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Why Your Blog Is Not Making Affiliate Sales Even Though You’re Getting Plenty of Traffic

By Nate McCallister / a few months ago
Not making affiliate sales

Two quick things before you spend any of your valuable time reading this whole article...

  1. This article is for people selling specific affiliate products and doesn't apply to bloggers monetizing solely through Adsense or Adsense alternatives that monetize based predominantly on the amount of traffic rather than how you write to your posts. If you monetize mainly through Adsense, that is great but implementing the following tips will help you sell targeted products as well. 
  2. This article could be the "a ha," moment many of you aspiring affiliate marketers are looking for. Most bloggers absolutely miss what I am about to share with you. Read it carefully and ask any questions you have in the comments section below.

I have helped a lot of people get blogs up and running.

I'm not afraid to admit that most of them tell me that they are surprised at how little they make upfront on their posts.

The misguided solution most novice bloggers come to includes some combination of the following:

  • I need to write more articles
  • I need to get EVEN more organic traffic
  • I need to have more ads and calls to action
  • I need more affiliates
  • I need better affiliates

Some of these are fine points (except the more affiliates one) but none of these solve the big reason why you aren't making affiliate sales like you had hoped. 

Why You Aren't Making Affiliate Sales 

If you're already getting decent traffic (around 500+ page views per day) and aren't seeing at least a few sales a week on various affiliate products, you aren't creating content that sells.

If you think you are, you're probably not creating content that sells WELL or to the right people.

Simply putting a bunch of affiliate links in your posts doesn't mean you're creating content that sells.

The Anatomy of a Buyer

There is a place for content that engages and builds goodwill but you must create a certain amount of content that is targeted directly towards people who are likely to buy your affiliate products.

People who are ready, willing and able to buy your products.

  • Ready --> They are at a point where they can justify the expense.
  • Willing --> They desperately want to solve their problem and don't mind spending money.
  • Able --> They have the money to spend.

Don't be afraid to target potential buyers for certain articles instead of every single reader.

A good blog is focused on quality, helpful content first and foremost. However, many bloggers think that helpful content means how to guides for one of their affiliate products.

These are great BUT you need to shift gears at times to really make any substantial affiliate money. If all you do is show people how to use the products you promote or write to people who most likely already own them, you're going to find your sales in the toilet.

You'll be helping some other affiliate's retention since your solving problems that are unique to users of the product.

You need both content that SELLS products and content that TRAINS and RETAINS your affiliates (when applicable).

Take this post for example. It isn't intended to sell you anything directly. Sure I peppered in a few links to affiliates (see Expert Secrets book link below) but the main purpose of the article is to give you tips that help make you money and then make you WANT more and want to use my affiliate links as a free expression of gratitude.

Sometimes being the good guy does pay off. I like to think that is the case in affiliate marketing (unfortunately it isn't always). ​

Examples of Posts That Sell

Posts that sell can be things like...

The Comparison Post

We can position our product against another product our target buyer might be considering. 

If someone is comparing options, they are in our buyers audience. ​We need to put ourselves into their buying research in hopes that we are the last place they land before buying. 

Headline Example: Email Marketing Battle Royale: ConvertKit vs. Mailchimp 

If your affiliate is ConvertKit (an email marketing software I promote) for instance, you'd explain why it's better than other solutions your target buyer may be considering.

Anyone who is looking for a comparison is likely in the market to buy.

W​hy I Switched from AWeber to Infusionsoft to Convertkit- This was an article written by Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com that I am certain made him a boat load of affiliate sales. Anyone who read this post is more than likely willing to at least consider using ConvertKit even if they are already using InfusionSoft or Aweber. If they weren't, they wouldn't read it unless of course they work at or own InfusionSoft or Aweber 🙂

The Reasons Why Posts

A "reasons why" post sells your reader on a product. You should use real case studies and evidence to support that your affiliate product is the best option for them. 

Headline Example: 5 Reasons Bloggers Should Use ConvertKit

Does this sound like an article someone would read if they were completely sold on their existing email marketing solution? Not really!

This article can target users who don't have a solution for email marketing or users who aren't satisfied with their solution in hopes that they jump ship and join your affiliate.

The Objection Destruction Post

Potential customers have limiting beliefs that keep them from buying. 

This is a great opportunity for us as bloggers and marketers because we can address these objections head on, destroy them and reap the commissions of the resulting sales. 

Russell Brunson writes about this in his book Expert Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Creating a Mass Movement​ of People Who Will Pay for Your Advice. 

Russell Brunson

​When Im trying to sell someone on my new opportunity, almost instantly their subconscious mind will start thinking about all reasons it isn't possible, or why it won't work for them. The bad news is that these beliefs can be really strong..."

Russell addresses these pre-existing beliefs with a targeted approach that breaks them down piece by piece. I can't give justice to it in a short blog post, so I highly recommend you get a free copy of Expert Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Creating a Mass Movement​ of People Who Will Pay for Your Advice and read all about it (starting on page 129).

False Belief Patterns

Example Headline: The Myth of Switching Email Marketing Services 

The headline above would combat the common objection that it is too difficult to switch email services. You will get readers who are considering switching but need a nudge to make the jump. 

Posts That Don't Sell

Again, if the only posts you write are ones that sell, you're going to struggle. You need to create a mix of goodwill posts and sales posts.  

Here are what goodwill posts look like. ​

  • How to Send a Resend to Unopens in ConvertKit
  • 10 ConvertKit Features You Probably Aren't Utilizing
  • 7 Ways to Make Your ConvertKit Forms Look Less Ugly

Do you see the difference?

These sorts of posts keep your readers coming back and help establish your authority and credibility.

Showing you are proficient with the products you recommend makes it much easier for potential buyers to trust your opinion and recommendations. 

Keep in mind, it is perfectly acceptable to pepper in affiliate links to any post when relevant. The difference is that the posts aren't written solely for people who would be buyers. You won't get nearly as many sales but you will get some and it isn't in bad taste by any means. 

Wrap Up

So what does this mean?

Be mindful of the purpose of each post you write. When researching keywords and drafting headlines, consider the purpose. 

Are you selling or creating goodwill?​

When drafting a post that is made to sell affiliate products, make sure that your headline is attracting potential buyers.

Ok, now go make some money!

About the author

Nate McCallister

Nate is the founder and main contributor of EntreResource.com. He is a lifestyle entrepreneur who spends his time building businesses and raising his two kids Sawyer and Brooks with his beautiful wife Emily. His main interests include copywriting, economics and piano.

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