Outsourcing is a great way to make money from affiliate marketing. Thanks to the internet, it’s possible to outsource jobs you either don’t want to do or don’t have the skills for, and make massive profits at the same time. You could make up to 90% profit by doing just 10% of the work.
In simple terms, outsourcing reduces costs, saves time and improves efficiency by using outside suppliers to deliver certain services or goods. Thanks to the power of internet, you can easily tap into a global pool of suppliers or freelancers.
To help the process of outsourcing run smoothly, you’ll also find that there’s a range of service websites available that serve to manage and protect both you and the freelancer when working on projects together.
But before we jump into the finer details of outsourcing, let’s start at the beginning and look at the big question of why outsourcing could be so good for your affiliate business.
WHY SHOULD YOU OUTSOURCE?
There could be several reasons depending on your situation, but here are the two key ones: firstly, you may need someone to perform a task that you either don’t want to do, or can’t do, for example not everyone is a writer or a programmer. A second common reason would be to scale up your business to help you grow faster.
A further benefit is that due to the global marketplace, outsourcing could be two to three times cheaper than getting someone local to do the work for you, and up to ten times cheaper than opting for a company to do the job. If you have deep pockets loaded with money, hiring an expensive agency that charges six figures a month may be the right option for you. But if you’re just starting out, then you have to play some smart cards.
Additionally, you’ll have access to a wider range of talent – you could hire a top-level designer from Argentina, a programmer from Russia or a video editor from Canada. If they can deliver, then why not?
Look at it from a business point of view. A business needs workers to get the jobs done and to help it develop, so this is a way of hiring the ‘workers’ without all the regular hassle that bricks and mortar businesses have to go through.
Now that we’ve listed the key reasons of ‘why?’ let’s look at an even bigger question:
WHAT CAN YOU OUTSOURCE?
Great question! In one word – everything!
Need a fitness specialist that writes for Bodybuilding.com to contribute to your website? Easy! You can find one through outsourcing. Need to carry out keyword research in Italian? Consider it done. Need an e-book written on gardening? Sorted. Constant new content for your new website? Not a problem.
To give you some more practical ideas, here is a list of common tasks you could outsource.
For the majority of affiliates this will comprise 80-90% of outsourcing projects. Content is king; unique, well-written, interesting, detailed, factual and well-researched content is king of kings!
Over the years, consumers have evolved and have learned how to use the internet more skilfully. They’re now able to distinguish between short filler content with useless banners and solid fact-based content that is trustworthy.
They same goes for search engines – especially Google. Google is far more responsive to consumer needs, so if your content is short while your top three competitors have massively detailed articles, then, you’ve guessed it – you won’t get much of that sweet free traffic from Mother Google. And why should you? There are probably millions of pages with similar amounts of useless content on the same topic.
Also, let’s not forget about the frequency of updating your content – the more often, the better. The world is changing and your website needs to keep up by releasing new content on a regular basis.
This is where outsourcing content really helps. You can hire someone who knows your topics, has written about them for a while, and won’t run out of ideas at the start of the second article. While opinion on frequency is subject to debate, producing a solid article once a week would be a good start for long-term website success.
If your content is solid, within a year you’ll have a substantial 50-plus page website. While this won’t make you a millionaire, it should start attracting some attention from Google and visitors.
The bottom line is – if you can’t write or need more content – outsource it!
If you’re one of those who still thinks that adding a banner to your site will make you lots of money, then I’m going to have to disappoint you – you need product reviews instead. A product review will educate visitors and answer their potential questions. In effect, you’re pre-selling to potential customers before linking them to the promoted merchant’s site. In turn, they are more likely to pay you back by converting into paying customers!
Employing an experienced product review writer can pay off big time. As affiliate marketing has bloomed over the last five to seven years, so has the freelancer market, and many of them have worked on product reviews – from Amazon reviews to all kinds of electronic product analysis and tests. So there will for sure, be quite a few for you to choose from.
While product reviews might often be more expensive to outsource than regular content, you have to remember that they could make up a large part of your revenue.
