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15 Indirect Affiliate Marketing Tricks that Work

This guest post is by Harrison Li of Blog Lectures.

If you have ever bought something online, with no doubt, there have also been times when you rejected buying a certain product. And if you won’t buy it, the seller loses money.

What about when you do buy something? As usual, you check out the item, all excited, and make sure it ships to your place as soon as possible.

But, behind the scenes, there are tricks that naturally go unnoticed that were used to magnetically entice you to purchase. Those are what I’ll be teaching you today.

1. Increase your font size

This is what turns off a particular group of Internet users who are potential customers but don’t purchase. And it’s due to one little issue: the font size. If the font is too small, customers will definitely hate reading from the monitor. Turn it up—use at least 14-point font. It’s the new regular font size.

Now, I’m not just talking about blog posts, squeeze pages, or sales pages. These changes will have to be made where ever your customers are reading—even emails are not an exception.

2. Utilize a squeeze page

Whenever you’re trying to capture your customers’ email addresses, you need to use a squeeze page—a page where you offer a freebie and capture the lead, so you can promote products to him or her in the future. Optimize Press is an essential tool here.

3. Focus above the fold

“Above the fold” is a term referring to the top area of the website, which you don’t have to scroll down to see. People these days have short attention spans; you must make sure what you say in this section of the page is attractive and enticing enough to actually get a person to read every single word.

4. Write attractively

You’ve got to get your visitors reading what you have to say word after word. But of course, give him some space, don’t jam a full paragraph in there! A successful technique is by crafting attractive headlines that drive the reader insane wanting to know what you have to say in the words that follow.

Repeatedly tease your customers and finally capture their emails with a freebie. This is exactly what you need to do—make them go crazy—but in short paragraphs so your communication can stay on readers’ short-attention-span radars.

5. Always offer a freebie

Most of the times, bloggers offer a free ebook. This isn’t always the case, but if you’re an affiliate for an ebook, it is recommended that you write a short book review or jot down some of the valuable information you can find inside the actual book, and give it to your readers free. (This is when you get them to join your mailing list.)

6. Remove the Name field

When you offer a particular freebie in exchange for your customer’s name and email address, leave out the name field and just offer the email address field. You may be shocked to see your conversions move up by over 20%. This is due to the nature of laziness, and the idea that “less is more.”

7. Change the action button

In case you didn’t know, it is possible to change what the sign-up button says and how it looks. If you have a dull and boring sign-up button that said “Join” or even “Sign Up” then, trust me, you’re leaving plenty of potential revenue on the table.

It’s a fact that changing the submit button to something attractive can yield higher conversions. Ideas: “Instant Access,” “Instant Digital Download,” or “Free Entry”. The ideas are countless. Test each one out and see which performs the best for you.

8. Less is more

This concept applies every time you try to get someone to perform an action. Consider squeeze pages. If your visitors see a Captcha box, an “I agree to the terms and conditions” box, or a zip code box, then obviously the customer is going to panic and wander away. Rather than displaying all those boxes that are not importantly necessary, take them off the page. The fewer options you provide, the more actions you’ll receive.

9. Affiliate links: to cloak or not?

There are two types of customers: those that know about link cloaking and those that don’t. If you cloak your links, over 70% of the visitors who know about it will definitely not click on your affiliate links. My suggestion is don’t cloak links. Let everyone know they’re affiliate links, explaining it with reverse psychology if you like!

Here are some interesting poll results. The question was, “Do you disclose affiliate links?” Check out the results.

10. Introduce yourself

This is in fact a law of selling goods: you as the salesman have got to introduce yourself to the customers, so they know and trust who they are buying from. No one wants to buy from a random stranger they found on the Web. A great thing you could do is upload a picture of yourself in a positive mood to your About page, or your site’s sidebar.

11. Speak from personal experience

This step is not entirely necessary but is recommended if you want to increase your conversions. If you review a product that you have not personally tried yourself, then it’s technically not a review and if your customers know about this, it becomes an instant turn-off to some of them. Make sure you test out something before you recommend it to others.

