Conversion optimization has a major impact on the amount of affiliate commissions you make. But how to make sure you get the most referrals from your traffic? This guide will help you discover expert affiliate marketing strategies to boost your affiliate business.  

In this article, we cover the following strategies: 

1. Track your affiliate sales
2. Use dashboards to analyze your data
3. Drive traffic with the right search intent
4. Use the right tools
5. Make split testing a habit
6. Create an email autoresponder sequence
7. Work with quality offers and publishers
8. Join high-paying affiliate programs
9. Improve SEO and PPC affiliate marketing strategies

10. Drive sales with incentives
11. Find unique channels to promote products
12. Outsource time-consuming tasks

Click on the title to skip to that section. 

1. Track your affiliate sales

Let’s start with one of the most important affiliate marketing strategies: tracking your data. 

In order to grow your business and earn commissions, you need to track your conversions. Conversions are the primary objective of your business and you want to figure out which website visits end up in a purchase. 

On the side of the affiliate program, tracking is done by a web cookie. The cookie gets placed after somebody clicks on your referral link. It is there to ensure the commission is attributed to you. 

Each affiliate program has their own way of handling affiliate data. You can usually find click and conversion data in your affiliate dashboard. You can then compare your traffic and referrals to different date ranges while running your campaigns. 

Make sure you follow your own link clicks in e.g. Google Analytics and Google Data Studio. Keep track of your conversion rates and see how changes affect your referrals. 

Different niches and channels are hard to compare but on average a 0.5% to 1.0% conversion rate is common in the affiliate industry. Learn more about affiliate conversion tracking here. 

2. Use dashboards to analyze your data

Besides affiliate sales, there is lots of useful data to track. To evaluate your marketing efforts, you need an overview of your marketing data. 

Marketing data will help you research and analyze which channels and promotions do well. Optimizing your campaigns with the help of data helps you allocate budget to the right sources. 

A tool like Supermetrics can help you pull data from different advertising platforms into one place. There are several dashboards available to help you track your campaigns and conversions. You can choose, for example, an SEO, PPC, or email marketing dashboard.  

Here, we see an example of a Paid Channel Mix template. This dashboard helps you pull data from different ad platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter into one place.

A dashboard like this will give you easy access to the most important marketing metrics. Find more dashboards for affiliate marketing here.

3. Drive traffic with the right search intent

To earn commissions, your traffic needs to convert to a payment. But driving lots of visitors to your website does not necessarily mean a high conversion rate. 

On top of that, most affiliate websites only have a few articles that drive the majority of their affiliate sales. So, a high conversion rate is not linked to the amount of articles you publish. 

How do you get traffic that converts into paying customers?

Well, high converting content has two things in common:
1. The content matches the audience’s search intent.
2. The article is of high quality.

Search intent and affiliate conversions
Keywords can indicate the search intent of a visitor. This can give us an idea about what stage of the funnel the searcher is in. 

Search intent can be categorized into:

  • The awareness stage 
  • The interest stage
  • The desire stage
  • The action stage

As explained in the classic marketing model “ AIDA,” the customer goes through several stages before deciding to buy a product. 

In the first stage of awareness, the website visitor is exploring a product or topic. In the next two stages of interest and desire, they might look for some suggestions for solutions and learn more about the product. 

But the valuable traffic comes from visitors in the action stage. These visitors are ready to make a purchase decision. 

Keywords related to decision making can include terms like “buy,” “versus,” “comparison,” “review,” or “test.” These keywords show that the searcher just needs a little bit more information to make the right purchase. Information you can provide with your affiliate website.

If you map out your content and target keywords, you should always take search intent into consideration. This will lead to higher quality traffic and more conversions. 

Keywords linked to the decision making stage are often more competitive. It is therefore important to find a balance between search volume, competition, and search intent.

Read more tips on keyword research and driving high converting affiliate traffic.

4. Use the right tools

To launch and run successful marketing campaigns, you need the right tools. 

Maybe you need help with the design of your upcoming ads? Or you want to automate an email sequence? And how do you post all your social content simultaneously on different platforms? Well, you get tools to help you create and automate your campaigns.

Make your affiliate campaigns run smoother with these 10 essential tools for affiliate marketing

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5. Make split testing a habit

Split testing, also called A/B testing, is one of the most important ways to increase your affiliate referrals. Split testing means you have two variants and you need to choose the best performing one. It can be done for any section of your website and sales funnel.

If you don’t have a lot of traffic yet, start with split testing between two variants instead of testing multiple factors. If you attract a larger amount of traffic, you can go more granular and test multiple differences on your website.

Remember that even the smallest difference on a page can make a huge difference in conversions. Because of this, you definitely want to keep testing and finding improvements. 

