Bob Dearsley brings the second in a three-part series of articles looking into how businesses and marketing managers can generate prospect leads and B2B sales through website optimisation. This article looks specifically at website design and structure to encourage engagement.
Anyone can throw together a website, post a few hastily written articles and drop in a bunch of affiliate links, but the really successful affiliates know there’s much more to it than that.
Success comes down to hard work, building good relationships and choosing the right products and markets – a bit of luck along the way will help, too.
The key thing is to plan BEFORE you get started. You need to choose a popular, lucrative niche, high quality products to promote and create a plan for your initial and ongoing content. By getting this part right, it will be much easier to stay focused as you move forward.
Here’s some tips to follow to build your affiliate marketing career:
- Choose your niche wisely
Before you get started, you need to decide on your focused niche and avoid trying to sell everything to everyone! Websites that focus on a single niche or, preferably, a smaller sub-niche, tend to be more successful, simply because targeted content attracts targeted visitors, who may buy the products you’re promoting. It makes all your marketing so much more effective.
Let’s take the health niche as an example. Don’t build your site around the whole niche. Choose a popular sub-niche such as weight loss and have sub-categories like women’s and men’s weight loss, after pregnancy weight loss, weight loss workout plans and supplements. Or drill down even further and base your site around a subject such as yoga, where you categories could be yoga types, yoga videos, yoga equipment, etc.
Keywords, post subjects and marketing opportunities all become much easier to define when you are very targeted with your subject.
- Always search for new opportunities
Don’t think you can set up your website once and leave it at that. You need to keep informed and up to date with your niche and look for new content, news and fresh products to promote, to keep your website current and authoritative.
Sometimes, new sub-niches appear which are directly relevant to yours and, when you take the time to stay informed, you can jump on these quickly and add extra income to your business.
- Create quality content to drive traffic
Content is the lifeblood of your website. Consistently posting unique, valuable, niche-related content on your site is the very best way to stay in Google’s good books and rank for your keywords. Strive to become an expert in your niche by using magazine subscriptions, subscribe to news feeds, visit niche forums and look for the latest product launches, etc.
On your site you can then share news, solve problems, give tips and tactics, write about changes in the niche, research and case studies – all examples of useful content. Obviously, product reviews make excellent content as they use very specific buyer keywords and are by far the easiest content to monetise.
Don’t scrimp on your posts if you want them ranked in Google. The average post length for niche articles holding the top spot on Google for their keyword is 2,000 words. Gone are the days when ‘thin’ content ranked. There’s nothing you can do about this, so don’t try and fight it.
As affiliate James Armstrong of DietsandSlimming.com told me: “It has taken some trial and error writing content, but by using marketing tips and working with my ClickSure account manager, my persistence has really started to pay off.”
- The power of networking
Affiliate marketers usually work alone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t connect to others online. I think it’s good for affiliates to network together because they can learn from each other. But it’s even more important for affiliates to network with the advertisers (product owners) because they can give them in-depth product information and the resources they need to promote their products. It’s also important to remember that it’s the advertiser who is paying them, so they should strive to get a relationship with them.
Therefore, look for networks that encourage affiliates to have direct communication with advertisers and build profitable relationships.
Niche forums are also great as you can build contacts and keep up to date in your niche. Look for other affiliate marketers in the same or similar niches to you, as that may present cross promoting opportunities.
- Patience, persistence and positivity
Success won’t happen overnight, but start with a good plan, stick with it, apply yourself and the rewards will come. Prioritise writing your content, as it’s the ticket to free targeted traffic, and stay informed about your niche. Set yourself daily tasks including writing content, obviously, for your blog and any social media channels you use, but also building back-links, connecting with other affiliates and advertisers and looking at new traffic sources.
Seeing the results of an affiliate marketing career
Many times, I’ve heard people say they stopped working on their site, as they weren’t getting results even though they’d put some work into it. Then, just a few months later, they come back with: “You won’t believe this, but I made an affiliate commission through my site last week and I haven’t touched it for a few months!”
Better though, to learn from the experience of Tsahi Shmuel, CEO/Operator at PotsofLuck.com, who told me: “Affiliates have been an integral part of our business for more than a decade and have really been the only constant in the space in terms of marketing.
“Over the years, the methods have changed, but the affiliate’s ability to act quickly is invaluable and the importance of efficient communication from the affiliate program to the affiliate is crucial part of the business.
“We are in contact with our affiliates on an hourly basis – not only to discuss business, but to also to build on the great relationships that we have built with them.”
And, as affiliate Tony Simouni of comparecasino.uk sums up: “For us and our business, we can’t emphasise enough the importance of a good quality affiliate program, like ClickSure. The program needs to be transparent and robust to match the affiliate’s needs.
“In our industry, the cost of buying traffic is high so, from our point of view, real time stats, tracking and in-depth analytics are key to help us optimise our campaigns and give us the ability to earn more.”
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