One of the most ‘timeless’ and effective methods of affiliate marketing is ranking a website or blog for long tail keywords, and then promoting affiliate products via those posts.
Here’s an example of a website I own that has been growing nicely from this exact process:
This site has grown from nothing but finding keywords and creating blog posts and articles to fulfil the “knowledge demand” of those keywords.
However, we all know that actually coming up with blog content ideas can be quite a struggle. It’s far too easy to get ‘writer’s block’ and run out of useful things to say.
So what’s the solution?
One of the most effective strategies I have employed is finding the exact problems that people in my target audience are having, and then producing content that answers those problems.
But how do you find the problems (and – by extension – keywords) that people in your niche are searching?
There are tons of different keyword research tools, but one of my favourites remains Answer The Public. It offers a great free version that makes it easy to enter a seed keyword and find a range of long-tail keyword suggestions.
To help you get the most out of Answer The Public, I’ve put together a brief video that explains how you can use it to find great keywords for your affiliate marketing efforts:
One of the oldest debates in affiliate marketing is whether paid or free traffic is better.
There are generally very strong feelings on both sides of the fence.
As someone who’s done both (and had success with both) I thought I would give a quick rundown on the pros and cons I see of each type of traffic.
I’m not going to go too in depth into theory or strategies/methods here. That’s a topic for another time. However, I will cover the key points (pros and cons) I think you need to consider for each approach.
Free Traffic – Pros
It’s free – Need I say more? I mean who actually likes spending money? When I started out in affiliate marketing over 12 years ago, I made my first dollar online without spending a single cent. All it took was time. And the crazy thing is that it’s still possible to do that (and probably always will be). No wonder the allure of free traffic is so strong for so many aspiring affiliate marketers!
You only risk your time – At the absolute worst, you won’t be out of pocket if you pursue free traffic (beyond a few basic costs like domain and hosting, which amount to the price of a couple of pizzas). If you have time but don’t have money, then this an enormous advantage to free traffic methods.
Traffic often converts better – It has been my experience time and time again that free traffic from long-tail keyword Google searches converts better than any other form of traffic. Part of the reason for this is that organic traffic often has higher buyer intent or problem intent. For example, if you’re sat at home searching for ‘best guitar amp for bedroom use’ then you are actively researching/looking to buy something. However, if you get hit by a Facebook ad – even if it’s relevant – it’s more like interruption marketing so you aren’t in the “buyer zone”.
A bit like compounding interest – You’ve probably heard of the power of compounding interest, right? Your returns start off small but get bigger and bigger over time. Free traffic from organic Google searches is often a bit like that in my experience. You start off slow, and then things build up much more quickly over time as your affiliate site grows in authority and quality.
Free Traffic – Cons
Risk of Google penalties and algorithm changes
Paid Traffic – Pros
Paid Traffic – Cons
Can get expensive
No guarantee of positive ROI
Less beginner friendly
As you can see, there are pros and cons to both free and paid traffic. There is no perfect option. And – for many types of affiliate marketing – your best option might be to look at doing both.
My gut feeling (and experience) tells me that if you’re new to affiliate marketing, then you’ll probably want to look more on the free traffic side of the equation. This is especially the case if you have a bit of spare time, but not much spare money.
On the other hand, if you’d rather spend money (and don’t mind almost certainly losing some of it) for faster results, then you might prefer paid traffic generation strategies like Facebook ads or Google Advertising.
Whatever you choose, the most important thing is to stick at it. You are unlikely to see immediate results, and there will ALWAYS be a process of trying to work things out in a way that is successful for you.
If you’d like to learn more, then check out my latest video below. This is actually aimed at digital marketing in general (rather than specifically looking at affiliate marketing) but the principles still apply: