This morning, I received an email from a blogger who has acquired a large dedicated audience for their site and has recently attempted to monetize that readership by conducting some affiliate marketing on that blog.
The issue is that no one buys anything they recommend.
I spent a few minutes on Skype with the blogger unpacking the issue and asking a series of questions to get to the bottom of it.
Here are the three questions I asked, as well as the reasons for asking them.
1. Why are your readers coming to your site?
Getting in touch with your readers ‘intent’ is critical when considering any type of monetization. Is it for community, information, guidance, buying something, research, enjoyment, or something else?
Understanding why your reader came can offer you some suggestions as to what promotions they could respond to.
If they are there to learn something, for example, advertising a ‘how to’ type eBook may be the ideal thing to advertise. If they’re there to look into purchasing anything, you could be better off promoting the things they’re looking into.
Unfortunately, not every reader intent converts successfully with affiliate marketing. If they are there for a sense of belonging, for example, until you can promote a conference or community for them to join, you would be better off thinking about an alternative monetization strategy.
2. Are the products you’re promoting relevant to your readers?
This may sound obvious, but it’s amazing how many times I see bloggers endorsing goods that are utterly unrelated to the content of their site.
As an affiliate, you must promote items that are:
- high caliber (anything low quality will burn the trust of your readers but if you promote a great product they will thank you for it)
- relevant to your blog’s content
- related to the needs and intentions of your readers (see item #1)
- at a reasonable price – don’t promote high-value things if your readership doesn’t normally have large finances!
3. Are You Promoting in a Personal Way?
Another typical error I see bloggers make when advertising affiliate items is just placing an affiliate banner or link in their sidebar and expecting a flood of purchases.
The problem with this is that it is essentially an advertisement, and your readers will most likely ignore it.
Writing about affiliate items in a personal way – from your own experience – is by far the most efficient approach to market them. This implies you should probably promote something you have firsthand experience with and can provide an honest endorsement or review on.
Your visitors visit your blog because they want to hear from you, so inform them about what you’re promoting and why.
Do this largely through a blog post, but you should also consider emailing your newsletter list for major promotions and, of course, following up with some social media status updates.
Try some banner ad affiliate marketing, but you’ll discover that adding a little YOU to your product advertising can drastically increase your conversions.
There’s a lot more to affiliate marketing than what I’ve said above – but if you’re not getting conversions, the three questions above may help you uncover some ideas to help you go forward.