How Affiliate Marketing Can Help Increase Conversion Rates

Have you considered affiliate​ marketing​? By fusing a few tried-and-true sales strategies with modern marketing game-changers, affiliate marketing helps companies grow conversion rates exponentially. Today, we’re diving into the specifics of how you can use this strategy to boost your conversion rates in a smart, cost-effective manner. If you’re new to this realm of promotion, let us give you a quick rundown.

Affiliate marketing is defined as the process of having an affiliate, such as a blogger, a social media influencer, or a publisher, promote a merchant in exchange for a commission. Typically, the affiliate is paid based on a specific action that has been completed by the consumer, such as a click or a subscribe. In short, affiliate marketing is a modern-day referral program that uses contemporary platforms as a funnel for one of the most proven marketing tactics ever — word-of-mouth advertising.

How It Helps Increase Conversation Rates

Here’s why​ affiliate marketing works​: It connects your product or service with its intended consumers through a channel they trust. And, surprisingly, word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the most valued marketing channels there is, with businesses reporting it as the stream with the​ greatest impact on revenue​. According to one study, it beats out content marketing, e-mail marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), trade show marketing, paid search, and outbound calling, in terms of impacting revenue.

Naturally, in the case of affiliate marketing, one of the biggest reasons why revenue grows is because of a spike in conversion rates. When your affiliate’s posts turn its browsers into your customers — say, by directing to them to your website, where they then make a purchase, sign up for a mailing list, or perform some other desired action — you can count that toward a boost in your conversion rates. Read on for some specifics as to how, exactly, this works.

1. How It Boosts Conversions: By Hyper-Targeting Your Core Audience

Affiliate marketing allows you to not only control what message is sent about your brand, but also who sends it and to whom. You can, and should, work with partners who are closely aligned with your target audience. That is part of the reason why this type of marketing works so well — because it lets you deliver a clear, powerful message to your consumer from someone they trust. In general, this is a much more effective strategy for boosting conversions.

In modern marketing, success is achieved by appealing to a very specific group of people. With traditional advertising, brands were forced to cast a wide net over a range of demographics, hoping their message, such as a print or TV ad, would reach the right consumer. Today, marketers are able to focus on a very specific demographic, down to age, gender, location, education, and even brand preference.

Tips for Hyper-Targeting Your Core Audience

  • Know your target consumer before you start. You know that you’ll have more success with a more targeted campaign, so funnel some of your marketing dollars into developing a target consumer persona.
  • Figure out where they spend their time online. ​Once you know who your most valuable target consumer is, you’ll be able to zero-in on where he or she hangs out. For example, consider that different ​age groups use social media differently​ — 72 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds use Instagram, while only 32 percent of the same age group uses Twitter. Select affiliates based on where they have the biggest impact and be sure it aligns with your goals.
  • Use the right tools and make changes if needed. ​Consider ​investing in an affiliate marketing software ​like Refersion so you can manage and track the success of each affiliate and make swift adjustments if needed.
  • Dig deep to find your consumer’s core values.​Today’s buyer cares about patronizing the brands and services that align with his or her core values. Try to find out what your consumer cares about and select affiliates accordingly.

2. How It Boosts Conversions: By Leveraging

Someone Your Consumer Trusts

We already mentioned that affiliate marketing serves as a sort of contemporary approach to word-of-mouth, referral marketing. And it’s true. Bloggers and social media influencers are particularly effective at grabbing conversions from their dedicated fans and followers, and studies show that they’re even more successful when affiliates put an emphasis on honesty and trust.

Are there numbers to back this up? Indeed, according to one report, 81​ percent of consumers have made a purchase​ after clicking on a link or an image an influencer shared. The same survey indicated that trust is heightened when influencers disclose their relationship with the brand or merchant they’re promoting — 66 percent say they trust product recommendations as long as the affiliate-advertiser relationship is clear.

Tips for Finding Affiliates Your Consumer Trusts

  • Look for affiliates who engage with their audience.​For example, those publishers who enable commenting and actively respond to users are more likely to be seen as trusted friends to your core audience.
  • Only partner with affiliates who are proven trustworthy. ​Scour their website and social media platforms and make sure they follow disclosure laws, letting their audience know each time they promote a product.
  • Make sure your affiliates like your product. ​We know you’re sick of hearing it, but authenticity really does matter, and consumers can see through it when an influencer is just promoting something for the paycheck. Give your affiliates a chance to try, and approve of, your product.
  • Build strong relationships with your affiliates. ​As we’ve covered before, maintaining positive affiliate relationships​ is important because it makes the referral more authentic and natural — two things consumers desire when deciding where to spend their time and money online.

