This article has been contributed by Nisha Prakash.
Did you know that affiliate marketing accounts for 15% of revenue made from all digital marketing efforts? For affiliate marketers or those wondering how affiliate marketing works, this is huge news. Affiliate marketers can earn thousands of dollars by producing quality content.
Take for example, affiliate marketer Jason Stone. He’s estimated to have earned a whopping $7 million by posting affiliate content. There’s no reason why you can’t aim for similar success. Publishing high quality, targeted content is the first step to achieving this goal.
The Role of Quality Content in Affiliate Marketing Campaigns
82% of customers state that they research before they make a purchase, and this influences their brand perceptions. 45% read product/service reviews just before placing the order, to reaffirm their faith in the brand.
As an affiliate marketer, your content should be key to influencing the prospect to purchase the product/service of the brand you’re endorsing. After all, this is the only way you’ll make money.
Convince Readers to Buy
The only reason someone would make the effort to read through your content and click through the promoted product’s link is if the content compelled them to do so. Content is the lifeblood of affiliate marketing. If done right, it educates readers, encourages them to engage with the brand and finally, stimulates sales. This is why it’s important to create affiliate content that has the potential to convert.
Drive Traffic to Your Site
There’s another reason to focus on quality content in an affiliate marketing campaign. If your content seems too salesy, too fluffy, too stuffed with keywords or contravening of search engine content quality guidelines, there’s a very high chance that your content will be buried by the search engines and not appear in the search results.
The higher your page ranks in search results, the more likely it is that people will read it and have the opportunity to convert.
But the good thing is, these problems can easily be avoided if you focus on creating the right kind of premium-quality content. Here, I’ll walk you through the key principles and actionable tips to producing great quality affiliate content that converts.
10 Tips for Driving Affiliate Marketing Conversions With Content
1. Work in a Niche You’re Experienced In
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 report How Content Influences the Purchasing Process, 40% of customers value the credibility of the content more than any other factor. Credibility comes through only when you’re knowledgeable or experienced in a particular industry.
When creating your affiliate content, focus on choosing a niche that you’re well-versed with or that you’re passionate about. This way you’ll be more likely to actively learn about the latest trends and changes in your niche, information which will really benefit your readers. Plus, it will ensure that you know enough to write authoritatively about the matter.
Authority over content allows you to frame an affiliate marketing strategy that is in-line with the product company’s goals and your target audience’s content consumption habits. You’ll intuitively know where to find the most responsive audience, what type of content they prefer (blog posts, tweets, ebooks, etc), which channels they use the most and how to increase your post’s visibility.
2. Be Real and Honest in Your Content
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, the way “trust” manifests has changed considerably over the years. A mere 10 years ago, customers were more accepting of claims made by companies and brand ambassadors. But today, customers only trust information coming from people who are exactly like them. It’s been found that consumer-generated content has 2X the potential to convert prospects than any other type of content.
Why is that so? Because people believe that consumer-generated content is realistic and trustworthy.
This is something that all affiliate marketers need to keep in mind when creating content. Writing something that is very salesy and sounding like an incentivized piece of content can have a devastating impact on your campaign.
One way to ensure that your affiliate content sounds genuine is to be genuine. While the end goal of your post is to effect sales, you don’t have to sugarcoat the reality. Write about your real experience with, or opinion of, the product. You can mention a few challenges that readers may expect from the product/service, but be sure to also talk about features that can really add value to the reader’s life. Studies show that prospects prefer content that is data-enriched and which addresses their specific pain points and needs.
3. SEO is Key – Optimize for the Right Keywords
Of all the components of SEO, the most important are keywords. Using long-tailed keywords in your affiliate content can increase your content’s visibility and CTR by 3%-5%. So, as a rule, when creating affiliate content, always optimize it for the right keywords.
If you don’t know which keywords to use, don’t worry. You have a few tools that you can use to get your keyword strategy right.
Google Keyword Planner
Google’s resident free keyword generator, Google keyword planner offers users a selection of short-tailed and long-tailed keywords, with information about bids, budgets, competitor usage and more. The tool is part of Google Ads, which can be used to run and track a variety of marketing campaigns.
This tool goes beyond generating keywords. If you need to know which keywords are in-use by your competitors and whether they’re used on landing pages or PPC or social media, you can use Wordtracker. You can even check whether a particular keyword is in the meta title or header of the content or not.
Keywordtool.io is a free keyword generator that uses Google Autocomplete to source a list of 750+ long-tailed keywords. The tool automatically adds different prefixes and suffixes to your search term, helping you access a wider selection of keywords. You can even customize the list based on language & region, to get the most-relevant suggestions.
4. Creating and posting content consistently is key – don’t shy away from external help
The key to an effective affiliate marketing campaign is consistency. You don’t have to post numerous times a day – but make sure you do post according to your schedule – be this daily, weekly or monthly. Consistency will increase engagement, as your audience knows when to expect your next post.
If your posting schedule is hectic, consider pre-scheduling the content. Most social media channels have a pre-scheduling option these days, and so do content management systems like WordPress.
If posting isn’t the problem, but the content creation is, don’t worry. Hire external help. In fact, many affiliate marketers outsource most of the content creation and leave the writing or production to the experts. However, what makes this arrangement tick over is creating and sharing well-laid out content guidelines and expectations from your content creators.
Here are a few places to find content writers and creative designers.
Narrato is a great platform to get quality and affordable affiliate marketing content quickly. The platform allows you to provide structured content guidelines and uses AI based algorithms to match your project to the most relevant writers. A neat add-on is a free image search tool to find a nice featured image for your post. A trial run costs only $1 for the first article.
