By Dave Scott, CEO, Marketfish
Affiliate marketers are in a unique position. In most cases, you don’t have access to the same resources as enterprise marketers, yet you still need to develop effective marketing strategies that drive ROI.
In many cases, that means using Pay-per-Click (PPC) ads as your primary marketing tactic – which makes sense. It’s relatively easy to manage PPC campaigns. The process is mostly automated, so staffing isn’t really an issue. And PPC campaigns are often very effective, once you hit on the right strategy.
But the PPC space is crowded, and it may not be cost-effective to market to your ideal keywords. Plus, PPC traffic is often unqualified, top-of-funnel traffic that’s not ready to make a purchase.
That’s where email comes in. Here are a couple of quick steps you can follow – especially if you’re on a budget – to use email to effectively market your products.
If your site doesn’t have a blog, start one. Begin publishing original, compelling content that’s centered on your particular niche. Blog posts, ebooks, infographics, whitepapers, how-to guides, etc. all work well.
Just be sure the content is unbiased, and that it communicates helpful information that appeals to your target audience. For example, if you’re marketing gardening products, your audience will probably enjoy a post titled, “10 Tips For Prepping Your Lawn For Winter.”
Drive traffic to your site by sharing this original content, as well as content from other sources, through your social channels. This works to establish your site as a credible source of information in your particular niche. It won’t happen instantly. It’s a process that you’ll have to nurture over time.
Include a sign-up field on your site, and social channels, so visitors can subscribe to your blog and your email newsletter. This further qualifies site traffic. Now, begin developing your newsletter.
Your newsletter should be based on editorial and informational content – the same content that drew people to your site to begin with. In fact, the majority of your newsletter content should fit into this category.
Mix in promotional content and offers with your editorial content. Include clear calls-to-action (CTA) that always drive visitors to an offer specific landing page. You should never drive those that click on your CTAs to your homepage.
A well-developed newsletter will effectively use images, and other visual content, to create a connection with the reader. Write the copy in short, direct sentences that emphasize product benefits. The editorial content should help your subscribers solve a problem that they’re experiencing. As I’m sure you’ve determined, the problem will relate to the problem solved by the products you’re marketing.
As with all digital marketing tactics, testing and measuring the various components of your email newsletter is essential to reaching the best possible performance. Try different subject lines, and deployment schedules. Vary the placement of your content, as well as the ratio of editorial to promotional content. You can also test where and how often you place CTAs throughout your content.
If you follow these steps, you’ll begin to cultivate an audience that’s actively engaged with your site and newsletter. This process will persuade some site visitors to purchase immediately, and nurture those that aren’t yet ready to make a purchase. Remember, this is a process that you optimize over time. So, don’t give up if you aren’t seeing success immediately. Instead, analyze your newsletter and email strategy, and determine areas that you can refine to better your performance.
Dave Scott is the founder and CEO of Marketfish (www.marketfish.com), a 100 percent automated lead-generation platform for list marketing. His expertise in lead generation and list rentals comes from years of firsthand experience as vice president of marketing for a number of companies such as PeopleSoft and Intermec. He has also worked for AT&T Wireless, Boston Consulting Group and General Electric. Dave holds dual bachelor degrees in computer science and political philosophy from The College of William and Mary, and he earned his MBA at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with distinction.
Marketfish is the only fully automated lead generation platform that offers free access to an online marketplace of third-party, permission-based marketing lists, the ability to build and execute a marketing campaign in under thirty minutes, and a cutting-edge suite of analytics tools that deliver detailed customer insight in real-time. Founded in 2008, Marketfish currently serves over 600 enterprise and agency customers.