In the last chapter, I laid down some of the most important points that will make or break your success as an affiliate marketer.
It involved being a helpful good guy towards your customers, knowing the product personally and having the customer’s interests in the forefront of your mind.
All these increase your chances of being profitable.
However, while you might be doing everything in your power to push for that first sale or to raise your efforts to the next level, there may invariably come a time when you stagnate. Nothing improves.
It will feel like the gold is just inches away and yet you can’t grab it, despite coming so far for it.
Keep Digging When You Don’t yet See Success
Over the years, I have learned so many gold nuggets of advice and various tips & tricks that allowed me to finally breach the invisible wall keeping me from success.
I’m leaving this goldmine of ideas as a reference for inspiration. They are in no particular order. Grab the one that calls out to you and implement it. See what happens.
In a land of strangers, trust gets the ball rolling
You need to trade places in order to really appreciate the view on this topic.
Viewing yourself as an affiliate marketer with lofty goals is so easy to do all day long, but you’ll always wonder why sales don’t happen if you miss the most important aspect of this business.
Because you are making a product recommendation to a total stranger, you can almost hear their inner thoughts, “Who is this guy really, and why should I believe anything he says?”
This is not only common, but very natural. And the more expensive a product, the less likely people will buy from your recommendation unless you really put in the requisite time and effort to nurture trust over time with your prospect.
And it’s not that hard when you do it on a daily basis. It’s nothing but a combination of listening to their needs carefully and being as helpful in teaching, explaining and demonstrating the product in a way that answers all their questions.
The very act of you surrendering your valuable time to do this for a stranger will cause them to trust you.
And the resources you provide them can be in any form they prefer: video on YouTube, text on your website, audio from a podcast, or a quick email message.
And don’t charge anything for it. Your commissions will come from the sale of the product, remember? So all this help must be free content or freebie that they opt into.
Be the giver.
Remember, are you earning their trust?
There is an ocean of products to select for your affiliate marketing. From cheap, mid-priced and all the way through several thousand dollars.
While recommending a pair of lazy tube socks on your website might not require that you become intimately knowledgeable about the product, you will definitely have some questions to answer about a $120 music headphone.
Any product in the triple-digit price range will generally make a person think for several days before making a buying decision.
During this “buying hiatus”, they are reading a handful of articles from others, binge watching YouTube videos to see the product in action and very rapidly narrowing their final decision to the color, size or model of product they believe is the one they really want.
This research period comes right before the desire to buy enters their mind.
That means your own blog articles and youtube videos or any content you produce will have to show them what they want to see.
If it’s software, they might want to know how it compares to another brand and if the features are better.
Can you move the little box to the left by just drag-and-dropping, or does the software force you to click on ten different submenus before you finally get it to do something so simple?
If you haven’t used the software that you are promoting, you won’t know what they’re talking about or understand their frustration from personal experience.
For the avid video gamers, they want to know if the graphics are better than the old game, or if the game studio got sold to another company and now all the games suck.
Can the game be played with this new controller for the PC or does it work only on the console? For video games, refunds don’t exist so the purchase is final. Nobody is pulling out their credit card until they are 100% convinced this is it.
Can you answer all their questions well enough to earn their trust and, thus, earn the affiliate commission?
If you have nothing to say about a product other than, “These are great. I recommend them”, this will be brushed off as generic marketing speak and you will not earn the visitor’s trust.
It’s always about trust, if you are in this affiliate marketing game for the long-term.
Do you really know the product, or just know about it? Buy the product and use it!
When doing your due diligence about the product you’re about to promote, I highly recommend you read the sales page of the product and what it promises to do.
Sometimes the description sounds like it’s too good to be true or that it behaves just like a normal product on the market.
If you take their word for it and start promoting based on that, it will come back to bite you if the product is a dud.
In other cases, the product is the best, costs a premium, and is the industry leader. But it won’t be for everybody.
Not everyone is ready for “the best”, and this confused customer will inevitably request a refund.
Too many refunds, and the affiliate program will kick you out because you are costing them too many processing fees (instead of helping them grow).
Especially with complex products like software and monthly subscriptions to services that lock in the customer for a while and for a lot of money, you should absolutely know what specific person would benefit from it.
If the product worked for you but a beginner would be frustrated for months due to the learning curve, you might be promoting a superior product, but one that doesn’t serve your beginner-level audience.
You’ll have to tailor the product to your audience’s experience level, and this might mean offering a suite of solutions that cater to different levels. If that’s too much work, then stick to one level but explain to your audience who this is for (so they don’t feel “buyer’s remorse” and cause refunds).
Thinking about how your audience will benefit is smart, because now it means you aren’t blasting a one-size-fits-all product to the public.
And because you took the time to cater to your visitor’s particular needs, they’ll really enjoy the experience with you!
Martial arts was one of my hobbies as a teen.
With the constant physical activity and sweating all the time, it was a matter of time before sparing with others would bring about a skin condition. I got warts on my finger one time.
So I looked for ways to get rid of it at home. You’ve probably heard of various home remedies that work, and I tried a few. For me, they kinda worked and I started looking for a product that specialized in wart removal to help me out.
The product I tried was easy, no mess and it got rid of the problem. Because I was studying marketing at that time I figured why not promote this?
