Affiliate marketing blueprint is a step by step system that you implement and make your first 1000 dollars online as a newbie affiliate marketer.
Affiliate marketing is wild jungle and without a proper guide, you may get astray. The 5 step affiliate marketing blueprint for beginners act as your guide to keep you on the track of making money online.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is a commission based business model where you promote someone else's product and earn a predefined percentage of commission when a sale is made with your promotion.
Sales are tracked via hyperlinks which are generally termed as Affiliate link. As an affiliate marketer you promote these affiliate links by creating helpful product reviews, how-to-do guides etc.
Affiliate marketing is a modern version of referral marketing where you refer clients to a business and the business in turn gives you a commission for your favor.
Amazon associate is a popular affiliate marketing example where amazon pays you affiliate commission when someone buys a products within 24 hours after clicking your affiliate link.
Why Affiliate Marketing is a good business model
5 Step Affiliate Marketing Blueprint for Beginners
While affiliate marketing is a very lucrative source for online money making but it requires significant hard work in beginning to get noticeable results from affiliate marketing.
Often, Newbie enter affiliate marketing world hearing success stories of super affiliates without proper training and guidance and end-up wasting their time and energy.
Super affiliate become successful not by hit and trial but by following a proven system developed over years of experience.
In this guide, you can find one such affiliate marketing system in form of a step by step affiliate marketing blueprint for beginners that will help you as a newbie affiliate marketer to make your first 1000 dollars online.
Step 1: Join an Affiliate Network & select Affiliate Products
To earn any kind of affiliate income, you need to have an affiliate products to promote first. You have two choices here:
- 1Join Individual affiliate program
- 2Join an Affiliate Network for managing multiple affiliate product sales
As a beginner we should go for affiliate network over individual product affiliate program for 2 reasons:
- Affiliate network will give you faster payouts. (because of accumulation of multiple product payouts)
- You can manage all your affiliate products/offer from one location.
Clickbank is a popular Affiliate network for beginner affiliate marketers. It is geared towards digital products like ebooks, courses and software.
Clickbank has a wide range of products which they have organized under several niche.
You can easily choose products that are relevant to your own niche, create your affiliate link for product promotion (also called Hop links), check analytics for sales and manage affiliate commission payouts all from a single dashboard.
Signup for a Clickbank affiliate account, select your niche, sort products by gravity score and select your first product for promotion. (choose product with at least gravity score of 50. Higher the better.)
Choosing a right affiliate product is the most important thing for affiliate marketing success. At the end of the day if the end product doesn't solve a customer problem, the product is bound to fail in the long run.
Additionally, It is easier for you to sell a good product which has demand in the market and earn your first affiliate commission.
Apart from Gravity score on clickbank, you should also look for following features in an affiliate product:
Based on these criteria, we have create a list of best Clickbank affiliate products that you can readily promote and make your first affiliate commission.
While not necessary, it is always a good idea to test these products yourself for quality & usability before promoting them as an affiliate.
Step 2: Create an Optin Funnel to Capture Lead
If you are a movie lover, you will correlate with me that most people don't make up their mind for watching a movie the very first time they watch a movie trailer.
For a movie that seem interesting after viewing trailer, people will go to the movie website, read about the plot, story and casting.
They will discuss with their friends, read the movie review or wait till they hear good stuff from a friend before finally deciding to go for it.
It requires multiple touch and hearing good things from several sources that motivates people to go for a movie.
The same thing happens with your affiliate products.
Your target audience may not be convinced to buy your promoted affiliate product when you first direct them to an affiliate sales page.
You also need to promote an affiliate product in several different ways mentioning its advantages for a potential buyer several times. Present them examples of success and case studies before your online audience will make up their mind to buy it.
To build this kind of multi touch communication with your audience you need to have their contact details (Email) to be in touch with them.
You can collect these emails with a special web page designed to capture visitors email. In affiliate marketing, we call them Optin funnel.
An optin funnel is nothing but a collection of web pages which you use to capture your visitors email before redirecting them to an affiliate offer.
We use these collected email to build a connection with our audience and nurture them about the affiliate product benefits in future emails.
With captured emails, we basically take your audience from product awareness, to desire and finally action step to close a Sell.
Most beginner affiliate marketers fail because they try to convince their visitors to buy an affiliate product by directly sending them to affiliate sales page.
