Affiliates have their own tactics when promoting the affiliate links. Even though they must follow the terms of service valid for the affiliate program, they still have a lot of freedom when choosing which strategies to use for affiliate link promotion. Most of them promote the affiliate links together with their content using all methods they usually do, such as social media or email marketing.
There are several types of strategies affiliates use when it comes to how affiliate links are integrated.
This is a widespread strategy used by the affiliates. If there is a product or service they want to promote, they write a blog post as a product review. This type of content performs well among the target group because it is full of helpful tips. More importantly, a product review written by someone they know and respect ranks very high for them. An opinion shared by a person they trust can worth much more than any advertising or promotional message.
In fact, a lot of the success is based on trust. Creating integrity and being transparent about links you promote is going to help with the relationship with your audience. False reviews, especially positive ones are specifically designed for profit through affiliate marketing, but they do not perform as well as honest reviews posted by influencers.
Strategy for sharing product reviews has a high conversion rate because the online users who visit these websites are ready to buy. They simply explore their options and want to know a little bit more about the product or its features. This is why this type of an article can increase the chance of achieving conversion through the affiliate links. The interest in the product is already there, and the post is supposed to encourage the visitor to click on the link and eventually buy.
Additionally, product reviews can rank very high in the search engines due to their title that uses keywords. For example, if you type “iPhone 8” in the search field in the search engine, you are likely to see the reviews just below the official Apple’s website.
When affiliates create this kind of post, they use product name in the title, which helps them rank high for the related queries, thus boosting their SEO.
Product review is a strategy often used by affiliate websites that base their presence on product comparison and reviews. For this type of website, affiliates usually specialize in a single topic and then feature reviews related to that topic, usually with comparison feature integrated for easier search of the website.
Within this strategy, the publisher should:
- Describe the product in details
- Mention the features of the product
- Highlight the benefits (or drawbacks)
- Add images
- Include the price (or any discounts if available)
- Share the experience of using the product
- Include comparison with similar products (optional)
- Mention other products of the same brand (optional)
Rather than focusing the entire blog post on a single product, like with a product review, this strategy involves mentioning a product with an affiliate link added. This product is usually a part of a post on a topic that is somehow related to the product. For instance, you could write a cupcake recipe blog post and then mention cooking supplies needed for the recipe. This way, you simply mention the product without describing it much and going into details about product features, price, etc.
The common place for the product mention is a blog post, but the affiliate link can also be shared on social media. The main benefit of this strategy is the fact that there is no need to devote your time to writing a full-length product review.
Instead, you keep your blog about the topics you usually write about, but product mention becomes a strategy to monetize your blog and explore the option of earning through passive income.
As always, it is advisable only to feature the products you have used and can truly recommend. This helps you maintain your credibility and reputation among the online users.
Affiliate links can also be shared in a form of a banner. So instead of a text link, there will be an image link. Having this in mind, you can see how this strategy resembles display ads. At first glance, there is no difference. This is true for the display part because these look the same. However, the major distinction is this one. When the advertisement is a part of display ads, it means that there is an agreement between the website and the merchant to display this ad, usually for a particular compensation. In this case, the merchant would have to pay a fixed expense (most probably in advance) to have this banner placed on the third-party website.
The affiliate banner option involves no costs for the merchant. When the affiliate link is placed as an image banner on the website, the compensation model stays just the same, like with text links used in that affiliate program. The affiliate who is accepted to the program can use this method if he or she believes that it will improve the chances of reaching conversions and thus increase the profit for the affiliate.
The main benefit of this strategy is that the affiliate targets the website visitors on all the pages, so it maximizes the exposure the link is going to get. Unlike product reviews, where the affiliate link is a part of one page, the banner link can be displayed on multiple or even on all the pages of the website to increase its reach and therefore, its potential to convert the visitors.
Coupons are a very popular type of online promotion as they directly target the potential buyers offering an extra motivation for purchase in the form of a discount that can be claimed through the coupon. For this strategy to be available for affiliates, they have to have an agreement with the merchants to allow a reduced price for the referred traffic.
It is not a solution often used in affiliate marketing mainly because it requires special terms and conditions in regarding price. In this case, the merchant would have to customize those for that specific collaboration. This strategy significantly reduces the merchant’s profit because the merchant needs to lower the price (for the coupon) and then assign the commission for the affiliate. If a merchant has a lot of affiliates, it is less likely that this option of giving away coupons would be offered to the affiliates.
The massive expansion and popularity of video content reflected on affiliate marketing as well, introducing a new way for an affiliate link to reach the online users. Individuals creating content on YouTube, also known as YouTubers, are becoming influencers, each specializing in a certain niche. They grow their following through this platform and enjoy great respect and trust among the viewers. These influencers are faced with the reality of being able to influence and persuade their audience, and soon they started to explore options to monetize this influence they enjoy on YouTube.
The first part of the process is the same like with traditional affiliate marketing model. The YouTubers join affiliate programs they are interested in promoting, choose the products and get links.
However, the way they present these affiliate products is different because of the content format they use. Instead of a traditional blogging review or mention, the YouTubers usually have a product to show in the video. This means that they either have to buy the product or the merchant has to send the product hoping to get this kind of promotion.
YouTubers then show the product, and they often show how it works. For example, if the affiliate product is a nail polish, the YouTuber could show how it looks when applied. If the product featured in such a video is a baby carrier, the YouTuber could show how to place the baby in the carrier, how to position baby safely, etc. They also love to share their opinion on how the product looks, how they feel, when/where they could use it, etc.
The idea is to bring the product closer to the audience and describe why the person has chosen those exact products to recommend. This resonates well with the audience, helping them to imagine themselves using the product and thus brings them closer to the purchase. Providing such personalized reviews and opinions, they enable their audience to identify with them and to begin to want the same things eventually. This is how affiliate marketing adapted to the new environment and started changing its focus. It is all about the users now, and the power of this approach lies in the fact that YouTubers are personalities people trust and can relate to, thus being able to influence their buying habits.
The YouTuber has to share the affiliate link in order for this sale to be credited accordingly. They use description box for this purpose. If several products are mentioned, apart from the link there will be the product name. YouTubers who want to disclose their affiliate relationship with the product can mark the affiliate links differently, most commonly using asterisk.
This strategy is based on the YouTuber’s influence. The more popular the YouTuber is the more exposure these links will get through online views.
The performance of affiliate link promotion depends on the type of interaction you have with your audience, as well as on the influence you have in the online community. Also, it might be a matter of preference choosing one strategy and not the other.
It is crucial to monitor affiliate marketing efforts and to evaluate the performance of this type of online marketing. The most relevant statistics you need to keep an eye on are the following:
- The number of clicks
- The number of conversions
- The data about those who click (age group, gender, location, etc.)
- The products that get most clicks/conversions
Monitor the data above for each type of promotion to conclude if one (or several) of these show outstanding performance and are able to generate the highest number of conversions.
This evaluation can show if certain products perform better than the rest, and it can also show the type of promotion that gets most conversions. It can also be used to find out more about your audience and how each of these approaches is effective among those users. For example, some products might be particularly popular among users from a specific location. Or a product mention strategy might be converting better than a banner. All of this can greatly influence your planning and the road you will take with developing your affiliate marketing strategy even further.