Affiliate marketing is based on a reward system. You bring customers to a business, and you receive a reward in exchange.
To make this possible, affiliate marketing software uses affiliate links to track clicks, leads, and sales generated by each affiliate marketer. There are other tools with which affiliate sales can be tracked, such as cookies and coupons, but the referral URL (affiliate link) is most important.
An affiliate link is a unique URL that contains the referral data of the affiliates. These links may contain affiliate id, username, coupon code, or partner code.
Affiliate links are used to make sure each affiliate gets rewarded for referring customers using their affiliate link. If you don’t use your affiliate link, no customers would be tracked, and you won’t get a commission.
One of the many ways to increase affiliate sales is by optimizing affiliate links.
If you’re getting thousands of traffic every day, but still you’re generating few sales, your affiliate links could be the cause.
In this guide, I’ll show you how you can smartly get more clicks and increase your affiliate links’ conversion rate. These are a few of the easy steps, using which I have been able to make six figures from BforBloggers in the last 2 years.
Keep in mind, I didn’t generate millions of visitors or use contextual ads to make money online. It’s all because of using some smart affiliate marketing strategies and optimizing the affiliate links wisely.
Let’s get started.
1. Change Link Color
The very first link optimization is also the easiest one.
Simply change the color of your affiliate links.
The color of your affiliate links has a significant effect on the CTR (Click Through Rate).
There have been multiple studies that show colors have a direct impact on CTR. For years, marketers have studied high-performing marketing campaigns, landing pages, and CTA (call-to-action).
And one common thing across all successful marketing campaigns was the color scheme.
Note this: Your affiliate links, subscription forms, and CTA buttons should always be in contrast to your website color scheme. Meaning, they should be clearly visible and visually striking.
Affiliate links that look dull don’t get as many clicks as compared to links that are in contrast.
Your CTA and hyperlinks should be colored in either red, orange, green, or blue.
Red and orange are warm, and they display a sense of urgency. It inhibits passion, aggressiveness and is almost impossible to ignore.
Green and blue are soothing to the eyes. Blue is a highly popular and widely used hyperlink color. Most people associate blue links as clickable.
Green provides a sense of calmness. Thus, people don’t hesitate to click on green buttons and links. However, green should only be used if your website color scheme is dark or very bright. Green goes with black, dark red, and deep yellow.
I’d suggest changing your affiliate links color to red for a week and then blue for another week. Use a click tracking tool like PrettyLinks to collect data on which color generates better results on your blog.
2. Use Persuasive Tone
The tone is the feeling in which you speak. Your writing tone specifies the mood of the article, which is a critical factor in sales.
See, landing page copy or sales pitch copy must have a tone that directly conveys your emotions to the reader. If not, you’ll fail at captivating the reader, or in other words, they won’t click on your affiliate link.
Why should your visitors click on your links and then make a purchase?
Give them a reason by wiring 2-3 sentences in a persuasive tone following your affiliate link anchor text.
For example, let’s say you’re trying to sell an email marketing software such as Aweber.
Here’s how I would craft my paragraph.
Aweber comes in handy when you need powerful email marketing automation but minimal cost. Unlike other tools, it’s is affordable and allows affiliate marketers to send emails containing visible affiliate links without any restrictions. So if you are selling affiliate products and significantly increase your commissions, try Aweber email marketing. For a limited time, get a 30-day free trial of their world-class platform. If you signup now, you’ll also get the “How to write emails that sell” ebook for free.
It doesn’t sound salesy because it’s simply explaining what Aweber does better than other tools and why the reader should act right now. By stating benefits instead of facts, you’re helping the reader to understand things more clearly, without jargon.
Above all, it works.
You don’t have to force affiliate products, but you also don’t have to hold back from selling. That’s the wrong move.
As long as you believe in the product you’re recommending as an affiliate, and it delivers on what it promises, you shouldn’t shy away from using a persuasive tone.
Just remember to not overdo it. Here’s a resource to help you check if you’re being too salesy.
3. Always Include a CTA
CTA, or call to action, is one of the most underutilized marketing tactics among affiliate marketers.
However, CTA are widely used on every landing page – each one. For example, when you click on an online Ad and on the product landing page, you will notice an “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now” button.
What would happen if there was no such button or it simply said purchase?
The conversions would be pretty low.
Because “Buy Now” is considerably more powerful and persuasive than a purchase.
Think as if you’re giving someone a command to do something. Of course, in a polite way but with confidence.
Always include a command in your CTA. This is the basic rule.
In the same way, you should use the power of CTA buttons to boost clicks on your affiliate links.
Buttons attract user attention faster than links as well as are easier to hover and click.
You can use tools like Thrive Architect or OptimizePress page builder to add custom CTAs for your affiliate products. These two WordPress plugins are very powerful and work like a swiss-knife for affiliate marketers. Using these two plugins, you can add lead generation forms, content boxes, featured snippets, review ratings, banner ads, and more to any blog post or page on your website.
4. Link Placement
One of the biggest mistakes most bloggers and affiliate marketers make is adding too many affiliate links in one article.
You can add as many internal links as you may want to. But you should be picky while adding affiliate links.
Having more than one affiliate link in a paragraph creates confusion. It makes it hard for the readers to decide which one to click.
A general rule of thumb is to add no more than 3 affiliate links every 1000 words.
I’ll share one secret with you:
Place affiliate links and CTA buttons right after you mention the pricing of the affiliate product. This is one of the rules from my copywriting formula for landing pages, and it works very well for blog posts as well.
The product/service price is the biggest factor for most customers. The moment your readers see the pricing, they’ve decided whether to purchase the product or not. Help them by placing an affiliate link CTA near the pricing section.