If you plan to split test many factors, there is software that can help you manage and track your split testing experiments. 

What to split test for affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is all about testing and optimizing your campaigns. You can split test pretty much anything, so what should you test?

Some common areas to test in affiliate marketing:

  • Traffic sources
    You can easily test different traffic sources by using the same promotion on different advertising platforms. You can also test organic blog posts against email marketing.
  • Paid advertising
    You can split test different ads for an offer. Combine this with different landing pages and sync your ads with your landing page. 
  • Landing pages
    Test two different landing pages for the same promotion and see which one works best.

Make sure to send traffic from the same advertising source to both landing pages. Then link from the landing page to the same offer page, analyze your results, and implement the winning page. 

  • Direct vs. bridge page 

Compare conversions from direct linking (e.g. through PPC campaigns) with conversions from a landing page (bridge page).

  • Offers

Test two similar offers from different companies in the same campaign to find the best converting product.

Check out this guide for more details → Setting up A/B tests for affiliate marketing.

6. Create an email autoresponder sequence

An email list gives you the opportunity to have instant communication with your audience. This makes it possible for you to promote affiliate offers directly to your target group. 

Start building an email list by using pop ups and integrated forms to collect sign-ups.

Same audience, multiple promotions
Let’s say you run a paid advertising promotion that breaks even, or you have an affiliate campaign that converts, but you want to get more out of your efforts. In these cases, email marketing might be the way to go. 

Create an email sequence flow to boost your conversions. This allows you to promote the same product multiple times to your audience. An email sequence gives you multiple chances to convince your reader to try the product. It also makes it possible to promote multiple offers at the same time to the same traffic source. 

Good email marketing requires some planning. Your sequence should be based on your readers interest, and have informational and entertaining content. 

The great thing about an email sequence is that you don’t have to spend much time on it once it’s set up. Occasionally, you might want to change your promotions depending on the results you get. Apart from that, it’s all automated! 

Learn more about boosting your affiliate marketing with email campaigns.

7. Work with quality offers and publishers

When it comes to picking companies and offers to work with, there are many options. Only work with companies that have a solid reputation and are regarded as trustworthy. 

There is a direct link between the amount of conversions you make and the quality of the product. And since there are so many offers to choose from, why not pick the best? 

To establish yourself as an expert in your niche, you want to spend time talking about the best and most innovative products in your industry. Set yourself up for success by working with great companies and great offers.

Always check reviews before dedicating time to promote a product. Even if you own the products yourself, see how others experience the product before you dive in with your efforts.

Successful affiliate marketers keep searching for new quality products and new areas to expand their business. A great way to do so is to explore trendy niches and products with the help of Google Trends

Google Trends gives you information on trending and evergreen topics, organic search volumes for brand names, and the public’s interest in a specific niche over time. 

It’s an incredibly powerful tool to pick keywords and topics for long-term affiliate projects which will help you take the guesswork out of current trends.

8. Join high-paying affiliate programs

Spend your time working with top merchants that offer industry-standard commissions and bonus rewards. There are many different types of commissions, so explore your options before promoting a product. 

Common commission structures are:

  • Flat fee 
  • Percentage of the sale
  • Recurring commissions
  • Product credits

A flat fee means you get a fixed amount of money for a referral that purchases a product through your affiliate link.

Other affiliate programs work with a percentage of the sale. In that case, your commission depends on the fraction of the total sum your referral pays. 

If the affiliate program works with credits, you can use these points to purchase the company’s products. 

Recurring commission means you can receive multiple payments for the same referral. When the referred customers renew their license, you get your commission each time. It is one of the most beneficial commission structures, because you get paid multiple times for the same referral.

Supermetrics has an affiliate program that offers recurring payouts for purchases made by your referrals. On top of recurring commissions, we offer 8 other reasons to join our affiliate program.

9. Improve SEO and PPC affiliate marketing strategies

Many marketers choose to drive traffic through both SEO and paid advertising. To make the most of affiliate marketing, you might also want to use a combination of the two.

The great thing about paid traffic is that it can give you immediate results. No need to build up your Google rankings. You can have your ads up and running and bring in your first conversions in no time. 

However to drive as much traffic as possible from your paid campaigns, the devil is in the details. One of these details is understanding how time of day impacts PPC.

As we can see in this example, the cost per conversion can vary substantially depending on the time of day. This has a direct impact on your return on investment. Dayparting your campaigns is one factor that can elevate your PPC campaigns from good to great.

With an SEO-based strategy, you can benefit from long-term organic traffic. Domain authority and views are built over time and can exponentially increase your traffic. Besides blog posting, consider recapping your content in different forms such as affiliate video content. This helps you reach a wider audience. 

