Affiliate Marketing Guide – Section 4…
Maximize Your Affiliate Marketing Income
Once your affiliate marketing strategy is working, there comes a point when your income will stop increasing and will level out. Hopefully, this happens after you reach your initial targets, however, this can happen before reaching these targets.
In both scenarios, you will need to start optimizing your strategy to squeeze every ounce of performance and maximize your profit.
To do this you will need to walk step by step through your strategy and see where you could generate more income.
Tip: Only change one aspect at a time, this will allow you to move back to your proven strategy should your change have any negative impact.
The Importance Of KPIs & Metrics For Affiliate Marketing
As with any marketing strategy, the only way to know how well your strategy is working is to track the correct key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics. The data you need to focus on as an affiliate marketer is different from what regular marketers will focus on.
Firstly, your most important KPI will always be around your income:
This is a specific number that will tell you exactly how much profit you are making after all expenses are deducted. This is the most important KPI for all affiliate marketers.
ROI or return on investment is often a great way to track returns, however, you must understand that this metric needs to be in perspective. Seeing a 1,000% ROI is great right? Well, maybe. Is this a 1,000% ROI on $1, $10, $50?
A 1,000% ROI on $5 is still just $5,000 so although this is a great metric, you must consider the reality of where this number comes from.
As this is key to accounting and being able to trace your in/outgoings. For this, you will need to keep your expenses in mind to make sure you are earning significantly more total income than you are spending.
Make sure you keep track of expenses. This includes any expenses on advertising, content creation, freelancers, etc. This will allow you to measure how increasing your investment will affect your returns, you aim to see a scenario where the more you spend, the more you make.
eEPC or effective earnings per click will tell you how much you are earning per click of each affiliate link, this is normally shown as an earning per 100 clicks. This measure will help you identify your best-performing links, as well as test new content ideas or audience segmentation strategies to see if you can increase earnings.
This measure will show you how much you earn for each sale. You will want to figure out your average payout across all programs, as well as figures for each program.
CPC or cost per conversion tells you how much you spend to get one affiliate sale. You can compare CPC against income to make sure you keep your profit margins on target.
These are the 7 most important metrics and KPIs you can measure for your affiliate marketing strategy, however, other metrics can be used to track performance:
Traffic is how many visitors does your website or blog see per month.
This will measure how many new visitors are seeing your website or blog for the first time.
This will measure how many of your visitors are going on to visit your affiliate partners.
This is a percentage of how much of your traffic will go on to buy a product with your affiliates, this is measured as total visitors sent vs the number of commission sales.
This is how many people are clicking through to your website from search engines.
This will show you how many users click your PPC ads when they see them. This will help you see if your ads should be changed or not.
Affiliate link CTR:
This metric will show you how many people click the affiliate links in your content after clicking through to your page.
This metric may be a great tool to show how effective your content is at convincing people to click through to an offer. This will help identify if you need to change your tactics slightly to optimize your targeting more.
This metric will show how many visitors will leave your website or blog without visiting a second page.
If you have a large bounce rate, but also have a high affiliate link CRT, you don’t need to worry, you are doing a great job in funneling consumers into products.
Alternatively, if you have a high bounce rate with a low affiliate link CTR, this indicates that users are exiting your page before clicking any affiliate links. This can be due to poor performance, or poor user experience
Time on page:
This metric will show you how long people are staying on a page, usually, this will be a great way to measure how engaging your content is.
Loading times are important, a poor loading time might be causing other problems. If you have high bounce rates and other issues. Try to fix your loading time first, this may lead to a lower bounce rate, higher affiliate CTR and higher time on page, etc.
With all of these KPIs and metrics in mind, you will need to identify the ones that matter most to your affiliate marketing strategy as soon as you can. Ideally, you will want to identify these before you even get started, or at a minimum before actually publishing content.
This is because you will want to collect enough data to then make informed decisions so you can then optimize and maximize your performance.
Optimize Your Website For Performance
Once you have the right metrics in place, you will be able to see exactly how well your website is performing. These metrics will form the foundations you’ll need to maximize your affiliate income.
For this, you should set the following goals:
Keep visitors on your page for longer
Get more visitors to click your affiliate links
Get more visitors to sign up for your email marketing campaigns
Increase the number of people linking to your pages
With these goals, you’re not looking to increase traffic, but rather you will try to turn more of your existing traffic into more quality traffic. This means traffic that will be more likely to click through your links and become valuable traffic.
