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A Concise Guide to Online Marketing Funnels

Marcus David



Online Marketing Funnels
LittleMouse / Pixabay

The main principles of the online sales model are captured by the AIDA purchase model which has evolved and is increasingly referred to as the marketing funnel,sales funnel or conversion funnel. In e-commerce the preferred technical term is the conversion funnel depicted the consumer journey from a search engine or a display ad to the website, and ultimately converting into a paying customer.

Please note that in affiliate marketing generating the sale is not always the key objective.

In certain cases, it is first of all about generating eligible leads for merchants. In other cases, the objective could be a sale. As a result, it is very important to understand different stages of the online marketing funnel in order to define the most optimal marketing strategy for the relevant stage. As a result, Concessionist.com will refer to funnels as online marketing funnels underscoring the ultimate goal to adapt a different marketing strategy at every stage of the process.

The online marketing funnel consists of the following elements:

Traffic sources, consisting of the referral traffic, including SEO, pay per click PPC, mailing list leads, ads etc. The key feature of this stage is the quality of referral traffic. Low quality referral, such as email spamming, might create significant problems for the affiliates and the merchants. Even a number of traditional traffic sources, notably banner ads, produce rather low click through rates (CTR) around 0.01%-0.02%, which are suitable for high volume referral sources with a capacity to reach a wide range of potential customers. On the other hand, well-targeted high quality traffic is likely to produce high CTR results and also increase the readiness of the customers to proceed with the next steps. The goldmine of high quality traffic are membership sites, social network groups and other tightly knit interest groups with high relevance to the targeted product. Either gaining access or gradually building such membership groups can be a rewarding investment from an affiliate´s perspective. 

Top of the funnel (TOFU) is the actual traffic that arrives at the website. This can be considered as the traditional awareness stage where customers are clearly aware of the product, but are not yet sufficiently interested and motivated to buy. At this stage, the customers should be made a clear proposition with as few distractions as possible. It is estimated that around 30% to 80% of visitors do not proceed to the next stage. Any loss of potential customers should be avoided at this stage. The loss can be mitigated by focusing on the key features of your product and keeping the customers engaged. That is one of the reasons why marketing videos are so popular. They grab the customer’s attention helping to establish sufficient interest to proceed with the next steps. 

Middle of the funnel (MOFU) is the product stage at which point customers are reviewing your product pages, probably comparing a specific product to alternative solutions, and making up their minds regarding your offer. In some cases, a marketing video at the TOFU stage also acts as MOFU, especially, if such a video progressively describes the product and helps in convincing the customer to make the purchase. In all cases, the critical value of MOFU is the conversion rate defined as the number of goal achievements as a percentage of all initial visitors. The more customers decide to proceed with the purchase, i.e. proceed to the BOFU stage, the higher is the conversion rate of the funnel, and the higher overall effectiveness of the funnel of turning website visitors into potential customers.

Bottom of the funnel (BOFU) is basically the shopping cart stage at which customers have made up their minds to make a purchase. At this stage, most online shops would try to either to upsell more expensive versions of the product or cross-sell additional products. In those cases, where customers suddenly change their mind and decide to abandon the cart, the online store would try to downsell, i.e. to offer a discount, or a cheaper version of the product. Keeping BOFU simple and avoiding unnecessary intermediate steps is critical in gaining actual purchases. The shopping cart should be both simple, especially in terms of filling in contact and payment details, and resembling other shopping carts that customers are familiar with. The payment channel should be secure and well understood by customers. The fewer unnecessary steps, the more visitors will become paying customers, and the lower rate of the shopping cart abandonment by customers who exit BOFU without completing the purchase.

Special Feature

Follow 3 Steps to Start in Affiliate Marketing

Step 1 - Learn the Basics

Join Wealthy Affiliate platform which offers training, affiliate marketing tools, and hosts a very supportive community with members from around the world.  What is great about WA is that you can start without any prior experience. WA has been around for more than 15 years, which matters in terms of credibility and user appeal.  Get Your Free WA Starter Membership Here.

Join Wealthy Affiliate Community

Step 2 - Become a Master in Digital Products

Learn how to create and sell digital products by enrolling at ClickBank University. You can choose from two tracks: ClickBank Product Publishing (12 week track) and ClickBank Affiliate Mastery (8 week track). What is great about CBU is that it is supported by ClickBank, a leading marketplace for digital products with a long track record and many affiliate partners around the world. Although there is no free trial option, CBU offers a 30 day money back guarantee. Start your CBU classes here.

