Using AI in affiliate marketing

FEBRUARY 18, 2024 AFFILIATE MARKETING CASES
Using AI in affiliate marketing
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Artificial intelligence has become a full-fledged tool that is important for affiliate marketing. It can come up with creative materials and landing pages, generate deepfake videos, and communicate like a real person. This means it can be integrated into sales funnels.

Let's find out what an AI-powered automatic sales funnel is, how it works, and where and how it can be applied. We also spoke to affiliate marketing specialists about implementing AI in their business processes.

Table of contents

What is an automatic sales funnel and how does it work?

A sales funnel is a scenario that a customer goes through before making a purchase of a product or service. An automatic funnel (autofunnel) works in the same way, but without the involvement of a manager: you don’t need to call or send messages to the customer, their desire to buy the product is maintained automatically.

Autofunnels are very popular in the information business. Let's see how the classic auto-funnel works with a lead magnet, tripwire, and core product.

Lead magnet

Let's say Mike is a farmer from Texas. Mike has cows, and each cow produces 10 liters of milk per day. While his wife is milking the cows, Mike is browsing the Internet. One day, he comes across an ad: “Is your cow yielding 10 liters of milk a day? Download a free checklist on how to reach 15 liters daily!”.

Mike goes to the landing page and learns that to access this material, he needs to message the Telegram bot of the Golden Cow channel. Mike subscribes to it, and the bot sends him his well-deserved checklist. From it, the farmer learns how to properly care for the cow and the importance of its mental well-being.

This checklist is Mike's first interaction in the 'Golden Cow' funnel. Such a free product, exchanged for the customer's contact information, is called a lead magnet.

Tripwire

Next in the funnel is the tripwire, a cheap but comprehensive product designed to strengthen the relationship with the customer and facilitate their first transaction. Here's how it happens:
Mike logs onto Telegram and discovers that the Golden Cow bot now has a new exclusive offer, a video tutorial on cow psychology. This tutorial promises to double milk production and is available for just $3 for new subscribers.

As Mike already understands the importance of the cow's mental health from the checklist, he decides without hesitation to purchase the video tutorial. From the tutorial, he learns that:
  • Cows need to be hugged frequently and extensively.
  • If cows aren't hugged, they may stop producing milk.
  • The tutorial is presented by Jack the Farmer, a cow expert and the owner of the Golden Cow channel.
  • All other crucial information is available in the course 'Tons of Milk per Cow per Day.'
  • There is currently an 85% discount on the course. If not purchased within a week, the discount will expire.
Mike realizes that he urgently needs this course.

Core product

Now the properly prepared Texan can barely keep up with the enticing newsletter from the chatbot. He sits on the fence for some time, but finally purchases the course from a coach in cow psychology that contains 7 checklists and 120 video tutorials, all for $800.

Questions to experts who already use AI

To explore the possibility of integrating AI into sales funnels, we interviewed specialists from three different fields: a businessman, a marketing specialist, an affiliate marketer, and a representative from a company specializing in the implementation of AI technologies in business:
Pavel, businessman, marketing specialist, owner of Presnyakov Marketing.

Artem, co-owner of SaleKit, implements AI-driven business solutions.

Vlad, CEO of Deus.Vision, a part of ZM team, and Olga, author of WTFisCPA.

What do you use AI for?

Artem: We specialize in implementing AI in business, primarily for automating sales department processes. However, we've also worked in other areas, such as automating accounting, marketing operations, and many more. Most frequently, we work with computer vision and generative AI.

Computer vision is an algorithm capable of classifying objects in photos and videos. For instance, a computer vision algorithm is essential for quality control of materials in manufacturing.

We use generative AI, like ChatGPT and Midjourney, for the following:
  • Generating various hypotheses and facilitating brainstorming sessions; training AI to create content based on an author's style, adhering to the Tone of Voice (ToV) of an expert or company.
  • Crafting concepts for landing pages, logos, and presentations.
  • Analyzing large datasets – for example, using the ChatGPT plugin for Excel. It can analyze large spreadsheets, locate specific information, and present it in a structured manner.
Currently, we are developing several AI-based sales tools:
  • A service for call quality control. Calls are automatically transcribed, a neural network evaluates them based on specific criteria, draws conclusions, and assigns a rating on a 10-point scale. Here is an example of call transcription and analysis:

