This post contains affiliate links. Because this is an affiliate marketing blog, so, #duh. This means I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post.
Are you looking to convert your affiliate links at a higher rate while still maintaining the original, organic content that drew your readers in the first place? Then you need to look at how, exactly, you're writing those blog posts.
Storytelling is great, but it doesn't pay the bills.
If you're serious about making money from your affiliate links, you need to switch your mindset to think like an affiliate, not like a blogger. You need to think about preselling, what action you want your readers to take and how to get them to take it so that clicks turn to conversions. While, of course, also maintaining your brand voice and own unique presence.
Consider this: It may take anywhere from seven to 13 (or more) touchpoints before a lead turns into a conversion, according to the Data and Marketing Association. That means customers need to see the message repeated in several different formats to help presell them on the product. But you also really, really need to know what your audience likes. Keep in mind that your audience isn't always going to like what you like, or what you want to share.You should be paying close attention to your reports in the dashboards to see what they're buying vs. what you're linking to. It can be super insightful. Audiences also don't always trust a “review” of a product received in exchange for a post, because they understand that the basis of the relationship is due to getting free shit. This is why many smart affiliate managers will recommend using your own affiliate link to purchase the product — you'll be able to speak genuinely and authentically about the product and your experience.
This information also comes in super handy during the holiday season, when the likelihood of being able to convert sales is high … as is the likelihood of completely dropping the ball.
So, what works?
Gift guides are a great way to feature products and incorporate your affiliate links. But be sure you know what's expected to sell well, what your audience actually likes and buys and when to strike with these. Some bloggers will do like 10 gift guides, stretching from mid-October all the way to Christmas. Some will stick to a handful that they'll re-share over the course of the season. Whichever option fits you best, go with it, but have a plan. Think general (him, her, kid) then specific (digital nomad blogger, grillmaster, tech-curious kiddo). Feature merchants that generally perform well with your audience. Talk to your affiliate manager to see what they expect to be a hot product.
If you're not sharing Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals, you're missing out. Like, seriously. Open your email, and see how many messages you've received from your affiliate managers about promoting BF/CM deals. I bet you it's a fair amount. There's a reason why your AM is pushing these — they're a moneymaker. Pretty much guaranteed. But strategize. Find the deals that will relate to your audience. If you blog about weddings, share wedding deals (string lights! Dresses! Flowers!). If you write about food, find those deals (subscription boxes! MEAT! Kitchen accessories!). Make a list. Do it short ‘n' sweet for each deal (Save $xx at Brand using code BRANDCM). Tell your readers how it relates to them by creating different categories. Make it easy, so all they have to do is click and buy. This also requires knowing your audience and what they buy. Check out your reports, see what's popular among your readers and make sure you have deals for those.
General Roundups / Collages
Take advantage of the fact that people like cool images, and a good collage that fills a need does exactly this. Create a collage geared toward popular, trendy or helpful products that will generate interest from your audience. Give them a little story to go with it, but put the central focus on the collage itself. Create a call to action (“shop these products here”). Share the image on Instagram and Pinterest.
Start here. Try these tactics to help increase your conversion. Go forth and earn!