17 Ways Your Affiliate Sales Suck

17 Effective Ways Your Vendor Can Dump On Your Affiliate Sales

increase affiliate sales with better products

Below are links to each section, click on one to go to that section.

0- point zero, the first affiliate thing you should know
1- Any objections?
2- What are they truly selling?
3- Are they really into it?
4- Selling or BS?
5- How are they selling?
6- Really, how are they selling?
7- Pictures to hide BS?
8- Are they for real?
9- Pro?
10- Prove them?
11- Pro business
12- Good at increasing CTR or annoying the customer?
13- Are those goodies any good?
14- Doubling down on annoying the customer?
15- Do you and them match?
16- It might not be cheap, but it might not matter
17- Once they are done, now what?

Picking affiliate products and boosting affiliate sales has nothing to do with each other.

We all know that poor products have been sold, probably refunded, but that sale was a sale. Online, you don’t actually see the product- unless you have a trial or a digital sample, but even then the trial maybe the best bit and the sample is only going to show you glimpses of what you could have.

When picking affiliate products that have a chance to reel in some decent conversion, we have to move away from the product itself and check out a whole list of factors.

Before we start (what more text?), there is a point zero.

0- You have to assess everything from the mindset of your customer– not you, because you are going to be biased at all the pretty colours and the commission that you will get. Bad idea. I get my brother or wife to have a look. Someone who is not looking at this with rose tinted glasses.

Bonus tip 2

There is nothing like speaking complete BS apart from the person who is smelling it! Know your topic. It makes spotting the BS so much easier because if you dont, your customer will. Then refunds come along.

Everyone has something they enjoy. Many people just like watching Netflix and movies. Great!

  • Netflix has an affiliate program,
  • if you are really into movies you can chose your local cinema to affiliate (most are large chains). Failing that, if it is a small screen independent, offer to promote them for a percentage
  • movies always have a magazine following, magazines have affiliate programs
  • sell scripts/ merchandise

The point is, if you know something then you will be able to know how to promote the product and if that product is any good in the first place.

Bonus Tip 3.

Beware of charts and the “best affiliate program” hype. In many instances you have to work harder to cut through the clutter and your vendor advertising their affiliate program being awesome doesn’t help you.

1. Objections

Does the sales page of the actual affiliate product overcome all the objections that could possible arise from your product choice (price, delivery, does it really work, who on earth is the vendor, do they recognise other products in the same field?). Does it not include information about the product that people should know that would sell it better. Does the sales page understate or exceedingly overstate benefits. When did you read the page and think- hmmm, not really?

2. USP

Are they in reality selling what everyone else is selling or do they have their own USP (unique selling proposition) that springs out from the text that differentiates this product from all the others and can this product stand the test of time/ a barrage of imitators? Are they stating clear and easily understandable benefits– do you understand what this product is trying to be and how it could be helpful to the visitor?

3. Enthusiasm

When you hear Michale Buble sing you can hear him smile. He is enjoying the music and that enjoyment comes out to you. Sounds New Age but that is the difference between someone knowing and liking a product rather than someone selling affiliate products. Are they enthusiastic as they try to boost confidence in what they say in the text of the page or are they following a formula or vying for SEO positioning? I sold a product that took about 6000+ words to convey what I thought about it. Conversion on that page was 20-30%. I didn’t write because I thought the product was awesome- it was great but it clearly wasn’t awesome.

No other product around was trustworthy, but this one was. So I said the good and bad points, how it could be improved, what other products were on the market- a comparison.

The Star Wars VII movie was the same thing. I wanted to go and see it because the good enthusiastic reviews from people who saw it made me want to go. It felt like I would miss out if I didn’t see it.

Enthusiasm can not be bought and can not have BS attached to it. That is why it sells anything so well. Because if it is BS you will refund and never go back to that product owner again.

4. Distraction

Anything that detracts from the message and reduces your affiliate sales. This can be anything like a link away to Youtube or even a newsletter signup form. Some vendors will state if the affiliate cookie will run through the newsletter (which is in itself a promotional tool), but many are not. Also are they advertising other products on the same page? Are they showing up Adsense (amateur but it sometimes happens)? Are they clearly and easily showing the customer where to click and does that come clearly with a guarantee?

