Secret 4 Step Affiliate System

Sep 28, 2011   //   by Ben Jackson   //   Contests, SEO, SEO Blog  //  8 Comments

This is way for affiliate marketers to get paid while building a list.  A major complaint of affiliates is that they don’t get a relationship with buyers.  They do all the grunt work and only get the sale, no email afterwards, nothing.  This system gets over that problem.

Rather than tell you I’m some online guru millionaire I thought it would be better to listen to last year’s “Bad Ass Guest Blogging” winner and be transparent.  You can take any part of this system and apply to your current or projects, or you can follow step-by-step.  Please share any insights you have along the way.

The Secret Exposed:

You make affiliate sales AND build a targeted email list without a website or cost

How does it Work?

•    You find a product with recurring payments
•    Aweber hosts a webform for you for free
•    The “thank you” page takes subscribers to the sales page with your affiliate link
•    You rank for low competition keywords to get targeted traffic to the web form

Why it’s Cool:

•    You make immediate affiliate sales
•    You build a list for follow-up emails and sales
•    You don’t need a website or ANY investment beyond Aweber
•    You can create new sales funnels quickly and easily

It’s a complete affiliate strategy that newbies and veterans can benefit from using.  So without further ado, let’s get into the specifics…

Step 1: Killer Product Selection

You need a product to promote and as you’ve probably guessed, we’re going to use Clickbank.

I avoid highly saturated niches like weight loss and marketing.  There are a lot of less competitive niches that are still profitable.  You’ll be getting your traffic from the SERPs and these niches will provide more low competition keywords to rank for.

What to look for:

Reoccurring Payments: This will allow you to earn more every month that you employ this strategy.  You’ll continue to stack up these payments as you make more sales.

Forget about gravity:  You don’t need to promote the most popular, trending info products.  In fact, the somewhat obscure ones are better as they are often very targeted and specific.  You want everything from the beginning to the end of the sales funnel to be targeted.

Email Follow-ups Ready:  Some products already have a series of emails prepared for you to use on prospects.  You can find these by going to the affiliate page that the vendor has setup on their site.

There’s no need to be super picky here.  Any product in a less competitive niche with recurring payments and a decent looking sales page will be a good fit.

Step 2: The Opt-in Form Creation

With your product selected it’s time to create your free hosted webpage.  If you’re not already using Aweber you’ll have to sign up.  It’s just $19 a month and is the only cost necessary for this affiliate system.

Part I: Making the Web form

Aweber has a bunch of different web form designs that you can choose from, but usually a very simple template is best.  You’re going to stretch out the web form and use it like it’s an entire webpage rather than just a form.

The best part – all of your content is already created for you.

Visit the sales page for the product you’re promoting and take a couple headlines, bullet points, etc. that you like and paste them into your web form.  They already did a lot of research on the target market and paid a lot for an experienced copywriting, so why try to do better?  They won’t have a problem with you using the copy either because you’ll be getting them more sales.

Part II: Redirecting with your Affiliate Link

Next you’ll head to step 2 in Aweber: “settings”.  There’s an option for your “thank you” page URL.  Enter your affiliate link here.  This way you will capture emails for your list and also send them to the sales page with your affiliate link.

Part III: Publishing your Web Form

This is the last step and a feature of Aweber that a lot of people don’t know about.  There is an option to have Aweber host your web forms for you.  Simply click the “have Aweber host my form for me” option and it will reveal a URL you can use to send traffic to.

You’ve got a product and a free webpage, now it’s time to unearth some keywords.

Step 3: Uncovering Niche Keywords

Aren’t you sick of doing keyword research and realizing every decent keyword has tough competition?

Here’s the big advantage to this system: you can target low search volume keywords without wasting your time.  A keyword that gets 300 or even 100 searches a month is worth targeting because…

•    It doesn’t take long to make a sales funnel
•    You’ll get reoccurring payments
•    You build a targeted list you can continue to profit from

Part I: Brainstorm

Start off by brainstorming a couple of keyword phrases that a potential customer would search with.  You want to start off with a list of targeted root keywords so that you won’t deviate too much during your research.

Part II: Use Tools to Find More

Once you have a few keywords ready, put them into Google’s Keyword Tool for Adwords.  Make sure you select exact search volume rather than broad.  This will provide you with a long list of potential keywords to use.  I like to sort them by global search volume and start with those that get the fewest amount of searches.  Don’t worry about competition yet.

Download you list of potential keywords into Excel as a CSV sheet.  You can rinse and repeat this process a few times with new root keywords.

Part IV: Analyze the competition

You’ll only want to bother with a keyword if you can get onto the first page.  More specifically, keywords that you can get into the top 3 are your real priority keywords.  Don’t worry about the number of pages with a “phrase” search or “intitle:” search.  Just look at the top 10 sites with SEO Quake and see how many backlinks they have and how authoritative the sites themselves are.  One tool that I like to use to get a quick and accurate overview of competition levels is Niche Finder.

Bonus Tip: If you sign in with a Google account you will see up to 800 keywords instead of just 100

If you’re not sure if you can rank, just go for it!  This is the appeal of the system.  After your initial product and keyword research, you can quickly build many new funnels.

Step 4: How to get Traffic

I still haven’t told you how we’re going to rank, so here we go…

Ranking Technique #1

The first way you can gain high rankings is with videos.  Many of the keywords you find will already have video results in the SERPs.  Only use a video to rank when there is already a video in the results above the fold.  Most of the time, these videos have 0 backlinks and can be replaced by your own videos with minimal effort.

I know what you may be thinking right now – “I don’t know how to make videos!” – well cry me an HD river.  Anyone and everyone can make videos these days.

