Building a successful affiliate marketing funnel is the dream of both businesses and affiliates. For businesses, it brings in customers they don’t have to spend their budgets on to win. For affiliates, there can be a passive income stream through their content creation and promotions.
But it’s not just a dream, it’s also a challenge.
So the question is, how do both business and affiliates accomplish this?
In this article, we’ll cover how to create an affiliate marketing funnel to increase conversions. This includes established strategies and tactics for affiliates to use; as well as actionable steps that businesses can provide to their affiliates.
1. Find your niche
Instead of focusing on the best commission rates or the biggest brand, focus on finding your niche.
What expertise do you have that you can share? Perhaps you have a background in managing remote teams. In that case, products such as team management solutions or cloud storage might be worth considering as promotional options.
You can also focus on your interests. Are you an avid reader? Consider getting affiliate links for ebooks. Maybe you have a love for beauty products and can use that passion to talk about certain brands or products.
Of course, make sure your niche isn’t too specific to drive sales. You want to walk that fine line between using your expertise or passion and making money. Your niche should be specific enough to be consistent, but not specific enough to reduce audience size.
Think of it this way – if you’re blogging about books, then dedicating to young adult fiction is narrow enough to keep your content themed, but not so narrow that people lose interest. If you focus on a specific author though, your content and leads will run out too soon.
2. Perfect your platform
Once you understand what your niche is, it’s time to perfect your platform. With so many e-commerce sites out there, you’re going to need to stand out. The first part of this is deciding which platforms to use and how best to use them.
Every affiliate marketer should have a blog. They’re an easy, central place to host your most interesting content, and they have a lot of functionality you can use to build a successful funnel.
The main aspect of any blog is posts. Make sure these are carefully crafted with well-researched SEO content. They should be worth reading – it could be because you share your expertise, some interesting news, or simply have an audience base that cares about your opinions. Think about what customer experience you want to promote – they need to be both engaged and invested in.
Make sure the landing page is well designed. No matter how good these posts are, if they are hidden behind an old and hard-to-read page, no one can see them. Keep it up to date (seasonal additions can come in handy here) and it’s easy to follow.
Every blog post should be routinely monitored to analyze content performance, identify issues, and quickly recover from any dramatic Google ranking dips.
Understand where your potential audience is.
If you’re talking about why sales teams should use VoIP, you should focus your efforts on platforms like LinkedIn. You can share blog posts, contribute to discussions, and attract your target market (businesses) to your blog. Whereas, if you are focusing on beauty products, you may want to focus on Instagram and create a page of glamorous makeup looks.
Knowing where your potential customers are is the key to finding them and pulling them into your funnel.
Email lists are an essential part of any marketing funnel as they consist of people who have already shown interest in your brand. The content you send to your email list should be specific and targeted. Remember, this is where you talk to relevant customers rather than trying to bring in new leads.
3. Encourage Engagement
As mentioned above, email lists are an essential part of affiliate marketing funnels. But how are you going to build this list? You should encourage people to participate. When it comes to your social media platforms, signing up takes less effort – you want people to follow you. This simply requires them to click ‘follow’ and then they’ll see your updates when they log into that platform.
For email lists, it’s a little harder to convince people as they require your content to be sent directly to their inbox. There are several ways to do this.
Offer exclusive content
When someone is interested in your blog, you can use this interaction to encourage them to sign up. If your blog focuses on innovations in artificial intelligence and how it can be applied in the workplace, why not offer a free ebook on machine learning in business? This will engage your target market and encourage them to sign up to read it if you haven’t mentioned it elsewhere. You know they already like your content – that’s why they’re on your blog – so offering exclusive, more in-depth content is a great hook.
Of course, you can always go down the discount route! Tried and tested, and people love to bargain. If you’re talking about how to run video meetings, why not offer a discount on VoIP for e-commerce businesses? You use your affiliate link, they get a discount on something they need. It’s a win-win.
This is the most important point in your funnel – promoting your affiliate links. This is where you enable your target audience to convert into customers.
They may be buying a brand new lipstick for themselves, application tracking software for the HR department, or a place in a training course as a gift. It’s your job to convince them that whatever they’re buying is worth it.
At this point, you’ve led them from the first point of contact with you to engage and engage with your content on a regular basis. Now is the time to sign the deal.
Feature the link
You don’t need to have a dedicated product page – you can – but your affiliate links should stand out. You can have a sticky bar or side ad (but if you do, make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing and not distracting from your content). Some people pepper links throughout their text in a different color. This is especially common with e-book partners, where they can sprinkle the link throughout a book review after initially revealing it’s an affiliate link.
Use retargeting campaigns
If you’ve noticed that someone is registering interest, such as signing up for your email list and clicking through to their affiliate page, but not converting to sales, you can try a retargeting campaign. This means regaining their interest and increasing the chances of conversion through Facebook Ads or another platform like Twitter to redirect their attention to your content.
Why not ask for testimonials from people who have already used your affiliate links? This works especially well if you’ve built a strong community around your content. Now potential customers not only trust your opinion, but also those of others with common interests.
Let’s say you are writing about leading remote teams and your affiliate link is about contact center solutions. People interested in your content will already trust you, but they may need a little nudge. Seeing positive testimonials from three other people who run small businesses and follow your advice will likely be that impulse. This will confirm to those who hope that the purchase will benefit them.
5. Evaluate and improve
The final step in building an affiliate marketing funnel is to evaluate and develop it. While the ideal purpose of a funnel is to become a passive income stream, you’re much more likely to pay at least some attention! In the long run, this attention will take the form of minor fixes and updates, but you need to devote more time to perfecting it early on.
A/B testing is a great way to make sure you use the best strategy. By creating two or more of your landing page, offer pages, and marketing emails—but the more you add, the harder it is to track—you can see what drives more conversions.
This will help you narrow down which keywords to use, what content is most interesting, and how to plan future marketing campaigns.
Data, Data and More Data
Use all the data you can get through Google Analytics, Tapfiliate’s Reporting or customer surveys. The more information you have, the better decisions you can make.
If you notice a large number of people leaving your website on certain pages, consider why. Think you don’t get many conversions from people using a particular browser? If so, check if it’s a technical issue. By streamlining the funnel as much as possible, you’ll get fewer people leaving along the way and a higher conversion rate.
Build this funnel
Using these five basics, you can easily create an efficient affiliate marketing funnel. Remember, it’s important to find a niche that works for you, your passion or expertise (or both). This will make the following steps much easier.
Once you have that niche, build an interesting brand with engaging content, encourage people to join, and then promote those connections. By doing this and evaluating how it’s going, you’ll be on your way to an effective, high-converting affiliate funnel in no time.