So You Joined the Affiliate Program – Now What?

Posted Friday, 6 February 2009 by Sverre Sjøthun in Technology, Inspiration
Affiliate marketing can be a very, very lucrative business - especially when you join great programs and know how to promote the services. I personally know several people that makes six figure incomes a year by doing just that.

With our new stock photography Affiliate program, we've given you one of the best, if not the best affiliate program in the whole industry - and it's as easy as flipping pancakes.

Now it's time to learn the tricks of the trade, and I've dug around the net in an effort to provide you with some of the best tips and strategies for affiliate marketers.

But before we jump straight to the links, here are a few of my own thoughts based on my 10 years of experience in internet marketing.

Don't whore yourself
Even though you want to make money off of an affiliate program, if you're promoting a product or a service on your personal blog, your readers will notice if you're pushing too hard.

For Crestock, a qualified, reasoned recommendation, an in-depth site review containing both pros and cons - and with links (containing affiliate IDs of course) to different sections of the site examplifying your points would sell far better than

OMFG THIS SITE IS AWESOME >>SIGN UP HERE<<!


Ok, perhaps I'm pushing it to get my point across, but the key is to sound believable and trustworthy. You're recommending our services, but if your readers don't trust you, no one will buy it.

Preselling the product
As a continuance to my previous point – preselling is a hugely important step in generating sales and revenue. Preselling simply means to put the visitor in a state of mind where they are the most likely to perform what you want them to do – in other words sign up and purchase and/or upload images. After all, this is where you'll own your money.

Many use a Sell Page or Landing page to capture traffic from PPC, SEO, or as a squeeze page on a website etc. The effectiveness of your sell page depends on several factors and strong, enticing copy is by far the most important rule you’ll need to observe. Here are some guidelines you can use to create a great Sell Page.

  1. Do not oversell. Try to provide a balanced perspective on the product. Projecting objectivity and honesty is usually the best approach.

  2. No redundant hyperlinks. Don’t link to other articles on your website or other external websites. The only links you should include are your affiliate links. You don’t want visitors to get distracted and go elsewhere.

  3. Use multiple affiliate links. Try to use the same affiliate link multiple times within the pre-sell page. A good start would be to use it at both the start and the end of your article. Vary the anchor text as well so they don’t look repetitive.

  4. Keep it short. A pitch page should not be too long. Visitors usually click away if its too heavy to consume within a few minutes.

  5. Focus on Usability. Write for scannability, use subheadings and bold specific keywords or phrases to help increase the visual impact of your copy.

  6. Offer Benefits. It’s very important to make sure that the visitor understands how the affiliate program benefits him or her. If you would like to provide an additional incentive for signing up under your affiliate link, be sure to include it as well.

  7. TEST. EVERYTHING. Even though you feel you have the best sell page in the world, there are many factors you simply need to test to know if they actually works.

    For instance, on Crestock we used two identical landing pages, but one of them had a Money Back guarantee. One would believe that the Money Back would build trust and reduce reluctancy to try the product, but as it turns out, it got people thinking about issues they might otherwise never have considered "if their product is as good as they claim, then why the hell do they need a money back guarantee?".

    Result: The conversion rate dropped from 7.45 to 2.10%.

Identify where to send your visitors
Another absolutely critical point is where you should send your visitors. It all depends on the page on your site they came from. You must ask yourself «what is their state of mind?».
If you have a really good Pre-sell page with obvious, irresistable offers, your visitor may already be ready to be sent directly to our sign-up page.

But perhaps they're not there quite yet – perhaps they're just after a freebie like our Daily Free Stock Photos? Or need to be further convinced by learning more about us? A great blog-post might very well generate an RSS subscription to the blog, and then in turn generate a sign-up when they have gained enough trust. Be creative, test and see what works best for you and your audience.

Why Affiliate Marketing Will Save Free Online Content
Brian Clark, one of my all time favorites for copywriting in general, will be starting a series of posts on content and copywriting strategies for affiliate marketing, over at Copyblogger.

“If you don’t have a product or service to sell, and you don’t want to create content to sell, there’s only one other option… sell other people’s stuff for a commission (also known as affiliate marketing). And I don’t mean sticking affiliate ads in your sidebar until some “real” advertisers show up. I mean actively working to recommend quality offers to your readers.

Is it possible to do this without running off your audience? Absolutely… successful publishers have been making big money with permission marketing for well over a decade. If you want a bigger payoff for the time and effort it takes to create valuable niche content, smart affiliate marketing is the way to go.”

Direct Linking vs Landing Pages vs Landing Sites
Derek over at the ClickConsultants blog wrote a good beginners guide regarding the pros and cons of direct linking vs landing pages vs landing sites if you use for instance Google AdWords for promoting an Affiliate program. He includes some good info on why and when to use each one.

Maximize profits with multiple landing page types

One of the biggest mistakes I see new affiliates doing is sending all the traffic in a campaign to the same landing page. This makes no sense when the keywords that the user is searching for is already prequalifying their intentions. Each step in the landing page process will lose customers (bounce rates), so if you make them jump through 3 pages to get to the conversion you might lose 50% more customers than 2 pages.

Anatomy of a winning PPC to affiliate campaign
Many people talk, including myself, about how to build good campaigns that have great quality scores and a solid ROI. But what exactly does this mean in the real world? I have said before, we are all working off essentially the same keywords. So given the same list of say 10,000 keywords, how does one person’s campaign completely fail, while another person makes a killing? It’s all about campaign structure. The best way I can explain this is with an example.

Six Key Strategies to Boost your Affiliate Referrals
Here are a collection of six points which anyone can use to increase their number of referrals for any affiliate program or website. These points apply across various industries and emphasize on long-term over short-term referral gains. Note that they mainly apply to blogs, though they could easily be applied to other general websites.

With these eight tips, it's time to wrap up my affiliate marketing ramblings for today, but I'm curious – what is your best tip? What is your thoughts on our affiliate program, and how can we improve? Please do share with us and leave a comment below!

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Comments:

Great offer ?
By oxygen64 on Sunday, 8 February 2009 2:58 PM
You getting money only for first 6 months of their membership - is'it so great offer ?
Requesting payouts...
By BedriftsGuiden.no on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 10:46 AM
Offer's good, signed up. Now we have to REQUEST payouts? Why isnt this automatic?

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