Affiliate Success Part 4
Welcome back to Affiliate Success Part 4 of my Affiliate Success training series. This is the final section of the series. But it is by no means the final step for your business or online affiliate success.
Once you implement these tips and strategies, you’ll want to return to read my ongoing tips and articles. They will help you continue to improve upon your online success.
To recap, I’ve already revealed how to Choose a niche, Build your platform, and to Build an audience. In today’s post, I will tie it altogether so that you can find viable products to promote to your customers.
If you’ve been paying attention to this point, you should have already begun to develop a following.
There are a number of great strategies and tips in this series. But your success hinges on having put into practice the previous steps correctly. So don’t just jump right into promoting products before investing time reading and understanding those earlier steps!
With that said, let’s get started with our final step.
Step 4: Promoting Products
Today, I’m going to talk about how you can actually go about promoting products to your audience. I’ll do it in a way that will help you get the most sales and make your audience love you at the same time! To be successful and will actually convert well making you the kind of money that you hope to make.
Only Promote What You Believe In
Before you can start promoting affiliate products, you need to know what to promote and how to do it. Keep in mind this simple fundamental key, only promote what you believe in.
To do that, you should check it out first. You can either buy the product or you can ask the vendor for a review copy.
Most vendors, if they care about their affiliates, are reputable and care about customer service, they’ll provide you with a review copy.
When requesting a copy, you should provide them with good information about why it would be a good idea for them to give you one.
Let them know what your site is about
Having a platform is going to be key along with how you plan to promote it.
When you do this, they’ll be a lot more likely to provide you with a copy.
If you do reach out to them and don’t hear anything back, it may be a good sign that they are a vendor that you might not want to promote, because it shows they don’t take customer service or affiliate management all that seriously.
If that’s the case, then it’s up to you to decide whether you want to pay for the product so that you can check it out, read through it, or whether you should just move on and promoted a different product.
But I absolutely recommend getting access to the product first before promoting the product. One reason is because you want to try it out to see what results you get if possible.
In some cases, it may not be necessary, and I’ll talk about that later. But when you’re writing reviews or you’re saying things about a product, it’s going to be much more believable, more useful and compelling to your audience if you can actually say what you personally think about it and share the results that you got with it.
When you can do that, it will go a long way for you in making the case for them to buy the product.
Also, when you have a working knowledge and get results yourself, it can also be used for content, it can be used for bonuses which I’ll cover in a little bit.
So, it’s always a good idea to check out the product first, otherwise it will be more difficult to compete with other affiliates who have tried the product and have useful things to say about it.
How to Promote through Your Platform
There are a number of different ways you can promote products and there are ways you can do it that without a website.
However, since we’re talking about creating a sustainable long-term business by building a platform and promoting products that way – then I’m only going to focus on those options.
This would include banner ads, promotions to your list or through social media, reviews, bonuses, having a recommended page, and in-content referrals.
One of the easiest ways to go when you want to promote products are banner ads.
Just be aware that typically they’re not effective just because people have developed what is called, “banner blindness.”
Since people have been on the Internet for so long, they have become accustomed to ignoring advertisements.
Besides, banner ads can create clutter on your site, especially when you load down your site with all kinds of ads.
So, this isn’t the main way to go unless you don’t have other ways in place to promote and you just want the easiest most passive route.
Where to get banner ads
Banner ads are usually available from the vendor’s affiliate page. But it works better if you create and use your own custom banner ad. Just be sure to ask the vendors permission before you start creating ads graphics on their behalf. Otherwise, they may get upset with it and could potentially block you as an affiliate.
If they’re okay with it, then you can get an ad created for as little as $5 on the website fiverr dot com.
Keep in mind that the ads need to be relevant to your audience. They also need to stand out visually, so they won’t be easily ignored. You know the ones who scroll quickly on your blog and would otherwise miss the advertisement. Just don’t overdo it!
If you decide to use banners, its best if you tie it into other promotional methods that you’re doing or show it in ways that the banners add value.
In-content referrals is where you would briefly mention a product in your content, but you’re not providing a full review.
Some examples of this might be:
“This is the official unveiling of my new blog design! It’s built on the premium RockSolid WordPress theme (include affiliate link).”
“I’m excited to report that I’ve finally got the 8-pack abs that I’ve always wanted – and it was easier to do than I thought. I just finished the P95x workout (affiliate link) for 12 hours a day and presto-chango! Piece of cake.”