12. Use testimonials

This plays an important role in sales, as it creates social proof. If a customer doesn’t see anyone else buying the product, she might wander off and buy from other well-known sources. On the other hand, don’t display too many testimonials—that’s a mistake I see a lot of times. All you need is quality, not quantity. If you have been featured on CNN news or something like that make sure you let your customers know about that, too.

One more thing: on each separate testimonial, include a picture of the person who wrote the testimonial. It would be even better if you could get them to hold the product in the picture if possible. Another word of advice: at the end of the testimonials, write a short message that says something like, “Once you’ve tried this product, I can feature your testimonial here!”

13. Use a human voice

Please, talk in a personal manner—as if you were talking casually to your friends. This is the key to winning your readers’ hearts, and getting them naturally coming back. Whether it’s on sales pages or in emails, talk like you were chatting to your friends. Not only does this help enhance your relationship with potential customers, it also increase trustworthiness and brand awareness.

14. Use visualization

We’ve all heard of the old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words. That idea also applies to places where you promote affiliate products. You need to let your customers feel comfortable on your site. So your blog design in particular, as well as images you use to decorate your product, are important. Consider using premium photos—Fotolia might have what you want.

If you are providing an ebook as a freebie, then you will definitely need to use a 3D cover maker. I recommend MyEcoverMaker. Give their free templates a try, and see for yourself.

15. Readers first, promotion last

Whatever you do, make decisions for the readers first, and lastly for your own good. Whilst making any promotions or launching any products, a good rule of thumb is to list out the benefits and advantages to the customer. That’s it—nothing else. Remember, people are only reading your blog because they believe you have the solutions they need. And you will always have to hand out free “samples” of the product you’re promoting before you actually promote it.

In other words, don’t rush for the money-making bit. Wait for it, and be patient.

Action summary

I’ve said a lot. Now it’s time for you to either take actions or remember the advice for your future needs.

  1. Use a bigger font size for your content.
  2. Always use a squeeze page for capturing leads.
  3. Optimize your “above the fold” to counter people with short attention spans.
  4. Write with wise words that attract readers to read everything you have to say.
  5. Always offer freebies as a “bribe” for capturing leads.
  6. Remove the Name field from your signup box for higher conversions.
  7. Change the Submit button to something more appealing.
  8. Apply the “less is more” concept to your work.
  9. Don’t cloak links and use reverse psychology to get the most sales.
  10. Introduce yourself to the customers, with a photo.
  11. Tell your personal experience with the product you’re promoting.
  12. Display quality testimonials and invite new customer testimonials too.
  13. Talk in a friendly and casual manner, and don’t use difficult academic words.
  14. Blend your content with images and decorative designs.
  15. Get straight to the fact and let your readers know what you are on about, then sell.

Additionally, here are some great reads from the ProBlogger himself:

Got any extra words of advice you would like to add to this list? Feel free to add them in the comments.

Harrison Li is a 14-year old teenager blogger who is often disrespecfully looked upon due to age, he offers in-depth blogging advice and marketing strategies that you’ll find no where else, see for yourself why it is worthwhile by joining the other readers who love the Blog Lectures newsletter.

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Comments

  1. Samantha says:

    These are great tips, I try and focus above the fold but I’ve heard that this can also deter people from wanting to stay on your site. Thanks

    • Bruna says:

      Samantha, I was going to make a similar point. It’s just a myth and no longer something most people practice. Web users do scroll, so don’t limit yourself to squeezing everything that you deem important above the fold.

    • Harrison Li says:

      This is absolutely true, but if you don’t have something compelling enough above the fold, people won’t even bother to scroll down, right?

  2. Vivek Parmar says:

    Great tips. Never releasied that font size matters too much. Thanks a ton for mentioning it on first point

    • Harrison Li says:

      Yup, it’s very important, it’s one about readability and second about attractiveness in headlines and stuff.

  3. Good tips, Harrison. There is one caveat though in regards to removing the customer name field. Yes, your conversion rate will increase, but you email campaigns will also end up being less personal. Addressing the user by their first name is a very powerful tool when selling products. The compromise would be to have the field in place but not make it mandatory.

    • Harrison Li says:

      Hey Antonio, that’s a great point, when I wrote this post, I had a lot debates to myself whether I should mention this, but oh well, you could argue that sales conversions are better than signup conversions.

