So you’ve been an affiliate marketer for years, and let’s be honest, it’s been a pretty good time.
But now ad costs are rising, the FTC seems to be cracking down more than normal, and the flood of cash your ad strategies used to generate has slowed to more of a trickle.
What’s going on?
Well, according to Neil Patel, affiliate marketing is fundamentally changing and marketers who aren’t willing to evolve their tactics are going to get left behind.
The good news? Neil’s got your back.
If you haven’t heard of Neil Patel, he’s the co-founder of what he calls “a few software companies” (aka KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg) and recipient of “a few awards” (top 10 online marketers by Forbes & top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 by former President Barack Obama)…
…just kidding, I know you know who Neil Patel is, but he doesn’t brag much about himself so I’m doing it for him!
Anyway, let’s dive into it →
HOW TO: Master Neil’s ad strategies & adapt your affiliate marketing to the modern age
1. Conversion optimization = the #1 source of ad ROI, and it’s coming from new channels
Google & Facebook are saturated. The new markets include Instagram, Youtube, podcasts, conferences, and paid content advertising. And don’t advertise on just one — the future lies in omni-channel marketing. Optimize conversions across multiple sources to build brand awareness. Here are some hacks:
- Youtube: In the first 24 hours of posting a new video, send out a promotional blast that drives immediate traffic. The algorithm will boost your vid and rank you high for a good while. Here’s the step-by-step on building your Youtube brand.
- Instagram: Target micro-influencers over macro-influencers. You’ll see a better ROI. Here’s a more in-depth breakdown on mastering micro-influencer marketing.
- Paid Content Advertising: Got you covered here too; learn how to start your own native content campaign.
No matter the channel, use A/B testing to maximize your CRO. Believe me, there aren’t as many people doing it as you think →
2. Treat conversion optimization like dating — “flirt” with leads before asking them to “marry” you
And by marry, of course I mean buy. Flirting first, aka engaging with new visitors, can increase sign-ups by 52%. Why? Because people need to trust you before they’ll buy from you.
Ask them questions, show them testimonials from past customers who were in similar situations, and make the sell only after building that trust. Here’s a tool to start collecting testimonials →
3. Use quizzes to collect new leads and drive engagement
Quizzes can boost leads by 281%. Keep them short (5 questions, no more than 4 options per question), use lots of pictures, and always collect their email at the end.
Get up and running quickly just to test the strategy. If it works, then you can invest the time needed to really optimize it →
4. “Pre-qualify” leads to get an initial commitment and lend the impression of personalization
It doesn’t matter how they answer your qualifying questions, always end with “Congratulations! You qualify!” It makes leads feel like your product has been customized just for them.
Go a step further by embedding personalization texts throughout your copy, ie. geo-based offers, pre-filled forms, etc. Personalization boosted Neil’s sales 31%. Geolocate IPs with →
5. Remove friction during signup by letting leads use their Facebook, Google, or Linkedin accounts
This one addition can boost lead gen by 59%. Of course, you should still provide the traditional email + password option for those who are concerned about privacy. Extra hack: Neil boosted sign-ups an extra 22% by changing the word “sign-up” to “log-in,” so give that a try too.
Adding these buttons can get a bit techy. Luckily, if you use WordPress, there’s a free plugin →
6. Use 2-step checkouts and follow up with the leads who only make it through step one
You’ll see a 10% increase over 1-step checkouts. Why? People who’ve given you their name & email have made a micro-commitment, making them more likely to then give you something bigger, like their credit card info.
Retarget the drop-outs with a Youtube or FB vid showing them what life will be like once they’ve bought your product. It’s a psychological strategy known as “future pacing” →
Reverse your pitch — if your original landing page used logic, make your video emotional, and vice versa. You just got the video-making tool, so here’s one to create your landing pages→
7. Offer low-cost checkout bumps right before customers complete their orders
Checkout bumps are small upsells that boost revenue about 4-5% per product. It may not sound like a lot, but it really adds up over time.
Just make sure the bumps are related to the original product; think e-books →
8. Leverage sales funnels for upsells, downsells, and cross-sells
After checkout, immediately hit them with 3 up or downsells. The key is to push products that work together with the original purchase, and offer one of two things: speed or automation.
- Speed: your original purchase was a de-wrinkle face cream, but if you also buy this special UV flashlight, you’ll start seeing results 30 days faster.
- Automation: You just bought a workout course for killer abs. But, if you buy this special ab-building belt, you’ll lose more weight with less crunches.
Build and customize your unique funnel →
9. Invest now in building your brand — it’s the best long-run strategy out there
In the age of fake news, Google and Facebook have started factoring in brand trust. Google now counts daily brand queries, so make it a goal to get more branded searches than your competitors.
Track how your brand stacks up against competitors’ across the web →