Blogging is often looked upon as a way to boost SEO, traffic and user interaction, not as a way to score affiliate product sales. However, there is no reason why a blog post can’t be used as a product sales tool- as long as you take the right approach. In fact, there are seven such approaches listed below.
1. Product reviews
The product review has been and continues to be the gold standard for generating affiliate sales. One obvious reason is because a product review provides a truthful, even if biased, account of the product and its performance. Also, both the product’s positives and negatives are described, as I dis here in my product review of Michael Brown’s Niche Blitzkrieg.
Product review posts, regardless of whether they’re positive or negative, build trust in the audience. And an audience that trusts the blogger to tell the truth is also going to listen to her when she inevitably tells her audience to purchase something.
2. Product comparisons
Sometimes, no matter how many times a blogger posts various product reviews, his readers remain confused. They might know the benefits of product A, B and C, but they do not know which of these products is the best value. Alternately, they may not understand how product A, B or C compares against competitor products of the same type and price point.
To this end, the product comparison post lines up similar products against each other and compares their specs one-by-one. Charts are typically used to compare products, and the following WordPress plugins make this fairly easy. In this way, readers understand the nuances of two or more products, their advantages, and why they are a good value (or not).
Product comparisons should be a regular part of your posting strategy because these posts cater to an audience that’s almost ready to buy. The only hesitation that remains is which product to buy. To this end, your post will help feed the content needs of an audience that’s at the very end of its buying cycle.
3. Product tools and services
Member programs and/or more expensive products often come with features and benefits that are well-known to their members/buyers but not to the public at large. That’s unfortunate because a product or program that has its resources clearly laid out is also more likely to attract serious buyers.
Calling out a product’s unique tools and/or services informs your audience about where their money is best spent. Such information inevitably guides your audience towards making a purchase.
4. Case studies
A product review post is a great way to tell your audience about a given item and its benefits. However, there’s one big weakness with the product review: It’s biased.
The product review provides only your own account of the product and its benefits. Because you’re also trying to sell this item to other people, you’ll naturally want to tout its pluses and minimize those minuses.
A case study, however, introduces a third party who provides a more objective view of the product or service under scrutiny. In this way, the product that’s undergoing review gains a well rounded opinion of its features and their benefits.
5. Resource lists
Potential customers who are stymied about which product to purchase, if at all, appreciate blog posts that list resources and/or tools that can be accessed and used during the research phase of their buying cycle.
Resource lists do more than garner audience appreciation, however. They also make money for the blogger. Why?
In most cases, resource lists can be outfitted with affiliate links to those recommended products. So, if a viewer should happen to click on and purchase a product in that list, you get a cut of the profits.
Just remember to disclose the fact that you are earning a commission by recommending certain products. And of course, be sure to only recommend those products you truly believe are of high value to your audience.
6. ‘Best of’ lists
Within these best or favorite or top lists, you have the opportunity to convert your audience and make sales by placing affiliate links to third-party products. This can be accomplished fairly easily if you are an Amazon Associate. And while making 4-6% off of Amazon sales doesn’t seem like much, keep in mind that you’ll generate sales up to 24 hours post-visit once your blog post reader clicks on your link(s).
7. Guest posts
Disseminating your content to other platforms is a necessity if you’re going to make affiliate sales, and make them repeatedly. Why? Unless you already are a successful blogger, your current audience is probably not big and diverse enough to generate the level of affiliate sales you need to make a steady income.
By posting to other blogs and websites, you temporarily ‘borrow’ an audience in exchange for content. If you make your content compelling enough, you’ll have borrowed that audience for good and made it your own.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to converting your audience and generating affiliate product sales, blog posts that encourage purchasing behavior can be part of an effective marketing strategy. Luckily, there are many different methods for drawing your audience in and also for using different styles of blog posts.