Are you new to affiliate marketing? Or are you struggling to get more affiliate sales from your website?
Hands down, affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to generate passive income from online. There are affiliate marketing superstars like Pat Flynn who are making millions of dollars from affiliate marketing every single year.
Then there are bloggers who barely make 1 or 2 sales in the whole month. So what’s going wrong? What does it take to succeed in affiliate marketing?
Let’s find out.
Before jumping into the details I want to tell you one thing that, I’m making around $10K every single month (the income is mostly generated from affiliate marketing). In the year, I made around $106,000 from my blog Bloggers Passion.
So if you’re curious to find out what works great in affiliate marketing, this post is exclusively for you.
1. Create a content marketing strategy
What’s the #1 thing that can make or break your affiliate marketing success? If you said, content marketing, you’re absolutely right.
Content marketing is all about converting people into customers with your content. You need to create content that sell itself!
If you want to build an affiliate website that makes thousands of dollars, you definitely need a long-term content marketing strategy.
Understand what your target audience REALLY wants.
If you want to create a solid content marketing strategy to boost your sales, you need to really understand who your target audience are and what do they really want. You need to find out their frustrations, wants and needs so that you can promote the RIGHT products.
For making more affiliate sales, promoting the right products to the RIGHT market plays a key role. That being said, analyse your competitors to see what’s working for them so you’ll also get ideas on what to promote.
If you’re wondering about what type of content that works really well with affiliate marketing, here are few content types that help you with more sales.
Case studies: Case studies work like a charm, as you can not only share the results, but you’ll also be helping your target audience to implement something on their blogs.
For example, in the SEO industry, the Skyscraper technique is one of the best case studies written by SEO expert Brian Dean from Backlinko and it immediately went viral. There are thousands of bloggers still using that strategy to create content and build links.
To come up with great case study ideas, keep an eye on trending topics and check out your competitors case studies. Include tons of illustrations with examples to make your case studies worth reading and sharing.
The best part about writing case studies is that, you can talk about how any of your favorite affiliate product or tool (which you’re personally using) which helped you generate more traffic or sales. It’s a non-salesy way to increase your affiliate sales with case studies.
Honest product reviews: You can’t get more affiliate sales without creating product reviews. It’s as simple as that. But here’s the thing: don’t create just another product reviews. Your product reviews should be genuine and they should really help people solve their problems.
You need to educate your audience about the products you promote by writing unbiased and in-depth reviews. Don’t try to hard sell. If you can convince your audience why the products are worth giving a try, they will buy even if you don’t push hard for the sell.
Comparison posts: After product reviews, comparison posts work like a charm. You need to compare two similar products which offer unique features at various pricing plans.
While doing comparison posts, don’t try hard to sell any of one the products (which makes it biased towards one particular product). Instead, showcase the pros and cons along with their features and pricing so your audience can decide the right choice for their needs.
Pro tip: If you’re on WordPress, install Author hReview plugin as it provides schema markup for your product reviews (which also helps you display star ratings for the products).
2. Be transparent and build your credibility
Selling online is one of the most difficult task. People are usually skeptic about buying from people they don’t really know. Here’s where “authority” and social proof comes into play.
Always remember one thing: “people don’t buy from strangers online, they buy from people they trust and value”.
So how do you build trust and credibility online? Content marketing is one that helps you build a strong rapport with your audience because you’ll be providing a ton of value with your content upfront.
Other than content marketing, it’s your mindset that helps you succeed in the long run. You need to be transparent and honest.
One of the major reasons Pat Flynn makes millions of dollars every year from affiliate marketing is this: he focuses on building trust, instead of selling products.
When people trust you, they try the products you recommend. That’s the reason you rarely see people like Pat Flynn promoting a ton of products – they promote only those products which they use and are happy with.
Here are few ways to build credibility and increase social proof on your site.
- Display testimonials from your readers or customers
- Show “featured on” logos
- Build an email list and provide highly valuable email newsletters before you pitch anything to your audience
- Help, don’t go for the hard sell!
3. Learn from the pros
“When the student is ready, the master appears” – Buddha
I always refer to successful affiliate marketers like Pat Flynn, Zac Johnson, Matthew Woodward whenever I want to grow my affiliate income. The reason is simple: they are doing affiliate marketing like champs.
