What if I tell you that you can double your affiliate income with the traffic you currently have? Seems like a dream right?
In order to double or even sometimes triple your income, more traffic is all you need. Right?
In an age where people think that if they throw tons of traffic on their site conversions happen, conversion rate optimization (CRO) has been a lost art when it comes to blogging.
Thousands of affiliate product reviews have been published daily. But most of them are a bunch of crap written without any conversions in mind.
Well, in this ultimate guide I’ll introduce some of the proven conversion rate optimization techniques that you can straightaway implement on your site to get increased profits.
Driving traffic costs you either money or lots of time, but doing CRO costs you nothing but a little time.
Although the CRO techniques for different online businesses differ, the mindset involved is the same. It is the right mindset and looking at things impartially that matters.
Nevertheless, I’ll be focusing on doing conversion rate optimization for your affiliate product reviews on your blog.
There is a scarcity of articles that teach you how to do CRO for affiliate product reviews especially the Amazon product reviews. Let me fill the missing gap today, with this exhaustive guide on CRO for affiliate product reviews.
#1. Contextual sidebars
You don’t forget to include banner ads, and also affiliate links shopping ads in the sidebar of your blog.
But do you know that the sidebar ads are the most ignored part of a blog?
Is there a fix for this?
When the content in the sidebar is relevant to the content that readers are reading on your blog, they tend to notice it. Let me take an analogy to prove this statement.
Adsense being a champ at displaying relevant ads struggle to get a CTR of 5%. How can you expect the CTR to shoot through the roof by displaying generic banner ads in your sidebar throughout the site?
WordPress, natively, won’t allow you to display different sidebar content for different blog posts and pages. This is where a good plugin like Content Aware Sidebars or Thrive Clever Widgets come into play.
These plugins let you display content relevant widgets in your sidebar. You can set the widgets to be displayed only for certain categories, tags, pages or posts. This comes in very handy to display content relevant widgets, banner ads and also a table of contents in the sidebar.
For my Amazon affiliate sites, I make use the Thrive’s Clever Widgets plugin to display a separate sidebar shopping ads for different blog posts to increase the conversions. I usually do this for top 20% of my blog posts.
#2. Sticky widget
You may have noticed that the sidebars scroll up and disappear when you keep reading your blog post.
But the great fact is that you can make any widget sticky with the help of plugins like Q2W3 Fixed Widget. This allows you to make any widget in your site sticky so that it keeps fixed in the same position no matter how further you scroll.
With this, the banner or native shopping ads (in case of Amazon), will be visible to your readers as long as they read your blog post.
If you have an Amazon niche site, I highly suggest you try this strategy out by making the shopping and native search ads sticky. You’ll surely witness a great conversion rate.
With the help of Shortcodes Ultimate and the fixed widget plugin that I mentioned above, you can add animated CTAs and ads to the sidebar that are fully responsive.
#3. Exit intent pop-up
This strategy is mostly used for list building.
However, lately many affiliate marketers including me, have been using this strategy out for boosting affiliate conversions.
This strategy is used in money blog posts for boosting conversions. Take a look at the example screenshot below.
When users are about to leave your site, the popup will be popped up demanding their attention.
You should not use popups in case of Amazon affiliate sites, as using affiliate links in popups is against Amazon TOS.
You can make use of these exit intent popups to display the recommended products and try to convert people who are not interested in the products you are reviewing.
This strategy is most used by the eCommerce owners to reduce the cart abandonment rate.
You can make use of these OptinMonster alternatives to implement the exit intent and list building functionalities on your blog.
In your exit intent popup, tell your readers why not to exit your blog.
#4. Comparison table
This thing converts greatly, that too when you are comparing two or more products or even in the case of “best of products” list post.
This is one of the most used CRO strategies in case of Amazon affiliate sites.
Apart from being a huge conversion booster, including a comparison table also increases the chances of your blog post getting featured in Google Knowledge Graph.
Below is the example of me using a comparison table for my post.
This is a simple example.
Let’s be honest.
Majority of the readers won’t have the attention span to read out the entire article written by you. They tend to get the top product ideas and bounce off. Without including a quick comparison table, you’re missing those visitors clicking your links. This is the bitter truth!
