A Beginners Guide to Affiliate Passive Income – Part 1
This is Part 1 of a series of posts showing what tactics and techniques I will be utilizing for my beginners guide to affiliate passive income, during my first large scale affiliate marketing attack. I want to be honest and open about all the programs, products, and techniques and how I use them. I also will disclose what type of success I have or don’t have. Check back week to week for updates, including a new section including my monthly income from my two current websites.
To give everyone a background on who I am…I am 31 year old, with a 40 hour a week full-time job, married with two children. I am not a internet marketer or an affiliate marketer in a previous life. I am not technically savvy and by no means a master in website design. I am a normal person with a real life which does not revolve around sitting around a computer and doing this 100% of my life. I love my job and even if I won the lottery I can’t say for sure I would leave my profession. Now on to the rest….
As I posted in my previous article, I purchased two websites towards the middle of February 2016, and finally had them transferred about a week ago. My first website, is the one you are reading Creating a Passive Income. My second is a membership only website in the health and fitness industry TheStudentDiet.com. I will not disclose how much I paid for them, but for me it was a decent amount of money.
The back story on Creating a Passive Income: Approximately 1750 unique visitors a month, making approximately $175.00. $10 of that being Adsense income and the remainder from sponsored posts. The website is approximately 5 years old and over 75% of its traffic is organic. Of what research I have done, there are no additional affiliate marketing schemes, and no e-mail marketing completed.
The back story on TheStudentDiet.com: Approximately 2500-3500 unique visitors per month, making an average of $150-$400 a month from membership sales only. There were absolutely no affiliate marketing completed when it was acquired, the Facebook page has been used rarely, and no banners or ads were placed any where in the website.
To say I was disappointed in the marketing efforts on TheStudentDiet is not really true, because I feel as though if I capitalize on what previous owners have not done, I can not only reacquire previous customers which have since lost contact with their membership, but additional memberships will equal additional marketing attempts.
CreatingaPassiveIncome is a different story. Numerous articles, some pulling minimal traffic with no focused purpose and no sales pitch. Some sponsored posts which have nothing to do with creating a passive income only a back link to some random website. I want to start a different focus and hopefully change the outcome which I feel this website will come to if I don’t, which is a necessary death.
My main rule on affiliate marketing products is only promote products which you use, would use, or trust. I will never promote a product I have not tried or have not used. Trust is a common theme from great affiliate marketers and I stand trying to be an expert and not just a promoter.
TheStudentDiet.com Affiliate Passive Income Strategy
Upon taking over this website, I noticed one huge problem…It had no affiliate banners, advertising, or other sales pitches. If you are selling a workout program with a diet program, a common sense theme for me is sell the products which complement your product. They aren’t going to take away from your membership sales, only your additional income strategies.
So my first strategy was locating affiliate programs related to the health and fitness field, that I know and have a long standing positive business model. Having worked out for years, I was already aware of Bodybuilding.com and what they have to offer. They have years of history, with exceptional reviews, great prices, and they invest time and energy into producing a great product. I purchase numerous products from this website and have always had a great customer experience.
So the first step was locating an affiliate program for them, which they do offer. They have a pretty stringent process and followed up on what my marketing strategies would be after my initial application. Once approved, I moved towards my first step…
Placing banner advertisements on the members only pages. I wanted to place them on the main page but like I said, I’m not savvy with websites and knew if I changed the initial look, I may ruin the entire website. So a banner ad it was. I placed it middle of the page directly below the main header and a second one below all of the content on Phase 1-4 of the workout guide.
I continued to browse affiliate offers and attempted to locate discount codes. Low and behold they have them. Since I have not started e-mail campaigns and don’t have an opt-in list, I located the members e-mail address from the WordPress plugin and went into my default website e-mail address for the website. I created a simple but direct e-mail message to all the members who have purchased a membership since January 1st of this year, and sent them a welcome e-mail. In the e-mail I thanked them for beginning the process of creating a healthy lifestyle. In the bottom I showed them the “Supplements” article and stated if they wished to purchase any, here were three promotional discount codes which would help get them started. So having e-mailed those out, to only about 15 people, I wasn’t expecting much, and got exactly that. I got seven click throughs, and absolutely 0 sales. So back to the drawing board on e-mail marketing. I probably rushed my e-mail and created a poorly articulated e-mail with no true sales pitch, but I was encouraged members actually clicked through and at least acknowledged the e-mails.
So after my poor attempt at e-mail marketing, I thought about one thing I always receive when I sign up or purchase an item, and that is a Thank You E-Mail. That is exactly what I wanted, I wanted a thank you e-mail every time someone signed up for a membership and I wanted to include the discount codes. I felt if someone already trusted and purchased my membership, why would they not trust a large scale company who strives to better health and wellness? I did some research on large affiliate marketing websites and help guides and located MailChimp.com.