Unfortunately, SEO takes time. Good content needs proper research. Also, time-consuming link building strategies are needed to help your organic rankings. To improve your SEO, you should also monitor low quality links on your affiliate website

If you use SEO and content creation on top of paid advertising, it can help your PPC campaigns generate more sales. By building brand awareness organically, the click-through rate of your ads will also increase. 

This means your efforts for organic traffic will help your paid campaigns become more effective. Read more about SEO and PPC strategy for affiliate marketing here. 

10. Drive sales with incentives

There is a lot of competition in affiliate marketing. Offer your audience something in return for buying through your affiliate link. This can be anything from an extra product, a discount code, or cashback.

Before you offer a bonus, calculate your bonus costs and ROI (return on investment). A bonus is especially appealing when the affiliate product comes at a high price. 

The benefits of using incentives are:

  • It can make hesitant visitors decide to purchase.
  • Well-picked bonuses add value to your affiliate offer. 
  • Some visitors love extras and don’t want to miss out on a (temporary) bonus. 

Don’t repeat and overdo the promotion of your rewards. Exclusiveness can help urge readers to purchase.  

There are two rules to make your bonus appealing:

  • Offer a bonus that is highly related to your affiliate product.
  • Clearly display the amount of money your bonus is worth. 

Always check with your affiliate manager if incentives are allowed.

11. Find unique channels to promote products

Besides mainstream social platforms, there are more unique channels to boost your sales. Let’s go over some interesting channels to generate referrals. 

Answer questions on Quora
Although direct linking is not allowed on Quora, you can still leverage the platform for affiliate marketing. Write answers and refer to your site as a resource. Create a great profile, pick the right questions to answer and start growing your followers.

Quora is great for boosting your long-term organic traffic. Once you post an answer, it keeps generating views and website visitors. You can read a full guide on affiliate marketing on Quora here

Youtube as a powerful search engine
If creating videos is one of your affiliate marketing strategies, you should double down on Youtube search optimization. Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world and search optimization is crucial to get found on Youtube. Find tips on YouTube search optimization here.  

Write on Medium
Another promising but often overlooked platform is Medium. Medium offers amateur and professional writers a place to share knowledge and stories. The publishing website offers an opportunity to get visibility for your affiliate content.

Just like Quora, Medium can be used to drive in direct affiliate traffic, but the platform also allows affiliate links. 

However, in order to succeed on Medium, quality content is key. Great articles can get a spot on members recommendations lists and you can climb the rankings by earning “claps” from readers. 

What makes Medium attractive is that it allows you to republish your articles to a new audience. Make sure your article is highly informative and brings something new to the table. Read more about affiliate marketing on Medium here

TikTok for affiliate marketing
TikTok is one of the newest platforms to explore. This fast-growing social platform can get you a large following in a short amount of time. 

Grow your audience with entertaining videos in your niche. Share discount codes in your videos and link your social accounts and websites to your profile. 

There are many advertising options on TikTok, but the rules are changing constantly so keep yourself updated on recent developments. Check out an overview of TikTok’s affiliate marketing and paid advertising options here.

Step up your Facebook ads with segmented retargeting
With the help of Google Analytics segmentation, you can create hyper-focused retargeting campaigns that help you minimize costs on Facebook. Digital analyst, Michaela Linhart shows you how to set it up here

Optimize for voice search
Voice search through devices like Google Home, Amazon Echo, Siri and Alexa are rising in global popularity. Last year’s purchases through voice search have doubled and the number of households using smart search is growing.

Voice search can impact your referrals due to the declining use of purchases through Google Search. Be ahead of the game and start optimizing your affiliate content for voice commands.

Voice-based searches are usually shorter than typed searches and frequently contain questions. Find these questions and match your content to lead the searcher to your content.

Guides and FAQ sections are ideal for voice search because you can optimize for voice search questions as well as regular keywords. 

And finally, make sure to optimize your website for mobile visitors, as voice search is often done on mobile. Find more tips to optimize your affiliate pages for voice search here

12. Outsource time-consuming tasks

Creating a good source of income from affiliate marketing is hard work. It requires multiple skills in different areas of marketing.

The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Some of the most time-consuming tasks for affiliate marketing you might want to outsource include blog writing, video creation and design. 

There are tons of experts available to help you build your business. Browse freelance websites to find people that can help you execute these tasks. Post trial assignments and find your core team of freelancers. 

Hopefully these affiliate marketing strategies will help you earn more commission. If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, you can visit our affiliate blog section. And join our Supermetrics affiliate program to earn 20% recurring commissions from each sale.


About Hetty Korsten

Hetty Korsten is an Affiliate Program Manager at Supermetrics. She has worked for fast-growing SaaS startups in Copenhagen and Helsinki. Currently she’s growing the in-house affiliate program at Supermetrics. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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