If you are running an affiliate site, you can make use of separate themes like ReHub that comes loaded with features especially for creating great affiliate sites. It lets you also create comparison tables on the fly.
#5. Check for affiliate links
It’s not uncommon to have outdated affiliate links or affiliate links pointing to an out of stock/unavailable product.
If you are into Amazon Affiliates, you need to make use of tools like AmzLinkChecker, that enables you to scan your affiliate site for items that are of out of stock, unavailable, have low ratings, and much more.
You need to create a “new scan” and enter in your website URL. The tool will scan your entire site with all your affiliate links and report you back.
You can also select the frequency of the scan, and also enable notifications when it detects any affiliate links that need your attention.
For other affiliates, it’s very essential for you to regularly check whether the affiliate links are properly redirecting, the link cloaker is properly working (ensure there are no plugin conflicts), and also if the discounts (if any) are working.
Because, depending upon the traffic you get on your site even a single affiliayte link to dead product may severely hurt your conversions.
#6. Give three choices
If users don’t want the product you are reviewing, give them the alternatives.
Many bloggers resist writing a post on products that have very low reviews.
They think that by reviewing a bad product, they are simply wasting their time as no one would buy the product they are reviewing.
But the fact is that you can be honest about the bad product, and pitch your readers some alternatives instead of buying the product you’re reviewing. By this, you increase your trust and also it is a great conversion booster.
Even if the product you are reviewing is good, mention some of the other alternatives to it mentioning the unique needs which they fulfill.
When you look at most of the Saas company pricing pages, what will you notice?
They offer you three choices to choose from. And among them, the chances of you choosing the middle option is more. This psychological tactic used by most of the marketers is called the power of three.
You can make use of the same strategy in affiliate marketing too. You can promote three similar products in your blog post, and the chances are there that your readers choose one of the middle products you promote. So, it’ll be ideal for you to place the product you want your readers’ to buy in the middle.
#7. Subheads can make or break
How can you expect the readers to convert without them even reading your blog post? People love to skim the articles they come across on the web.
Why? Digital insanity.
Can you make a change to it?
Remember the last time you skimmed an article. What made you skim the article? It is due to less captivating words in the subheads. You read the subhead, when you find the title generic and not promising, you skip it.
Seems familiar huh?
Write your piece wearing the socks of your readers. Write captivating sub headings that force your readers to read the content below it.
If you are struggling to write great subheads, you can create an outline of the blog post you’re gonna write beforehand taking skimmers into consideration. Later, you can fill content below those subheads and complete writing your article.
According to Gary from Smartblogger, these are the four ingredients of a great subhead that acts as a speed-breaker for skimmers.
Without you invoking any of these emotions, you can’t expect the readers to read the content beneath the subheads fully and they likely bounce off like a goldfish stuck with ADHD.
#8. Use Cliffhangers
Another copywriting strategy to force your readers to read your complete article is by including cliffhanger words.
The cliffhanger words are the words that basically force your readers to read your entire blog post. The Hollywood industry makes the best use of cliffhangers for increasing box-office collections.
In short, cliffhangers or bucket brigades are words that drive your readers to keep on reading the blog driven by curiosity, doubt, emotion or anticipation.
When readers read your blog post fully, the average page visit duration will increase. And also, as they’ll be longer on your site, the chances of them getting converted is more.
You can include some cliffhanger words like:
- For example
- Let me explain
- Here’s what I mean
- Here’s why
- Sound silly? It’s not
- Case in point
Include these words in the middle of the blog post, where readers most likely bounce off. When there is a boring content, add some cliffhangers to it and make it readable.
If you adopt storytelling in your blog posts or struggling hard to come up with new internal cliffhanger ideas, consider watching movies that leave you hanging and hungry for the next part or episode in case of series.
Even, you can go ahead to Clickbank or JvZoo and watch some of the marketing videos and sense the way by which they keep you hooked until the end of the marketing video. It’s all by the power of words.
#9. Make images clickable
People tend to underestimate hyperlinking images.
This works great in case of Amazon niche sites and also in various other affiliate niches.
This is the example of what I meant.