How can we make this happen?
Firstly, as we have said before, you can start by reducing your loading times. Your target with loading times is less than 2 seconds for mobile devices.
Why, and where does this number come from?
Research from Google shows that more than half of internet users will abandon your site if it takes longer than 2-3 seconds to load.
To help you measure your loading times, you can use Google’s free tool. Optimizing your page speed will greatly improve the experience for mobile users and will lead to higher rankings on Google. As mobile is where a lot of people will encounter your website for the first time. It is important to cater to these readers.
With this in mind, it is also worth testing any new content ideas and formats, it can be easier to produce content with page performance in mind, rather than try to fix issues after you publish content.
Now with users on your page, you will need to consider how to input your affiliate links on the page; will you simply embed links in your text, or will you implement some kind of call to action (CTA) on your pages and posts?
It will be worth your while developing a knack for designing CTA’s too, even if you don’t use this for your affiliate marketing strategy, a useful call to action can maximize your email signups, this email list can boost your email marketing strategy and ultimately lead to more money.
Optimize Your Traffic Generation Strategies
With your website fully optimized and producing great performance figures, you will now want to make the most of the traffic coming onto your site. Now is the time to increase the number of visitors landing on your pages.
Generally speaking, there are three main sources of traffic:
- Organic search
- Paid search traffic
- Social traffic
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
SEO: Boost your organic search presence
Optimizing your organic search strategy is something you will have to do overtime. It is unlikely you will see any major changes, this is because there are so many factors that can benefit search rankings.
You do however want to experiment with different content and formats.
The best content you can create for SEO purposes can be split into two categories. These categories are:
This content will remain relevant with time. This means that content from years ago may still be highly relevant today.
This content will be relevant for now. Generally, this content will be specific to current events, products, etc.
Google and other search engines love SEO friendly content, this means you will want to find an effective mix of content formats for your audience, be this blog posts, videos, case studies, etc.
Once your site is a complete resource for people interested in the products you’re promoting, it will be a good idea to start publishing content that is very specific to certain interests.
To hone in your content, start by looking at ‘long-tail keywords’ being typed into search engines such as Google and Bing. Now you can create highly relevant content to match those search terms. This means your reviews and articles will essentially be answering users’ queries and providing users with a helpful resource.
After this, you will want to break down your target audience into more specified segments.
Let’s say your target audience is photographers, and a lot of your articles are along the lines of “best cameras”. You will want to break down this audience into specific segments, for example, different budgets, professionals, amateurs, tutorials, etc.
The more specific you can be with your articles, the more valuable your content will be to that specific audience.
To learn more about SEO and how you can implement it, we strongly recommend checking out a channel on YouTube which is run by SEO expert Chris Palmer. Chris offers regular videos on SEO strategies which can be easy to implement and give you a boost.
All of this content is free and does not contain the usual marketing spin, as Chris very rarely promotes products, and when he does it is usually responding to a direct question, therefore these recommendations are genuine unlike other SEO videos online.
Optimize Your Paid Search Campaigns
As we mentioned earlier, paid advertising can be a tricky game for affiliate marketers. You will need to optimize your campaigns if this is a channel you want to use for traffic generation.
You will need to keep a constant view of your ad spend and the cost per click (CPC) of each of your campaigns. At the same time as doing this, you will need to make sure your affiliate profit is still on target.
You can reduce your CPCs in Google Ads by improving the relevance of your ads, optimizing your bids, and increasing your quality score.
You will need to segment your PPC data from your organic search traffic to see how many of your paid clicks are, signing up for your email marketing campaign, or clicking on your affiliate links.
If you are using a paid search strategy to boost your email marketing (as we recommended earlier), then you will need to measure your campaign performance against email signups as well as your conversion rates for emails.
Social Networks: Organic Versus Paid
Optimizing your social networks to increase traffic will need a different approach for each network, this is due to the reasons we gave earlier.
With Facebook and Instagram, it’s almost impossible to generate email signups at volume without paying for ads. On the other hand, the great news is that CPCs are generally cheaper than Google ads, and the networks targeting options are great for pinpointing specified target audiences.
Twitter will often be the best network among the social platforms for organic views, for this you will probably need to automate a lot of your posts and be quick with your responses and comments to users to gain a following and expand your reach.
Optimizing your Twitter strategy for traffic generation is all about minimizing your manual workload on the network, and automating as much as you can.
Twitter however can be expensive to advertise on. You will have the same problem on LinkedIn which can also be difficult to generate traffic from.
