Growth is a common buzzword when we speak of affiliate marketing. But how do you scale your affiliate website? Read on to find out how project management techniques can help you scale your niche site project.
Pro tip: Check out our affiliate marketing glossary
Project management involves a structured way of working on a series of tasks. It helps you and your team to meet specific goals. It helps you to achieve your affiliate related goals within a given timeline.
Project management helps you adapt to circumstances and keeps you on track with your affiliate marketing activities. If you're planning to scale your affiliate website, it can help you build a team of freelancers in a systematic way while bringing the structure to your activities.
As you grow affiliate marketing activities, you will find yourself short of time. Scaling goes hand in hand with outsourcing. But If you want to outsource tasks, you need basic knowledge of your requests before outsourcing them. This will make it easier for you to know what skills you're looking for. It will also give you the chance to evaluate the freelancers' work properly.
Scaling your business and outsourcing multiple tasks is a lot easier when you have proper project management in place. Here are the steps to manage and scale your affiliate business.
There are many project management strategies to choose from. Picking the right project management techniques for your niche website is done by assessing:
In this article we focus on the so-called ‘’Phased Approach” to scale your affiliate website. The phased approach offers an easy to execute project management strategy that leaves room for scaling. This offers an A to Z structure for developing, executing and improving a new niche website. We also cover the S.M.A.R.T method to define your goals.
The phased approach breaks down a project in the following phases
Let's jump into each phase and its points of action!
This is the first phase of developing your niche website. In this stage you define the project on a broad level. The goal is to explore your project and decide if it’s doable or not. For this, affiliate research needs to be done, which includes:
Figure out if your niche is worth pursuing by researching relevant keywords. Check how many searches each keyword has and how difficult it is to rank for keywords. This is related to the amount of backlinks competitors have and the domain authority of high ranking sites in SERP.
Depending on what keyword tool you use, the difficulty to rank for a keyword can be for example displayed in SEO difficulty (Ubersuggest) and Keyword difficulty (Ahrefs). Each keyword tool defines and calculates their metrics in their own way.
Keyword difficulty can give you an indication of how hard it will be to rank for these keywords in your niche. Make a list and get an overview of how much competition there is for the keywords in your niche. Include short and long tail keywords and their search volume.
Research your competitors to find out what content they have created, how high their domain authority is and start defining your opportunities for original content. Check their backlink profile and get an idea of how many backlinks you would need to become relevant in this niche.
Competitor research is also a great opportunity to check affiliate promotions of sites you aspire to be as successful as. This gives you ideas of products to promote and affiliate programs to join. Subscribe to your competitors email lists and follow their Twitter feeds for more ideas.
Reading tip: How to do Keyword Research
Discover affiliate programs available for your niche and how profitable they can be. Find out what affiliate programs and commissions are waiting for you once your site and channels are set up.
Compare multiple affiliate programs in your niche and their commision structure. Do they pay out one time for a referral or do they provide recurring commissions? How much commision percentage does the program offer and what is the price of their products?
These are all questions you need to answer in the initiation phase. How deep you need to go with your research in this phase depends on the scope of the project. Collect all the information you need but don't go overboard. The point of the initiation phase is to collect just enough information to decide whether to take on the project or to go a different route.
If you think your changes of success in the chosen niche are limited, pick another one and start your research from the beginning.
Outline all the activities you plan to do for the next quarter. Create a workflow and note down who is involved to get each activity done. It's a good idea to take a big sheet of paper and start drawing and writing down this process.
Use the S.M.A.R.T method to set your goals. Smart goals help you think of all aspects of your goal. Therefore it prepares you to set a feasible goal for your affiliate business.
S.M.A.R.T goals stand for
S = Specific
Make sure your goal is specific. You can do that by making sure your goal answers the 6 W’s: who, what, when, where, which and why.
Formulate criteria that can measure your success of a goal. For example traffic numbers, referral numbers, number of content pieces published etc.
A= AttainableWrite down in specifics what it takes to achieve your goals.
Make sure your goals are realistic, both in terms of workload and results.
Create a timeframe for each goal.
The S.M.A.R.T method is a great way to formulate the goals of your affiliate project, while getting an overview of all relevant tasks that need to be done.
Here is a brief example of how S.M.A.R.T goals could work for an affiliate website in the health and fitness niche.
For the next three months your goal is to increase traffic to your website in the health and fitness niche. The traffic generated matches your target audience and is therefore relevant to your website. The extra traffic will help generate email sign ups for your weekly health and fitness tips. This will help generate more affiliate referrals from the nutritional supplements mentioned in your newsletter
- measure an increase of 20% of website visitors and an increase in affiliate referrals.
- produce 24 SEO optimized content pieces that drive organic traffic.
- get at least 100 email sign ups through your email pop ups and on site newsletter sign up.
- improve the click through rate of your email content with 10%
- optimizing on site email sign up pop ups with the help of AB testing.
- executing keyword research for content pieces.
- AB testing different headlines and body text for your email campaign.
- desired traffic number, email sign ups and conversions are based on previous site data and earlier projects.
- hire two freelance content creators.
Recruit 2 content managers on freelance platforms. Start keyword research for content pieces.
Wrap up your main keyword research with the help of keyword research tools and Google Trends.
Create AB testing experiments for email content and newsletter sign up forms. Implement changes with the desired outcome on your website.
Create and send a content brief for 2 pieces of content each week for the content creators. Evaluate the content 4 days before publishing, request the needed adjustments.
Reading Tip for SaaS: How to create a partner program for your B2B SaaS
In this phase you create the structure to reach all your goals. Meet with freelancers and people involved. Set up your website structure, email addresses, Paypal accounts and whatever you need to run your business from a structural perspective. Besides your process structure, the most important action here is to find the right people to work with.
Write down all the work tasks you can outsource by freelancers and list the jobs that require more instructions for outsourcing in a later stage.
Start growing your team slowly and hand out trial tasks. If you are happy with the work of a freelancer, give them more jobs that suit their skills.
So what should you outsource as an affiliate marketer?
Well, some commonly outsourced tasks in affiliate marketing are
You can read more about growing your affiliate business with outsourcing in the article: 5 tasks to outsource as an affiliate marketer
Pro tip: Use a platform like Fiverr to outsource your work.
This is the stage in which you execute your activities. Creating a successful niche site project takes time and dedication. Let freelancers do their job and collect outsourced content. Build your team by continuous evaluation. This brings us to the next phase.. If you need more help, see here how to get started, a guide on affiliate marketing).
To grow affiliate marketing, you need to analyse your performance with care. If any part of your strategy is not turning out well, you need to adjust as soon as possible. There are many metrics involved in evaluating your campaigns and growth. Keep a close eye on google analytics and be realistic in your accomplishments.
Set up AB testing experiments to focus on the right metrics and keep improving your traffic and conversions. To find out how to set up your AB experiments, check out this full guide to AB testing for affiliate websites.
Evaluate your outsourced tasks. Ask your team to make adjustments where needed and hire new freelancers if the work is still not up to your expectations. Keep close contact with your team, ask them for feedback. Notice what went well and what can be improved.
After you're done with your project, formulate new goals and start from the beginning. This process will help you grow your affiliate marketing activities, hire more people and scale your success.
For SaaS companies: Why Build a partner program for your SaaS