People tend to miss your affiliate buttons or simple links. But when you hyperlink images and add a powerful call to action, they tend to not ignore it.
You can also consider including CTA images instead of buttons so that you can maximize the CTR.
#10. Give a reason for visitors to click on the button
Simply including a button saying “Buy now”, “Get it now”, won’t work that effectively. It reduces the chances of readers clicking on your buttons. You need to be aware that all the readers are not in a position to buy the product right away.
This is especially true in the case of product reviews. They are still in the exploratory or research stage. They won’t be hitting the buy now or check out button.
In this case, the job of you as an affiliate marketer is to somehow land your visitors on the product’s page through your link and thus increasing the chances of conversion.
For this, a great compelling CTA text that perhaps allows them to explore the product further is very essential.
For example. In case of WordPress theme reviews, “Check out theme demos” work great. In the case of Amazon reviews, “Check the lowest price”, works great as Amazon anyhow won’t let you display the product price and it results in anticipation driven clicks!
If you are interested in crafting irresistible CTA, read this article by Kissmetrics (backed by science). According to them, you need to invoke a sense of curiosity and anticipation for your visitors to click along the CTA.
#11. Understand color psychology
The use of colors is more important than you may think in the case of web conversions. There’s a reason why when you think of Facebook, the color blue pops up in your mind. That’s why people suggest you maintain a consistent brand color.
While writing product reviews, make use of the product brand color in the buttons of your product review.
If you want a quick example of this in action head over to my KWFinder review. There you can find that the featured image and also the affiliate buttons are themed around the color red-orange (#C94836). This is the color of KWFinder tool.
What I did is, I made use of Colorzilla and grabbed the HEX color code of the product page and included it in my review page elements. By including the brand colors, you will invoke the emotions your readers may have attached to the color with respect to that brand.
The above is the strategy I use.
#12. Include CTAs where users likely click
Users likely click on the CTA buttons, once they have a clear understanding of the tool. If you include the affiliate buttons in the middle of the long story, no one clicks on it. Don’t interrupt the readers when they are in the psychological state of Flow.
You need to only include CTA buttons when they are out of the flow state and are in the exploratory state.
Here are some of the tips regarding where to include CTA buttons on your page for maximum clicks.
- Above the fold. It gets more clicks
- At the bottom of the page
- In a place with clutter where readers likely skim
- As a sticky sidebar widget (perhaps with some delayed animation)
- As a pop-up when readers finish reading the article
#13. Open affiliate link in the same tab
Opening affiliate links in the same tab, as opposed to a new tab, works great. Because readers tend to attach a feeling of a new thing or a strange thing the moment the link loads up in the new tab affecting the conversion-friendly state they are in.
Even some people tend to see something that loads up in the new tab as not trustworthy. When the affiliate offer offers in the same tab, they subconsciously think that it is part of your own site being predictably irrational.
Generally, the links that open in the new tab has a kind of negative emotion attached to it when it comes to sales.
#14. Use heat maps
I’m making use of Hotjar, to record the on page interaction of users on my blog. Rather than tracking all my blog pages, I usually tend to track only the affiliate pages.
The heat map tools do a great job of rendering a visual representation of the user integration and clicks on your site.
It helps you find out what kind of buttons your visitors tend to click on, and what buttons your visitors aren’t clicking on. It helps you in tweaking the buttons and CTAs for increasing CTR when it comes to affiliate links.
You can also make use of SumoMe plugin that comes with a limited free version of Heatmaps.
#15. Annotate your affiliate links in embedded videos
This strategy is very helpful in case if you embed product videos in your affiliate sites. You can make use of CoEmbed, to embed affiliate links or CTA buttons or opt-in forms inside the YouTube or any other online videos you come across.
Here is the demo video of how CoEmbed works. As you’ve noticed in the video I’ve added my affiliate buttons and interstitial images or videos for the video I came across YouTube. Just imagine how great will it be for conversions if you embed those videos in your product affiliate posts.
I’ve included these type of videos with my CTA buttons on my Amazon affiliate sites and saw a drastic increase in conversions. You can also share these videos on social media and show your affiliate links on videos of others.
How cool is that?
#16. Compare other similar products
You always like to get your hands on the best tool available in the market. Don’t you?