Call transcription

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Manager: Artem. Client: Georgiy.
Client: Hello.
Manager: Hello. Is this ***** company?
Client: Yes, that's correct.
Manager: My name is Artem, from ***** company. Who can I talk to about advertising?
Client: You can talk to me, I'm Georgiy.
Manager: Nice to meet you, Georgiy. We provide comprehensive services for websites, including website development, promotion, and design elements like logos and animations. Can we be of assistance to your company in these areas?
Client: How much does your simplest website cost?
Manager: Starting from $1000.
Client: How much?
Manager: Our simplest website starts from $1000.
Client: Okay. What's included in $1000?
Manager: It will be a single-page website. I can send you a full price list via email; perhaps something will catch your eye.
Client: Let's do that.
Manager: I'll note down your email.
Client: *******, no spaces, at, gmail, dot, com.
Manager: Alright. We'll send you the information. Would it be convenient for you if our specialists got in touch with you in the coming days for a more detailed discussion?
Client: Okay. Well, not before Friday.
Manager: On Friday, before or after lunch?
Client: Better after lunch.
Manager: Alright. Then until Friday. Have a good day! Goodbye.
Client: Goodbye.
Quality control
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1. Did the manager address the client by name? How many times?
The manager addressed the client by name once. He said: "Nice to meet you, Georgiy."
2. Did the manager introduce themselves? What did they say?
The manager introduced themselves as Artem from the ***** company. They said: "My name is Artem, from ***** company."
3. How many qualifying questions did the manager ask?
The manager asked one qualifying question, asking who they could speak to about advertising. They asked: "Who can I talk to about advertising?"
4. Did the manager talk about available services?
Yes, the manager talked about comprehensive services related to website development, including website development, designing elements, logos, animations, and promotion. They said: "We provide comprehensive services for websites, including website development, promotion, and design elements like logos and animations. Can we be of assistance to your company in these areas, Georgiy?"
5. Did the manager mention the cost?
Yes, the manager mentioned the cost, stating that the simplest website starts from $1000. They said: "Starting from $1000."
6. Did the manager speak to a decision-maker?
It is unclear from the text whether there are decision-makers present. However, the manager communicates directly with the client Georgiy, and it's not specified if there is a third party making decisions. As the manager was instructed to talk to a decision-maker, this is a potential mistake.
7. What was the manager's mood during the conversation? Friendly or rude?
The manager was friendly. They behaved courteously, greeted the client politely, and used the phrase "Nice to meet you" during the introduction, maintaining politeness throughout the conversation.
Important Information for the Sales Department Head
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1. In this conversation, the manager forgot to mention the ongoing promotions.
2. The manager only briefly mentioned the cost of services without providing details.
3. The manager addressed the client by their name only once.
4. The manager did not set a clear time for the next call or meeting.
Evaluation of the Call
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Communication Quality:
  • clear and articulate speech – 1 / 1;
  • greeting the client according to corporate standards – 0 / 2;
  • addressing the client by their name – 1 / 2;
  • engaging in a dialogue and taking initiative in a sales-driving manner – 2 / 4.
  • A service for CRM System Autofill. AI fills in client cards to save a manager's time.
  • AI-powered chatbot that communicates on behalf of the manager and enhances communication engagement.

Pavel: We use AI to create advertising creative materials. It's a new thing that effectively breaks through banner blindness. For example, we process my own photos in MidJourney or simply generate a ginger cat.
We use AI to create advertising creative materials
We also use AI as a lead magnet: we have a ChatGPT bot, and we openly advertise this. When people see that they can create a content plan and write posts using AI, they subscribe, the cost per lead becomes 3 to 4 times cheaper.

Regarding content creation using AI, the answer is no. I'll put it this way: I write well, AI writes worse than me. But there are many entrepreneurs around who either can't or don't want to create content — here, AI will definitely come in handy.

Olga: Each department uses AI differently. The most popular functions are:
  1. Quick information search. This is not only ChatGPT, but also services like Perplexity AI, an AI-powered search engine. Perplexity formulates a direct answer to a question and provides links to relevant sources.
  2. Making creative materials and designs. AI art in creatives and designs is a must-have nowadays. With AI, you can quickly, and sometimes even for free, get what you need.
  3. If you're not using ChatGPT and its plugins yet, be sure to start. After subscribing and installing plugins, you can get not only information but also images, voiceovers, and much more.
  4. Upscaling and image generation. Here everything is clear: AI performs these tasks well, but not perfectly; some human tweaking will be needed. I recommend sticking to basic recommendations: avoid using "not," choose simpler words, and use resources like arthub.ai to find prompts: this will help achieve better results.
  5. Generative filling. This is a cool Photoshop AI-powered function: in a couple of clicks it can complete an image, remove or add an object, and it turns out not bad at all. The future has come.
  6. Text-to-speech and synchronization with a speaker. This is a highly demanded feature for affiliate marketing. If done well, your creatives will have higher trust levels. For example, Wav2Lip can help with this.
  7. Video creative material localization: translation, voiceover in a new language, and lip syncing. Here, Video Translate from Heygen Labs or Captions can help. The latter even has the Eye Contact feature that maintains the character's gaze.
  8. Avatar creation. With it, you can create many conversational expert videos without human involvement. The quality is so good that AI has already started making its way into Instagram. You can find it here.
  9. Deepfake creation. Not great, not terrible; find a good example here.

