Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.
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My situation is I'm a Professor and Program Director for a Community College teaching massage therapy, a very in-demand field yet my college does little marketing. It's my job to recruit students. I have a Facebook page and Twitter, and about 100+ followers on each. Can you see this type of system with funnels etc. working to help recruit potential students? If so, how? I feel like building content and creating opt ins should help, as we too are offering a "product". Thanks for your time!
If you have pop-ups and optins on every page, I would have to think that it would be a lot harder to convince someone to link to it. Especially since the pages where you have your optins (and probably receive the most traffic) are probably the same pages that you have your best content on as well that you'd be hoping to pitch in your outreach campaign.