Affiliate Marketing 101: Direct Linking

Direct linking is to drive your traffic straight to the advertiser’s landing page. Years ago this was the only form of affiliate marketing, but with the increasing number of affiliate marketers and the fierce competition on buying the keywords that convert into sales/leads for the advertiser direct linking has become a thing from the past. Or has it?

One of the biggest names in affiliate marketing has been direct linking for the past 5 years. This guy makes millions of dollars every year from affiliate marketing, all without bothering himself with building websites.

This super affiliate also uses buffer websites when he needs to, like when buying traffic from Google Adwords. And he’s been happy with his results, until he met with another dynamic affiliate marketer who kept trying to convince him to build lead capture pages, lists, and relationship with his potential buyers.

Now it’s becoming confusing, let’s refer to the direct linker with G. and for the relationship builder with R.

G. resisted R.’s suggestion for a while on the basis of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”, and that whenever a loop is involved the conversion drops. A year later he tried it in one of the niches and to his surprise, in the matter of a few months he’s built a list that makes him $400 every time he sends out an email. Given the nature of this niche, $400/email promoting CPA lead generation offers, that’s pretty good.

It’s true that any looping or buffering drops the conversion in most cases (unless you’re a good copywriter). But that’s only on the front end. By building a list and building a positive relationship with your subscribers you are building an “on-demand cash machine”.

G. and R. are not fictional, they are affiliate marketing millionaires who I learned from over the past 3 years.

Now let’s talk about you for a while. Should YOU be direct linking?

The answer is: absolutely. Let’s think strategically for a minute:

If you are just starting, or say, if I am going to restart in affiliate marketing here is what I would do: I would pick some offers in different niches and build direct linking campaigns on Yahoo. The advantage of using Yahoo PPC traffic is that it’s not that expensive, and Yahoo doesn’t penalize me for direct linking like Google. The offers that start converting are probably in good niches. I would then start testing other offers in the same niche also by direct linking. If they keep converting then I am in a lucrative market.

From my PPC conversion tracking I would know what keywords are converting into buyers and I start building a website around those keywords. This will serve two purposes:

  1. Focused SEO efforts so that I start generating converting traffic from organic search results for free, and
  2. Get higher quality score on Google Adwords when I buy traffic to this site.

Then I would continue testing new keywords and offers to optimize this campaign while testing other niches the same way I did with the first one.

So direct linking is not dead. It works, and if not profitable at least you get data to build a profitable campaign around.

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