Showing a customer the “buy now” button increases buying.

Some vendors allow for you to create your own pages but use the affiliate link direct to their payment page rather than their sales page. Admittedly you need good reason and good rapport between the vendor and yourself, but if you believe their page is reducing your commissions there is no harm in asking, especially if it boosts their sales 🙂

5. Text

The types of text. Jumbled up font types, random colors and a page that makes no sense and feels like it is promotional BS is going to put off buyers. Tons of red lettered titles does the same thing. I have read some rubbish products that contain a random amount of text styles which made the book unreadable. It might have had great content, but the style just put me right off. Bank-end and upselling therefore were reduced.

6. General text

Generalized sayings. Here are some examples:

  • “It will improve you by no end”
  • “I made $10k from this”- too many $10k/month out there
  • “Gerry said”- who’s Gerry…oh that made up name
  • “Reversed”, “Cured”, “Stopped”- great words but offer hesitation

Doesn’t say anything about what the actual affiliate products do. You need facts and figures so that the text improves your conversion and increase your affiliate sales.

7. Pictures.

Pictures for some affiliate products will sell that product better than any text- especially if it is a graph or chart showing the product in action (some great Forex products do this). Also is there a picture of the vendor, their company logo or their company offices? This leads back to the text. If they state that they have shook hands with X, Y and Z personality then there should be a picture proving that. Read the text, see if the pictures back up their claims. Many are stock pictures so be careful.

Vendor pictures require a suitable picture for a suitable audience. If you are selling high priced software, you want your vendor to have a picture of themselves smartly dressed. I have seen drawings of vendors and one was in their dressing gown (they were advertising a marketing product) but that image was hard to shake off.

8. Contact details

Is there a quick way to contact the vendor? We want to see email, business address and a phone number if possible. An email address is mandatory. Send an email asking a simple question and see how quick the reply is. I am still waiting for some emails to come back and one was sent over 5 months ago.

9. Business name

Do they have a business address or a name which they go off? If they do then you can Google Advance Search them. See if the vendor has other products that are similar or even if the product is a resell/ private label product. Those can be harsh territory because usually the vendor has no idea on what they are talking about and that can have repercussions for you. Do a search for the name of the product right next to the author and see what that brings up, then do one just for the exact name of the product. This will wipe away resell rights issues. If it is a resell product, walk away.

Now I might get hammered for stating that, but many people just do not “get it” with resell rights or private label rights. Private label rights are the best because you can alter them and you should. Now if you sell a private label rights product as it is, then your sales will be no-where because the author probably didn’t limit the amount bought. Now you are competing with a random amount of other sellers which will give a random amount of results.

If I went down the private label route and bought a PLR product then I would adjust it all and make it my own. Therefore I would need one with a topic that I knew about. If you know the topic I will bet you that those PLR products are just covering the main bases. In essence what you technically do is re-write it from the bottom up. Problem is that many distribution channels are stopping PLR products dead in their tracks with accounts being cancelled without notice.

10. Alexa

See what Alexa makes the site out to be. If you find that there are backlinks from similar content websites then you know that you probably have a good resource or at least the vendor knows how to link back. If you have random directories linking back then the vendor might probably have paid for links- so are they interested in the product and their business or are they interested in just the dollar signs?

11. Ownership

Check to see who owns it. Again through Alexa. I believe they go through GoDaddy to see who owns the webname. Sometimes it actually links to the person/ business that is selling the product, sometimes it is disguised and sometimes it comes from a random business which you can then look up.

12. Do they have video and is it any good?

Video has been found to increase CTRs and thus your affiliate sales. So watch it, does it make you believe the vendor? One that I have just watched made me want to turn off the sound…and the picture. The guy was annoying, he was confusing and the video had him being completely smarmy (the content was actually rehashed poor BS which would have had people asking for refunds). That is not a nice fit. Some videos are fun (Mike Geary’s cartoon video is awesome, made me watch it because the art was good), some videos are just BS. Some are YouTube which I find odd and wrong because the customer can just link to another video and away from the website.

