Building and maintaining a blog takes hard work; it is time-consuming, all encompassing and requires lots of strategy. Blog success doesn’t happen overnight and it is not a recipe for instant, quick money. Growing your website takes patience and it typically occurs slowly and gradually, but there are lots of ways that an affiliate can set themselves and their blog up for success – starting now! Take a look at these suggestions to bring more value to your affiliate marketing strategy.
1. Attend Conferences & Events
The value of attending industry conferences can’t be overstated. Each type of conference can bring a large number of benefits to you personally, to your blog, and to your partnerships. Here are a couple of fantastic reasons to be sure you target a few conferences or events each year:
- Shows a potential retail partner that you are committed to your business enough to take time out of your life to show up.
- Gets your face in front of a potential retail partner and puts a face to your email address – they are going to be much more likely to respond and work with you.
- Allows you to learn about a retailer, their products, and negotiate great terms going forward for yourself in the program.
- Connect with OTHER bloggers who are in the same position as you – and learn from each other.
2. Become a Resource
The absolute most value thing you can do for your blog is make it to provide quality, reliable, consistent content. You may have started your blog for you and with a drive backed by personal fulfillment reasons, but your blog isn’t all about you. It is also all about your readers. What keeps them coming back? Why do they love your blog?
Finding a way to make your website a resource and the location for niche content will not only grow your following as more and more people recommend it to others, but also force engagement. Your blog will become the place to visit for information on a relevant subject. Dive deep into your content and spend the time to make it worthwhile.
3. Treat your blog as a business
If your goal is to make money with your blog and to seriously increase your traffic, then a mindset shift is a requirement. You must think of your blog as its own business. That means, investing back into the website, setting aside as much (if not more) time as you would for a normal 9-to-5 job, and routinely brainstorming strategy.
If you treat your website as a serious business, any potential partnership will follow suit.
4. Send New Customers
New customers are more valuable, typically, to a retailer than returning customers. You may ask “How Do I Do This? I can’t control new vs. old, can I?”
It is true that you can’t necessarily control this, but you can position yourself so that there is an increased likelihood that you are sending more and more new customers.
Here are of tips to set yourself up for success:
Get off (redirected) search
Search makes up an enormous percentage of traffic generated – and thus we all love it. However, as Merchants become more sophisticated in their own search efforts, they will likely de-value Affiliates who work in that arena.
This has already happened with Paid Search in the area of brand terms, trademarks, etc… and will continue into natural results. The majority of customers who have searched for their “Company Name” are repeat customers or those who would have ended up at their store without the assistance of an Affiliate. Therefore, don’t expect to drive new customers through search.
Build a Community.
As an Affiliate, a new source of traffic (one that belongs all to you) should be a goal.
There is no greater source of traffic than the one that you build yourself. Going back the topic of search engine usage, it would of better use to implement search as a way to build up your own site. Use your skills at search to bring traffic to your site, and then build a community around that traffic. Use small things like polls, questions, games, prizes, discussion, comments – all these things can bring people into your community. Communities feed on themselves – and bring the kind of organic growth to your Affiliate business that can’t be obtained thru search alone.
Be a traffic source, not solely a re-director of traffic.
This means a few things within your affiliate channel.
- Working with emerging Merchants brings you greater odds in working with new customers
- Sometimes it is better to work with less Merchants because it will allow you to focus more on the brands you are partnered with.
To fully focus on, and master a particular niche requires an obvious great investment in time. One of the common techniques in affiliate marketing today is to apply to as many programs as possible and see which one performs the best. A large number of Affiliates see success with this, which is great. However, if your goal is to bring new customers to a Merchant, I don’t think this technique would work as well.
Pick a niche and master it. Within an individual niche there are likely several Merchants who are suitable, thus giving you the opportunity to test individual conversion. Newer (sometimes smaller) Merchants with less overall market reach will bring you the best opportunity – as the likelihood of bringing in a new customer (vs. a returning customer) will be much higher. One possible way to go smaller is to target local markets.
There is no better way to help grow both personally and your blog than to stay educated and informed. In an industry that frequently changes with new technology, laws, and policies, your website will fall behind unless you stay up-to-date with the trends. Consume everything – other blogs, books, news articles. There are even blogs that teach you how to become an Affiliate Marketer, but be warned – there are very few that do it well.
Improve your skills and knowledge by reading the following; even if you are already a productive Affiliate yourself, you will learn.