This is just going to be a short post today to bring some clarity to one of the biggest bugbears of all affiliate marketers (and not just the newbies either)
What’s the biggest stone-in-the-shoe for all of us? It’s that old demon – traffic generation!
It’s definitely a big scary subject to get your head around when starting out. Let me see if I can help.
Firstly, the saying goes “if you market to everybody then you market to nobody”. The best advice I ever got was to be really clear on WHO my promotion/product was aimed at and then target the traffic directly at them.
Just as there is no such thing as a free lunch, so there’s no such thing as ‘free’ traffic – all traffic has to be paid for in one form or another, either with money in the case of paid ads, or in time, as with organic methods.
Let’s break this down…
There are essentially 3 types of traffic:
- Traffic you control – any form of paid advertising
- Traffic you don’t control – any organic method
- Traffic you own – email list, aka The Holy Grail of traffic
Traffic You Control
This means being able to send traffic directly to wherever you want it to go. You pay an online platform for advertising, people click on your links, and they get taken to the destination of your choosing. In a nutshell, you don’t own this traffic but you’re paying to take control of it.
Banner and display ads, PPC (pay-per-click) ads and native ads are all examples of this type of advertising. (For those of you who don’t know what ‘native ads’ are, they’re paid ads that match the look, feel and function of the media format in which they appear. They’re often found in social media feeds, or as recommended content on a web page. Unlike display or banner advertising, native ads don’t really look like ads.)
Facebook is the undoubted king when it comes to paid advertising but be warned; they can be extremely fickle. The online world is littered with the corpses of marketers who’ve had their FB ad accounts peremptorily shut down for no apparent reason. They are nigh on impossible to get hold of in a crisis and are also expensive compared to other platforms.
You can also pay to ‘boost’ your social media, such as your Facebook business page, YouTube channel, etc. Pinterest also have an option to pay to ‘promote’ pins which are directly linked to a specific URL, such as your affiliate product.
Traffic You Don’t Control
This is driven by organic methods and there is no telling how/when it may show up. One thing is for certain though; it’s a direct result of how much consistent effort you put into it.
Blogging is a very common method of driving traffic, and the premise is simple: set up a WordPress blog, post interesting content regularly, and within that content place your affiliate links to niche-specific offers. You can also use the sidebar of your blog to host banner ads, again with your affiliate links.
Never waste an opportunity – even purely decorative images you post on your blog should also carry a valuable link. This can be one of your affiliate links, an internal link taking visitors to other interesting posts you’ve written, or an external link taking visitors to your Facebook business page or to someone else’s blog article – hopefully they will return the favour. The point is that you need to create multiple links within your site plus external back-links, the more the merrier. This increases its visibility and consequently its ranking on the search engines. The more visitors your blog gets, the higher the likelihood that some will click on your links. It’s a numbers game but it is a proven one.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is basically doing everything you can to get noticed by the search engines – Google, Bing, etc. Keywords play an enormous part in this, so research into the most popular ones for your niche is essential, and you need to spread them lavishly in everything you post online, from product descriptions to blog titles and metadata.
Social Media is a great way of organic outreach. Even your bios on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest can have an impact if they’re set up properly. People are on social media to engage and interact so join groups in your niche and start making contact with other members.
Pinterest, by the way, is actually a search engine and not, as some people think, a social media platform. People are on there constantly looking for stuff and if you set up your account right, with a good bio (profile), keyword-rich description and lots of niche-specific boards, then it’s a great way of reaching your target audience. You can even create pins which carry your affiliate links so when someone clicks on them, bingo! And it’s evergreen, so once you post your pins they are there for ever, and Pinterest’s algorithm shows them to anybody it thinks matches your ideal audience, which is pretty cool.
Forums include sites such as Warrior Forum and Quora. Most people join these to get a solution to a problem, so get in there and start to answer people’s questions. Once you have built up a rapport you can drop a link to your blog (mostly they don’t allow you to put direct affiliate links but are happy for you to send people to a blog post, providing the subject of the post is congruent with the question you were answering on the forum).
Video sharing sites are another great way of making contact with your target audience. YouTube is an obvious one but Tiktok is also becoming hugely popular. If video is your thing then consider doing this.
The thing about organic traffic is it’s a slow burn, but can yield HUGE results. I personally know someone who makes 6-figures/year using ONLY this strategy – he doesn’t touch paid advertising!
Ideally, though, your marketing strategy should comprise one paid method and one organic. Don’t try to become a master of them all because you just won’t; you’ll spread yourself too thinly and end up being disappointed. Decide which methods you want to use and then learn them thoroughly, pick them apart, become an expert – no, become THE expert!
If you only have a tiny budget but time on your hands, then focus on an organic strategy to begin with. As you gain traction and start to make sales, then is the time to roll those profits into some paid ads.
If your budget is large enough to pay for advertising right from the get-go then that’s great, but keep promoting those keywords in your ad descriptions – SEO plays a large part behind the scenes.
Traffic You Own
Whichever method you choose, ALWAYS capture the leads (email addresses) to be building that list of warm prospective buyers. This is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because you OWN these leads, they are there to do with what you will. Nurture them by sending them follow-up emails full of value. Once you have built a relationship where they come to know, like and trust you then they’ll be more likely to buy other niche-specific products from you in the future.
Someone once described having an email list of warm prospects as having your own personal ATM, which is a bit crude but apt nonetheless.
It’s generally acknowledged that each name on your list is equal to $1/month in revenue, averaged out over a year. You don’t need to be a genius to work out what that means! Even with a small list of 500 email addresses that’s quite a respectable sum.
Obviously, this subject is HUGE and we’ve barely scraped the surface here, but I hope this starts to cut through the overwhelm for any newbies, and clarifies things a bit.
Be decisive, stay consistent, be persistent. You’ll get there 🙂
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Over to you…
What’s been your experience with traffic generation?
What are the specific problems you’ve been facing with it?
Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help 🙂