This is big thing when it comes to increasing revenue. Imagine you have website that’s making you money, why not do some research to see if you could double your income by translating your site into another language? Often websites in non-English languages have a lot less competition, meaning they are more easily accessible to fresh customers, which should provide more commissions.
As always, do some research. You need to ensure that your merchant can ship their products to the country you’re targeting, and that the country has the buying power. Average income levels may be a factor here, or there may be other restrictions. For example, Norway is tough on supplement imports, and although Latin America has a huge population, the average income is low meaning many products may be too expensive.
Your best friends for this research are your affiliate management team. Be sure to chat with them and discuss your ideas before you jump in. Also, there will be lots of data available in your affiliate niche, for example you could find out the top-selling countries for a particular brand to get some ideas going.
You will be pleased to know that you can outsource pretty much any research job. This can range from simple tasks such as keyword research, through to market research in different languages and competitor research, all the way through to scientific research carried out by experienced professionals.
That’s right, many freelancers are pros in their fields and ready to help you with your job. It might take some patience to find the right one when it comes to skill and price, but there’s sure to be an option to get the job done. Although remember: do your research before awarding the project – don’t just hire the first person you come across.
As sad as it sounds, there are lots of people who are not great when it comes to punctuation and grammar. If you’re one of them, having a proofreader can make a huge difference. This also applies if you aren’t native in the language you’re using, in which case having a professional proofreader to check over your work can be a sensible investment.
Geographically targeted content
Do you live in the UK, but want to target Australian consumers? Yeah, Australia – the other side of the planet where they ‘walk on their heads’! Well you can target them.
If you want to reach Australian surfers, it is best to find someone who knows a thing or two about surfing, and also lives on an Australian beach. If you target Canada, it makes sense to choose a Canadian writer rather than one from Jamaica or Cuba who probably knows little about snow and sub-zero temperatures. You can find freelancers from anywhere around the world – you just need to pick the right one for your project.
If you have read our email marketing guide then you might be interested in sourcing an e-book to use as a lead magnet for your email campaigns. Again, great news – you can find a range of writers with various skills, from nutritionists and fitness experts, to photo enthusiasts and wine tasting experts, all of them happy to write an e-book for you or even produce a video tutorial (more on video outsourcing below).
Set a topic, give a detailed description, perhaps throw in some example e-books that you like, and you should be good to go on an e-book writer hunt. Also, if you’re not too worried about having completely unique e-book content, you might consider Private Label Rights (PLR) products – there are plenty of e-books you can rebrand and use for your own marketing.
Another tip is to acquire a PRL product and have a freelancer customise it in line with your branding and style as this could work out cheaper than producing your own.
Oh, boy! How many people to this day confuse content writing with copywriting. They’re like day and night – two completely separate things.
If we compare the two to the TV world then TV shows, for example Game of Thrones or Vikings would be the content. And the stuff you see in-between – the ads during the break – would constitute copywriting or sales copy. I hope that’s made it clearer!
Simply put, copywriting is content that aims to sell you something. It can be the newest and latest diet programme, a movie you can rent from your TV provider, a new anti-wrinkle cream, or a holiday in Orlando.
Its purpose is to get you to buy something. In fact sometimes it can even involve selling you something for ‘free’ like an obligation-free brochure. You might say, “but that is free” and you’d be right – up to a point. But once you’ve signed up, the company will be able to follow up and sell you something at a later date. Clever, isn’t it! This makes complete sense when you’re the ‘seller’ or an affiliate trying to sell something.
Finding an expert who can connect the product to your potential customers’ needs is often what makes or breaks the deal when it comes to maximising income from your efforts. That said, not all of your content necessarily needs to be produced by a copywriter, but you may feel that some key parts of your site such as sales pages, or email sales follow-ups require the professional treatment.
The production of effective sales emails is one of the main areas where a copywriter’s services may be of most value. Once someone has signed up to your email list, some well-crafted and strategically timed emails can then do the sales work – 24/7.
