Yesterday I shared 5 lessons on making money with affiliate programs on your blog.
As I read through the comments on that post and pondered it some more thoughts came to mind that I think are worth adding:
Test and Track Results
I’ve written numerous times on ProBlogger about testing and tweaking advertising on your blog (for example – this post on how to run Split Testing).
The same principle is true for running affiliate campaigns on a number of levels.
1. Split Testing Banner ads
If you do run banner ads to promote your affiliate campaign (do remember yesterday I said that they don’t tend to work as well as in post promotions) you can run some split testing in a similar way to the one mentioned in the Split Testing article. Instead of showing two different versions of AdSense ads – just show two different types of banner ads that promote the product you’re promoting. You just need to make sure you have a method of tracking which banner ad is converting best (many affiliate programs will either give different tracking ids or will track different banners for you).
2. Track What Your Readers Respond to
Yesterday I mentioned that instead of just promoting an affiliate product once that it can be worth running a series of different types of posts to promote it over time. The beauty in doing this is that you begin to see what your readership responds to. You might find that few people sign up for a product when you first announce it but when you write a review that sales increase. Alternatively you might find that when you offer a bonus they sign up more or even that they respond to you doing an interview with the person behind the product. The key is to try different things but then to watch how they convert.
Testing the conversions on affiliate programs seems so basic – but it amazes me just how many bloggers I see using affiliate programs who just seem to slap up a quick post saying to ‘buy this product’ and don’t seem to get creative in trying new methods of promotion.
3. Test different programs and their conversions
In yesterdays post Omar asked for a list of best affiliate programs. It’s a common question but one that is really impossible to answer because there are literally thousands of options open to bloggers and different programs will convert differently for different blogs. As mentioned in yesterday’s post, this partly depends upon the relevancy of products to your content and audience – but it also depends upon other factors including the sales copy of the landing page that you send traffic to (some pages will appeal to some audiences more than others), the profile and brand of the site you send traffic to, the price of the product etc.
The key when you’re in the affiliate marketing game is to experiment with different affiliate programs and products within them. You might find that a program like Amazon’s Associates program fits best for your audience (despite it’s lower commission rates than some others) because your audience is familiar with it, or you might find a program like PepperJam (which has a lot of great affiliates in the one network) is better suited to you or you might even establish a relationship with a smaller company who has their own private affiliate program because their product just ‘fits’ with your audience.
The key is to look for relevant products that fit your audience’s needs and then to track the conversions.
One more thing about Choosing Affiliate Programs
There are some great comments in the previous post about choosing affiliate programs – particularly from Lex G and Linda. They both pick up that it’s not always the highest paying affiliate program that is best. While it’s great to find a high priced program that pays out a high percentage commission – you might find that the price is out of the reach of the type of audience that you have and that another program that pays less commission and that is lower priced could actually earn you more.
A lot of people write off programs like Amazon’s Associates program because of their lower commissions and price points on items like books – however I’ve found that Amazon can work very well for me (it remains in my top ways to make money blogging at #4 on the list. While I don’t see the spectacular sales that some other programs can earn – the hundreds of smaller sales that I can see on any given day can certainly add up.
How Much Traffic Do You Need?
Dainis asked in the comments of the previous post how much traffic would be needed before starting to promote affiliate programs.
This is another good (and common) question – and as with many aspects of making money from blogs it is a question that different people will answer differently.
My personal approach is to start promoting these types of programs early. I’ve written a long post on when to put advertising on a blog previously and much of what I say there is also relevant to affiliate programs but my main reasons for starting early are:
- While you might not make much with just a little traffic you could make some.
- Starting early gets your readers used to the idea that you make money from your blog. Adding it later could put some offside.
- Learn how to monetize your blog before you have readers so you can make your mistakes in front of just a few rather than a lot of people.