Optimize Your Affiliate Programs
Once your inbound marketing strategy is bringing in more traffic and your website or blog is optimized to maximize affiliate income, it will be time to turn your attention to the affiliate programs you’re signed up to.
There are two key things that you want to do:
- Increase the commission you earn from each click.
- Increase the percentage of users who buy after landing on the merchant’s page.
The first thing to look at is affiliate programs that offer higher commissions.
When we began affiliate marketing, we promoted products that had affiliate commissions ranging from $1 to $100. It quickly became clear over time that while we may have had a large volume of traffic, we generally had low income due to the commission rates we were earning.
Although we had a solid, predictable income, we decided to try promoting products with higher commission rates, now we were promoting products between $75 to $1,000. This is where the true power of affiliate marketing lets us grow.
To do the same, you will need to sign up for affiliate programs with products or services that are more expensive than you currently promote. If you can prove you had success in this industry, or you can prove to your existing partners that you’re generating a lot of business for them, you can potentially increase the commission rates.
For the most part, as with most jobs or stages in life, you will need to climb the affiliate ladder.
What does this mean?
You will likely start by selling less expensive products or services, once you have proven you can succeed, you will be able to take a step up the ladder. This step will lead to more expensive products and services which will lead to higher income.
There is no top of the ladder, essentially you can keep climbing forever.
If you are currently generating $100 a month, you can scale your affiliate marketing strategy to become $1,000 per month, now although $1,000 a month is great, you have proven you can succeed, and you can scale. Why not scale your affiliate marketing from $1,000 per month to $10,000 per month?
The key within this industry is to be ruthless, always remember the main KPI is always profit. Don’t let anything get in between you and your profit!
With this in mind, you should set reasonable goals. Trying to jump from $100 a month to $100,000 per month will generally not work.
Instead, try to jump from $100 per month to $500 per month then onto $1000 per month. You will be now capable of seeing what you are capable of doing, and you will be able to continue growing your affiliate marketing career at a sustainable rate.
To scale your operation successfully, you will normally need to reassess which products you are promoting. You generally will have to add a zero onto the size of your commissions or the quantity of traffic you funnel through to merchants to get to the next step on the ladder.
We would recommend trying to use stepping stones instead of trying to scale your operation 10 fold at one time. What do we mean by this? You shouldn’t try to jump from $1,000 to $10,000, but rather set achievable targets that will bring you from $1,000 to $10,000.
This doesn’t mean you need to replace any existing content, especially if it is performing well. You also won’t need to abandon your current affiliate programs. This only means adding new affiliates to your current network, hopefully with higher commission rates.
Automate Everything You Can
So far in this guide, almost everything we looked at has involved a lot of work from you, this is important however as you will now know all the different moving parts of your operation.
With that being said, sooner or later, you will want to start automating as much of your marketing strategy as possible.
To help you automate your affiliate marketing strategy, here are 5 ways to immediately automate your affiliate marketing:
1: Email marketing
AWeber makes it easy to automate email marketing strategies. This strategy can be the most cost-effective channel available to you for capturing traffic before they’re ready to buy. This will allow you to nurture traffic towards an affiliate sale.
Email marketing is also one of the most suitable channels for automation. With tools such as AWeber, you can automate your entire email marketing strategy and lower the manual work needed by you.
A big tip for this is to create audience segments. This will allow you to target users based on their segment, meaning more relevant emails are sent and the more chance you have of pushing them towards your affiliate products.
The best part here is that AWeber has a free trial. So you can try the service before committing to any payments.
2: On-page lead segmentation
Probably the biggest problem with automated email marketing is the first email that is sent out, usually is quite generic and doesn’t address user needs.
Don’t fall into this trap!
The people on your email list signed up for a reason. The more information you have about this reason the more relevant your follow-up emails will be.
To gather this information we use Leadformly, this service segments our email leads on our affiliate marketing website.
This software has a built-in technology called conditional logic. This means the forms that are used to subscribe will ask users about their needs and expectations. This means that our subscribers ‘declare’ themselves in certain categories, which allows us to send them highly relevant emails, rather than spam their email with content they don’t want to see.
3: Social media posts
Promoting your affiliate content on your social media platforms will be crucial for maximizing your audience. Unfortunately manually posting on all of the social media platforms will be extremely time-consuming!
