts… many of which who will be also attending the event in one way or another. Be sure to check out the full list of interviews here.
Shawn Collins the co-founder of Affiliate Summit, which has become the largest affiliate marketing conference in the world today.
I’ve been good friends with Shawn for a while now and we’ve both been able to experience the affiliate marketing industry completely transition and develop over the past 15+ years. We were both in attendance at the Affiliate Force cruise, which was one of the first attempts at an affiliate marketing conference, but knew it could be done better. At that point Shawn and Missy decided they could do it better and the rest is history!
John Chow is one of the most well-known and successful bloggers in the world. If you’ve ever Google’d “how to make money online” or “how to make money blogging”, you’ve probably come across his name and site several times.
The amazing thing about John Chow was that he was never supposed to make money with his blog in the first place. What was originally just going to be a blog on his personal life and what he ate for lunch, soon became a “money making case study”. As John learned new and exciting ways to monetize his blog content and audience, the money just kept rolling in.
Jump forward several years later and his blog is now generating over six-figures per month, and most of it recurring and automated through his amazing sales funnel system — all of which John talks about in this episode.
Rachel Honoway is the CEO of For Me To Coupon. However it’s not her current position that we are focusing on, instead it’s the great journey that’s led her to where she is today.
The start of Rachel’s journey in the world of online marketing is nearly 20 years in the making. Rachel’s first job was at an internet marketing company called Kowabunga, where she first came in as an intern. As the company continued to grow in size, so did Rachel’s daily tasks and her job title. The company was soon acquired and Rachel was then managing more of the company than ever before. Once leaving Kowabunga, Rachel had a wide range of opportunities over the years before ending up at For Me To Coupon, where she is the CEO today — which is all discussed in this latest episode.
Syed Balkhi is not only a master at WordPress, but he is also an awesome entrepreneur.
Since an early age Syed has always had a passion for business and building success. This could be seen from the early years of his life when he was just a kid in Pakistan and selling greeting cards. Then later in life while in high school, Syed started developing sites of his own while quickly discovering what the internet had to offer.
Today Syed runs some of the most powerful and heavily trafficked sites in the world… and yes, they are all powered with WordPress!
Stephan Spencer is an SEO expert. He’s also the author of Google Power Search and co-author of The Art of SEO… so it’s safe to say he knows his stuff when it comes to SEO and ranking sites in the search results.
How sites rank in the search results can go all the way back to before 2000, which is when Stephan and his NetConcepts company started getting heavy into SEO services. The thing about SEO is that it’s always changing, so to be one of the best SEO experts in the industry, Stephan is continually at the forefront of the industry and connecting with some of the most successful experts, businesses, and brands in the world.
Geno Prussakov is an affiliate marketing expert, author, and international speaker.
In the world of the internet, being an expert is key. Geno has mastered the art of affiliate marketing and affiliate program management and through this expertise has been able to grow his personal brand and business at the same time. As the author of many best-selling books on affiliate marketing, and also haven spoke at 50+ different conferences on such topics, Geno is the voice many people turn to when looking for answers to their affiliate marketing questions.
Having trained thousands of marketing professionals through his various books and online blog, Geno also went on to create Affiliate Management Days, which is a conference solely focused on the art of successful affiliate program management.
Oliver Roup is the founder and CEO of VigLink, a company that helps content creators make money through the use of affiliate marketing, while not having to deal with all the complexities of individual tracking, manually creating links and joining multiple programs.
Before getting active in the online marketing space, Oliver had accumulated quite an exciting resume of previous work with Space X, Microsoft, Paul Allen and many others. However, what might be Oliver’s most exciting experience to date was taking his business at Viglink from an idea to the flourishing business it is today.
For Oliver, this isn’t something that would happen overnight. Instead, it was a long journey of meeting with investors and VCs, trying to convince them that his idea was worth their time and investment. After many failed attempts, Oliver finally found an investor that was interested and things started to move fast!
Years later and over $20 million dollars in funding to date, the company continues to grow and scale in size while also helping sites of all sizes make money with their content while also connecting them with some of the largest brands and advertisers in the world.
Russell Brunson is an entrepreneur and the founder of DotComSecrets and ClickFunnels.
While finishing up his last year in College, Russell wanted to figure out a way to make enough money so he could continue with his passion for wrestling and to take care of himself and his girlfriend. After dabbling in the online marketing space and going through various failed projects, Russell discovered that one of the most successful ways to make money online was through the use of ebooks, guides and selling information. While messing around with some friends, Russell wanted to create a potato gun and went to the internet to find out how to create one. Once he found that there was nothing out there, he quickly threw one together and made a little course of his own on how to do the same.
Jump forward several years and today you will find Russell Brunson with all of his attention focused on ClickFunnels, a WYSIWYG editor and seamless way to create high converting landing pages and sales funnels. Not only has ClickFunnels become a huge success, it’s also taught Russell how to grow and scale a company, while also learning how to remove distractions and only focusing on what matters most.
John Rampton is an online entrepreneur who has become a master at pay per click marketing, but even more importantly — making connections and networking with the right people.
