Affiliate marketers have a distinct advantage over sellers because they have none of the responsibility for product creation and management of the affiliate program.
They simply get to seek out the best products to sell, and launch their promotions. They can promote many different products at once – in the tangible and digital arena – and never have to deal with the customer service issues.
But one thing many affiliates struggle with is increasing their earnings. They might find great products, understand the ins and outs of list building and pre-selling, but not have the insight necessary to bump up their income to the next tier.
There are five strategies you can use to help boost your earnings.
#1 – Be on the Lookout for Savings and Value
Your job as an affiliate is to help consumers find the products they need. You’re the liaison between searching and solutions. But you can make more sales – convert better – if you go the extra mile.
It all boils down to money and added value. Whenever you’re about to promote something, try to find a way to do this for your customer. Let’s look at how:
If you’re an affiliate for Amazon, you can log into the Associates center and look at their promotions hub. There, you’ll learn about specials that are percentage discounts, free trials, and even pre-order specials.
Share this with your customers and help them find products that are marked down for a certain period of time. The ones that are not on-going will add a sense of urgency, too.
If you’re promoting a tool online like Aweber or Hostgator, look for specials you can brag about to your potential customers. For example, Aweber has a $1 first month trial and Hostgator offers steep discounts through your affiliate links when you set up certain coupon codes.
If you’re promoting info products, look for or ask the seller about different offers they have set up. Some marketers will be selling their product for full price on their mini site, but a discount on a forum section.
If they don’t have any specials running, you can ask for them to set up a special discount just for your list. Some will set up an on-going one and others will allow you to run a special discount for a limited time.
Don’t worry about losing income when you’re promoting discounts. The volume of sales you get will increase because shoppers are looking for budget-friendly deals they can buy.
#2 – Don’t Just Promote – Review
Most affiliates do little more than write a keyword-laced article and slap an affiliate in it, hoping to make a buck or two. That’s small-time commission thinking.
What you want are big earnings – and you get those results from dominating as a leader in your niche. Even without a product of your own, you can be the go to person for your target audience when it comes to product recommendations.
Right now there are thousands (if not millions) of affiliates out there trying to compete for the attention of cash-in-hand consumers. How will you set yourself apart and get the click-through?
You do this by creating genuine reviews, not keyword-laced promotion articles. There’s a big difference between someone writing for the search engines and someone who values their reputation enough to make sure they carefully recommend only the best of the best.
If possible, purchase the product you’re promoting. If it’s a tangible item and you can’t buy it, then maybe you can visit a store and test it out to see how it works. Then write a personalized review of it – pros and cons.
But what if it’s a digital product? You can purchase those, too – and review it from the very first step where you land on the sales copy through to the end results.
Again, money might be an object at first. If it is, resist the temptation to buy and refund the product. That can get you blacklisted – and it damages the seller’s statistics for conversions and refunds.
Instead, email the seller and ask if they’re willing to provide you with a free review copy. If you’ve already established reviews on your blog that you can point them to, share those – because it will prove to them that their gift won’t go to waste.
Let people know the truth about the products and don’t make behind-the-scenes deals to write glowing testimonials. Your responsibility is to your readers, not to sellers willing to cut a deal.
#3 – Conduct a Comparison Between Products
One way to get people to spend money is to pit one product up against another and let one of them emerge victorious. Your readers are looking for solutions. They want the best value – which means a combination of quality and monetary investment.
You can continue doing comparison reviews and these can be really fun. It’s also interesting to see the product sellers increase the value of their products when they see how the competition is beating them in the eye of the consumer.
Take a little time to figure out what solution your audience needs. For example, maybe it’s an Amazon Affiliate product. Start a series of reviews where you pit each product up against each other for different things, including:
- Sales Copy
- Amount you get for the investment
- Number of formats presented (and options – ie: text/video)
- How many nuggets of information you pick up
- Quality of the information – trendy, not re-hashed, etc.
Make sure you implement each one and then discuss the results as a case study. In order for this to work, you may need to find similar products, such as video courses or products priced around the same amount.
