Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced affiliate marketer, the same principle is true: traffic is the lifeblood of your business. You simply won’t earn affiliate commissions if you can’t drive traffic to your affiliate links!
Not getting enough traffic is the #1 complaint from beginner affiliate marketers, followed by poor conversions. However, it is not an insurmountable problem!
If you follow the tips and advice I cover in this post, there’s no reason why you can’t learn how to drive traffic to affiliate links – and ensure it’s high-quality, targeted traffic. Plus, I share 10 of the best traffic sources for affiliate marketing to get you off to a good start!
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NOTE: If you’re new to affiliate marketing and do not understand how affiliate links work, don’t worry! An affiliate link is simply a tracking link that enables an affiliate marketplace, platform, or vendor to trace the sales you generated back to you.
For example, if you want to promote an offer on ClickBank, you create a HopLink (ClickBank’s tracking URL) that tells our platform that you directed traffic to an offer owner’s landing page for commission purposes.
For more information on how to create a HopLink, and test that it is working correctly, refer to our HopLinks Guide.
9 Affiliate Marketing Traffic Tips
Driving traffic is your primary job as an affiliate.
While there are plenty of guides on the ClickBank blog about different affiliate types, how to get started as a ClickBank beginner, and more, I wanted to share a handful of important tips to keep in mind when you’re looking to start driving traffic to your affiliate links!
1) Have Realistic Expectations
Platforms like YouTube and TikTok are full of videos from gurus suggesting that affiliate marketing is a fast and easy way to make hundreds or thousands of dollars within just a few weeks.
To make matters worse, most of these get-rich-quick methods on social media aren’t to good results, or they fail to mention some vital steps in the affiliate marketing process.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online. However, becoming a successful affiliate marketer takes time, regardless of whether you use free or paid traffic sources!
2) Choose the Right Niche
Many affiliates make the mistake of choosing their niche based on the potential income they can earn, but it should be the other way around!
Choosing your niche based on income potential is the same as choosing a career that theoretically pays the best, even though you have no aptitude for it and might not even like it. It usually ends in regret.
Highly lucrative niches are typically very competitive, have many affiliates promoting the same products, and require deep pockets to fund advertising campaigns or grow a large organic presence.
Unless you bring something unique to the table that differentiates you from your competitors, you’ll likely get lost in the crowd. Even worse, if you’re not passionate about what you do, you’ll run out of steam long before you make your first affiliate sale!
However, this does not mean that all you need is passion. Just as good intentions won’t get you past the finish line, simply being passionate about what you do won’t necessarily drive people to your affiliate links either.
Your niche should be something you like, and ALSO be:
- Large enough to sustain your financial goals.
- Easy to reach.
- Full of hungry buyers.
If your niche doesn’t meet the above criteria, it’ll be hard to drive enough traffic to your affiliate links to generate sufficient commissions.
3) Remember that People Buy for Emotional Reasons
Most people think they buy products for logical reasons. However, the truth is that people buy on emotion and try to justify their buying decisions afterward using logic.
Your website, ads, social media, videos, emails, and other marketing channels where you post your affiliate links or encourage people to act, have to trigger someone emotionally.
The stronger their emotional need and sense of urgency, the more likely they will click on your affiliate links if they believe doing so can help them.
For example, people do not buy a car for its technical features but for how it makes them feel. However, they will use the car’s technical features to justify their decision.
4) Know Your Target Audience
The better you understand your target audience, the better you will know their pain points, emotional triggers, and what they need.
If you feel you’re not close enough to your target audience, visiting relevant forums and Facebook Groups might give you more insight into how they think and feel.
Of course, the first prize is to be part of your target audience. For example, if you are in the relationship niche, it will be hard for you to connect with your target audience if you do not have children and cannot share any personal experiences.
5) Keep in Mind Not All Traffic Is Equal
You want to drive high-quality, targeted traffic to your affiliate links by positioning them in front of the right audience.
For example, make sure you post relevant affiliate links in blog posts. Trying to get someone to click on your affiliate link for a hosting company on a blog post about dietary supplements will not yield good results and is a wasted opportunity.
In the case of paid ads, focus on the right demographics and people with buyer intent. For example, you do not want to drive people not interested in spending money on a product to your affiliate links.
6) Think Twice Before Spending Money on Ads
Spending money on ads is the fastest way to drive traffic to your affiliate links. However, throwing money at ads is no guarantee you will get the results you desire. Before considering paid ads, do your homework.
For example, let’s assume you want to advertise on the Google Search Network. According to WordStream.com:
- Most industries have an average click-through rate (CTR) between 4% and 6%.
- Across industries, the average landing page conversion rate is 2.35%.
- The average cost-per-click (CPC) across all types of businesses and keywords in the US is between $1 and $2.
Based on the above, let’s assume:
- Your ad receives 1,000 impressions daily, and an average of 50 people (5%) click on it.
- Your ad costs, on average, $1.50 per click or $75 for 50 clicks.
- 2.3% of the people who click on your ad buy the product you are promoting, earning you, on average, one affiliate sale per day.
