If you manage an e-commerce site or work with an advertiser, the affiliation is a marketing lever all the more useful as its ROI is fully mastered. Indeed, it is a form of performance marketing that involves paying a third party (the affiliate, a website for example) for X or Y action completed. Generation of qualified leads, sales, registration to a loyalty program …
For each share and under well-controlled conditions, a percentage of the sale or a fixed amount will be donated to the partner.
So getting into affiliation has a lot of potentials, if you do it right. Choice of tools or platform, supervision of validation conditions, choice of allocation and remuneration model, fight against fraud, setting up regular commercial activities …
Some figures on Affiliation Marketing
Thus, there is a 10.1% increase in affiliate marketing spending in the United States each year, which means that by 2020, that number will reach $ 6.8 billion.
In 2018, content marketing costs were estimated at 62% of the costs of traditional marketing programs while simultaneously generating three times more revenue than traditional methods. In fact, 16% of all orders placed online can be attributed to the impact of affiliate marketing.
In March 2017, the Amazon Affiliate Program changed, offering rates of 1 to 10% of product revenue to creators, allowing affiliates to significantly increase their passive income based on their Marketing Tools.
For example, Jason Stone’s affiliate marketing, also known as Mentor Millionaire, has reached $ 7 million in retail sales during the summer of 2017.
Affiliate marketing is an ideal home-based business because it requires very little money to start, you have no stock of products, or take care of delivery or service. You are essentially paid to direct new customers to other companies.
Affiliate marketing is not difficult, but like any business, it requires knowledge, planning, and constant effort to generate significant revenue. Here are some things you can do to make sure your adventure in affiliate marketing is a success.
1- Choose your platform
There are tools to create your own affiliate program. Another solid option is to turn to a reputable affiliate platform, such as Amazon, CJ, Pabbly… if you are a beginner, I suggest you start with Amazon partners program. You can use Amazon product research tools like Jungle Scout, AMZScout, etc to find products to start with affiliate marketing.
It’s all about comparing several criteria to make the right choice:
accessibility of reporting and tracking tools;
variety of compensation options;
easy for affiliates to generate their personalized links or find the visuals they need;
easy promotion of campaigns;
responsiveness of the teams;
good billing management …
2- Choose an attribution model
The marketing award raises the question of “who pays” for a goal accomplished. In a context where the user goes through a multiplicity of channels and interactions before buying or signing up, it is increasingly difficult to see which marketing lever should be rewarded.
We are talking about the choice of an attribution model. The most classic are those of the first click or the last click, but the conversion path is much thinner than that. Rather than remunerating the last channel (which may be a couponing site, for example), it may be interesting and more appropriate to focus on a weighted remuneration of the various elements of the user journey that led to the final sale.
Beyond the choice of the model, the question of the attribution window must also be addressed. At what point is the conversion detached from the road traveled in the previous months (if it is), which directly impacts the affiliate’s remuneration?
3- Define precise objectives
Affiliation is a marketing strategy that, like the others, must be accompanied by objectives in order to be measured and refined. Without this, no remarkable ROI!
What are your goals? What is the value of a lead? Visibility without necessarily immediate sale to the key? What does your ideal affiliate look like? Who are you targeting? Where are your potential customers when they surf the web? What are your competitors doing?
You need to ask yourself these kinds of questions and link specific figures and personas to stop a strategy that you can follow and measure from day to day. This step will depend on your ability to drive well with the data.
4- Choose an advantageous remuneration for you, but also for the publisher
Choosing a competitive and interesting remuneration for you involves calculating your margins and costs, but also comparing what you expect with what the market in your sector already offers to its affiliates. Without this step, many of them may just favor competition!
Succeeding your affiliation program, therefore, requires a specific study to find what an advantageous remuneration means for you, but also for your network of partners.
One last important point: do not neglect the impact of payments on time, ideally at a fixed date in the month. This is what big programs like Amazon Partners, Booking.com … it reassures affiliates, limits the stormy exchanges and encourages them to continue to promote you.
5- Identify influencers to make them paid ambassadors
Traditional websites and blogs are not the only ones to represent a relevant addition to your affiliate network. Also remember to identify influencers on social networks, to generate sales or leads from Instagram or Facebook for example.
6- Highlight your affiliate program
To be effective, your program must be visible in order to “recruit” affiliates throughout the year.
Your platform should help you, but it is not the only one to act: also add an “affiliation” section to your website and do not hesitate to contact sites or influencers in your theme, to propose to join the program.
7- Animate your affiliate program throughout the year
Private sales, flash sales, seasonal operations, promotional codes, banners that change regularly … an active (and reactive) affiliation program helps to promote the success and motivation of its partners. It is important to update offers regularly to generate interest throughout the year.
8- Have a system in place to fight against fraud
Fraud is, unfortunately, part of the affiliation ecosystem, especially at the level of lead generation. It is therefore important to have particularly precise conditions of use and a system in place to detect abuses and automatically solve the problems encountered at this level. Discover the main frauds and how to fight them.
9- Communicate with your affiliates (dedicated newsletter, influencer operations, specific compensation offers …)
Your affiliates are like a personal army of salespeople and ambassadors. To succeed in your affiliate marketing, you should ideally be closer to their actions, their expectations, and their challenges.
You can for example:
have a dedicated newsletter, as SEMRush does through its Berush program
offer incentives several times a year (competitions, boosted remuneration, levels to reach …)
identify your best affiliates and offer them tailor-made offers or visuals
maintain a blog with tips, case studies, conversion aids …;
multiply customization tools: search box, customizable banners, product feeds, etc.
In any case, before you get started in affiliate marketing, learn everything that can succeed. More importantly, if you decide to pursue an affiliate marketing business, or if you want to add it to an existing business, understand that it ‘s not fast, automatic, or effortless. Like all home-based businesses, you need a plan and daily involvement to earn income with online affiliate marketing.
Overall, your chances of making money with an affiliate program are probably no better or worse than any other internet based business. Your success depends on how you run your affiliate plan.
