You worked hard creating the content for your affiliate marketing site, linking all of the products to whatever external website you’re semi-secretly supporting, researching and executing incredible SEO best practices but you haven’t sold a damn thing. What’s the problem? Why is your website failing?
The problem is your approach. The answer to that problem is right here in this article.
You Have the Wrong Approach
I have a bunch of other things to say on the topic of why your affiliate website may be failing, but I want to begin with what I believe is the biggest problem: your approach.
Don’t Be a Salesperson
When you approach your website like a salesperson you turn off readers. More readers will click to get out of your website than to purchase something through an affiliate link. (Check out this cool infographic Mashable made about the difference between inbound and outbound marketing).
Think about it this way. Have you ever researched something you were thinking of purchasing – like a computer, a bicycle, or a toaster oven? In performing that research what was your goal? TO LEARN SOMETHING VALUABLE.
If you actually followed a link to purchase a computer, bicycle, or toaster oven chances are that you did so on a website you found helpful – one that gave you the information you needed to feel confident in your purchase.
You Need to Be An Educator First
So, if you’re most likely to make a purchase when you think you have enough information to feel confident in that purchase, when do you think readers will make purchases?
Duh! When they think they have enough information to feel confident in their purchase!!
One of the first things that Hubspot will teach you in their Inbound Marketing course is that the best way to attract ANY sort of internet business is to be the website that people search for when they are looking for information.
Make educating your readers your very first priority and see how quickly they gain trust in your ability to tell them which products they should purchase. This priority should be clear on your homepage, your About Us page, your informative pages, your review pages – ON EVERY PAGE of your website.
So, if your readers need information that makes them feel confident, what should you provide them to get them to click your affiliate link? INFORMATION! (But you knew that, right?
Do Your Research
In order to provide your readers with the information they need, you will need to do your research. On your website, you want to accomplish two things:
- Give your readers all the information they need to make a well-informed purchasing decision.
- Compare, Compare, Compare
- Give your readers some extra bit of information or an extra bit of experience that pushes your website ahead of the others.
1 – Give Information (Educate!!)
Take the time to fully research the product you are linking to. Don’t just regurgitate everything you read on Amazon about it (c’mon, you’re not a mama bird!).
Spend time researching all the particular products you are talking about in any given review. Learn about how it works. Record all its specifications. Get a feel for what people who have actually used the product think of it (maybe it’s not all its cracked up to be – be honest if it isn’t).
Educating your readers means a LOT more than simply providing them with product reviews. It also means providing them with information about the product such as buying guides, how-to articles, and whatever else shows that you have the knowledge necessary to advise them about their purchase.
All of this information will require research. But that’s what you’re selling: your research. What?! Sounds crazy, I know. All along you thought you were selling the product, but you’re not – Amazon is, or Walmart, or Schwinn, or whoever else your affiliate deal is with.
You are selling the experience of gaining just enough knowledge to make a decision without having to troll the internet to get that information. You are selling the fact that you did all the hard work FOR your reader so that he or she doesn’t have to. You are selling your One Stop Shop.
2 – Compare, Compare, Compare
Don’t just give your readers a bunch of information about a bunch of different products and expect them to figure out what to do next. Do it for them! One thing I always, always, always do when I write affiliate content is compare, compare, compare.
By comparing the different products in any given category (i.e. – your top ten choices of office chairs or your top twenty dog beds) you help your reader come closer to making a decision.
It is important to remember that not all of your readers have the ability or time to weight the pros and cons of all their options. Some of them just want you to tell them which one is best for them. Though every person is different and you can’t exactly say, “Hey, Sarah Walker – pick this one!” you CAN tell people which options are best for them based on specific kinds of needs (i.e. – the best office chair for short people with back problems and the best dog bed for people with multiple small dogs).
3 – Give Something Extra
Ah, the something extra. The je ne sais quoi. The thing that keeps your readers coming back for more. But what it is?
It could be any number of things – a flashy freebie, a wicked awesome table that compares all your stats, an interesting layout that makes things easy to find.
Most of the time, though, it’s personality that keeps your readers coming back for more. (Oh, and reliability, but if you did your research in step one this shouldn’t even be a talking point right now!)
Whether you choose to use catchy titles, funny diagrams, personal stories, or cheeky humor (my personal favorite) there should be something about the personality of the website that makes people want to read your words and listen to what you have to say.
Set yourself apart from the others by refusing to be that annoying website that drones on and on and on like the teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Instead, make your content lively and fun. Make people actually want to know what you are going to say next instead of skipping around the page looking for stats or closing their browsers altogether (I know, far-out concept, right?)
You’ve Got The Power!
You can turn things around – I believe you can. To paraphrase Snap! “You’ve got the power!”
The future of your affiliate marketing website is in your hands. Although there are many factors (such SEO) which DO play a role in your success, one of the biggest is whether or not people actually read what is written on your website and the level of trust they have in your recommendations. Following the steps outlined above will help turn your pipe dream into a reality.