They should have some similar elements in order for you to be able to make a comparison – otherwise they’ll just deserve their own individual reviews.
You can do this with tiers, where you pit two products against each other and determine the winner. Then pit two other products against each other and find a winner. Then take both winners and pit them against each other based on results you’ve achieved and other issues like how the seller’s customer service is, etc.
#4 – Expand Beyond the Usual Boundaries
What’s the typical method for promoting products as an affiliate? It’s to blog. But you want to do more than that. A blog is great – it’s one of the best ways to earn a living as an affiliate because of the following factors:
- It’s cheap – just a domain and hosting
- It’s easy to operate
- It tends to rank well when you run one properly
You should never forego a blog for other methods, because with other methods, you don’t own the virtual real estate – and ownership is where you have peace of mind.
Still, blogging is just one method, and to increase your affiliate sales, you can add other methods of content online to make a sale. Let’s go over a few of them – and you can look for more on your own.
Forums can be a good place to do some affiliate marketing, if it’s allowed. You have to know the rules before you go spamming the place with hyperlinks. Make sure you have a link to your reviews or directly to the products (if allowed) in your signature file, which is a space below each post that contains content you create – text, hyperlink or image.
Squidoo has certainly clamped down on marketing in general on their site, but many people still do very well there. The first thing you want to do is make sure that your niche and topic are not against their rules.
Once you secure that step, you can then create valuable, personalized content for a lens that hopefully will rank well for your chosen keyword phrase. Make a lens with tons of content – and sprinkle your affiliate links throughout, based on how many links the site allows at that time.
Twitter is a great place for affiliate marketing because it doesn’t require a lot of content and you’re allowed to promote on the site without apology. Don’t get yourself in trouble by spamming other people with Tweets – because then you’ll get banned.
But people do search for things on Twitter, and you can make affiliate commissions even if you’re not filled to the rim with followers just yet. Make sure you follow people in the niche so that they’ll follow you and hopefully you’ll get your links seen by more potential buyers.
Google Plus is newer to the scene, but it’s an effective way to rank in the search engines for the products you’re promoting as an affiliate. Many affiliates find that their G+ posts rank well, while their blog doesn’t – so link to your blog from G+ and reap the rewards of the SERP ranking power the site has.
FaceBook fan pages are a premium way to make affiliate sales! If you can build a fan page or group on Facebook, then you can do the same thing you can do on a blog pretty much – write long posts, insert hyperlinks, and engage in comments.
Just bear in mind that you don’t own this site, so at any time you could wake up tomorrow and it might be gone. That’s why it’s great to use in conjunction with an affiliate blog to increase your earnings.
Pinterest is newer in the field of social networks, but no less effective. Pinterest is built on images, but you can Pin things directly from Amazon and then do an update on the Pin to swap out their hyperlink with your affiliate one.
People follow your boards and then re-pin them on their own boards and before you know it, your recommendations have gone viral. You can do the same with digital products for topics like weight loss, for example – a huge niche on Pinterest.
Email marketing lists are another way to increase sales. Some affiliates mistakenly believe they don’t “have to” build a list when they’re just affiliates and not product creators.
But you should want to build a list – because that way you can repeatedly market to the same individuals who have proven that they are buyers in the past. Give away a free report to get them on your list and then email them whenever you have a new review on your blog or whenever you want to link directly to a product and review it or promote it within the email itself.
#5 – Emphasize Your Personalization
Personalization will always win out over cold, sterile content. Whenever you’re writing your next review, forget about keywords and product specs. Focus initially on connecting with the emotions of the buyer.
What would you feel if you were in their shoes? Would it be shame, humiliation, desperation, eagerness, hope, or what? You want to be able to discuss your own emotions as you implement or use a product – whether it’s tangible or digital.
People buy from people they trust. When you write about an acne solution, for example, it’s great to give information about ingredients in a product or strategies for keeping pimples at bay.
But more importantly, the consumer will turn over their payment information as soon as they feel a connection with you based on feelings. If you felt relief – and relief is what they’re after, then you’re more apt to get a sale than if you just spouted off a list of ingredients.