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A Brief Overview of Affiliate Marketing Funnels

December 12, 2019

10 Min Read
Affiliate Marketing Funnel

Affiliate Marketing funnels have become increasingly important in modern-day marketing strategies. These funnels help affiliates channelize their website traffic to help streamline the flow through each stage of the funnel.

So what is an affiliate marketing funnel? 

It’s designing a strategy to target the right people to purchase products that they are looking for. The funnel helps creating a customer journey path where a potential customer reaches the designated product/service landing page and acts on the desired goal. 

Most marketers and business owners create a web page and pull traffic to it, but they still struggle to convert this web traffic into sales and sign-ups.

So if you’re looking to improve your affiliate marketing funnel, this blog will help you understand what you may need to add or redesign it.

The problem that marketers face after creating an affiliate marketing funnel is the lack of a  consistent conversion rate from the online traffic that lands on the web page. Hence, there’s a need to understand the importance of designing an effective sales funnel and how to reap actual results out of it.

Here’s What Funnels Help Achieve

An effective affiliate marketing funnel helps map out each stage of the clients’ decision-making process when they land on the company’s landing page. It further helps plan out the steps the client would wish to take at each part of the affiliate marketing funnel. S/he can then plan out effective strategies to improve specific stages of this funnel.

This would directly impact the conversion rate of the funnel and result in a more effective marketing strategy. Hence, effective affiliate marketing funnels can help strategize marketing efforts and in turn improve the return on investment (ROI) of promotional activities.

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Before explaining strategies to improve specific stages of the funnel, let’s briefly discuss the various stages of an affiliate marketing funnel. 

The Affiliate Marketing Funnel

  • Create Awareness: This is where the affiliate creates the content to build awareness about the product/service to promote
  • Develop Interest: Adopt optimization strategies for increased visibility to pique the visitor’s interest
  • Help make the Decision: The point of conversion where a visitor gets convinced and decides to  purchase ing the product/service being sold.
  • Engage, Nurture, and Nourish: This is the post-conversion stage where efforts are made to retain the new customers.

Let’s have a deeper look into each stage of the funnel and  what you can do to specifically optimize each stage of your affiliate marketing funnel.

Step 1: Create Awareness

A blog is a great place to start with when it comes to creating awareness about certain products and services. That’s because you are catering to people who are searching for a solution online, and visit a blog post because it has relevant information that they seek. 

Blogging is an organic way of increasing traffic with the help of search engine optimization (SEO). The blog can also get traffic using paid media channels such as Facebook ads for social media and Google ads for search. What makes this method of earning attractive is its low barriers to entry and exit, making it a lucrative opportunity.

It’s important to have a blog as a core platform to link all marketing activities. This is because most affiliates prefer owning a website/blog that comprises of all the information related to the products/services they are promoting currently. From here on, you can push marketing activities on social media and video streaming platforms to pull more website traffic.

You can also attract relevant web traffic to your blog by creating a YouTube Channel. Video content can be a great addition to your first stage of the funnel as it grabs more attention. Videos on YouTube usually go through classification based on types of products or the industry these products relate to. Therefore, you can produce video content targeted towards your niche audience to raise awareness.

  • Custom Landing Pages

A landing page has great significance as its tone, aesthetics and overall user experience creates the first impression of the product/service on a visitor. A visitors can arrive on landing page through search engine, social media post, a link from a blog to seek a product or a solution for a problem one faces. Thus, it’s important to maintain a single tone of communication on the landing page and advertisements otherwise the visitor will navigate away. 

For instance, when retargeting visitors, the tone of conversation the brand has with its audience will be specific to a theme (eg: Christmas). Since the theme of the campaign is around Christmas, the old landing page will be an immediate disconnect for the visitor. This is where the custom landing page plays a crucial role.

Developing a custom landing page caters to the missing piece in a puzzle in creating awareness. They connect and channelize the traffic to the next stage of the affiliate marketing funnel.

Affiliate Marketing Funnel Planning.

  • Social Media Shoutouts

In this age of digital marketing, social media is a fast and effective way to connect with people. The advantage here is that it’s faster to create a voice through social media platforms as communication there is engaging and helps in building the brand image. 