Do you already have an affiliate program? What are the good practices you have identified so far, or the pitfalls to avoid? Share your feedback with us leaving your comment below.
With so much competition in online marketing these days, branding your company is not just important, but absolutely necessary to make any sort of headway in the consciousness of consumers. As a simple diagram of the importance of branding, we like this graphic from The Balance:
The five points listed gives a good summary of why branding is important when marketing to your customer base.
But this post isn’t about branding to customers. Rather, it’s about branding to your affiliate reps. And the five points listed above are the same reasons why your company needs to take affiliate program branding seriously in order to help it thrive.
Why brand your affiliate marketing program?
Most likely, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of brands vying for the business of the select few incredible affiliate marketing reps and Influencers in your niche. For example, just take the fitness category. A cursory search shows 10 affiliate programs just on bodybuilding alone. How is a potential affiliate rep going to choose which program to join?
This is where your affiliate program branding comes in. By carving a unique voice in your niche, you’ll not only attract more affiliates but the right affiliates who will work hard for your brand.
Confirms your credibility
Having a brand immediately confers more credibility to your affiliate program. A blank, unbranded signup page makes it feel like your program is just an afterthought to potential affiliate reps who visit. Take this completely unskinned sign up form:
Simply tossing that onto your affiliate sign up page won’t get you nearly the results you’re looking for. Compare that to the affiliate landing page for Verb:
And that’s just the top of the page. The entire scroll down is eye-catching, informative, and shows that there was thought and care behind the program. Credibility is immediately established which will make potential reps much more likely to join up. Even if your company name is as cheeky as BootayBag, a professional landing page will provide all the credibility you need.
Clearly delivers the message
Good affiliate program branding delivers the message that you want to put out there to reps. If you’re in a popular niche, part of your efforts is to attract the right reps, but a good branding effort will also do something just as important: weed out the “bad” ones.
It puts it right out there that they are looking for affiliate reps with a strong social media presence, and the image heavily implies a presence that involves photography. They’re saying “Instagrammers, please” without actually saying it, and it’s a good, clean way to present your program as one that’s looking for a certain persona.
Likewise, your own affiliate program branding should be at least this detailed in asking for what you want. Everything from your carefully crafted words, to your image choices, to the “look” of your pictures and page layout should all work toward evoking the type of brand ambassador that you want. Because you want to…
Emotionally connect your target prospects with your product
Branding is always about evoking an emotion, because emotions are what drive purchasing decisions when the $$$ isn’t a factor. Similarly, when two affiliate programs offer the same $$$ commission, the rep is going to pick the one that evokes the right emotion.
What they’re all about isn’t subtle and it isn’t pretending to be picture perfect. It’s about showcasing the results of real people, and this approach evokes a very different emotion than airbrushed pictures of celebrities or fitness trainers with perfectly sculpted abs.
The emotions that this page evokes will resonate with some people and not others, and that’s precisely what they’re going for. It’s to sign up people looking for down-to-earth health plans that care more about real fitness than posting cute yoga pics to social media.
Make sure your affiliate program branding evokes the emotions you want that will resonate the best with your preferred audience. And take note of the name they chose as well: “tribe” that evokes a sense of community and warriors. Because this goes a long way to…
Creating user loyalty
A good affiliate program branding strategy confers a sense of belonging. The best brand reps stick around not just for the commissions, but for the community and fun as well. Things as simple as naming your affiliate group can help foster this feeling.
The group name is catchy, the font and colors evoke a specific feeling, and the perks foster the community as well. Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re part of the company? The second to last bullet point offers that to their ambassadors. And who doesn’t want increased social currency? The final bullet point provides that as well.
We’ve seen rep groups called many fun names: the squad, the tribe, the collective, the ambassadors, the herd, the gang, the club, etc. Choose a name that speaks to your brand and fosters loyalty among the group. Because it all leads to the most important thing…
Motivate the buyer to buy
Just as it’s the entire point of branding to customers to motivate them to buy, your affiliate branding’s point is to motivate them to “buy” into your program. It’s the difference between maybe signing up to become an affiliate, and actually filling out the form and clicking “submit.” Your brand strategy has to be effective and appealing enough to convert pedestrian visitors into full-fledged reps. Or else, it’s just noise.
Branding isn’t just a business exercise for affiliate marketing. It’s crucial to the survival and growth of your program. Check out our recent post on how to supercharge your branding for more ideas on increasing the overall awareness of your company brand, and see how branding effectively can become a positive feedback loop from your company to your affiliate program and back again.
The most American of holidays is just around the corner. No, not Amazon Prime Day, though that’s also usually in July so we can understand the confusion. It’s the 4th of July break that’s full of overeating and often, overspending. Some reports put holiday spending during this time at around $7.1 billion, putting the 4th in the top ten biggest shopping holidays in the US calendar year. Coupled with that fake “holiday” created by Amazon Prime (another $4+ billion), there are a lot of wallets being opened.
So now is the time to get your affiliate marketing ducks in a row to help your online business make the most of this season. Here are some tips on what you should do to prepare your affiliate reps for a bountiful Independence Day.
Focus your attention on reps with a summer-y niche
Between your affiliate rep who blogs about ice climbing, and your rep who blogs about beachwear, you know who’s going to get more eyeballs during this time of year. Focus your attention on the reps who naturally lend themselves to 4th of July related topics to get the best bang for your buck.
If you don’t have enough of those summer-y reps, now is the time to reach out to them and establish a relationship so you can increase your exposure. It would first help to make a list of your products that relate directly to summer so you can narrow down your search. For example, if you sell eyewear, now would be a popular time to market sunglasses. Target Influencers and bloggers who create content around sunglasses and reach out to get an affiliate campaign going.