Their visitors see the affiliate offer and decide not to buy immediately.
One month pass, two months pass, but nothing happens. The newbie affiliate marketer could not understand what is happening. The experienced affiliate marketers are making good money with same products, so why can't he?
After a few months, with a dozen product reviews on blog , the newbie warrior leaves the battle field.
You don't want to act like that newbie affiliate marketer. Right?
Building an optin funnel with lead magnet is among the most common tactics to build an email list and profitable online business.
To attract visitors and make optin process (lead capturing) easy, we use a free content, discount or offer as a bait.
This bait, also called Lead Magnet, entices visitors to submit their contact details in exchange of this free gift.
Ebook, how-to-video, webinar, mini-course, blueprint, report, checklist, cheat-sheet are some of the common Lead Magnets marketers use to convert visitors into subscribers.
In the above example of a typical optin page, I have used a Free E-book as a lead magnet to attract visitors and turn them into subscribers.
After someone subscribe to your email list, you have two choice for where you can redirect a visitor:
1. Redirect visitor to an affiliate sales page with our affiliate link
2. Redirect visitors to a thank you cum Pre-sell page where you discuss benefits and features of affiliate product with your affiliate links in the page content.
The first option is self-explanatory and doesn't require a discussion.
With option 2, you use your product affiliate link as call-to-action either in thank you page (Pre-sell page) content or as button to redirect visitors to product sales page.
You need to achieve just one goal with your thank page, generate visitor's curiosity to check the suggested affiliate product.
If you have hand on experience with the affiliate product, you can share your own experience as to how the product helped you. This personal touch increases your visitors' trust and induce curiosity to visit product sales page.
For most people explaining product benefits on thank you page (Pre-sell page) with video performs better compared to written text, but we can always test what works better for our specific situation.
Things to remember
If you want to increase your conversion rate for affiliate product sales, you must follow the concept of Marketing Scent while creating your optin funnel.
Marketing scent refers to the congruency of communication across web pages in your Optin funnel.
Thus the Optin page should match with the design theme, color and content of the Thank you page and affiliate product sales page.
This single hack makes your visitors more comfortable.
When a visitor sees the same design, imagery and page layout on all the pages on a funnel, he doesn't feel distracted and confused.
To take this concept of marketing scent a step further, you can even create your lead magnet on topics that directly relates to product sales page.
If you are wondering and asking yourself how will you build such an optin funnel with so many things to remember, don't panic.
We have an easy fix for you.
You can easily create your optin funnel in minutes with Clickfunnels. Clickfunnel is a useful marketing software to create any sales funnel in a minutes.
It has ready-made optin funnel templates that you can customize without any coding knowledge. You can signup for Clickfunnels 14 Days free Trial to see how easily you can build your optin funnel with it.
For more details on how Clickfunnels works and why you should use it for affiliate marketing, you can check our blog post Clickfunnels- The ultimate Money Making Machine or attend their Free Funnel Hacking Webinar.
Step 3: Setup Autoresponder series for Followup
Although a repetition, I want to discuss once more this mistake of sending direct traffic to affiliate product sales page which breaks many aspiring dreams of newbie affiliate marketers.
The problem with this approach of direct marketing is: You don't get the chance to remarket our audience. In simple words, if a visitor decides not to buy the affiliate product the very first time you send him to product sales page, he is lost.
You cannot give him more product details or promote other affiliate products without spending money in re-marketing with paid ads.
But only collecting email address is not enough, you also need to send your email subscribers regular targeted emails to build a trusting relationship.
Email marketing autoresponders are your best tools to build this trusting relationship and win the battle of affiliate marketing.
In fact, Email marketing is the single most important factor that makes the difference between a struggling affiliate marketer and a 6 to 7-figure income generating affiliate marketer.
Now the question is how do they do it?
Once a website visitor subscribe to their email list, a super affiliate sends him series of targeted emails focused on bring sales.
Remember those emails you receive regularly in your inbox?
These targeted email series aka autoresponders help to keep a consistent communication with subscribers and build trust. Remember people will only buy on your recommendations, when they trust you.
Hope this background clarifies your doubts about importance of Email marketing and autoresponders.
Now the question is how do you integrate all this in your own system?
