How to Drive Huge Affiliate Sales with “Alternative to” Content

By Nate McCallister

Published on May 3

In this article (and the video above), I’m going to teach you how to create one of the most profitable types of content that affiliate marketers can make: "alternatives to" post or video.

I’m going to show you how to do the keyword research to make sure that you cover the right terms and then how to compose the content so that they convert.

Ready?Let’s get into it.

What Is "Alternative to" Content?

So what are "alternatives to" posts and why do they work so well?

They’re very straightforward. They're articles or videos that share alternatives to popular tools, products or services. 

The formula usually looks like this...

Alternative to Posts Formula

We’ll talk more about crafting that headline later.

This post makes sales in two different ways.

#1 You sell the product that you’re showing the alternatives for because the alternatives aren’t as good. 

#2 You sell the alternatives because people have already tried the first one and they were disenchanted by it, or it was out of their price range.

There’s a bunch of different reasons why they want an alternative, but anyone that’s looking for an alternative is in what we call the buyer intent phase.

This means that these people are very likely to purchase something.

So you might not get thousands of views to this post or video, but you can drive a ton of sales because the buyer intent is very.

You can have a hundred visits per month and still find yourself making 3 to 5 sales for whatever product it is.

You could even make the argument that these convert better than review posts, because review posts don't always attract people that have purchased or are even going to purchase. They might just be window shopping.

However, an alternative to post is found by people who are already serious enough to have likely already purchased the first product.

Many people come to alternatives after the first one, didn’t meet their expectations. So we’re selling to people who are usually more serious.

They’re not just window shoppers. They’re ready to buy.

So these few visits that you’re gonna get from these posts are going to drive away more sales. 

Keyword Research

Note: For the rest of this post, I'll be focusing on blog posts and referring to the content as "posts" or "articles." The principles apply to video content as well. 

Before you write an alternative to post (or any post for that matter) you need to perform some keyword research. 

I use AHREFs but you can use whatever tool you're comfortable with. 

Start your research by searching for the terms matching "alternative to + (the product)."

Also, you can do product plus alternative. Those are going to be semantic terms. 

Here, we see traffic potential 3,300 55 on the keyword difficulty scale. That means that this one’s kind of difficult, though that will be relative to the size of your domain.

What we’re also seeing here is that this is getting a ton of traffic. I can see the top article is called "nine best alternatives to MailChimp"

It has 5,100 organic visits and then the traffic value is $55,800 per month, which is insane!

"Alternative to" Examples

So it just shows you how valuable it is to rank for these types of terms. It means that people are buying.

Example 1: "MailChimp Alternatives"

For the first example, I want to do one about alternatives to MailChimp the goal being to sell convert kit in the list or a Weber or active campaign. So let’s go ahead and type in MailChimp Alternative.

And the reason why that works is because MailChimp is one of the biggest names in the email marketing space. So, if people are looking for alternatives, it’s very likely that MailChimp is going to be the one that they start with.

Mailchimp Ahrefs Screenshot

Okay. So the next thing I would do is I would type in MailChimp alternatives and see what comes up first, and then I would go through the article and see what they’re doing here.

Mailchimp vs Moosend

They do a quick little summary of the best ones and they just give a one line reason why. They're really trying to get those terms in there by comparing it to as many big name products as possible.

(They want to rank for MailChimp versus HubSpot MailChimp versus Moosend, et. so they’re making those H2s.

This is also a very long post, which is why they’re ranking so high, because they did a very good job of making it incredibly detailed. 

If you’re going to make a post like this, go all in on detail, make it as valuable and information rich as possible.

Don’t go skimping on this because this is not easy to rank for. If you can rank for it, you’re just printing cash.

Okay. So the next thing that I would do, if I was going to write this one, is come up to surferSEO. I would come into the content editor and type in keywords related to "MailChimp alternative".

SurferSEO

You don’t need surfer, but I highly recommend it. It is one of the best tools for creating SEO rich content.

In the content editor, it is going to show us exactly what we should try to do with our article to make it rank for the keywords we entered.

It’s going to show us the minimum word, Image, headline, and paragraph counts. 

This post is one heck of a doozy, saying we need somewhere around 4,700 - 5,400 words, 21 - 50 images, and at least 145 paragraphs!

This is going to be a hard one to write, but we would use surfer to compose it. From there, I would take the article I have created in Surfer and put it into WordPress to add the finishing details.

What you also cannot see in this image is the most important aspect: Clusters.

These are keyword-heavy phrases and terms that will boost your SEO. The better the post's SEO becomes, the higher that gauge will move. I always try to get my posts to a score of at least 80-90

Interested in getting set up with SurferSEO? Click on the link below to get started!

Example 2: "AirPods Pro Alternatives"

I think we need to go through some more examples. So here’s one that is ranking for best air pod pro alternatives. The post is just brilliantly done.

They've hit everything you need in a great post:

  • Star Count
  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Conclusions
  • Links to full reviews
  • Buy Links To Affiliates (Why it's so profitable)

Yours don’t need to be this awesome looking but this is about as good as it gets. So let me show you first, they break it down, not just into this is the best one, or here are 10 other options.

They break them down even further, to minute detail like

  • best all around
  • best workout 
  • best features 
  • best design
  • best value.

They’re getting all different types of potential buyers here, from all walks of life and lifestyles. They also have "buy links" with a verified price, which is going to be where their affiliate links come into play.

Whatever theme they’re using for WordPress is beautiful; I love it!

They did. So down here, they said, read the full review. So now they’re getting a lot of traffic from that post as well.