“Figuring out how to tie a lead-eyed bucktail fly for the first time can be pretty difficult. If you are looking for an easy shortcut, then I recommend Billy-Bob’s guide – Fly Tying for Dummies (affiliate link). It was a life saver for me when I first got started!”
You want to be sure to include your affiliate links within the content there.
Make sure you are compliant
One important thing to take note is FTC (Federal Trade Commission) guidelines require that if you are doing affiliate promotions on your website, which obviously is what we’re talking about here, you must exclaim it.
There are a number of different ways you can do it. But I would just look it up in Google search for “FTC affiliate disclaimer”. You’ll find enough different ways you can do it.
To be extra transparent, some affiliate marketers show their audience that they are trustworthy. They will actually note that it is an affiliate link. They’ll say something like, “If you buy this item, I’ll get a small commission. But I would appreciate it if you would support me.”
There are a number of different ways that you can do it. It’s really up to you what makes sense with your website.
A tip that I would offer if you decided to go with in-content referrals. Either teach a skill or share an outcome that you’ve gotten. Then recommend the product within the content to help people who may be interested in doing that.
A lot of people are looking for shortcuts or guides that hold their hand and walk them through how to accomplish something – so that’s another great way to tie it into something that you already been talking about.
Next up is reviews which are more a full-length recommendation of a product. This is where you’re actually specifically calling it out and saying I’m going to talk about this particular product and what I think about it.
The great thing about reviews is that they can really help pre-sell the product, especially when your audience trusts you and already listens to what you have to say.
You can make a really compelling case for why you think it’s a good product in a lot of cases and they won’t even really need to be sold on the sales page at that point, because they’ll be ready to buy based on your recommendation!
When you are writing a review, you want to be honest, you want to be transparent and very specific – these will be key to a successful review.
Be sure to cover both good and bad things about a product
Why? If everything you say about a product is good and there’s nothing wrong with, that it’s absolutely perfect – it will seem a little suspicious to people.
A review is more believable if you would just say something like, “Yeah, this product’s great but it only comes in videos. So, if you like to read, then maybe it isn’t the right product for you.”
Or, “I felt like certain parts of it were a little long winded and off track, but overall, the content was really good.”
Be sure to mention who the product is right for and who it’s not. So, if it’s a product that’s good for beginners – say it.
One size fits all caution
You also don’t want to make people feel that it’s the right product for everyone. If they buy it on your recommendation and it’s not the right fit – they’re going to be mad at you! And then they will not trust your recommendations the next time around.
Instead say, “This is good for beginners. But if you’re already advanced, then you’re not going to get much out of it”. Or vice versa, “This is really only for fairly advanced technical people. And if you’re just beginning, then you’ll probably get lost on this.”
As I mentioned earlier share your specific results when you can.
Sometimes, when it isn’t possible or practical for you to get results out of a product, you can tie it back to your own experience.
For example, if you’re already a marathon runner and you’re writing a blog about how to take up distance running – you’re not going get results from a beginner-oriented product. There would really be no point in you trying to do it since you’re already an expert on it.
But what you could do instead is say, “I wish I could have had this product when I began distance running! It teaches you how to overcome common obstacles that people experience when they’re just starting out.”
Or, “And so this guy can really help you if you’re just starting out and you are wanting to overcome these obstacles, it would have really helped me because I struggled with it.”.
Another option is to do reviews in different multiple formats. You can do text, you can use video or audio, you can write reviews in emails and then send them to your list. So, there are a number of different ways that you can use to create reviews.
You can also combine reviews with bonuses for the maximum effect – this is a little bit of an advanced technique, but it can work extremely well.
Let’s jump right into bonuses. The great thing about bonuses and why they work so well when combining them with other promotional methods, is that it adds more value for the customer, and it also helps you as the affiliate protect your commission and your sale.
That’s because if someone is thinking about a product but they’re not entirely sure to buy it. A good bonus can really put the value over the top and help them decide to go ahead and buy it now.
This especially works well when there’s some kind of time limitation on the bonus. For example, “I’m offering a bonus for the next 7 days”. Or “Only the first 100 people who buy the product through my link will get this special bonus”.
This tactic is a great way to do it – it helps to make your audience love you even more.
Whenever you give them something that is above and beyond the product you recommend, it will make you look like a hero, just like I talked about in the last article.
It also helps protect your commission because typically that is the way bonuses work.
