Affiliate marketing is an Internet-based marketing practice where businesses pay affiliates for each visitor or customer brought in by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. The affiliate acts as a brand spokesman who spreads the word about the product. Attracted to the success so many have achieved using content marketing, affiliate marketers have flocked to content marketing.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always a success. Whether misguided or intentional, many will fail after exhausting so much time and so many resources into unnatural spam tactics that drive a poor user experience.
This isn’t a “get rich quick,” “see results in 30-60 days” scheme. Content marketing requires a focus on quality and dedication. The amount of energy you put into it directly influences how much you’ll get out of it. Low quality: poor results. High-quality: a solid platform that will deliver great results.
Start off on the right foot or reset your campaign toward success by building a solid platform using the following content-marketing tips.
Choose Wisely: Your Niche
Choose your niche affiliate products/services wisely by participating in a niche you’re passionate about and knowledgeable in. If you choose to market in a niche with which you’ve no experience, then you may find yourself on a path that will be a long and arduous one as you attempt to gain these insights from scratch. Or you’ll wind up regurgitating other people’s insights, only to be rejected by readers and credible experts in your niche. Begin with the foundation of what you know and expand upon it by staying up-to-date with trends in your niche.
Own It: Your Website
Purchase your own top-level domain (TLD). Link ownership is a critical component to your overall success, protects your affiliate commissions, and it shows a long-term relationship. Audiences want to be assured you’re not going to dump the product and the customer after a few weeks or months.
Owning your own TLD also increases audience trust when the following credibility-building elements are easily found on your website:
- Original Content – Spread your wealth of knowledge and experience into a reservoir of information that reflects your authority in your niche on your website. From blog posts to videos, become a thought leader whose focus is always on a positive user-experience.
- Tell Them About Yourself – Give your audience a little information about yourself and your company. For example: Write a brief biography of yourself, your company, why you came to become an affiliate, and how it has changed your life.
- Contact Information – Your prospective customers should be able to contact you about your products or services. Provide a contact form or email address. For email addresses, use one that reflects your website brand (e.g., instead of your-company-name @ gmail.com, use support @ your-company-name.com). For added credibility points, list your phone and address.
- Social – Take advantage of the higher level of audience-to-brand engagement and word-of-mouth advertising a professional social media account will provide. Avoid getting overwhelmed by social media saturation by sticking to the main social platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest). Find which one your audience is most active on and will be most willing to receive your message.
- Feedback – Consumer-driven content, such as customer reviews and testimonials, increases trust and brings you (and your product) into the real world for readers and prospective customers. Invite and post reviews and feedback on your website and social media.
Submit It: Article Writing
Once the structure for a solid platform is in place via your website, branch out by writing quality, informative articles. Creating and expanding your article portfolio increases your exposure, which is needed to be viable competition with other experts (including other affiliate marketers practicing content marketing) in your niche. Provide original, insightful, and useful tips or solutions in your articles and then provide your relevant affiliate offer leading the reader to your website in the Resource Box. This will build trust and in turn increase your conversion rate. Keep it steady (and readers interested) by publishing consistently over time rather than releasing a horde of articles at once or intermittently.
Avoid Link Pitfalls: Links in Articles
Here are a few tips to affiliate links and your articles:
- You may include affiliate links that originate at a top-level domain.
- You may forward/redirect to an affiliate link from a top-level domain you own.
- Link redirects from a domain that you do NOT own are unacceptable.
- Links redirects from a subdirectory on your website (e.g., http:// your-company-name.com/affiliate-page/) are unacceptable.
- Link redirects from a subdomain you own (e.g., http:// affiliate-page.your-company-name.com) are unacceptable.
Please note that you can include sub-directories and sub-domains in your Resource Box as long as they don’t direct a person to a direct affiliate link nor redirect to an affiliate link.
Always focus on quality and aim to build credibility, trust, and a good user experience. Once you have a solid platform in place, cross pollinate your content from your website, to articles, to social media, and more. How do you use content marketing in your efforts? Share your questions or comments here – we’d love to hear from you!