You’ve finally found it. After hours of scrolling through dozens of affiliate offers, you’ve got the one you want. And vertigo – but that’ll pass. I hate to tell you, though, that your conversion rate depends on much more than the “what,” however. We’ve also got to address the how, my friend.
Let’s talk delivery. As you know, we can’t just spam that link you worked so hard to find around social media sites and seedy sharing networks. It has to live somewhere nice, and it has to live in your space. Not Zuckerberg’s (well, at least not only Zuckerberg’s), but yours.
There are more than three ways to present an affiliate offer, of course, but today, I’m covering the three most consistently effective mediums: blog content, videos (either on landing pages, YouTube or otherwise), and those absolutely classic sales letters.
Note that, before I break into video content, there is huge overlap; these three can often play with each other, and they should. That being said, I don’t want your mindset to be, “Which is the best one to use?” Instead, think, “In which situation should I use each of these?” Get it? Alright, so hey, people still watch videos, right?
Video Will Never Not Be a Thing
Yeah no, according to Wordstream, we watch more than 500 million hours worth of YouTube videos every day.
So, why? What’s all the hubbub? Well, donning the context of affiliate marketing, I’ll ask you this: What’s one of the first things you do when researching a new product? For many of us, the answer is to watch a video of the product being unboxed, used, reviewed, compared, and so forth.
Of course, if you’re buying a book, you won’t be rushing to YouTube to “see how she reads,” but you get the point. Video content is highly engaging and vital for trust because it shows the actual product in action. Also, it shows that you are a real human being who knows what they’re doing.
Video is highly convenient, too, because it can be played in the background or through headphones for mobile users while the viewer (and/or listener) goes about their other business. It’s highly accessible, attractive, and just plain effective for affiliate marketers.
So, that’s why you should use video.
Let’s move on to how you can use videos
I’m not going to presume to know your brand voice or the product you’re promoting, so I’ll keep this pretty broad. The best affiliate marketing videos demonstrate the value of a product in an inviting and realistic way. Your video should prioritize the user’s experience above all else. It should feel authentic, not promotional.
For example, let’s say you’re promoting a brand of hair care products. Instead of droning on and on about the natural ingredients in the shampoo, why not just show your user? Use it yourself. It won’t take but a touch of editing magic to do either a before/after or a fast-forwarded clip of you using the product (more effective these days).
This sounds common sense, but believe me, after studying a few dozen hours of affiliate marketing videos, it’s needed: describe your product. Seriously – don’t presume anything about your audience because that won’t lead to a high conversion rate. You don’t want to condescend to them, of course, but start with a super quick breakdown of the product and its features.
As mentioned, show the product in action after that. If you’re reviewing, be authentic. The audience will be able to tell if you’re trying to gloss over genuine critiques that you have. Marketing extraordinaire Jenna Kutcher talks about how you should believe in your product and be so enthusiastic about it as well!
No product is perfect. But believe in it, and do a solid job of demonstrating its benefits, you will sell the product.
Not sure if your product is right for video? Now that’s one thing I will presume: it is. What I mean is, if you have the drive and the resources to produce video content, you can seriously promote any and all affiliate offers with it. Remember that “bad example” of a book I mentioned? Well, you can still review a book in a video! Point made.
So, make it authentic, inviting and realistic. Show your product in action. Clearly explain what it does and why it’s legit. Provide an unapologetic review, pimples and all. Pop that link in the description, let your viewers know it’s there, and you’re done.
Onto the awesomeness of blogs.
If You’re Not Blogging, You Should Be!
As mentioned, blog content and video content are absolutely capable of overlapping. Sometimes, good old text alone just won’t cut it, especially if you’re explaining how a product physically works.
Have you ever stood up from a chair or booth at a restaurant so that you could pantomime the rest of your awesome story to whomever you’re with? You know, like when you’re describing how you escaped a busted party from the second story window?
That’s kind of like the relationship between video and text. We bloggers can “talk” and talk and talk, but video really helps to nail home certain points. Likewise, video can sometimes leave the viewer wanting something to just quickly peek at and refer back to. Product specs, that comment the reviewer made, and so forth.
Point being, these two are made for each other. But let’s talk strictly about blogging now -video’s hogging the limelight, as usual.
How to blog for those conversion rates
There’s this little startup out of someone’s garage called “Google.” I think I said it right. Yeah – Google. You see, if you want to get on Google’s good side, you need to satisfy the many, many ranking factors in their whopping algorithm.
As a blogger, you’re hitting on a loooot of these factors. Solid internal linking structure, check. New content being consistently added, check. Inbound and outbound links from other sites, commenters, and so forth, check.