They know how to sell without actually selling. So if you carefully analyse experts in your industry (for that matter, literally any other industry you care about), you’ll learn a ton of new things to improve your overall affiliate sales.
That being said, you should always be ready to learn. Make a list of all the blogs that share income reports (or yearly reports) along with the blogs that mostly talk about affiliate marketing. That way you will get more information, insider tips and strategies to grow your sales.
You can also give a try to;
- Books around selling and psychology (read “Influence”)
- Podcasts that talk about marketing and selling (Don’t miss Pat Flynn’s podcast!)
- Top class blogs such as Smart Passive Income
- Refer to courses on Udemy (as there are a ton of courses available on selling, marketing, psychology and so on which are all helpful to boost your affiliate income)
4. Understand what type of keywords to use
Search traffic plays a key role in your affiliate marketing success.
The more visitors you get from search engines, the more sales you can make from affiliate marketing. It’s as simple as that.
Search engines send you high quality visitors who are ready to purchase what you sell. Search traffic converts way better than any other traffic source including social media.
For increasing your search traffic, focus on finding the RIGHT keywords.
Keyword research is undoubtedly one of the easiest and most effective ways to bring more organic visitors to your site.
There are basically two types of keywords which are;
- Commercial keywords (which help you increase your sales)
- Informational keywords (which help you increase your traffic and user engagement)
Moz also covered one of the best articles around the above types of keywords.
Let’s briefly talk about these keywords types now so you can understand how to use them to increase both your search traffic and affiliate sales.
Commercial keywords which are also known as transactional keywords and they often have the intent of keywords including “buy now”, “best discounts”. These are the keywords which are stronger than other keywords because they generate sales from search engines.
Informative keywords usually focus on “helping people” and they usually follow a pattern of “how to”, “ways to”, “free” and so on.
Let me show an example.
- “how to learn guitar” is an informational keyword
- “guitar training” is a commercial keyword (where you can promote guitar training videos, guitars for all types of budgets etc)
One of the best way to find both commercial and informative keywords is to use tools like SEMrush. Here are few more tools that you can do for keyword research.
- Ubersuggest (free tool but definitely a great keyword research tool which gives you all the metrics such as CPC, related keywords, keyword difficulty etc)
- keywordtool.io (great for researching long tail keywords)
5. Find the right balance
You should follow a proper monetization plan if you want to increase your affiliate sales.
You should NOT create too many product reviews as it makes your blog a commercial place. It can hurt your readership as well.
So try to keep a balance between your product reviews (or commercial intent posts) and informative posts. As a rule of thumb, go with 4:1 plan which means, for every 4 “informative posts” you publish, you can include 1 “commercial intent post”. You can follow any strategy including 3:1 or 5:1 or whatever it makes sense to your audience.
Commercial intent posts can be anything ranging from product reviews, comparison posts, detailed how-to tutorials around the products you’re recommending and so on.
That being said, regularly update your commercial intent posts. Here are few ways to give more SEO boost to your commercial posts.
- Find relevant keywords and optimize for those keywords regularly
- Include latest deals and discounts within your commercial posts
- Interlink to them
- Build new backlinks to your commercial posts
Be prepared for special sales
You can find up to 90% discounts on a majority of the online marketing products including hosting, SEO, email marketing during special events like Christmas sale, black Friday and Cyber Monday. This is the best time to aggressively promote your commercial posts (as you can provide huge discounts) and they work really well because of scarcity.
In the last year, during the black Friday season, we earned around $17,000. Yes, you heard it right. Majority of the sales came during the black Friday week. So be prepared for such deals well in advance by creating deals and discount pages around your favorite products. You can also start an exclusive blog which covers deals and discounts to earn side income from it.
Final thoughts on increasing your affiliate sales without hard selling
Affiliate marketing is not rocket science. You should know how to sell without sounding like a sales guy.
Think about how to capture your audience’s attention with your content. Promote only those products which can help your target audience to solve their problems.
So what are your thoughts? Did you like the affiliate marketing tips shared here? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Anil Agarwal blogs at Bloggers Passion where he is writing about topics related to blogging, SEO, affiliate marketing and email marketing. You can connect with Anil Agarwal on Google Plus here.