5 Tactics To Drive Traffic To Your Affiliate Links
Driving more traffic to your offers is the number one way to increase your affiliate profits. But herein lies the problem: every affiliate marketer on the web wants more traffic and so everyone is fighting to try and grab viewers.
These days the web is filled with so many different affiliates all trying to stand out, that it’s almost impossible to differentiate yourself and to get noticed.
Today, we will look at effective ways to drive traffic to affiliate links across five major sources.
For each, we’ll be discussing only the most effective and the most valuable techniques and by setting up inflows from all five separate sources you can guarantee that you’ll never run out of new people to market to for leads, or for customers.
The five sources of traffic we’ll be looking at specifically are:
- Social media
- Facebook ads
- Search engines
By the end of this article, you should have some powerful methods in your pocket for making each of these traffic sources work for you. Any one of these affiliate traffic tactics on their own will drive a lot more traffic to your affiliate links. Combined though, they’ll represent a cumulative and synergistic growth that can drive your affiliate profits up exponentially.
How To Drive Traffic To Your Affiliate Links Using Social Media
If you’re looking to increase your number of regular visitors then social media is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.
There are many things that make social media so useful for increasing traffic. The first of course is that any social media platform will instantly provide a large captive audience – Facebook has more users than most countries have residents for instance.
What’s more important still though, is the way that social media sites leverage social networks in order to allow content to spread and even go viral. If you share something on Facebook or Twitter for instance, there is a ton of ways that your followers, fans and friends can share it with their extended network.
Finally, social media is powerful because it allows for communication. This means you don’t just share the content you want people to see – you can comment on it and add context and discussion to drive even more attention there.
So how do you take advantage of all these benefits of social media and drive traffic to your affiliate links?
The best place to start with a social media campaign is with your branding. When you first create your accounts, it’s crucial to ensure that you create a consistent presence with a strong unifying identity.
This is what will allow your various social media accounts to work synergistically together and with each of your other marketing strategies.
Essentially then, this means having a strong logo that you can incorporate into your profile images and your cover images and it means having the same recognizable brand name on every account as well.
The more consistent you are graphically and with regards to your ‘message’, the more each interaction with one of your accounts will strengthen your visibility. What’s more, this consistency will help to make your brand appear professional and well thought out.
Also, make sure you’re on as many social media sites as possible. The more sites you set yourself up an account with, the more in-roads you create to your affiliate links and the more future marketing opportunities you create for yourself.
Tools like BuzzSumo provide ways you can easily find content to share on social media in order to increase your number of subscribers/followers/friends.
The way these sites works is simple: they allow you to find content that is doing well on social media in your niche and then to share it as though it were your own. This way, there is no guess work involved when deciding what to share because you know it already works.
While this can be a good way to keep your social media looking active and to encourage some likes and follows, it is always better to share content you create yourself.
Why? For starters, when someone clicks on a link you share and get taken to your site, they stay engaged with your brand and you create more opportunities to get them to sign up to a mailing list or to buy something.
Your objective here is to drive more traffic to your affiliate links – so why would you waste a single click sending your visitors elsewhere?
The key then is to know how to create content that will attract clicks and shares. This is what a lot of affiliates struggle with and why they will often rely on third-party content.
If you understand the psychology of sharing and liking though, then you can get around this problem and create your own content that will spread like wildfire.
Putting it Altogether
Now, you might be wondering how all this can help you drive traffic to your affiliate links. All we’ve seen is how to set up a social media profile on multiple accounts and then share good content on it.
Where are those new visitors coming from?
While it might seem a little circular, repeating this process over and over can actually help you to slowly gain momentum and to build more and more visitors.
It works a little like this:
- First time visitor comes to your site
- First time visitor signs up to your social media and becomes follower
- Follower sees one of your engaging articles posted on Facebook
- Follower clicks to read your content (which contain affiliate links)
- Follower shares your content creating a new first time visitor
- Return to start.
Then multiply this by all the different social media accounts you’re going to be on and suddenly you have a self-perpetuating cycle that is bringing in more and more visitors all the time.
Top Tip: Share your content in specific communities like Facebook Pages and G+ communities to reach specific niches. You can use this to target people who will likely be interested in what you’re promoting and who aren’t already followers and you can also use it to cross pollinate.
For Example: if promote a online income opportunity, then writing about ways to make money online and posting in a Facebook Group all about making money online is a great way to reach a wider audience.
How To Drive Traffic To Your Affiliate Links From Facebook Ads
Facebook ads can generate a ton of traffic immediately and unlike the above method it takes no time at all to kick into action.
Of course it does cost a little money which is the downside – but if you have monetized your site (or landing page) correctly then this needn’t be an issue as it can pay for itself.
