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A Concise Guide to Online Marketing Funnels

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Online Marketing Funnels
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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.

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Can You Sell Art Through Affiliate Marketing?

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Selling art affiliate marketing
Photo from Pexels

So, as many of you know, I work as a writer. Writing is a creative matter, and when I’m not creating work, I’m hyping others’ artwork. Like, art’s kind of my life. I’m artist-adjacent to the point where I don’t really fit in with mainstream people. As a result, I learned a LOT about the art industry—as well as the struggles of creatives who try to break even. 

This brings me to one of the many moments where my knowledge about marketing brings me to the affiliate world…and the art world, too. As we all know, the internet is filled to the brim with artists who love to make art, but rarely ever get any cash for it. 

Let’s talk about how I’ve seen people change their brokenness, and how you can do the same. As a marketer, I’ve learned my routes.

Selling Art Through Affiliate Marketing: Meet Your New Friends

Before you can start doing your selling, we’re going to have to talk about the kind of places that will allow you to sell your designs and get affiliate sales. These platforms below are the most well-known for affiliate sales in art:

  • Zazzle/Society6/RedBubble. These three companies are all famous for letting you sell merch with your logos and designs on them. If you are a graphic designer, it makes sense to have at least one of these platforms as a place to sell your designs. 
  • Amazon. Yes, Amazon is a place to sell your art—both in painting form and in craft form. It’s part of the Amazon Handmade thing, and yes, you can always reach out to other Amazon affiliates for help. 
  • Uncommon Goods. This platform has an affiliate program, but it’s important to remember that you have to be accepted as an artisan here. This isn’t easy!
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Photo by Burst from Pexels

How To Market Your Artwork Online: The Quick Dope On Online Affiliate Marketing

Now that you’ve seen a couple of places that allow for affiliate sales, it’s time to figure out how you can get your art on there. In most cases, you will have to open up an online store with them and upload your work (or photos of it) to start selling. 

Once you’ve done that, you will have to reach out to affiliate marketers and try to get them to feature your products. This is obviously easier said than done, but don’t worry. These tips below can help make your products stand out when affiliates do their roundups

  • Name your artwork intelligently. Most people who are searching for art or decorative items have a motif or a theme they want. Add related terms to your artwork’s names so that they can be picked up when people are searching for things they want. For example, if you have a bowl you made with flowers, name it “Decorative Wooden Bowl With Floral Accents.” 
  • Advertise your own goods on social media, and get GREAT photos. Most people buy artwork or artsy items because they work with a specific aesthetic they want. This means you have to show that they look good. Ask yourself what kind of aesthetic the person who wants to buy something like that has, and then take photos that work with that aesthetic. 
  • Offer up good photos. I cannot stress this enough. I’m basically putting this as its own point. Photos are going to make or break your ability to launch your art brand. If you need to (for clothing or accessories), hire professional models. Get those pics touched up! It’s a MUST. 
  • Invest in good press. People tend to prefer working with brands that have a good reputation. If you can afford to do so, get a PR agent. If you can’t, pitch blogs and come up with news of your stuff on your own.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to bloggers. Almost every affiliate blogger is on the hunt for some good stuff to sell. If you have a good product, you might get a new blogger buddy touting your stuff. Just be forewarned, you’ll probably get 1,000 no’s before you get a yes. 
  • Invest in yourself. Paid advertising is a good way to expand your reach and also get people talking about your work. In many cases, it can also give your brand the air of legitimacy it needs to succeed. 
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Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery from Pexels

Can You Set Up Your Own Affiliate-Based Art Site?

Of course! A lot of major brands started out this way, especially when it comes to the fringe portions of the art and fashion world. (Ask me how I know. Really, have you seen my outfits?!) For example, Alien Outfitters is a good example of an affiliate-based company.

The way to do it is simple: offer a discount code that is linked to individual affiliates. When someone buys stuff using said code, you pay the affiliate a small slice. This can increase inventory prices, but it’s worth it. To get more affiliates, recruit via social media and your site.

How Effective Is Selling Art Through Affiliate Sales?

I’ll be honest. It can be a good way to sell art, but the truth is that most people will have a hard time establishing themselves in the affiliate world. To see serious results, you need to have both a quality product and a fleet of good affiliates too.