Vlad: We actively use AI for:
  • Searching for information;
  • Generating emotional voices;
  • Adapting lip movements of characters to neuro-voices;
  • Generating designs for applications, push notifications, and push texts.

Did you integrate an AI bot into the sales funnel?

Artem: Yes. The AI bot writes detailed, accurate, and vivid messages that increase conversion. AI always knows the context of the conversation it had with the client, in contrast to a manager who needs to read the entire dialogue before responding. The AI is integrated with the CRM system, so it can pull customer data from there and communicate anywhere: on Telegram, WhatsApp, and other social media.

Moreover, AI simplifies the manager's work: the bot helps insert a presumed message into the typing line. The specialist then can either edit it or send it right away as is.
The most important thing is that the bot responds almost instantly—the client doesn't go to competitors and is converted into a purchase faster.

Pavel: No. However, AI has become part of our funnel: it helps our clients create content. For example, people often struggle to come up with a lead magnet, and AI helps them create it.

Does AI increase conversion compared to human interaction?

Artem: Yes, it does. Over the past two months, our conversion rates have increased by 20%. I see three main reasons for this:
  1. Response speed increase. For example, when a person is looking for something, they enter a query and talk to all the companies they like. We act proactively: the client doesn't have time to turn to competitors.
  2. The bot responds to all messages in detail, using all the information it has. A manager doesn't remember all the answers, but AI never forgets.
  3. Moreover, AI strictly adheres to the sales script developed by the head of the sales department. A manager may slack off, forget, or think that some questions are unnecessary. AI, on the other hand, goes through the entire script in detail and accurately and adequately answers the questions that are not in the script.
  4. The training period for AI is several times less than that of a human, and its integration cost is lower.

However, AI still cannot be trusted to independently close a deal. It can lead a client to the key stage: a consultation with a specialist, a commercial proposal, a cost estimation, but nothing beyond that. After that, you’ll need a human.
An example: an ad for the movie It.
Pavel: Speaking of click to lead conversion, that is, from traffic to newsletter, our conversion has grown by 300%, and in some cases, even by 400%. Does AI help in selling further? No, that's what the manager does, a human handles this much better.

On the other hand, AI provides us with a lot of data for analysis: after all, people make a lot of requests through our bot. We analyze them to understand what concerns these people.
Vlad: Certainly. With the use of AI, our productivity has grown, we are better at hypothesis testing and scalability.

What problems or challenges did you face?

Artem: We have been struggling for a long time to teach AI to handle the finalization of a deal effectively, and we are still not entirely satisfied with the results. However, this is definitely feasible, for instance, in an online store where there is no need for a call or meeting at the crucial stage of the transaction. The customer simply adds an item to their cart and makes the payment.

Currently we are focusing solely on the stage of guiding the customer to the key point in the funnel.

Pavel: We use AI to streamline the work of an SMM specialist: it creates posts and develops a content plan. It reduces traffic costs to our funnel. Regarding the integration of AI into the sales department: AI is handy for the basic aspects, but selling expensive products with a significant transaction value still requires a human touch, either through a call or a face-to-face meeting. I think AI can handle smaller-scale transactions. The integration is straightforward and pays for itself.

Olga: Working with AI itself. It's crucial to get used to it and understand that AI won't do all the work for you, but it can significantly speed up processes. You need to conduct many tests to understand how AI can really help you: one neural network may not solve a specific task, but a combination of several neural networks can. This brings us back to the point that you'll have to find the effective combinations on your own.

Is it worth using AI in your sales funnels?

Certainly. AI can already create simple landing pages and creative materials for certain niches, generate ideas, and even communicate on behalf of a manager. The robot can handle some routine tasks, but it is not ready to fully act independently yet. Currently, there isn’t a single case on the market convincingly demonstrating how AI can work in complex niches — we have to wait for that to happen.

Is it worth incorporating AI into your automated funnels? Absolutely. But first you'll need to get accustomed to AI: find the right combination of neural networks, utilize it, and constantly test new services.

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