Are you looking for new ways to grow your affiliate marketing revenue?
There’s a lot of money to be made! In 2023, affiliate marketing made over $17 billion globally.
But while the average salary for an affiliate marketer is over $60,000, many people earn much less while a few earn much more. What makes the difference?
Here are 7 tips that will help you grow your affiliate marketing revenue.
Note: This is a guest post by Blair Williams, the founder of Pretty Links, a popular all-in-one affiliate link management plugin. We publish an expert column on WPBeginner every other Thursday. This is an invite-only column, meaning we don’t accept unsolicited guest post offers.
I will cover quite a few topics in this post. Here’s a handy list so you can jump to the section you are most interested in:
1. Drive the RIGHT Traffic That Earns Commissions
The first step in generating revenue from affiliate sales is to make sure you attract an audience that actually wants to try out the product or service you recommend.
Since over 70% of affiliate marketers get most of their traffic from search engines like Google, that makes SEO really important.
But SEO takes time, especially if you’re competing against other affiliate marketing sites for keywords with high search volume and high competition.
To earn the most commissions, I highly recommend targeting investigational keywords. Let me explain why.
Generally speaking, Google searches are performed with 4 different types of intent, and the best match for affiliate websites is investigational intent. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different kinds of search intent:
- Users with navigational intent are trying to get to a particular website. Example: search on Google with the phrase www.wpbeginner.com
- Users with informational intent are simply trying to find an answer to a question. Example: search on Google with the phrase who is the current US President.
- Users with transactional intent have already made a decision and are ready to purchase or download the product they chose. Example: buy Apple iPhone 15 Pro
- Finally, users with investigational intent are looking for information that may eventually lead to a purchase or transaction. Example: best student laptops, compare hp vs dell laptops, etc.
Users with investigational intent will want to read product reviews, showcases, and comparisons like yours before making a final purchasing decision. This means as an affiliate marketer, it’s your job to help your users find the right product and get them purchase it through your affiliate link.
They use investigational keywords in their search queries that include words like ‘best’, ‘review’, ‘compare’, and ‘alternative’.
Here are some examples of investigational intent keywords:
- best laptops for students
- honest review of Tesla Model S
- Bose QuietComfort 45 vs. Sony WH-1000XM4
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 common problems
- best alternatives to the Hoover MAXLife Pro
By targeting investigational keywords, you will drive the right audience to your site. I’ve found that means you won’t have to get as much traffic to make a decent affiliate income.
2. Publish High-Quality Content
Now that you know the investigational keywords that will bring potential customers to your site, your next job is to create high-quality content that ranks for those keywords.
That means writing in-depth product reviews, comparisons with pros and cons, video reviews, and more. Only 28% of affiliate marketers use blogs to promote their affiliate links, and I think that number should be much higher.
Not only will high-quality content bring in traffic to your WordPress website, but you will also benefit from long-term traffic that comes from your blog’s rankings.
Some of the most successful affiliates have become experts at using the product or service they are reviewing. In fact, demonstrating real-life experience in your reviews is more important now than ever.
In December 2022, Google added ‘experience’ to their E-E-A-T ranking criteria. Now, unless you show first-hand experience with the products you write about, Google may penalize you in the long run by giving your site a lower search ranking.
Darren Rowse’s Digital Photography School blog is a great example of what you should be doing. He shows excellent photos taken on Canon and Nikon SLR cameras and then mentions those cameras in posts and tutorials.
Not only does this improve his ‘experience’ score with Google, but when his visitors are inspired by the spectacular photos taken by the cameras he reviews, they will be more likely to purchase them using his affiliate links.
You can do the same by producing more content, such as detailed blog posts or YouTube videos, displaying your skills using the actual product or service. Just make sure you don’t just talk about a product’s features. You also need to show your audience how they can use those features to get great results.
3. Use a Centralized Affiliate Link Management System
The best way to add affiliate links to your website or blog is by using a plugin like Pretty Links or ThirstyAffiliates. Creating a centralized affiliate link management system in your WordPress dashboard can save you a lot of time.
For example, when one of your affiliate partners changes your link, you would normally need to find every post where the link appears and update the link manually.
But with an affiliate link plugin, you simply need to update it once, and it will update across your entire website.
These plugins will also let you cloak the affiliate links you promote on your website. Typically, affiliate links are long and ugly like this:
A cloaked affiliate link looks better and is easier to understand:
Besides these benefits, an affiliate link manager lets you categorize your links, add notes, check for links that have stopped working, and much more. This means you can spend less time managing your affiliate links and more time creating high-quality content.
4. Enable Affiliate Link Tracking
Now that you’ve added affiliate links to your website, it’s essential to track how many times each one is being clicked.
This will help you see which affiliate products are performing well, and which of your blog posts are generating the most clicks.
This information will let you make improvements to your website that result in more revenue, and you can also use the metrics to negotiate with your partner companies for higher payouts. I’ll talk about this more later on.
Google Analytics can show how much traffic your links are sending to each affiliate product, but beginners can find it tricky to use.
Now that you know how much traffic you are sending to each affiliate link, you should compare it with the revenue you made. This will help you discover your highest-performing products, and focusing on them will boost your affiliate income.
5. Convert Up to 60% of Abandoning Visitors With an Affiliate Popup
We spoke earlier about how to increase your affiliate income by bringing more visitors to your website. It’s also important to think about the visitors leaving your site, or you will miss out on sales.
You need to grab the attention of abandoning visitors before they leave your site because 70% of them will never come back.
Nadi Lopez, a marketing specialist at Top 6 Digital, combats this using an exit-intent popup. It detects the user’s mouse movement and shows them an affiliate promotion when they’re about to leave.
He uses OptinMonster to display a popup that is customized for the content the reader is viewing at the time, like this:
The plan worked, and 17.31% of visitors who saw the popup above clicked the link.
As a result, Top 6 Digital’s affiliate revenue increased by 30%, and on some web pages, as many as 62% of abandoning visitors were converted.
For more details on how to do this, you can see this article on how to create popups that convert.
6. Optimize Your Content to Boost Conversions
Your visitors won’t click a link they don’t notice. You’ll get more clicks and revenue by highlighting the affiliate mentions in your articles.
You can try doing this in lots of different ways. Just make sure you track affiliate clicks to measure which methods are most effective on your blog and individual posts.
For example, you can highlight a link by simply bolding it or using colored text.
Or you can make a link more obvious by placing it in an affiliate product box or button. Some websites also use discreet icons like arrows or shopping carts next to the links to show they are affiliate links.
You could also create a call to action (CTA) where you mention the affiliate product or service. For best results, use persuasive language that encourages readers to learn more or click through.
7. Negotiate With Brands for a Higher Commission Tier
Finally, you can make more affiliate income by simply asking your partners for a higher commission percentage. This can potentially help you make the biggest gains in revenue.
Because you’ve already enabled link tracking, you will be able to gather the information you need to demonstrate the value you bring your affiliate partner.
Make sure you do your research first. Some affiliate plans may already offer a tiered structure that pays higher commission rates for higher sales volumes. Otherwise, you can speak to the affiliate manager about increasing the rates for your website.
Don’t become aggressive or demanding or you may damage your relationship with the company. Make sure you remain courteous and flexible and aim for a win-win outcome.
I hope my practical tips will help you grow your affiliate marketing revenue. You may also want to see the ultimate affiliate marketing guide or the best affiliate marketing tools and plugins for WordPress.