  4. Martyn says:

    Don’t worry about age. I’m 18 and I’m doing just fine. :D

  5. Gregory C. says:

    I’ve heard too many outgoing aff links can hurt a blog in regards to search engines if the links aren’t cloaked, anybody hear anything else on that issue?

    • Harrison Li says:

      Oh sorry Greg, I am not familiar with this, but I guess if links aren’t spammed, websites are all good to go.

  6. Chris McCoy says:

    I’ve only just started implementing affilate marketing and I’ve automatically subconsciously cloaked my links, but now I think I’ll let my readers know :) thanks for the tips!

  7. jibran says:

    thanks really wonderful tips
    can u put some light on issue of keyword density?

    • Harrison Li says:

      Hey jibran that’s a good question, keyword density can be used but if overused can definitely hurt your search engine rankings, it is suggested that you write naturally, but if you would like to exaggeratively describe something, using keywords aren’t bad! Just not a lot.

  8. GREAT tips with high integrity that all step wide away from the tricky tricks so many affiliate marketers try to use – bravo!

    Re: affiliate links – you are required by law to state that it is an affiliate link. http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm Whether you cloak it or not, you have to disclose. Might as well work it into your patter (“hey, I gotta bring home the bacon”, or “baby needs some new shoes”, or whatever) – you can have fun with it)

    Thanks for sharing these useful hints.
    Vicki @Smartwoman Flaugher

    • Harrison Li says:

      Thanks for your praise Vicki, oh and thanks again for mentioning the point about cloaking links, I had no idea about this :S

  9. Carol Frome says:

    Good article — I love the tip about font size. However, there seems to be a problem with the Optimize Press landing page. I’m hearing multiple recordings simultaneously.

  10. Torkona says:

    You’re 14 years old? The main thing I was learning at 14 was how to shave my face and get girls to like me.

    Well done son, and thanks for the tips!

    - tork
    daddy blog

  11. I stopped reading at 7 because it reeeeeeeked of a skeazy sales letter from the first glimpse. Hardly indirect. Yet another awful misinterpretation of #4 so commonly seen in marketing these days.

    • Harrison Li says:

      well thanks Patricia, the words used in the headline don’t neccessary mean what the content must be about, it was made solely for its ability to grab attention :) Oh and you’re the first honest person here to actaully say this, there are a quiet a few points that are hardly indirect, definitely.

  12. Yvette says:

    I especially like tip #11. I have seen so many bloggers “review” a product when it’s obvious that they never even touched the item or whatever it is that they are reviewing. How they get away with lying like that, I’ll never know…..

  13. Harrison, Clear and valid points. Thanks for sharing and special greetings that you enter blog sphere at right time. Way to go. Keep going buddy. Manickam

  14. James Greg says:

    Always a pleasure to read these refresher points. Its amazing to read “Increase your font size” of course this would make great changes but most of the time people overlook this point. Great reading and great written work.

  15. Raj says:

    I like the idea fof “Less is more”, right now I am planning to write an ebook which will be finished in a month.. will start doing affiliate marketing once everything is set..

  16. A really neat list. Thanks. I have lost count of the number of times you rock up at a blog and then go grab the magnfiying glass to read it. Soooo small. It makes the experience so inferior.

    Julian

    • Harrison Li says:

      ahaha Julian thanks, that’s a good way to describe those websites :D Well to make things simple, simply scroll your mouse wheel up at the same time hold the control button :D

  17. I’m really surprised that there are still a number of online sellers who don’t think they need to provide testimonials. It’s just… wrong.

    - Jack Leak

  18. Terry says:

    Great post Harrison!

    There are a lot of aspects that I will use from this post that I had never really thought of before, thank you.

  19. Haroun Kola says:

    Great tips, thanks for the learning. I’m working on a sales page for a promotion I’m doing and these tips will definitely help me do so.

  20. sandeep says:

    Thank you for sharing the Tips. I have applied few suggestion and its working
    Even the Affiliate cloaking I don’t like and happy to know that even the friends (users) don’t like that

    • Harrison Li says:

      hey Sanndeep yeah some people like to cloak their links and some don’t, people who do are just scardey cats who wish to get the most profits :D

  21. I absolutely love these indirect ways of Affiliate Marketing….especially the one which refers to the Action button, nicely thought and written.

