Affiliate Marketing Tips that Still Work in 2020 – Passive Income Guide

Affiliate Marketing Tips that Still Work in 2020 Passive Income Guide
Affiliate Marketing Tips that Still Work in 2020 Passive Income Guide

After the success of our “How to make money with Clickbank” post, I’ve decided to unwrap more of our affiliate strategies to our readers. So Let continue with Affiliate Marketing Tips that Still work today and start earning passive income without depositing any huge amounts of money. We are here to educate you and hope to see you following us on a daily basis because we will try to publish at least One educational article per day.

The idea of affiliate marketing is awesome: sign up for an affiliate program, sell someone else’s product and get paid a referrer’s fee for making that sale.

As a lean startup fan, I really like the idea of not having to worry about your product and focus on building the traffic and demand before you have to worry about taking care of customers while still making money. It makes affiliate marketing programs a very easy way to start an online business.

The problem is: instead of attracting people trying starting a real affiliate marketing business, affiliate marketing quickly became the target of “get rich quick doing nothing” schemes giving it a bad name because of the TERRIBLE advice circulating about it along with the scammy offers that started popping left and right (not to mention all the spam the search engines had to deal with).

But the thing is, if you do it ethically and have your audience in mind, it’s still one of the best ways to monetise a new site (in case you’re starting one).

I don’t believe it should be your main earner anymore and you should probably always aim at having your own products eventually.

While we are not affiliate millionaires, we can more than pay the bills just with affiliate income and that earning has come with a lot of learnings and a lot of mistakes.

We’ve tried virtually all the major affiliate networks, and we’ve experimented with almost every way of generating traffic: from SEO to social media to pay-per-click advertising.

In this post, I’m going to share with you more than 15 Affiliate Marketing Tips we always do when we try to generate affiliate income (and case studied demonstrating them). Enjoy the reading and share it if you think its good for reading as educational material.

Affiliate Marketing Tips What you will learn reading this article

  • How to set up your business to maximize earnings
  • How to capture more emails and make the most from your subscriber list
  • How to track links and use retargeting
  • How to craft your content and use copy that increases conversions
  • How to use bonuses and deals to get more sales

Affiliate Marketing Tips Section ONE: Business Setup

In this section, we’ll cover how to set up your business to maximize affiliate earnings. These are the fundamentals and getting those wrong can make things incredibly difficult for you. Some of these may look quite basic for the most advanced readers but Take careful note as they can make or break your business.

One thing to note as well is that a lot of those are clearly related to running authority sites as opposed to running PPC based affiliate campaigns.

Own Your Audience – Affiliate Marketing Tips

Remember those days of when every marketer was building dozens of pages on HubPages and Squidoo?

Marketers called it “bum marketing”. As Google Trends shows, it’s been a dead goose for years.

BUM Marketing Google Affiliate Marketing Tips
BUM Marketing Google Affiliate Marketing Tips

Around the same time, the internet was filled with millions of thin-content sites shilling everything from fat loss pills to Amazon products. For a while, they flourished. Then the Panda update happened and these sites dropped from the SERPs by the thousands. More Google and Pagerank updates have been happened to see the full list here

It’s simple: you can’t depend on other platforms for your traffic. Google can change its algorithm at a whim, Facebook can alter its reach in a day, and hip new social networks can shut shop anytime.

This is why you have to own your audience in 2020.

Owned Audience vs. Bridge Pages – Affiliate Marketing Tips

In affiliate marketing, you can either own an audience, or you can rent its attention momentarily via bridge pages.

Let’s try to understand what this means in more detail below.

What is Bridge Page?

According to Google: “Bridge pages are doorway pages, whose main purpose is to lead users to 3rd party sites”.

These pages are created only to capture search engine traffic and divert it to an affiliate offer.

A bridge page can be an article on HubPages, a blog post on Blogger.com, or even a standalone affiliate website with thin content and no real social media footprint or community activity.

Visitors don’t really interact with bridge pages. They drop by, browse for a few seconds, click a link and leave. Essentially, you are merely renting the audience momentarily.

As you can imagine, bridge pages don’t make for great user experience.

