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A 3-Step Blueprint for Smart Affiliate Marketing

Posted By Guest Blogger 9th of November 2015 Affiliate Programs, General 0 Comments

A 3-Step Blueprint for Smart Affiliate Marketing: get the best out of affiliate sales with these tips on ProBlogger.netThis is a guest contribution from Anil Agarwal.

Building a blog that gets huge traffic isn’t necessarily hard, but converting that traffic into sales can be.

Most people think they can make a living online by increasing their website traffic. In reality, though, it’s not about any old traffic- it has to be targeted. You have to bring laser-focused audience to your sites to grow your sales and overall monthly income.

There are literally hundreds of genuine ways to make money online but if you want to make money even while you sleep, you need to consider affiliate marketing.

We all know affiliate marketing is a great income source for most successful online marketers. Pat Flynn, John Chow, Zac Johnson are just a few who are using affiliate marketing to make a living from, and doing very well at it.

If you are wondering how to replicate this success for yourself, I’ve outlined a 3-step blueprint that most that could see success for you. Are you ready? Let’s jump into the details.

Step 1: Position yourself as the go-to guy in ONE field

You want to be the EXPERT and be known as the go-to guy in your field. Not just any random marketer or blogger who is looking for ways to make a living by selling affiliate products.

You should become an authority in your field. But here’s the thing: online is heavily crowded and getting past the noise to set you as an expert is really hard.

So how can you be the go-to guy?

Simplify your niche. Pick one topic and become an expert at it. Position yourself as the number-one person in that field. People should think about YOU when they are looking for solutions to the problems relating to your field.

Everything starts with a niche. Truth be told, you are more likely to be successful if you’ve honed in on one topic, and you do it well. If your blog is too broad then you may find a more diluted audience is reading it.

So pick ONE topic and become a pro at it.

Why pick a small field? The number one reason is it is much easier to get noticed as an expert in a small field. You may ask if you can really make more money by serving small audience, but yes, you can. I’m not suggesting you to stick to ONE topic, once you build your expertise at one field, you can broaden your content, but you’ve got a foothold by starting small.

Step 2: Help others, build trust, and increase social proof

Before you start your affiliate marketing journey, make sure to ask yourself “Am I doing this just for the money?”

Whether you know it or not, the money you make online is directly proportional to the people you help. If your blog audience thinks that you are forcing them to click on your products, you won’t succeed.

They won’t buy from people whose intentions are just about making more money. Instead, if you add value and promote products that truly solve their problems; they will become more interested in your offer. That’s what really counts in creating a successful affiliate marketing strategy.

Your affiliate marketing journey should start from helping people and making your audience feel better. The byproduct of doing that is making more money from your efforts. Successful affiliate marketers are the ones who serve first.

Trust is the online currency. If you want to make more money? Start building trust and make others like you. How can you do that?

Building an email list is one of the best ways to directly engage with your audience, and below are three simple yet effective ideas on building a huge email list.

#1. It all starts with amazing content:

Content is king, they say. It’s really true and your primary focus should be on creating epic content for your audience. Your blog readers should have a compelling reason to visit your blog often and there’s no other better way to do that besides creating valuable content that addresses their problems.

And how do you actually create informative content that your readers would love to comment on and share with their friends?

Do extensive research.

Research backed and in-depth articles always perform well in search results. Also too, plenty of readers are now looking for one stop guides to find solutions to their problems in one post.

For instance, if someone is looking for ways to lose 4 kgs in 4 weeks, they would happy to spend their time on reading an in-depth article that covers everything from proper diet to weight loss tips. This not only helps you serve your audience in a better way but you can gain instant trust if they find your content valuable.

Put in more time when creating content. Give priority to quality over quantity. Make sure your content is well researched and backed by data and also includes several images.

Include email opt-in forms in the most visible places on your blog (I highly recommend you to put them in the top of your sidebar and end of your blog posts) to sign up for your email list. If your audience read through all the way to the bottom, they will sign up to you if they find actionable strategies from your content. That’s the way to grow a high quality list without irritating your audience.

And send a newsletter to your email list when your post goes live. Ask them to share with their network, if they really find your content informative, they will bring you more exposure by spreading the word.

#2. Put your email optin forms in the right places:

If you want to boost your email subscribers, find the most converting places on your blog to add your email sign up forms. Here are few of the most visible places on your blog that helps you quickly grow your email list.

Feature box: Derek Halpern introduced the feature box that helps you put a prominent optin form that sits on top of your blog home page. If a visitor lands on your site, they can’t ignore your feature box. If you give them compelling reasons to subscribe, you’ll be amazed with the results.

Sidebar: Your blog’s sidebar is the most visible place, don’t ignore it, grow your email list! Instead of using random ads or articles, use an optin form. If you are giving a free eBook, include a compelling image and it helps you convert more visitors into subscribers. Also use strong call to actions instead of using “sign up”, “subscribe” etc.