Popular products around 4th of July include:
outdoor sporting goods
furniture (indoor and outdoor)
cooking supplies (eg. BBQ sets)
tech (due to proximity to Amazon Prime Day)
back-to-school supplies (more on this later)
But what about all your reps that hate the sun? What if you sell parkas and have nothing to do with summer? Well, you just need to think in the direction of the one thing that is always attention-grabbing:
Run a summer sale
When in the shopping mood, people will be on the lookout for summer sales. Even if your online business has nothing much to do with the outdoors, fireworks, or patriotism; it’s still a great time to run a month-long sale on your most popular products.
This way, you can activate your reps that also don’t have a toe in summer-related topics. It will give them a reason to post about your products, and sales are just an overall great way to motivate your affiliate reps.
Make a list of the products you are planning to discount and give your reps a heads-up that they are set to go live near the 4th of July. If you haven’t been regularly sending an affiliate-only newsletter to announce this sort of promotion, now is a great time to start. It’s an effective way to spotlight what your reps need to know to maximize their commissions, as well as a way to share useful content and images.
Speaking of which…
Motivate to avoid your reps’ summer doldrums
Affiliate reps are people too. People who get busy socializing during the summer, especially when there are so many things to do and the weather turns perfect. It is common for affiliate marketing to slow down a bit during the summer months, but with the 4th of July sale coming up, it behooves you to motivate them to sell.
A big hurdle that merchants must always overcome, that gets exacerbated over the summer, is laziness when it comes to content. Creating new, interesting content takes effort and many affiliate reps might not have the gumption to pound out 1200 words on their blog or spend 10 hours on a well shot and edited video for their YouTube channel.
If you want to make the most of the 4th of July season for shopping, do the work for them. Create great content on your end including infographics, well shot social posts, and compelling blog posts that they can simply click “share” on their end. Not only does it lower the bar for them to get going, but it’s great for your site’s SEO as well. And with Google’s recent announcement that they will be limiting how often the same site appears on the search results page, it’s more important than ever for your content to live on other domains.
Another tactic to motivate your reps is to run a June-July affiliate competition with a bonus for the reps that convert the best (or sell the most). You can even combine this friendly contest with a bump in commissions over the months as well (say from 15% to 20%) to provide extra incentive to sell as much as they can. Keep a semi-public leader board of the top affiliates visible online and see how they compete with each other to make the most sales for the season.
Create landing pages for 4th of July and Prime Day
Another way to make it easy for your affiliate reps to market your 4th of July deals is to consolidate your products onto an Independence Day branded landing page. You may think this is a no-brainer, but keep in mind that landing pages for affiliate marketing should be tailored to the traffic that your reps are bringing in.
If you’re expecting one of your Influencer relationships to bear fruit during this season, what sort of traffic is it and what should your landing page look like to best service these visitors? After all, you probably want a different landing page for 20-somethings coming from Instagram, than for 40-somethings coming from a blog post. The more tailored and varied your 4th of July landing pages are (not to mention your Amazon Prime Day landing pages), the more success both you and your affiliates will have with conversions.
Tease your back-to-school sale, up next
If your shoppers aren’t already buying back-to-school supplies and gear, they soon will be. Now is a great time to tease your back-to-school products and services that will be (or already are) on sale. A couple of very simple ways to do this:
One is at checkout. Once they have successfully made their purchase, you can leverage your Thank You Page to show your upcoming back-to-school merchandise. It’s a great reminder as they exit that your online store has what they are looking for when it’s time. Additionally, you can give them a coupon code for a % off their back-to-school shopping. Now they have a great incentive to come back.
Another way is earlier in the funnel with your affiliate’s content. It’s not too early to start planting this seed of “back-to-school deals,” and your affiliates can end their 4th of July content with just a quick line such as “and don’t forget, back-to-school deals are just around the corner. If you want an early sneak peek, here’s a link to a great backpack for your student.”
Your affiliates can tack this on to the end of blog posts, in their Instagram captions, in the YouTube descriptions, etc. To be clear, the content itself is about 4th of July, but this is an additional tease to grab the attention of early shoppers, as well as to stick in the minds of other shoppers for later.
These are just some of the ways you can activate your affiliates to make your 4th of July a big win in your ledger. The earlier you start to prepare, the bigger your sales will be. Happy early 4th!
Are changes to how Google’s Chrome browser tracks cookies going to devastate your affiliate marketing programs? Doubtful. But it’s best to know exactly what’s going on so you can be aware of fluctuations in your traffic.
If you’re running an affiliate program, you probably know what browser cookies are: a bit of information that a site saves to a visitor’s device so the site can remember some things about you for the next 10, 30, 90, or more days. That’s why when you’ve logged into Amazon, you can come back to a “Welcome Robert!” message along with items from your recent shopping history.
This is good for online retailers because they can show returning customers items they are more likely to purchase. But unfortunately, we live in a privacy-compromised world. From hacks to leaks, to obtrusive ads, and more; privacy is a hot topic and one that the major tech gatekeepers are trying to manage.
About a year ago, Apple launched a slew of pro-privacy updates for Safari including a feature called Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), which automatically purges 3rd-party cookies after 30 days of a user not visiting a given site. It also hindered “cross-site tracking,” limiting tracking cookies from being read beyond the first 24 hours.
Then a few months later, Apple rolled out ITP 2.0 that removed even those first 24 hours from the equation; meaning, cookies could no longer be read by 3rd-parties that Apple had deemed are “known for tracking.” In short, if you’re on Apple’s watch list as being a site that tracks, ITP 2.0 was designed to prevent you from doing so.
Google Chrome seems to be next to adopt ITP
Since Apple’s move with Safari, there have been rumors that Google would be implementing a similar cookie tracking blocker as well. In fact, it almost seems like a sure thing. And while Safari represents about a sixth of internet browser traffic, Google Chrome commands a whopping 66%. If advertisers and merchants can no longer track their marketing efforts, including their affiliate marketing traffic, you can say goodbye to good data to help optimize your campaigns.
So what does that mean for you?
It all depends on your affiliate tracking platform
As with Apple’s ITP 2.0, if the software you use is on their list of “trackers,” you’ll likely be locked out on Chrome as well. You will have to resort to “cookieless tracking” which can get around these browser privacy walls, but these can be less useful than actual cookies.
