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Affiliate Marketing Tips and What Links to Use in Your Emails

Today I’m going to talk about affiliate marketing and where the links should point to when sending an email promoting a product to your list.


This topic was inspired by a question from Scott.

“I want to try my hand at some affiliate promotions and have selected an eBook to promote. I have heard to say that your affiliate promotions work best when you email your list but I am wondering if I should email that affiliate link or send them to my own blog where I review the product.”

“I’d love your guidance – how do you promote an affiliate product?”

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money with a blog. If you are not familiar with the concept you can learn more from Podcast Episode 51: My Tips for Making Money As a Blogger Through Affiliate Marketing.

In Today’s Episode Affiliate Marketing Tips and What Links to Use in Your Emails

  • Linking directly to the sales page of the product you are promoting
    • This eliminates steps and gets the buyer closer to the buy button
    • If the sales page is good and likely to convert
    • If we do the pre-selling in the email and don’t have to do much more to convert
  • Sending the potential buyer to your own blog
    • The product has a sales page, but a little more pre-selling is required which we will do on the blog
    • If you think a review of the product will be useful to sales
    • If you want to promote the product several times over a few weeks
      • Email 1 – announces the product/deal with reasons to buy and features
      • Email 2 – an email linking to a review of the product – talks about pros and cons and links to sales page
        • Alternatively link to interview of ebook creator
        • Alternatively get ebook author to write guest post
      • Email 3 – Last chance reminder linking directly to the sales page

How did you go with today’s episode?

Ideally, you want as few clicks as possible, but there are times when some extra clicks and pre-selling will get your readers in the buying mood. I hope that answers the question.

I would love to hear what you do with sending readers to landing pages or pre-selling on your blog.

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Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hi there. Welcome to episode 107 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the blogger behind which is a blog and podcast to help bloggers and online entrepreneurs to blog more effectively, create more useful content online, and also to work out how to sustain that.

One of the ways that many of our blogger’s readers sustain their blogs and make a profit from their blogs is through affiliate marketing. That’s what I want to talk about in today’s episode. In particular, I want to talk about where the links should point to when you send an email to your list promoting an affiliate product.

This question comes in from Scott who asks, “I want to try my hand at some affiliate promotions and have selected an ebook to promote. I’ve heard you say that your affiliate promotions work best when you email your list, but I’m wondering if I should email that affiliate link or should I send them to my own blog where I review the ebook?” This is a great question from Scott and I want to tackle it today, giving you a few insights into when you should do each of the options that Scott mentions.

We’re talking about affiliate marketing today. I want to encourage those of you who haven’t tried promoting affiliate products in the past to give it a go. I think it’s a really great way to get into monetizing a blog without having to create your own product. You’re going to learn a whole heap about how your readers respond to marketing messages and you’ll probably learn a little bit about the type of products that your readers are going to respond to as well. It might give you some hints as to the type of products you should be creating.

Now, if you’re listening to this and you are thinking, “What in the world is Darren talking about? What is an affiliate promotion?” you need to go back and listen to episode 51 where I do introduce this great way to make money from your blogs. I’m not going to go through the beginnings of what is affiliate marketing except to say that it is the most common way that our readers on ProBlogger tell us that they’re making money. I think it’s probably worth exploring if you haven’t explored it yet. If that’s you, head back to episode 51 right now and then come back to this one because we’re going to get into this choice that we have when we do send out an email to our list.

To Scott’s question—thank you for the question, Scott, I do appreciate it—you’ve identified a choice here that we talk about as a team for every affiliate promotion that we do. The reality is that we don’t always do the same thing. I’m going to give you some examples of where we’ve done both of the things that you’ve suggested.

Just to recap, we’re talking here about which link you put in your email. If you’re sending an email out to your list, promoting an affiliate product, do you send out pointing directly to the sales page of that product that the product creator has given you, the affiliate link that they’re giving you or do you write a post about that product, put it on your blog, and use that link in your email?