The list goes on and on, but the point is, blogging is really, really good for search engine visibility. What’s more, it’s awesome for you as a brand. A well-made video on a landing page may be super effective in terms of conversion rate, but it’s not necessarily building an audience for you. It’s not building loyalty. It’s just churning.
What you need is a place where your people can go. Take them to your blog from your landing page. Show them what you’re about. Have a couple dozen posts just ready for them to browse and engage with. This is how you build an actual audience. If you ever want to turn those frickin’ paid ads off, this is how you do it – with a blog.
Your blog posts should be simple and easily approachable. It’s okay to provide a ton of useful information, but you have to be careful that you don’t alienate your reader with massive posts and technical language. Thankfully, the era of over-formalized content has passed us. We can be ourselves a little bit, and your audience wants to see that.
Like video content, blog posts shouldn’t only focus on the product. If it’s a review, sure, you’re going to be mentioning it a lot, but my point is that you prioritize the user experience. Explain how the product will solve their problem, answer their question or otherwise improve their life. Once again, a great formula for a conversion rate to be solid.
If you’re serious about affiliate marketing, you need a blog. It’s as simple as that. Your blog is your home base. Not your email list. Not your social media. Not your landing pages. The blog is where your people come to see you. It’s where you will build the relationship. Take it seriously, but don’t be too serious, if that makes sense.
Oh, the sales letter. How I love and loathe you.
The Trusty Sales Letter
Many people dismiss the sales letter, both long- and short-form, as a greasy tactic of swindlers past. And don’t get me wrong, it has been abused many a time.
Not to insult your intelligence, but if you haven’t heard of a sales letter before, it’s fairly self-explanatory, and I’m sure you’ve seen one as a web surfer. Basically, it’s a gigantic landing page, sometimes with a video, but usually with line upon line upon line of text.
The sales letter’s job is to capture one’s attention and keep it while helping you build an emotional investment in the product. The copy is evocative and exciting, but it shouldn’t cross the line into melodramatic. You know that feeling when your friend is letting you in on some juicy gossip? That’s kind of what the sales letter banks on.
Sales letter setup
So, you keep reading about this person who was broke (and eventually became rich,) or someone who had terrible back pain (and eventually became a marathon runner). You scroll and you scroll and you scroll through an introduction that describes a serious problem in almost Shakespearean fashion.
Then, when you think all hope is lost, the solution comes. The person finds out about the product, they use it, and voila – everything is amazing. Now, this isn’t always how sales letters go, but in most cases, there’s a problem, a rising action and a climax, just like a movie.
Used incorrectly, sales letters can be the affiliate marketing equivalent to Jordan Belfort’s (from The Wolf of Wall Street) approach: pushy, tacky, and ineffective in the long-term. That being said, when they are done correctly, they are so, soooo powerful at disarming skepticism and landing a higher conversion rate.
The more skeptical your consumer is upon first glancing at what you’re offering, the more you should consider using a sales letter. That’s because they:
- Introduce customers to a product they know nothing about
- Share a relatable story that forms an emotional connection between the customer, the product, and the solution.
- Make the customer feel more invested by the time they’re done reading, which makes unveiling the price easier.
I’m not in the habit of making hard-and-fast declarations or rules, but the sales letter excels with high-ticket and/or complicated items. They can pack a lot of information in, but it should always be in really small paragraphs. This means that they can educate a customer about a product they’ve been researching already, which equals gratitude!
So, to recap, make sure that your sales letter is exciting and evocative, but not too melodramatic. Position your product as the element of the story that turns it from a tragedy to a triumph. If your product is highly technical, don’t be afraid to lay out plenty of bullets, so long as your language is clear, crisp, and easy on the jargon.
Rope your reader into the story. Tug on their heartstrings a bit. Be sincere, and don’t be afraid to share some personal information if it’s relevant. Follow these methods, and your sales letter will inspire loyalty, not fish for it.
I’ve already emphasized the importance of keeping an open mind and allowing these three staples of content marketing to work as a team for a high conversion rate, so let’s end with another disclaimer.
Whatever you decide to do, for however long you decide to do it, make sure you test the heck out of it. If you can’t decide between video and a sales letter, guess what – you’re making ’em both. Run them both, test, and see what happens. The same goes for blog content versus the other two.
I mean seriously, when you think about it, affiliate marketing is kind of like a test that you can take over and over and over again until you get it right. It’s gonna cost you time and money, but still – I think most of us would have taken that deal in school.
Class is in session. Let’s make the conversion rate happen!