The best course of action is to make sure that your affiliate marketing runs on a platform that isn’t considered a tracker, and thus isn’t on Safari or Chrome’s blacklist.
For example, if you use Refersion, you don’t have to worry about a thing. When ITP 2.0 debuted, our merchants weren’t impacted because Refersion utilizes first-party storage techniques and doesn’t rely on accessing data across domains (ie. no cross-domain tracking). We’re not on Safari’s list as a tracker. And when ITP 2.1 was released, again, Refersion’s tracking technology wasn’t affected.
What about when Chrome releases their ITP feature?
If Apple’s ITP is any indication, Refersion won’t be classified as a tracker by Google either. Of course, there’s no way to be absolutely sure until the much-rumored Chrome ITP is released, but all signs indicate smooth sailing.
But not all affiliate tracking platforms are equal. If the solution you’re currently using is on the blacklist, your analytics may be off by as much as 40%, which can lead to bad decisions and headaches when trying to grow your affiliate marketing program. If you can’t attribute sales to rep activity, what data do you have to go on?
Make sure your platform has either an adequate cookieless tracking solution in place, or is off the tracking blacklist on Safari. If so, it will save you a heck of a lot of trouble when Chrome launches its privacy protections.
As a retailer, chances are you have a diverse audience. That’s why you tweak your advertising copy and content to cater to lots of people across different segments.
However, as hard as you try to reach the majority of your audience, there are still those who don’t encounter your ads. Perhaps they aren’t actively looking for products like yours, or they’ve never been to your website, so they don’t see your pay-per-click (PPC) ads. The fact that your paths haven’t crossed means you’re missing out on an opportunity to woo and convert them.
One way to get your products in front of these folks is with an ecommerce affiliate program. This is when you partner with influencers in your niche who use email, blog content, and social media to tell their audience about your products. Affiliate programs cost a lot less than advertising, so it’s also an affordable way to increase your sales.
To help you make the most of this strategy, we’ve put together a guide that explains:
How ecommerce affiliate programs work
What you need to know to build your own program
How to manage your program to increase sales
Let’s dive in!
What is an ecommerce affiliate program?
An ecommerce affiliate program is an agreement between you and publishers — like bloggers, other small businesses, and influencers — to share your products with their audience. When their followers buy your products, complete a lead form, or click a link, the publisher gets a commission:
For example, Pura Vida sells handcrafted bracelets online. Since their mission centers around promoting healthy and fulfilling living, they can partner with publishers that blog about health and wellness, handmade jewelry, and even South American travel. This audience might not be looking for handmade bracelets, but because they trust the bloggers they follow and appreciate their recommendations, they’re more likely to check out Pura Vida and buy something.
When these leads click on a Pura Vida affiliate link and buy, the publishers get up to 12% in commission on sales. This ecommerce affiliate program gives Pura Vida exposure to people who otherwise might not have found their products.
To drive traffic to your store, each of your publishers gets an affiliate link to embed in their content. Every time someone clicks on the link, a cookie you create remembers them. You set how long the cookie life lasts — this is how long the lead has to return to your site to buy, so the publisher gets credit. Pura Vida’s cookie lasts for 30 days.
What you pay your publishers varies depending on:
Your commission structure
How many publishers you work with
The number of followers publishers send your way
If you sell products on a marketplace like Amazon, there’s a ‘built-in’ affiliate program you can use. With a site like Amazon, where 197 million people shop every month, you can use the affiliate program to direct traffic to your product pages. This is traffic that would have otherwise been snatched up by competition on the site.
Publishers get a custom link they promote on their own site or on social media. When followers click on the link, they land on the publisher’s Amazon page where all the products they promote are listed.
When followers click on any of these products, they’re redirected to your Amazon product pages for more details:
In this example, this publisher specializes in travel accessories. If you have a unique product to share, niche publishers will get your products in front of the people most likely to buy them.
As you can see, ecommerce affiliate programs are a powerful way to get exposure, so you increase your sales. Now, let’s look at how to get started.
How to launch an ecommerce affiliate program
The fact that 81% of ecommerce stores have an affiliate program shows that this strategy is a solid way to increase sales. But just because these programs are so popular doesn’t mean you should jump in without making sure it’s the right move for you now or in the long-term.
1. Determine if an affiliate program is right for you
There are lots of variables when it comes to running a successful ecommerce affiliate program. For one, commission payouts vary from month-to-month depending on how many publishers you have, how much traffic they get you, and the resulting sales. Plus, factors like your store size, product availability and selection, and your time available to manage the program should also be considered before launching your ecommerce affiliate program.
A few questions to ask yourself before launching your ecommerce affiliate program include:
Can you manage the program on your own or do you need a dedicated customer support team?
Do you have a network of bloggers and influencers you can reach out to? How similar are their audiences to yours?
Do you have a process in place to help affiliates promote your products properly?
Do you have a commission strategy in place? Does it fit your budget?
What product trends are your followers interested in?
What are your audience needs?
Also, research the affiliate programs your competitors have in place. Pay attention to how their commission structure works, how long their cookie life lasts, and their signup and approval process.
Use the information you get from your research to set benchmarks. This helps you track how good a job you’re doing to attract traffic and convert them over time. This also shows where you have opportunities to outperform competitor programs and stand out to publishers.
2. Attract publishers
If you decide that an ecommerce affiliate program is a good fit, you have to find publishers to partner with. Create a page on your website where publishers apply to your program, and promote the program on social media to attract publishers.
For publishers that apply, decide if they’ll be a good fit for your program based on their:
Audience reach. How many followers do they have on social media? How big is their email list?
Business focus. How closely do their business values match your own?
Goals. Are they focused on catering to the needs of their audience and providing quality content?
Combined, these factors ensure you partner with the best publishers for your products and that they’ll help you boost sales.
