With the current situation in the world, many small businesses are suffering from reduced foot traffic and therefore revenue.
The world has changed and we have entered a period of uncertainty that seems to have no end in sight.
Although many small business owners are hoping for a return to normality at some point, the time has come for them to evolve their business model.
The businesses that are faring best, and in some cases actually thriving, are the ones with a solid online infrastructure.
Social policies that heavily restrict a physical store do not impact the traffic to an online store.
In fact, there has been a trend towards online shopping for years now and, due to the current state of the world, it is starting to boom.
If you are a small business owner then I suggest you read this article.
An online business needs traffic in order to find potential customers for their products and services.
Who are the masters at getting products in front of online customers?
It is what they specialize in.
As a small business owner, you can learn a LOT from affiliate marketers if you are trying to build an online customer base.
Below we will look at the skill set affiliates need to be successful and why small business owners need to learn affiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
For those of you that are not fully sure of what affiliate marketing actually is, I will quickly cover the basic concept.
Affiliate marketers drive traffic to products in exchange for commission.
Bill has a blog on the topic of laptops.
He also has a social media following on various platforms.
He writes reviews and articles about laptops.
He joins an affiliate program for a company that sells laptops.
The program pays 5% commission on any sales he refers.
Bill then writes articles and reviews.
Within the content he posts links to various laptops that can be found on the laptop website.
Bills aim is to send as many people has he can through those links with the goal of people purchasing a laptop so he can earn commission.
Over the course of the month, Bills blog and social media send 2000 people to the laptop website.
75 people end up purchasing laptops.
Bill’s happy because he gets 5% on each of the sales and the laptop company is happy because they made 75 sales from people that Bill did all the work to find and refer.
Bill is a full time affiliate marketer and only gets such great results because he has developed the correct skill set needed.
OK, so how does that apply to you and your small business?
If Bill, a blogger, can achieve those kind of results simply by harnessing the affiliate marketer skill set, then why can’t you for your business?
The Affiliate Marketing Skill Set
Search Engine Optimization. (SEO)
SEO is the practice of achieving ranking in search engine results such as Google.
A web page can be well laid out and full of the most amazing products, it makes no difference if no one sees it due to poor search engine result rankings.
For example, a shoe store called “Jennies Shoes” has a web site.
The business is based in Dallas and offers online ordering for it’s customers.
Getting the site to rank top in Google for “Jennies shoes” is pretty easy.
Getting it to rank for “best shoe store in Dallas” is not.
Achieving the top spot for the search term “shoes” is extremely hard.
How many potential new customers do you think are going to search for “Jennies Shoes” in Google?
Compare that to how many are going to search for “Best shoe store in Dallas”
Jenny can set up an affiliate program and offer commission to affiliate marketers so they can send traffic to her website.
But wouldn’t it make sense for Jenny to also learn SEO and how to get her site ranking for as many good search terms as possible?
Affiliate marketers specialize in ranking their own content so that they can rank top and direct the traffic through their affiliate links.
If Jenny learned the skill set, she could rank her own site at the top and direct the traffic straight to her products.
As a small business owner, do you know how to rank your site for the most valuable search terms in your industry?
Do you know how to use “long tail” search terms in order to find customers ready to purchase rather than people just trawling the internet for something to do?
There is no doubt about the power of social media for business.
A small business can build a following and post their new products straight to an eager customer base.
Someone who knows what they are doing with social media can send thousands of people per day to websites.
I personally can post a few links and send thousands of people a week to products with only a few minutes work.
As a small business owner, do you know how to use hashtags correctly?
Do you know what kind of pictures convert best and which are typically scrolled past with no engagement?
Do you know how to get posts to go viral and send thousands of people an hour to your website and products?
Call To Action
Even if a site gets ranked in Google or a post goes viral, that’s only half the battle.
As any person with an online store will tell you, not all site visitors purchase.
Some will leave the site quickly and others will browse a while before leaving.
A lot of small business sites do not know how to utilize call to action correctly.
A call to action is simply getting the website viewer to do something you want them to do.
For example, what sounds better to you?
Currently in stock. 3 pairs left.
The second one puts a sense of urgency to purchase in the customers mind.
The first is basically “They are here if you want them”
The second is “We are almost out, so if you want them you had better act quickly”
Neither are blatant “Buy now!”
But the second puts that subliminal message in the readers mind.
“Buy now or they might be sold out by the time you come back”
Affiliate marketers learn a lot about calls to action and small business owners can benefit greatly from this knowledge.
Combine traffic from search engine results with some viral posts that lead to product pages with the correct call to action and you are in good shape to make sales.
As a small business owner, did you hire someone to build your site and now realize that your call to action is “In stock”?
With a simple tweak you may find, and probably will, that your conversion rate from site viewer to site customer will increase dramatically.
Online Customer Buying Cycle
Do you know what the online customer buying cycle is?
To keep it brief and simple, I will put it like this.
A person decides they want a new laptop.
They work out what they want the laptop for. (Gaming, business, all affect price)
Next they work out what budget they have to spend.
They will then typically search for things like “Best gaming laptops for under $1000” or “Best laptop stores in Seattle” in Google.
Typically they will be looking for reviews to help them make their decision.
Someone who is just trawling around online because they are bored may type “Cool gaming laptops”
This person is not interested in buying anything and is almost certainly just day dreaming at best.
If you learn the buying cycle, you will know which types of terms people search for when they are looking to purchase rather than just look to pass the time.
If you learn this, then you can start ranking your site for such terms that catch the customer at the right stage of the buying cycle.
If you have a laptop store in Seattle, then it is obviously better to rank top in search engines for “Best laptop stores in Seattle” rather than “Cool laptops”
Affiliate marketing will teach you how to do this and implement it to maximize your web traffic conversion rates.
How To Learn The Affiliate Marketing Skill Set
There are plenty of pre-bundled courses online that will teach you affiliate marketing.
Some are better than others and some are far more expensive than others.
The problem with pre-packaged courses is the stability of the information.
The internet evolves daily, especially SEO, and what gains search results today may be redundant in a few months time.
It is common knowledge that Google can update it’s algorithm overnight and people wake up to find their sites plummet from page one and into obscurity.
Usually a couple of tweaks will bring everything back in line quickly, but if the information in the course is now obsolete…
This is why I advise people to join a platform rather than buy a course.
Platform information is usually updated every day or at least on a regular basis.
I have been affiliate marketing and other online ventures for over ten years.
I have seen plenty of courses and platforms come and go.
The only one I’ve seen stay the course, and the one I personally use for my own ventures, is Wealthy Affiliate.
The platform has been in business for around 15 years at this point and has over 1.4 million members.
It has a basic step by step course for affiliate marketing and also advanced courses and a whole archive of articles and information.
The courses usually contain videos that show the steps and how they are implemented in real time for a better learning experience.
There is also a built in keyword tool and a social media platform so members can network with other affiliates and business owners.
* A keyword tool allows you to see how much traffic a search term gets per month and also let’s you see how your rivals rank for those keywords.
It is the premier platform online for learning the affiliate marketing skill set.
Best of all it is free to join.
There is a premium option available should you want to learn advanced skills (As with anything, the better the information you have, the better the results you will achieve)
In the world we find ourselves living in, the online businesses are the ones that are not only surviving, but thriving.
If you are a small business owner then you need to increase and optimize your online presence if you wish to also survive and thrive.
The affiliate marketing skill set is perfect for building up your online revenue.
After all, they spend their days driving traffic to products.
Shouldn’t you aim to be driving traffic to your products?
The success of your business may depend upon it.
I hope you enjoyed this article and please feel free to share it with your friends and followers on social media!