There are four reasons why such pages are bad for long term affiliate marketing:

  • No value. Bridge pages offer no real value to surfers. This is bad for customers, and bad for your business – you’re just one step from a Google hammer.
  • Unstable. Bridge pages hosted on third-party platforms might suffer a ranking drop any day due to an algorithm update.
  • No customer recall (no brand). A surfer will forget about your site as soon as he leaves it. You can forget about getting type-in traffic on bridge pages.
  • Need to generate fresh traffic every day. If SEO/social media presence dies out, there is no way for them to tap into existing traffic.

What Is Owned Audience?

In marketing speak, an audience that you have direct access to and that is generated through your own properties is called an owned audience.

“An audience you have direct access to is called an ‘owned audience’
Gael Breton

You don’t have to rely on another platform to reach out to this audience. If Google changes its policies or Facebook updates its organic reach algorithm, you can still tap into it through emails, tweets, or blog posts.

An owned audience is especially powerful because you have a relationship with it. These aren’t just surfers stopping by your site; these are people who believe you, trust you, and will support your endeavours.

Think of someone like Pat Flynn or John Lee Dumas of EntrepreneurOnFire. If you are on their email subscriber list, follow them on Twitter, or read their posts religiously, you have a direct relationship with them. If Google were to penalize SmartPassiveIncome tomorrow, Pat Flynn could still reach out to his email list without crashing his business.

This is the difference between owned audience and one generated through bridge pages.

In short, here are two characteristics that define an owned audience:

  • Trust – Your readers have a relationship with you. They see you as an authority figure in your field. This translates into higher trust.
  • Access – You have direct access to your readers. You can communicate to them through multiple channels – email, videos, tweets, etc.

As an example, consider Pat Flynn’s blog, SmartPassiveIncome.com or Steve’s fitness blog, NerdFitness.com. Both sites compete in two lucrative niches – make money online and fitness.

However, unlike the majority of bridge pages and thin affiliate sites out there, both Pat and Steve have a relationship with their readers. Readers don’t just drop by once, click a link and go away. Instead, they stay on, follow them on Facebook, recommend their posts to friends and share their content on social media.

That’s the difference between owned audience and bridge pages promos

Why You Must Own Your Audience in 2020?

  • More stability. Since you don’t rely on a single channel for your traffic, you can survive any sudden changes in Google, Facebook, Twitter policies.
  • Make more sales. Unlike a bridge page, you can reach out to your audience any time you have a new post, product launch or promo.
  • Good for future product owners. Instead of building your audience from scratch, an owned audience gives you a ready-made platform to transition to a product owner.

How to Own Your Audience

Any attempt to own your audience must focus on a three-pronged approach:

  • Build an email list. Email marketing delivers the highest ROI among all digital marketing channels.
  • Grow your social profiles.
  • Grow your retargeting lists. As we mentioned in our guide to making money from Clickbank, retargeting is one of the most powerful ways to maximize affiliate earnings. By growing your retargeting lists, you will get ready access to a proven, hungry audience.

Always Have a Backup Offer

There are many things that can kill a successful marketing campaign:

  • Your best performing affiliate offer gets pulled from the market
  • The product owner changes payment terms, making your campaign unsustainable.
  • Conversion rate drops as the market gets saturated with the offer.
  • Your ad CTR goes down as people get tired of seeing the ad

And so on.

Any of these can happen anytime and the consequences can be catastrophic for your bottom line.

What’s the best way to prevent such a disaster?

Simple: always have a backup offer.

A ‘backup offer’ is exactly what it describes: a secondary offer to your primary one.

For example, if you’re marketing WordPress themes, your primary offer might be an annual membership plan for Thrive Themes. As a backup, you might offer visitors a membership to Woo Themes or even individual themes from ThemeForest.

Of course, you should always have the best interest of your reader in mind, not just the commissions but if you can offer several great options, then go for it.

Having a backup offer has three key benefits:

  • INSURANCE – In case your primary offer fails or changes its terms, you have a ready alternative as insurance.
  • MORE SALES – You can offer alternatives and reach a larger audience. If someone has already bought offer A, you can interest them in offer B.
  • BETTER CONVERSION RATES – You can test multiple offers against each other to see what converts best.

The hard part, of course, is finding backup offers.

How To Find Backup Offers

You can make your backup offer search easier by following these three steps:

Use “Odigger” Or “OfferVault” To Search For Relevant Offers.

Lookup your target keyword in either of these affiliate offer directories to get a list of affiliate products sorted by payout, type and network.

Use Odigger Or OfferVault To Search For Relevant Offers.
Use Odigger Or OfferVault To Search For Relevant Offers.