3. Review and approve publishers
Next, use a search engine optimization (SEO) tool like Ahrefs to see how the content of your chosen publishers ranks in Google. Let’s say you sell tech gadgets and want to partner with bloggers to spread the word. Ahrefs shows you how much traffic their content gets and how many times it gets shared:
The more shares and traffic to their content, the better the chances are that these bloggers will reach a lot of people and generate lots of sales for you.
Also, check each publisher’s authority in their niche — for example, look at their domain rank (DR) in Ahrefs because the higher the rank, the better because they’re seen as trusted sources — and their brand awareness. You want to be sure people know about these publishers and read and look at their content. You can also check if any potential publishers have worked with or been featured on mainstream sites in their niche.
4. Conduct ongoing reviews
Once you’ve approved which publishers can join your ecommerce affiliate program, do regular reviews to see:
Which publishers are generating lots of traffic to your site
How much of this traffic is converting
How much you’re paying out to publishers every month
Which products are the most popular
What types of customers are buying
Use this information to see how successful your program is and which publishers are helping you increase your sales. Think about sending resources like videos and content to your publishers, so they’re clear on what the benefits and values are of your products, and marketing campaign tips they can customize.
Based on what’s working, you might choose to focus your affiliate program on certain products and also introduce new ones to the program. Staying on top of publishers and product performance ensures your program meets your expectations and does what you want it to.
Tools of the trade: what you need to know
To make managing your ecommerce affiliate program as streamlined as possible, use tools to automate processes. This way, you can focus on other areas of your business.
Plus, with the right tools, reviewing your program and tracking ROI are easier to do — everything is automatically calculated and stored for you.
Most platforms offer a free trial to start and include different monthly subscriptions based on how many publishers you have.
Pura Vida uses Refersion to automate and manage their program. When they first launched their affiliate program, it grew quickly and steadily — now they use micro-influencers on Instagram and Facebook, which adds to this growth. Pura Vida found that their program followed the 80/20 rule — roughly 80% of their sales came from 20% of their publishers. To get more publishers engaged, Pura Vida offered an incentive that included different commission levels. Publishers found that the more they shared, the more they got back in commissions.
As a result, there are well over 130,000 publishers on board with more joining every day. Pura Vida has also seen a 230% jump in sales as traffic to their site has doubled.
Whichever tool you use to manage your ecommerce affiliate program, use the features it offers to make your program engaging. The program and the features you have access to must help you keep publishers motivated and excited to share your products. Review the reports in your platform and make changes to your program, so it meets your publishers’ needs.
Making your ecommerce affiliate program work for you
If your advertising has hit a wall or traffic has plateaued or sales have dropped, consider expanding your reach with an ecommerce affiliate program. Audiences appreciate product recommendations from the influencers they trust, so use this strategy to introduce new products to new audiences.
To make sure your program meets the needs of publishers and increases your sales, test different parts of your program to find the sweet spot — a program within your budget and that publishers are engaged with. Over time, your sales are going to grow.
Marketing and web design agencies who offer comprehensive packages for eCommerce brands usually offer the standard things: SEO, SEM, social media, email, etc. However, some agencies drag their feet when it comes to offering an affiliate marketing solution as part of their package. This is surprising because as we wrote previously, affiliate marketing can offer businesses a 16-to-1 return on investment making this branch of marketing one of the most valuable to brands looking to get more by spending less (and speaks to the margins an agency can profit from as well).
Especially with the deteriorating trust in brands and social media by the younger generation of consumers, marketing that depends on the word of peers, experts, and Influencers is key to making up this trust-gap between businesses and their audience. Agencies that can offer access to and expertise in affiliate marketing can fill a needed void in the overall marketing strategies of SMBs to enterprise-level companies.
In essence, offering an affiliate marketing solution is akin to providing a way to maximize trust currency, which is in short supply these days.
Why it’s tough for agencies to do affiliate marketing in-house
With the other types of marketing services an agency offers mentioned above, it’s all pretty straight forward. An agency can run email campaigns for a client. An agency can take care of the SEO. Sure they need input here and there, but marketing agencies have the ability to run with these campaigns.
Affiliate marketing is different. Affiliate marketing is all about managing people, usually a brand’s biggest fans.
Because of this, it’s much more intricate, much more time-consuming, and most of all, much more personal. And then imagine managing a dozen or more brand representatives for a dozen or more clients. Affiliate marketing can become exponentially difficult for agencies to do in-house. It’s not impossible, of course. Marketing agencies might have to hire a bunch of dedicated affiliate managers, but balancing the personnel cost with the revenue from running these campaigns can be dicey.
But there is another way.
Why agencies partnering with affiliate marketing SaaS makes sense
If your agency doesn’t have the time or manpower to build an affiliate marketing service from scratch, you should consider partnering with a SaaS company that specializes in this niche. This allows for your agency to take advantage of the custom software that makes it easy to find reps, onboard them, manage them, and pull analytics of their performance; all without building the tools yourself.
This way, just a few of your agents can manage the affiliate marketing campaigns for all your clients; freeing up resources for other tasks, and keeping overhead low. Just as you wouldn’t build your own email marketing platform when Mailchimp already exists, you would leverage an already vetted affiliate tracking platform to run these campaigns.
What agencies should look for in an affiliate marketing SaaS partner
When your marketing agency is shopping for an affiliate marketing SaaS, there are a few things you should be looking for:
Reputation and Experience
Has the SaaS been established as a major player in the field? Does it reliably work with the major e-commerce platforms around (such as Shopify and BigCommerce) that so many retailers build their stores on? What is their rating on review sites like Capterra? Do your due diligence and make sure you’re not signing up with a lemon. You’ll want a SaaS that has worked for companies big and small, as well in as many industries as your stable of clients.
Features (especially Reporting)
Your clients will want to sign up reps in many different ways (social media, email, direct traffic to landing page, etc). Will your SaaS solution be able to accommodate these different paths to success? Can they offer individual coupon codes and personalized links to offer the best tracking? Speaking of which, how robust is the reporting so you can keep track of the major affiliate KPIs? Take a close look at the list of features each SaaS offers to see if it fills the needs of your clients’ varied use-cases.
