I had an email this morning from a blogger who has built a great loyal readership to their blog and who has been attempting to monetize that readership lately by doing some affiliate promotions on that blog.
The problem – nobody is buying anything that they promote.
I spent a few minutes on Skype with the blogger to unpack the problem and asked a series of questions to try to get to the heart of the matter.
Here are the three questions I asked and why I asked them…
1. Why are your readers coming to your site?
Getting in touch with the ‘intent’ of your readers is really important when thinking about any kind of monetization. Are they there for community, information, advice, to buy something, for research, for fun or something else?
Understanding the reason for your reader coming will give you some hints as to what they might respond to in terms of promotions.
For example – if they are there to learn something, promoting a ‘how to’ type eBook might be the best thing to promote. If they are there to research buying something – you might be better to promote the products that they’re researching.
Unfortunately not all reader intents convert particularly well with affiliate marketing. For example if they are there for a sense of belonging – unless you can promote a conference or community for them to join you might be better in thinking of a different model for monetization.
2. Are the products you’re promoting relevant to your readers?
This might seem like a ‘no-brainer’, but I’m amazed how many times I see bloggers promoting products that are on a completely different topic to what their blog is even about.
The products you promote as an affiliate need to be:
- high quality (anything low quality will burn the trust of your readers but if you promote great product they will thank you for it)
- relevant to the topic of your blog
- relevant to your readers needs and intent (see point #1)
- at a relevant price point – i.e. don’t promote high value products if your readership don’t typically have big budgets!
3. Are You Promoting in a Personal Way?
Another common mistake that I see bloggers making when promoting affiliate products is that they simply stick an affiliate banner or link in their sidebar and think that that will drive heaps of sales.
The problem with this is that it is little more than an ‘ad’ and your readers will likely be blind to it.
By far the most effective ways to promote affiliate products is to write about them in a personal way – from your own experience. This means you probably want to choose something to promote that you have personal experience with that you can give an honest endorsement or review on.
Your readers read your blog because they want to hear from you – so tell them about what you’re promoting it and why you’re promoting it.
Do this in a blog post primarily but you’ll also want to consider emailing your newsletter list for important promotions too and of course following it up with some social media status updates too.
By all means try some banner ad affiliate promotions – but you’ll find your conversions are significantly higher if you add a little of YOU into your promoting of products.
There is a great more to affiliate marketing than what I’ve written above – but if you’re not seeing conversions the above 3 questions might just help to unearth some strategies to help you move forward.
If you want to delve into more tips on affiliate marketing, try listening to my podcast: My Tips for Making Money As a Blogger Through Affiliate Marketing.
This article was first published August 22, 2013 and updated September 15, 2022.