Contrary to popular belief, choosing a niche topic is the easy part of affiliate marketing. The hard part is attracting targeted website traffic to promote products to.
According to a survey from Affstat, affiliate marketers use a wide variety of strategies to drive traffic:
Here’s a run down of 10 of the best traffic generation strategies for affiliate marketing success:
Define your target audience
At this point, you’ve already picked a niche topic for your affiliate marketing business. (If not, read this post first). So you know your target audience are people interested in that niche. But before you start generating traffic, you first need to dig deeper into who these people really are.
The more detailed your target customer profile is, the easier it will be to create targeted content that attracts them back to your site. You need to know:
- Demographic characteristics
- Brands and products they love
- Where they hang out on the internet
- What problems/pain points they have
- And more
There are a lot of ways to research your target audience but one of the best tools is Facebook Audience Insights. It allows you to create your own custom audiences. These are based on specific behaviors and demographics, such as page likes or products purchased.
Say you run an affiliate marketing business in women’s fashion. You set your Facebook audience to show women, 20-45 who are heavy buyers of women’s apparel. You can then discover all sorts of other relevant information about this audience. This includes their location, demographics, Facebook usage, and more.
Create compelling content
Once you’ve built a strong audience profile, you’re ready to start creating content that speaks to their needs and interests. The key here is to offer value, and do so in a way that’s unique from all the other niche bloggers out there.
The best affiliate marketers add their own voice and experience to their content. Say you have an affiliate product you want to promote. Actually test it out and use that product for a while. Then write a blog post explaining the impact and value of that product for you, not your audience.
People online are looking for recommendations from experts and peers. You can be both of them by creating extensive, insightful content related to a variety of sub-niche topics. Add your personal experiences as a way to relate to your audience in a direct way.
Keep SEO in mind
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a long-term traffic generation strategy that takes a lot of time and effort to do. It takes time for web pages to rank well for certain keywords in search, and you have to build a base of high quality backlinks to achieve it. But this is something you can do over time with your other content marketing strategies. For example, sharing content on social media sites and online forums can help you build backlinks organically.
So in the beginning, just keep SEO in mind when creating your content so you can benefit from this strategy down the road. Identify relevant keywords to target with your blog content using free tools like Keyword Planner and Answer the Public.
Answer the Public is a great tool to discover potential long-tail keywords to target:
Use a variety of content types
It’s a common misconception that affiliate marketers need to be bloggers. Blogging is a great way to attract traffic to your site, but it’s far from the only option. For example, many successful affiliate marketers focus their main content strategy on creating YouTube videos. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and third most visited site after Google and Facebook. That makes it a powerful marketing tool to promote affiliate products.
Some YouTubers promote affiliate links right in the video description. This negates the need for site traffic altogether. Others use YouTube as a method to attract traffic back to their site. It’s really up to you.
Creating a variety of content types also helps you market your business better on various social platforms. For example, video content tends to perform well on Facebook and Instagram. If you create visual content like an infographic, it’s well suited for Pinterest and Twitter.
Besides videos and visuals, you can also create webinars, podcasts, free courses or guides as unique content to attract traffic. Each content type comes with new platforms and potential audience base that you won’t reach if you don’t diversify.
Build your email list
Your email list is one of your most important tools in affiliate marketing. Capture email addresses of your target audience, then you can continue to market to them on a new platform. This is particularly important for affiliates promoting high-dollar-value products. You need to take time to nurture and convince your leads to buy. Email is perfect for that.
Email marketing is also a great way to attract repeat traffic back to your website. If you don’t have a strategy to build your email list, then most people will visit your site once, never to return again. But if you capture their email address before they go, you’ll have many opportunities to convince them to return to your website later on.
Market on forums
Online forums are a great place to offer value to your target audience and attract traffic back to your website. Join niche forms that relate to your affiliate niche and browse the discussions for relevant conversations to join.
Most forums have strict rules prohibiting self promotion. So you need to adopt a careful strategy that offers value and attracts traffic back to your site in the process. For example, you can get on a Q&A site like Quora or Yahoo Answers. Type in a keyword related to your niche (e.g. “green living”). Next browse through the questions that come up:
Identify a question that your content is relevant to. For example, if you wrote a blog post called “5 Affordable Ways to Live a Greener Lifestyle,” you can click on the relevant related question. Write out a thoughtful response that addresses the person’s question directly. Then recommend your blog content for further reading and include the link!
