How to build a high-converting affiliate marketing funnel in 5 steps

11 min

Affiliate marketing has become a lucrative online business model. It allows online marketers to earn passive income from promoting affiliate products or services. Meanwhile, businesses get to leverage the influence of the affiliate marketer to sell more products.

The model’s popularity has been on a steady rise since 2010. Global affiliate marketing spending will reach around $14 billion in 2023. However, as a current or aspiring affiliate marker, you know getting to the point where you can enjoy the industry’s spoils is quite the task. 

One of the main affiliate marketing challenges is converting cold traffic from random leads into customers. The solution is to create a funnel for marketing funnel. Whether you’re an experienced or beginner affiliate marketer, you need a well-crafted affiliate marketing funnel that guides potential buyers all the way to the conversion stage.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to build a high-converting affiliate marketing funnel in five steps.

What is an affiliate marketing funnel?

An affiliate marketing funnel is a strategic process used to convert leads into customers through a series of well-defined steps. 

Though affiliate marketing funnels can differ, the standard funnel is designed around the typical customer journey, which follows the AIDA model, as shown below.

Let’s break down the stages:

  • Awareness stage: Prospective customers become aware of a pain point. While looking for solutions, they find your content discussing potential solutions. 
  • Interest stage: Also, the consideration phase. Leads show their interest in the product. They’ve not yet decided to make a purchase, but know they about it and are considering it. 
  • Desire stage: Prospects have decided they want the product. However, they still need more information to encourage them to make the final purchase. 
  • Action stage: Prospective buyers make the final decision and convert into customers. 

We’ll discuss these steps further throughout the article. But overall, implementing an affiliate marketing funnel helps you convert more cold leads, boosting your affiliate income.

Benefits of the affiliate marketing funnel

Here are the two key benefits of using a high-converting affiliate marketing sales funnel.

Better targeting and segmentation

An affiliate marketing funnel ensures better targeting and segmentation since it lets you tailor your marketing efforts. 

It starts with the thorough audience research you conduct to understand your target audience. This information becomes your foundation for creating content that resonates with your target audience at different stages.

In the awareness stage, you create content that addresses the specific pain point, needs, and interests of your target audience segments. The targeted approach ensures that your message reaches the right people and attracts relevant leads.

As potential customers engage with your content, you capture their information through lead generation techniques like opt-in forms and lead magnets. This information allows you to segment your audience based on their interests or actions. With this audience segmentation, you can deliver targeted affiliate products and boost conversions.

As your leads progress through the conversion stage, you can further refine your targeting and segmentation based on their purchase behavior or engagement. This enables you to tailor your promotions, follow-up emails, and other post-conversion engagement to maximize customer satisfaction and retention. 

Increased conversion rates

A great affiliate marketing funnel will boost conversion rates. It guides potential customers through a series of steps designed to build trust, address objections, and motivate them to take action. 

The earlier funnel stages focus on creating content that educates and engages the target audience. By providing valuable information that addresses their pain points, you establish credibility and trust, making potential customers more receptive to your recommendations. This initial connection makes it easier for you to push them further down the funnel.

In the lead nurturing stage, the affiliate marketers share valuable insights and personalized content that showcases the product’s benefits. You’ll also strengthen the leads’ trust here. Moreover, you help them overcome doubts and hesitation, encouraging most to make purchasing decisions.

Another important aspect of an affiliate marketing funnel is post-conversion engagement. Even after a lead has converted into a customer, the funnel encourages and guides you on how to continue nurturing the relationship and provide value. 

By doing this, the funnel aims to encourage repeat purchases and foster customer loyalty. Repeat customers generate additional commissions and can also become advocates who help increase your reach through word-of-mouth referrals. For example, they can recommend your blog and newsletter to their peers. This gives you a bigger pool of leads.

5 essential steps for building an affiliate marketing funnel

An effective affiliate marketing funnel ensures healthy conversion rates and steady revenue. Follow these five steps to build your own funnel.

1. Create awareness

The first step in building an effective affiliate marketing funnel is creating awareness. As mentioned earlier, this stage involves making your target audience aware of their pain points and introducing them to the potential solutions available out there.

You can start to create awareness by developing high-quality blog posts and articles. Focus on content that resonates with your target audience. Content quality is also crucial. Provide valuable information, actionable insights, and tips to help them understand and overcome their pain points. 

Of course, you want to optimize your content for SEO. That requires running both onsite and offsite search engine optimization campaigns. This will boost your content’s visibility and increase awareness among high-quality leads. 

You can also leverage key social media platforms to build an effective sales funnel and reach a wider audience. Share social media posts and stories on your Instagram, Twitter feed, TikTok, and Facebook. Use resources like Linktree for TikTok and Instagram, as shown below, to capture that traffic.

Also, while you can include an affiliate link in the description box, as shown below, add links that send leads to relevant content on your website. This will help you create awareness and capture leads through opt-in forms.

If you want to reach a larger audience beyond your followers and subscribers, consider paid ads, especially on Facebook and Instagram. However, check your affiliate program’s guidelines to avoid jeopardizing your partnership since some top affiliate programs are strongly against paid ads.

2. Capture leads

The next step is capturing leads generated in the awareness stage. This step mainly involves capturing the potential customers’ information to establish direct communication lines. That helps you to nurture them further toward being customers.

Email opt-in forms are among the most common and effective methods to capture leads. Just place the form strategically on your website. But the forms must not be intrusive or disruptive to the user experience. They also need to be simple and easy to fill out. So only include the necessary fields that are compliant with privacy regulations. 