With that said, it can be done. I’ve read up on people who have struck deals with PR firms to tout their work with excellent results. And realistically, it only takes ONE item to be a smash hit for you to see a massive influx of orders. So, why not give it a shot? You might be surprised at how well it works.

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Guides

How To Get One Million Followers On Instagram

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Instagram influencer
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Instagram can become a goldmine for anyone who has a good strategy. If you have many followers, you can promote products, get sponsorships, and build a brand. Today you will learn how to get one million Instagram followers by following the steps below.

1. Have A Great Profile

When you start on Instagram, the first step is to create a new profile. You need a nice image and a description. If you have a link, this is the right place to add it.

People will decide to follow you or not after discovering your account based on your profile. If they like it, they will follow you most of the time. So, you need an image and description that get their attention. They can scroll down and see your posts, so the images of your posts matter as well.

2. Post High-Quality Content

Instagram allows you to publish images, videos, and stories. When you publish a post, it goes to the feed of your followers. But they manually go to your stories that disappear after 24 hours.

The engagement and the followers you get from each new post depends on the quality of your images and videos. When you publish something of great quality or unique, you will get more followers. You can also check what already works in your niche to get ideas for your next posts and create something better.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

3. Use Many Hashtags

Hashtags are a big part of your Instagram strategy. Each post should have at least one hashtag, but most influencers use multiple of them. According to a study, using 11 or more hashtags will generate 442% more engagement than using a few hashtags.

Most users don’t use many hashtags or don’t do their research to find the right ones. If you search for different hashtag ideas, create your own hashtags, and add them to your posts, you will win most of your competitors.

4. Engage With Your Audience

Publishing content is not enough if you want to get one million followers. You must put some extra effort and engage with your audience. If you spend a few minutes per day to reply to your followers, like their posts, and leave some comments, you will get better results.

A popular engagement strategy is the $1.80 strategy by Garry Vaynerchuk. He leaves his two cents, meaning his comments in ten posts under nine different popular hashtags in his niche. If 90 comments per day sound too much, you can adjust your strategy.

5. Promote Your Profile On Other Platforms

If you have a website, you should add your profile somewhere on your homepage. Many people that visit your site would like to check and follow your social accounts. It is a great way to create repeat visitors for your site and new followers.

Many social media profiles allow you to add your profiles on other platforms. For example, you can add your profile on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc. You don’t have to request a follow every time because some people will click on your profiles by themselves.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Lastly, you can use offline methods. If you want to build a business profile, adding your username on business cards and emails is a good strategy. You can also ask people that you know to follow you, like friends and family. A quick boost on your followers when you start from zero can save you a lot of time in the beginning.

6. Post Content At The Right Time

You need to publish content when your followers are online. They probably follow many other profiles that publish content like yours. If you publish something many hours before they get online, your content will below many other posts.

The best way to figure out the right times is by comparing your posts and keeping track of them. If you notice that publishing a specific hour gets more engagement, you keep publishing at the same time. The most active hours are between 9 AM – 4 PM from Monday to Friday. But you must figure out what works in your niche.

7. Use Paid Ads

You can promote your profile for more followers directly. Instagram uses the targeting options and demographics of Facebook ads. It means you can target potential followers based on their interests, accounts they follow on both platforms, and their personal details.

Paid ads require a small budget to get started, but they can boost your following and engagement. You can also use paid ads to promote any products on the platform or boost your best posts.

8. Use Analytics

If you upgrade your account into a business account, you will access specific metrics about your profile and your posts. These metrics can help you determine what works for you and what you need to stop doing.

You can see your posts, impressions, new followers, demographics, profile visits, and more. Analytics can reveal new details about your followers and your target audience. Also, there are free and paid third-party that provide extra metrics for your account.

9. Run Contests

You can run a contest on Instagram, set a prize, and ask the participants to do something. For example, you can request a follow, likes, comments, etc. You can also run these contests on other platforms and request follows on Instagram.

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Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

People love contests because they get free stuff or just want the competition. Contests can bring a lot of engagement and followers, even if these followers are not targeted because they find you for the reward.

Conclusion

Those who follow these steps have many chances to get one million followers. It is not easy to stick to everything, so this is your biggest challenge.

If you want a real-life example, you can check the profile of Gary Vee. He started with zero followers, and today he has over 9 million followers, publishes 2-4 posts per day with many hashtags, over 20 stories a day, and engages with his audience.

So, these steps actually work for those who apply them. But the results can vary depending on the niche and the quality of the content.