Follow Wealthy Affiliate Classes

Step 3 - Start your Dropshipping Business

Whether you want to launch your Amazon product or start your independent e-commerce business, SaleHoo is a great place to start. In addition to numerous training options and webinars, SaleHoo also offers a directory of vetted suppliers from China and other countries. Join a FREE webinar on building your Amazon dropshipping business.

Learn about digital products

DISCLAIMER: Concessionist.com is an independent affiliate operating on a sales' commission basis of the above referenced service providers. They do not own or operate this website and are not responsible for its contents. 


How to Turn Your Hobby into a Profitable Venture

Anna Ross



Turn your hobby into a profitable venture
Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

I remember back when I used to be a model. I wasn’t making much, but it was a status that always elicited a response out of people. The reaction I got from most guys was pretty obvious, but with girls, it was a little intriguing. 

With some girls, the reaction I’d get was one that was palpable. Sometimes, it would be raw jealousy and venom. Sometimes, it was more congratulatory. Most of the time, though, it was a click of the tongue and a “must be nice.” I never quite understood that slight envy I often saw. 

In reality, all I did was turn my hobby into money. Anyone can do that. We live in a world where we can turn hobbies into profit—modeling included. If you’ve been yearning to get extra cash, the skills from your hobbies can prove to be the best ally you have. Here’s how you can make money off your true interests, step by step.

Step 1: Learn your hobby inside and out. 

Before you can make a single dime off any hobby, you need to know the hobby well. You need to know what makes a person good at the hobby, top products in your hobby, what kind of attitudes people in the hobby tend to have, and how to be great at it. 

Without having a seriously solid foundation regarding your hobby, you won’t be able to make money off it. So, take at least six months to study your hobby thoroughly before you even try to make any money off it. Obviously, the more experience you have in this hobby, the better.

Step 2: Figure out how to profit off it. 

Everything can be profitable if you have a good target audience and something that can make them happy. Most hobbies will let you profit in one of five ways:

  • Affiliate Marketing. Do you know the best succulent planters on the market? Putting together a website that is devoted to helping people get the best goods for their hobby time is a smart idea.
  • Advice. If you know enough about a difficult hobby to be considered a master at it, this could be a good option. It works well with affiliate marketing, too!
  • Entertaining Reactions. We’ve all seen YouTubers and Twitch streamers make millions by just reacting to the craziness of online games. If you’re known fo having funny reactions and commentaries, this could be a viable venue for you. However, you will have to work hard to get your name out there and grow your fanbase.
  • Events. If you have a lot of friends in the hobby, throwing events is a smart way to make extra cash. 
  • Making Goods and Services. This is a popular choice with people who enjoy hobbies like candlemaking, soapmaking, woodworking, or DIY crafts. However, if your hobby involves something like coding, it can be a viable option too. 

Step 3: Figure out the supplies you’ll need. 

Every hobby-turned-career should start off as a side gig. When you’re first starting a side gig, it’s important to have the right supplies you’ll need in order to get started. Since you’re literally at the bare beginnings, you will not have to go for the fanciest tools. 

Your job is to figure out what you will need at a bare minimum in order to start your business. Having a free site, tools to do your hobby, and social media accounts are all you really need in order to kick off your own business in most cases.

You will have to take the thing you’re selling into account.  In some situations, like modeling, you won’t need a free site or eBay/Amazon/online store to get started. On the other hand, if you are thinking of selling candles you made, you might need an online store. If you want to be an affiliate marketer in your hobby, a blog would be best.

A lot of people want to add a large budget for advertising. If you can afford it, do so. However, it’s not necessary. When you’re first starting off, word of mouth and social media will do more for you than anything else. 

Step 4: Create content to advertise and sell your hobby-related services. 

Once you have the store and social media set ups you need, you will have to start selling your wares. Here are some good pointers to remember when you’re finally getting to the point where you’re ready to set out on your own:

  • Tell everyone you know about your hobby, your skill, and your products. People won’t know about your skills if you don’t advertise it—at least by word of mouth. You’d be surprised at who will want to step up and ask for advice. 
  • Good content will put you at an advantage against others. If you have a website, writing good articles and practicing SEO can help people get to your site whenever they search for things related to your hobby. If you’re doing item sales, YouTube videos, and other similar work, getting good photos and videos is a must. 
  • Remember that it’s still a business, even if it feels like pleasure. Evey if it is your hobby, you still have to treat it like a business. You need to avoid giving away freebies. You need to advertise. You need to grow your community. You need to remember that you’re going to have to work on less-than-awesome stuff to do the awesome stuff you enjoy.
  • Network, network, network. In most hobby scenes, you never know who knows who. Treat people accordingly and you maximize your chances at success.
  •  Remember that these things take time to build. Most people who tried their hand at making a living in their hobby make a little social media account, post occasionally for about a month, and then give up when no one reacts to their stuff. This is not a good way to go about things. This is not a race. Turning a profit is a marathon, and the longer you work at it, the better off you’ll be. 
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What Is Passive Income? And How Do You Earn It?

