Today, I continue with the next step in the 4-Steps to Affiliate Success series which is Step-3: Grow Your Audience.
I will share the path that you can take to start growing your audience and generate traffic to your platform. If you’re not sure how to get visitors to your site, then this article is for you! Just make sure you cover Part 1 and Part 2 first.
When you begin to grow your audience, this is really where you are going to start seeing the results that you can use to build a long-term successful affiliate based business.
So the first step in growing your audience is to really do your research – just like we covered when we looked at how to choose a niche.
It’s important to really understand your audience, who you’re going to be addressing and the way you’ll take to promote products to them.
You want to identify with their emotional state and their emotional needs as well as their social needs.
So don’t just think about demographics like gender or age or location – think about what really motivates them!
Answers to these questions are gonna give you some great ideas for the types of topics you can talk about and the types of products that they might be interested in buying.
The type of terminology that they use, will give you ideas for keywords that you can target in your content to attract their attention and help you to rank in search engines.
So thinking about what kind of language they use will help you in figuring out how to start getting people interested in what you have to say.
A new mom, someone who is a hard-core cyclist, and someone who’s a fisherman. Each person is gonna have very different needs. What they’re looking to get from your product, your blog, or video channel or whatever will be very different than the others.
There may be some overlap, but you need the ability to speak to each of their specific needs or desires and use their type of language.
A fishermen will use some very specific terms that they know and that a normal non fishermen wouldn’t know.
The same thing with new moms – they have things they care about and want to hear others using those terms so that they can connect with them.
What is the number one question you need to answer when you are trying to identify how to grow your audience?
It is – why are these people coming to you?
So what is their big reason and desire for coming to you?
The next question to answer is – why should they listen to you?
As opposed to all the other experts or people out there weighing in on the topic – they’re not going to listen only to you.
So what do you have to offer to them that makes it worth their time, effort, and attention that they’re giving you?
Don’t have a compelling reason or marked difference? Then it’s going to be really hard to get people interested and keeping their attention.
So think about it. Maybe you can help them achieve a result quicker. Or you my be friendlier and more likable. Or you deliver the information to them in a way that is unique.
For example, you deliver useful video training DVDs that isn’t common in that niche.
So think about what you could do differently that would really make your platform appealing to these people.
Having great content on your platform, whether it’s written, video, or whatever it might be, is really the key for building your platform and growing an audience.
These days having great original content is no longer optional. There’s so much available online in terms of people who are creating information and sharing information.
If your stuff is just “a me too” rehash of what’s already out there, its likely to get ignored.
So having great original content is really just part of the entry price you need to pay in becoming a successful affiliate.
However, its not what’s gonna take you over the top and make you become really successful.
Your content must connect with people and be helpful for them. It needs to be honest, it needs to be valuable, and there are a lot of different ways you can create value.
But basically don’t waste their time – give them something that’s actually useful and that they’re gonna be glad that they took the time to read it.
Otherwise, you will lose them and they’re probably not gonna come back and to give you another chance.
When possible, deliver the information in multiple formats like maybe do some text blogging, do video, and do a podcast or webinar.
When you deliver content in different ways, you have more opportunities to reach people where they are and how they like to consume the information.
Also be concise, make it as short as possible but no shorter.
People don’t have loads of time online. There are a million things competing for their attention – so you want say things as concisely as you can, without making it so short that they won’t actually get anything useful from it.
That is what will really resonate with people, get them to like and want to come back to you, to recommend you to their friends, which will help you grow your audience.
If you can actually deliver a result for them, instead of just presenting concepts where they’ll say, “Ah it’s interesting, but you know, there’s nothing I can really use here.” They’re likely to go away and not necessarily come back.
So you want to deliver some kind of result – where they’re gonna tell other people about you, be really committed and excited about promoting you.
Another thing that can really set you apart and make you stand out in your niche is having a personality.
There are a number of different ways you can approach this, similar to how we talked about personal brands vs business brands.
You want to think about your own style of personality when you’re speaking to your audience and if it is the right personality for them.
He is a sports analyst and talk show host, is known to be very opinionated with his catch line, “have a take.” Something you can consider for your personality as well.
You can create a certain opinion or certain angle on things that lets people identify with your point of view, or disagree with you and say this guy’s not for me.