How do you get started with Email Marketing?
First thing first, you need to choose a reliable email service provider (ESP) who offers email features that help you sell more products.
Below I have mentioned some essential features, you should look before selecting an ESP:
To keep it short, I found Convertkit, Activecampaign & Aweber to be the best ESP for affiliate marketing, for details you can check our blog post on Best Email Marketing Companies for Affiliate Marketing.
Next, you need to connect our email marketing software with your optin funnel pages.
Because you want to record our subscriber email address directly to your email marketing software without needing to do transfer them manually.
This automatic process also help you trigger email autoresponders as soon as people subscribe to your email list.
If we are using Clickfunnels for setting up Optin funnel, connecting optin funnel with email marketing software is very easy.
But if you are building an optin funnel on wordpress, you can go for Thrive leads and OptinMonster like premium optin plugins.
And Finally, we need to setup the the email autoresponder series itself.
A typical Autoresponder series begins with your introduction to new subscriber discussing the benefits of subscribing your list. You can also discuss how many weekly emails they may expect from you and also deliver your lead magnet with it.
In next few emails, focus on building rapport and authority with your audience by offering them valuable actionable information--Information that they can use and see that your advice works.
After building rapport with your subscribers, you can now pitch them affiliate products that align with subscriber goals.
To increase conversion rate, you can create helpful content like how-to-do style emails, step-by-step guide around affiliate products and share them with your subscribers. These guides act like pre-sell pages and warm subscriber for product sales page.
You can create separate autoresponder series for each affiliate product you want to promote where each autoresponder series has 3-5 targeted emails promoting a single affiliate product.
It is also a good idea to insert your best content between two autorepsonder series to give psychological break your email subscribers.
When one product autoresponder series ends, you send subscribers 2-3 emails without any product promotion and then next product autoresponder series begins.
Here are a few tips to get most out of your email autoresponder series:
1. Before directing affiliate products to our subscribers, it is better to build some brand image with your personal introduction and why they should listen to you.
Sharing a quick winning tip which gets a subscriber sure little benefit is also a good idea. For example, if you are promoting a memory enhancement program, you can share a quick memory tip that subscriber can implement immediately and see results.
2. Use plain text HTML Templates over fancy looking templates to give personal touch to your emails. Infact, as per Hubspot research Fancy HTML templates with images, decreases open rates by 25%
3. Rather than Product features, focus on product benefits: People buy products for benefits not product features. You can even convince them for product benefits by showing case studies of other customers who got desired results with your products.
4. Share your personal story of success with product to inspire your audience.
5. Write email headline that induce fear, curiosity or profit emotions. Fear, gain and curiosity are the psychological trigger that induce people to take action. You can use them in our headline, copy and call-to-actions to improve our open rate and conversion.
6. Segment the email list with tags based on action people take on your emails. Segmenting people based on their behavior decreases the unsubscribe rate and increases engagement. In simple words you get more sales and profit when you segment your audience and delivers them specific content as per their interest.
When you have a segmented list with tags , you can send different emails to different group of subscribers based on their interest and engagement with your past email.
It also means that rather than trying to sell everyone the same affiliate products, we can sell people different products based on what they like and need.
7. We must put our affiliate links in emails 2-3 times in different part of email to allow a reader multiple opportunity to take action and visit affiliate sales page.
8. Send subscriber emails at consistent intervals: Subscribers turn inactive if they don't hear back from us for a long time. Thus it is important that we send them emails regularly.
If a subscriber didn't buy product from one email autoresponder series. Switch his subscription to another autoresponder series with a different product.
This chain must go on and on.
Step 4: Bring Paid or Free traffic to Optin Pages
The last thing required to make our optin funnel functional is to drive traffic to it. We can use both free and paid mediums to drive traffic.
Let's see what are they and if one is better than the other.
1. Free Traffic: Free traffic generally refers to organic traffic from Search engines like Google and bing, but with changing traffic landscape now there are many other free traffic sources that we can use to drive free traffic to optin funnel--
But still search engine traffic is considered as the best free traffic sources for Affiliate marketing simply because it converts best.
Blogging and SEO techniques are your best friends to increase search engine traffic to your optin funnels.
You can write blog posts on topics directly related to the affiliate products and offer your lead magnet in between blog content to direct traffic to the optin funnel.