Combining social media marketing with Facebook ads is a very powerful strategy but if you choose just one, then the right starting point is going to depend on your business model and budget.
How Facebook Ads Work
If you have ever used Google AdWords then you should have a basic idea of how PPC advertising works. PPC stands for Pay Per Click, which means that you only pay when someone actually clicks on one of your adverts.
In this sense, an advert only costs you money when it is ‘successful’. This is the same for Facebook Ads – meaning that you only get charged when someone clicks on your advert.
The problem with the term “successful” however, is that it simply means that someone has clicked your ad… not actually purchased for anything.
An added bonus of Facebook Ads is that they can be very finely targeted at the specific audience you want to advertise to. This allows you to target your specific niche and thereby helps you to avoid wasting your money by advertising to people who aren’t likely to click on any ads.
On Facebook, you can target people by their location, their age, their gender, their marital status and even their hobbies and interest. If you have a business selling an online income opportunity, you can target only those people who have ‘affiliate marketing’ listed as one of their hobbies.
This brings us to an important point: targeting your traffic.
There’s actually no point in having tons of traffic if that traffic isn’t at all targeted. This is especially true in some circumstances too – if you run a local business for instance in which case you only really want to advertise to people who live locally. What’s the point in wasting your advertising budget on people in Germany if you run a hair salon in the US?
How to Create Great Facebook Ads
If you wanted to driving more traffic to your affiliate links from Facebook Ads, then the best strategy would be to set up a landing page to sell your main product or affiliate product from and then to create adverts that would direct visitors to that page.
Your Facebook ads would then be very upfront and even include the price, so that people would only click (and cost you) if they were definitely interested in potentially paying for a product like yours.
But if your priority is traffic, then you’re playing the longer game. In this case, the best type of advert would be a CPA ad to get likes to your Facebook page and from there you could then do some ‘promoted posts’ (which get seen by a greater number of your followers).
Remember though: people won’t just like an advert for an income opportunity. Your best chances of getting them involved is to speak to them on a more abstract level and to get them excited for what you’re doing. People will regularly ‘like’ pages on Facebook that are about the gym or about travel because they are interested in the lifestyle and they want to communicate that aspect of themselves.
So instead of advertising your product or brand, advertise the lifestyle that you represent and then target people who are likely to want to be associated with that lifestyle. Try not to be a typical affiliate so much as a movement and that way you can get people actually excited for what you’re doing.
Top Tip: Don’t forget to log into your ad manager to see how your ads are performing. This way you can try making small tweaks to them in order to see what increases their success rates and what doesn’t.
How to Drive Traffic to Your Affiliate Links From Search Engines
If social media marketing is one of the pillars of online business, another is most certainly SEO. SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimization’ and is the process of creating a website and its content in such a way that Google will rate it highly and bring it up high in the search results for a large number of different searches.
These days, most people who are interested in using a service or buying a product will look for it by searching on Google. If you can come up in those search results, then you can drive tons of traffic to your affiliate links.
What’s more, that traffic will be even more targeted that your Facebook traffic because they’ll be actively looking for what you’re offering. This means it’s not just the right market but the right time. This is what you call ‘susceptibility’ in marketing and it’s a very powerful factor.
The good news when it comes to SEO is that you can actually do it yourself and that means it’s potentially free. Do some work early on and you can be set up for years to come with a constant stream of traffic and customers.
The bad news though, is that SEO is complicated, fiddly and never guaranteed, which is why some affiliate choose a custom marketing solution for SEO. That said, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances…
The Basics of SEO
To identify which websites should be brought up for which search terms, Google will apply an algorithm to its indexing of the web. No one knows this algorithm and it’s changing all the time, so there’s no way to guarantee what you’re doing is going to work.
However, we do know a few basics.
For starters, Google will look at the content on a website to work out what it’s about and whether it offers value to the reader. It does this by looking for keywords which it will match to search terms. So if you want to make a start you should identify which specific keywords you want to ‘rank for’ and you should try to incorporate those into your writing in an organic manner.
A while back, people would repeat keywords over and over in their text to get to the top of Google. This was unpleasant for the reader though and Google got wise to it.
Instead then, the better strategy is now to repeat the phrase a few times (about 1-2% density throughout your text) but to also include lots of related terms and synonyms. This is what’s now called ‘Latent Semantic Indexing’. You don’t need to know too much about that though – just try to write naturally around the subject and to flex that vocabulary!
Another key factor in deciding a website’s ranking is its ‘inbound links profile’.
