There are a lot of nuances to setting up and running an affiliate marketing program that many first-time participants overlook and pay for in the long run. One of the goals of these weekly Affiliate Marketing Insight columns is to let you learn from my mistakes.
When I got started in this business, I was out of work from the financial crisis and ended up in the offices of one of the affiliate ad networks. The guy who had given me his business card at a conference had just been fired for taking clients out for a $2,000 meal on the company credit card. All I knew at that point was that I was out of work and had a lot of friends who told me they were making three to five thousand dollars a week and I wanted to get into the business.
I sat down and listened to the guy pitch me on why I should sign up with his network and how great his offers and service were.
“What kind of traffic do you run?” he asked.
“Traffic? What’s that?” I thought to myself.
“Uh, well, you know, I run a bunch of different stuff,” I said, trying to make it up as I went along. Not a good idea.
I was so new to online that I didn’t even know what traffic was! Now I know that for affiliate marketing, there are a number of different types of traffic. The key to making money in affiliate marketing is to drive targeted, qualified visitors to your affiliate offers. Some traffic costs money, while other traffic sources take time and effort to create.
1. The first source for traffic is organic search engine traffic. People type in a search request and get to your page based on the page’s rank. Two of the drawbacks to this kind of traffic are that it takes time to build a quality, optimized website and you remain at the mercy of the search engines.
2. Pay-per-click advertising is probably the second most common way to get traffic. You buy it. You bid on a keyword and this drives traffic to the landing page of your offer.
3. Joint-venture marketing is another way to get people to your site. Find other marketers in your niche and contact them. Set up a deal for you to recommend their site to your visitors when they recommend your site to theirs.
4. Buying banner placements is another way to drive customers to your offer. Banners are usually purchased on a price-per-thousand impressions basis. By selecting well-targeted sites to run your banners, you can create a large amount of highly qualified traffic to your offer.
5. Email marketing is one of the most profitable areas of affiliate marketing. Selling additional products to past customers is so much easier because once someone has bought from you, they have a sense of trust in your product.
6. Social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, and Delicious offer a way to drive traffic. Link your site to these and over time you will see conversions to your offer.
7. Social media sites like FaceBook and MySpace will give you customers if you set up relevant profiles and connect with people seeking your offer.
8. Video sites like YouTube can drive massive traffic. Tube Mogul will allow you to upload a video to its site for free and then distribute your video to over 30 other popular video sites.
9. Article writing on sites like EzineArticles and Squidoo will send you conversions if you write solid content for your topic and then provide a link to your site.
Of course, there are other ways to get traffic, but these are the big ones. Stay tuned next week when I will cover some of the little-known secrets to getting this traffic cheap.