While “the money is in the list”, another important thing to remember when it comes to internet marketing is the adage saying “content is king”.
So, without good content marketing, your affiliate business is practically as suck as the Cleveland Cavaliers playing without Lebron.
Content marketing essentially means creating a website or blog, rising in prominence and then using that in order to sell your products.
The great thing about content marketing is that it works so well in tandem with numerous other sales techniques. In particular, content marketing is highly compatible with having a landing page and in fact, often the objective of content marketing will be to send people to your landing page.
Content marketing’s broader objective though is to make you into a trusted expert in your niche. In the business, this is referred to as being a ‘thought leader’ or an ‘authority’. This way, when you then recommend a product, people will be more likely to listen to you and to buy the product you suggest.
How To Get Started With Content Marketing
To start with, you will need a blog and that will be where you will publish your posts and let people know about your business. At the same time, you can then combine this with a strong social media presence, heavy branding and maybe even a YouTube channel, such that your audience can get to know you.
Be successful at this is largely about posting regularly and offering real value to your readers. Don’t try and sell right away but instead spend your time building up trust and respect in your niche. Every time you publish a blog post, you should ask yourself: is this something you would read? Is it comprehensive, engaging and unique enough to stand out from all the other posts in this niche? Does it make you look like you really know your stuff?
Spend time designing your logo and website and then work to ensure you are creating a consistent vision that will help you to establish yourself on the net.
This might all sound like a lot of work and you might find the idea of becoming a thought leader to be nerve wracking. However it is very much worth it. The main reason for this, is that when you are an authority in your niche, you will not only be able to sell the one product – but really any product that you subsequently want to. You’ll have a direct ‘route to market’ letting you directly reach thousands of buyers and they will always be happy and willing to take your advice.
This is the strategy that most affiliate marketers will use to become truly wealthy but it does take a little longer. Note as well that if you’re going to use this strategy, you do need to think carefully about the quality of the products you recommend. If you promote a very substandard product too forcefully you will lose the respect of your buyers and ultimately they’ll; be less likely to consider your future recommendations.
Promoting Your Blog
Running a highly successful blog is essentially a license to print money but getting there is a long road. This is not a case of ‘build it and they will come’ – but rather something you need to work hard at if you’re going to be successful.
Even if you post the best quality content to your blog in the world on a regular basis, if no one knows it’s there, then it’s not going to provide you with much benefit.
So how do you get the word out?
One option is to use social media and social bookmarking sites. Over time, you can use social media synergy in order to build up a large following and in future you’ll be able to use that to instantly reach a huge selection of people.
In the short term though, to get those initial viewers it makes a lot of sense to use social bookmarking sites. These are sites like Reddit and like Digg where people share their favourite sites. You can also try posting to Google+ communities.
The reason this is so effective is that it allows you to communicate to a captive audience, all of whom have a shared interest in your specific subject. Thus, you can gain a massive amount of shares and reads almost immediately as long as the title of your blog post is enticing enough.
Head to the Reddit fitness page and post an article on ‘How to Get Great Abs’ and you’ll get ‘downvoted’ to a bad extent. On the other hand though, if you post something that sounds more unique and more interested ‘New Study on the Best Training for Superhuman Strength’ and you can potentially get thousands of views overnight. If you’ve then incorporate your social media into your page, this can in turn help you to build a large amount Twitter followers, Facebook ‘likes’, YouTube subscribers etc.
Influencer marketing is another form of social media marketing that is incredibly effective when used correctly. Essentially, this type of marketing allows you to leapfrog the competition and get much more quickly to a point where you’re reaching a much larger audience and influencing them all the more.
How does this work? Simple: by taking advantage of the ground work that other marketers have already done. Influencer marketing means finding someone in your niche who already has a lot of influence (an influencer) and then contacting them and requesting that they broadcast a message on your behalf. You might pay them to do this, you might create content specifically designed for them to share, or you might agree to do each other the same favour and thereby share your existing audiences. This technique can be immensely powerful when used correctly.
At the same time, you should also be using SEO to try and further your efforts in promoting yourself online. SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimization’ and it essentially means managing your content, your website and your marketing in such a way that it will enhance your site’s visibility on Google. I have written several posts about SEO here and here.
In the past, SEO was very simple and all it really entailed was creating lots of content with your ‘keywords ‘ (the search terms) in it and generating as many links to your website as possible (with the keywords as your anchor text).
Over time though, Google has evolved and has become much smarter. A lot of internet marketers were using SEO to manipulate their position on Google and this resulted in Google having to update its algorithms. Now Google is sensitive to anything that looks like obvious SEO and instead the only way to climb the ranks of the search engine reliably is to update your site regularly with high quality content and to use natural language. At the same time, you still want to gather inbound links, but they should be a wide range of varied different links from different sources and that are written differently.
As such, content marketing and SEO are largely inseparable these days. Good content marketing and good SEO involve populating your site with lots of very high quality posts. At the same time, if you do this well, it will encourage people to share your content and link to it of their own free will. Great quality content that encourages sharing is what’s called ‘link bait’.
One more strategy that still works well for SEO – as long as you don’t overdo it – is guest posting. Guest posting essentially means that you are writing a post for a blog other than your own and offering them to publish it free of charge. As a result, they get more content for their site and this helps them to provide their visitors with more value. But of course you aren’t just doing this out of the good of your heart, as in exchange you ask them to include a link back to your website along with some description about who you are (called an author box). This way, they get free content and you get a link from a well-known blog and an authority.
The whole idea behind email marketing is to create a mailing list of people who have shared their email with you because they want to hear about your products, services and deals. From there, you can then provide them with newsletters and value directly in their inboxes, or you can sell to them by promoting your best products and services as an affiliate. The links will work the exact same way directly through e-mails and the process either way is a very personal and direct way to influence your audience.
The first step in e-mail marketing then is to build that audience. Interestingly, you can do this in the very same ways you might get sales for an affiliate product (and in that way it might appear to be somewhat a step removed from this more direct form of marketing).
For instance, a landing page can be geared up to generate e-mails and leads and this is when it’s normally called a ‘squeeze page’. Likewise, you can add sign-up forms, also called ‘opt-in forms’ right into your blog posts, on your home page or in your right hand column as a widget.
However you go about this, just make sure that your mailing list is prominent and that you’re effectively communicating why it is that your audience should listen to you and enter their e-mail address. In other words: how are you offering value.
You can also aid this process by incentivizing your audience to sign up. You can do this for instance by giving away a free e-book, or a free discount for your product. Either way, this means that they get more value simply by providing their e-mail address which many people will view as a good deal. I have also written a comprehensive post about email marketing here if you want to learn more.