Affiliate marketing remains more than viable for many savvy marketers heading into 2019, whether you’re looking to leverage a single skill or platform, push a single product line, or carve out a broad niche and become an authority within an industry. However, ignorance of coming changes in web marketing will leave you scrambling to earn profits in the face of competitors. To prevent this scramble, make sure you know what’s new in tools, platforms, and user trends.
Evolution of web advertising platforms
Many of the platforms affiliate marketers rely upon have matured with each passing year; something that has been a headache for less savvy marketers. Black hat, grey hat, and simply lazy methods of yesteryear won’t do anything for you on major search engines or social media sites in 2019.
Even the slowest platforms to take action against manipulation have reached a point where you cannot expect to succeed without real effort and understanding.
Internet usage patterns
Internet usage trends are important to keep in mind as an affiliate marketer. The growth of privacy concerns and consumer savvy have made cryptocurrency-friendly sites such as BitLaunch of significant interest to a certain subsection of affiliate marketers, especially those in countries like India where quality VPS hosting is simply not available to them outside of companies like BitLaunch which accept crypto as payment.
The widespread adoption of mobile also makes it all the more critical that you adopt mobile-friendly design principles, with Google and comparable gatekeepers signalling a preference for adaptive designs that work across all devices. This is important even in email marketing and related channels, where experts have identified a strong trend towards simplified marketing to better target device compatibility.
A growing number of customers understand the concept of affiliate marketing; marketers in 2019 need to carefully consider how their prospects and customers view them in this context, as a reputation as a valueless shill can kill your business overnight.
This is a shift which is reflected in the new approach to the marketing funnel developing across the landscape of digital marketing, which we’ll touch on later.
While it’s still viable to enter affiliate marketing as a single-platform specialist, it’s becoming increasingly important to your growth that you explore cross-channel and cross-platform approaches to marketing. Reinforcement across social media, video content, written content, and other mediums has become increasingly common and increasingly expected by customers.
If you can’t provide enough different forms of content to keep your prospects paying attention, you’re risking losing them.
The new funnel
While it’s not strictly a fundamental change to affiliate marketing, it’s worth your time to understand how sales funnels have evolved.
First, you have a shift to a more versatile ‘intake’, where we have to assume a prospect will enter your funnel at any stage or time. This is tied closely to the way quality marketing content can be shared by your existing prospects.
Second, you must have a renewed appreciation for customer retention, with many conceiving the ‘sale’ as a halfway point in an extended funnel design. Happy customers keep following your content and sharing what you have to say with friends and family.
Heading into 2019, expect many of your prospects to be watching you closely, fully aware of both affiliate marketing and sales funnels.
Stronger, better marketing tools
Automation has been a big part of the affiliate marketing business model for years now; expect this trend to accelerate as the tools become more advanced, allowing your programs to identify customer types for segmentation of marketing, to personalize each piece of advertising, etc.
We also have more advanced analytics powered by machine learning, so-called predictive and prescriptive analytics, which tell you what will happened and what you should do respectively. Taking advantage of this is now vital to affiliate marketers.
Ultimately, affiliate marketing still works the same. If you’re not already honest with your users, techniques and strategies, expect to be forced to do so in 2019. Fortunately, you’ll have the tools to do so more efficiently and effectively than ever before.