Today, I want to talk to you about conversions. This is the sort of stuff that can take your site from $100 a month to $500 or more.
Dom has teamed up with 7 super affiliates to weigh in on the best conversion tricks for your site. This is one of the most value packed posts we've put together yet and there's no doubt it's because we had some extra help.
One tip that I've steered clear of is 'choosing long tail buyer keywords'. This is because it's fundamental to building a niche site and wouldn't really be considered a conversion tip. Although our last tip dives into this slightly, it's all about the approach to building niche sites.
Let's get started.
1) Use Amazon's OneLink Code
This is a short script of code that Amazon provides for you to place into your WordPress footer. The code allows your readers to automatically be redirected to their rightful Amazon store, according to geography. Meaning if your reader is in Canada, they'll be directed to the Amazon.ca site.
We put together instructions for setting up the Amazon Onelink Code there, in case you missed it a few weeks back.
Geotargeting isn't new, but this is the official tool from Amazon so it's best to give it a shot as it's free as well.
2) Restructure Your Top Pages
If your site has a good amount of traffic, around 100 hits per day, but you don't feel that you're maximizing the traffic or don't have enough people clicking over to Amazon - try changing the arrangements of your posts.
Rather than adding in more affiliate links, try to restructure your post to be more user-friendly. This may or may not lead to adding more affiliate links - it really depends on what you're starting with.
For example, if your comparison table is at the bottom of your post, try moving it to the top. If your product roundup has the Amazon links at the bottom of the product image, try arranging them to the top or beside them. You could add a link for your most recommended product above the fold as well.
The most important thing is to approach this task systematically. Record what you're doing along the way and try the changes on your most trafficked posts first. This way if there's a positive effect, you'll know that if you apply it to the rest of your posts it should work accordingly. Dom has mentioned this in the podcast as the 80/20 approach to on-page SEO.
You know how people have swipe files for copywriting? As an Amazon affiliate, start collecting layout structures from other niche sites and learn from others.
3) Maximize Your Email List
Email marketing in itself is a fairly big subject and many niche sites aren't collecting emails. But this because it's hard to have subscribers opt-in and want to have you email them about the hottest dog collar on the market.
However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try it out.
Collecting and holding emails costs money, which makes some people shy away. But if you're building an asset, the list is just another asset to stack on top. It's direct access to consumers and will be even more valuable when the time comes to selling your site. This just means that you'll have to produce a lot more information content, which isn't a bad thing either. You'll see why in step 5.
The email list only works if you utilize it frequently. Tons of people collect email addresses but only send one email ever - the first one.
You can't send Amazon affiliate links in emails, but you can with other affiliate programs. Sit down one day and write out a 12-day email sequence. Introduce your persona, give them your angle, and drip them content. It's much easier and satisfying to push content to an email list than wait for Google to decide where it wants to rank you.
Mark Webster from Authority Hacker has another email marketing tip for increasing affiliate commissions:
When emailing, resend the same email with a different subject line to everyone who hasn't opened the first message. Do this 72 hours after the first email went out.
4) Conduct a Product Walkthrough
In the affiliate SEO game, most people aren't doing this. But YouTube stars do it all the time.
It's not unheard of for an influencer to receive a physical product for a fair review. Your site may fall into this category and the only way to find out is to approach manufacturers.
One easy way of doing real-life product reviews is to pickup a used product. Facebook has tons of groups and depending on your niche - you might be able to get your hands on a few products very cheap. The best would be to have the manufacturer send the product to you themselves, but FB groups are a nice hack. You could even borrow the product from a friend.
Sometimes you have to step out of the box, in order to earn higher commissions.
Dom's been implementing this product demo strategy with the tools we review on HPD:
My biggest conversion tip is to show people how the product will benefit them. At HPD, I make tutorials in my reviews and show people exactly how they can benefit from whatever tool it is I'm reviewing. This is by far the easiest way to get conversions.
5) Add Affiliate Links To Your Informational Content
There's no hard set rule saying that only commercial content should have affiliate links and info content should only have internal links. If you're worried about a thin-content penalty, just make sure you're provide tons of value upfront and place the affiliate links when you appropriate as a solution.
Ron Stefanski of GoodNewsGum.com is credited with this technique:
One of the things that I've been focused a lot more on recently is to provide affiliate products as a solution in informational content. When you pair this strategy with the "best of" and "review" type posts, they tend to do really well.
As an example, if I had a post about "Why do dogs bark?", this indicates that a dog owner is probably having a pain point that the dog they own keeps barking and won't stop. Aside from explaining why the dog barks in informational content, I also include a section in the content about how to stop the dog from barking and in that area I include affiliate links. More often than not, these perform really well because most people are looking at information to find a solution, though that isn't directly what they search in the search engine.
