In this guide, I'll be explaining how to properly use an affiliate funnel for your marketing efforts as there are quite a few misconceptions about the topic.
Most will tell you to always build a list.
That's not the case as there are some instances with affiliate marketing that are pointless to build a sales funnel and would actually hurt your ability to earn a commission which is why I'm hoping this post will help you when using affiliate funnels.
What is an Affiliate Funnel?
An Affiliate Marketing Funnel is a referred to as a sales funnel when promoting an affiliate offer.
When creating these types of sales funnels, typically the user is working to build an email list in an effort to sale affiliate products primarily through email marketing followups.
There's nothing wrong with that method, however sales funnels are not the end all be all method like many would have you believe.
As a matter of fact, it can actually kill your results when used in some scenarios.
I'm not a "hater" of building email list either as I'm always looking to build my list.
Think of it like this.
If you're going to remodel a house, you're not going to bring 1 tool to do everything?
Instead, you're going to have a variety of tools to conduct different parts of the remodel.
The same holds true with sales funnels used with affiliate marketing.
Let's start with how these Affiliate Funnels looking at it from a 30,000 foot view.
When Should I Use Affiliate Funnels?
For starters, let me explain that I'm a huge fan of building out sales funnels and capturing emails. Look at this blog - I've got popups, sidebar widgets, and even "in content" options to capture emails so I can provide you with everything I'm doing.
But that's not always the best case as I explain in this video.
Let me be clear, I'm not saying to not use a funnel.
It all depends on your overall strategy.
Let's put this into a real world example with a real campaign there at ThinkTankLab.com
As a result, we're ranking for a variety of terms with our Webinarjam review as an affiliate. (On a side note, it's one of our favorite live webinar software platforms and the pricing is great)
Let's suppose, we have someone that does a search for "Webinarjam, Webinarjam review, or Webinarjam trial" and they land on our video or our website.
What if we put up an optin form to capture their email before we sent them to the Webinarjam sales page?
At that point, we don't need to put them through a sales funnel because they've already been sold.
Consider where the user is at in the buying process.
- They know they need a webinar
- They know they need a webinar software
- They know Webinarjam is an option
- And they turned to Google or Youtube to search for that product.
When you get to this point, it's like shooting fish in a barrel.
At this point, you don't need to sale and instead just give them the damn thing they're looking for and give them even more incentive to buy from you because you're solely relying on affiliate SEO.
I'm suppose to build an email list though - right?
Email marketing will be your one of your biggest ROI for the time you invest.
On a side note, there are some marketing systems that don't require the email where they just test a lot of ads. I know this is one of the things taught in Robby Blanchard's course. I, personally, prefer to build a brand and capture emails so you can market to them in the future.
Plus, email marketing will help you build something that you can be in more control of - it's a real asset that you can use to make sales and even increase your SEO rankings.
How to Use Affiliate Marketing Sales Funnels
Let's now shift gears a bit and talk about when we actually use a sales funnel for affiliate marketing.
First, Add Them To Your Sales Funnel From Inside Your Content
Let's assume the user is browsing your Webinarjam page again and instead of clicking, they hit the back button to bounce?
Now, there's an opportunity to have your popup with exit intent with the same offer I outlined above in the retargeting ad.
If you hit the back button, you'll see I have an exit pop that covers the entire screen with an offer for a video training.
I also have additional free training offers and the ability to join my email list inside my sidebar and all over the website in an effort to get you to optin to go through my sales funnel.
Once someone signs up to this free video, it adds them to my sales funnel where I give a rundown of my digital marketing process and make an offer at the end to join my program.
This could just as easily promote an affiliate product.
As a matter of fact, later on in the series, I began selling affiliate products directly through email marketing as a result of going through my sales funnel.
My point in giving you these options is so you can build your list without hurting your potential for selling the product you're promoting.
Second, is Retargeting Your Traffic.
You can still build an email list considering you'll be creating "how to" type content, best of type content, and product reviews.
In the example above, the traffic is so laser targeted that you don't necessarily need a sales funnel.
Instead, you can use simple retargeting ads to bring people back to your website so that you can then capture the email to your irresistible offer.
In continuing with the example above, assuming someone has landing on our Webinarjam page or watched our Webinarjam video, wouldn't it make sense to followup with an ad that says something like this:
Hey, I saw you were looking at webinar software reviews, I want to invite you to the special training I did that outlines - How I Built a Million Dollar Webinar from the ground up!
You'll get my slide deck, followup series - everything.
Just enter your name and email to get started
Now, you could do better than that, but you get the idea of the possibilities.
We're retargeting the people that have visited our website and making an offer.
Your customers and website visitors are the first audience you want to begin testing a new sales funnel to because they recognize you or your brand.
When they signup to the email list, we can send them tutorials, guides, and exclusive bonus offers to get them to join the product we're promoting.
Stickign with the Webinarjam example.
Not everyone is going to buy.
That's why we have the funnel in the first place.
We can now, build out automated email campaigns to nurture, gain trust, and even sale additional products.
How to Make Money With An Affiliate Funnel
So, if you wen through the video above and understand the differences in the intent with your traffic sources and want to build an affiliate marketing sales funnel, then let's do it.
Since, we discussed the intent of the traffic sources above that you shouldn't use a sales funnel with, let's talk about where you can use these scenarios.
- Paid Traffic from Facebook
- Paid Traffic from Youtube
- Paid Traffic from Google
- Search Rankings for "How to" terms
Let's use another example.
We recently published a "How to" article on Launch Jacking.
This post is "how to" in nature and designed to target people searching for information on How to do Launch Jacking.
In the post, we have multiple points with a call to action that goes to our free training webinar for affiliate marketing that you see below:
That takes you to a landing page where we're selling our own product on how to build an affiliate marketing business.
(By the way, if you enjoy this post, you're going to really dig the course and I encourage you to watch the webinar to see if it's something that's a fit for you.)
I could have just as easily promoted an affiliate product with this page and used a sales funnel to capture the lead before taking them to the sales page.
Again, the reason this works is all in the intent of the user (the one searching).
What is the best way to build an Affiliate Funnel?
In order to build out these affiliate funnels, you'll need software.
I'm so grateful I don't have to use HTML like I did when I first began.
Now, there's a new tool out every week but we've found there's 2 options that we have used and recommend religiously.
First, if you're not very familiar with WordPress, then I'd recommend using a software as a service option like Kartra.
If you understand WordPress and already have an email autoresponder, then consider giving Thrive Themes a go.
Our Top Picks For Building Affiliate Marketing Funnels
Our # 1 Pick
Kartra is a complete done for you system that gives you the ability to build email list, create followup email campaigns, VSL's, sales pages, and a landing page builder with built in, done for you campaigns along with being able to sell your own products, services, and set schedules.
This is a true all in one system that gets our #1 pick.
Our # 2 Pick
Thrive Themes Membership
Thrive Themes is an annual membership that provides Themes, Landing Page Builder, lead capture popups, along with VSL, and sales pages through WordPress.
While, it's easy to use, (as opposed to Kartra above) you'll need an understand of WordPress plus you'll need a 3rd party email autoresponder to integrate with their API along with a shopping cart if you decide to sell your own products and services.
If you've enjoyed this post, then I recommend joining my Affiliate training program and go through the entire course for starting and scaling your affiliate and SEO business.
Inside, I'll show you how to leverage the web with video and creating content that ranks along with building a powerful link building campaign that you can utilize for months and years to come.
Here's what to do next...
Signup for the free training webinar below that outlines my course, strategy, and to see if it's a fit for your business.