Hellobar: Hellobar helped DIYthemes to gain 1180 additional email subscribers just in 30 days. Hellobar sits at the top of your site and no one can ignore it and most probably it’s the first thing everyone will see after landing on your site.

Slideup box: One of the remarkable ways to grow your email list is to use a Slideup box. Buffer uses this amazingly and it performs extremely well for them. Over 30% of their signups come from their Slideup box alone.

Below is a breakdown of a typical month and the sources that help Buffer to grow their email list.


So don’t forget to place your email optin forms in the right places if you want to quickly grow your email list. Just in case, if you are interested in seeing Buffer’s Slidup box, here’s the screenshot:

A 3-step Blueprint for Smart Affiliate Marketing

#3. Give an incentive:

One of the simplest ways to quickly turn your visitors into email subscribers is by offering something free. Almost every blogger gives away an eBook, video, plugin etc as an incentive to grow their email list. Do you know why? Because it works.

But make sure you are not building a list of freebie seekers. The only problem with a free incentive is that the people who subscribe to your email lists are mostly freebie seekers. If you don’t build awareness about the products you promote, they won’t buy anything you sell. So make sure to carefully use your free incentives while building your list. Educate them about the products you promote and more importantly increase your social proof to turn freebie seekers into loyal customers.

Increasing social proof isn’t easy. But if an authority blogger in your industry says nice things about you or what your site offers, it immediately builds trust.

Everyone including the authority bloggers like Pat Flynn and Neil Patel use social proof really well on their blogs to increase their conversion rates.

A 3-step Blueprint for Smart Affiliate Marketing

If you are wondering about increasing your overall brand awareness, here’s how to build your social proof so your conversions will go up:

Include visual testimonials. Ask for a testimonial from an authority blogger in your niche. If they share even a nice little sentence about you or your blog, it will help you skyrocket your conversion rates. Make sure to include their image while using them on your blog. This also immediately builds credibility to your landing pages.

Use logos. If you write a guest post for an authority blog or someone mentions you, include them in a logo format and place it on your homepage and landing pages. Neil Patel does this very well; he uses this to increase his conversion rates. Did you know that his conversion rate went down by 10% when he removed all the logos from NeilPatel.com? So add logos that include mentions or the guest posts you’ve written so far, it instantly builds trust among your readers.

Step 3: Find the right products that solve your audience’s problems

This is the key that helps most successful online marketers to make plenty of cash: choose the right product to promote. Don’t promote a product just because it is offering you high commissions. It’s the surefire way to spoil the bond with your audience and email subscribers, unless it truly helps them too.

So how to find the right affiliate products to promote?

There are two simple ways.

  1. Find out what other top bloggers are promoting on their blogs.
  2. Go to affiliate marketplaces and carefully choose the products that are highly related to your blog audience and topic.

I suggest you to filter the affiliate programs like this one on ClickBank in the following way:

A 3-Step Blueprint for Smart Affiliate Marketing

Make sure the Gravity of the products you want to promote is a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 100+ and the average commission are a minimum of $25 and a maximum of $150+.

That can do the trick; it can help you choose the RIGHT products for your audience, also helps you make high commissions for every product you recommend.

You can also check out other marketing places like CJ.com, ShareASale.com etc where you can find great products. 

In a nutshell, you need to pick the products that suit your audience needs and wants. And use your email list and blog as a combination to talk about the products you promote. Don’t forget to network with the influencers in your niche if you want to grow your audience and brand awareness.

So what are you waiting for? One of the top indicators you will become successful at affiliate marketing is how fast you implement the strategies you learn. So don’t wait for the right time and take immediate action. 

Final Thoughts

There’s no magic formula for making a living from affiliate marketing. Every successful online marketer starts with the one thing: they provide incredible value to their audience. They know their readers wants and needs and they promote the right products that help them make more sales even while they sleep.

Let me know your thoughts on the affiliate marketing. Do you have any more strategies that help people to increase their sales? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Anil Agarwal is the guy behind Bloggers Passion blog where he is helping readers in building their first professional blog and at the same time, helping them build high quality traffic to their blogs.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. I think you also need some luck in affiliate marketing. I am getting good amount of clicks but no conversions. I don’t know what to do now.

    • That’s true. But you need to work more hard. Luck comes as a bonus. :)

    • Finding the right offers for your audience is really, really important.

      I have a “Tools & Resources” page on my blog where I have affiliate links to a couple dozen books, courses and software tools I’ve used and benefited from.

      My audience is a lot of bloggers and entrepreneurs who are interested in email marketing. I find that some of my offers convert pretty well, and for others I’ve had hundreds of clicks and zero conversions.

      Another possible problem is that the traffic you’re getting is low quality. Sometimes people want what you’re promoting but not enough to actually shell out the money. Other times they want it but just can’t afford it.

