I'll admit, this is one area I need to improve on. Most affiliate programs offer detailed reporting, be sure to look at your numbers and evaluate what's working and what's not. Often a simple tweak can make a huge difference in your affiliate revenue. Besides looking at your affiliate dashboard, you should also be analyzing your own stats from your email marketing campaigns, social media platforms, and your blog to determine which methods give you the most bang for your buck.
Michael, great article–lots of good solid ideas to get my affiliate (& my rear end), up and at it!! Also, love those falafels too! I am in the process of building a website that will have approximately 8-10 products offered over time. The products all come from the same niche. Do you think this type of site can have good success as well, or do you think just focusing on one product per website is the way to go?
Provide the most accurate information about the products you promote. Never exaggerate to quickly make a sale. Your audience will see through it and they will turn their backs on you. Instead, if the product you are promoting isn’t perfect, say so! It never hurts to explain the downsides to a product because this just proves to your audience that you are being completely honest with them. Also–this is very important–be transparent about your relationship with the merchant! It is legally required that you disclose your affiliate relationship, so any time you share an affiliate link you need to let your audience know. Make sure you are following the latest FTC guidelines here.
Purchase Complete In longer sales cycles, it may take more time for a purchase to be completed after you bring your customer to the merchant. This rewards generously for prospects you provide that actually buy. A referral from your efforts negotiates with the merchant. After 3 months in their sales funnel, they close a deal and you are compensated a set percentage.
Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.
Great stuff here Sean – thanks for all of these insights and sharing some best practices when it comes to affiliate marketing. I’ve never been comfortable giving it a shot, but after reading this post and your perspective on how and when to do it, I may just have to give it a try. Especially considering I’m already mentioning and recommending services and products on my site, I’m just not getting the potential rewards associated with doing so. Thanks again.