Making a little money online with affiliate marketing is pretty easy.
Almost anyone can make a few bucks with affiliate marketing. But if you want to reach that next level, the upper echelon of earnings, you need to take a few extra steps.
In this guide, you’re going to learn some of the different methods that can drastically increase the amount of money you make from your affiliate marketing efforts.
Some of these methods include:
- Building and properly maintaining an email list
- Creating reviews and comparisons
- Adding value to offers
- Using bonuses correctly
- Rebates and coupons
- And more
So, let’s get started!
Building a List
The most important thing you can do for your affiliate marketing efforts is to build an email list.
You’ve probably heard this many times before: The money is in the list.
But have you started building your list, yet?
Even if you have, are you using it fully?
You might think that because you only have a handful of subscribers, you can’t start promoting anything to them, but it’s important to keep your list conditioned to receive emails regularly.
Not only that, but it’s also vital to ensure you’re sending valuable content to your list, not just an endless stream of ads. Eventually, people will either tune you out or unsubscribe altogether. But if you’re sending them content that helps them in some way, they’re going to pay attention.
The first thing you need to do is sign up for an email service, if you’re not already a member of one. Most services will charge you a monthly fee right from the start, and if you’re just getting started, you may not have a lot of cash to spend.
For this reason, you might want to get started with MailChimp.
MailChimp is free until you reach a certain number of subscribers or send out a certain number of emails.
After that, they have very reasonable monthly fees that sale as your list grows. If you decide to move to a different service later, you can just export your list and import it into your new provider, so there’s no real drawback to choosing MailChimp, even if you think you may want to use another service later.
Once you sign up, you’ll need to create your first list. After you’ve created the list, you will be able to create a subscriber form that you can paste into your squeeze page (or elsewhere, such as into the sidebar of your blog or website).
If you need help figuring out how to do all this, MailChimp has a complete guide to getting started:
The first thing you need to do after you have created a list is to create a lead magnet (something like a free report or training video) and a squeeze page. This page will tell people a little about your freebie, why they should get it, and include the link to subscribe.
You can customize the message sent to subscribers immediately after they opt in to send them a link to their free item. Just set up an autoresponder that will send them a link.
Note: Only paid users can use the autoresponder features.
For information about using MailChimp’s automation features, check out their in-depth tutorial here:
You can also use automation to deliver a series of messages that might be tutorials or some other type of quality content. This is usually done over the course of a week or two, with a new episode being sent every day or two during that period.
This is a great way to get your subscribers used to seeing emails from you, and to learn to expect great information from you.
Maintaining Your List
Once you have a few subscribers on your list, it’s important to start sending them valuable content immediately. It’s a good idea to send content at a ratio of at least 2:1 over promotions in order to keep people opening your messages regularly.
Once you’ve conditioned your list to expect valuable content, they’re more likely to open every message you send out.
If your subscribers write to you, write back! Communication is important, and each subscriber you personally communicate with is more likely to buy whatever you recommend later.
In between promotions, you can use your list to increase traffic to your blog by sending your list links to your blog posts. If you post often, it might be a good idea to just send a digest of all your recent posts once or twice per week to avoid flooding your list.
Reviews—honest ones—will add tremendous value to your marketing efforts and significantly boost your income, but you have to be prepared to actually use the products you’re reviewing in order to give viewers a review that will truly be beneficial.
In marketing, reputation is everything. If you tarnish your reputation by giving false reviews and the product ends up being subpar, you will damage the trust you’ve manage to build, and your sales will suffer.
However, if you provide real, honest reviews, readers are likely to come back again and again to find out what you think of other products in the genre, which will gradually help you increase your sales.
When you create reviews, don’t be afraid to list a few negative points about the product you’re promoting. If your review is 100% positive, your visitors will not be as likely to trust it. But if you include a few valid areas where the product might be lacking, it will make it easier for readers to trust you and your reviews.
Let’s say you’re reviewing a product in the internet marketing field and that product comes with an upsell that you feel should be part of the main product. This is something you could mention in the review, simply telling users the features of the upsell and how much it costs so they know to expect this.
Another type of review that could benefit users and increase your sales is when you compare multiple products of the same type.