People love to build a relationship with the brand on a personal level by sharing news and engaging with the brand through stories, funny posts, and videos.

 

Social Media Shoutouts

  • Email Lists

Email marketing is a time and tested marketing tool and help reach a certain classification of people. For example, an ecommerce site that is selling football club merchandise needs to focus on emailing the fan base of that specific football club in order effectively pull traffic.

It’s crucial to create an email list to reach out to new people and remind potential customers about the latest offerings of the business. Email marketing helps in starting conversations with a lot of people while giving it a personal touch. 

Being able to reach out to a large specific community via email marketing will create a strong impact as it spreads awareness about the brand. For instance, most ecommerce companies send out emails to their existing and potential customers about promotions that they should be looking out for soon.

Step 2: Develop Interest

Now that you know about the significance of and strategies for building product awareness, the next step is to develop the audience’s interest. To achieve this, you will have to have regular communication with prospects throughout their journey.

There are many different ways to create a stimulus that develops the website visitor’s interest. Let’s check out  a few methods that are popular among affiliate marketers.

  • Optins

There are multiple types of optins for you to choose from, depending on the context and user interface of the blog. The choices comprise of full page, lightbox, slide out, side banner and floating bars. These optins generally comprise of actions like Subscribe our Newsletter, Sign up, or promotional offers the visitors can avail.

High traffic pages are perfect for optins as a great way to pique the interest of visitors who  have an interest in your products/services. The communication here is of high impact, therefore, it needs to align with the intent of the customer.

  • Custom Offer Page

When you’re designing a custom offer page it’s important to understand that a conversation between the brand and the potential customer has begun.Hence, the conversation here will be continuing from the previous page the visitor was on. This is the key to keeping the visitor’s interest, as a disconnect will result in the visitor leaving the affiliate funnel, ultimately bringing low traffic to the next stage of the affiliate marketing sales funnel. 

To create a custom offer page, imagine you are answering the question a visitor asked on Google. This answer along with in depth information about the question will be on a blog post. From there,  the visitor is shown a banner about an attractive deal about the product, that s/he can avail by placing the order through the custom offer page.

Additionally, the design aesthetics and user experience of the custom offer page are important elements to consider when designing the custom offer page. An exclusive promotional offer can help to keep the visitors engaged and move them to the next stage in the affiliate marketing sales funnel.

  • Sticky Bar/Floating Banners

Having a sticky bar on your landing page or blog post is greatly beneficial when offering special deals and discounts. This is often the case in seasonal sales like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and Black Friday.

The intent is to attract the attention of your audience by piquing their interest and informing them about a special offer which they can avail. The sticky bar banner takes your visitor to a special offers page with a product/service on display that is currently under promotion. Through this method, the product you’re promoting gets more attention and interest from your audience.

  • Ebooks/Whitepapers

You can publish an ebook that gives insights, analysis and explanation about a common problem that many people tend to face. You can safely assume that any reader who downloads your ebook has an interest in the subject matter and seeks specific information. 

Hence, you can capitalize on generating traffic by promoting products and services in your ebook that will land your readers on a targeted landing page.

So how can you capitalize on generating interest of your web visitor through an ebook?

Since the reader already has an interest in the subject of the ebook, the products/services under promotion in the ebook will instill more interest in these readers. Alternatively, you can also build your email list, newsletter subscribers through the ebook. The next stage of the affiliate marketing funnel is to help the visitor decide to buy the product/service.

Step 3: Help Make the Decision

At this stage, the potential customer/visitor has opted to connect with the brand by signing up, subscribing to a newsletter or downloading an ebook. This is where the potential customer is looking for a reason to make the purchase.

The key to success here is to keep the communication clear and short while providing the potential customer clear reasoning to make a purchase. At this stage, you’ll need to keep communication short and crisp. You will need to present information about the product/service along with a convincing review of an existing customer. For the potential customer, the cherry on the cake is the closing deal they get by signing up through the affiliate’s landing page. 

  • Nurture through email automation

There are many tools available for affiliate marketers to automate the process of sending out emails, thereby, saving time and effort in curating and segmenting emails based on relevancy. The affiliate marketers can use Constant Contact, MailChimp, SendInBlue, GetResponse, Drip, and ActiveCampaign to their advantage. 