My favorite free tool for making videos is Flixtime.  It takes a series of pictures and video clips you input and turns it into a professional looking video.  They also have an excellent list of songs and sound clips for you to use.  Many people also swear by Animoto for their video making needs.

Your video is basically about getting people to click the link in the description box: it’s a sales pitch.  Like a blog post, you need to structure it in a way that people actually read/watch the content and then click-through your link.  The Youtube Creator Playbook was recently released and provides fantastic insight for creating videos people will watch.

Another technique you can use to engage viewers with your video is to make a short quiz with Powerpoint.  Come up with 3 multiple choice questions and present them one at a time.  However, on the last question you don’t give them the answer.  Instead, you make a call to action and tell them to click on the link below to find out.  This gets viewers to participate and actually click-through to your opt-in form.

Bonus Tip: Google doesn’t only like Youtube.  Post all of your videos on Vimeo and Daily Motion too for greater ranking opportunities.

Ranking Technique #2  

For your really low competition keywords, you can rank for them with document distributors.  A few examples are Slideshare, Scribd, and DocStoc.  They don’t usually rank highly unless there is very little competition, but it’s extremely easy to upload a doc (much quicker than making a video).  MyPlicks also ranks well for some reason (?) and they’re even kind enough to track and report your rankings for you.

To create a document, simply make a Word document and paste in some of the sales copy.  Don’t use the exact parts you used for your web form.  At the bottom include a link and call to action to your hosted web form.  After this convert is to pdf so it can’t be edited.

Uploading your documents is easy.  Make sure you use your keyword in the filename, tags, and description

Bonus Tip: A lot of pdf converters mess up affiliate and other complex links during conversion.  I’ve found that Open Office is the best tool for converting Word docs to pdf because it always leaves the links intact.

Ranking Technique #3

Yahoo! Answers ranks very well for question based queries.  Just like with the videos, if you already see a YA page in the results then you know you can do it.  You can even search for more question based keywords specifically for ranking with Yahoo Answers.

The best way to rank is to be the person asking the question AND the person answering the question.  This way you can include your exact keyword in the title of the page (the question) and select your own answer with your link to the web form.

Obviously this takes a lot more work, but think of it like an investment.  Once you have a couple level 2 accounts that can post links you can easily rank for a lot of question based keywords.  If you are serious about using YA for SERP traffic then you should consider getting a copy of Answers Assault to speed up and automate the process.

Ranking Technique #4

If there are no videos in the results, no questions, and a document just won’t cut it, it’s time to turn to some web 2.0 properties.  I’ve found that Squidoo ranks best and it’s also very easy to work with.  Making a Squidoo page is going to take a bit more effort as you’ll have to do some writing and content creation.

Your posts should be short and concise and presell the product you’re promoting without being salesy.  Take into consideration all the usual on-page SEO factors and use your keyword appropriately.

You can also use one Squidoo page for many different keywords.  Take every keyword that you’re trying to rank for including the ones you’ve already made docs and vids for, and write a short post targeting that keyword.

You can actually use all 4 techniques for every single keyword you come across.  This will help ensure you get a ranking and you might even get multiple first page rankings for some keywords.

I forgot to mention: Besides the SERPs, every ranking technique also involves a presence in some community that will send you internal traffic.  For example, people will find your docs in SlideShare and your videos while searching in Youtube.

Bonus Tip: If your web properties aren’t ranking high enough you can always build links to them.  Since these are low competition keywords you can get decent results with just a few social bookmarks and “dofollow” blog comments

Bonus SEO Tip: Did you know that roughly 40% of all searches each month are unique?  Besides using synonyms and related words, also vary your word choice as much as you can.  The more word variety you have (especially nouns) the more opportunity you have to be a relevant for obscure, no competition phrases.

Scaling the System for Long-term Profits

As you build your funnels you’ll be getting recurring payments.  You’ll also be growing a list.  You can continue to market to this list by emailing them about other products in the niche.

All you have to do is select a series of products to promote after your initial pitch for the first product.  Then write a couple of emails for each of them.  You can split test your emails and make your sales funnel and follow ups more effective over time.

The opportunity to market to targeted prospects even after they buy (or don’t) your initial recommendation hugely improves the ROI potential for each email you capture.

Even if you lose your rankings in an algorithm update, you have built yourself assets.  No one can take away your email list or recurring payments.

So are you going to give it a shot?

How could it be more effective?

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Ben Jackson

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  • Ileane

    Hi Ben, I love your out of the box strategy here. I’d like to add Viddler and Meta Cafe to your list of video sites they often rank higher for me than the same vids on YouTube. You talked about Squidoo but you didn’t mention Hub Pages. Do you think building hubs are a waste at this point in time? Thanks for the tips Ben – you’ve got such great energy!

    • Ben Jackson says:

      Hey Ileane, thanks for your input. I forgot about Viddler and Meta Cafe – they’re definitely worth posting your video to as well. The way I see it, uploading the video takes such little time compared to the actual creation and has potential to give you a better ranking, so it’s best to upload to all the popular vid sites.

      I mentioned Squidoo out of preference, but Hubpages is another good one. I would choose whichever one you prefer and just use one so you don’t duplicate your own content. They can still rank for the real low comp keywords ie SERPs with forum threads and YA questions, so I wouldn’t completely pass them off.

  • AstroGremlin says:

    Alex, you have moved me one step closer to trying out some of these techniques. You really know your stuff.

  • Daniel

    I like your video ranking idea. Haven’t really thought of that before. But if this only works for keywords that are already displayed with a video is a shame.

  • Tom Pettit

    The video ranking concept is a good one. I am wondering if anyone has created a tool yet that will pinpoint keywords that have videos in the serps above the fold? Sounds like a good idea for someone.

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