If somebody is interested to read a blog post relating to a affiliate product, he is likely to be interested in the Affiliate product itself.
Free Blog Instalation
If you have not started blogging because of technical issues of not knowing how to install a blog, you can avail our Free Blog Installation service. For details visit Free Blog Installation
But you should always remember one thing about the Search engine traffic: It takes time. You won't see the results of our hard-work immediately.
Search engine traffic builds over time.
You have to post good quality content regularly that our target audience want to read and benefits from.
A post frequency of 1-2 post per week is a good starting point; However, the more frequently you post, the better.
Let's warn you about one mistake that many new bloggers and affiliate marketers make:
In their drive to write more content, they sometimes copy the content from other websites and blogs which creates duplicate content problem.
Search Engine like Google hates duplicate content and impose ranking penalty on websites that indulge in publishing duplicate content.
2. Paid Traffic: Paid traffic is best option to get started quickly with affiliate marketing and find a winner product.
Your affiliate product will be the base of all marketing efforts. It is recommended to find a winning product by testing different affiliate products with paid ads before long term commitment with SEO and blogging.
You can also use paid ads to build an email list by bringing targeted traffic to our sales funnel.
However, stay clear that if you decide to use paid ads to build your email list, you may not recover your full investment immediately. Any email list will become fruitful over time when more and more readers join the list.
As a rule of thumb, your affiliate learning will be directly related to list size of engaged subscribers.
Pay attention to the engaged word here, not any email subscriber, but email subscribers who are engaged--who open, read and click link in our emails.
Below are few benefits of going for paid traffic over free traffic
Below are some popular traffic sources that you can use to drive paid traffic to optin funnel and testing products.
Google Ads: Google ads offer range of ad format to bring targeted traffic to your optin funnels like Search ads, Display ads, Youtube Ads. The choice of ad format depends on advertising objective and affiliate products you want to promote.
Search ads is a good option for products that already cater to a larger established target audience like health niche where people are already searching about their health problems and products that solve them.
Display ads are more geared towards brand awareness and remarketing, while YouTube ads are great for building authority with your audience and explain a complex concept, product and its benefits like a software.
In my experience, you get the best results when you combine all of three ads format together.
Facebook Ads: Facebook ads offer interest based advertising where you can laser target people based on what they like and show interest it.
In fact, Facebook offers a complete advertising medium for ads in awareness, consideration and decision stage in buyer's journey.
Facebook let's us decide your advertising object for ads. Y?ou can choose objectives like reaching to people, building brand awareness, driving targeted traffic, conversion and video view etc.
As Affiliate marketers, traffic and Conversion are two important objective in Facebook Ads.
Solo Ads: Solo ads mean buying traffic from someone else's email list; mostly from the same niche as you are in.
Solo ads is a quick way to build an email list with paid traffic. The average optin rate for solo ads traffic varies from 20-40% with a CPC of 40-80 cents.
The problem with buying solo ads for driving traffic is to find reliable Solo Ads vendors.
There are many scammers in the Solo ads industry who cheat their customers (us) by sending bot traffic in name of solo ads. If you don't do our proper research for a vendor before buying solo ads, you should be ready for cheating.
That's the reason, it is always a good idea to buy solo ads from a trusted source like UDIMI, a marketplace for Solo ads, which filters bot traffic from real traffic and keep on blocking scammers.
To keep their blacklist database robust, Udimi even buys regular ads from suspicious vendors themselves for testing. When they find a scam seller, Udimi block them from offering solo ads on their platform to save buyers on their platform.
Below are a few points to keep in mind, while buying solo ads:
Popup & Popunder Ads: Popup and pop-under ads are two popular ad format that offer higher Click-through Rate (CTR) as compared to traditional banner advertising.
These formats are good for product testing and initial product promotion before switching to more popular paid advertising networks like Google ads.
Many people get confused between the two, so I have created this graphic to mark the difference.
Popup ads appear above the browsing window when someone visit a web page configured to show popup ads.
Because of its upfront intrusive nature, popup ads have higher CTR as compared to its counterpart Pop-under ads.
As clear from the image, pop-under ads appear under the current browser window in a separate window. It appears only when a visitor closes his current window.