The reason I chose to look at MailChimp was simple, low barriers to entry with the first 2,000 e-mail subscribers free and only $10.00 a month if I wished to automate my process (which is the goal). I will be completing a full review of MailChimp once I have more time to test out the services. Services like Aweber, which cost $45.00 a month were just out of my price range at this stage. So I took a leap of faith and signed up for it. I haven’t been able to implement the e-mail marketing plan yet because I want my e-mails to be well thought out and of high quality so I can give myself a chance at conversions. So this is going to have to wait for another update to my beginners guide to affiliate passive income.
E-mail marketing done for now…so off to a Resources List concept. I’ve been reading on Smart Passive Income how a resources page is essential to building strong affiliate sales and a centralized location for followers to begin. There was one huge problem with this concept for my website, I own a membership website. If you weren’t a paying member, a visitor would never observe a resources page in the members only area. This would lead to missed sales opportunities or marketing to visitors who don’t actually want to purchase a membership.
I researched and researched and came across ProBlogger.net Create a Best Seller List. Great title and I was immediately drawn in, but I really wasn’t thinking about Amazon as an affiliate program on my membership website. But it wasn’t really the Amazon program I focused on in the article and podcast, it was the idea of a best seller list. But how was I going to give a best seller list with no sales and no data to prove what my customers wanted? I couldn’t. I made the logical decision to give visitors products which I either use or would use given the same circumstances I believed my customer would be in, which is a struggling student.
So my decision was made, create a new page on the for the home page as well as the member pages titled “Popular Fitness Products and Gear of 2016.” My concept is create a new page every year, and obtain the sales data from any referrals and use those to create the next list. So there you have it, a Recommendations List. But I still was without a clue on what to recommend, so I began thinking of beginners to the workout and fitness industry…
So I made a list of every beginner item I would need to either workout at home, workout at a gym, eat healthier, or essential supplements. I came up with four categories, “Essential Supplements,” “Essential Workout Equipment,” “Popular Fitness Trackers,” “Popular Fitness Books,” “Popular Paleo Cookbooks,” “Popular Diet and Health Cookbooks,” and “Popular Water and Shaker Bottles.” My concept is list the top 10 items for each category and give a true ranking of where I believe these would rank in necessity, but there was one other problem.
How was I going to market and find affiliate links to each one of the products I wanted? I had a few choices and here is why, I had a dedicated affiliate program for health and fitness, but I also had a place like Amazon which also sold some of the exact same products or very similar ones. So I made a choice, Bodybuilding.com provides a 5-15% commission depending on if you are a coupon site, which I am not, or a regular website program. This places me at the 15% commission rate. Amazon however starts at 4% and only goes to 8% when you reach a certain amount of affiliate sales. So for me, easy decision. Both websites are highly sought after in their respective categories, both have website reviews for each specific product I want to include in my list, but one provides a higher commission on products which both websites actually sell. You will see in a moment why this makes a difference.
Compiling my list of affiliates was my next obstacle. How did I want to design it, and how much information did I want to provide? Based upon the length of the list, I maintained a very minimalist approach to explaining each category because I felt if someone wanted to do additional research they could just click the link and proceed which created my sales funnel. So for every product which is sold by both affiliates I always used Bodybuilding.com, if not, Amazon was the choice. I didn’t want to go searching for 10 different affiliates when I could just use two main ones and keep all my eggs in two baskets.
Establishing my lists in an order which would make me the most money. Most people read a list, but never complete it. They either click a link and go to another page or they aren’t interested in what the list provides and stop. Based off this idea I made sure my highest commission opportunities were at the top of the list and progressively lowered as the list got longer. So my list went like this, Supplements, Workout Equipment, Fitness Trackers, Fitness Books, Paleo Cookbooks, Diet Cookbooks, and Shaker and Water Bottles. Essentially creating a top down affiliate commission ranking. I’m not saying my lower products aren’t important, because they are, but if I’m going to create an affiliate sales progressive theme, I want to start with the highest paying and move down. I want customers to go through my first 20 affiliate links prior to moving down on my list.
Creating Custom Affiliate Links. I’m lucky, Bodybuilding.com and Amazon both allow for you to use your affiliate link and create a custom landing page. 70 affiliate links may seem like a lot, but those are 70 opportunities that I have for someone to link through my portal and purchase those products, or if I’m lucky enough to not sell them on what I like, they purchase another item. Bodybuilding.com allows you to enter your landing page URL and add a SubID for each item, which creates a unique link for each landing page. This allows you to see your campaign results and which links are getting the highest CTR. Amazon allows you to search their products, locate the one you want and link directly to it with your affiliate ID.
I’ve got my page created, list created, now I just have to build my affiliate links in and see how my concepts work. If they blow up in my face, I’ll let you know, or if it’s a success I’ll let you know as well.
So until my next The Beginners Guide to Affiliate Income post, which will cover my affiliate concepts for this website, try a list, see how to works, and let me know.