When sending out emails in bulk, it is better to automate this process.

Email automation is a game changer for marketers as it is a simple and cost effective channel to reach out to the right audience. Moreover, the email lists compiled over time can help in generating conversions in a variety of alternate products and services.

  • Re-targeting Campaigns

During this stage of the affiliate marketing funnel, you must reach out to a potential customer who hasn’t converted yet. For instance, a potential customer who had previously opted for a demo of a service but hasn’t signed up.

The addition of a special offer that was communicated during the first stage of the marketing funnel is beneficial here. This gives the potential customer a gentle nudge to make the purchase.

For instance, let’s assume you are a clothing store owner and your potential customer searches for new clothes to buy. She/he finds an article about top brands to shop for a decent quality shirt and lands on your ecommerce store. However, after visiting the landing page the visitor navigates away from the page.

With the help of advertisement networks, You can launch re-targeting campaigns to target visitors who have landed on specific pages of the website previously.Thus, there’s a high chance that these visitors will purchase the product as they have already made an impression about the brand.

Step 4: Engage, Nurture, and Nourish 

This is your final page as your web page visitor reaches the end of the funnel. This page has all the information a potential customer requires to make the payment. It’s good practice to reassure the potential customer about their purchase by mentioning secure payment gateways so the payment method has no interruptions.

The page displays a thank you message for the new customer. It’s also a great idea to show this customer a video to improve engagement and trigger more interest in the product/service on offer. 

Alternatively, some of these pages show testimonials and reviews from other customers about product/service on offer to reassure the commitment the brand made to the visitor. This is the same commitment the brand made at the start of the affiliate marketing funnel.

Earn at your own pace.

Refer customers and set up your passive income stream

 

Effectiveness and Measuring the Affiliate Funnel

After designing an affiliate marketing funnel, it’s effectiveness and impact needs monitoring and constant analysis. Let’s look at some of the performance metrics that will help you understand how each stage of the funnel performs. 

  • Point of Entry/ Amount of Entrance/ New Sessions

This illustrates the number of potential customers who enter the funnel. In other words, you are looking for the traffic on a certain landing page and it’s proportion to new sessions. 

This involves the first and second stages of the funnel where awareness about the product/service is the core concern. At this stage of the funnel, it’s important to monitor the number of new sessions to gauge the time they tend to stay on the respective web pages.

  • Conversion Rate

This parameter involves stages of the funnel that require a specific action from potential customers. This is measurable as a ratio of the number of new visitors who click on the desired action versus the total number of new visitors who arrive on a respective web page. 

Desirable actions involve signing up to a service, adding the email to initiate conversations, downloading an ebook, or even opting for a demo of the product/service. 

  • Duration of the Sales Funnel Process

This is the amount of time your potential customer spends from the point s/he enters the affiliate marketing funnel (lands on your landing page) to the end of the affiliate marketing funnel (makes the purchase/desired outcome). This also includes the number of steps your potential customer has to go through to pass one stage of the funnel to the next.

In a Nutshell

This brings us to the end of this article!

You now understand the impact of an effective affiliate marketing funnel. The examples highlight the fact that an effective affiliate marketing funnel is the key to a healthy conversion rate, ultimately improving the bottom line of your business. 

What you take away from this article:

  • Defining an affiliate marketing funnel
  • Stages of an affiliate marketing funnel
  • Optins positively impact on your Webpage taking visitors to the next stage of the funnel
  • Focus on the intent of your Custom offer page
  • Sticky Bar/ Floating Banners help attract attention
  • The use of ebooks to generate traffic
  • Use of email and email automation to develop interest of the target audience
  • Re-targeting campaigns to increase conversions
  • Close the sale with reassurance
  • Measure affiliate funnel effectiveness using metrics

If you wish to add your two cents about this topic, feel free to comment in the section below. We’d love to know what you have to say!

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Abdullah Asim

Abdullah is a Digital Marketing Executive at Cloudways. He is passionate about digital marketing and managing affiliate partnerships in the digital space. Marketeer at heart, he loves to discuss Video Games, movies and shows. His favorite TV show: ‘Friends’.

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