Rinse and repeat this process on niche forms across the web to get more reach and traffic for your website.
Market on social media
Social media is a huge traffic generation opportunity for affiliate marketers. Use social platforms to promote your blog content, videos, visuals, and other media to your target audience.
It’s possible to promote content on many different platforms. There’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Reddit, Tumblr, etc. But the best strategy is to pick one or two that your audience spends a lot of time on. Optimize your strategy for these choice channels.
The key to success is joining niche conversations to grow your following and gain visibility for your content. On Twitter and Instagram, that means using relevant hashtags and joining trending discussions related to your marketing niche. You can also break through the noise on Facebook by joining and engaging in niche groups.
Many successful affiliate marketers create their own Facebook groups to reach their audience. For example, an affiliate marketer who promotes home dog grooming products could create a group called “I Love Cocker Spaniels.” That species has high maintenance grooming needs! You wouldn’t promote your affiliate products within this group. But you can use it as an opportunity to attract valuable traffic back to your site.
Make guest appearances on other sites
One of the best ways to attract traffic back to your website is by making guest appearances on other websites. Find other blogs or online businesses that have an audience like yours. Then reach out to them to collaborate.
The most common way to make a guest appearance is by guest posting. You write a blog post, it’s published on someone else’s website, and it links back to your site. But that’s far from the only option. Many affiliate marketers make guest appearances by joining in a podcast or webinar. If another blogger is creating round-up content (e.g. “25 Quotes from [Niche Industry] Experts” or “The Top 50 Blogs in [Niche Topic]”), try to get featured. This not only creates more traffic potential, it also helps you build valuable backlinks that are important for SEO.
If you want to start with guest posting and build a relationship from there, all you need is a simple Google search to discover opportunities. Use these search queries as a template to get started:
- “[Niche Keyword] guest post”
- “[Niche Keyword] contribute”
- “[Niche Keyword] contributor guidelines”
- “[Niche Keyword] write for us”
- “[Niche Keyword] submit a post”
Collaborate with influencers
Influencer marketing is a powerful strategy to attract traffic and influence purchase decisions. Check out these statistics from a Collective Bias survey:
- 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions
- 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger
The best influencers are other niche bloggers and social media users. They have an engaged, targeted audience that would be interested in the products you’re promoting. But rather than ask influencers to promote affiliate products for you, work with them to attract traffic back to your site content.
In most cases, influencer relationships need some amount of financial investment, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s possible to enlist the help of a variety of influencers to recommend your content on social media for a nominal fee.
When influencers share your content there are added benefits, such as:
- Growing your social following
- Giving credibility to your business
- Attracting new traffic back to your site
- Creating new opportunities for list building
Some popular influencer marketing platforms include:
Influencer platforms make it easy to search for and identify top influencers with an audience ultra-relevant to your niche. You’ll also have access to internal analytics and demographic information:
Syndicate your content
Syndication is another great way to get more use out of your blog content and attract traffic to your site. Syndication involves republishing your blog content on other sites around the web.
One of the most popular places to syndicate is Medium. Medium is essentially a blogging platform with more than 60 million monthly users. It can host content for just about every niche topic category out there. LinkedIn Pulse is another popular option for self-syndication.
Syndicating your content helps you reach a new platform’s native audience. Include prominent links in your syndicated content and author bio back to your website to encourage new traffic. Syndication can also help you get more visibility in search engines. Domains like Medium are considered “high authority.” So content published here often appears higher in search results than versions published on your website.
Many other niche websites around the web also allow you to syndicate your blog content. When looking for guest post opportunities, read through the contributor guidelines carefully. On some platforms, you’ll discover you can syndicate your blog as well.
Getting website traffic is an ongoing process. Just choose a few key strategies and focus on optimizing them. Then you can build a steady stream of new and returning traffic that you can promote your affiliate products to.
Whenever you start a new traffic generation strategy, take note and measure the results from your efforts. Over time you’ll zero in on the most effective ways to generate traffic for your unique affiliate marketing business.