Scripted is another freelance content creation platform which though pricey, boasts of journalists and expert writers on their marketplace. Scripted works a little differently – instead of matching your jobs to writers, it lets you post your project and receive proposals from writers. You can then choose the writer based on their profile and proposal. So the process takes a little more time.
If you need your video’s subtitles translated or you require illustrations for your new affiliate marketing post, then Fiverr is the website to choose. This is a freelance marketplace where you can post your job and choose from a large community of creative folks for a reasonable price.
Having trouble creating graphics for your affiliate content? Then you should check out Evanto. The tool is a marketplace for creative professionals who can whip-up customized graphics like presentations, interactive images, fonts and more. If you’re hard-pressed for time, you can just download the templates and graphics you need from the platform’s massive digital database. You can also purchase royalty-free audio tracks here.
5. Adapt your content to the platform
Not every type of customer likes the same content across every type of platform. For example LinkedIn users love content that is 1900+ words long. On the other hand, millennials on Instagram prefer short 138-150 characters content with lots of photos. So, when you’re creating content for your varied audiences, keep track of their content consumption preferences.
One easy way to write for different audiences is to repurpose old content. You can convert your blogs to PPT slides or podcasts or social media posts or even eBooks. This can help you reduce your effort, while also providing insightful information to a variety of prospects. In a survey, customer service software company Zendesk reported that content repurposing helped them increase deal closing rates by 730%.
6. Instill a sense of urgency in your users. Ensure reviews/recommendations don’t seem forced.
Reviews and recommendations are really important for sales. In fact, they’re so important that 72% of prospects don’t even take any action until they read a review or two. This could be in the form of short quickly consumable reviews or descriptive articles.
When creating product reviews for your affiliate marketing campaign, first understand your readers. This will help you identify the keywords that can be impactful on them. For example, does your audience love discounts and offers? Well, highlighting “limited time deals” or talking about “limited free samples”, may push them to take action. You can also talk about “vanishing stocks”, “countdowns”, “limited time special editions”, “flash sale” and “selected customers only” deals.
The idea behind your review is to create a sense of scarcity and urgency – telling readers that if they don’t buy the product right now, they might miss out on its amazing benefits.
But when writing, don’t make the write-up feel too fake or forced. Provide an honest review, but also stress the financial and non-financial perks that readers can get from purchasing the product right away.
7. Use visuals extensively
Colors also stress urgency. Posts with orange, red or rust background colors work wonders here. You can even use different fonts and change the color of your headers to reflect this sense of scarcity and urgency.
But why should your visuals matter in your affiliate content? Well, the fact is, only 7% of human communication constitutes words, the rest is non-verbal and this includes our visual cues. Plus, it’s been found that articles with images get 94% more views than articles without.
So, apart from using unique background colors and fonts, you should also include images. Ideally, use an image once every 150-200 words to help increase the attractiveness of the post. Be sure to include a mixture of pure-aesthetic images (personal photographs, stock images, memes, etc) and informative pictures (infographics, pie charts, PPT screenshots, etc).
8. Video content has superpowers
Videos combine learning and entertainment in one mode. When included in posts, they help increase brand recall tremendously. They also have a higher engagement rate than wordy content. The good thing is, you don’t need to be a professional video designer, to use videos in your post. These days, there are many subscription-based video creation tools that help you create customized videos.
Here are a few tools you can try for video creation:
If you’re on a shoestring budget and can’t afford to commission the work to someone else, then using Animaker is a great decision. From simple cartoons to live-action videos, you can create a variety of visual content using the tool. The platform uses a drag-and-drop technique, which anyone can use.
A very smart video creation tool, Lumen5 uses AI technology to read the words in your post and create images accordingly. All you need to do is paste the URL of your post on the platform and you’ll get videos with matching soundtracks in minutes.
Another simple-to-use video creation tool is VideoShop. If you already have a bunch of videos that you’d like to edit and remix, then this tool is perfect. You can trim, mix and join sections of different videos, add music and subtitles to it and share it on social media.
Related: The best video editing software tools for designers
9. Mention discounts and offers
Who doesn’t love discounts and offers? Your readers will like them too and that’s why it’s important to mention any offers or deals that you know the brand is running at the time of publishing.
Mentioning current offers, discounts and deals not only adds to the urgency of the post, but also gives tons of value to the reader. They encourage existing customers to return to the brand, while nudging prospects to engage with the brand.
So, what are the type of discounts or deals you can talk about? Well, there are welcome deals, reward points announcements, early bird discounts, holiday/seasonal offers, discounts on renewed subscriptions, exclusive customer-specific deals and referral programs, amongst others.
The good thing is, as an affiliate marketer, you’ll always be the first to know if the brand is introducing a new deal/discount. Be sure to mention these in your post.
10. Create content for only in-demand products
Finally, one of the best ways to create affiliate marketing content that will be successful, is to write about products that people actually want to buy.
For example, you may be an affiliate for a company that sells air conditioners. This company may have table fans and ceiling fans too, although they aren’t in high demand. Writing about these fans as part of your affiliate marketing campaign will certainly not help you get any leads, as people aren’t actively looking for these products. So, always stick to products you know people search for.
To try to ensure you write about the relevant products, use Google Trends, Google Adwords (or other keyword tools), Google autocomplete and social media trends to identify products that people are talking/searching about online.
Time to Write High-Conversion Affiliate Marketing Content
Affiliate marketing has the potential to help both brands and marketers make a very lucrative living. Following the right tips and tricks and using the right tools can help marketers create stellar affiliate content that converts.
So, what are you waiting for? Give the above tips a try and see the phenomenal results for yourself.
About the author: Nisha Prakash is a blogger specializing in social media marketing and content management. She is an avid runner and a bibliophile.