Now, there are some good reasons for taking either approach. Let’s start by, perhaps, talking about using the affiliate link, linking directly to the sales page of the product that you’re promoting. The reason that you would consider this is that it gets your reader closer to them hitting the add to cart button faster. It removes a click if you like. If you’re sending people directly from your email to the product sales page, you’re sending them straight there without having a middle page in the way. That always increases the chances of them putting that product in a cart and checking out, almost always. It’s the ideal.

Now, we do this on most of our affiliate promotions. We particularly are doing it when the sales page that we’d be sending people to is a good one, where we think it’s well-designed and well optimized, and has good calls to action. We also would do this if we don’t have to do a whole heap of pre-selling in the email that we’re sending out. If we’re sending out an email and we just think the sales page sells itself, sells the product itself, then probably we’ll just do a relatively short email and say, “Look, you can get all the details here,” and then give them the link.

An example of this would be last year. We do a ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ campaign on Digital Photography School every year. As one of the promotions we were doing during that 12 days, we were promoting a course which we had promoted in the past, we knew it converted with our audience, and the sales page was just fantastic. The sales page had a great video on it, it had a well-written copy, it really sold the product well. We knew it was a good match for our readers, we knew that all we had to do is to get our readers to see that page, and there was a pretty good percentage of them who are going to buy that product.

I had no hesitation, whatsoever, in linking directly to that sales page. There was no need to put a link to a blog post that then explained what the product was and everything because the sales page itself did such a good job. This is my ideal. This is what I want to do every time I promote a product, I want to get people to the landing page, but there are times when you should consider not sending people directly to that landing page and sending them to some other destination, ideally your own blog.

There are a few reasons why you might want to consider this other option. Instead of sending them directly to the affiliate link landing page, you might want to send them to your blog. Let me give you a few times when you might want to do this second option.

The first time you might want to reconsider sending them directly to the landing page is if you’re promoting a product that has a sales page that you don’t really think does a great job of selling the product. I’m not going to name the product, but I can think back to a product a few years ago that I promoted on Digital Photography School. It was an ebook. The ebook was great, it was a really good fit for our audience, the product itself was perfect for our audience, but the person who’d written the ebook was a better ebook writer than they were a marketer.

As I looked at their landing page, I was like, “No, I’m not sure that this page is going to really sell this product very well. I might need to pre-sell the product a little bit more.” Instead of sending my readers to the landing page, I wrote a review of the product on my blog. That review acted as a landing page in and of itself. In the review, I talked about whom the product would be great for, what it was about, I ran through some of the sections of the ebook. I think I even used a screenshot or two from the ebook with the permission of the author. I showed the table of contents and I really talked about the pros and cons of the book.

Naturally, there were more pros than there were cons. It acted as a landing page. It acted as a testimonial of all sorts as well. By the time people clicked the affiliate link to go to the sales page, they were ready to buy. Anyone who clicked that link was ready to buy. The landing page itself didn’t need to convince them a whole heap. If anything, it probably would unconvince them because it wasn’t the best design, but hopefully, my review warmed them up enough to buy that product that they didn’t really pay a whole heap of attention to the landing page itself.

That would be one instance where you might want to reconsider sending them directly to a landing page where you think you could do something to enhance that product. It was interesting, the person who wrote that ebook actually asked me if they could use parts of my review as a new landing page. I actually said to them, “Look, I think that would be great and please do use that.” It worked out quite well for the person in the long run.

The second time you might want to link to a review or something on your blog is if you think a review itself might help to sell the product. Sometimes, the sales page is good, but you still think your readers will respond better if they hear you really talk in-depth about that product. This is something that I’ve done a little bit on ProBlogger over the years, where I might do a walk-through of how I use a tool that I’m using on ProBlogger that I’m also an affiliate for.

If I use a tool myself, I find that it’s really helpful to me, and I think showing my readers how to use that tool is going to benefit them, then I might do a screen capture video and then put that into a blog post where I talk about the product as well. Now, the reason I would do that instead of sending them directly to the affiliate link is I think that illustrating the product and how I use it is actually going to enhance the chances that they will buy it as well.

