How to Become a Top Tier Affiliate in 2016 (Part II)

How to Become a Top Tier Affiliate in 2016 (Part II)
Funnel Strategy June 6, 2016

Everyone wants to be a top tier affiliate, but who’s truly willing to put in the work?

The path to becoming a successful affiliate doesn’t have to be a game of chance: with the following resources under your belt, you’ll put yourself ahead of the game in 2016.

Whether you’ve worked in Internet marketing for years or are just finding your legs, it’s pretty easy to spot a snake oil salesman in our space.

Left and right, pop-up after pop-up, promises of overnight success, more clicks than you could possibly imagine, the secret formula for conversions.

Sure, we know better.

We can see right through the white noise; however, wouldn’t it be nice if the affiliate grind was just a little bit easier?

The secret to becoming a top tier affiliate in 2016 isn’t a secret at all.

In fact, the path is relatively straightforward and often relies on an “old school” marketing mindset.

Instead of seeking an easy way out when it comes to becoming a top tier affiliate, perhaps it’s time to seek out some tried and tested methods of growing your audience and bringing users into your funnel.

Forget the hype, ignore the buzz and stop stalling. The following methods may not win you the “2016’s Sexiest Internet Marketer” award; however, these data-driven solutions work and work well.

Paid Traffic


Image Source: Novage

As the old adage goes, you’ve got to spend money to make money.

Where most businesses get this principle wrong is in the moments when they gamble with their marketing budget on “the next big thing” or simply waste their time, energy and resources.

If time is indeed money, you simply can’t afford to waste time when it comes to bringing users into your funnel.

Let’s concede that paid traffic isn’t usually very sexy; however, the proven track record of paid ads and PPC speak for themselves.

Considering that top brand still relies on paid traffic, which is shown to have a positive impact on click-through rates in many cases, paying for advertising is by no means dead in the water.

Additionally, the evolution of PPC is providing new opportunities for advertisers, especially in the mobile and social spaces.

Keep in mind that paid traffic isn’t a “spray and pray” numbers game where you spend money and the customers magically convert; instead, think of paid traffic as an opportunity to…

  • Engage truly interested buyers (in the case of PPC, you pay if and only if users click; meanwhile, your ability to target ads ensures that you only reach users in your niche)
  • Keep your marketing budget under control (since platforms such as AdWords allow you to keep from overspending, you can tone down or ramp up a campaign based on how well it’s doing)
  • Gather data on your audience and test new advertising methods (what better way to test ads by putting them out into the open with real users?)

Regardless of if you’re new to paid advertising or are looking to get back into the game, remember that acquiring paid traffic is an involved process.

Campaigns can fall apart pretty easily if you aren’t careful; therefore, follow the following three-pronged approach when it comes to rolling out your paid advertising strategy:

Choose a Proven Platform

When it comes to paid ads, a reliable advertising platform is absolutely essential.

For example, Facebook has a proven track record depending on your niche and respective goals (increasing click-through-rates, generation leads and so on).

As noted earlier, paid ad prospects continue to grow for mobile and social media platforms.

Likewise, if you’re planning to run native ads of any kind (whether on a blog or through AdWords), make sure your decisions are driven by data instead of your gut.

Before running ads anywhere, you need to understand user behavior and your niche, requiring…

Research, Research and More Research

Research is the name of the game when it comes to running ads in 2016.

You need to spend some quality time on Google’s Keyword Planner to make sure you’re reaching the low hanging fruit for your niche.

Similarly, you need to scope out your competitors and their advertising strategy.

What sort of ads are they running? What types of deals are they promoting?

What’s the tone of their marketing language?

Again, PPC and native ads aren’t as simple as they seem. Organization and research are keys to a successful campaign.

Testing is Your Best Friend

If nothing else, paid ads provide an opportunity for marketers to understand what’s working and what isn’t for your business.

The benefits of testing are innumerable; by breaking down the elements of your ads (copy, design, the offer itself), you can refine your advertising strategy over time to determine the best fit for your niche and its users.