  22. Morgan says:

    Harrison, great ideas!! They all really do work, too. Especially the last one, the readers always come first! This is so critical. This is something we do on a daily basis in our marketing strategies. We want to engage others first before even attempting to sell anything. But then even when you want to sell something, sell it in a way that doesn’t look like selling. Give and show examples from other people’s experiences with your products. Show what your product can do in a video or case study. It can be done in so many different ways.

    Great stuff!

    • Harrison Li says:

      hey thanks Morgan!! yup that’s why I put it last :D oh and I prefer people to promote products they’ve actually tried it out themselves?

  23. Great post and helpful insights.

    I cloak links, but not because I’m trying to hide the affiliate (I disclose that site-wide), but because I just hate the messiness of the affiliate links. Which looks cleaner to you?

    http://pix2brix.com/4-hour-workweek

    or

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2F4-Hour-Workweek-Expanded-Updated-Cutting-Edge%2Fdp%2F0307465357%3Fs%3Dbooks%26ie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1295480752%26sr%3D1-1&tag=pix2brix-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325

    I just hate all the code showing on the hover!

  24. Glynis Jolly says:

    To tell you the truth, I don’t agree with #6. How can you be personal without a name?

    • Harrison Li says:

      Right Glynis, you’re professional enough to point that out, it’s an extremely debateable subject, say if you remove the name field, you can get more signup conversions, but if you add the name field, you can get personal and get higher sales conversions, which one do you prefer? it all depends, right?

  25. Aviva says:

    Great tips!

    I have yet to make a single significant affiliate sale from my site, and I have no idea what I am really doing wrong. It would be a dream come true to be a full-time affiliate marketer.

    • Harrison Li says:

      Hey Aviva, thanks for spending some time to leace a comment, well if you need any help I am always alive, contact me :)

  26. Some useful tips here, thanks for posting. I particularly like the “Use a Bigger Font” suggestion. Makes sense.

    One thing I found ironic though is that I clicked on the “Optimize Press” link, took a quick look at it, closed the browser window, and then realized your blog article closed as well. I had to go back to the original link and re-launch this blog entry in order to read through the rest of it. So my 16th tip …

    When linking to an external website/domain, be sure it launches in a new/separate browser window (“_Blank”). :)

  27. Sorry, but I 110% DISAGREE with your reasoning for not cloaking links.

    It has nothing to do with deceiving customers, it’s all about protecting your commissions and removing the risk of link hijacking. The amount of browser based malware out there that rips of legitimate affiliates is ridiculous.

    Secondly, there is an inherent trust that you build between yourself, your website, and the visitor. People trust links within your site.

    My best piece of advice is to cloak your links, BUT disclose that it’s an affiliate link.

    Depending on the terms of the affiliate program you should be disclosing this anyway – and note, that this doesn’t mean you need to write it in big letters next to your link “AFFILIATE”, oftentimes it can actually help you make the sale depending on how you deliver the news.

  28. I’ve started incorporating YouTube with my blog and promoting my affiliates that way and it really works – I actually started getting comments asking where the links where (they were in the description) so I started adding them into the video.

    I’m not very good at editing so do loads of takes to get it right and my affiliates are happy with what I’m doing.

    The greatest point you made is not to hide it; I don’t shout “this is an affiliate” but I do offer my thoughts and suggest buying ______ from ______ to my readers.

  29. Dave says:

    Hey Harrison,

    What an insightful and refreshing article you have posted. Thanks for being specific about the steps folks can take and providing so many tips. I’m still in the learning stages and truly appreciate when I stumble upon genuine help! It’s rare when you find good advice that doesn’t come with an offer to purchase a product.

    Best regards,Derek

  30. ah Freedom says:

    Hey Harrison, just want to say awesome article. Loved the summary at the end as well.

  31. Mike Barnes says:

    I like your # 5 and it is so simple to use. We call it “the shameless bribe”. Use it to get people to subscribe to your email newsletter, like you page on Facebook or Google’s Plus 1. It works!! For example. we give away a free Bahamas cruise each month for simply liking us on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/seoalien