Affiliate Marketing 101: Turning Visitors into Paying Customers
This is part four of my multipart Affiliate Marketing 101 series. Part one explained the different types of affiliate websites you can choose to support your online affiliate business and how to set up those websites; part two elaborated on how to set up the foundation for displaying your site on search engine result pages (SERPs); and part three discussed how to handle traffic once it arrives at your site.
Part four of the Affiliate Marketing 101 series clarifies the main goals of your affiliate site, what it means to persevere in your marketing efforts and how to make improvements.
Hitting the gym and working up a sweat might seem an unlikely metaphor for affiliate marketing, but physical exercise and business share three keys to success: setting goals, perseverance and changing it up.
1. Setting goals
Now that you have a website focused on a specific industry, your job is to funnel traffic to merchants and earn commissions on sales. You'll begin by joining affiliate programs like Commission Junction that connect your site to successful merchants, or you can approach individual merchants directly. The goals of your affiliate site at this point typically revolve around the following:
- generating content and traffic;
- trial registrations and email subscriptions; and
- conversions, sales and revenue.
Generating content and traffic
The first step in physical fitness success is the repetitive motion of different exercises like pushups, situps, squats, etc. Similarly, the first step in converting visitors through affiliate marketing is consistently producing relevant content that brings visitors to your site. If you have a blog or review site, make sure to consistently publish new blog posts on timely topics. If you run a coupon site, you always need new and up-to-date coupons. The fresh, focused content also contributes to higher positions on SERPs.
As you begin generating traffic to your site, you'll need to start facilitating and measuring the conversions occurring through your landing pages. Find out whether your visitors are new or returning and what pages they're looking at. Use these data points to funnel traffic to different landing pages. These can be either an email sign-up page, some sort of free trial of your merchant's product or even directly to the merchant's cart.
Trial registrations and email subscriptions
Free trials and email subscriptions are an important intermediary between a visitor session and a paying customer. Think of these as micro-conversions. They allow you to keep the lines of communication open with your audience, and are another step closer toward you earning your commission. To continue our exercise analogy, getting visitors to sign up for your offers is a great sub goal like losing weight or building muscles. They're important motivators that keep you focused on your ultimate goal of overall health.