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7 Quick-Win Affiliate Strategies Any New Affiliate Should Test

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Marketing Strategy

Dec 07 2020

18 min read

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18 min read

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Building a website is the first and most difficult step every affiliate marketer makes. However, things don’t get any easier either as you figure out the best and fastest way to grow your site.

At this point, it is vital to have a clear idea on how you plan to generate website traffic. And as a new site owner, you must understand that you’re competing against more established sites with years’ worth of successful campaigns under their belts.

To overcome this obstacle, therefore, it’s in your best interest to test strategies that will yield the most favorable and sustainable website results.

Below are affiliate strategies that are relatively easy to implement and test to help your website increase its traffic and conversions.

Long Tail Keyword Research

Content is your best ammunition against your well-entrenched competitors in the industry. You “simply” have to create better content that they do at a consistent rate to build a readership and accumulate more traffic.

Of course, this is much easier said than done because there is no guarantee you’ll be able to attract your audience with the content you write.

However, a pivotal factor that could help in your content efforts is keyword research.

Finding the right keyword to optimize in your articles will help you rank on Google search, which is one of the best sources of traffic for affiliate sites.

The challenge now is looking for such types of keywords to write about on your website.

Going straight to the point, you need to find long-tail keywords in your research.

They are search phrases composed of over four words and typified with low search volume and difficulty. This means, while not a lot of people search for them, you can easily rank on top of search engine results pages (SERPs) if you correctly optimize for them.

That means you’ll have to create lots of content using these keywords to help build your site from the start. As mentioned, your site doesn’t have the authority to compete against established sites in your niche just yet.

Therefore, by investing in content creation using long-tail keywords, your site should be able to slowly but surely rank on top of Google and generate tons of traffic.

To do this, you need to use a tool that will help you find the search volume and difficulty of each keyword. There are lots of tools that could assist you - I’ve mentioned Ahrefs and KWFinder as two that show dependable data for keyword research.

But since you’re just starting out, you’re probably more inclined on using a free tool to get you started. If that’s the case, Ubersuggest is a pretty good starting point.

You will have to pay for the tool if you want to use its premium features, but the free tier is decent enough to provide you the figures for both metrics.

Upon visiting the site, enter the seed keyword or niche topic of your sites to unearth ideas and suggestions for keywords to target.

But before proceeding further from the results page, it’s best to sign up with Google first so you can view some of the keywords and metrics the tool found.

Scrolling down the page, you will see the keyword ideas section. In here, you will see the list of keywords Ubersuggest found and break them down into different factors, two of which are the search volume and difficulty.

To view the long tail keywords, click on the Questions tab of the section. Keywords in the form of a question are long tail in nature and should be your priority in your research.

From here, click on the View All Keyword Ideas button to see all the questions the tool found related to the keyword.

On the next page, you will see the list of question keywords on the left side and the competitors ranking for the keyword on the right.

On the keyword list, focus on the VOL (search volume) and SD (difficulty) columns. It’s best to find keywords with SD scores running from 0-30 (marked in green). This means the keyword is easy to rank for and you should consider it to be part of your content campaign.

Regarding search volume, as long as people search for the question keyword (even as low as 10), you must contemplate on optimizing for them soon.

But if we are to put a cap on how many searches a keyword should have, I’d say that you don’t choose keywords with over 250 monthly searches.

In any case you found a keyword with a low SD score and a search volume of over 250, you may still use it as part of your initial launch. But bear in mind that the more searches a keyword has, the harder it is to rank for it even if the SD score suggests otherwise.

This is where the keyword SERP on the right comes in handy. You will see the pages ranking for the question keyword broken down into different metrics.

The most valuable among the metrics above is the Domain Score (DS). If the top 10 pages ranking on Google have DS scores of 40 and above, then you have your work cut out for you.

Therefore, make sure that the majority of the sites ranking for the high-volume keyword must have a low DS score before optimizing for it on your site.

Taking both into consideration, see if your initial search produces the majority of long tail keyword suggestions with low DS scores. This means you can create content optimized for each keyword to help your site gain organic traffic.

During your free search, Ubersuggest will only show you a fraction of the total keywords it found. You must sign up for a paid subscription if you want to see all keyword suggestions.

Content Creation

Once you have your keywords, you need to create content for each.