For example, you may find that users are turned off by fear-mongering headlines but respond well to memes or humorous headlines.

You may find that users are more likely to click on a 25% coupon versus a 30-day free trial.

The only way to find out is by actually running the ads and breaking them down piece by piece.

Paid ads are all about spending smart.

Do your homework and your efforts are much more likely to go the distance.

If you’re still pensive about paid ads, platforms such as Facebook, Bing, and Google regularly offer coupons and free trials for paid ads (sometimes up to $50 or $100 in credits).

Keep an eye out for such offers (which are sometimes packaged with domain hosting) if you’re looking to get your feet wet with paid ads and not worry about breaking the bank on the first go-around.

JV’s and Networking

social or business network

Image Source: Business Banter

Making friends and influencing people has been a classic cornerstone of marketing since Dale Carnegie popularized the concept in the 1930’s.

The concept of networking should be nothing new to Internet marketers; however, many of today’s affiliates choose to go it alone because that’s how we’ve been conditioned.

We are constantly seeking ways to scale down, cut back and do things ourselves.

Perhaps we fear transparency and don’t want to give away our secrets or spread the wealth to others.

After all, the Internet marketing world constantly stresses the need to dominate our niches, which begs the question: how can we dominate our niches while working with others at the same time?

Sometimes two heads are better than one.

If you’re looking to divide and conquer your niche, there are a number of advantages to networking and pursuing joint ventures when it comes to affiliate marketing, including…

Acquiring firsthand research and information concerning your industry

By working with others, you can trade valuable information such as advertising tactics and click-through-rates.

Through talking through your experience with others, you can find threads of what’s working and what isn’t in your industry.

Instead of relying on the word of others, you can acquire knowledge about your niche firsthand.

Edging out competitors

Teaming up with someone else to dominate your niche may seem backward, but consider how such a venture may work to edge out other, smaller competitors.

Again, two heads are sometimes better than one.

Becoming an authority

The more insight you’re able to learn and share (whether it be content or an awesome product) concerning your niche, the more you appear as an authority within your space.

Authority marketing is all the rage for today’s affiliates, so ask yourself: how valuable are you to your industry?

Getting started with relationships and networking can be a daunting task, yet like just about anything else in the affiliate space, it requires a bit of initiative.

If you don’t know where to start, consider the following options:

  • Reach out to bloggers and influencers in your space through email or social media
  • Craft blog content to bring in organic traffic and piques the interest of those in your space
  • Become part of the conversation by commenting on content within your niche (consider forums and Facebook groups, for example)
  • Offer guest posts or content exchanges to get in front of more users and spark an ongoing partnership

The end goal is to have the relationships come to you. If you’re consistent with your networking efforts, they will.

Building an Email List

Mails List At Laptop Shows Ongoing Messages

The core marketing principle of building your list (either through email marketing or opt-ins) is nothing new; in fact, such tactics are the foundation of a truly effective sales funnel.

Now, the best list traditionally isn’t the one you buy, rather it’s the one that you build yourself.

Okay, so how do you build your list?

Pure and simple, you can’t build your list without leads.

You need to optimize and customize your site to provide opportunities for users to enter your list.

Direct and redirect users into your funnel through your design, for example.

Create killer content that converts and shows your users that you understand their wants and needs.

Sales come and go, but repeat customers are the bread and butter of a truly successful affiliate.

All of the Above

Becoming a top-tier affiliate requires an “all of the above” approach to marketing.

In other words, a successful affiliate isn’t built in one or two simple steps.

Reaching that top tier requires hard work and dedication, whether we’re talking about paid traffic, networking or building your list.

Combining these efforts will set you apart from the competition looking for an easy way out.

Which of the above tactics do you think is most likely to come in handy for affiliates looking to break out in 2016?


Written by Stephen Esketzis

Stephen Esketzis is Head Of Content Marketing at Clickfunnels. He is known as the 'Sales Funnel Architect' and is a specialist at using paid traffic to generate highly profitable sales funnels. You can also listen to his podcast 'Marketing on The Move' and look him up on Facebook.

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