Ossiana Tepfenhart



What Is Passive Income? And How Do You Earn It?
danielsampaioneto / Pixabay

If you’ve ever worked a regular job, you already know a truth that probably isn’t very comfortable to admit: a simple salary is almost never enough to make you truly wealthy. For a while, people generally assumed that getting rich meant you would need to get a second or even third job. That’s just not true. To get rich, you need passive income. 

What Is Passive Income?

There are two types of income: active and passive. Active income is the money you earn when you work for it, like an hourly wage. Passive income is income that you don’t actually need to work to earn, such as earning money on the stock market.

Why Do You Need Passive Income?

If you want to get rich, or just want to have a safety net of your own, you need a passive income. We can’t be working all the time. Things sometimes happen that require us to take a break from our work. If we have a break time or get fired from our regular J-O-B, we have to have something to fall back on. 

In times like these, you cannot rely on social welfare programs to keep yourself and your family afloat. Passive income can be a safety net that can make a major difference when stimulus checks and unemployment run out. 

Can You Live Off Passive Income Alone?

Absolutely, and most of the wealthiest people do so. There’s nothing that tells you that you need to have a job to survive. In fact, if you work very hard at creating lots of passive income, it’s possible to have your passive income exceed anything that you would be able to earn at a typical job. 

How Do You Earn Passive Income?

There are many, many ways to earn passive income available to you, but the bottom line is that you have to either have work that keeps working after your done or to have your money do the work for you. These are some of the most popular ways to get passive income started:

  • Invest. If you invest money in the stock market, have a 401(k), or have a Roth IRA, you already have a source of passive income. Stocks make you income by making your money work for you. When you buy a stock and the value of the stock increases, you can earn dividends or just build equity. 
  • Sell Media On Major Platforms. Once you record a song or write a book, that’s it. You’re done working. Every time someone buys your work, you get money—even though you might not have actively had to sell it to them. 
  • Be A Content Creator. Content creation, like what you see on YouTube or via online games, can be a great way to earn passive income. Much like with direct media sales, what you need to work on here is making the content and having a brand people love to watch. 
  • Dropshipping Sites. This is kind of a passive income, but not really. You do have to put in work in order to get your site ready to accept orders and gain enough attention for it. However, after a certain amount of work, the site will become less demanding and more entertaining to run…and you’ll make a ton of cash.
  • Affiliate Marketing. I like to consider affiliate marketing the sister of dropshipping. This type of market involves encouraging people to buy products off sites like Amazon. You earn money every time a referral you make is used to make a purchase. Affiliate marketing can be very lucrative, but now that many programs are starting to trim affiliate benefits, it’s not what it once was.
  • Landlording. Renting a room to a person in need, whether it’s via an app like AirBnB or via a more traditional method, is considered to be a way to gain passive income. You still will have to do maintenance and put up ads to get those renters, though!

Wait! Some Of These Passive Income Methods Still Include Work!

That’s true—and to a point, that’s why it’s a misnomer. This is why I feel kind of dodgy calling it passive income at times. The thing is, nothing in this world involves “free money.” Someone has got to work for it, and that has to be either you or the people whose company you invest in. 

All forms of passive income will have a certain amount of risk associated with them. If you leave others to do all that work for you, you can’t really control what they do, how they do it, nor can you always control the results you get. 

The reason why it’s better to put work into your own ventures is because you will be able to get more control over the risks and know for certain that something is being done to further your income. Personally, I find that to be great reassurance. 

Is Passive Income Instant?

Here’s why a lot of people get annoyed with passive income. It takes time and effort to accumulate. If you were hoping to get an overnight income, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. It can take weeks, months, or even years before your passive income can support you. 
There’s never going to be a legit “get rich quick” scheme you can rely on. That’s why you need to start working on your passive income before you actually need it. Otherwise, you’re going to be stuck in the same place as you are now, later on in life…and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it earlier.

