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Affiliate Marketing Strategies Publishers Should Consider

Affiliate Marketing Strategies Publishers Should Consider

The digital publishing industry expects revenue to top $40 billion in 2022. Traditionally, most monetization efforts have been through ad revenue, paywalls and subscriptions.

One avenue that has been consistently undervalued over the years is affiliate marketing. If you aren’t using this method yet, your business may be losing out.

Digital publishers looking for new and innovative ways to make money should consider affiliate marketing as an option.

This article will discuss different types of affiliate marketing programs, how to get started and some of the benefits of participating in such a program.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought in by the affiliate’s marketing efforts. 

The industry has four main components:

  • The merchant (aka the brand)
  • The network (aka the company that manages the program)
  • The publisher (aka the affiliate)
  • The customer

Retailers launch affiliate programs to leverage marketing efforts and attract new customers. When customers click on the affiliate link and buy the products, the retailer pays a commission to the network, which, in turn, passes on a portion of this commission to the affiliate. 

Affiliate marketing has seen strong growth over the years

eCommerce websites eventually became an integrated part of the overall business plan and, in some cases, even outgrow the existing offline business.

As the market has grown in complexity, so has the number of businesses involved. It’s now a big business, full of those doing it the right way, while others try to cut corners. Google actively searches for and penalizes websites that fall into the latter category to keep its users from being scammed.

There is a healthy dose of overlap between digital and traditional marketing as far as methods and strategies go. Both branches often focus on SEO, email marketing, content marketing and social media.

Affiliates, however, have embraced less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of partner products or services. The New York Times’ Wirecutter springs to mind here.

How to Pick the Right Affiliate Marketing Program

Digital publishers have a number of considerations to weigh when choosing an affiliate marketing program, here are a few:

  • First, think about your audience. Who do you want to reach with your affiliate marketing efforts? Make sure your chosen program has products or services that appeal to your target audience.
  • Secondly, consider the commission structure. Some programs offer a higher commission rate than others. Be sure to compare different programs to find one that provides a good return on investment (RoI).
  • Thirdly, take a look at the company’s reputation. Do some research to find out what others are saying about the company. Not every program is legit, so make sure teh company has a good reputation within the industry before signing up.
  • Finally, be sure to read the program’s terms and conditions carefully. Some programs may restrict how you promote their products or services. You need to fully understand the rules before agreeing to participate.

How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

Now that we’ve covered the basics on this topic, it’s time to dive a little deeper. Here are a few suggestions you may find useful on your journey:

Find Content to Add Affiliate Links

The first step is to find or create content to add affiliate links. This can be done by writing new articles or blog posts or adding affiliate links to existing content.

No idea where to start? Try looking for popular keywords related to your niche using a keyword research tool such as Google Ads’ Keyword Planner. Once you’ve found some high-traffic keywords, create content around those topics and include affiliate links where appropriate.

Another great method would be to find a great product or service and then build content around it.  For example, if you find a great new software program that you think your audience would benefit from, you could write a review of the product and include an affiliate link.

Whatever method you choose, add plenty of value to your content. No one wants to read a blog post or article that’s nothing but a sales pitch. Include valuable information your readers find helpful, and then add affiliate links where they make sense.

Moreover, be selective in the content and links you choose to showcase. A financial news and services publisher that creates a round up of the best financial affiliate programs, makes sense. Publishing round ups of products that might provide ancillary benefits, such as new laptops, is tangential at best.

Use Effective Marketing Techniques

Once you’ve got some great content with affiliate links, it’s time to start promoting it. There are a number of different marketing techniques you can use to get people to see your content.

Use Effective Marketing TechniquesSource: Finances Online

1. Social Media

Social media is a great way to promote affiliate products by sharing your content.

Key to that, however, is choosing the right platform. Pinterest is great for promoting visual items such as clothes, jewelry and home decor. Facebook is good for promoting physical products, digital goods and services. Twitter is good for promoting just about anything.

Second, create share-worthy content. Content that is informative, entertaining or both will be shared more often, which means more people will see your affiliate links.

Third, use effective calls to action (CTAs). Tactfully steer your audience into the direction you want them to take, whether it’s to click on your affiliate link or share your content with their followers.

2. Paid Advertising

Another great way to have people see your content is by using paid advertising. Platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads are the most popular options. They allow you to place ads on relevant websites and in front of people who are interested in what you’re promoting.

Paid ads can be a great way to position your content in front of more people, but it’s important to use it effectively. If your ads aren’t finding the right audience, it can cost a small fortune. 

Second, create compelling ad copy that will drive clicks. And don’t forget to use relevant keywords to ensure your ads are being seen by people who are actually interested in what you’re promoting.

3. YouTube

YouTube is one of the best platforms for affiliate marketing. While this isn’t always a common strategy for digital publishing brands, that could be a reason to give it a try.

You can create videos about the products you’re promoting. Be sure to include your affiliate link in the video description so people can click on it and buy the product.

It’s also possible to build a channel around a specific niche and then promote affiliate products relevant to that niche. For example, if you have a cooking channel, you could promote kitchen appliances, cookware and other related products.

Lastly, you can create review videos of the products you’re promoting. This is a great way to provide value to your viewers while also having them click on the affiliate links.

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a fantastic way to promote affiliate products and there are a few different ways to do it.

Your newsletter should be the top choice for affiliate links. It’s a great way to regularly show subscribers your offers. But you can also create standalone emails that promote specific affiliate products.

Be Patient

Affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn money, but it takes time and effort to gain momentum. So be patient and don’t expect to see results overnight.

This route isn’t for you if you’re looking for instant revenue generation. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, it can be a great way to earn passive income. 

The Benefits of Participating in an Affiliate Marketing Program

Many entrepreneurs and gurus talk about affiliate marketing — it can change your life, it can make “x” amount per month, it’s all passive. Some of this is true and some simply isn’t.

To provide some clarity, here are some of the tangible benefits that affiliate marketing can bring to your digital publishing business.

Increased Exposure and Traffic

The most obvious benefit of affiliate marketing is increased exposure. By partnering with other businesses and websites, your content can reach a whole new audience. And if your content is good, they’ll keep coming back for more.

Increased Revenue

Another great benefit of affiliate marketing is increased revenue. Effectively promoting affiliate products can lead to stable revenue streams and the more traffic you generate, the greater the earning potential is.

Passive Income

One of the best things about affiliate marketing is that it can be a great source of passive income. Once you have a solid affiliate marketing strategy in place, you can start earning money while you sleep.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other great benefits of participating in an affiliate marketing program. So if you’re looking for monetization strategies for your website, affiliate marketing is definitely worth considering.

The Takeaway

Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your website or blog. It can provide you with increased exposure, traffic and revenue, and it can be a source of passive income. 

So, for digital publishers looking for a way to expand their revenue model, affiliate marketing is definitely worth investigating.

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and ideas expressed in this post belong to the author/s and do not necessarily reflect those held by State of Digital Publishing.

Gael Breton

Gael Breton

Gael Breton is one half of Authority Hacker. Together with his business partner Mark, Gael helps small to medium sized businesses create and grow their online presence and unlock their full digital potential.

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