In other words, Google looks at how many other sites are linking to your site and examines the variety and quality of those links. Not only do links help Google to discover your website in the first place but they are also seen as testimonials – the logic is that if someone is linking to your site, then it must be good!
Paying people to link to you though is against the rules (and you can face serious penalties if you get caught). Instead then, you can use two strategies:
- Guest posting – Which means creating content for other blogs for free, in exchange for a link back to your site.
- Link baiting – which means writing content that is not only excellent quality but also devised in such a way as to encourage people to link to it. Resource articles for instance are good link-bait.
Guest posting should be done in moderation, while link baiting should occur organically.
Ironically, the best way to get people to share (and thereby enhance SEO) is to forget that search engines exist and just to write your very best content for the reader.
Your SEO Strategy Outlined
The secret to success in SEO at the moment is to write lots and to write well. SEO and ‘content marketing’ are almost one and the same at this point, with Google being advanced enough to look at your writing almost like a human would. It’s only going to get smarter with time, so there’s no point trying to trick the system.
What you can do though is to generate lots and lots of content around your chosen topics. The more content you create, the more ‘long-tail keywords’ you’ll hit and the more you’ll enforce the subject matter of your site.
Long tail keywords are keywords you usually rank for unintentionally.
When someone types: ‘Why is my rabbit limping and he smells of damp?’ into Google, Google has to bring something up. Most likely then, this will be a random website that used a lot of those words – even if it’s not an exact match.
The website didn’t purposefully rank for that phrase but by having lots of content, you increase the likelihood that vaguely relevant searches will land on your site by chance.
So if an article gets one hit a day like this and you have a thousand articles… then that’s one thousand hits. You see why this matters?
The more content you have, the more likely that searches will find you. A lot of affiliates will write only once a week or even every other week and then wonder why they’re not growing their traffic.
If you want affiliate marketing to be your full-time living, then you need to treat it like a full-time job with full-time hours, it’s that simple!
And quality is just as important. Not only because every time someone sees your content you have an opportunity to get an organic link from them posted to a forum, a blog, or a sale – but also because Google looks at factors like the time people spend reading your page when judging your quality.
If you keep putting out high quality work consistently, people will begin to talk about your brand and you’ll start to gain momentum. There are no shortcuts – though of course. You can outsource this process if you can find a high quality and reliable writer.
On top of this, you should still keep a few keywords in mind that you will keep returning to.
These should form the backbone of your content and will guide your decisions on which articles to write and how to set up your web pages (you can use keywords in your file names and image tags etc.).
Again, keep it subtle but make sure it’s there. Look up ‘keyword tools’ to research which phrases related to your niche have the most searches without there being too much competition.
Matt Cutts is a prominent spokesperson for Google and has recently said that too much guest posting is likely to get a website into trouble – just as buying links and submitting to directories fell out of favor a while back.
The whole point of Google’s algorithm is to find out what is genuinely high quality and popular and thus the company doesn’t want you to try and game the system by posting links to certain places in high quantities.
If you only have links on high quality blogs, then this will look suspicious.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use guest posting though, as this is really the only proactive means you have to get onto websites that have a high ‘PR’ (reputation in the eyes of Google).
Instead then, switch focus from quantity here to quality.
Try to find a few really big blogs and then focus all of your efforts on getting a link from them. If you get this right, then a single link can take you to the top of the search engines, it can trigger more likes and shares and it can bring you hundreds of thousands of visitors directly.
If you can get a link on the website of a top blogger in your niche, then this can set you up for years to come and transform your profits over night. This is a growth hack known as ‘influencer marketing’ and it’s an incredibly powerful tool.
The route to getting your links on these big sites though might involve starting out with smaller targets. Big sites are likely to ignore you at first, so use sites that are just a little ahead of you to grow your own reputation one bit at a time until you’re ready to go after those few crucial links. Still though, guest post with purpose and don’t just accrue as many low quality links as possible.
Top Tip: Don’t underestimate the importance of real world networking. If you can meet a big blogger in person then you’ll stand a far better chance of making a real impression that might lead to a link.
How To Drive More Traffic To Your Affiliate Links From Forums
Forums are a fantastic source of traffic that is severely undervalued by many affiliate marketers. With the explosion of social media, forums have somewhat fallen out of favor but it’s a mistake to write them off as they still offer some powerful advantages.
A forum is a message board attached to a website where users can discuss a mutual interest, normally the subject of the main site.
Before social media and instant messaging, this was one of the main ways that people would discuss subjects online.
While they are less common these days however, there are still certain subjects that lend themselves well to forums and the members on these boards tend to be highly committed.
The great thing about a forum is that anyone can post links there and these actually ‘count’ as inbound links for Google (whereas links on social media are usually treated differently).
