The #1 Way For An Affiliate To Increase Conversions
Increasing conversion rates is a science. Achieving it requires knowledge, and testing. It often seems complicated, but for me, regardless of who you are, what your niche is, what you sell, or how much traffic you get, it all starts with this one idea…
MEETING YOUR VISITORS EXPECTATIONS.
A visitor first comes into contact with you via an ad. Whether that’s your page’s description ranking for a search term, or some paid ad, this is how your relationship with that person starts.
Right at that moment, an expectation is set. They read what your “ad” says, and they get some idea in their heads about who you are and what you’re going to give them.
Then they get to your site.
How well your site meets the expectation you set them determines how deeply they’ll engage with your content.
They read your content and if it’s what they were looking for, they see your affiliate link. They’re considering the product you promote.
When they look at your affiliate link, another expectation is set.
They’ve listened to what you said about the product and there’s a set of things they’re expecting to see when they reach the sales page for that product.
How well the sales page meets the expectation you set in your presell determines how likely they’ll be to buy the product.
These two meetings of expectation are what conversions rest on.
You therefore have two bits of analysis to do, if you want to increase affiliate sales on your site that’s getting SEO traffic.
1. “DOES MY TITLE TAG & META DESCRIPTION ACCURATELY REFLECT MY CONTENT”?
There’s plenty of talk about mentioning your keyword here. Or about being seductive and appealing so as to generate the click.
But neither of those will improve sales if you’ve set an expectation with your title tag and meta description that isn’t met in your actual page content.
Here’s an example.
The wonderful, and rather wise Priscilla Schoeman wrote a review of the Rankings Institute last year. It ranks for the keyword “Rankings Institute review”.
Here’s what it looks like to a searcher:
So the expectation is set.
I click this link thinking “I’m going to see whether RI is worth the investment… maybe she’ll tell me something no one else can, and maybe there’ll even be some special deal”.
Then here’s what I see when I get to the page:
Now this is by no means bad.
She’s established that this page is definitely about the Rankings Institute… like I expected when clicking.
She even shows the Logo of RI, to prove it’s definitely THAT RI we’re talking about. (This is quite important in many niches, when there are a lot of different products that are quite similar, perhaps even for the same brand).
But there are some bits that she doesn’t do straight away, which would certainly help those expectations be better met. Namely:
1. It’s not going to hurt to state right there at the top that this is a review, and from the perspective of someone in the course. Remember the expectation was set of “inside info”. I’d want to tell people straight away that what was promised, is exactly what they’ll get.
2. She didn’t say anything about the “investment” in this early paragraph.
Most of us have heard the phrase “tell them what you’re going to tell them” and this is key at this point, because expectations will be met if tell them that what you said you’d tell them… you’ll definitely be telling them…
In other words, you need to assure them that this page is definitely going to have what you promised them. And assure them IMMEDIATELY.
Reading that first paragraph they have no trust in you. They’re still considering hitting the “back” button and choosing another site.
But that thinking stops if they instantly see that they’re going to get what you promised them.
To me, Priscilla’s review is more engaging (and will have more people reading on) if it says in that first paragraph:
“I’ve made the investment in the Rankings Institute program and this review attempts to help others decide whether the same investment will pay dividends for them”.
Boom. Exactly what they thought they’d find at this page. They can feel confident to keep reading.
When you’re doing this analysis, you go through your own content in that same way, continually asking “Are readers clearly getting what I promised them here?”
2. “DOES MY REVIEW, (AND MY CALL TO ACTION IN PARTICULAR) ACCURATELY REFLECT MY PRODUCT SALES PAGE”?
It’s great to get people excited about the product you’re promoting. You want to tell them why the product is great and why people like it.
But if you aren’t also accurately reflecting what they’ll see when they click your affiliate link, it won’t be effective.
Here’s an example from a different site. This is a review of a GPS watch.
Here’s what I see on the review…
And here’s what I see when I click that – rather small – link to Amazon underneath the watch.
Let’s play spot the difference.
For one, the price is different. I was expecting $177 and I got $183.
Maybe I won’t care about the $6 difference but there’s no reason for an affiliate to risk it. Probably this review just hasn’t been updated but this is definitely the kind of thing you need to watch out for.
For two, the image of the watch is slightly different. A different face is showing. This is negligible but in other cases it can be more significant. What they see on the merchant page has to be exactly what they saw on your page.
The point is, your prospect is close to making a purchase here. You don’t want to give them a reason to even blink, let alone wonder whether your review was definitely accurate.
That was an easy one, but common issues are things like:
- You promote a product that comes in 3 colors. Your affiliate site shows an image of the product in one color, and the first image visible at the sales page is the other color. It looks like a different product and people might be put off.
- You tell people there’s a special offer or some bonus currently available and they can’t see it mentioned on the sales page.
- You tell people about the 5 star reviews but when they get to Amazon there are a couple of 1 star reviews high up on the list, that you didn’t mention.
- Something you told people about the product is contradicted by something else on the sales page (can happen when a reviewer on Amazon contradicts something your review, and the manufacturer says)
And there are many more.
Making sure you’re meeting customer expectations at the content/call to action level is easy enough.
You just double check to make sure all the details are right, and that all the impressions you gave them about the product will be confirmed when they hit the sales page: No ambiguity, no confusion.
THAT’S THE BASIS OF HIGH CONVERSIONS
Everything else comes next. There’s no need to test different buttons, or colors, or adjust your pre-sell copy… or heck even abort a product review because it’s not converting… before you’ve taken the steps outlined here.
Go run the analysis on your sites and keep those affiliate sales coming.