 You won’t always make the sale directly from the alternatives to posts, but if you’re sending people to other pieces of content, that’s going to help you make the sale.

Look at the table of contents. They have them broken down again, like I said, 

They sort the article according to buyer intent, making sure each H2 has purpose and helps direct the reader to their respective purchase.

(Excercise, Android, Comfort, etc.)

One thing that they do add that I’ve noticed on most alternative two posts is an FAQ. Having FAQ schema in your blog post is going to help you show up in the questions asked area.

Doing that, you’re going to have a better chance of getting more traffic and also getting up to the top of that ranking.

This is one of those blogs you read and remember that profitable blogging is both an art and a science.

Example 3: "Fiverr Alternatives"

Let’s say that you’re promoting some sort of marketplace similar to Fiverr. Let's say that it’s a marketplace where people sell different services and you know that the service space is dominated by Fiverr.

So this one right here is a great example,

"8 Best Fiverr Alternatives for Businesses and Freelancers" 

One thing that you’ll notice is that every company that does inbound marketing does content marketing to grow their business. That means that they will try to always rank for alternative to their competitors.

Most of the "alternative to" posts will be from competitors of the product versus actual affiliates. 

You just need to beat the competition. Always go through and see what is already ranking for alternative to whatever your post is.

The next thing I want to do is go through choosing the headline for your post title. At the beginning of this post, I explained how the formula in alternatives is to compare it to other popular products in the space. 

And then I mentioned some add-ons that can make the headline a little bit more appealing. The best way to come up with your own headline is to review the best headlines that are already ranking for the alternative to your product.

We can go through those and see what’s working and look particularly at articles with low domain authority that are over-performing to see if maybe that headline has something to do with it. So to show you what I’m talking about, let’s jump into Ahrefs and we can analyze some of the headline.

So let’s keep going with that five or alternatives example. So let’s just type in alternatives to fiber and the keyword Explorer.

Note: If you don’t have Ahrefs, you can just do this in Google and check out all of the top 10 to top 20 articles that are showing up in the search engine. Those are going to be the ones that we really want to check out.

So inside of Ahrefs, if you scroll down to the bottom, they’re going to actually show links to the top 10 posts so we can see all of those different headlines.

What I recommend is going through each of them and getting an idea of what’s working and what’s not, and all the different keywords that are being used.

One thing to keep in mind is I usually err on the side of "more is more" when it comes to lists of items.

So even though "8 best alternatives" is the one that’s at the top, I would still try to beat the one that is "15 websites better than Fiverr". 

It’s not a perfect formula, but if you’re going to do alternatives, share all of the alternatives. Don’t make up fake ones. Don't force list items that shouldn't be there.

Next, I want to look at what terms people are using. The number one option is eight best Fiverr alternatives for businesses and freelancers. That one does a couple of things.

Number one, it uses the word "best" and "alternatives", and makes sure they ar right there in the headline. We have to decide,

are we going to do "Fiverr alternatives" or "Alternatives to Fiverr"?

"Alternatives to..." is usually best.

I would also add the current year to the end of the title, since that shows people that this information is up to date, especially if they see one that’s from 2020 or 2019. 

So what I would do next, now that I’ve reviewed all the headlines is I would open up this tool that I use called headline studio.

You don’t need this. It’s a premium tool that I use in. But it really makes it easier for me to craft headlines that are going to perform well.

So, let’s say that my post is gonna be called "10 best Fiverr alternatives You Need to Know About in 2022"

Then I click "analyze". 

That’s actually a really good headline, since 89 is super high. Headline studio will give me a grade from 0-100 and tell me what does and doesn't work in my headline.

Interested in getting this tool?

How to Offer Free Alternatives 

One last thing that I want to touch on is the "Free Alternative to..." post. This kind of post is great for traffic, but it’s not good for conversions or monetization. The reason being is that it’s people that want something for free. If you just want to drive traffic and build awareness to other tools, you can absolutely do that.


There’s nothing wrong with doing those. It can garner Goodwill and also build awareness to other products. Just keep in mind, you’re not going to see those same conversion rates and massive amounts of sales that are going to.

I recommend usually doing "free and paid". That way, if you want to highlight free alter, you can do that. I would just make sure you also include paid ones or promoted tools It’s okay to just do free alternatives.

Of course, you don’t have to be selling all the time. Those types of posts will get a lot of traffic, but it’s just something to keep in mind.

Conclusion

So let’s go ahead and put a bow on this and summarize all of the key points of writing good "alternative to" posts.

Follow those tips and you'll master "Alternative To" posts in no time!

If you like this content, please consider subscribing to my YouTube Channel "Evergreen Affiliate Marketing".

I also wrote a book with the same name as my YouTube Channel "Evergreen Affiliate marketing". It is chock-full of great lessons like the one I just shared with you. 

Bonus Tip: Use alternativeto.net

For those of you who stuck around, check out a website called alternative to.net, if you’re doing software alternative to posts. So with that MailChimp example, I would just type in MailChimp and they have 295 alternatives.

Obviously, your post doesn’t need to have 295 alternatives, but you should target the top 10-20, whatever you think is ideal. This website is going to give you a good idea of what the alternatives are, and it’s also going to give you good insights on what they do differently.

It also shows awesome insights from actual users that compare them. 

About the author

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

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  1. I've bought the JLabs bluetooth wireless ear phones buds for $19.99 from an "alternative to" post before. And i'm glad i did. They are very long lasting, high quality, alot of bass, and costs alot less than the beats by dre studio buds that are like $150.

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