Pinterest Marketing Funnel
An affiliate marketing funnel is a thoughtfully mapped out path designed to help leads go from prospect to customer for an affiliate product you promote, in the shortest time. A good funnel always delivers customized value through each stage of a buyer’s journey. There are four key stages in the buyer’s journey. That’s exactly the journey your affiliate marketing funnel guides them through.
Stage 1: Awareness
The first stage of the funnel is to drive traffic to your offer using blog posts written with SEO in mind, paid ads to a free offer, and social media platforms.
Stage 2: Interest
The second stage is where you convert that traffic with a free offer. The goal is to get them on your email list where you have better control over their journey, and the opportunity to sell to them again and again.
Stage 3: Decision
The third stage allows you to warm up your audience for better conversion rates before you finally pitch your offer in the fourth and final stage.
Stage 4: Action
Wondering why you should go through the process of creating an affiliate marketing funnel when you could just add your links in your blog posts, or put up ads and sell to cold prospects instead? Here are some of the reasons why you should definitely invest in creating an affiliate marketing funnel.
Reason 1: Capture Potential Buyers
Given that most people start their purchase journey with a search, you’ll be missing out on a good majority of potential buyers – according to Pardot if you are using only ads. But it’s not just creating blog posts and adding affiliate links to them either. At this stage buyers are looking for educational material, so creating free content around that means you have a better chance of getting more people to buy through your affiliate links eventually.
Reason 2: Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing results in, and it’s no surprise why. Before you can nurture leads, you need to first understand them. That understanding means you can deliver better targeted/personalized help, increase brand trust and conversions. With an affiliate marketing funnel, you also get the chance to track every part of your funnel so you can easily spot and fix issues in your process. Are people engaging with your emails but not clicking over to the offer page? Or maybe they seem excited about the offer until they click over to the offer page and then you hear crickets. With a step-by-step funnel, you aren’t left guessing. You’ll know exactly where the drop-off happens and can easily pinpoint what to do in order to fix it.
Reason 3: Build Your Own Buyers List
One of the best reasons to build an affiliate marketing funnel instead of simply adding links to a blog post or driving ad traffic directly to a sales page is the opportunity to build your own buyers list. This means that instead of working hard to get one sale while the merchant you’re sending leads to builds their list from your efforts, you’ll have your own list that you can sell more products down the road.
Reason 4: Deliver Value and Lessen Buyer’s Remorse
An affiliate funnel is designed to give customers value through every stage of the buyer’s journey. So even if they end up not buying from you, there’s no negative association because you didn’t merely interrupt them on a Facebook or Instagram feed, you delivered value. This leads to. Also, because of all the education leads get, they know exactly what they want and only buy when they are truly ready. This is key to lessen buyer’s remorse, increase customer satisfaction, and mitigate refund requests.
Reason 5: Leverage Higher Commissions
Product owners know that not all traffic is created equal, so they are willing to pay more for better quality leads. Even if you aren’t sending a boatload of traffic yet, when the traffic you send to merchants converts at a higher than average rate and asks for fewer refunds, you get leverage to negotiate higher affiliate commissions.
How to Create an Affiliate Marketing Funnel
Ready to create an affiliate marketing funnel that converts more prospects and gives you leverage to ask for higher commissions? Here’s our five-step system to help you do just that. We’ll be working backward through these steps so that we have a solid foundation for an effective funnel.
Step 1: Choose the Right Offer
The pillar of a solid affiliate marketing funnel is a great offer. If you don’t already have one, here are some tips to guide you:
- Find a quality product or service that solves a problem or meets a need
- Research the market demand for the product or service
- Assess the merchant’s reputation and credibility
- Consider the commission rate and any recurring income opportunities
- Look for supporting resources like sales pages, email swipes, and promotional materials
- Test the product or service yourself to ensure quality and usability
- Check the affiliate program terms and conditions and payout schedule
Step 2: Create Relevant Opt-Ins and Bridge Pages
Sometimes you find the perfect offer but the sales page looks like something out of a 90s movie, or the copy is just plain bad. This is where a bridge page really comes in handy. Even if the product has a stellar sales page, the bridge page is your opportunity to connect with your audience and stand out from the rest of the affiliate army before you send them off to the sales page.