For brand-new affiliate sites, it’s best to target informational keywords for now. This keyword intent requires you to produce content that provides the information about the topic. Therefore, because of its nature, these keywords won’t help you earn commissions soon.

However, the goal is to build an affiliate website for the long haul.

Truth be told, people know nothing about your new affiliate site and have no reason to trust it. That’s why you need to earn it through the content you will publish on your site.

Once your site is getting organic traffic from your informational content, it’s time to bust out content optimized for keywords with a transaction intent - in particular, product keywords. Examples of such are the following (but are not limited to):

  • Best [products]
  • [product] review
  • Affordable [products]

Replace [products] and [product] with those found in your niche.

You can use the Transactional keyword list generator over at SEO Review Tools. Enter your topic or product so you unearth more ideas.

The goal here is to help your audience make an informed decision about products in your niche by giving them a blow-by-blow account about what it is and if it’s worth it.

Product keywords are also informative because you provide data about each without appearing salesy.

When reviewing these types of content, you must provide in-depth information. Let people know the benefits of the products and why they are the best.

At the same time, don’t pull any punches in your reviews either. Tell readers some of the shortcomings and weaknesses of the product. While this might discourage them from purchasing your affiliate product, you gain their respect for not sugarcoating things for them.

When the time comes to write your content, you must make sure it is optimized for your target keyword.

However, I’m not just talking about using your keyword in the body, heading, and metadata. There’s more to on-page SEO than just cramming your keywords in there as many times as possible.

Google’s algorithm has gotten much smarter in reading your content thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP). Instead of just looking for your keywords, Google can now analyze content for entities and sentiment relevant to your target search query.

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If Google sees the semantic correlation that exists between your content and these other factors, then you can expect to rank higher than usual on SERPs.

One tool that will help you in this regard is Surfer SEO. It’s an on-page SEO tool that analyzes the SERPs for your target keyword and spits out data that show you the more relevant factors to ensure your content is optimized.

Using its Keyword Analyzer tool, you can determine which among the SEO factors that the top-ranking pages share in their content are the most relevant.

To help simplify things for you, each page has a Content Score (CS) that calculates how much they observe the most vital factors in their content.

From here, you can analyze the pages with the highest CS and analyze its content. Use them as a basis for writing your content.

Also, you can use the tool’s Audit feature to break down the pages into its different factors. You will get to see the True Density that shows the most relevant terms and phrases to mention in the content for the article.

This section shows if the page mentioned the terms enough times.

If you have newly written content for this keyword, you can audit it using this tool to see which words you need to include or remove. This should help make your content more semantically relevant to your target keyword.

However, if you have yet to write content for your keyword, Surfer’s Content Editor will help you.

Enter the keyword you want to write about and choose the articles with top CS scores that you will use as a reference.

Once you’re in the editor, you will see the list of keywords and the number of times you need to enter them.

All you need to do is write in the terms into your content so you can make sure it’s optimized for your keyword once you’re done.

Now, you can even get more terms and phrases to include in your content if you use the tool’s NLP feature.

From the Keyword Analysis or Content Editor page, just turn on the NLP switch before entering your keyword.

In the True Density section of the audit, you should see words tagged with NLP and their average sentiment (positive, neutral, or negative). These won’t appear unless you turned out the NLP switch prior to searching.

Using these features will help you go beyond the usual on-page SEO tactics and dig deeper into semantic SEO in relation to keyword optimization.

Internal Linking

Once you have filled up your site with content, you need to help facilitate the flow of authority across all posts in your website.

Most would refer to this as link juice. Back then, it was called PageRank. But whatever its name is, it’s vital to help Google understand what your pages are about.

And one of the best ways to do that is to interlink them with each other.

Internal links are hyperlinks that point from one page to another, both of which are from your site. When internally linking out to other pages, you need to approach this deliberately. In fact, there are a couple of great ways on how to do it.

First is the creation of content clusters.

These refer to a group of supporting articles that link back to the pillar content. The latter is optimized for your target keyword while the former articles are subtopics to that keyword.

Below is a visual example of a content cluster:

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The long-tail keywords you researched above are perfect supporting articles. You just have to determine what the target keyword of your pillar content is.

Also, you can create as many content clusters as applicable on your site.

For example, if you have a fitness site, you want to link pages about exercise with each other. The same goes for pages about weight loss, food, gym equipment, and others.

In the diagram above, the supporting pages do not link with each other. However, it is possible to interlink the pages if you wish.

Also, you can create content clusters for your supporting pages in which there are pages linking to the supporting article that links to the pillar content.

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When linking supporting pages with each other, it’s a best practice common sense. If they aren’t related to each other, it’s best to not link out to them. That said, there’s no pressure for you to link to supporting pages.

Also, it’s best to keep clusters separate from each other as much as possible. The only thing that could hold them together is the homepage where it links to all the pillar posts.

Creating content clusters helps Google understand the semantic relationship of pages on your site.

In the example above, for Google to truly determine if the pillar post is about a workout routine, it will refer to its internal links and the page’s content. Since the pages are topically relevant to the pillar content, Google will put lots of weight on its value and authority. As a result, the page has a good shot at ranking on the first page of its keyword.

Hubspot uses content clusters to great effect. It helped Apruve grow its organic traffic by 246% through this method.

This goes to show a well-defined and structured content presentation on your site is your best bet to get more traffic from Google.

Another internal linking method you can use is the reverse virtual silo. It shares the same principles as content clustering because you’re creating a group of interlinked pages about the same topic.

What makes a virtual silo different is the supporting pages must interlink with each other.

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Also, the target page does not reciprocally link to all the supporting articles except for one. This way, all the pages dump the PageRank or link juice to the target page, thus making it more authoritative in the eyes of Google

Another thing to consider in this method is the lack of external links in supporting articles. The goal is to not let funnel the link built in this silo out of your site.

The reverse silo is popularized by Kyle Roof who was able to rank a website on top of SERPs using dummy text (lorem ipsum). He used silo content, along with other tactics, to reach the success he achieved.

Both approaches underline the importance of internal links. By linking to internal pages on your site with a purpose, you can help get the most out of your content strategy.

Email Marketing

Finding the right keywords and building an internal linking strategy can help drive website traffic effectively. However, it’s one thing to have lots of visitors to your site - it’s another to know what to do with them.

The goal of affiliate marketers is to earn money from every successful sale of affiliate products on their site. Ideally, you want to generate as many transactions on your site for the products you’re affiliated with.

However, the truth is not all your target audience is interested to purchase the products on your site, at least not now. Therefore, your goal is to help nurture them from being fairweather visitors into buyers.

And you can do this via email marketing.

The idea is to get people to subscribe to your list so you can send them emails that will provide the necessary information to hopefully encourage them to make a purchase.

As simple as that may sound, you need to approach this step by step.

First, you must decide on which email marketing tool to use for gathering your subscribers and sending them emails.

There are lots of platforms to choose from, but we’ve narrowed down the choices to Aweber, GetResponse, or MailChimp.

You can read our comprehensive breakdowns of all three tools in this article to help you decide which one’s right for you.

Next, you need to find the best way to gather email subscribers. While you can create forms using your email marketing tool of choice, they might not offer features that can help grow your list faster like full-screen modals, content updates, exit intent, and more.

Therefore, using a tool like OptinMonster is in order. Not only does it possess the aforementioned premium features, it lets you create beautiful and high-converting forms even if you’re not a designer.

As an OptinMonster user for years, we have an article showing you how we leverage its forms to great effect in growing our email list.

Also, I mentioned content updates as one of the features OptinMonster offers to its paid users. This tactic is a type of lead magnet you can use for convincing visitors to sign up to your list. Lead magnets in general motivates email sign-ups by giving new subscribers something in return like a checklist, free e-book, and others.

For additional ideas as to which lead magnet type is suitable for your affiliate site, check out this article here.

Once your list is overflowing with subscribers, it’s time to engage with them through the emails you’ll send.

This is where things can go south fast. Because if you’ll just churn out emails with the goal of getting subscribers to purpose now, expect them to hit the “Unsubscribe” button fast enough.

Email marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Therefore, from the very start, you need to warm them up by sending them emails of value.

By sharing useful information about your niche without asking for anything in return, you build a rapport with your subscribers. By treating them as actual people instead of dollar signs, it’ll be much easier to sell to them down the line.

And once they’re ready to buy from you, you must approach this with a light tough as well.

