10 ways affiliates can boost their sales
by Ben Ellis
Simply placing a link on your page whether its a text link,
a banner or a product feed isnt enough to maximise your conversion
rates. Extra effort is needed to improve your pages and make a big
difference to your bank account.
Here are a list of 10 things you can do today to help improve the
presentation of your web pages and the affiliate links within them;
1. Do Your Links Work?
Obvious, simple, no-brainer, 101, call it what you want, but when
was the last time you checked EVERY affiliate link on your site?
Do they all work? Are all those merchants still in business? Have
they changed any landing pages? In an ideal world you should be
able to rely on your merchants to inform you of any changes, redirect
dead pages and inform you if a program was shutting down
if this was an ideal world Id be picking up Halle Berry tonight
in my 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV ;)
2. Are All Your Links Affiliate Tracking Links?
No-Brainer Number Two. You have a beautiful product page, detailing
everything anyone would want to know and a link at the bottom saying
Click Here to Buy, but wait a minute
a link at the top of the page which ISNT an affiliate link.
Its the brands logo and its a non-affiliate link
to the home page!!! If youre linking to Merchant XX, then
EVERY link to that merchants website HAS to be an affiliate
link. Just one, normal, straight, non-affiliate link is leakage
that gains you nothing.
3. Focus and Duplicate.
Dont let your webpages become all things for all shoppers.
Your pages will just end up being a confused mess of links and images
that dont do anyone any service. One page for one product
is ideal not only does this help you focus the whole page
to sell this product, but it also helps this page rank well in the
search engines too.
Once youve created a page for Product A then you can basically
duplicate this page for Similar Product B and Similar Product C,
just change the names, slightly alter some content and specific
product details you now have 3 highly targetted pages. Now
imagine where you could be after a year of doing that once a day?
This will mean you will have a lot more pages on your site so remember
that a good navigational system is important to allow the visitors
to find their way around. Good page and site design goes along way.
4. Display Pricing & Shipping.
We all hate surprises, especially when were shopping. Dont
hide the price and dont hide the shipping cost. Some merchants
may do this on their sites, but it doesnt mean you have to.
Infact, if you clearly state the price when a merchant isnt,
then youre doing the potential customer a service. If you
can state on your page that Product A costs $50, tax is an extra
$5 and Shipping is $10 then the potential customer can dance merrily
through the shopping cart without being stopped in their tracks
by extra costs. If a customer knows from the very beginning that
to get Product A delivered to their door is going to cost $65 then
their brains and credit card are prepared for the dreaded process
of the shopping cart and parting with their money.
Also, remember people in other countries. If Product A is only
shipped in the USA and Canada then state it early on. Youre
not going to lose a customer as they cant receive Product
A anyway, but you do gain the trust and respect of that person as
youve saved them the hassle of going through the whole shopping
cart process only to find at the last page, in the small print,
that they dont ship to the UK...its frustrating, believe
5. Recommend/Suggest Alternative Products.
Shoppers have a tendency to research and shop around for the best
deals. Dont fight this compulsion, embrace it. Instead of
ramming it down the visitors throat that Product A is the best and
they must buy it, why not say "Heres Product A,
but heres links to Product B, Product C and Product D too
so you can decide whats best for you."
Open these links in new windows too so people dont lose track
of your website and start again using someone elses.
It doesnt matter what one they buy because you get commission
on all of them. The merchants care because its their products
youre selling, but you as the affiliate shouldnt care
as youre just after a commission on any sale.
Heres another idea to gain friends around the world, Merchant
A may not ship to the UK and Europe, but Merchant B and Merchant
D do. Offer this as an alternative option for foreign visitors.
Allow your visitors to do all their research on YOUR webpages and
not go back to the search engines and to find other online stores.
Be the customer and pretend youre looking to buy
Product XX and then do research online to buy it. All the online
stores you come across that sell Product XX AND have an affiliate
program Join them, then list them on your web page.
6. Test and Compare Merchants.
Leading on from the above point, you may highlight Product A as
the main product on your page and then recommend/suggest others,
but you should examine your stats and see which one actually converts
Product A may convert 1 in 87 visitors, but that little link at
the bottom of the page for Product G may convert 1 in 5. Why? Maybe
Product G has free shipping, deliver globally, include a free add-on,
a gift certificate, merchant has a better variety of other products
too, etc, etc.
