How Does Mind Mapping Help Digital Marketer?
A great project starts from a small idea. However, if we do not write them down, they will be forgotten. The mind map solves it, and that’s why Vlad, our guest today, loves it.
Vlad Falin is a seasoned digital marketer with 10-year experience in affiliate marketing. He talks about his first step in this industry, experience with the use of mind maps, tips on how to use mind maps in affiliate marketing. The best part is, we develop an affiliate marketing mind map together and it is helpful for fresh beginners.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a full-time digital marketer writing about my experience with online business and reviewing online digital tools on my blog Costofincome.
I started with affiliate marketing around 10 years ago. My first tryouts were with some niche blogs and membership sites. Then it was traffic arbitrage and social media marketing, and that led me to email marketing which I did for several years.
In the last couple of years, I was running CostOfIncome as a testing blog for various content and ideas, and in mid-2020 I decided to focus it on digital marketing.
Through the years I had gathered a lot of experience in this field and wanted to create a resource where I could leverage it.
What do you use mind maps for?
Mostly, to not forget stuff.
In affiliate marketing, the things that are on the surface are easily identifiable by everybody. The competition is strong on those. To get some good starting results, you have to look one or two levels under.
To do so, you just need to brainstorm some niche keywords or unusual ways to approach things. I tried writing things down, doing voice recordings...but that did not really work.
What worked well for me was having a tool like XMind. Clean and easy to use, you can create various ideas and branch them out without losing the trail of thought.
So, nowadays I usually use mind maps for a more creative type of work. For example, if I want to start my content in a particular niche, I would start building a mind map and later trim it. What is left will be my starting point and many ideas that I have to bring to life.
How long have you been mind mapping?
I would say for roughly 3 years and very actively for the last year and a half.
When tackling a smaller project, you may think that you do not need it. But when you are planning a bigger endeavor which will take you many months, maybe years to complete — you will want to make sure that you thought of everything.
So creating a small mind map to encompass all your ideas, findings from other pages and research is quite helpful. Also, as I’ve said, you are planning for the long run.
As a veteran in affiliate marketing, what is your understanding of affiliate marketing?
Choose a product, drive traffic to it. Yep, that’s it.
Affiliate is a growing industry with a very low barrier of entry but competitive environment. Adding the recent events and digitalization of the businesses affiliate marketing is the place to be at. It seems simple at the first sight, when you start to get into it, the number of combinations and options may be overwhelming which makes it hard to master.
But this over-simplification is the same as saying that chess is just moving figures forward. There is an array of questions to answer when you are getting started. Make sure you brainstormed all the possible angles of your digital marketing endeavor is to prepare a quick mind map.
We will go further on affiliate marketing with Vlad. Let’s create and develop a mind map with Vlad’s understanding together, and see what we get at last.
I’ve divided affiliate marketing into four basic parts: Niche, Traffic, Content, and Website.
Let’s start with the niche.
Niche is a segment of the market where you plan to earn your commissions.
You want to know where and how you will make a profit and build everything with that goal in mind. We are not talking about a personal “just for fun” blog. So knowing where the money is, is essential.
When choosing a niche, you can choose by Interest, Demand, Competition.
By Interest There are areas that you know a lot about or just have fun with. For example, if you like golf, I have great news for you as it is one of the most profitable niches.
There are more examples of great niches that you might be interested in personally, but it is important to keep in mind one thing — is there a market for it?
Let’s look at this mind map with 2 niches comparison as an example.
Here is the dilemma:
Be in an easy, unsaturated market but with very low-income potential? _Or fight for a piece of a much bigger and profitable market? _
I would go for the second option, but the best answer is probably somewhere in between. It is great if the profitable niche aligns with your interests, but go where the money is.
New trends are appearing each day. The fact is that over 15% of daily searches on Google have never been seen before. Have a look at Google Trends and see if there are topics that are picking up.
Digital marketing is a very active space, usually, the demand gets saturated quickly which indicates money to be made there.
When analyzing potential niches, you might want to have a look at the top pages for that niche. These are the questions you can consider first.
Check out the top content and know that you could do it much better. All these things come into consideration when deciding on the niche.
The holy grail :)
This is a great way to decide between 3 niches that you like. You can just have a look at the variety of affiliate programs in that field and chose the niche that could potentially make you the most.
The final decision on the niche will be influenced by some later points in our article. For now, we can put down a quick mind map to keep are thoughts lined up.
Next, w Traffic.