      So definitely experiment with different offers.

      Also, you’re going to have way more success by growing an email list and building trust with them over time than you will if you’re just getting people to click on links in blog posts.

  2. More people need to follow that rule, it’s not just about traffic. It is about the quality of the traffic you are getting. I have so many people ask me “how do you get more traffic”.

    My response is always the same, “I can tell you, but the real question is what are you going to do with that traffic?”

    Not having a great looking website, a solid offer, and some personality will leave you with some awesome traffic stats and little to no sales. Figure out what you will do with your traffic first, then figure out how to get them

    Great tips,


    • So true Chris.

      Most beginners into affiliate marketing focus on just visitors. The quality of your traffic determines your sales. Target the right keywords, build rapport with your subscribers, provide more value – your sales will skyrocket!

  3. Hi Anil,

    Heavy emphasis on ONE field. Get that down and you are golden. Thanks for the smart tips here.


  4. There is no such thing as luck in affiliate marketing. It’s trial and error that makes any affiliate marketer better than the average.

    • The more work you do the luckier you become. Well, that’s true in affiliate marketing too. Once start spending more time on marketing stuff, you will know the art of selling, that’s what helps you make more sales. That’s what other people call it as “luck”.

  5. That’s a fantastic post, affiliate marketing is very important.

  6. Thank you very much for this insightful post. I can’t agree more with you on the first point. content is king and this is also true for affiliate marketing. Some people fail to understand it.

    Thank you once again for this very informative article!

  7. I think there is something to be said about helping subscribers who contact you directly as well. Today, for example, I had a subscriber for my PLR Manager Software (and yes, I’m plugging it a bit here, because it’s free and works really good), tell me that he wasn’t interested in some video backgrounds I was selling on another site, but he was looking for green screen studio backgrounds, and did I have any of those?

    I could have easily sent him some cloaked affiliate links to 2 offers I know about that fit his needs, but instead I just sent him the straight links to the offers. I’ve found that just helping people like they are your friends – especially when they contact you directly – usually leads to some sales down the road from those subscribers, and sharing and so on…

    Everything doesn’t have to be about money, and frankly I’m tired of the whole automation marketing game. I’m tired of being part of it. I’m trying to make money like everyone else, of course, but I really like it when I have an opportunity to just kick that whole mindset to the curb. It feels good helping others just to help.

    Anyhow, that’s my say on things. Great post by the way. Nicely written and helpful.

    • You hit the nail on the head!

      If you treat your subscribers and audience as your family, you will NEVER have to hard sell. They will help you make enough money if you support them without sounding like a salesmen.

  8. Hi,

    The difference between affiliate marketers and smart affiliate marketers is that the latter utilize “smart strategies” that never fail to yield result. The strategies you have shared here are smart and it is good to know anybody can apply them for affiliate marketing result.

    Thank you

  9. Well, this is timely for me! I’ve had an affiliate relationship with Amazon for quite some time now, but we recently applied to CJ, were accepted and applied to some advertisers where I thought we would be a good fit. Most of them accepted Midwest Guest as an affiliate, and we’ve been slowly rolling our a few articles spotlighting our affiliates and telling readers a little bit about why we partnered with them (most of them have some sort of Midwest tie and/or tie in with the type of travel we like to do an write about on the blog–staying at B&Bs, life as a returning motorcycle rider, regional foods). Spent a month seriously researching the idea and asking friends about their experiences, spent another month applying to the network and selected affiliates, and now we’re starting the process of getting the word out about our individual affiliate advertisers. Still working on some of the details for properly promoting the ads, while still remaining true to our mission as a regional travel blog. Can anyone here suggest a good discussion group or other site where I might compare experiences with others or ask some of my questions about the finer points of posting and promoting the ads on my site?

    • You can try finding relevant groups on Facebook with the keywords that are related to your industry. You will find many, join a few after seeing their discussion or total number of members.

      Start participating in the discussion, share your ideas, get to know others and increase your marketing knowledge.

  10. For almost an year I was concentrating on building my blog and genuine readers. I did make some money also with some brand partnerships. Affiliate marketing is something that I am new to. It just didn’t work that we’ll yet for me. But lately I have started to see some results. Would love to work on your tips for the same. Thanks for sharing

    • Making money from affiliate marketing takes time unless you are Pat Flynn ;-)

      It takes at least one year to get your first sale as a rule of thumb (if you have ZERO marketing skills).

      The more you learn, the more earn.

  11. Thank you for sharing these steps. I agree that blogging is not a quick-rich scheme. You have to work for it. It does not stop in driving traffic because this traffic should be converted into sales – this is the hard part. Of the three steps, I find #2, particularly creating amazing content, as the most important. To create sales, one has to establish the connection and trust with the audience. From there and a bit more strategies will help increase the sales.

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