In this guide, I am going to explain how to go from a typical affiliate funnel to real affiliate business. But perhaps we should define what exactly I mean when I refer to a “real business” before we proceed any further…
I have had this discussion with many of my colleagues in the internet marketing world and there seem to be conflicting opinions between a “funnel” and a “real business”.
An affiliate funnel operator is solely focused on extracting as much value as possible from their traffic right now. An affiliate business owner, on the other hand, is focused on providing as much value as possible to their visitors in order to extract as much value as possible over the lifetime of that visitor.
Most affiliates think that by having one converting offer they have a real business. But that’s not even close to true. In fact, for most affiliates, if their top one or two offers stop converting then their businesses will go under.
The reason is that very few affiliates focus on building long-term value for their audience. Instead of focusing on the lifetime customer journey and adding massive amounts of value they hyper-fixate on how to get their affiliate commissions right away.
As a result, tons of money is left on the table.
In this guide, we are going to discuss 5 ways you can increase the LTV of your visitors in order to build a real affiliate business (instead of just a funnel).
1. Give Value First
This is business 101.
It’s no mystery that in order to build a lifetime relationship with your customer you need to start by giving value (also referred to as a “lead magnet” in the marketing community).
This can take place in the form of an eBook, free report, free consultation, free course, etc…
This is the first step in which the customer agrees to opt-in to your business in exchange for some kind of value you are providing.
Most affiliates skip this step and go straight for the sale because they want to recoup their money right away. But by being a bit more patient and investing some time and money into building your relationship with your visitors you will earn a lot more in the long run.
2. Building a community
Normally affiliates “churn and burn” their traffic, going from one offer to the other until they have exhausted each of their visitors.
Building a community prevents “churn and burn” because you can establish a direct line of communication with your audience.
The most common method is via an email list, although it can also be done via a forum, Facebook community, Telegram group, WeChat group, etc…
This brings me back to the previous section where we discussing giving away free value in exchange for your visitors’ contact info.
That is what is going to allow you to have a direct line of communication with your audience.
3. Recurring revenue
The risk with “churn and burn” revenue sources is that your business is completely dependent on you creating new offers and funnels in order for it to survive.
There is no base of recurring sales.
By adding a recurring revenue source like a membership community, you lower the risk profile associated with your business. This is crucial when it comes time to exit your affiliate business.
A membership community can be set-up very easily via a private Facebook group whereby you charge your users a small monthly fee to gain access to exclusive info via a private Facebook group.
4. Repeat visitors
A constant flow of new traffic can be costly. And more importantly, you are subject to the updates and fluctuations of your traffic source.
If Facebook CPMs go up then you are left high and dry.
By enabling repeat visitors, you can eliminate some of this risk. Think of websites like Coinmarketcap (for crypto) or Expedia (for travel). Most people just visit these sites directly without searching in Google because they know they can the info they are looking for there.
Obviously, we don’t all have massive budgets to achieve the brand recognition of Expedia. But there are ways to shortcut this.
By creating a forum-like section on your website you can encourage your audience to come back repeatedly by asking questions, seeking answers, engaging in thoughtful discussion, etc…
5. User-generated content
In 2019 and 2020 we have seen interesting new organizations that have built powerhouse media properties through leveraging user-generated content.
Websites like Steemit, that reward their users for creating content are able to generate massive amounts of content at scale for free.
By introducing some kind of viral rewards system on your website (similar to how Reddit offers Karma) you can encourage user-generated content and leverage that to increase your footprint on the web.
Business is a game of who can pay the most to attract a new customer. This applies to affiliate marketing more now than it ever has before. So the more you can pay to acquire a visitor to your website, the more competitive you can be in the marketplace.
By implementing the above 5 methods to increase the lifetime value of your visitors you can ensure that you will be one of the affiliate businesses that is around for years to come.
Andriu Barreto is a full-stack digital marketer who is originally from Venezuela. For the past 5 years, he has freelanced on everything from PPC to copywriting to SEO. Now he writes his insights, guides, and tutorials on Internet Marketing Bro.