I turned on my video camera and make a quick review video about it. With the power of YouTube and my website at the time, this brought in some money.
The reason my promotion method worked so well was because I was a case study of the product. I was someone suffering with the same thing as the visitor, so they connected with me and accepted my recommendation.
What could have worked even better perhaps—if I could jump into a time machine and do it slightly differently—would be if I had taken a time lapse of pictures, showing the progress over 1-2 weeks and displaying this in my videos. People love to see results.
They want the proof. Either way, showing proof (when possible) almost does all the talking for you, because no matter what anyone says, if the thing works… it works! And it’s hard to argue with results.
So show proof!
This tip is one of those things that people forget to do but is so obvious once you hear it. So listen up.
If the product does something or has really cool features, I found it very effective to do the presentation as a feature/benefit pair. You describe the feature, then immediately explain the benefit of that feature.
For example, it’s good to say, “This motorcycle jacket has a deep secret pocket and is angled slightly.”
A better way to say that is to pair the feature with the benefit, like this: “This motorcycle jacket has deep pockets, that way you can stick your big 7” iPhone in there with plenty of room for a spare pair of gloves.
I usually stuff a pair on my side pockets but you never know if they’ll fall out (I don’t like zipper side pockets) so this gives me peace of mind.
Also, when you lean forward while riding, the stuff might fall out, so this secret pocket is angled back just enough to make your belongings stay in place but also make it easy to reach in there and grab stuff with one hand.”
I don’t ride bikes, so maybe what I said sounded silly.
I was using my creativity there but hopefully you get my point. Tell them the feature (what is has) and then immediately give an example of the benefit (the good reason for having the feature).
This almost always makes people think inside their head, “Ohhhh! Ahhhh! That’s really cool! I like it. Makes sense!”
Help people learn about the product. And show them what’s inside. Be the person that tests it out for them, and then report your findings.
People want to buy without any risk, so when you are the “product tester” (so to speak) you are taking the burden off their shoulder, and people love that!
Think for a moment about the word web “page”. Literally a sheet of digital paper that you pass around the internet.
Like a kid passing out flyers at the corner of the street, right? In a crude way, that’s what your website is, so if you don’t have a website, get to it!
It creates a virtual building that people can visit again and again when they want.
Often, when people love the info on your website, they will bookmark it on their browser to read it in the future.
When they’re ready to buy through your link, they’ll have an easy place to go to and click your link, read more stuff, or just ask you for more content.
Most people won’t have the patience to sit and read through your entire website just to have their product questions answered.
They will usually skip around from page to page, skimming through your text and watching pieces of your videos.
That means if you only place your affiliate link in one spot, they will probably skip right over it and never click on it.
For this reason, you should insert it in several strategic places but without overdoing it.
Give them enough opportunities to bump into it, in case they skip around your content, but not too much that you look like you’re spamming it everywhere.
In the US, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the “business police”. They make sure that businesses everywhere are behaving themselves and creating a safe experience for everyone.
They make sure no one gets tricked or scammed out of their money. I am not giving legal advice in this paragraph and I recommend you head over to their website to read all the laws that pertain to your particular affiliate business.
What I do want to say is that one of their laws requires affiliates to disclose who they are. You must tell your visitor that when they purchase through your link, the company that owns the product is paying you a commission from that sale.
Some websites place this short 1-2 sentence notice on the bottom footer, and others place this notice in a special box right next to the link or video or text. Do your homework on this and keep your affiliate marketing in the clear by using this disclaimer.
If your efforts aren’t working as well as you hope, it could be the method of promoting that you are using.
There is nothing wrong with the method itself but rather that your audience doesn’t respond to that style.
So here are other promoting methods that you should try with your product. The point here is to match the promoting to the audience and what they prefer.
Earlier I talked about how much people are hungry for info right before they make a buying decision.
They want to know everything about the product before pulling out their wallet, right?
Well, they will hunt for all the info online, which tends to be scattered everywhere and this takes time.
If you come along and put all the info they’ll ever need in one nice little guide, they won’t have a reason to look anywhere else.
And after they’re done reading your guide, they just might be happy to click on your affiliate link. Good job earning that sale!
So you showed them proof, and talked about features and benefits, but no one is buying. What else is there to do?
Sometimes a little friendly nudge is all you need: give a way a bonus!
Create something that complements the product and give it away as freebie. Bundle it with your offer, so that they can easily download the bonus immediately as soon as they purchase through your link.
You can ask your new customer to send you a copy of their receipt as a screen capture to your email, and then reply with the link to their free gift.
The gift can be a 10-page ebook about using the product, or a discount, a free plugin, or some accessory to the product. Use your imagination.
Maybe your audience hangs out on facebook or YouTube, not so much on your website.
You will have to shift your promoting to be mostly social media to see sales come in. However, every platform has rules and also their own style.
For example, facebook is an advertising power house, with their advanced algorithms that help you pinpoint the perfect audience for your product.
Ironically, you can’t just shove ads in groups or on your wall to make money.
There is an art to it, and it mostly involves presenting in a way that fits naturally with the facebook environment.
Afterall, it’s a place where people hang out to be social, like sitting at a park. If you show up with bright lights and banners, you scare away the kids (and get banned from facebook)!
So, shift your methods to fit your audience, but be aware of the proper style to use for each platform.