For example, if you run a weight loss website and offer a diet tips e-book as an incentive to sign up to your newsletter, then a copywriter could produce a chain of emails aimed at closing the sale for you. They would need to analyse your market and know what information visitors to your site are seeking, and then provide copy that resolves these issues through recommending a product. So if someone struggles with a large appetite, then perhaps an appetite suppressant product could be recommended, and so on.
click here for our detailed email marketing guide
If you’re going to have a go at designing and producing your own website, there are many templates and themes available from all kinds of web content platforms – Joomla and WordPress being just two examples. But it could be that you require a totally unique design or at least want some parts of the site customised for your particular business. In which case, outsource it. Put the spec and details together, and see if you can get the right freelancer at the right price.
This is pretty self-explanatory – just prepare a brief detailing your specific requirements and copy for your custom-made banners. It may help to provide some sample banners too.
Graphic design is another obvious contender for outsourcing. Whether it’s a logo, custom header or menu it can all be outsourced from the comfort of your computer. For some jobs location will be important, but for others you can grab talent from across the globe often allowing you to access an overseas professional designer at a much cheaper rate. As they say – if the result is the same (or better!) why pay more!
You’ve probably heard the saying, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ – this could apply to your written content as well!
You’ve written some great content, but it’s a bit text heavy and there’s a lot to read through. Why not to turn it into a professionally designed, well-formatted e-book? The addition of colour, graphics and pictures will bring your words to life, and depending on your budget you may even be able to achieve a magazine-quality finish. Well-presented information makes a greater impact on the reader, not least because the content itself is easier to read and digest.
Don’t forget to ask for a 3-D cover render so you can use it on your website or social channels to demonstrate value. This should allow you to lure even more prospects to your site.
This is another really useful resource. Imagine you’ve made a pretty neat video with images and text; then think how much better it would be if it were presented by a friendly and trustworthy voice. The good news is – this can be outsourced too. Male, female, teenagers or even a creepy sounding Hollywood gangster – chances are, you can find it and outsource it online. A good site for voice talent is: https://www.voices.com/
If you’re totally new to video production and editing, don’t worry, this is yet another specialist service that affiliates can outsource. A video expert will produce the whole thing including cutting and gluing it all together and timing the voice-over with your slides. They can introduce cool video effects for intros and outros, various transition effects and captions.
You can also source a specialist to produce your video content. Need some ideas? How about a tutorial on juicing for weight loss? Or maybe one on building muscle for skinny guys mentioning suitable supplements available on MoreNiche. The sky’s the limit!
If a picture is worth a thousand words then maybe a video is worth a thousand pictures. Pair it with a well-respected reviewer and your sales should go up.
While this service isn’t as straightforward to outsource as some of previously mentioned ones, there are some tricks you can use.
Ideally you would send the reviewer the actual product so they can display it while discussing it on the video. It’s obviously going to be easier with small, cheaper items – imagine sending ten bicycles for a review; the price for shipping alone would be astronomical!
The hack here is simple: have a video of the person reviewing the product running alongside a video displaying the product itself. While not quite so effective, it will cost a lot less than providing the reviewer with the actual item. This can be a very effective marketing tool and some affiliates manage to rely almost exclusively on video production.
A sales video is exactly what it says. It’s a video that sells. There are several applications for this, for example you can enhance your review with a quick two to three-minute recap of the product.
Alternatively an entire review could be produced on video. Using video exclusively has its advantages and disadvantages. Key benefits are that more and more people are watching videos online so if yours is interesting and to the point, you could have more success in getting people to listen to your ‘message’. On the other hand, people still love to ‘skim’ text, picking out the sections or areas that they are most interested in.
Another possibility if you use email marketing in your arsenal is to send out emails with links to video-based product reviews and to sales-based text and reviews. There will be some on your mailing list who’ll favour video and some who’ll prefer reading, and this way you’ll be able to maximise your income by appealing to both.
Whatever you decide on, you won’t have a problem outsourcing the video talent you need.
Programming is another huge area in the outsourcing world, so if you ever need a custom plugin or extra functionality, you can be sure there’s someone who can do the job quickly and at a reasonable price. Sounds a lot better than spending months learning programming yourself, right? I’ll stop here, as this subject is worth a couple of articles, but rest assured that if you need a programmer for scripts, plugins or some cool tool, you can outsource it.
WHERE TO FIND THESE FREELANCERS?