You can also use newsletter signup landing pages. The landing page should highlight the benefits of subscribing to your newsletter, such as receiving exclusive niche content, updates, and promotions. 

Use persuasive copy and great landing page design with a great headline, CTA, and compelling visuals to encourage website visitors to provide their email addresses and join your mailing list. Check out our guide on some of the best landing page examples for some inspiration.

Additionally, use lead magnets to get your visitors’ contact information. These can be in the form of ebooks, cheat sheets, or templates with substantial value to your target audience. 

The lead magnets should align with your niche and address your potential customer’s pain points. This will encourage them to give their contact information in exchange for that online course or e-book. They’ll also be more receptive to purchasing your affiliate products to resolve their needs. 

Promote your lead magnets across your social channels and website, as shown below, to capture more leads.

Finally, integrate your forms with email marketing software to automate the lead-capturing process. GetResponse, for example, can help you segment your email list from the source and create automated workflows. This helps you run super personalized email marketing campaigns.

Our platform also provides a basic customer relationship management (CRM) system. This makes it easier to segment your leads based on factors like interests and interaction patterns.

Read more: How to build an email list for affiliate marketing

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3. Create a lead-nurturing email series

Once you’ve collected your leads’ contact information, it’s time to get to work! You must nurture your leads through valuable content, lest they go cold. 

A well-crafted email series will do the trick. 

Email marketing plays a pivotal role in the affiliate sales funnel. It allows you to maintain regular communication with your leads as they move through different stages. This will build trust and ultimately guide them toward taking the desired action, such as purchasing or signing up for an affiliate product.

To effectively create your email series, you need first to choose a reliable email marketing automation platform. GetResponse is an excellent example. Our platform provides pre-designed email templates, sequencing, personalization, and custom segmentations. You also get email analytics, making it easier to track the performance of your email series.

Though your email series’ main goal is to sell your affiliate products, you must also provide consistent value to your subscribers. In fact, it’s never a good idea to pitch your affiliate product in the very first email. Instead, start by offering educational content, helpful tips, and industry insights. Then build upon that over time by placing topic-relevant affiliate links in your valuable content. 

It’s also best to follow basic email marketing best practices. Grab your subscribers’ attention with compelling subject lines. Personalize your email and include clear and compelling calls to action that prompt subscribers to take the desired action.

Determining the right frequency and timing to send each email is also important. The right frequency and timing balance may differ for different segments, which is why you need a great email marketing platform. 

GetResponse, for instance, offers a Perfect Timing feature that delivers emails based on subscriber behaviors. This means you send emails at the right time for all segments. You also have access to additional email analytics and engagement metrics, which you can use to inform your email delivery further.

4. Stay in touch with your audience

Building an effective affiliate funnel doesn’t end with converting leads into customers. It’s equally important to stay in touch with your audience even after they make a purchase. Doing this will help foster customer loyalty, encourage repeat purchases, and maximize the potential for recurring affiliate commissions

Create dedicated post-purchase email campaigns. Your campaigns should focus on providing value, building relationships, and recommending additional relevant products. So send relevant blog posts, personalized thank-you emails, surveys to gather feedback, exclusive offers, discount codes, and occasional social proof/success stories.

If you promote your affiliate links on social media, maintain an active presence on your social platforms to stay connected with your audience. This can help you build an engaged community with your audience.

Lastly, remember that staying in touch with your audience is not just about promoting more products. It’s also about nurturing relationships, providing ongoing additional value, and creating positive customer experiences.

5. Monitor and optimize your funnel

Monitoring and optimizing your affiliate marketing funnel is crucial in ensuring its effectiveness and maximizing your conversions. You must analyze each stage in your funnel regularly to identify areas for improvement, optimize your strategies, and enhance your overall results. 

Use tracking tools, like Everflow and Voluum, to get analytics that help you monitor your affiliate marketing campaign at each stage. Some key metrics to track include website traffic, click-through rates, open rates, conversion rates, and bounce rates. This data will help you identify the sources bringing in the most traffic and affiliate conversions, from your opt-in forms to social media, affiliate landing pages, and email series. 

Also, use the data to analyze your visitors’ behavior throughout the funnel. For example, what are your funnel’s bottlenecks, and what points are most converting? This will help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your funnel and guide your optimization efforts.

Use A/B testing for different variations of your website design, landing pages, and email campaigns to determine the best-performing elements. Test and optimize your headlines, design layouts, visuals, and action buttons.

Staying updated on industry trends and best funnel practices is also vital. Attend webinars and conferences, or join online communities to gain insights from experts and fellow affiliate marketers.

In closing

An affiliate marketing funnel presents one of the best ways to increase your earning potential. It helps you capture more leads, including those not yet ready to place an order. Moreover, it allows you to build lasting relationships with the leads. This opens the door for increased recurring commissions. 

This article shared the five steps for building an effective funnel for affiliate marketing. First, create awareness, capture the leads, and deploy a lead-nurturing email series. Make sure to stay in touch with the leads post-purchase. Finally, monitor your funnel closely and optimize it.

Follow these steps, and you’ll see your affiliate revenue grow over time. All the best!

Want to take your affiliate business to the next level? Check out this webinar where Benet Marcos shares his best tactics on how to elevate your affiliate sales.

Zilahy Máté
Zilahy Máté
Máté is a Content Partnerships Manager at GetResponse, where he manages relationships with content partners and develops new content initiatives that drive engagement and lead generation. In his role, he works closely with the marketing team to identify opportunities for collaboration and ensure that the company's content offerings align with its marketing strategy.