Most, if not all, of your clients won’t want to run any of their marketing with a 3rd party brand emblazoned across anything client-facing. No enterprise company wants to send out emails that say “Powered by Campaign Monitor,” so your SaaS solution should have the ability to white label any affiliate-facing portals. This includes the signup page, the rep’s dashboard & reporting, and more.
You don’t want to break the bank, but the reason we put this last is because by now you should have a very good sense of what features you’ll want in your affiliate marketing SaaS. There are many cheap options to choose from, but they may be lacking in the areas you need the most (for example, white labeling or customer support). Like with most SaaS out there, you get what you pay for. Keep pricing in mind, but skimping here can cost your agency more in the long run if you go with bare-bones service.
Affiliate marketing should be a branch of marketing that all agencies should offer to provide the most comprehensive service possible. But there are real challenges to trying to implement it completely in-house. Consider partnering with the right SaaS company in the space to get the best of both worlds. And since there are various affiliate marketing SaaS solutions out there, it behooves your agency to see which one fits all of your needs, and the needs of your clients.
For merchants in the e-commerce space, having great Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can make or break your profit margins. After all, you have to get traffic to your site and product pages no matter what, and there are only two ways to achieve this: either you pay for it (ie. Google AdWords) or you get it for free, which entails doing SEO well. In the long run, great SEO will return months, if not years, of unpaid traffic which will free up more budget for other aspects of your business.
Of course, achieving great SEO is easier said than done, and there are many (many!) posts across the internet to help boost your rankings in various ways. But one thing a lot of these write-ups miss is how affiliate marketing can help with your SEO. We always like to say that working with affiliate reps is an effective way to outsource your marketing team, and there are ways to work with your reps specifically on SEO-related activities. Here are 4 ways to work with your affiliates to boost your e-commerce SEO.
1. Create authoritative, evergreen content.
Generating content is just table stakes for any e-commerce business, especially ones that have an affiliate marketing channel. If your blog posts or images or videos are dull and uninformative, even if affiliates share it, it won’t get any traction. Content is still king, and good SEO always starts here. If you do nothing else to boost your SEO, at least create good content.
Specifically, create authoritative and evergreen content. Let’s break these two adjectives down:
Authoritative content means it comes from an expert. For us, we’re experts at all aspects of affiliate marketing (eg. our guide to getting affiliates via Instagram). But that’s a given. A more practical approach is to think about it this way: it’s information you can’t get anywhere else, usually because you generated it yourself. For example, if you mine your client data and come up with industry benchmarks, that is useful and unique information. It’s inherently authoritative and sure to garner attention, and better yet, links.
Evergreen content means it will still be relevant years from now. This is tough since the pace of technology and the internet runs so fast, but it’s also industry specific. A comprehensive guide on SEO might need to be updated every year, but a guide to identifying trees will probably last forever. Think about content in your niche that can last, and they will pay dividends as they continue to bring in more links, and traffic, that will boost your SEO score year over year.
2. Generate important backlinks to your product pages.
That’s right, over half the pages that didn’t get any traffic had zero links pointed at them. We’ve known for decades now how important backlinks are to getting traffic to your site, but now we know that not having them can be a death sentence for your product pages.
Building a stable of high-quality backlinks might be the most helpful SEO boost that your affiliate reps can produce. And the beauty is that it’s built right into what affiliate marketing is: they have to link back to the products that they are marketing on your behalf. And each one of those links not only directs traffic to that page on your site, but adds to the overall authority of your website (more links generally equate to higher authority) which means a higher ranking on Google’s search results page.
A few tips on making the most out of these backlinks from your affiliate reps:
Make sure that the anchor text they use is descriptive. Instead of making the text a generic “click here,” urge your reps to link back to your pages with significant keywords. “Highly rated and recommended iPhone cases” is the type of phrase that should be underlined in blue.
Dissuade links from “low quality” origins. Not all links are created equal. Make sure your reps are linking to you from within well-written and compelling content and not, say, from the comments section of some random blog. If they want to link from these “low quality” places because they might be good for conversions, ask them to use no-follow links that won’t ding your site:
Utilize Google Search Console to manage your links.
Logging into your Google Search Console will provide an easy way to check out which sites are sending you the most backlinks and the top linking text that’s associated with this traffic. It’s a great, free way to keep tabs on the state of your backlinks.
3. Social media’s correlation with, or causation of, SEO boosts.
Google doesn’t disclose what goes into their special sauce of how they rank websites on their search results page. Sure, we know the broad strokes of what matters for SEO, and we might even know the smaller details. But we don’t really know everything, especially how much certain aspects are weighted against each other.
The impact of social media likes and shares is one of those hotly contested aspects in SEO circles. Ostensibly, we all know that lots of social media activity is correlated with a boost in rank. But many experts argue that this increase is a side effect of simply having more backlinks when content is shared hundreds or thousands of times over. Then again, Hootsuite conducted a quite thorough investigation of their own and concluded that social media activity alone is enough to boost rank, regardless of backlinks (the entire post is quite fascinating if you’re into this sort of thing). But then again, Google’s official stance is that no, it doesn’t.
We’re not here to resolve this debate. But one thing is clear: leveraging social media can only benefit your SEO, regardless of whether it’s correlation or causation. And to that end, working with your affiliate reps to leverage their individual social networks will seriously impact your SEO and ranking. Some tips in this effort:
Encourage your affiliates to create great content. Not only should you lead by example and create content to be shared, you should always allocate some time and effort to assist your reps in creating amazing content that features your product or service. Once they do, make sure you ask them to use your hashtag, tag your business, list you in their YouTube video/channel keywords, and add a linkback in the post description.
