Being successful at affiliate marketing is so much more than throwing a couple of links up on a website or sending out a bi-monthly newsletter.
Aside from a whole load of patience and hard work, it requires you to choose a niche for the products and services you intend to promote and to have a deep understanding of the people to whom you’re selling.
With these two pieces of information, it’s possible to make money online over time as an affiliate marketer.
So let’s say you’ve done that—you’ve set up a site, social media platforms, email list, and/or YouTube channel, you’ve determined what your focus (niche) will be, and you know a lot about your ideal client, like their yearly income, geographic location, life goals, and daily struggles. Now what?
Well, as I mentioned before, successful affiliate marketing is something that happens over time. You will not make thousands overnight by starting an affiliate business, and anyone who claims it’s possible is simply not being realistic. Making money online from affiliate revenue requires good content and most importantly the trust of your audience. This is something that can take months or years.
Still, it’s tempting to really get the ball rolling once you feel like you’ve got good content going out. The trick is growing your audience so that you’re reaching more and more people who will benefit from your niche products and services. While the slow battle will always be ahead of you, here are a few ways to hopefully increase your number of followers.
Encourage People To Share Your Newsletter
Perhaps you’re using a newsletter as your main way to run your affiliate marketing business, or maybe it’s in addition to a blog or social media updates. Either way, include a small blurb somewhere in your newsletter to encourage recipients to forward it to someone they think would appreciate it.
Even though your readers might thoroughly enjoy the newsletters you send them, finding them to be helpful and informative, they might not think to forward the email to another person. The simple act of suggestion can sometimes lead to growing your email list organically and making more sales.
To include this, choose a place in your newsletter (near the side or somewhat close to the bottom of the content) and say something like: “If you know someone who would enjoy this email, go ahead and forward it to their inbox!” Emails that have a “FWD:” in the subject line tend to get special attention from recipients, so this is a wonderful way to get your content seen from audience members who really like what you’re doing.
Let’s face it: people love free stuff. If you offer a giveaway on your site, you can greatly increase the number of people on your email list in a matter of days. Giveaways don’t need to be huge amounts, either—a gift card or two, a product you’ve featured, a book, and maybe digital product you’ve created, and voila! You’ve got got some incentive for people to sign up for your newsletter. You can also join forces with other affiliates or businesses to reach even more people.
Of course, this sounds amazing at first, but it’s not always the best option. While people love anything that says “Giveaway” or “Free,” they may not be your ideal client. Sometimes people sign up for you newsletter simply in hopes of getting free stuff, and then they promptly unsubscribe after it’s done. But even worse than that are the people who’ve subscribed but then fail to unsubscribe, remaining on your list but never engaging with your content.
While you might think it’s better to have someone on the list than not, you really should be focused on growing a list of engaged and interested readers who are excited to open every newsletter and read every blog post. These are the people who will be making regular purchases from you and paying attention to your recommendations!
So while giveaways have the potential to grow your list rapidly, make sure to clean it out a few months later when you see any subscribers who have failed to open your recent emails.
Make Business Cards
Affiliate marketing is an interesting business that primarily happens online. But it’s those in-person interactions that can truly make an impact, so be prepared with business cards at all times.
Business cards are an excellent way to connect with people you feel are your ideal client and who would benefit from your work. Because you have the advantage of having met in person, you’ve already built up a lot of trust that can take longer to gain through blog posts alone. Additionally, business cards legitimize you and the work you do, making you more of an authority in your niche. For people who are great for your audience, this can make them take you and your opinion more seriously.
Join Facebook Groups
There are heaps of Facebook groups out there for entrepreneurs, and if you haven’t joined any yet they can offer a wonderful place to bounce ideas out there, network, and get advice. But unless your audience is a bunch of entrepreneurs, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Instead of thinking about the Facebook groups you want to join, consider what Facebook groups your ideal client might join. Think about their hobbies, profession, geographic location, as well as their interest in your particular niche. You may be able to get involved in a community and get your name out there, and in turn reach people who may not have heard of you otherwise.
Every Facebook group is different, so first and foremost be sure to follow the rules and guidelines they set forth. As long as you’re doing that, then your main focus should be on being an involved member of the group. Before you focus on promoting yourself, remember that to really get people interested in what you do you need to contribute some kind of value to discussions. Offer advice, get involved and answer questions that people post, and ask questions of your own. When it seems appropriate (and the guidelines allow), then you can promote your business, but this should not be your primary objective.