To execute the bonus, you can say something like, “When you buy the product through my link, just forward me a copy of the receipt by email so I can verify that you bought it through my link.”
You can then track it back to your affiliate reporting analytics and make sure that the sale did actually come through your link.
A good bonus will add even more value to the product, and it makes an already good product even better.
It also helps your buyers or audience to better achieve their goals. This is a win-win all around – it makes you look good. It also makes your audience feel great and appreciate you.
And in many cases, it will actually make you look really good to the vendor as well because you’re helping them make the buyers happy.
Some ideas that you could offer for bonuses would be:
- Your personalized step-by-step guide for using the product.
Obviously, the vendor is going to have (their version) written up the way they see it.
However, you can take a somewhat different approach with the way that you would apply it to your particular audience or business.
It’s a great way for you to tie it directly into your audience and make sure that it’s really relevant to them.
- Tip Sheets
People love tip sheets, so if you’re promoting a hundred-page eBook for example, you could break it down into a several page tip booklet showing all the steps that they need to take that would be really helpful.
Similarly, you can do a blueprint – which is a more thorough step-by-step process.
You could do own Q&As on the vendor product, where you are answering what you consider to be the frequently asked questions about it, to help people overcome problems with it, or how to get more out of the product.
- Interview with the vendor
You could do an interview with the vendor, where you ask them relevant questions and get more in-depth with them that would help your audience.
For example: if it’s a diet product like maybe a paleo cookbook, you could offer more recipes to them as an add-on. You could say something like, “Hey, I’m giving away an additional 20 paleo recipes when you buy this cookbook through my link.”
Or it could be something like a WordPress theme that goes with a plugin offer or something similar to that.
You could offer custom video training that adds value to the product.
You could write your own PDF that helps out with the main aspects relating to the product.
- Vendor provided bonuses
In some cases, vendors will actually create bonuses for their own product. In turn, they will give to their affiliates to give away.
So, sign up to the vendors affiliate mailing list. They may provide you with bonuses that you can use as a bonus offer for your audience.
Even though this is obviously an easy way to do it – it may not be as relevant as ones you could come up with yourself. Plus every other affiliate promoting this product would be offering the same bonus as well.
Recommended Resources Page
Next up is creating a recommended resources page on your site.
This is a page where you have a bunch of mini reviews (with affiliate links, of course) in one place.
Whenever someone who likes you and really trusts what you have to say might think, “Hey man, I really like this person’s viewpoint”, or “I’d love to know what their favorite books on paleo diet are.”
You can direct them all to one place where you can point people to your recommended offers. You can include it in your navigation menu, and they can go see what you are recommending and have these be your affiliate links.
Promotions to your list
This is one of the most reliable and profitable methods available to you – email still works.
Even though considered old fashioned and not exciting as some social media platforms – email deliverability is still extremely high. And its most likely people will actually see it.
If they like your blog content, they will read your emails.
When sending promo emails to your list, use a sales copy or pre-sale copy style – similar to a pitch page.
Focus on highlighting the benefits that your audience is going to get from the product rather than the features. Don’t say, “Hey, it’s a hundred-page eBook”, or “It teaches these 4 things.”
Instead, talk about what benefit people are going to get out of that. Personalize your recommendations, just like we covered with earlier mentioned ways of promoting products.
Include what you have to say about it, don’t use just some sample text that the vendor provided. You want to make it a lot more compelling, and your audience will trust it a lot more.
Whenever possible, include your results or the known results of other buyers that bought it and used it. You can combine this with other methods as well.
You could do email reviews. Talk about a product and mention that you’re giving away a special bonus only to your subscribers.
Also, plain text emails work fine for this, you don’t need to have a super fancy format. Some of the most successful promotional email campaigns are just using plain text emails. So, it’s a great way to do it.
In affiliate success part 4, we revealed when running any affiliate promotion offer, it’s not just about promoting products. It’s also about how you approach building your platform and growing your audience. And it’s a matter of respecting your audience.
Think of them as they really are, actual people with actual needs, having goals, real fears and dreams.
It’s up to you to make sure that everything you do really respects that fact. In the content you’re creating. The way you talk to them. Even with the products that you’re promoting to them.
Strive to always do the best you can for your audience. Because that’s going to be what develops trust in you. And they will buy from you when you promote things.
Congratulations, you just completed all 4 parts to Affiliate Success training series!