The lifeblood of any successful affiliate campaign really boils down to one single factor: traffic. You want not only to attract as much traffic as possible to the offer you are trying to promote, but you also want to make sure that traffic is as highly targeted as possible. You also want to ensure that you are sending high-converting traffic, because a visitor that doesn’t follow through with the desired action is ultimately a wasted opportunity.
The great challenge, then, is sourcing this most elusive of desirable traffic while still being able to maintain an optimal return on investment (ROI). The problem with utilizing the most popular sources of traffic is that you end up competing with individuals and businesses who may have more robust resources than you do.
Thankfully, there are many lesser known or under-utilized traffic sources that you can tap into to maximize your earning potential as an affiliate.
Granted, YouTube is hardly the Internet’s best kept secret, but it is still a platform that continues to grow and continues to provide incredible opportunities for Internet marketers of all sizes and budgets. There are at least a couple of different ways to go about leveraging the power of YouTube to your advantage.
If you are interested in playing the longer game, the better play is to grow your own YouTube channel within the industry vertical that you’d like to focus. Provide real value to your viewers and grow that audience. Then, when you mention that there’s something you’d like to promote in the video description, they’re much more likely to click and follow through, because they trust you. But this can take a lot of time, a good deal of effort, and a healthy dose of luck too.
The faster approach is to purchase advertising through Google and YouTube. This can take on the form of the banner ads that can appear while a video is playing or it could be one of the pre-roll video ads (or one of the interstitial video ads). This can deliver immediate results, but it can take a fair bit of budget and experimentation before you find the specifications that work best for you.
Some people might tell you that banner advertising is dead, but that simply is not the case. It just means you need to be more creative with how you utilize banners and you need to be more selective about where your banners appear. A great marketplace for this traffic source is AdClerks.
The concept here is really simple and you can start getting the targeted traffic you’re looking for in a matter of minutes. The site offers a large marketplace of pre-approved publishers whose websites typically have substantial traffic and an engaged audience. You can sort and search based on niche and budget, buying up banner space on specific sites either for a flat monthly fee or on a CPM basis.
The platform is really simple to use and you can see “live” where your banner will appear on each specific website. This eliminates that part of the guesswork. Of course, there are no guaranteed clicks or returns here, so your mileage may vary.
3. Bing Ads
The elephant in the room has been Google for a number of years now and the company’s AdWords/AdSense platform is an absolute giant with online advertising. The greatest challenge there is the sheer level of competition, fighting for the most lucrative keywords and ramping up your ad bids accordingly.
A very viable alternative that isn’t leveraged by nearly as many companies is Bing Ads. Microsoft is no slouch and its ad platform can really deliver some serious results for affiliate marketers who are able to purchase the right PPC traffic and turn it into serious CPA profit.
As with all PPC networks, Bing Ads will take some experimentation and optimization, but it will likely be far more affordable and far less competitive than Google’s alternative.
4. Ezine articles
Despite the popularity and power of blogging, it can also be very difficult to build up your own brand, website, and traffic before it can be truly profitable. A far more efficient way to reach a wider audience more quickly is with article marketing and EzineArticles is easily one of the best in the business.
It’s critically important here that the articles you submit are high quality and completely original. Otherwise, they will quickly get rejected and you may no longer be able to submit content in the future. Provide some real value to the readers of the article, integrating the affiliate links in a seamless and useful way.
EzineArticles accepts content on a broad range of subject matter, from arts and entertainment to computers and technology, from relationship and self-improvement to shopping and communications. No matter what niche you approach, there’s an opportunity here.
5. LinkedIn Ads
While much attention is constantly directed at Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn continues to be the largest professional-oriented social networks on the Internet. Users there engage for a very specific purpose. They aren’t there “for fun” like how they might otherwise utilize social media. They are there to advance their professional careers.
This also means that they could be much more cognizant of investing in their professional futures and this lends itself well to a higher level of conversion on offers that you promote through LinkedIn advertising. Promotions can take on the form of display ads, sponsored content, sponsored emails, dynamic ads or text ads.
What’s critically important here is the targeting that you can employ. Depending on the affiliate offer that you are trying to promote, you may target users based on a particular job function or geographic location. More than 450 million professionals are on LinkedIn, ready to consume what you have to show them.
6. Pinterest Promoted Pins
Continuing on the social media front but moving away from the professional space, Pinterest Promoted Pins can be a tremendous traffic source for the right niches. Pinterest is most popular among adult women, mostly those who are interested in beauty, fashion, DIY, cooking, crafting and similar endeavors.
Far too often, Internet marketers can quickly disregard a potentially lucrative and highly-converting traffic source because they see the platform as little more than a casual place for users to waste their time on the Internet. The truth with Pinterest is that its users are highly engaged and incredibly active.
This lends itself to the widespread re-sharing of pins, helping to extend your promoted pins to an ever growing audience. This is understandably a very visually-oriented social network, so crafting the perfect image for your pin is of positively critical importance. Stylized text and eye-catching imagery are key here.
Leave No Stone Unturned
The most important lesson to recognize in affiliate marketing is that every opportunity is worth exploring. The most highly publicized and best-known traffic sources can certainly be worthwhile, but they can also be highly competitive and potentially over-saturated. Look into rarer traffic sources to carve out your segment of your niche, building the traffic you need to succeed.