If Product G is better at converting then change your page so Product
G is the main product listed. Your webpages are NEVER static, there
is a constant cycle of experimenting and changing. Always check
your stats regularly as things can change due to many factors and
dont rely on other people to tell you whats the best,
as what may work on their site may not be the best for your site,
and vice versa.
A merchants commission rate can also be a little deceiving. Merchant
A may reward 30% whilst Merchant B may reward 10%, but the key is
conversion rate. 30% of zero is still zero, so dont go flogging
a dead donkey because a commission rate is higher, its all
7. Test and Compare Page Design & Text.
Once you have found your best merchant for a particular product,
then you need to find the best way to present that merchant on a
page. Do you have an image, paragraph then link? Multiple images?
Detailed text? Do you use bold text? Do you focus on the price or
As in skinning cats, there are multiple ways of doing things. This
doesnt have to turn into an intense exercise that bores you
to tears, just simple changes to a page once a week or month can
tell you a great deal of information. Statistics are an affiliates
best friend. See how your page is currently performing then
make a change (eg. the price in bold text and a slightly bigger
font) then wait a week or month and see if there has been
Now, to complicate things, any improvements or failures through
your testing could be influenced by other factors such as seasonal,
world events, etc, so you should look closely at the click-through
rates. Number of visits to your page can be down to all sorts of
things, but of those visitors, what percentage of them clicked on
your link to a merchant? Thats the figure that your page presentation
experiments can affect.
8. Hardcore, Greasy Car Salesmen Approach.
Not recommended. Does the text on your webpages inform, persuade
or drill it into their thick skulls that this is the best product?
You Must Buy Zis Produkt!!
The text on your webpages supporting the product should inform
the visitor of the product, offer related options and entice them
to click on your links. Feel free to add personal experience or
opinion too. Be friendly, be approachable and be knowledgable.
Dont drone on and on and on and on about how itll miraculously
change their lives, and dont lie or deceive the visitor into
clicking a link. If you state that Product A is only $10 but then
the customer clicks through the shopping cart to see a bill for
$65, then youve only succeeded in wasting your bandwidth and
the time it took you to write the page.
9. Direct Linking
Link directly to the product you are promoting. In the past I have
seen something I liked, clicked on the link, been taken to the merchants
home page and then couldnt find the product I was after! Very
Yes, it takes time to specially tailor your links to go directly
to the product pages but its well worth it. Some affiliate
programs may not have the facility to do this, if so, get in contact
with the merchant and let them know that you want to link directly
to products and if they dont offer it soon then youll
go to another merchant who does.
Youre an Affiliate Merchants are there to serve YOU.
10. Assumption Is The Mother Of All...
...mistakes. Once you design your pages and put them online dont
assume its perfect and that if anyone cant use it then
its their problem, not yours. If someone cant use it
then youre missing out on revenue.
Carry out some user testing on your web pages and get a better
idea of how people use your page and navigate around. User
Testing may sound like a massive expense that only huge corporations
do, and in its purest form it probably is, but all Im talking
about is getting a few people of different ages and different internet
experience to use your site whilst you look over their shoulder
and see how successful they are in using your site.
Do the pages load quick enough for your young nephew? Can your
gran read the text OK? Does your Dad understand what youre
selling? Can your friend easily navigate your pages? Make a note
of the questions people ask you, but dont help them out (If
your great-grandmother asks why the typewriter is attached to the
microwave, then move on to someone else ;) ).
Also, take this opportunity to ask them to find Product A online.
Do they go to a search engine first? If so, which one? What phrase
do they search for? How do they look at the results page? Is No.1
the best, or do they carefully read the descriptions and titles?
Do they look at sponsored links? Do they even know about sponsored
links? Ask them why they chose a particular site, what did they
like about it?
Being on the internet all day, everyday can easily blind you to
how ordinary people use it. Advanced computer and internet
users operate differently from others. The masses that use the internet
to shop online are important because they are the ones that will
generate the bulk of your revenue in most cases.