Go on their podcast or vlog. Many social media Influencers may be reluctant to inorganically talk about or link to your products. Even before you establish a partnership relationship with them, ask to appear on their podcast and/or vlog to discuss a subject that would engage their followers. It’s a more organic way to have a reason to link back to your site as well as increase brand recognition.
Encourage resharing/reposting. A good piece of content shouldn’t be a one-and-done situation. After all, a post today will only reach a fraction of any affiliate rep’s social circle. Remind them of, or help them schedule out, resharing and reposting. Today, three days, a week, a month, 3 months, 6 months, a year.
4. Dominate the top of Google (and voice search).
It’s tough for a single company to own the top spots on Google’s search results page for a given query (that’s not their own brand name), but it can be done much easier if you tag-team the effort with your high profile affiliate reps. Here’s an example of what we mean:
A search for “red cellphone battery cases” resulted in links for Mophie, Mophie on Amazon, and Mophie on eBay. That’s some excellent SEO done by Mophie’s team; they own 3 out of the 4 top spots not with their own domain, but with the assistance of others.
Likewise, optimize around the keyword phrase of your choice and work with your affiliates with high-profile sites to create content that will similarly own the top spots. You can’t copy and paste a blog post, since Google abhors duplicate content, but similarly authoritative and evergreen posts can help.
Make sure your affiliates optimize their content to encourage a paragraph becoming a Featured Snippet.
Google tends to pull a 45-word paragraph from a highly ranked page to feature as an answer to queries, especially if the query is a question (ie. “how do I…”) and the paragraph is a direct answer to that question. Thus, it’s beneficial to tell your affiliates to add concise Q & A sections to pages that are already ranking highly. And again, these Featured Snippets are often pulled for voice search answers.
Finally, encourage basic SEO. If your affiliate reps are creating a lot of content for you, it’s a good idea to run an SEO bootcamp to help them understand the importance of title tags, descriptive alt text for images, ideal length of posts, and the like. As we started with, your reps can be considered your outsourced marketing team. Help them help you!
Your business can exponentially increase your SEO by working closely with your affiliate reps who operate their own sites and own social networks. With intelligent utilization of backlinks, quality content, social media, and tag-teaming your best keywords; you have a much better chance of rising to the top of Google than acting all on your own.
The promise of a steady passive income is the ideal lifestyle for many bloggers and freelancers. While you’re always going to have to put a little work into anything that you do, affiliate marketing is an excellent way to generate income even while you’re away from the computer.
In essence, affiliate marketing has four steps. First, an advertiser and publisher form a business relationship. Next, the publisher (that’s you) writes and promotes content featuring products sold by the advertiser. Customers click on your link and buy advertiser products from your website. Finally, the advertiser pays you a commission on each sale associated with your link.
Here’s a visual illustration of this process:
One of the significant challenges that affiliate marketers, or publishers, have is how to generate leads to their website. We want to take a look at this process and tell you how to expand your business once you create a website.
Deliver Meaningful Content around the Products
We have all visited a website that’s supposed to provide valuable information about a specific topic. After landing on the page, you discover that it’s nothing but a giant ad. This can be disheartening for your audience, and they may not rely on you for information if they see you making multiple posts that are purely advertisements.
Instead of thinking about the products you’re offering, focus on the content you’ll create around the product. If someone lands on your page and sees a wall of text talking about how great a product is with no evidence to back it up, or worse, no context as to how it provides meaningful value to your life, they will likely leave.
If you want to start generating leads and sales with your content, focus on informational pieces that give your reader a tangible benefit of the product, and provides backstory on how others use it.
Pick a Niche
One of the most common mistakes affiliate marketers make is accepted every offer that comes their way. If you take on too many advertisers, you may find yourself with a bit of an identity crisis. We would all like to believe that we can be a jack of all trades and promote a variety of products with a variety of different target audiences.
The reality is when you fragment the type of content you’re creating, and the products you’re promoting, there is less of a chance that a first time customer will come back. You could also put some people off before they even decide on the buying process.
Think about how you would feel if you went to a blog and discovered that they were promoting beauty products, video games, lawn accessories, and pet supplies. You would be a bit overwhelmed and likely not feel like browsing the site for the one thing you were looking for in the first place.
However, if you were looking for gardening supplies, and stumbled across a blog that has a content marketing strategy around the topic of gardening, you would be far more likely to trust their opinions and make a purchase based on their content. There’s a big difference between appearing as someone who has a passion and discusses a specific niche, and someone who is promoting products by just throwing everything against the wall and hoping something sticks.
Track Your Analytic Numbers
Having an affiliate marketing website is similar to operating a blog or eCommerce storefront, numbers matter. You should always carefully check your key performance indicators (KPIs) and look for trends within your audience, and the advertisers you’ve partnered with.
If you notice that your audience tends to flock to one subset of products within your niche, you can use this information to seek out other products from advertisers in exchange for promoting their product.
Similarly, you should keep a careful eye on who is following through the links and purchasing a product. You’ll be able to determine if an advertiser may not be a right fit for your website if you’re publishing a ton of content promoting their products but haven’t landed a single sale.
It’s 100 percent possible to earn a living through affiliate marketing. Despite the name “passive income,” you’re still going to have to put in some work if you want to see some serious results. If you’re delivering great content, operating in a niche, and checking your website analytic data for trends, you’re on the right path to a successful affiliate marketing website.
You see, a sales page is much more than just the sum of its words. The offer, structure and design all play a huge part in persuading prospects to click the “buy” button.
And while there are A LOT of crappy ClickBank sales pages floating about, the high performers – pages pulling in tens or even hundreds of thousands every month – are places copywriters can study and learn from.
With that in mind, here are 10 persuasion principles that top-performing ClickBank sales pages are using to get more people to open their wallets (or purses).
1. Big Claim + Curiosity = Winning Headline
Take a big claim or benefit, mix with curiosity, and you’ve got the formula for an eye-grabbing headline.
The highlight catches the eye, then curiosity-inducing language draws the reader in.
2. Highlight to focus attention
Use highlighting to put the reader’s spotlight on something you want them to see, but don’t overuse it.