Stuart Walker has made a killing as an affiliate before by selling high-ticket products via email marketing. In fact, he was able to make almost $10k in affiliate sales within five days using fill-in-the-blank email templates.

This may seem impossible if you’re from the outside looking in. That’s why it’s vital to have a strategy in place to make this tactic work.

In particular, he sent out presell emails to his subscribers. These help raise awareness about the affiliate product that’s yet to launch.

By making them understand the value that the product brings, not only will they buy the product on launch day. They might even place an order at that moment if they’ve seen enough of the emails you send.

Another technique he employed in his emails is showing results after using the product. These work as social proof that brings legitimacy to the product and makes it worth every penny in the eyes of potential buyers.

Build Your Own Affiliate Network

Signing up to affiliate programs and promoting their products is the easiest and most convenient way to monetize your blog. However, over time, these programs could keep you from maximizing your earnings.

A couple of months ago, Amazon announced its plan to cut down commission payouts to its affiliates. The rate changes range from half (musical instruments, earphones, and others went from 6% to 3%) to a whopping 80% (personal care and well-being products went from 5% to a depressing 1%).

This is a huge hit to publishers and affiliates who earn mostly from promoting Amazon products on their website.

What’s worse is this isn’t the first time Amazon cut back on commission rates. Through the years, Amazon went from having an average of 9.25% commission rate in 2012 to 3.14% in early 2020.

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Most people are jumping ship to Amazon alternatives like eBay, Walmart, and others for their higher commission rates. However, Amazon has an unbelievable catalogue of products on sale. More importantly, by subscribing to Amazon Prime, customers can buy as many products as they want without worrying about shipping fees.

Ultimately, if there’s one thing Amazon has taught about affiliate marketing, it’s to not rely on a middleman to how you earn for a living.

Due to its popularity and authority, affiliate marketers are at the mercy of Amazon if they want to make a quick buck. Hence, the site can change its commission rates as many times it wants and there’s nothing people can do about it.

And even if you migrate to another platform, it’s the same difference. Walmart and eBay may have better commission rates, but you’re still at their mercy once they make changes eventually.

Not to mention, they’re just a fraction of Amazon’s total sales in the market:

Therefore, instead of moving on to another platform like Amazon, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. You can do this by directly reaching out to manufacturers of products related to your niche and asking them to become an affiliate.

This will only work if the manufacturer doesn’t have an affiliate program for you to join.

Also, your site needs to be authoritative enough in the industry to give companies incentive to partner up with you. If you’re barely generating traffic from your site, then your chances of becoming their affiliate are slim to none.

Now, you may think this is something that established affiliate site owners must do instead. While that’s true, it’s just as important to get started building relationships with these companies now.

Building a rapport with brands is difficult as you’ll probably have to jump through different hoops to get in touch with the right person. But if you do this properly, it’ll be much easier to become an affiliate since they will have become more familiar with your site.

Below are a few steps to help you get started with this:

  • Make a good impression with these companies by actively engaging with them online. Examples of such are sharing their content on social media, commenting on their blog posts, and replying to their newsletter. Even better, buy their products and write a review about your experience with it on your site. The goal is to do everything under your power to get on their good side as early as possible.
  • Whenever you’re ready to take that leap by proposing to become their affiliate, send them an email. Or if you’ve already talked to somebody from their organization, use him/her as an in to open up the discussion. Again, your site should rank for lots of keywords before reaching out to them.
  • Find as many potential affiliate partners as possible. The idea is to diversify your partnerships and not put all your eggs in one basket. This way, if one of your partners pulls out from your deal with them, you can still generate income as affiliates of others.

Pinterest Marketing

All of the tactics shared above has something to do with SEO and with a good reason. Driving traffic from search engines is one of the best and arguably easiest ways to drive to your affiliate sites.

By creating content optimized for long-tail keywords, you can guarantee a spot on the first page of search engine result pages (SERPs).

However, similar to being an Amazon affiliate, you can’t depend solely on Amazon to build your site’s traffic. It still would be your best source of traffic, but you must find other avenues where you can attract people to go to your site.

Aside from email marketing, social media is another distribution channel you should highly consider. In particular, Pinterest seems to be one of the better places to funnel traffic to your website.