6) Take Advantage of Launches (Even for EverGreen Products!)
Often times the bigger affiliates are asked to be part of the launch team for a new product. Usually with some sort of leaderboard in the background to keep the competition going.
In the Amazon space, this isn't common at all. Mostly because manufacturers don't usually deal with affiliates for the most part and would rather them push sales on their own ecommerce stores.
One way for you to take advantage of launches is to create a digital product and handle everything manually. Meaning you'd launch a product to your list and ask them to make a purchase on Amazon. Then show proof of purchase to you via email.
This sort of thing would only work for an established site with credibility, but its something tons of businesses employ everyday. You didn't think everything was done through technology right?
Chris Lee of RankXL has this to say about using product launches that might turn your thinking upside down:
I've promoted products as an affiliate several times throughout the past few years. Some of them were complete flops, and some converted very highly and made me a lot of money.
Here's what I've learned from my most successful affiliate promotions: Launches work... really well. Review posts, not really.
You won't make very many conversions with something like a blog post review. Unless you can drive a lot of organic traffic to that page, don't expect your commissions to rack up month after month. They'll spike when you first publish and promote it, and then die off afterwards.
Because of this, running launches to your email list much like you would for your own product launches works best.
The reason that launches work well is due to scarcity. If you're promoting a product during a limited time product launch from the creator, that's great. But if it's an evergreen product, you can create your own scarcity by adding limited-time bonuses from yourself that expires after a certain period.
If you have a sizeable audience, the product creator will usually be willing to work with you on such a launch. Contact them, and see what special offers you might be able to get for your affiliate launch.
7) Create a Deals Page
Having a deals page on your site is advantageous for a couple reasons, mostly because people looking for deals are in the buying stage but also because it gives you the ability to 'pre-sell' someone.
With the recent Amazon Prime Day that passed, we had a few people in our community say the results were better than they expected. But we also have a few that were disappointed with the results. A deals page won't work for every single site, as it depends on several factors including niche and your branding but it's well worth the try if you think your readers would go for it.
Here are instructions on how to take advantage of Prime Day, Black Friday and any other holiday.
8) Build a Quiz
Nothing to inspire a curious reader than with a quiz. You can introduce the quiz either by running PPC ads or better yet just a ribbon at the top of your site.
The quiz should result in them choosing a specific product and it should revolve around your main topic. If your site is on puppies, then your quiz could be about "Whats the best gift for your dog at any age"
This is something I picked up from Thrive Themes and you can check out their article here.
9) Expose The Offer Multiple Times
For the affiliate SEO, it still makes sense to do this. Even though we generally want to rank for keywords and have the purchase happen by itself - this doesn't happen 95% of the time.
Stuart Walker of Niche Hacks has this piece of advice for us:
You cannot expect just to show your prospect the offer once and get a good conversion rate.
Movie bosses in the 30's found that people needed to be exposed to ad's / trailers for a film on average 7 times before they committed to going to see it and that rule holds true in affiliate marketing too.
Why? Because few of us can make a decision immediately, we need to build up a complete picture in our minds of the offer and the person offering it, look over the pro's and con's, think about whether we really need it, and basically be convinced. This for most, it takes more than 1 exposure.
In the next step, we introduce a way to re-introduce an offer back to your prospect.
10) Direct Prospects To a Form Rather Than The Offer
Just as Stuart mentioned above, you should realize that most people aren't going to purchase a product unless they've been exposed to it multiple times. Whether through their own research or with your encouragement.
Giles Thomas of AcquireConvert.com gave this piece of advice from his tests:
I would say from the A/b tests we've run the biggest swingers in terms of profits were:
1. Testing lead capture on your website vs their website - test to see if leads are better monetized when sent straight to the affiliate with a click or when captured on your website in a contact form first. This allows you to then use lead nurture email sequences to warm up leads before asking for the affiliate conversion.
2. Don't just look at volume of affiliate clicks, look at lead quality. Sometime it pays to make the opt in form longer, ie more form fields, this can increase lead quality and profits; instead of optimizing just for volume of leads."
For Amazon affiliates, this admittedly isn't the most ideal but for other affiliate products this works well. Particularly with ClickBank products.
As a test, you can add a lead magnet for your most trafficked posts and capture leads. Then nurture them with an auto responder that is specific to that post or the problem that post is trying to solve.
You don't have to create a unique lead magnet to every post, you can test it out with a few general ones you think your audience would appreciate.
11) Add a Comparison Table
This has become a standard part of the 'starter' and 'premium' HPD sites, however, there are still sites that aren't utilizing them.
Remember that you can't display prices in these tables, as an alternative - we include dollar symbols ($) to represent price range. You can only add prices if you're pulling directly from Amazons API.