While you are reviewing a product, it’s very essential for you to explain how the product you are reviewing compares to other similar products in the marketplace.
Readers who are not interested in the original product you are reviewing may go for the other competitive products you’ve mentioned.
Also, comparing the key aspects of the product with other alternative products helps your review to appear more trustworthy and helps readers to decide. It also helps your review rank well in search engines as far as LSI keywords are concerned.
When you prove that the product you’re reviewing wins above the other similar products in the marketplace, users likely buy.
#17. Don’t underestimate contextual/text links
Readers are not blind.
According to you, users only notice the big flashy CTA buttons. But this is exactly not true. Although buttons tend to increase the CTR, contextual affiliate links play a major role in increasing the overall CTR.
You need to sprinkle good affiliate links inside the content.
According to a research conducted in 2012, here are the click percentage on a casino website.
- Button: 43%.
- Text Link: 34%.
Another research by Copyhackers presented a case study where text links beat a bunch of CTA buttons.
In my niche sites too, the sales I drive from contextual affiliate links constitute a larger pie of my earnings.
Again, the statistics vary greatly and depends on the niche and the CTA text. So, you need to make use of Google Tag Manager or Clicky to track the analytics, conduct A/B test and optimize for more clicks accordingly.
#18. Mention that you are an affiliate
Honesty is the best policy. This is indeed true in the online world.
Mentioning that you are an affiliate while promoting products on your blog works great in terms of conversions. When you mention that you are an affiliate, it taps into the brain parts responsible for empathy and compassion.
Here’s what I have got for you.
I don’t have an idea how many of them converted due to the fact that I mentioned that the affiliate sale would get me a coffee!
#19. Add personality and credibility
In order for your readers to trust your review and read it completely, adding a personality to the blog posts is very essential. Because humans connect with humans.
Including your photo roll in the sidebar, using emoticons in the blog posts, and also maybe adding the testimonials in sidebar works a treat for adding personality and credibility for your blog.
You can also quote some other experts in your domain about what their views are regarding a specific product. This adds much more credibility to the review.
#20. Explain why readers need to trust you?
Sales happen where trust is there. You can no longer trick your readers into clicking that affiliate link without earning trust.
Before diving into the review, first off you need to tell your readers why they need to trust you with the review.
For example, in the review posts on my blog, I usually include the invoice of the product, which I’m reviewing.
And also I don’t forget to include the screenshots of the product so that the users get to know that I’ve actually used the product and now reviewing it.
Explain how the product you’re reviewing differs or perhaps excels over the other products you’ve used earlier.
#21. Offer a reason for people to buy with your affiliate link
For some of the affiliate products you are reviewing, you can offer bonuses for the readers who purchase the product through your affiliate link.
However, most of the popular affiliate programs don’t allow you to offer bonuses to ensure that there is a fair competition among the affiliates.
For example, you can’t offer bonuses for the readers in case of Amazon affiliates. It’s against their terms and conditions.
Make sure you read the affiliate terms and conditions or perhaps search if they have mentioned anything about offering bonuses. If you are proceeding to offer bonuses, proceed with caution as you may violate the terms of their affiliate program.
#22. Include affiliate links in bottom line
Including affiliate links in the bottom line converts a lot. The majority of affiliate marketers tend to only include affiliate buttons at the end of the affiliate review. But the thing is, including contextual affiliate links in the bottom line or the last paragraph of the review tend to convert more.
With this, you also will be following AIDA principle in copywriting. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. By including CTA buttons and links at last, you’ll be asking your readers to take “Action” after reading the blog post, which converts fairly well.
Don’t forget to add one or two contextual affiliate links along with a big CTA button at the end of your blog post.
I hope you loved this blog post. I would like to thank you for making it till the end.
Your job now is to identify top 20% of your affiliate blog posts that generate 80% of your income by drilling down the analytics. Go ahead to those blog posts.
Reading the above-mentioned strategies, implement them step-by-step in all your top blog posts. Make sure you spend a complete day or two for optimizing your popular affiliate posts according to the strategies mentioned in this post.
You’ll surely witness a decent increase in your affiliate conversion rates by doing so.
Make sure you share this blog post with your community.