Use Google To Find Related Offers.

Type in “related:[sitename.com]” into the search box, where [sitename.com] is your affiliate product’s website.

For example, using this query on WooThemes shows StudioPress, Themeify, Templatic, etc.

Use Google To Find Related Offers
Use Google To Find Related Offers

Do a search for “[product type] affiliate” where [product type] stands for your affiliate product’s category.

For example, using this query for WordPress themes shows up StudioPress, Themeforest and ElegantThemes within the first few results:

Backup Offer Affiliate Marketing Guide
Backup Offer Affiliate Marketing Guide

Ask your affiliate manager for recommendations.

If you’re using networks like MaxBounty, you would have a dedicated affiliate manager. Ask them directly about offers similar to your current one. More often than not, they’d be glad to help.

Affiliate Marketing Tips Section TWO: Tech Setup

Tech Setup

In this section, we’ll look at how you can set up your website’s tech to maximize your affiliate earnings.

Track Your Links

If there’s one big affiliate marketing mistake you can make in 2020, it’s not tracking your links.

Marketing coaches have been harping on this for years, but most marketers still manage to skip this crucial step.

It’s simple: If you don’t track your links, you can’t know where your sale came from.

If you don’t track your links, you can’t know how and where your sales came from
Gael Breton

If you don’t know where your sale came from, you have no idea what’s working, what isn’t.

Tracking links helps you to:

  • Know what keywords convert best
  • Track what pages bring in the most revenue (so you can create more like them)
  • Analyze which marketing channels deliver the best ROI.
  • Detect whether any fraud affiliate companies are using your traffic without crediting you sales

Simply put: affiliate marketing without link tracking is like shooting darts from 200 feet while blindfolded and spinning in circles.

How to Track Your Links

Tracking links used to be a big pain in the butt. You usually had to manage spreadsheets with individual links, then track their progress manually.

Fortunately, that has changed now with some nifty automated solutions.

Follow these steps to track your affiliate links:

  • Install Thirsty Affiliates: This is a FREE plugin for tracking and cloaking affiliate links in WordPress. Install it from your WordPress dashboard.
  • Install the Thirsty Affiliates Stats add-on: This is a paid add-on for Thirsty Affiliates. It adds crucial link tracking and click statistics to the plugin. You get real-time data, deep traffic analytics for individual links, and bot filtering. If you’re serious about tracking links, you would want to buy this add-on.
  • Add tracking IDs to your links in Thirsty Affiliates: Once you’ve installed the stats add-on, add a unique tracking ID to affiliate links. Try to keep these IDs short and easily identifiable, for example, “woot” for a WooThemes link, “spress” for a StudioPress link.
  • Create as many links as you want, then use them in your content: Once you’ve created your affiliate links with tracking IDs, you can start using them in your content right away. For stats and traffic analysis, check your Thirsty Affiliates dashboard in WordPress.
How to Track Your Affiliate Links
How to Track Your Affiliate Links

Use Retargeting

In sales and marketing, there is a well-known rule called the ‘Rule of 7’.

As per this rule, you need at least seven touches with a prospect before you can turn him into a customer.

You need 7 touches before you can convert a prospect into a customer
Gael Breton

The specifics will vary, but this general rule holds for most products and industries. This is why you see so many sales leaders hammer in the importance of following up – you need to register on your prospect’s mind several times before they’re ready to buy.

You’re probably thinking: how does this Rule of 7 relate to affiliate marketing?

Here’s how: only a tiny fraction of the readers who land on your site are actually ready to buy. The rest – up to 98% of the traffic – filters out without purchasing anything.

To sell to this traffic, you need to register on their radar several times (up to seven times, as per the Rule of 7).

This is where retargeting comes into play.

Retargeting is the process of showing your ads to people who’ve already visited your site but haven’t completed a transaction. Since this includes up to 98 out of 100 visitors, it is a massive opportunity to increase sales by targeting people you’ve already engaged with before.

We’re big fans of retargeting. We talked about how it figures into our affiliate marketing plans in our post on Clickbank marketing.

How To Use Retargeting

Retargeting is the most exciting thing in online marketing since the invention of SEO and if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, it’s still time to be an early adopter.

If you have some Facebook fan data, and Adroll account and a few hundred dollars to spare, you can get started right away.

Affiliate Marketing Tips Section THREE: Sequence

In this section, we’ll take a look at how you can grow your email subscribers, segment your audience, and get more sales by offering the right product to your readers at the right time.