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How to Become a Successful Affiliate Marketer: A Step by Step Guide

Ossiana Tepfenhart



How to Become a Successful Affiliate Marketer
bongkarn thanyakij at Pexels

Affiliate marketing isn’t easy. Though it’s been known as a goldmine for easy money in the early aughts, the truth is that it’s far from easy. Most people who become affiliate marketers give up within a couple of months.

Why? Because the vast majority of people who try this earnings route never make a penny from it. Having seen affiliate marketing work and fail, I can tell you with total honesty that there’s a huge subset of people who view affiliate marketing as a crock because of the bad experiences they’ve had with it.

You can avoid that problem, but only if you know how to become successful. Here’s the step by step guide…

1. Create an elegant, high-quality site that’s dedicated to one or two related niches.

People trust sites that are focused on a niche and present themselves as authorities on the matter. If your site doesn’t look professional and doesn’t contain high quality, informative articles, you won’t get many sales.

A good website will avoid these classic mistakes:

a. Bad Visuals. If you use yellow highlighter to emphasize words, have grainy photos, and have a layout that looks like it belongs in 2007, you need to step up your game.
b. Bad Articles. No one will take your site seriously if it’s littered with grammatical errors or filled with fluff talk. It’s better to write nothing at all than to write junk that makes your site look bad.
c. Short Articles. You might think that keeping things short and simple will work to your advantage, but that’s not true.
d. Too General. Every niche has its own terms and voice. If you don’t understand the field you’re trying to go into, you’re not going to be successful. On a similar note, if you don’t know what makes a product good, you shouldn’t try this route of earning.

2. Start off with SEO articles.

Before you can monetize your site with affiliate products, you should have a decent amount of SEO done. After all, you can’t get people to discover your site without having search engines on your side.

3. Pick a high-quality affiliate, and select products that you’d want to buy.

Amazon and other major online retailers have remarkable affiliate programs that are trusted and stocked with desirable products. When choosing products, make a point of picking ones that you would want to buy.

Good affiliate products are ones that:

  • Work. If the product doesn’t do what it claims to do, or doesn’t do it well, it’s worthless. Period.
  • Come from Quality Companies. We all would prefer an Apple watch to a no-name knockoff, right? The same concept applies to affiliate products.
  • Provide Benefits. A good product is one that improves the lives of people around them. If you can’t come up with any reason to buy a product, chances are your readers won’t either.
  • Look Good. People are visual creatures. If you can’t find a flattering photo of the product you want to peddle, it’s better not to try to sell it at all.

4. Learn how to write marketing materials.

Now that you have some good affiliates and products, you’re going to need to learn how to market them. There are three major categories of content that helps push affiliate products:

  • Reviews: Honest reviews that highlight the benefits of products are always a great option.
  • Product Roundups: These feature different products, possibly from different sub-categories, all in the same niche.
  • Top 10s: These are reviews that specifically rank the best products for a single purpose.

5. Publish tons of affiliate articles, all while keeping up the SEO work, too.

You can’t have a site that’s entirely affiliate-based. Otherwise, you might get penalized by Google and people might see your site as a power grab.

6. Use social media to promote your articles.

A large percentage of affiliate sales now come from advertising on social media, especially when it comes to Facebook. Boosting your readership and getting paid advertisements can easily become a practice that pays for itself and adds value to your site.

7. If you’re really looking to boost your affiliate sales, recruit influencers.

Say what you will about them, but influencers are very good at what they do. Fans connect with them, trust their name, and also tend to follow their lead. If you want to pay them to promote your site, by all means, do. It’s an easy way to gain more readers.

8. Be patient and keep posting.

Affiliate sales, if nothing else, is a long-term thing. You’re not going to see sales happen overnight, nor are you going to be able to monetize your blog immediately. It may take six months to a year before you see any money from your blog—and that’s alright, as long as you are okay with being patient.

9. Understand affiliate marketing

I cannot stress enough how important it is to be patient and smart about the way you go into affiliate sales. This is not a “get rich quick” plan by any means of the word, and truthfully, most people are not cut out for it. Affiliate marketing takes a lot of patience, a lot of work, and a lot of time if you want to succeed.

If you want to be a successful affiliate marketer, you will need to learn a lot of skills—SEO, social media marketing, web design, and graphic design, to name a few. It’s an investment, but much like having a good stock portfolio, this investment can pay off in major ways. If you want to get decent passive income, keep up your hard work. You’ll love the effects it has on your life.

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