At this point, you may already have a couple of ideas of niches that you would like to further develop. You found that a nice balance between a wide market, good profitability, and also your interest in the topic.
We have an offer. Now we have to get visitors to it, how do we brainstorm that?
When somebody says organic, you will mostly think of Google, and you will be correct. Google concentrates over 90% of global search traffic, and yes, SEO = Google.
You will soon discover that organic traffic will take quite some time to get. Usually, at least 6 months of hard work before you start seeing any results at all.
That is why paid ads are so popular — because they get you immediate results. You can get paid ads on every platform and that is how they make money. Of course, your net profit will be smaller, as you will have to pay for the clicks. Additionally, you should put budget aside for testing.
There is a saying that “money is in the list”, meant email list.
Emailing is a fantastic tool that provides outstanding sales engagement opportunities. There are many intricacies to email marketing, and a list of loyal followers to email is just a matter of time if you’re just starting.
You can build your email list through various methods, that we will list in the following points. If you think that emailing is technically challenging, there is a huge variety of email marketing services that you need to get going.
Social media are now much more than Facebook. On these platforms, you have the opportunity for both paid and organic clicks.
We also can’t forget the shares that are on social media. If you manage to create something interesting, you may receive some viral traffic right to your offer.
One additional thing to consider is shoutouts. We can count them also as paid clicks, but rather than doing it through the ad platform of the particular social media, you connect directly with the influencer. You compile a list of such contact and outreach to them. Then you negotiate the price directly and communicate your ad to their audience.
Another piece of the puzzle to your traffic is the referral contest. This type of promotion can quickly drive loyal followers to your page and social media channels.
As the name suggests, you pick a prize (it does not have to be anything expensive) and create a contest. To compete for the prize, the audience has to subscribe, share, or follow — creating a viral aspect to this strategy.
This approach can for example be done to build your email list and draw traffic from there.
In the digital world, it is said that “content is the king” if we would take it one level higher it would be “traffic is the king”. If you have a stream of quality traffic, you will always be able to monetize.
Let’s move on, where will all this traffic go? It’s the website.
Brick and mortar shops have addresses and so should your digital business.
Since you already have a couple of ideas concerning the niche (or several niches) now will be a good time to think about the proper domain name. **Make sure that is always a .com domain. **
The domain you will choose should reflect the nature of the content of your site. We will get to content in more detail in further parts of the post.
Self Hosted or Not Always self-hosted. Make sure that you completely own the domain and the content that you put on it. It will give you full control of the project that you will invest a lot in and require minimal technical knowledge.
WordPress or Alternatives
WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for a website, it is used on over 35% of all websites. So if you are starting, it is one of the best options to go with. All the hosting companies offer a quick install, so you can have your site up and running in 30 minutes.
There are many themes available to fit your niche and affiliate marketing goals, or you can use a landing page builder (simply drag and drop) to make sure that your visuals and function are perfect.
For this part, we can also create a note to keep in mind everything that should be done. Of course, this just shows the first few levels. If you’re thinking about domain names, there will be more ideas under that category.
Finally, this is the last piece of the puzzle that will tie everything together — the Content.
People who are looking to buy something like to compare their options online. That is why review sites are so popular. Probably all of us landed on the “best mobile phone under XY” or similar sites.
Or, maybe you would prefer to give the site a more personal touch and make a personal blog out of it. Personal blogs have better engagement as users can connect with you and a more emotional level.
If we stayed on the surface, here are some ideas for an overall content theme. Usually, it will be a combination of all. Though it is important to note that it is a good idea to choose your overall content theme at the beginning so you do not have to change it mid-way.
Does mind mapping benefit Affiliate Marketing?
As you can see, we just scratched the surface of the main aspects of starting in affiliate marketing, and we already have this:
And those are just some basic thoughts. There is much more we could go several levels into depth just to keep a note of all the ideas.
Use this simple mind mapping techniques to keep track of all the interesting notes, snippets, and ideas that you will have during your affiliate marketing research.
The ideas that you will not write down, will be forgotten. They will become an “unknown”. Mind maps stop this from happening. Just make hat though spider as big as possible, write every silly thing that comes in handy. Save it, and then you can trim down things that are not usable.
Suggestion to the green hands to digital marketer?
Some problems may seem too big to solve. When you look at all those established websites, you might think that it is not possible to achieve that level of success. That is not true, everybody started at point 0.
Affiliate marketing is about testing, failing and testing, and failing until one day, all the pieces of the puzzle form a perfect picture and it works. Chasing that moment is what keeps many of the digital marketers going.