Affiliate marketing is a very effective advertisement option you could choose for your website. If done right, it can earn loads for you. And the best thing about Affiliate marketing is, it doesn’t take away the focus of your blog. When you set up other conventional ads, you are concerned about following the advertising network’s rules and regulations, ad sizes and placement, ad rotations, tracking click through rate, well, you get the idea. Affiliate ads, on the other hand, go harmoniously along with the content of your website. For example, if you writing a product review, and you recommend a certain product in an affiliate ad, then that flows naturally. But when you have a conventional ad of a website or a product which you have never even mentioned, then that clearly shows you are more interested in earning than providing quality content. Affiliate ads, then, have a certain edge over other forms of advertisements. Here are some guidelines or principles you should follow if you choose to go for affiliate marketing.
It’s all about the first impression!
As they say, first impression is the last one. Definitely true in this case, where retaining visitors is one of the hardest part. Most people will judge your book by its cover. And this extends beyond your bounce rate. If someone sticks around with you after a few seconds of visiting your blog, i.e. if he does not bounce, it doesn’t mean he likes your website. He still has your first impression in mind. And he will remember this while you are trying to promote your affiliate links.
Think of it like this. You meet a random person in a mall, and strike up casual conversation. What if that person later tries to sell you something? Will you buy the product based on its usefulness, or on the first impression of him that you get? I’d definitely go with the impression. I don’t trust this guy. For all I know, he might be trying to sell a fake product which looks real.
Worse still, if the first thing that person does is, try to sell you something, will you even continue talking to him? This is how visitors treat a website that is cluttered with ads, and ads is what they see when first landing on your website.
So first impressions are the most important. You first have to build the trust of a visitor before he will click on anything. Having a professional look will help along, but the main thing to remember is that, you can’t be over-promotional. Otherwise, no one will trust you.
Give details for the product
If you think putting up affiliate ads on your website and leaving them there like other ads will generate revenue for you automatically, then you are sorely mistaken. See, affiliate ads are not like other ads. They need careful attention. If you leave them be, then they are just like regular ads. You’ll have to do much more than simply setting them up. You should provide some content as well. Write about the product. Give the potential customers details, specifications, features etc. Give them, a reason to buy the product. Normally, writing a blog post is a good idea. But don’t write a post for the sake of linking the product. Write on a relevant topic, and bring up the subject whenever appropriate. For example, write about photography tips, and suggest a macro lens for an SLR camera to others. Don’t write a post that says in its title ‘Get better image quality by using so and so camera lens’.
Use the products before promoting!
This is only logical. I mean, think about it. If you are promoting an Android smartphone, while you yourself are running an old Symbian, how fishy would that sound? You don’t have an experience with Android. You won’t be able to explain things very well. And what if someone asks a question that requires a technical answer, one which only an Android user can answer? You can’t ignore that question, because affiliate marketing is all about building trust and interaction among the readers. Most probably, you will give a Googled answer, which might not be what the questioner wants. You’ll lose a potential customer right there!
Give your review!
This one is somewhat related to the previous tip. The point is, you not only need to know what you’re talking about, you also need to show the world what you know. Tell them why you like this product, and why you recommend it. Share your own experience with the product, and write about some of the cool stuff you came across. Write a good review on the product, so users might know just what they are getting into. They’ll like you and trust you more for it.
Do some trial and error
As we always say, advertising is all about trial and error. Some ads work better than others. Similarly over here, some products might sell better than others. So keep rotating product links on the main areas of you blog, and note down the success of each product. Then use the most successful product at the most important places to maximize your earnings.
Don’t advertise multiple products of the same type
This one is quite logical as well. Suppose you recommend a good eBook reader to your visitors, say a Kindle Fire, in a post. And in the next post, you recommend the Galaxy Tab. And yet again in another post, you recommend the iPad just for the sake of earning through multiple products. Some might think this is a good strategy, but they couldn’t be more wrong! You just recommended almost all the popular tablets available on the market. What message will this send to our customers? They came looking to you for a recommendation to make up their mind. Instead, you confused them even more.
This will make people lose trust in you, since you yourself don’t know which of these tablets is best for eBook reading. Your recommendations become less and less believable with each new one that you make. But if you recommend one product again and again, visitors might think you’re really on to something, and hence, chances of your affiliate sales will grow.
Build a resource page
As I mentioned yesterday, having a Resource page is must if you want to make any affiliate sales. A resource page is one where you put links to services and products. These might include the products’ home pages, sign up pages,, download links, and so on. For example, if you are using HostGator or BlueHost as your web host, then you might add a link to them on this page from where others can avail their services as well. All the links on a resource page are affiliate links. Hence, this page will be the major source of your income.
These were some of the basic principles of Affiliate marketing. If you don’t apply them, then you’ll just become one of the people who say Google AdSense is a lot better than any Affiliate program. And that’s a very pre-mature thing to say, especially if you haven’t utilized the full potential of Affiliate marketing. So go and get promotin’ fellas! 🙂