Well established (read: those making money) affiliates know that understanding your traffic is critical to your success in affiliate marketing. While there are some affiliates out there that drive 100% organic traffic and ignore the results and still succeed, those that are going to be around for the long haul have methods in place to test for success.
Here’s 3 Key Strategies ANY affiliate, large or small, can employ to make more money in affiliate marketing:
Install Piwik Web Analytics on your Server
Piwik is an open source platform for web analytics. It installs pretty much like WordPress does, with just using PHPMyAdmin (or something similar) to create a database, and then an FTP client to upload the files to a directory. It doesn’t require any server side permissions that web hosts don’t run out of the box, and it’s a very simple interface to navigate.
If you’ve used Google Analytics, you’ll find Piwik easy to use as well. Plus, all the stats belong to you, so you needn’t worry about Google intercepting your most precious keywords and using it for their own purposes.
Set Up Affiliate Marketing Click Through Goals in Piwik
Once Piwik is collecting data, then we can get down to brass tacks. In our case, that means aligning incoming traffic sources with actual click throughs to the Merchant Website (Note: This method is not going to show you who buys, just who clicks through).
In the Revenue portion of the Goal, you can simply use the factored EPC, or whatever measurement you want, to best estimate your earnings from a series of Goal Completions. Unlike running your own e-commerce storefront, you can’t pull back transaction values into Piwik for a more robust analysis.
But, we’re talking about affiliate marketing here. I would argue that 99% of affiliates* have no idea even which keywords are generating click throughs, let alone sales or transaction amounts.
*By 99%, I mean 99% of folks that have affiliate links of some sort on their website. Not 99% of affiliate generated earnings. The people doing a majority of the earning know EXACTLY where the sales are coming from, especially if they are heavy PPC spenders.
Read the Data. Understand the Data. Be a Better Affiliate
Last, and CERTAINLY not least, once you’ve taken the time and trouble to set all this up (and it’s NOT that much time), you absolutely, positively MUST spend some time studying it.
If that means taking an hour or so Saturday morning with your coffee, so be it.
But the data won’t take action on itself. You need to carve out an opinion, and long term, a strategy for making the data work for you. Look for keywords that generate the most click throughs. If you’re thinking about dabbling into PPC, those will be the ones you might want to start with.
Are you gaining a lot of clickthroughs from a very specific permutation of a popular keyword? “Red hooded waterproof fleece” as opposed to “red fleece”? Then tailor a few pages around that discovery.
Use analytics to dominate niches one at a time. Before you know it, you’ll have a well oiled machine of a website, and THEN you can start thinking about really big long term web strategies, and paying a programmer to build a platform that connects sales to traffic. That’s the Holy Grail of Affiliate Marketing Web Analytics.