For example, different brands of smart TVs or different SEO guides.
Comparisons help users decide which product to purchase when there are several similar products to choose from, saving them money and hassles.
It helps visitors know which product provides all the features they are looking for at the best possible price.
When doing comparisons, you could either – just write several reviews on the same page, or you could create a comparison table that has several columns of important features with check marks that indicate which features each product has.
Then you could include the price of each product with a link to purchase.
Additionally, you could rank products from best to worse for value, based on which one has the best price compared to the number of features.
Another great way to boost your affiliate income is by adding value to an offer. There are several ways to do this, and we will take a look at each one in-depth.
The most common way affiliates add value to the products they promote is by giving bonuses as incentives for them to purchase through your affiliate link instead of someone else’s or buying direct.
Bonuses should always relate to the product you’re promoting. If you’re promoting a weight loss product that involves a low carb diet, don’t include smoothie recipes (unless they’re low carb) and don’t include pet care products. Make sure all your bonuses fit very well with the product being promoted.
You might even choose to create a bonus exclusively for promoting the product. For example, if you’re promoting a low carb diet system, you might create your own low carb cookbook to include as a bonus, especially if there are no recipes included with the product itself.
What this does is it adds value to the product you’re promoting, making it even more effective for the user. This makes them more likely to want to purchase the product, and more likely to buy through your affiliate link.
Never include a bunch of PLR or resale rights products without checking their quality. If you include products that aren’t top-notch, you will probably lose a customer for life, and they might even ask for a refund of the original product.
Coupons & Rebates
Special offers are another way to increase affiliate sales. People love getting discounts, especially if it’s a “secret” discount that is not available to everyone.
There are two main ways to accomplish this:
- If you have a nice size list or a lot of traffic to your blog or website, you might contact the owner and ask if they’ll create a coupon code that is exclusive to you and your readers for a discount.
- If you don’t yet have the clout to ask for special favors from product owners, you could instead offer a rebate. Visitors must purchase the product at full price, and you give them a cash rebate after purchase.
One thing to keep in mind when offering a rebate is that you must have the cash available to offer immediate rebates, or you must be promoting a product that offers immediate commissions by PayPal. If you are depending on your affiliate money coming in before you pay out rebates, customers could get upset.
Webinars are a great way to add value to a product, especially a big-ticket product that people may be reluctant to shell out money for. Holding a webinar, especially one that features the product creator, can be a great way to increase your affiliate commissions.
Keep in mind that you must have a way of getting significant traffic to the webinar if you wish to include the product owner, because it will be frustrating to the owner and embarrassing to you if no one shows up. If you can’t get at least 50-100 attendees, there’s little point in holding a webinar at all, especially if you want to invite the product creator.
Some things to keep in mind when running a webinar:
- Always add value. Your webinar should contain a huge amount of free information. Otherwise, people will leave before the presentation is over, and they may never attend another one of your webinars.
- Always include the product owner, if at all possible. Holding an interview with the creator of the product is a fantastic way to get people interested.
- Have a domain you can use to easily redirect attendees to that includes your affiliate link. Asking them to visit an affiliate link may turn off some people, or it may be more trouble than many people are interested in going through.
Most people use GoToMeeting to run their webinars. The system is very easy to use, doesn’t cost much, and scales based on the number of attendees you expect to have.
ClickBank has a great article that explains how webinars can be used for more effective marketing:
Affiliate marketing is a lot more than just tossing up a few affiliate links and hoping for the best. It’s about providing value, increasing value, and helping users make informed decisions about their purchases.
When you use incentives and add value, you make users more likely to buy through your affiliate link instead of just buying direct or using someone else’s link. With all the competition in competitive fields like internet marketing and weight loss, these tactics are especially important.
Be sure to start building your list right away. Even one single subscriber could potentially get you a sale, and if you’re promoting a high-ticket item, that could be a lot of money!
Always treat your list well. Give them content on a regular basis and build a relationship with them. The time you invest into building and maintaining your list will pay off big time down the road.
If you put yourself into your visitor’s shoes, you’ll find better ways to promote products and incentivize them, and ultimately that will result in a lot more sales and money.