I’m sure you’ve heard that old adage, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”. Disgusting though that may seem, it’s simply saying there is more than one way to do things.
In fact, in 1840, American humorist Seba Smith wrote a short story, “The Money Diggers” in which she says, “As it is said, ‘There are more ways than one to skin a cat,’ so are there more ways than one of digging for money.”
An interesting turn of phrase, since we, as marketers, seem to also be “digging for money” in our own way, right?
Okay, so that’s the long way of making my point.
That point being, there’s more than one marketing strategy type if you want to use affiliate marketing. And it can be down right confusing when you are starting out. From a top-down view, there are three schools of thought:
- The “No website or list needed” strategy
- The “funnel marketing” strategy
- The “content marketing” strategy
I’m just going to present a quick overview of the three options, giving you a little food for thought, especially if you are new to network or affiliate marketing.
“You Don’t Need a Website Or A List!”
Many years ago, when affiliate marketing was relatively new, it was true, you didn’t really need any real proof-of-knowing-something to sell a product. And it might still be a little bit true today, but it has become more difficult.
The internet has changed everything. People have become more skeptical. We can Google anything we want to know. Even if you are pedaling the best widgets on planet Earth, you’ll need a lot of credibility about you AND the widget in order to effectively sell it to lots of people.
That’s why so many people fail. They don’t want to put the effort into creating an online presence for themselves. Or, possibly they don’t know how.
I admit, it’s a bear to figure it out. And, because it’s a bear to figure it out, others are making a ton of money off of marketers who are flailing around in an ocean of “marketing offers” and “blueprints” that don’t work for them.
There are those among us who are especially excellent at selling. They are able to use those skills so superbly, it’s unbelievable. They can literally sell anything. In fact, they have probably caught you in their trap a few times.
Then there’s the rest of us. We don’t possess those skills innately, but some can learn them well enough to earn a decent living.
You can do this, just keep posting to social media or use traffic exchanges. It will work, at least to some extent. Just keep in mind – there is a lot of “noise” out there, making this tactic a bit harder.
The positive side: you don’t need to create a website or complex series of emails. However, you do have to create a strategic plan to increase chances for success.
The negative side: you won’t have any way to keep in touch with those who are interested in future offerings. It may also take a long time to have success.
What is “Funnel Marketing Strategy”?
A “marketing funnel” leads a potential buyer through several “touches” – usually via email marketing – towards making a purchase.
Typically, it will work this way:
- Create a landing page (aka lead page or squeeze page) with an offer that will appeal to your desired audience. Capture their email in exchange for delivery of the offer. Strategy: it must be designed in such a way as to compel the potential lead to enter their email address
- Drive traffic to the lead page via social media posts, emails, etc. Strategy: Introduce your offer in places where your potential lead will be most likely to find it
- Create a series of emails, each addressing one area of the person’s “pain points” or objections – this is the actual funnel. Strategy: the “funnel” should gently lead the person towards the purchase.
That last part is perhaps the most tricky aspect. Most people fail at creating a series of emails that will carefully lead the person towards making a purchase.
Each email needs:
- A subject line that will grab a person’s attention and make them curious enough to want to read the email
- A story that relates to the offer and is compelling enough to get them to click through
- The offer has to relate to the email or all is for naught
The concept is simple: attract the right person who is interested in your offer.
The execution is a bit harder. However you will have, in the end, a valid email address to which you can market other things in the future.
What is “Content Marketing Strategy”?
You are actually looking at an example of content marketing which is my blog.
Content marketing is creating online content that strategically promotes products or offers, usually via a blog, that will be of interest to the reader.
Content marketing is not about advertising. We are all sick and tired of ads that haunt our every move online – whether it be our computer, phone or tablet.
Content marketing provides useful information (at least I hope mine is useful – LOL) that helps others understand something better. The strategy is based on a simple concept: Search Engine Optimization (aka SEO).
Content marketers look for search words or phrases, called keywords, that, when used correctly, might lead them towards a better position in organic searches.
So if you search for “how are bananas harvested”, for example, you will want the most relevant information to come up first.
Content marketers use this technique to hopefully “bubble to the top” when someone is searching for a topic they write about.
Again, the concept is simple: create online content that will appeal to an audience with keywords embedded that they might search for on Google or other search engine platforms.
