Affiliate marketing can be tough if you have no strategy behind your promotional and sales processes. In this article, we cover everything you really need to know about marketing funnels, giving you an online marketing product example of one of the industry leaders.
Let’s start from the beginning to brush up a little bit. What is a marketing funnel, and why is it so important?
The Marketing Funnel
The marketing funnel (also called “the purchase funnel”) is a customer-oriented model that describes the customer journey from their first contact with a brand to a buying decision. E. St. Elmo Lewis initially created it as the “AIDA” model, indicating that every purchase involves:
- Awareness: The prospect is aware of his problems and possible solutions.
- Interest: The prospect shows interest in a group of products that solve the problem.
- Desire: The prospect begins to evaluate a particular brand.
- Action: The prospect decides whether to purchase.
The marketing funnel is an essential requirement of any successful online business. It’s highly unlikely that someone comes across a brand and then immediately decides to buy their product having no information about it, right? In fact, it hardly ever happens.
Before buying a product, you’re probably going to learn more about it – read reviews, for example. Accordingly, your potential client, who needs to have different touchpoints with you over time, also needs to see consistent value from you over time.
And let’s be honest, there is no effortless way to attract your target audience. Lead generation in digital marketing is not an easy process nowadays. The good news is that you can always rely on some of the tactics that successful companies use in their own marketing.
By finding the right guidelines to follow, you will develop a process that will increase the effectiveness of the AIDA model in your affiliate marketing journey.
For example, in SEMrush, as the B2B company that makes SEO solutions for digital marketing professionals, we have the strategy that helped us to acquire over 5,000,000 users.
With that being said, let’s dive deeper into each of the AIDA stages.
This is the first step of the funnel, or the top of the funnel, and probably one of the most important stages. At this level, you really want to make potential customers aware of a brand and product that you sell. If your affiliate network or program offers a first-click attribution model, it is the most crucial stage for you as an affiliate marketer.
It is no secret that awareness typically comes from advertising and Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). But how can you make the target audience not only pay attention to your advertising, but also get interested in the product you offer? Especially knowing that some digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day.
So how is it going in SEMrush?
- We use our own SEO solution to become visible on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
- We invest a lot of time and effort into our social media strategy. This allows us to attract new customers organically.
- And of course, SEMrush also uses paid ads to drive traffic to our website and landing pages.
What can the affiliate marketer do at this stage?
- To become more visible on Google, do your SEO. You don’t need to be an SEO expert, you can always use SEMrush for that. Besides, by doing this, you also learn about the product, so it will be much easier for you to sell it if you are a the SEMrush Affiliate Program affiliate.
- Never forget about the opportunity to grow your social media. Is it easy? Well, not really. But is it worth it? Definitely!
- You can always experiment with paid traffic (especially if you’re a PPC professional) and use the pre-designed banners with high-converting landing pages. But if you are a beginner on the affiliate journey or simply not ready to invest in paid traffic, the low-hanging fruit for you would be to place banners on your resources. Our affiliate program offers various pre-designed banner sets in 9 languages!
💡SEMrush Affiliate Program Hint: Design a lead magnet – something valuable that you offer your website users for free in exchange for their email addresses. For example, e-books, PDF checklist, report, etc.
Keeping a prospect’s interest can be hard work. As a matter of fact, this part is usually known as the hardest in the marketing funnel. But don’t worry, you can try to use our techniques which we explain further below.
What about the SEMrush approach at this stage?
- We have the SEMrush blog dedicated to topics that are relevant to our product and the industry. In the blog, we educate our potential customers, building their trust in our product. We also use our own tools to become visible for our potential clients on Google’s SERPs.
- SEMrush also has another educational solution for building relationships with prospects in this stage – SEMrush Academy. It is a series of free online courses and certified exams dedicated to SEO, Content, PPC and Social Media, designed to help people become digital marketing experts.
- We are very serious about our email marketing strategy. We believe that it is important to deliver only valuable content that is very well segmented to make prospects understand how much we appreciate them.
What can an affiliate marketer do at this stage?