12) Remove Distractions & Get People To Click Through
Being well aware that content length does affect the rankings of an article, sometimes less is more in terms of design.
Instead of having a side-bar post, think about incorporating a full-width. If you have images every 400 words, try and add an image every 800 instead. Remove two images in replacement of a single video.
The point is that you want to remove distractions for a reader, while of course, keeping them engaged.
Dom had this to say about click throughs:
For Amazon sites, that's not always so simple [to determine conversion strategies]. In this case, the best way to get more conversions is to just encourage people to click through to Amazon, because ultimately this will lead you to a conversion anyway.
Another related strategy of encouraging higher click throughs is to change the button color durastically. Steve Allen of the Niche Pursuits' community contributed this advice:
Changing all external (affiliate) links, whether it's a text link or button to a completely different color from the rest of the site so they stand out. Drastically improved my conversions so I do it on all of my sites now.
13) Check the Amazon Product's Landing Page & Sales
When you guide a reader to Amazon, you want to make sure that the products sales page converts highly.
Not all Amazon product pages are created equal. After all, it's still a landing page that needs to be optimized.
A high converting Amazon page has bullet points in the descriptions, high definition images, plenty of reviews, FAQs that are answered, and a low Best Sellers Rank (BSR).
To take it one step further, head over to Jungle Scouts free sales estimator and add the BSR to see if the product is selling well. A low BSR usually signals a product is selling a ton, but it's good to check with the tool. Read Dom's full review of Jungle Scout here.
14) Utilize Scarcity
I bet you knew this one would be on the list! Chris Lee mentioned a bit of this earlier with his remarks on taking advantage of launches, but it deserves its own section here.
As an Amazon affiliate, you can utilize scarcity by piggybacking off of ecommerce holidays as they automatically have an end date. Provide an opportunity for manufacturers to advertise on your site directly but add a time sensitive bonus such as a free month or a lower price for 6 month reservations.
Stuart Walker weighed in again with his own tactics around scarcity:
Most of us will not make a decision unless we're forced to. If there's no deadline or scarcity in play we can easily put it off to later and convinced ourselves we don't really need it.
Having REAL deadlines and scarcity in our marketing works in both our favour and the prospects. They NEED your solution and they need it fast, there's no reason to let them put it off to later.
Limited offers. Deadlines. Time sensitive bonuses. All work.
15) Include a Resources Page
Ah, the good ol' resources page! Something internet marketers use all the time for their own brands, but it's hardly ever implemented into niche sites.
Of course, this wouldn't be appropriate to include into every niche. But it can work for certain ones. The photography niche comes to mind. Not only can you review new cameras and photography software but a resources section could tell readers what you use personally to create the images on the site.
16) Don't Be Afraid of Contextual Links
As great as it is to add links to images and tables. You shouldn't shy away from adding links to paragraphs either. This is often ideal when you refer to a product through an information article that hasn't been reviewed on your site yet.
EasyAzon is the go to plugin for this sort of thing and a readers has to do is hover over the link and a pop up will show them a preview of the product.
17) Increase Your Cookie Length From 24 Hrs to 90 Days
When someone adds a product to their cart from your affiliate link, it'll get credited to you for the next 90 days if they purchase within that time period.
EasyAzon has a one-click option to do this and gives your reader the option to add it to their cart immediately.
Again, this is something you'll want to test as some readers may be reluctant to make such a commitment. This is where trustworthiness of your site comes in. If you don't have a persona filled in on your site, create one and see what that improvement does for conversions as well.
18) Utilize The FAQ Section To The Fullest
As we saw from Alex's story on revenue oriented keyword research, an FAQ section can have a lot of SEO benefits. The FAQ section is another place where you could add affiliate links.
For example, you might be in the cat niche and an FAQ could be "Will this feeder still work without being plugged in?" Your answer may say no, but you'd offer an alternative. This is again, another great place to add contextual links for products you haven't reviewed yet.
19) Start Stacking Your Silos
Some topics naturally work well with each other, even though they aren't directly under the same niche. For example, it wouldn't be strange for a running site to naturally add a biking section. Because the demographics are the same.
This is something we've noticed our own community doing. We have customers that consistently add to their site by stacking ready-made sites together. When a shoulder niche comes out, they get it and ask us to add it into their existing site for them.
This is generally when the term "authority site" gets thrown in, but this is slightly different because we are only attacking the low competition buyer keywords first. Generally an authority site will stick with one niche and then work their way up.
It's very similar to how a general review site would work, except this is a lot more branded for a specific demographic.
That's it for today everyone, I want to say thanks to the experts that contributed and if any of you have any extra conversion tips you'd like to add in - please let us benefit in the comments!