Affiliate conversions: closing the gap between the exposure and the sale
Getting your affiliates promoting is one thing, but actually converting sales is quite another.
What makes customers want to buy? In many cases, people already know what they want, so you’re not necessarily depending on your affiliates to convince them to buy your products. The truth is, it’s less about tactics and more about actually providing a solution to your target customer’s problem, and making sure you’re reaching the right people.
In this post, we discuss affiliate conversions in terms of the big picture, as well as some methods for fine-tuning your promotions to get those sales happening.
Solving the problem is #1
Your affiliates are an extension of your brand, and they help to make people (who might not otherwise find you) aware of your products. Sure, affiliates can also be salespeople, but their promotions should be based on relevance more than anything.
What good is a superstar affiliate if the product being promoted is completely outside their audience’s realm of interest? At best, it’s inefficient and wasteful; at worst, it’s spammy and annoying.
It’s crucial to bring the focus back to relevance, which ultimately means solving a problem.
Think beyond what your target customers like and dislike. What do they need? What do they desire? What are they looking for? What is important to them?
Coming at affiliate marketing from this standpoint gives you a powerful edge. Don’t look down on your audience – connect with them. If you base your promotion plan on this concept, it becomes a lot easier to make the right choices when it comes to finding quality affiliates and choosing the right promotions for them.
You want to speak to the right audience
With relevance at the forefront of your strategy, you’ll need to actually find the right audience that is looking for what you’re offering. This starts with knowing who your target audience is in the first place.
What problems do your products solve, and who has those problems (or needs)? Where do they hang out? Who do they follow on social media? Where else do they shop?
Thoroughly researching your target market gives you the knowledge and confidence to assess whether an affiliate is the right match for your program. Why is this so important? Well, affiliates (especially influencers) generally have audiences who trust their opinions and recommendations – and you want these affiliates to actually use your products so they can give genuine reviews.
This means that some of the best affiliates can be people creating content like blog posts, YouTube videos, podcasts, topical Instagram feeds, etc., as opposed to serial affiliates who aren’t really loyal to any niche. Remember, you want your affiliates to retain their customers’ trust.
Once you have relevant affiliates on board, it’s time to think about tailoring your promotions to different affiliate segments, or affiliates who have different styles and brand voices, if applicable. Look at how your affiliates interact with their audiences to adapt or create your promotions accordingly.
For example, maybe some affiliates use a casual tone, while others speak to more professional audiences. These indicators can help you make more effective affiliate creatives, among other things.
Methods for fine-tuning
You’ve honed in on your target audience’s problems, offered a much needed solution, and you’ve found quality affiliates who are driving the right customers to your site. Now what?
The way you fine-tune your promotions will depend on your niche, brand, and all kinds of other factors. But, there are some standard practices and effective methods you can start with:
Figuring out what works and what doesn’t is perhaps the most basic thing you can do to improve sales conversions – affiliate or otherwise. A/B testing allows you to experiment with different options and compare the results to help you settle on the best-performing methods for your affiliate program and your affiliates.
For example, you might A/B test things like:
- Website elements
- Call-to-action phrases
- Link placement
- Affiliate creatives
- Affiliate landing pages
- Promotions for different products
You might find that a simple A/B test of your affiliate landing page layout makes a significant difference when it comes to conversions. Or, you might end up changing the format for your creatives entirely, based on A/B testing data.
Any kind of digital business relies heavily on social proof to give customers the confidence to make purchases. This is especially true with affiliate marketing because your affiliates are essentially telling their customers to buy from you, when perhaps they’ve never even heard of you before.
Here are a few common types of social proof:
- Product ratings and reviews
- Product tutorials
- Product unboxing videos
- Social media presence
Constantly build on different forms of social proof over time, and you’ll also show customers that you’ve been around for a while – and you’re legitimate.
It’s no secret that video is the king of content, with YouTube coming in as the second most popular search engine – not to mention the popularity of live-streaming and the prevalence of video content on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
With visual and audio elements brought together in one easily-consumable format, video is simply engaging. Needless to say, including video in your affiliate promotions can grab the attention of your potential customers, and generally bring a lot more traffic to your products.
Plus, video gives you the opportunity to show your products in action, which brings the social proof we talked about right to the proverbial doorstep of the customer.
Time-sensitive offers and great deals
Aside from making sure your promotions are relevant, tested for optimum performance, and backed by social proof, time-sensitive offers can be effective for giving customers a sense of urgency – inspiring them to act quickly to avoid missing out.
Combine a time-sensitive offer with quality creatives and a well-designed call-to-action for maximum impact.
One last thing…
Don’t forget about the beauty of a great deal. Sometimes, no matter what methods you use, customers will simply respond best when there’s a really sweet offer they just can’t refuse.
Try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Understand the need or problem, and walk through the process of viewing the affiliate promotion, clicking through to your site, and completing a purchase. Would the deal make you want to purchase right there and then? This gives you a rough idea of what may need some fine-tuning.
Hopefully this post has given you some ideas you can apply to your own affiliate program. What has worked well for you when it comes to affiliate conversions? Do you have any insights to share? Join the conversation below!