BUT if you are not a writer, or don’t like to write, or in no way want to start writing, then using content marketing may not be a good course for you.
By the way, if you want to begin writing, but don’t want to have your own blog, you can build an audience on one of several other writing sites, for instance, Medium.
What Do I Do?
Well, it’s easy to see that I like to use content marketing. I enjoy writing blog posts and I think I’m pretty good at it. (I hope you think so too. 😄)
However, it took me a while to gain traction. I always wanted to start a blog but found it hard to get going on my own. One day I accidentally happened upon a content writing platform with a community of other writers. That small thing made all the difference – that was Wealthy Affiliate. I loved it and there was no looking back.
However, I like funnel marketing as well. There is a place for everything, in my opinion. For email and funnel marketing, I have been using Now Lifestyle. I chose them because they offer a suite of related products which includes landing pages right within the program. So I have everything together in one place, no matter what my offer is.
The Bottom Line
There’s nothing wrong with selecting one or another of the three strategies presented here. You might try one and see if it works for you, then try another.
You might be like me, and want to mix things up a bit. Any way you decide, just get yourself out there, and, as always, let me know if you need help. We are all in this together.
Mentioned in this article:
Wealthy Affiliate – for content marketers
Now Lifestyle – for funnel marketing – includes landing pages, email marketing, video platform, a live conference room and more (I have a full training program, including a generic email funnel, for paid members)
Medium – A writing platform (note: not really for promoting, but great for gaining “street cred”)
It’s amazing how having a good marketing program can get heads turning causing the competition to come to you. I know first hand because of what I have seen over the years in doing business in the online world. Good marketing is the lifeline of a business that will keep that business going and making money. Thanks so much for the insight that you have shared that is a great help.
Hi Marsha. Another great post. I started my own blog recently and Im still learning how to earn with affiliate marketing. It still surprise me how many options are available and how deep this topic is. There is still lot ahead of me but with every article I read I feel more comfortable in this complex world. I also can recommend wealthy affiliate, perfect place for all beginners with tons of trainings, materials and active, helpful community. Looking forward to use your advices and test recommended strategies in practice.
I like content marketing the best, because of the shelf life. You are not constantly having to post the same thing over and over or send emails out over and over. I had an article I posted a number of years ago generate a sell 3 years later. It is hard to do that with funnel marketing. It certainly isn’t possible to smake a sale like that without a website. I am currently still wearing my socks, but sometimes I go barefoot when I write about products on my blog. This is a nice approach and great explanation of the 3 strategies. Thanks!
I really enjoyed this. You simplified a complicated subject and made it easy to comprehend. I like how you explained the three types of marketing strategies. I am still exploring which one will work best for me, but I guess content marketing is the best place to start and from there I can step into click funnels. I have also noted the platforms that you recommend – Wealthy Affiliate and Now lifestyle.
Congratulations! You explained a number of aspects of affiliate marketing that had become a bit fuzzy for me. You drew clear distinctions between these three approaches to marketing and this alone has really cleared up some important areas of doubt for me. Since I started on my affiliate marketing journey as a total newbie to the field about a year ago, I have been bombarded with posts and articles and input from others in the field telling me that it is all about the email list. Or that you have to build and refine your funnel, and that you have to consistently generate engaging content. But you have separated them for me and this is a huge relief. My focus is on creating original and I hope engaging content that is finely tuned for SEO. And to be frank I am useless at social media. If anything if there was a social media platform for antisocial people that would be the place for me. I also don’t like the idea of bombarding people with emails. So this is good news. Or at least I hope I have understood this correctly. But it sounds as if I get to choose how I skin the cat. Best regards, Andy
LOL – I am also not that great at social media – though I try. I certainly lack some consistency. And when it comes to email and those who choose that path, my question is always – do YOU like getting bombarded with emails? If the answer is no, then maybe you have to discover other ways to do things. Thanks for your comment, Andy!
Thank you for explaining the three types of marketing strategies and pointing out that you can use a mix of all three or just some of them for your marketing. At the moment I don’t have a list, but I do have a website, where I create content.
I have heard so much about having to start a list as the money is in the list. But if you have a list, you then need a funnel and start email marketing, which I feel will take the ball off my content creation. So for the moment I prefer to concentrate on content creation for my website.