Doing so will help you take advantage of their decisive buying mood.
5. Create Custom Banner Ads
Here’s another secret:
Turning affiliate links into custom banner ads can make you tons of sales without much effort.
Custom banner ads are one of the best ways to boost affiliate sales. Especially when you are promoting limited time offers.
What I like to do is create custom graphics for affiliate products. Since I design these graphics myself, I can test various versions using A/B testing and tweak some design elements from time to time to get the best CTR.
I’d highly recommend you to use the Advanced Ads WordPress plugin. It’s a powerful advertisement manager plugin that allows you to display banner ads, custom graphics, and AdSense ads on your website.
Not only that, it comes with many features such as click tracking, multimedia ad display, A/B testing, conditional ads display, Ad rotation, and more. It will also help you easily monetize your whole blog pages without manual editing by placing ads between paragraphs.
6. Cross out the Distraction
As discussed in the 4th tactic above, distraction should be minimized to help readers make firm decisions.
Limiting the number of affiliate links is one way.
However, there are still other distracting elements on your blog, such as:
- The sidebar.
- Above-the-fold ads.
- PopUp optin forms.
Mainly, it’s the sidebar that causes the most distraction. Most webmasters add feature boxes, category boxes, advertisement banners, and subscription forms in the sidebar to fill in the blank space.
All of these elements are fine if you are getting the desired results.
But if your sidebar is simply overloaded with bloats like an unoptimized subscription form, CSS widgets, and other general WordPress widgets, it’s better to remove the sidebar completely.
You’re probably going to love this particular strategy. I can almost guarantee a certain level of increase in your affiliate sales if you implement the deep linking strategy right away.
What is deep linking?
Deep linking in affiliate marketing means targeting specific pages of the affiliate product website instead of directing every link to the product homepage.
Instead of using affiliate links that go straight to the product’s homepage, you can link to pages such as pricing or features.
For example, let’s say you’re talking about ConvertKit email marketing software. ConvertKit comes with two plans, free and premium. It also has a separate E-commerce division.
When you’re writing a blog post about ConvertKit’s e-commerce features, you don’t want your visitors to go to its homepage. Instead, they should be sent straight to ConvertKit’s landing page that is optimized to convert E-commerce users.
Take Thrive Themes, for example. They have multiple WordPress plugins, such as Architect, Leads, and Ultimatum.
This is a simple strategy that requires manual input initially, but the rewards easily outgrow the work you put in.
Again, to make things easier, use an affiliate link cloaking/management plugin to create deep links and save them for future purposes.
Note that not all affiliate software and merchants allow deep linking.
8. Don’t Sell, Recommend
As I said, a persuasive tone and language don’t necessarily mean you’re forcing a product like a pushy salesperson.
Think of it as a suggestion, a recommendation that you may give to your friend. Think about how forceful you can get when trying to convince your friends for something you truly believe in.
One of the many reasons you should always promote something you believe in or use yourself is that it gets pretty easy to convince others.
Your experience and belief in the product becomes a testimonial and social proof for your readers. It’s no longer a sales pitch. It’s just a friendly recommendation.
So the next time you mention an affiliate product in your blog post, follow up by talking about your experience with a product. Tell the readers how the product would be beneficial for them and how it can help them solve their problems.
Naturally, people will follow your lead, and once they start liking the product, you will gain authority as an affiliate marketer.
9. Use Heatmap and Track Clicks
Heatmaps are amazing. It requires very little work and investment to set up, but once you read the data a Heatmap generates, it changes the way you monetize your website.
A heatmap is a tracking tool that shows you the intensity of user interaction. It is a data visualization tool that shows the engagement rate on different parts of your website.
With a heatmap tool, you’ll be able to analyze where most of the visitors click on each post and page of your website.
You can use Mouseflow heatmaps. It is one of the best heatmaps and user behavior tracking tools with tons of features, and it’s pretty easy to use.
Once you install a heatmap, the next thing is to collect data for a few days. Depending on your website traffic, it could be available in a few hours too.
What you need to find in the heatmap are the areas on your website with the highest engagement.
Next, put the custom affiliate banner ads in this highly-engaged area. By placing ads where your visitors are spending more time, you can optimize CTR and reduce ad blindness.
10. Disclose Affiliate Relationship
Be transparent with your audience. They deserve to know the relationship between you and the product you’re recommending.
If you’re going to get paid for recommending a product, mention the same when you place an affiliate link in your article.
A simple, short message like this would suffice:
If you click on one of the links mentioned in this article, we might receive a commission when you make a purchase. This doesn’t cost anything extra to you.
There are two reasons you should always disclose an affiliate relationship with your readers:
- To follow FTC regulations.
- Build trust among your audience.
Building trust takes a lot of effort and time. One of the few ways to instantly make new visitors trust your brand and content is by being transparent about the affiliate relationship.
Affiliate marketing is about mutual benefit. Your readers won’t think you’re ripping them off to make money since you’re not directly selling any product.
Instead, they’ll appreciate your honesty and transparency. You don’t hide anything if you’re not doing anything unethical.
So make sure you let visitors know how you’re monetizing your website.
Conclusion: Your Turn & Next Steps
You should implement at least 3 of these tactics to see instant growth in clicks on your affiliate links.
Don’t rush and implement all of them at once. Analyze and record the growth in conversions by implementing each strategy one by one.
See which one works out the best for your blog.
Check out these other guides to grow your affiliate revenue:
- Top 10 Affiliate Programs to Join this Month
- Affilitizer: Best Chrome Extension For Affiliate Marketers
- How to Cloak Affiliate Links in WordPress: Step-by-Step
- 15 Affiliate Marketing Tools To Boost Your Revenue
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