And because forums have fallen out of vogue, you will likely find there is significantly less competition here for you to try and stand out against. Success on a forum is just as nuanced as on any other corner of the web though, so let’s unravel how you can make this really work.
The Challenge of Forums
The main mistake that most affiliates make on forums is to think they can just sign up and start posting affiliate links like it’s some kind of classified ad site.
This approach doesn’t tend to work very well on any platform but it’s particularly ineffectual on a forum where there will be a tight-knit community of users who know each other and who visit the board for discussion and entertainment.
If you sign up to a forum only to start immediately posting affiliate links, it will be seen as spam and your account will likely be banned. Along with this, your link will be deleted and you will have hurt your reputation among the regular users.
Imagine if someone came into an evening book club you attended and started trying to sell their wares – this is precisely what it’s like for those users on the forum.
What to Do Instead
Instead then, you should use the forum in order to gradually build trust and make friends first. This of course involves a lot more work but if you put the time in, you’ll find it pays off massively.
Not only will building trust help you to avoid your account being deleted when you share a link, it will also set a precedent of quality – meaning the members will actively be interested in the things you link to.
In fact, if you build enough of a relationship with the users on the forum, you might even find that they actively help you with your promotion efforts – just as a friend might in ‘the real world’.
If you spend time developing a reputation on the forum as someone who adds value and makes useful contributions, then you may actually find that members may volunteer to share your affiliate links and provide useful discussion and feedback.
If you’ve ever read the book ‘1,000 True Fans’, then you’ll know that theoretically having a small number of truly dedicated fans can be enough to provide you with the backbone for a business.
A forum provides you with the perfect place to develop those fans and then to enlist their help/promote your products or services.
The only difference here is that they start as fans of you and then migrate to the brand; which works very well seeing as it seems far less cynical.
Here then is the process you can use:
- Introduce yourself (usually a section where you can do this on most forums)
- Take part in some discussions
- Demonstrate your knowledge by answering questions
- Contribute some topics of your own and show that you have interesting ideas
- Help out some other people with their own projects if the opportunity arises
- Post some links to useful other sites
- Mention your own projects
- Post to your links – only in a situation where it is relevant to the discussion
One more thing: as with your social media efforts, you can once again use a ‘cross pollination’ method. In other words, if you have a subject that appeals to more than one niche/type of audience, then this is a great way to bring in more visitors.
You can even create new content specifically for a forum that you know of.
Top Tip: Some social bookmarking sites work very similarly to forums. Reddit is a perfect example if you find the right ‘SubReddit’ – but the same rules still apply.
How to Drive More Traffic to Your Affiliate Links From Video Marketing
The final piece of the puzzle and the last way to drive traffic to your affiliate links is going to be video marketing. This is another very powerful option when it comes to driving traffic and as with the other methods we’ve gone over it has some specific advantages that make it uniquely useful.
Perhaps the biggest advantage that video has is how engaging it is. If you have ever sat up all night watching a countdown of ‘90’s hits’ then you’ll know just how hard it is to turn away from video, even when it’s not exactly inspired content.
If you can put your message into a video form, then you will have a way to really suck people in and to get a lot of people to head to your site. Another big advantage of video, is that it is so persuasive and potentially emotional.
Sure, novels can get you to sob – but have you ever been made to cry by an advert in print? Video allows you to use music and to speak directly to your audience which has potential to have a far bigger emotional impact.
So how do you go about using the engaging and emotive nature of visitor to increase your traffic and visitors? Let’s take a look at what you need to know.
Where Can You Use Video?
There are many places you can use video marketing but a few will stand out as most likely. One way to use video marketing is to set up a YouTube account and to create a vlog – or even just to upload a few adverts. From here, it will be easy to get direct viewers from YouTube’s search functions, as well as to embed your video on your website or through social media.
Embedding a video on your website of course won’t increase your traffic but it can definitely help with engagement. This is hugely beneficial for a business that provides a service or has a complex product – a video can quickly and elegantly describe what it is you’re selling so that your traffic doesn’t leave before anyone has fully engaged with your site.
Uploading videos on YouTube meanwhile can be a very effective way to gain visitors as well as fans. If someone subscribes to your content on YouTube, they’ll then be notified every time you upload something new and this will make them increasingly likely to visit your site or follow you on social media.
This type of video marketing works best if you provide a series of videos on a specific topic that people search for: be that fitness, diet, web design, programming, sports, music or anything else. This way, people will look up related topics, discover your brand and hopefully end up subscribing.
To make this work, you need to approach YouTube a little as you would SEO. That means coming up with a title that people are likely to search for and that isn’t too similar to a million others. Videos come up in the ‘suggested’ column too if they’re related to the subject being watched, so do make sure the titles are also ‘clickable’.
