I love affiliate marketing, but always thought about the long term implication of promoting just one merchant as being the best. Basically, telling visitors to go visit that merchant instead of the affiliate site – unless there was something really compelling on the affiliate site.
Well … millions of affiliate marketers have been doing that for years. Putting up “review” sites telling people over and over and over to go shop at Amazon.
And here we are …
Most consumers now use Amazon as the starting point for their product shopping. (See references at http://searchengineland.com/report-amazon-grows-lead-product-search-engine-choice-259985).
I’ve read the referenced reports. The one least favorable to Amazon found:
38% start with Amazon
35% head to a search engine
21% go to a retailer website
6% start with other (ebay, etsy, jet, etc. are mentioned)
So where does that leave affiliates relying on search rankings for traffic? Which is where most affiliates are. Even the “build a list” suggestion requires initial traffic from somewhere.
Affiliates are battling for the 35% of visitors using search engines.
Within that 35% is the battle for search listings with:
1. Google Adwords
2. Google Products
3. Amazon listings
4. Retailer listings
6. Pinterest and social sites
7. Other affiliates
- Don’t be looking to do the minimum of putting up thin content, or spinning the merchant’s product review and putting up a link to Amazon. Do some real research and analysis comparing products, features, prices and sites.
- Don’t let Amazon be your only affiliate program. Fact is, long gone are the days when Amazon was the low priced option. It’s not. You can save your customers some money by recommending alternatives where you also have an affiliate relationship. And get a higher commission rate. And get a longer cookie period too. Does Amazon convert well? Yes. But you need to actually test to see what makes you the most money.
- Don’t just target generic keywords. The more specific you can get the more likely you are to get visitors who are closer to the end of their pre-buying analysis. Example: “Toaster” versus “Best 4 Slot Silver Toaster”. The key factor to remember – which many affiliates forget – is your goal is not traffic. Your goal is making money. 10 visitors making you $50 for longtail, well thought out keywords are worth more than 1000 visitors making you $0.
Consider 2nd Option Traffic
While most now start their shopping with Amazon that doesn’t mean that is the beginning and end of their shopping. For a good percentage that is true. But some of Amazon’s 38% will then do a second search on search engines looking to validate whether to (1) buy that product, and (2) buy on Amazon or not. They will be looking for best prices and in-depth reviews providing information not found on Amazon.
This would be a good focus for affiliates.
You can use Amazon reviews as a starting point for questions people have about a product. Other sites also have reviews. You should also brainstorm questions you would have if you were looking to buy. Having the most extensive question and answer page about a product, which then helps guide people to the right product to buy for them, makes for a nice, valuable, money-making page.
Amazon has only a one-day referral cookie anyway, so targeting people just starting their shopping may get traffic but fewer paid conversions compared to writing your content for someone who has already done some due diligence and knows what they want to buy, and is now looking for a best price, or best warranty, or answer to a questions, etc.
You can refer this traffic back to Amazon with your affiliate link. You can refer it to other merchants.
Note: You may want to not tell visitors on your web page you are linking to Amazon. If the person has already visited Amazon and sees you are simply saying go buy on Amazon, they are less likely to click your link. Why should they?
Other Helpful Ideas and Reports
Add your own products to your website. Sure, being an affiliate is great, but if you can add the right product to your site and sell directly – thus making money from every sale and not only when a purchase is made within your referral period – why not? Your own product could be a downloadable report. It could be a simple but related product. Be creative.
This old but good report reviews buying low and selling for profit. A lot of affiliates could increase their bottom line by adding a second profit stream to their sites: http://kickbutt.im/pennyproductwso
Lost Niche Profits is the ultimate guide to minimizing the competition problem. Get niches with little to no competition from Google Adwords, Google Products, social sites and other websites. Not just little to no competition, but the buyers are rabid. Its perfect: high conversions and low competition: http://kickbutt.im/686
Product Review Formula helps affiliates write product reviews that are useful, informative, answer buyers questions, direct people to the right product for them, and which can add a ton of unique words to your pages that search engines love – http://kickbutt.im/guides/dd2jvz.html
SEO for Amazon Affiliate Sites has specific information for Amazon affiliates to make their pages better so they rank higher for free search traffic – http://kickbutt.im/guides/dd3jvz.html