It’s possible to over-do highlighting, which should be used for a focused effort.
3. Plaster your sales page with images
Build interest and desire with prospects by including a bucketload of relevant images in your sales page, especially in the first half of the page.
The sales page for Teds Woodworking has photos, blueprints and other images used all throughout the page.
4. Show digital products in physical form
If you have a digital product, boost a sense of “real” ownership by displaying it in a physical form.
How To Get Ex Back is 100% digital, but shows buyers what they’re “getting” as a physical product.
5. Make readers at home with localization
Tweak pages with little inclusions like flags, country references and currency images to make it more familiar to readers.
The Take Surveys for Cash exit pop-up includes tiny details like the prospect’s flag and their country name to provide a more “personalized” selling experience.
6. Tap into our penchant for video content
Video is a powerful medium, so if your product or promo fits the bill, don’t hesitate to use a video sales letter (or VSL).
Fat Decimator uses a combination of curiosity in the headline and a classic Before & After image to get people to watch.
7. Load your page with plenty of proof
Like any sales page, you won’t get far if you can’t back up your claims with proof… so be sure to include plenty.
No Nonsense Ted sells a weight loss product, where Before & After images are a powerful proof element.
8. Use an exit pop-up to lure prospects back
While annoying for prospects, you can sometimes lure them back with an irresistible offer in your exit pop-up.
The sales page for Your Wealth Magnet has an exit pop-up chock full of persuasion elements, including bonuses, a discounted price and a bold call to action button.
9. Don’t show your CTA until the prospect’s ready
Present your offer and call to action at the point in the page where you think your prospect is ready to act on it, and not a moment before.
Once you move into the second half of the Teds Woodworking page, the calls to action come thick and fast.
10. Your CTA is much more than a button
A call to action can be more than just a button. Don’t be afraid to add elements like microcopy, icons, seals and images to make your CTA irresistible.
The No-Nonsense call to action section is jammed with elements to convince prospects to click.
A Final Word: Don’t Forget the Fundamentals
All these tactics help you dial up the persuasiveness (and conversion) on your page, but without solid fundamentals in place, they’re mostly wasted.
A first-class product that stands out from the competition
A compelling, “I’ve got to have that!” offer
Message hierarchy that leads readers to the point where buying makes sense
Evocative copy that doesn’t just deal in dry facts, but stirs emotion and desire
If you want to explore these tactics in more detail, you can get the full analysis (complete with infographic) right here.
While there’s no harm in covering them all, doing so will just make it harder and less effective for you.
Not only does it let you exert more effort in writing, but can also bore your audience.
Instead, here’s what you need to do:
Cover the features relevant to your audience.
Talk about highlight features, those that make them tick. Discuss the products’ benefits according to your market’s wants and needs. Make your product useful and interesting to your target market.
Have a specific audience in mind and write the review based on what they need most and find interesting. This lets you create a review that compels your reader to buy them.
Try the product out
This sounds like a given, but nothing beats using the product before writing your review.
Spend time using the product. Learn the product from the inside and out to identify its strengths and weaknesses.
This should provide you with enough information to write an honest and objective review.
Your post should have a more authentic feel because you are writing from experience and not making things up out of thin air.
Another advantage of using the product is you can add exclusive content to your reviews like photos and videos.
For physical products, you will have to go out of your way to buy them.
But if you are reviewing software, you can sign up for a free trial of the tool. Make sure to use it before the trial period ends. Also, take as many screenshots as possible and show a video of yourself using the tool to perform a specific task.
Talk about the downsides of the product
All products, no matter how good, still have drawbacks.
If you read a product review that features only positive comments, you can be sure that the reviewer is lying through his teeth.
You might think that writing about the disadvantages of using the product could less to fewer sales and conversions. And that’s probably true.
But here’s the thing nobody talks about:
Including them in your review makes it more authentic and trustworthy!
These prepare buyers for the product so that they’ll have more knowledge on how to use it.
They’ll also trust you more because you talk about the product’s every detail, even if some are unpleasant.
This reason is why you need to find the best products to review instead of reviewing the bad ones.
The best products have fewer cons, allowing you to focus on the positives.
So even if you talk about the negatives of the products, the positives outweigh them all.
Humans are visual beings. We prefer pictures instead of texts.
Therefore, use this to your advantage and get visual!
People will always stop reading once they see a photo. Not only does this make the review more interesting, but it also makes it more understandable.
You don’t have to read the post after seeing this. The visual provides everything you need to know about the product, and it only takes you seconds to process the information!
There are different tools you can use to create stunning visuals to accompany your review posts.
You can also create the graphics yourself.
For instance, you can create your visuals from design templates at Venngage. This way, you don’t have to start from scratch. Also, you can create beautiful content even without design experience.
Write a useful and helpful review
Majority of affiliate marketers are going to write a review of a product they’ve never used. There’s nothing wrong with this practice.
The real problem stems from the fact that some marketers write reviews for the sake of making a sale.
They will write a positive review of the product they haven’t tried yet just to get visitors to click on their link and buy the product.
This is deceptive and disingenuous.
At the very least, and if you truly want to make money from product reviews, here’s the secret:
Your review should be based on facts.
If you can’t get your hands on the product for whatever reason, draw information from different reliable sources and merge it with your opinion.
Offer valuable insights about the product you’re reviewing using the details at hand.
Again, it’s best to purchase or try out the service before writing your review. But if you can “fake” it by producing a useful review for your audience, then run with it!
Wrapping it up
Writing an affiliate product review is a challenging task. You walk through a fine line between giving factual observations and salesmanship. Letting people click the link and buy from it while maintaining credibility and objectivity is tricky.
However, this article makes it easier. Just remember that affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to generate income from your blog. Your hard work will eventually pay off as long as you bring out your best.
Following the tips mentioned will not only increase conversion but will also make your blog a more credible source for reviews. Just remember to give your best. When you do, then you’ll surely earn big, fast cash in no time.