The difference between a profile with a few followers and a profile with millions of followers is their activity. If you keep publishing great content, have a nice profile, use hashtags, and engage with your audience, your following will keep growing. When your efforts are not regular, people will not find you online.

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Guides

Affiliate Marketing For Influencers: What You Need To Know

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Influencer marketing
Photo by Sound On from Pexels

Influencers are starting to pop up in every corner of the internet. From YouTube, to Twitter, to Instagram, it’s easy to find a niche where you can gain fans and learn how to make the most of your newfound fame. 

Things have started to shift. Back in the day, being an influencer meant that you would be able to reach out to companies to do a collab. It also meant you’d literally need millions of fans in order to make it happen. These days, you can be a micro-influencer and still earn a decent amount of money—even if you don’t have a monetized YouTube channel. 

Why Affiliate Marketing Became An Influencer Thing 

Let’s just face it: people are willing to pay for eyeballs. Affiliate marketing is all about letting people see products that fit a need, and giving them a gentle push to buy them. The more people see you touting products, the more money you make. It’s a numbers game, really.

Traditional marketing would mean that you would have to be approached by a major company in order to be a spokesperson. That’s a pretty tough gig to land, even if you’re well-established in the social media sphere. 

The reason why affiliate marketing is becoming more popular among influencers is pretty easy to see. Anyone can enter the game, and there are tons of products that you can tout. As long as you have a good program, there’s money to be earned as an influencer. 

Of course, there are still things you need to know.

Affiliate Marketing: Who You Work With Can Make Or Break Your Brand

If you’ve been paying attention to influencer marketing lately, you probably noticed that influencers are fiercely protective of their brands—as well as who they’re associated with. This is by design, and it’s one of the smartest things you can do as an influencer. 

This is because influencers are not typical affiliate marketing professionals. With regular affiliate sites, people tend to go to them as a source of valuable information. With influencers, people tend to bond with both the brand and the person. 

In other words, it’s like the difference between seeing an ad in a magazine and having an acquaintance tell you to buy something. One will be way more personal than the other, and thus, one will also be scrutinized than the other. 

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Photo by Cleyder Duque from Pexels

Picking Your Affiliates (And How To Market Them!)

As an influencer, your reviews and your voice are your cash cow. This means that you need to pick products that your brand meshes with and that you need to pick products that just make sense for your style of marketing. 

In other words, follow these tips:

  • Stick to your lane for best results. A makeup influencer will do best with an affiliate program that is geared towards products that deal with beauty. He or she will not, however, have much luck with promoting a VPN or a new cryptocurrency app. Why? Because it’s not related to the content they’re making.
  • Don’t sell a product you wouldn’t use. If you would never get caught dead with it, you have no reason to market it. This is a cornerstone of affiliate marketing, regardless of influencer status. 
  • Do not squander your efforts on an MLM. MLM does not equal affiliate marketing. MLM is a scam, affiliate marketing is not. 
  • Buy the product, and make sure it looks good on camera. As an influencer, you will need to do product reviews. This will include you taking photos of the items that you’re touting. 
  • Use items that you know you can use on camera, and that you know your fans would be interested in. Though this is also a standard affiliate move, it’s important to remember that your main objective is to make sure you look good using it. 
  • Be honest and tell people that you’re getting a cut from sales. A lot of influencers are pretty candid about their affiliate sales, and that actually seems to reflect well with them. Besides, it’s also a legal thing, too. If you don’t tell people you’re making money through affiliates, you can be sued.
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Photo by Negative Space from Pexels

The Number One Rule Of Influencer Affiliate Marketing

Remember when I mentioned that who you are affiliated with will make or break your reputation? Well, it’s super true. This means that you need to make sure that you’re working with brands and companies that won’t tarnish your reputation. 

This means that you should take a look at the site’s reputation, especially on online forums. If you are doing affiliate marketing for a product by a fellow influencer, research them to see if they have any scandals you don’t want to be affiliated with. 

If they pass the sniff test, then you should be good to link up with them.

Oh, And Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

As someone who deals with influencers and affiliate marketers, I understand how crazy it can get. There are always going to be more questions to address, and there will always be times when you’re wondering if the effort you’re putting in is really worth it. Trust me, I get it. 

That’s why it’s best for influencers to reach out to others who have been there and done what they’re attempting to do. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long, bumpy road ahead of you.

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