- Create blog posts on your own platform with educational content to build relationships with your potential clients. You can create several posts on “How to use the product”, “Best industry alternatives”, “What is the product”, etc. It’s all up to you!
💡SEMrush Affiliate Program Hint:
Get inspired by the blog of the product you sell! It usually contains news and updates of the product, which you can always review on your own resource. For example, SEMrush recently uploaded a tool update
. How can you benefit from that? Go and write a post about this news, review the product update, or post this on your social media with your personal feedback. Don’t forget to add your refcoded link on your post.
- We are pretty sure not everyone can build an online Academy like SEMrush did (we know how much effort it takes). But as an affiliate, you can always try to conduct a course, webinar or series of webinars, create a YouTube video, etc., also educating people about the product you sell.
💡SEMrush Affiliate Program Hint: Knowing how our affiliates sell SEMrush, we really recommend that you experiment with creating a course or a webinar – the results can be impressive, especially if you do it right.
- You can build your own email marketing strategy – think of what knowledge, value and content you can give your audience. It can be a monthly newsletter highlighting your most popular blog posts, or an exclusive offer from your affiliate network or program.
3. Decision / Desire
Now that you have your prospects interested in what you offer, it’s time for you to show them exactly how you will solve their problem. You need to make your product desirable for them.
What about the SEMrush approach?
- SEMrush is well-known for being a valuable product for a good and fair price. We create different landing pages, explaining the benefits of our toolkits. Our whole communication strategy at this stage is based on our competitive advantages to convince potential clients why we are the one.
- Our product is listed on review platforms so our users can always leave feedback and reviews. Since we carefully monitor customers’ satisfaction levels, we have a pretty high overall rating on the most popular review platforms such as G2 and Capterra.
- We use data from our tool to promote different reports and studies on topics that are both relevant to the industry and extremely interesting. For example, our recent study on the COVID-19 situation, entitled “How Coronavirus Is Impacting the Global Economy” was buzzing around and trending. Such pieces confirm our high level of expertise and make prospects trust our tools.
Any tips for affiliate marketing?
- Use pre-designed landing pages with all the main advantages and the USP of a product you sell being identified.
- Refer to the product reviews on trusted resources, such as G2 or Capterra. When promoting the product, mention the high rating it has on these resources. It is strong social proof, similar to awards.
- Review and share studies or any high-end pieces that can prove the product you promote is worth buying.
💡SEMrush Affiliate Program Hint:
It’s also a perfect stage to create the OTO (One time offer)
landing page, which is basically a time-limited offer for your prospects. At the SEMrush Affiliate Program, we want our affiliates to promote exclusively so that they have an advantage. Therefore, we usually create an offer affiliates can promote. One possible way to promote such an offer is to make a separate OTO landing page.
After grabbing attention, maintaining interest, and creating desire it’s time for the final round – a call to action.
How does SEMrush do it?
- We propose trying out our product for free so potential customers can evaluate it by using it. And if they are satisfied with the product, they will probably buy it. We do not ask them to invest any money at this stage, as we love and trust in our product – we believe people are going to love it as well.
What can the affiliate marketer do at this stage?
- If a product you sell has a free trial or a free sample, this is the perfect way to convert your prospect into a paying user. Use your links with a referral code on any blog post, banner, pop-up, social media, etc.
💡SEMrush Affiliate Program Hint: After achieving a decent number of sales, you can always ask your affiliate account manager to provide you with an extended trial.
Building your own marketing funnel
In order for you to know the marketing funnel you’ve built is working, you need to track every stage of your funnel.
A marketing funnel will be a powerful tool, especially if you know your buyers’ personas. This approach to affiliate marketing has proven itself time and time again and is used by the biggest and richest entrepreneurs in the world.
You can try some of the tips we provide you with in this article, or use some other techniques to boost your affiliate sales.
We really hope this article will be useful for you; let us know what you think about funnels for affiliate marketing.
Alina is a marketing manager at the SEMrush Affiliate Marketing Program. She is obsessed with digital marketing and SEO. When she is not at work she likes to take vocal classes, play with her dog and play volleyball.