A bridge page can include a short video where you introduce yourself, share a review and maybe some testimonials, a call to action, and sometimes a free gift. Alternatively if it’s your own product, getting testimonials from your affiliates is another great way to layer on social proof.
Step 3: Set Up Email Automation and Landing Pages
One of the best parts of an affiliate marketing funnel is automation. You set up an opt-in to capture leads and an email series that guides them to eventually buy your affiliate product. That way, you do the work upfront then constantly generate affiliate income after, even when you aren’t actively promoting a product.
If you run a food and cooking website for example, you could start with an optin for your best Instant Pot recipes to promote an Instant Pot. Using your preferred email service provider, you then create an email series that will lead new subscribers through:
- How to recreate your best Instant Pot recipes with common ingredients
- How to best use an Instant Pot (highlighting problems you typically have cooking the same recipes on a stove)
- The Instant Pot model you use and why it’s best (a pitch for your Instant Pot affiliate product)
- A discount or another FOMO tactic
From here, some people like to include upsells to generate even more revenue, and downsells to capture otherwise lost sales.
Step 4: Create Optimized Landing Pages
Once you have an opt-in and an email series set up, the next step is to get people into your series. For this, you need a landing page for your opt-in. A good opt-in landing page will:
- Clearly state the value of the opt-in
- Explain how the opt-in will benefit the reader
- Include a strong call-to-action to sign up
- Use persuasive copy and visuals to convince the reader to take action
Once you’ve set up an optimized landing page, you’ll need to also create a thank you page so you start connecting with new subscribers right after they join your list. This is a good place to showcase your personality, remind them to whitelist your emails, and point them to the next steps.
Step 5: Drive Traffic to Your Funnel
You know how you pour water through a funnel, that’s exactly what this final step is all about; pouring leads into your affiliate funnel. Some of the best ways to do this are implementing ads (the fastest way), or social media marketing and search engine optimization which is slower to start but delivers great ROI.
When most affiliate marketers think of ads, they think of driving traffic directly to the affiliate sales page, or a bridge page. But there’s a better way. Why not drive them to a free page that leads them into your funnel instead. An offer that gets them on your list so you can sell to them over and over again.
Another popular way to drive traffic to your free offer is to share them on social media. Here’s an example of a blog post that promotes WordPress plugins, being shared on Twitter.
Like with everything else marketing, social media requires a strategy for success. To see results, you’ll need to:
- Identify the social media platforms where your target audience is most active
- Create engaging and valuable content that aligns with your target audience’s interests and pain points
- Use relevant hashtags and keywords to increase visibility and reach
- Engage with your followers and respond to comments and messages
- Collaborate with influencers in your niche to expand your reach and credibility
SEO is the optimization of your website content so that it’s more visible in search. Most times, this will mean creating blog posts that guide your readers through the buyer’s cycle by targeting keywords with high search intent. For a comprehensive strategy, you’ll need to target:
- Keywords with high search volume and low competition
- Long-tail keywords that are specific to your audience and product
- Related keywords and LSI keywords to improve overall keyword optimization
- Optimized meta tags, headers, and alt tags for better visibility in search results
- High-quality and relevant backlinks from reputable websites to improve domain authority
Whatever channel you choose to use to promote your funnel, remember to track and monitor results so you can figure out where to focus your efforts. Creating an affiliate marketing funnel doesn’t need to be a complicated process. It should be as simple as choosing the right offer, creating relevant opt-ins and bridge pages, setting up an email automation, and landing pages that you can drive traffic to. But if you want to make the most of it, it doesn’t stop there. The best affiliate marketers constantly track and monitor their processes for opportunities to improve.