There will be some instances, and particularly, I find when you are promoting software, this can be a really good way to promote an affiliate product. This shows that you genuinely use the product and gives your readers some tips on how to use it themselves, which will be helpful to them.

The other time when I would consider not sending someone directly to an affiliate product landing page is if I’m going to promote that product over a period of time with a number of different emails. In episode 51, which I do recommend you go back and listen to, you’ll hear me talk about how (quite often), if I’m promoting a course, a software, or even an ebook that I think is really good, I might do a multi-pronged campaign promotion.

This is where instead of just sending them an email and saying, “Buy this product. This is a really great product,” I might send them two or three emails over two or three weeks. Each email will have a different approach to it. If I’m doing that, the first email might be an email announcing this product and the deal that is for my audience. I always do try and get some exclusive deals for my readers. That email might be, “Here’s this ebook. I’ve arranged 50% off for you and this bonus.” That might be all I really do in that ebook. I might talk about what it is, of course, and some features of it but that’s about it.

Then a week later, I might send a second email saying, “Here’s a review of this product.” They’ve already heard about this product and a lot of people will probably have already bought it, the fast-acting readers that we have, the people who buy everything that we recommend because they trust us, but then there’ll be another segment of readers who want to know a bit more. They want to hear some pros and cons, they want to weigh it up, and they want to see it in action perhaps.

A second email might go out in the second week, where we link, not to the landing page, but we link to a review that we’ve done of that product, maybe we interview the creator of that product and put that up as a blog post, or maybe we get the author of that ebook or the creator of that product to write a guest post and put that on the blog.

The second email might just link directly to that review, interview, or guest post or it might do both. It might say, “Hey, just a reminder, here’s this product we’re recommending. It’s a deal for you. You might also want to read our review of it.” That email might have both links for those people who just trust your recommendation and for those who want to know a little bit more. 

Then we might do a follow-up email in week three that might be just a quick last chance reminder, “Forty-eight hours to go before this deal ends.” That, again, would link directly to the landing page. You can see there that a multi-pronged campaign is going to communicate different things over time and there’s a time and a place for linking to different destinations within that campaign.

For me, it’s really about looking at the product, looking at the landing page that you’re given as an affiliate, and work out whether that landing page is going to sell that product well to your audience or whether you, getting involved in the middle and adding that extra click into the process—which is risky in some ways—whether that is worth it. If that extra click is going to increase the chances of people buying that product, then I definitely think adding that extra clicking can be worthwhile.

Ideally, you want as few clicks as possible between when you send your email and when they hit Purchase, but sometimes, that extra click will really help to put your readers in a more likely position to make that purchase.

I hope that answers your question, Scott. I do really recommend you go back and listen to episode 51 whether you are just starting out with affiliate marketing or not, I go into more detail of some other techniques that I use in my own affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing probably sits, at some months my number one income stream, some months it’s number two, and some months it’s number three. It really depends on what I’m promoting and what we’re launching in terms of products as well. But certainly, every Christmas time, when we do our Twelve Days of Christmas campaign, about half of the days in that campaign are affiliate marketing.

Over our year, I’d say affiliate marketing ends up being about 30%–40% of my overall income. I really would recommend that you go back and listen to that particular podcast if that’s something that you want to get into or you want to improve how you do it.

I would love to hear your own tips, your own opinion. Do you send people directly to landing pages? Do you send them to a product for reviews that you’ve written? Or do you do both like we do? You can tell us about that over on today’s show notes at

Thanks for listening today and I’ll chat with you in a couple of days’ time in episode 108. If you haven’t already subscribed to this podcast over on iTunes, it’s probably the best place for you to get updated about new episodes. There’s also an option for you to subscribe to our ProBlogger PLUS newsletter on today’s show notes. That will get you not only the episodes that we produce every two a week, but also any new blog posts that we have promoted, and some of the new library of resources that we have created over in ProBlogger as well. We send out an email every Tuesday, Australian time. That’s well worth subscribing to if you do want to keep in touch with us.

Hope that helps you, Scott, and anyone else doing your affiliate marketing, and chat with you soon on the ProBlogger Podcast.

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