In this example, the affiliate product you promote must pay you a $75 commission to break even.
It falls outside the scope of this post to go through all the advertising platforms and techniques you might use to run profitable ad campaigns.
What is clear is that paid ads can drive a lot of traffic to your affiliate links, but the results might not be worth it. If you are a beginner affiliate marketer, I advise you to tread carefully before paying for traffic.
7) Sort Out Upstream Activities Before You Tackle Downstream Ones
Many affiliate marketers make the mistake of focusing on downstream activities, such as getting traffic, instead of first focusing on upstream activities, such as choosing the right demographic and niche.
You won’t be able to drive traffic or the right kind of traffic to your affiliate links if you have a problem with your niche and demographics. For more information on how to sort our your problems and find solutions, check out our affiliate marketing troubleshooting guide.
8) Be Problem-Aware
Most affiliate marketers have heard they should focus on helping their target audience find solutions to problems. And although this is not necessarily bad advice, it doesn’t really help anyone if you’re offering solutions to people who don’t know they have a problem.
By being problem-aware instead, you’re focusing on signs or symptoms of a problem that your target market is actively aware of, before offering them a solution they may not know they need.
For example, let’s say you’re in the pet niche. The best-selling product in this niche is Brain Training for Dogs (braintraining4dogs.com), a high-quality dog training course.
The course claims it can help you overcome almost any behavior problem with your dog, such as your dog constantly whining, barking uncontrollably, jumping up, etc.
If Mr. X has a dog jumping up (symptom) whenever it sees him, he might not identify it as a behavior problem – and it’s unlikely he will search for “brain training” on Google.
Focusing on the symptoms of a problem – rather than just the solution – can drive more targeted traffic to your affiliate links!
9) Promote, Don’t Sell
As an affiliate marketer, your job is to promote products, not sell them. It’s a subtle distinction, but it’s important. As the company behind a particular product, it’s the seller’s responsibility to convert the traffic you send them into buyers!
If you try to sell the product at your stage of the buyer’s journey, the potential customer might feel like you’re trying too hard and question your credibility. Your only job is to warm up the prospect by providing them with helpful information that can assist them in making an informed decision.
Another way to put it? You’re “selling the click,” not the product. Ultimately, if you and the seller you are both selling a product, it might leave a bad taste in the buyer’s mouth.
Many consumers won’t click on an affiliate link if they feel you haven’t provided sufficient information, so focus on what you can deliver.
In addition to the above tips, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires affiliates to disclose their relationship with the seller of a product or service.
According to the FTC:
“Suppose you meet someone who tells you about a great new product. She tells you it performs wonderfully and offers fantastic new features that nobody else has. Would that recommendation factor into your decision to buy the product? Probably.
Now suppose the person works for the company that sells the product – or has been paid by the company to tout the product. Would you want to know that when you’re evaluating the endorser’s glowing recommendation? You bet.”
10 Best Traffic Sources for Affiliate Marketing
Here are some of the best traffic sources for affiliate marketing. These are useful places to drive traffic to your affiliate links!
A quick word of caution: do not try to implement all of these simultaneously. It is MUCH better to be an expert at one or two than to do a lousy job using five or six different traffic sources!
Publishing videos on YouTube and inserting your tracking link in the description of the video (or link to another page called an affiliate bridge page that contains the tracking link) is a great way to drive more visitors to the products or services you are promoting.
The benefits of YouTube affiliate marketing include the following:
- Repurpose existing content
- It is easy to create a YouTube video
- Free organic traffic
- Passive income
- Fast way to reach potential buyers
Here are four video formats you can create to draw attention to the product(s) you are promoting.
- Tutorial/How-to videos
- Product or product comparison reviews
- Unboxing videos
- Best of/Roundup videos
For a step-by-step guide on how to get the most out of YouTube, refer to my post: Make Money With Affiliate Marketing on YouTube.
As the most popular social media platform in the world, Facebook has the potential to not only send you free organic traffic but can also be used to create a large following.
Join and contribute to relevant Facebook groups in your niche and consider building a community by starting your own Facebook group.
3) Blog Posts/SEO
Posting content and relying on traffic from platforms that do not belong to you is risky. You never know when they might close your account for no apparent reason, and there is usually nothing you can do to stop them.
Based on the above, I highly recommend you build a website or blog. And since many platforms do not allow affiliate links, you can direct visitors to your blog, where they can click on your affiliate links.
Make sure all the content on your blog is relevant to your niche. If you have a second niche, you should build a separate blog for it.
You can post any content on your blog as long as it does not violate any laws or goes against the TOS of your hosting company. However, you should follow Google’s recommendations if you want to receive free organic traffic from them.
Your blog should contain original content that adds value to visitors and differentiates it from other blogs. Do not just copy product descriptions and reviews directly from the vendor you are promoting.
Here are some marketing tips from Google:
- Affiliate program content should form only a minor part of the content of your site if the content adds no additional features.
- Ask yourself why a user would want to visit your site first rather than visiting the original merchant directly.
