5 Lessons on Making Money with Affiliate Programs

Opportunities in Reverse

1. Relevancy between Audience, Product and Content
One key to high conversion when promoting affiliate products is to align as much as possible the needs of your audience, with the product that you are promoting and the content being produced on your blog.

For example if my readers are all beginner digital photographers, I’m producing a blog with content that teaches basic principles of photography and I was to promote to them a book or course on beginner to intermediate photography tips - I’d have a pretty good chance of generating some sales and therefore commissions.

However if I was to promote the same course here on ProBlogger the campaign would fall on it’s face and I’d probably do my reputation more harm than good.

2. Trust is Crucial
I find that affiliate promotions tend to work best on a blog that has been around for a while where the readership has been journeying with the blogger for a while.

When you read someone’s solid advice on a daily basis over a couple of years you’re much more likely to buy something that they recommend than buying something off a complete stranger. It’s all about establishing credibility and trust.

3. Traffic is Key
There’s no getting around this one - you increase the chances of a conversion with the number of people who see your invitation to purchase a product.

Of course it partly depends upon the audience - not all traffic is equal.

For example I could hit the front page of Digg with my post promoting a product and get 100 times the traffic that a normal post would have and the conversions would not be 100 times higher (simply because Digg readers don’t tend to take much note of affiliate products and because I have no established relationship with them).

However as your loyal readership grows in numbers you do tend to increase conversion possibilities.

4. Reinforcing the Message
I wrote about this in my ProBlogger Newsletter a few weeks back - but I find that rather than just posting once about a product that you’re promoting - it can be much more effective to find ways to reinforce a message over time. You might start off with an announcement post that tells your readers about what you’re promoting, you might follow up a few days later with a review of it, then follow up a week later with a reader testamonial, then follow up with an interview of someone behind the product….

The key is to find useful ways to talk about the product without annoying your readership (not always easy). In doing this you remind and reinforce the ‘pitch’ for you reader to buy.

5. Positioning

Affiliate promotions tend not to work very well if all they are is a banner ad in your sidebar. They will still convert - but nowhere near as well as if you position your promotion inside a post itself as the topic of the post.

Write about the product you’re talking about, talk about how you’ve used it and make it personal.

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