Use Lead Magnets to Segment Your Audience

Your audience is complex. Different visitors to your site are interested in different things. One might be a new blogger hoping to learn how to write his first blog post. Another might be a seasoned marketer looking for new email marketing strategies.

How do you understand this audience and give it what it wants?

Answer: By segmenting the audience with lead magnets.

Lead magnets work wonderfully well for capturing emails. But they’re also very useful for dividing your audience into different interest groups.

To understand this, let’s consider an example from Authority Hacker itself.

Take a look at these two posts:

Use Lead Magnets to Segment Your Audience
Use Lead Magnets to Segment Your Audience
Use Lead Magnets to Segment Your Audience TWO
Use Lead Magnets to Segment Your Audience TWO

The first post is about making money with blogs and offers a lead magnet about monetizing blog traffic.

The second post is about growing social media following and offers a lead magnet about Twitter marketing.

Going by the topic of each lead magnet, you can categorize subscribers from each lead magnet as follows:

Blog Monetization Tools

  • Interested in blogging and affiliate marketing
  • Beginner to intermediate level
  • Want to maximize earnings from blogs.

Twitter Marketing Methods

  • Interested in social media marketing
  • Intermediate level
  • Want to automate social media marketing so they can focus on business

Suddenly, instead of going in blind, you have actual insight into what your audience wants. If you were to send targeted offers to each of the two cohorts, you will likely see a much better response rate.

Segmenting your audience has several benefits:

  1. You can test new ideas on separate audience segments and get better feedback. For example, an internet marketing blogger might want to switch his blog’s focus from social media to SEO. Instead of doing a complete pivot, he can first test his audience’s response by sending out an offer to a specific segment.
  2. You ensure that your offers always stay relevant to your audience. Instead of emailing everyone on your list, you can send specific offers to relevant audience cohorts.
  3. You can test whether there is a paying audience for your products. If people are not willing to download free info through a content upgrade, there is little chance they will shell out cash for a similar paid product.

Affiliate Marketing Tips Section FOUR: Copy And Content

In this section, we will look at how you can modify your copy and content to land more sales in 2020. Few affiliate marketers care about this, but it undoubtedly has a massive impact on your income.

Show Your Face And Personality

If you read our last post on the top 23 bloggers online, you would have noticed something: nearly every one of our bloggers put their face front and centre on their blog.

Whether it’s Pat posing with his son in the sidebar of SmartPassiveIncome.com

It’s very clear: successful bloggers don’t hide behind anonymity. Their blogs have a face and a personality to go with it.

This is true not just for blogging, but for affiliate marketing as a whole. Where once fake identities and generic web pages were common, real faces and personalities now dominate.

There are four good reasons to do this:

  • People remember faces more than names. Putting your face on your site will make you more memorable.
  • Stand out from the crowd. A real face and personality help you stand out from no-name competitors in SERPs. Plus, it might help you with Google’s human raters who are trained to look out for ‘trustworthiness, expertise and authoritativeness’. Since Google encourages websites to have real addresses and contact details, real pictures go a long way in this increasing trust.
  • Helps readers relate to you. A real personality helps readers identify with you. As Scott Albro of TOPO says, “Marketers should use pictures of people and headshots in particular to humanize their calls to action and conversions”.
  • Real photos increase your credibility. Readers are more likely to trust a source if they know it comes from a real person, not just an internet handle.
  • Pictures of people increase your conversion rates

Pat Flynn didn’t become the internet’s favourite blogger by hiding his identity, nor did Seth Godin reach his status without showing his face. In fact, Seth’s face is such a big part of his site that you actually have to click on it to read his blog!

It’s clear: to be successful in 2020, you have to start using your face and your personality.

Affiliate Marketing Tips – Wrapping it up

Affiliate Marketing Tips – Affiliate marketing has become a lot more complex in the last few years and I will repeat it once again, while it can certainly generate a good amount of income, I think eventually you should be selling your own products (more on what we’ve been doing in that area in a post soon.

Yet, it’s great icing on the cake as well as a perfect early monetisation method (most of the money I made from this site is from affiliate marketing to this day).

But avoid the cheesy/scammy schemes as they never last and you’ll find yourself having to keep working to maintain a level of income which what most of us site owners are trying to avoid.

Do you have any other tip you think I should have mentioned?