- When selecting an affiliate program, choose a product category appropriate for your intended audience.
- Keep your content updated and relevant.
- Pure affiliate sites consisting of content that appears in many other places on the web are highly unlikely to perform well in Google search results and may be negatively perceived by search engines.
4) Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is a very underrated traffic source but can send many visitors to your blog.
Most authority blogs understand the need to publish fresh content regularly. And many of them accept relevant guest posts.
Reach out to blogs in your niche and find out if they will allow you to submit a guest post to them and their requirements. Some might charge you, but many blogs welcome new content submissions.
5) Email Marketing
The sooner you start building an email list, the better. One of the most common regrets experienced affiliate marketers mention is that they did not start building their list sooner.
Email marketers can grow massive email lists centered around a specific audience or topic. It makes them well-suited to affiliate email marketing, as they can direct people to products in that space.
The phrase “the money is in the list” is often used by online marketers. Being able to email thousands of people at will in your target audience who want you have on offer is priceless.
Unlike visitors from other traffic sources who visit your blog or click on one of your ads, never to be seen again, with email marketing, you OWN the traffic! It is the fastest and cheapest way to promote affiliate products and services.
A word of caution, nurture your audience by sending them helpful, high-quality content regularly. First give before you take – if every email you send your list is about an item you are promoting as an affiliate, you will soon have a dead list!
According to similarweb.com, Quora receives more than 775 million visits every month, making it the most popular question & answer site in the world. And Quora often appears on the first page of search engine rankings in Google.
Although you cannot post affiliate links when answering a question (considered spam), you may post a link to your website or blog where you share additional information.
However, your answer on Quora should be at least a couple of paragraphs long and answer the question you are addressing. Thoughtful answers with a link to a relevant blog post on your site can send you thousands of visitors over many years.
With an estimated 1 billion visits a month, according to similarweb.com, Pinterest is a potential goldmine for affiliate marketers. And the fact that they allow affiliate links only makes them more appealing to affiliate marketers.
Pinterest works as a visual search engine, giving you access to an audience you might not find on other platforms. And if your pin goes viral, you might expect an avalanche of traffic.
Many new blogs use Pinterest as their primary traffic source to get accepted into ad platforms like Mediavine while waiting for Google to rank them.
TikTok is one of the most addictive social media platforms in the world.
With over 1 billion users between age 13 and 60, it has become increasingly popular with affiliate marketers. And, being able to upload videos in a matter of minutes using nothing else than your cellphone makes it super user-friendly.
With no end to its increasing popularity, now might be the right time to get onboard.
Publishing high-quality eBooks in your niche can be an additional income stream, boost your credibility, and earn you money when readers click on your affiliate links.
Whereas most visitors to your blog might not stay more than a couple of minutes, they might be inclined to spend more time reading an eBook. It gives you the opportunity to get more eyeballs on your affiliate links.
10) Paid Ads
There is no shortage of sites and platforms that earn money from ads. It includes Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, Reddit, and countless other sites and platforms.
As mentioned earlier, placing ads can be expensive. Many affiliate marketers have transitioned away from major platforms, such as Google and Facebook, in search for more cost effective solutions that can give them a better ROI.
Alternative solutions include:
- Native ad platforms such as Outbrain, Vibrant Media, RevContent, MGID, Yahoo Gemini, Taboola, Adblade, RichAds, and TrafficStars.
- Mobile traffic platforms such as Airnow Media, and Tapjoy.
- Retargeting solutions such as AdRoll.
- Popup ad networks such as AdCash, PropellerAds, PopAds, PopCash, and Zeropark.
- Android In-App ad networks such as StartApp, InMobi, MillennialMedia, Airpush, and Leadbolt.
- Mobile display web ad exchanges such as Avazu, Smaato, Mobfox, Buzzcity, and AppNexus.
- Desktop display ad exchanges such as AppNexus, OpenX, Rubicon, SiteScout, and AdForm.
- Push ad networks such as MGID, PropellerAds, DatsPush, Leo.Cash, RichAds, AdMaven, EvaDav, Adcash, Zeropark, Adsterra, Push.House, Clickadu, Galaksion, BidVertiser, ClickAdilla, MyBid, TwinRed, TrafficStars, Coinis, HilltopAds, and Mobidea Push.
Driving Traffic to Affiliate Links Wrap-up
You cannot earn affiliate commissions unless you drive traffic to your affiliate links. I hope the traffic sources covered in this article provides you with a solid foundation you can use and expand on!
Although these are by no means a complete or comprehensive list, they should give you a good idea of what is possible! Depending on how well you understand your target audience, you may very well come up with additional sources of affiliate marketing traffic.
Of course, we hope ClickBank can be a part of your affiliate success! With nearly 25 years in business and more than $5.7 billion paid out in commissions, ClickBank’s marketplace has helped tens of thousands of affiliates to build their online businesses. You can sign up for a free ClickBank account to get started!
And if you’re serious about making money online with affiliate marketing and furthering your education, Spark by ClickBank provides you with the in-depth training you need. Check it out now!