As a social networking site, Pinterest lets you curate visual content online by “pinning” them on your “boards” that other users can see. If they like the pin, they can repin it on their boards, which their followers can do so as well.

This cycle of pinning and repinning can drive more eyeballs to your website. Leanne Wong saw a 459% increase in website traffic after a week because of Pinterest.

There are probably others like Leanne who save massive traffic gains from Pinterest. However, does that mean that you could achieve the same results as them?

To answer this question, Ahrefs ran its own Pinterest marketing campaign to see if it can turn the platform into a reliable source of traffic.

After months of diligently working on pinning and repinning images, the company wasn’t able to get as much traffic as they wanted from the platform.

To be fair, for a site that receives a million monthly visitors, the results from the Pinterest campaigns are likely to be a disappointment unless the campaign nets over 100,000 visitors a month.

That said, the value that Pinterest brings to your site in terms of traffic is on a case-to-case basis. But to successfully accumulate traffic for your niche site, below are other factors you must consider:

  • Niche - If your niche lends itself well to visual content, i.e. photography, travel, wedding, and others, then there’s no better platform to promote your site and content than Pinterest. This isn’t to say that other niches would fail, but it’ll be much more difficult for you to find visuals that match the content of your niche. Also, you need to see if there is interest in your niche based on the volume of pins related to it. The fewer they are, the lower the interest it has on the platform.
  • Pin design - Aside from the 2:3 image aspect, use the templates available from online image editors like Canva and Crello. You can customize them to achieve the look and feel you want. Test out different designs and see what works best for you in terms of clicks to your site.
  • Pin Frequency - According to Louise Myers, you should pin 3-30 images a day to see results. Basically, the more images you can pin, the better the results will be. However, using the volume approach also allows you to determine which types of pin designs get the best traction. From there, focus on reproducing the same design but at lower frequency to maximize the ROI of your images.
  • Keyword research - When writing the title and description of your pins, use Pinterest’s search feature to find words and phrases to include. On the results page of your keyword research, you will see terms just above the pins related to your search. and The goal is to mention contextually relevant terms in your pins to increase its likelihood of ranking on top of Pinterest search results.
  • Followers - To get more traffic, you need to turn users who see your pins into followers. Aside from churning out pins left and right, you must follow other users who share your interests. You can also follow users who follow your competitors. By doing both, you can get them to follow you back once they check your boards and pins.
  • Group boards - Another great way to get more clicks to your pins and grow your followers is to join group boards where you can pin your images and repin images of other users. Go to PinGroupie to find group boards related to your niche that you can join. Join groups with the most followers so you can drive the most impressions to the images you’ll be pinning there.

Launch Exclusive Deals and Coupons

Everybody loves a good bargain. Paying for anything less than the retail price is a great way to entice people to pull out money from their pockets.

And that’s why coupons and discounts work very well as part of your affiliate marketing strategy. While you will get lower commission rates by nature of the discounted price, you can try and make up for the volume that you can sell the product.

Here’s an example of an exclusive deal from an affiliate site for a product:

SEMrush normally offers a 14-day free trial to new users for paid plans. However, the WPBeginner coupon grants users 30 days for free.

While people won’t be able to save money once they subscribe, they have more than enough time to test the tool out before making an informed decision.

Brands only offer you discount codes or coupons to featuring on your site if it has the authority they desire from it. That said, brands will not partner up with sites with zero traffic and content.

Building your site up may take a while, making this tactic not applicable to new affiliates. However, this tactic is something you must highly consider because of the positive effects it could bring to your bottom line.

Similar to building your affiliate network, you need to think about this from the very start. While creating content to publish on your site, find out which affiliate partners you should hook up with so you can sell their products and monetize from them.

From here, create content dedicated to their products and share it with them so you can get their attention. It would even be better if you can get them to rank on top of SERPs.

Once you now get lots of traffic, you can email the company and ask if it’s possible to grant your visitor a coupon code for its product.

Conclusion

There is no one way to make money with your affiliate site. Due to different factors, you can choose from a plethora of tactics to help your site drive traffic and convert it into sales.

However, you won’t know what these tactics are unless you test them. Therefore, by experimenting with the techniques listed above, you should know which ones you should include in your strategy.

Once you’ve settled with a strategy that works, it’s just a matter of implementing it consistently to see results soon.

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