I first met John Rampton several years back when he came up to me and asked for an interview while at Affiliate Summit. Since then we just seemed to click and started working on various projects together. In addition to being the Managing Editor of Search Engine Journal, John’s writing can also be found on Forbes, HuffingtonPost, Entrepreneur and many other top media outlets and news sources.
One of the major reasons for John’s success in the world of online marketing can be attributed to his outgoing attitude, willingness to help others and talking with just about everyone he meets. Each of these are all required skills for making it in the world of business and forming new partnerships. With all of this in mind, it only made sense for him to leave his home state of Utah and make the big move to Silicon Valley, CA — the central economic focal point for everything internet!
Thomas Smale is the co-founder of FE International, a company that was founded in 2010 that focuses on website brokering for mid-market online businesses.
Back in 2009-2010 Thomas wanted to get involved in the world of online marketing, but with little technical experience, his options were limited. It was then that he fell upon the concept of buying and selling websites for himself. With only a few hundred dollars at a time, Thomas began buying and flipping websites and getting quite good at it in the process. As his reputation and experience in this space started to grow, so did requests from other individuals asking for his support in selling their own websites — thus, a new business venture begins!
Today Thomas is the co-founder of FE International, which has offices in two different countries and 11 team members — all with the focus on website brokering and mastering the art of buying and selling websites.
See you at Affiliate Summit West!
10 Strategies to Take Your Facebook Marketing to the Next Level
How should brands that rely on Facebook marketing shift strategy in light of Facebook’s latest newsfeed update (which makes brand pages more dependent on users sharing posts with friends)?
Facebook, with over 1.7 billion users, is a powerful marketing platform for any business. It allows you to reach consumers on a platform that they are already using every day.
But when users told Facebook that they wanted to see more stories from friends and less promotional content, Facebook implemented a news feed update that gave them just that. So what does that mean for your marketing efforts?
Businesses now need to work harder to ensure that their content is shareable rather than promotional. We asked ten entrepreneurs from YEC to share their best tips to ensure that your content still makes it on the news feed.
1. Be the Supplier for News Breakers
Step back and think about the sharing behavior of your own friends. They always want to be the first to share content that others have not already seen. Be fast and be first to break new stories relevant to your audience. Your Facebook page fans are more likely to share exclusive and engaging content to their own personal audiences if they feel it’s fresh and new.
2. Stop Selling and Start Engaging
Unless you want to pay Facebook to promote your content, you need to push more content that your audience is likely to share. The more shares and likes you drive, the more reach you get with your content. With Facebook’s recent change, the key is to stop using Facebook to sell and instead use it to educate, entertain and engage your audience.
3. Pay Facebook
Facebook is a public company. Any updates to its newsfeed algorithm are meant to help the company maximize its return to shareholders. My advice? Play the game. Pay Facebook its advertising dollars to ensure your content gets discovered. The cost to create content (designers, copywriters, etc.) is usually more than advertising. Budget a little extra for Facebook ads to produce your best content ROI.
4. Embed Interactivity
Reduce the number of links that you post on your page and focus on embedding content – articles and videos – into Facebook instead. Since Facebook users prefer to stay on Facebook, giving them content without sending them away will help to guarantee they actually share your content, which will then place you in front of other audiences. Share stories that are informative, not promotional.
5. Focus on Proven Tactics That Yield More Shares
Tactics like video content and helpful advice are some of the most commonly shared type of posts, so businesses should redirect their content strategy toward these tactics if they haven’t done so already.
6. Diversify Your Marketing Strategies
It is not a good idea to be solely dependent on just one marketing platform. In this fast-paced world, change is inevitable when it comes to marketing via various social media platforms. Diversify your marketing strategies across numerous platforms because safety comes in numbers. If changes on one platform don’t suit your business, move your marketing money to another.
– Engelo Rumora, List’n Sell Realty
7. Make Ad Campaigns Pop
With social media platforms now “competing for screen time,” companies need to make their advertising campaigns funny or memorable. We always remember those funny Super Bowl commercials, share them and talk about them. Making an emotional connection through storytelling will make potential customers remember your brand and create more buzz.
8. Network and Be Personal
You need to connect with friends and family on a personal level. Then you can market your services, just like you would in real life. You would not consistently blast your friends and family with announcements of your services, so don’t do it on Facebook either. However, a well-placed announcement for something interesting or important can be effective.
9. Make Content Sharable, Then Pay
If you have the right approach, this shouldn’t be a problem. You’re already creating shareable content targeted to the right audience. But even if your content is popular, you’ll have to pay to promote posts to a wider audience. Find out which posts generate the most engagement and pay to promote them. For brands, Facebook isn’t the free ride to huge audiences that it used to be.
10. Provide Value
Facebook is a game changer for any business that can master it. By providing value to the users that share your posts, it will give them an incentive to do so more often. For example, if you have an e-commerce business, offer a coupon code to anyone who shares your post. If you’re providing a service, give the users access to an exclusive blog post for sharing.
The answers above are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Affiliate Summit – Stories and Moments You Don’t Want to Miss
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