Your Affiliate Strategy Should Be More Bourbon Neat than Long Island Iced Tea

This post contains affiliate links. Because this is an affiliate marketing blog, so, #duh. This means I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post.

Bear with me, here. It's a valid point, but I'm super avoiding the standard “don't put all your eggs in one basket” cliche.

Just like you've found various ways to increase traffic and monetize your blog, you'll want various strategies for affiliate marketing. Focusing all your efforts in one place — like drinking a Long Island Iced Tea — might work to get the job done, but you're taking a risk huge risk. Many bloggers likely saw a huge decrease in their affiliate income as a result of Pinterest's shift away from RewardStyle and Hello Society, especially if that's where they focused the brunt of their effort. Which means they had to turn around and try to find a new strategy so they didn't lose out on income. Guys, that's a shit ton of stress that's totally unneccessary.

Three ways I see affiliate marketing strategies implemented can be equated to drinking habits like so:

Long Island Iced Tea: You've got all the booze in one glass, like you have all your links in one spot or you're only focusing on one merchant. You see huge conversions initially, but just like a LIIT will get you nice and drunk real fast, it's really only a quick fix. If, like with Pinterest, affiliate links become blacklisted or the merchant decides to close their program you're SOL. Hello blackout and killer hangover.

Shots: Sure, you can do many of them throughout the night — like single posts that contain a bunch of affiliate links — but you're not going to be able to do this day after day (your poor liver). Unless you find a way to integrate your links with quality content on the regs, these small bursts of attempted conversion likely won't be very effective. Part of affiliate marketing is building brand recognition. So not only will you be drunk, you might be a little queasy and your wallet will be lighter with little to show for it.

Bourbon, neat: This, guys, is the money. You swirl it, sip it and savor it but you don't try to get drunk off it. Because of this, you can have it on the daily without turning into too much of a boozehound. You spread your links through social, evergreen content, product-heavy posts, banners and email. You monetize old content. While the conversions may not be heavy and fast, it's a slow strategy that builds up over time, much like that fine barrel-aged bourbon. The more your readers become familiar with the brand through your content, the more they'll trust it and are likely to make conversions thus resulting in more money for you. 

As Wade Tonkin, Affiliate Manager at Fanatics.com, puts it:

If you’re looking at making money as an affiliate as a long term project, you need to diversify your traffic sources. Your initial focus should be building a brand on a domain you own on a hosting account you control. You should dedicate yourself to producing content that serves your target audience by delivering real value. Don’t forget to set up an opt-in email newsletter to keep in touch with your fans and use that to deliver value as well. Most importantly, you should look at free third party social media platforms as extensions of your brand and places where you can engage your audience versus treating them as standalone marketing platforms. Time and time again, we’ve seen these third party platform providers like Pinterest or Facebook make changes in their strategy that cut off or seriously impact the exposure and traffic affiliates received through them. Being dependent on any third party platform for all of your revenue is a disaster waiting to happen.

Moral of the story? Don't put all your booze in one glass. Spread it out with top shelf over time, and you're going to enjoy it a helluva lot more than if you just try to go hard and fast with well shit. With your content, make sure you're diversifying — a resources page, social media, email newsletters, banners and in-post links — and you'll see more quality conversions.

Author: Christen