What you don’t want to be is everything to everyone! Otherwise, you end up being boring where no one is excited about following you, or hearing from you, or arguing against you.
By the way, having people argue against you is not a bad thing at all – it can actually get you more attention!
It can become a catalyst for building a tribe around you where people say, “Hey I agree with this guy, I’m going to argue on his behalf.”
Someone like Jim Rome is very polarizing – people either like him or hate him. The people who like him really really like him, and the people who hate him really can’t stand him.
That’s not a bad thing, he’s been able to build very large and successful platform by having that kind of personality.
She is known as being the in-your-face personal trainer – who gets a lot of people upset by pushing them, berating them, and pressing them beyond their comfort limits.
That’s her personality, her brand – what sets her apart from a lot of other personal trainers who might be totally supportive and kind by trying to be gentle with people.
But don’t think that you have to go the angry-loud route, or be the mean person in that space; instead you can go with someone like Rachael Ray who is in the highly competitive cooking space.
Her take is being the friendly girl next door, not being too fancy or complicated, just keeping things simple.
Tons of people can identify with her personality because they don’t want to be a snooty professional chef, they want to just have fun cooking, enjoy it and love it.
You can use her example and become the friendliest person in your industry and be someone that people can identify with and really like.
Earlier we talked about building a brand and how important that was.
I just want to reiterate that here, when you are trying to grow your audience – even if your brand is casual, you wanna look professional.
Do Creative Commons free image searches to find images you can use.
There are a lot of sources for pictures and you can take your own photos to use, which is also a great way to personalize your website.
Instead of having just your name and gmail dot com, having your first name at your domain name dot com.
These are good ways you can use to make your brand look professional and make you trustworthy where people will take you seriously.
I want to share with you who have done a really good job building a really professional looking platform.
The first one is Pat Flynn of smart passive income dot com.
His site is fantastic – he uses similar colors and imagery across his whole platform.
He includes on his home page, “Hi I’m Pat”, where he introduces himself in an industry like Internet marketing which is his space.
There’s a lot of obscurity within this niche, where people are afraid to trust the people that they’re seeing in this space.
Pat does a really good job of being very transparent and sharing his story. He’s likable and trustworthy, people love him and he has a huge following because he’s very open and honest about what he does.
The next one is a website called nerd fitness dot com – it’s a great example of both niching it down and also identifying who your audience is and who your tribe is.
He is saying this is fitness for geeky people that like geeky stuff. He uses language and imagery from video games. He’s casual and fun instead of being really hard core fitness.
You can see that he’s done a great job of making his site look really professional, tying in color schemes, getting on a custom graphics done, and putting his face front and center on there.
Lovetaza dot com is a different one – an I mommy blogger and she just does a great job of looking very approachable and personable.
Her site uses simple basic colors & speaks directly to her audience.
There are a number of different ways you can go with the personal branding. Just make sure that everything you’re putting out there is speaking to your particular type of audience. It all pays off by reinforcing your trustworthiness and likability.
A rookie mistake that new affiliates make is trying to make money from their website on day one. I see it all the time.
This is just an all around bad idea. It ends up making you look desperate to make money rather than connect with people. Instead really share a message or share your thoughts.
You are much better off focusing on building your audience first. Producing good content, connecting with important people in your industry and so on. So don’t immediately slap up advertisements on your website from day one.
Avoid promoting an affiliate promotion on your first blog post or video on your YouTube channel.
You’ll have plenty of time and opportunity to make money once you have an audience in place.
When you try to make money from people on day one, they’ll see through it. And they won’t have any reason to trust you, like you, or even want to come back to listen to you again.
They’re gonna feel like you’re trying to take advantage of them.
So it’s important to build an audience FIRST! Then you can start monetizing a little later on, just don’t do it right off the bat. Build and cultivate that trustworthiness from your audience.
The next big piece of growing your audience is adding value to the community that’s in your niche.
You can add value by participating in forums. Don’t go into forums just to post links. But get in there and start having real conversations with people.
Find out who the power players are in your niche. Start building a real relationship with them. Support them, do good things for them, share information that’s gonna be helpful to people.
People in that niche will start looking to you as an expert. They’ll begin visiting your website and consume your content or sign up for your newsletter.
So you want to get in there, be real with people, and do a good job of demonstrating your value to that community.
They don’t need to be the absolute A-level people who are hard to get a hold of.