On top of this, try to add as much description as possible for your video which will create more keywords and long-tail keywords. And of course you should also enter as many keywords as possible into the section especially for them.
Adding a thumbnail for your video can also help a great deal and you should make sure to set up your YouTube channel page.
Sharing your content to social media is another way to engage your audience and to provide something of value that will strengthen your brand. What’s more, you can use videos alongside Facebook Ads by creating a video ad that will get a lot more attention than a simple banner.
How to Create Great Videos on a Budget
Anyone can create a website these days and anyone can certainly set up a Facebook Ad.
Creating a video with impressive production values on the other hand puts you a cut above and makes you look much more professional.
Thankfully, it’s possible to create videos on a budget even if your name isn’t Stephen Spielberg. There are multiple approaches you can take to making a video.
The first and most common is simply to film yourself talking and to include some cutaways or still images to mix things up. These days you can record high quality on a lot of phones, so you may not even need any specialist equipment.
Do think carefully about the way you arrange the backdrop though and the lighting you’re going to have set up. Being lit from the side is the most flattering and creates a professional looking contrast (this is called ‘Rembrandt’ lighting).
Likewise, you can try adding your brand to the shot, or creating a background that looks very productive or that incorporates your niche/industry somehow.
Write a script, speak slowly and film as many takes as you can. Now you should look at using software like Adobe Premier for the editing. This can be a little expensive but worth it. You also can usually get the first month free if you only need to make a couple of videos.
Now try to edit your video so it flows nicely and so you aren’t lingering on one shot for too long. When transitioning between takes, always switch angle at the same time and try to pick off from the same timestamp. If you’re not doing that then it can look a little jarring (it’s called a ‘jump cut’) but you can lessen this by adding an animated transition of some sort.
NOTE: Don’t use transitions unless you need them or it can look like you’re over excited to be using editing software for the first time.
Add a logo to one corner of the screen, pay someone on Fiverr to make you a video opener and find some royalty free music you can use over your video quietly.
Don’t be too ambitious to start with: it’s better to make a very short simple video and to labor over getting it perfect than it is to make something long and awkward. And anyway, people are statistically more likely to watch short videos through to the end.
Making Videos Without a Camera
Not everyone will feel confident to go through this process however, especially if they don’t like their speaking voice or how they look on film. That’s completely fine – just don’t make the mistake of ignoring video as a result.
You can actually make videos in a number of other ways that don’t have to involve you being in front of the camera. One simple example is to make a slideshow which you can do even in Excel by just saving as an *.mpg.
I personally like to use Camtasia for all my videos.
It’s then no big deal to record your voice over the top using a voice recorder and Windows Movie Maker. Another option is to capture your screen and to talk over that footage. This is especially useful for tutorials on web design or programming.
Alternatively, you can create a whiteboard animation (there’s a lot of software out there to do this for you) or even a stop motion animation. Any of these things will work as a great advert for your website that will attract lots of visitors when used with Facebook Ads or other types of social media.
And if you post regularly to YouTube and find ways to ensure your video is entertaining, inspiring or informative, you’ll find this is also a great way to build a following and drive traffic – even if you’re not in front of the camera!
So now you know how to dominate on social media, Facebook Ads, Google, forums and video marketing. Combine these strategies and you’ll be driving more traffic to your affiliate links from a total of five different sources.
This will make your affiliate business highly resilient while at the same time ensuring exponential results as each of these ‘pillars’ helps to support the other.
If you’re not sure where to begin though, don’t worry. Just follow the steps below to get that traffic flowing:
1. Add a logo and strong branding to your website if you have your own Internet presence. Now set up as many social media accounts as you can and add that same branding to all of those. Add links from your website to your social accounts and you’ll hang onto your ‘one off’ visitors better.
2. Post content to your social media accounts. Make sure it’s always valuable and entertaining.
3. Gain more visitors to your website with Facebook Ads if you have the budget. Set it up so you are only charged for ‘likes’ and target your audience carefully.
4. Spend some time building a following on relevant forums and message boards.
5. Do some keyword research and then write around that subject. Write high quality content for your site that offers something interesting and that people in your niche will really want to click.
6. Share the content you’ve created on social media and encourage others to share it too. Likewise, share this content on forums where you’ve built a following for yourself and try sharing to Reddit too.
7. Create some videos and use these to build a YouTube following in your advertising and on your own website.
It’s really rather simple but if you keep this up for a few months and you manage to maintain quality and quantity consistently, you’ll see your traffic start to really flow. Keep at it and good luck!