You can hire them individually through job boards or you can use websites that specialise in attracting freelancers who have a variety of skills. These sites also provide a secure platform for organising contracts and payments.
Here are some popular sites worth looking at:
There are many more, but these are some of the best ones for outsourcing a freelancer. As you will see, some are quite general while others are more specific and focus on particular specialties.
Sign up to the two or three that seem most relevant and have a look around at previously completed jobs to assess the level of talent that’s available.
Posting your job
You’ll need to sign up and prepare a profile and once that’s done you can start preparing your job description.
General description: It’s important to write a full and clear description, including links to examples, screen-shots and even hard-to-find sources of research – anything that will help to make the job easier for the freelancer and ensure the project stays on course. The more accurately you describe the project, the more chance you have of attracting the right talent.
Here is an example of two descriptions for the same job:
- Weight loss content
- American fitness professional required to write ‘7-day diet plan’ (3000 words)
The second one is much more descriptive and sets clearer expectations. It defines the area of expertise required, the nature of the project and the specific details.
Project details: Explain here in more detail exactly who and what you’re seeking, i.e. the specific project details, the level of expertise required, the time frame and so on. When you’ve finished and you’ve reread your job posting, it’s time to post it and wait for freelancers to respond.
You may have responses within a matter of hours depending on the popularity of the task and the volume of freelancers browsing at the time. For instance, translation jobs always receive a lot of applications and you could find yourself choosing from dozens of writers. On the other hand, it might be one or two weeks before a more complex medical research project attracts a response from medical professionals.
How to pick a freelancer?
Different platforms have different ways of presenting freelancers’ details. For example, Fiverr shows how many ‘gigs’ people have had, and by clicking on them you can read what outsourcers say about their performance.
Some freelancers have racked up more work hours and receive better feedback than others, so the statistics are helpful in determining who may be more likely to understand your particular requirements.
You can see below how Upwork displays its freelancer information.
Depending on your budget, you might choose someone with apparently less experience, but be careful and check that they appear competent; it may just be that they’re new to the platform and have yet to build a portfolio of projects on there.
Once you think you have the right candidate, have a chat with them. Most platforms offer some sort of messaging system. Use it to your advantage to filter out people who are a bad fit for the project, and to gain extra confidence in those who seem to understand the task and fit in with your vision.
Quick tip: If you posted a job for ‘5 weight loss articles’ and a freelancer who replies has written articles on accounting, forex and sheep breeding, it’s clear they either haven’t read your post properly or they send a standard and irrelevant reply to all posts. Avoid these.
How much should you pay?
This will depend on the project and the availability of freelancers. As a simple rule of thumb, the bigger the project, the more expensive it is likely to be. The same applies to complexity. Metaphysics research will cost you a lot more than a simple blog post.
If a provider is a bit over your budget but generally fits the bill, don’t dismiss the possibility of obtaining a discount. After all, you’re the one who is paying so there’s probably room to negotiate.
You can expect to receive a discount on multiple items. For example, an article of two thousand words might cost $$$, but if you agree to source five with the same writer provided the first one is satisfactory, you are likely to be able to negotiate some sort of discount.
The return on your investment
While affiliate marketing is enjoyable, it is also a business and outsourcing should be viewed as an investment, particularly a long-term one.
Say the cost of a one thousand-word article is $20, one commission payment from MoreNiche will easily cover this (it may even pay for multiple jobs). If your article generates one sale per month, that’s $240 made in one year. Not a massive profit, but if you publish 20, 30, 50 articles then it starts to make a lot more sense.
Below are some simple graphs that demonstrate the characteristics of successful versus failing content.
The more content you publish, the more visible you will become and this will increase the likelihood of visitors and sales.
Another factor is article length. A longer article should produce more interest and sales than a short one.
And another key to success is frequency. Many affiliates will publish two or three articles on week 1 and then come back a year later complaining they are not making any money. Successful affiliates publish at least one article per week (depending on the market they are in). So get ready for some serious content production – be it written or video.
So outsourcing for affiliates is a win-win situation. If you let the freelancers do the work, you can make valuable improvements to your website and marketing content while increasing sales and boosting profits at the same time.