Both the networks offer wide range of targeting options based on location & interest. Now you can even take advantage of artificial intelligence for auto-optimization with these two networks.
Robust Fraud detection technology is another reason to choose.
Native Advertising: Whether it be a sponsored Quora and reddit question or a related post on outbrain and taboola like content discovery platforms, native advertising is in-demand advertising concept these days.
With native advertising, the advertisers get the chance to create ads that look and feel almost like the original advertising-free content that a visitor is consuming.
The success of native advertising depends on how closely your ads relates to original content a visitor is consuming.
Below are some suggestions that will help you to improve ROI on your native advertising campaign.
Step 5: Optimize Marketing strategy with A/B Testing
The cost of online advertising is increasing everyday as more and more businesses realize the importance of online marketing for business growth.
It makes optimizing marketing strategy imperative to remain profitable.
From optin page designs to lead magnet to Call-to-action, ad creatives, ad texts, email sequences etc you have to test everything one at a time to see what is working and what is not.
To begin with optimizing your marketing strategy, you first need to implement the first 4 steps we discussed in this Affiliate marketing blueprint and get some initial data for testing.
Setup up analytics tools like Google Analytics, Smartlook, Crazy Eggs, Kissmetrics etc in your optin funnel pages and website pages to collect marketing data.
Then, drive traffic to your optin funnel (affiliate marketing funnel), we have built in the past 4 steps and generate marketing data for A/B testing.
Here is a 4 step process to optimize your marketing strategy with A/B testing-:
Step 1: Create Hypothesis for different assets: Once you have setup your affiliate optin funnel, you need to make negative hypothesis of why you are not getting desired results or what changes can bring improvement in results.
Brainstorm things that may impact marketing performance and make a list of it like--:
- I am not targeting right audience
- I have chosen a wrong marketing platform for targeting this specific audience.
- My offer is not appealing; I need to change it.
- The sales copy is not triggering psychological buying triggers.
- The content doesn't align with our offer.
- The call-to-action is not clear.
- Images don't convey my message effectively.
- Email copy is not convincing.
- Ad text is not effective.
Step 2: Verify your hypothesis based on existing analytics data: No all your negative hypothesis will be true. So next you need to validate your hypothesis based on existing analytics data.
It is easy to get strayed in the jungle of Analytics with so many metrics available. Thus before reaching to any judgement, it is imperative to link KPI with your hypothesis.
Link each of your hypothesis to a KPI before delving into any analytics dashboard and make informed decisions regarding validity of your hypothesis.
For Example, you can understand whether you ads are effective or not by checking the click-through rate (CTR) and cost per click (CPC)
Remove the hypothesis that are already proven wrong and shorten your hypothesis list to those that seems true based on existing analytics data.
Step 3: Test you remaining hypothesis one at a time: You may be tempted to test multiple hypothesis together, but unfortunately testing multiple hypothesis together is a bad idea.
Even if you improve performance with multiple changes in your affiliate marketing funnel, you cannot say with surety what actually enhanced performance.
And when you are not sure, what worked & what not, it basically defeats the very purpose of A/B testing.
Thus it is important that you only test one hypothesis at a time, make changes in your optin funnel, analyze results and only then move on to the next hypothesis.
If you are wondering, which hypothesis should you first test and what should be the sequence of testing your hypothesis? I have a suggestion for you.
Begin with a hypothesis that takes least amount of time to implement, but will impact the performance most.
For example, if you are confusing between testing call-to-action text and content copy, go for call-to-action text first because it will take least time to implement and has significant impact on sales process.
Use this same principle to decide the sequence in which you will test you list of hypothesis.
Step 4: After testing every hypothesis from the list, create a new list of hypothesis and test them:
Optimizing your marketing strategy with A/B testing is a continuous process. Each change you implement after analyzing your test result will open gates for new hypothesis and new A/B tests.
It is also important that you don't take decision based on short data trends, drive at least 100 visitors to your sales funnels after each A/B test before reaching to a conclusion regarding impact of that A/B test.
I know so many details can look daunting and difficult to implement. But who said that you have to implement everything all in a day.
Go easy with your plan, first be clear on what you have to do in each step, implement it. If you are struck at any point, you can take support of affiliate marketer communities or directly contact me.
Remember--The biggest risk in life is not taking any risk. Until you start you will never know whether it works or not.