3. How It Boosts Conversions: By Bolstering Valuable Content

One of the super-valuable yet oft-overlooked benefits of affiliate marketing is that it contributes to your presence on the internet and, therefore, your search engine rankings. Bloggers and publishers who pen informational posts about your products — reviews, tutorials, gift guides, listicles, etc. — are playing to Google’s need for user-friendly content that serves a purpose to the reader.

At one time, SEO was all about appealing to an algorithm. Now, Google emphasizes the importance of highly ranked content appealing to the user. As such, content must be actually useful​rather than robotic or keyword-stuffed in order to rank. As a result, an affiliate’s content, which is well-written and well-thought-out, can rank high, leading users to your affiliate’s website and, ultimately, your website, where they convert.

Tips for Bolstering Valuable Content

  • Work with your affiliates to develop content that drives conversions. ​What are people searching about with regards to your brand? If possible, work with your affiliates to position your products or services in conversion-heavy posts, such as holiday gift guides and listicles.
  • Make sure your affiliates use white hat SEO techniques. ​Your affiliates want their pages to rank, too, of course, so make sure they aren’t following any ​black hat SEO techniques ​to deceive the search engines. Look out for keyword stuffing, hidden links, and cloaking (presenting search engines with one set of content and users with another), which are SEO no-nos.
  • Frontload your affiliates with information. ​Remember to always give the people who are promoting your brand the tools they need to fully understand what they’re selling. This will help them crate accurate, useful content, especially informational posts like how-to guides and tutorials.

4. How It Boosts Conversions: By Building Your Backlinks

When affiliates link to your product, service, or website on their page, these are​ called backlinks​. Think of them as incoming links to your site, pointing from a trusted source. Google’s Head of Spam, Matt Cutts, is quoted as saying, “In general, a link from a site is regarded as a vote for the quality of your site.” As a result of having high-quality publishers linking back to your site, Google is more likely to rank it higher on the search results page (SERP), which, of course, can help boost your conversion rates.

However, backlinks are a somewhat sensitive topic in SEO because they are often acquired the black hat way. Once they realized the link between backlinks and SEO, marketers began spamming the internet with excessive, poor-quality links, which Google saw as “spamming.” Now we know that backlinks can help merchants rank higher on Google’s SERP, but only if they’re done in precisely the right way, signaling to the search engine that they’re quality links.

Tips for Building Backlinks

  • Provide affiliates with specific anchor text. ​Anchor text consists of the ​blue, underlined words ​that link to a website (so, in that example, the anchor text is “blue, underlined words”). Google uses this as a signal of the quality of the link, so make sure to follow ​best practices regarding anchor text​.
  • Do the keyword research. ​At the same time, keywords are valuable indicators of quality in your backlink strategy, so make sure you’re providing your affiliate with the right keyword phrases — not exact keywords — to link.
  • Make sure affiliates are cross-posting. ​It can help your strategy if your affiliates cross-promote their website content to social media. This can help them earn more clicks and make those backlinks more legitimate.

5. How It Boosts Conversions: By Leveraging Special Promotions

The final way affiliate marketing can help grow your conversion rate is by attracting new and repeat customers through special promotions. The fact of the matter is that the price of your product may be the thing that’s keeping browsers from converting to buyers. When someone they trust — in this case, a blogger or influencer — not only recommends the product but also gets them a deal on it, they’re much more likely to pull the checkout trigger.

Even though you know that promo codes, discounts, deals, and sales on their own can help grow conversion rates, they’re only as good as their current reach. By pairing affiliate marketing with a special promotion, you can get these deals in front of more people and pick up more conversions from both brand-new and repeat customers.

Tips for Leveraging Sales and Promotions

  • Offer exclusive deals and discounts. ​This signals to your target consumer that you have a solid relationship with the affiliate and that the affiliate’s website is a good place to look for special deals and offers.
  • Partner with affiliates for giveaways. ​You can work with your affiliates to host sweepstakes and giveaways, using likes, shares, or follows as entries. This will help you convert their followers to your followers, which can lead to more sales and promotional opportunities down the road.
  • Use an affiliate-specific promo code. ​If you’re using a solid ​affiliate marketing tracking software,​ you’ll already know who directed each sale to your site, but using an affiliate-specific promo code is another way to measure which affiliates are bringing in the most value.

A Surefire Way to Boost Conversions Economically

We always recommend affiliate marketing for companies looking to increase their conversion rate on a budget since it works on a pay-per-performance model. In other words, you only pay the affiliate for the conversions they help you nab. This allows you to experiment with different affiliate partnerships and sales strategies until you find one that works for you. Once you do, you can count on a big boost in conversions and, ultimately, your company’s revenue!


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