To get around this you can use one of the social media automation platforms such as:
With all your content creating, you will need to proofread your work to make sure your articles are as perfect as they can be! With that being said, there is only so much you will be able to proofread.
To help with this Grammarly is possibly the best tool online that will help you spot any bad spelling, as well as grammar mistakes. Although Grammarly won’t fix all of your writing problems, it will quickly help you create better content at the click of your mouse.
Once again, Grammarly is free to sign up to service where you can then either continue with a free version or proceed to unlock all the pro features with their paid subscription.
5: App integrations
As you grow your online presence, the number of apps you use to manage your affiliate marketing empire will increase. This means that without automation you will spend a lot of time performing tasks, from saving email attachments to your Google drive, or scheduling your blog posts in social media automation, or adding leads to AWeber from other apps.
To automate this entire process we use a company called Zapier. This integration tool will connect over 1,000 of the most important business apps. This will allow you to automate tasks so you can save time with the day to day tasks such as moving files from one app to another.
Automation has come a very long way in a short few years. Just remember that you can always find a more human alternative to automation, employees, or outsourcing!
Although machines are great for some tasks, they do have limitations. They are incapable of writing any industry-leading content or choose and create product reviews. Some aspects of your affiliate empire will need that human touch.
Whether you choose to outsource your marketing strategy to an agency, hire freelancers or hire employees, all of these will reduce the amount you of work you need to do yourself, this will usually be when you can enjoy the perks of being an affiliate marketer the most.
To hit the jackpot, you can essentially create and have an affiliate marketing company that is 100% automated. This means that you will never have to do any work for this company, yet you will enjoy the profits.
With that being said, some forms of automation will not be free. This will be one more item you will have to build into your expenses and make sure your ROI as well as your profit margins are still heading in the right direction.
Expand Your Affiliate Empire
If you have successfully put in place everything we’ve covered in this article. Then you should have an extremely profitable affiliate marketing setup that is making money for you.
To have achieved this is some feat, and we congratulate you on being a success!
However, as I mentioned before, there is no “top of the ladder”, there are always ways to increase your profits further.
If you think you have maximized your traffic potential and earnings from your affiliate programs. It may be difficult to get more from your existing website.
You could potentially add more affiliate programs to your website, but you don’t want to add products that already compete with your current products. This would be counterproductive and will not help.
So how can you expand your affiliate empire? More websites!
To build an affiliate empire, you will need to start the whole process again from the beginning, with each new website, you will be able to target new audiences and new affiliate programs.
You want to make sure that your websites don’t compete with one another, else you might be stealing sales from yourself.
Your new websites can be related to your first website and you can easily make use of your existing presence and traffic numbers to give any new website a boost.
One example of this is where your first website specializes in eCommerce, you might decide to add a website that now specializes specifically on web hosting or online payment services.
As your affiliate marketing empire grows, you can continue to optimize all f your new affiliate marketing programs, combining your strength to increase traffic numbers with each website added. This will rapidly multiply your affiliate income.
With each new website you create, you will be able to implement lessons that you have learned in previous projects. This will lead to greater optimization strategies that you have learned along the way. This fact means that it will become easier to expand than and grow when compared to how difficult it was to get started!
Now it’s your turn to earn!
With all the content we have covered in this guide, you will be ready to start your affiliate marketing adventure, and build your project into an affiliate marketing empire that can bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Content is King!
Don’t publish anything other than the best content for your niche.
Start With Tthe Products You Already Know & Like.
Start with what you know. You can then add more affiliate programs later in your strategy.
Plan Your Way To Achieve Affiliate Marketing Success
Know exactly what your targets are. This means your profits, traffic, etc. Know these targets before you get started, and keep measuring them along the way.
Hit Profitability & Then Optimize
Once your website or blog starts to hit its targets. Start focussing on maximizing performance. Do this by Optimizing every stage of your affiliate marketing strategy.
Don’t waste your time trying to manually do every task. Automate everything you possibly can to save time.
Expand Your Affiliate Marketing Empire
Stamp your mark on the industry. Expand your empire with new websites. Promote different products on each website, although these products can be related, you will capture more traffic and sales.
We recommend you bookmark this article to help you use it as a resource. This will allow you to easily come back to check on a specific section. Should you wish to jump straight to a specific section, just use the table of contents located at the top of the page.
We also highly recommend using this guide in line with our other guides, such as how to create a blog. This will give you all the resources you need to go from a complete beginner with no website or blog, to getting set up, and finally implementing affiliate marketing strategies and maximizing your income.