At a conference this year, I presented some tips on affiliate marketing in one of the sessions I ran on monetizing blogs.
One of the most powerful affiliate marketing concepts—one that can make or break an affiliate campaign—is summed up in this slide:
The key is to find the overlap between the intent and need of your reader, the product you’re promoting, and the message you use to promote it with.
To say it another way, the product, reader need, and your promotional message need to be related. The product needs to relate to your audience, and you need to promote it in a relevant way.
Let me give you an example of an affiliate promotion on a blog that I saw recently where there was no sweet spot.
Missing the mark
I won’t reveal the blog because I don’t want to embarrass the blogger but the blog’s topic was beauty and fashion.
- Reader Intent – The blog’s content focused on the topic of beauty and fashion, and the blog’s comments revealed that readers were there to explore that topic (so the reader intent was to learn and talk about beauty/fashion).
- Product – The product being promoted on the blog was my 31 Days to Build a Better Blog ebook. While I’m flattered that the blogger wanted to promote my book, there’s not a great deal of immediate overlap between the reader intent/need and the need that my product solved. My ebook helps people improve their blogs; the reader intent was to talk lipstick, skirts, and stilettos.
- Message – The promotion was a banner ad. There was no in-content promotion—the blogger had simply used one of our default banner ads in the sidebar. As a result there was no tie-in, or message that tried to close the gap between reader need and the product. Perhaps if the message had been a blog post written to highlight how the product could be helpful to other fashion/beauty bloggers, or a call to fashion/beauty bloggers to work through the ebook together (making things more relevant to the audience), the promotion might have been more successful. However, the banner ad alone provided no obvious tie in.
There was no sweet spot here. As a result, the promotion saw no conversions.
- Know your reader intent and needs.
- Find affiliate products that solve those needs.
- Promote products in a way that’s relevant and that communicates how the product will solve reader needs.