13. The bonuses

This is funny. This is where you can tell the BS from the players. Bonuses are supposed to be related to the primary product. In some cases vendors do not offer bonuses and I can see the case for and against especially if the product is of low price or is a higher price but the main product has everything within it that you need to know anyway. Some people offer tens of bonuses and in some cases this works well. In other cases you can tell a mile away that those bonuses are free and have come from a directory. I checked once on an Acne product however the bonuses that they gave away were a mixture of SEO and cash making ebooks, totally bizarre and screams BS. Never subscribed.

14. Exit pages

Now they are great for sellers but can be a right pain in the butt for customers. Some can be down right annoying whilst others can gently promote the product again which gets better conversions especially if it is with a small reduction in price or an added bonus. See what they do, do they sign up the customer to a newsletter and is the exit pop-up worth it?

15. Audience

Kinda obvious but still has to be shouted from on top of a building. Your audience that likes your text and clicks through a link are a certain type. Example:

male/ female, 25-35, likes/ dislikes, where they hang out, what sites do they read, how much money do they have to spend, what time of the day do they go online, what apps do they use, do they use a computer/ smartphone/ tablet.

All these factors influence what you sell. So for a quick example. If your audience is 5 years old, then more than likely you should be targeting the buying parents right? Likewise, if your research suggests your audience only gets $100/ month income, then sending them to a $1000 product is going to be a hard sell- it will need to outweigh all the other expenditure and become a “needed” object.

16. Price

Price is such a hard thing to tell people. Price for most objects doesn’t really matter. What does matter is what people believe something is worth. If you believe that an ebook is worth $47 then awesome- but does your audience? Has the selling copy on the website really made a difference, did it make the case for a high mark-up?

Shopping cart abandonment is huge. Many people leave websites before they get to inputting their card details even when their cart is full. Possibly the totals of all the good together seem to have an affect on people? In some cases people really like the product and they get down to the bottom of the screen, but that price…well…the case is good, but just not that good.

So price does play a factor- as long as the copy is poor. Price doesn’t play a factor if someone wants the product, if that $1000 product is going to save them $900- then the product is a bargain.

It might be your role to suggest prices and state why some products are priced more than others- softening the price objection before it occurs.

As a side note, the more expensive the product the more you will have to persuade the customer. Example? Would you buy a car from reading an ebook about it? Probably not. There is no line or price where communication methods change.

17. After care.

Generally I am allowed 90 days to refund, so tell me if any of these true examples would create a refund experience.

  • I bought a book from a reputable marketer many months ago (yes I still buy books and I still love Internet Marketing books) and it was really cool. They then offered something online recently and I bought it, it was a “bargain”. Actually it was not a bargain, it was someone else talking through videos (which I turned off because their voice annoyed me and they just spoke from the text on screen). Also the online info product was basically their book which I had bought a few months earlier. And I mean THE SAME…nothing different, nothing up-to-date…
  • I listened to an interview, really good and the product was advertised at the end. I believed the interviewer- who is well known and endorsed the product. I bought the $299 product because this was the route I wanted to go down. I couldn’t access the website as my newly bought ID didn’t work, yet I was able to go onto the open public server where my ID worked?! Email after email produced an automated reply, each and every time. Eventually (and I am talking eventually- after 2 weeks) I got a refund. I now don’t trust the interviewer, the developer and the host (also the turnkey password protection website software)

Who in their right mind would not fight to keep $299 from being refunded? I have moved everything to try and save sales because I believed the customer and the product that i was promoting.

In all of these cases the vendor has not bothered to try out their system and your affiliate sales gets affected. They will wonder why they are getting refunds and then spout on about how a 30% refund rate is normal. This is why it so important to actually try the product itself, the system, front end sales, back end sales and customer service.

Sometimes I just write an email to their customer service to see how it goes- before the sale and after the sale.

So what now?

Reassess your selling process. There are 3 stages:

  • Customer aquisition
  • Preselling
  • Selling

You can assess each stage. In the selling section- where your vendor’s site should shine, any issues with the landing page is going to affect commissions.

Go through the site looking from your customers perspective and make sure that you are not missing out on sales. If you can guarantee traffic then some vendors will give you a separate landing page or direct link so you can set up the page. This will only come from relationships between you and the vendor.

If you want to know about the other factors that influence how an affiliate should choose a winning product that has the best chance of selling, check out how to increase you affiliate sales with better product finding.

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