Instead, start with people who are around your level or are a bit more advanced than you – it’s way easier than trying to connect with someone who is constantly getting bombarded with emails or requests to connect.
It’s a great way to get your name out there and get your reputation going.
It will also help you to start getting traffic and is good for SEO. It creates links back to your site from your guest post if you post on established authority sites.
Write content for your guest posts or do guess videos or whatever it might be that is relevant to that particular blogs audience.
Do some research, read through some of the articles that they’ve posted on their site. See what gets the most comments, what their audience seems to be most interested in or has questions about. Then do a guest post that addresses it.
Attend events and conferences which is one of the best ways to get out and meet people.
There’s something to be said about face to face interactions. It takes down barriers people put up online when they are being anonymous or not knowing if they can be trusted.
When meeting someone face to face, it’s much easier to trust them and is a great way to get to know them. Also you will find people that you can support and that can support you.
Link out to other valuable resources and sites on your site or platform.
This is another common mistake I see. Where people are afraid to send their visitors anywhere else online and it just ends up backfiring.
When you share things that are going to be useful to your audience, they’ll appreciate you for it. They will reward you for it, instead of forgetting all about you.
It’s also good to do from the search engines point of view.
Google wants to see that you’re participating in the community and social networks. So don’t be some closed off person that doesn’t ever get out there to participate.
As I’ve said before, start building your list right away! That’s what you should be focusing on instead of trying to make money right off the rip.
Besides just sending out your content and announcements, you want to also share great resources and other information. Share things in the community and not just stuff from your own website or promos.
One thing you can do is survey people or ask them questions like:
This is a great way to get ideas for creating content. Or maybe even creating your own product down the road rather than just promoting other products.
You want to always add value and share stuff before you start promoting products to them. This goes a long way to get them to know, like and trust you. Once they do, then the sales part becomes much easier.
I strongly recommend your first email that you send after they sign up not have any affiliate or product promotions.
If you do, it will upset people or scare them off. They’re going to think that you’re only interested in getting money out of them. That you are not really interested in building a relationship or sharing valuable information with them.
So first send some quality content that adds value. Do that before you say, “Hey, if you like what I’ve been sharing with you, here’s something that you might be interested in.”
I cover more about how to do that in the next article – but add that value first!
Remember, how you treat your list can certainly make or break your reputation.
Having your own list is one of the most powerful things you can do to be successful as an affiliate!
So don’t just constantly bombard them with affiliate promotions. Otherwise, they’ll get upset by it and then unsubscribe from your list never to be heard from again.
Instead, you want to be a hero for them. You want to be the person that they look forward to getting your email in their inbox.
Okay this is a big one – what is the secret to affiliate success?
Hint, it’s just one word – so think about what your answer would be on this.
Are you ready? That word is consistency!
Hard to believe? Unfortunately, it’s true. It’s one of the hardest challenges where people fall down when they’re starting out with their affiliate business.
They enter into it with overwhelming excitement. They do a bunch of work for a week or two. But then get discouraged when they haven’t made any money yet and completely give up .
It just doesn’t work that way. You’re gonna have to put in regular consistent action. Even if it’s only 15 minutes to a half an hour every day.
Being consistent will give you much better results. It’s better than doing a bunch of work in short bursts and then never touching it again.
That means you want to be blogging consistently, or creating videos consistently, your mailing your list consistently.
Too many people think short term with this. When things start slowing down, or they don’t get the results that they were hoping for, they just give up.
But those who keep working consistently are the ones that will push on when they hit the bumps. They will be the ones that actually see the big and sustainable results that will last for years to come.
That’s all I have for part 3. Next time, you’ll discover how to refer products in a way that draws attention and helps you make some money. 🙂
Look forward to seeing you next week! If you’ve enjoyed this article, or have a question, feel free to comment below and I’ll be happy to respond!
Michel has actively been online as an Internet and affiliate marketer since 2009. He has experience with many systems and programs that he has used throughout those years, finding some to be great and many not so good. He’s learned what works, and what doesn’t work and is willing to share it with you. And it is always changing!
6 Steps to Affiliate Sales Conversion
Simple Affiliate Marketing Conduct for Success
4 Parts to Affiliate Success Step 4
4 Parts to Affiliate Success Step 2
4 Parts to Affiliate Success Step 1