In my last post on how to increase your website conversions, we went into depth on website copy and what you need to do with this to help increase trust and rapport.
This time round, we’re looking at some of the things you can add to your affiliate site for that edge in boosting conversion rates.
By covering off all these things systematically, you’ll be well on your way to a site that has every opportunity to convert well.
So let’s get with the program!
Here are some of things you can do or include within your site to start upping those conversions:
1. Start a blog
A professional blog can go a long way to building trust.
People buy from people they feel they know, and this is your chance to let others get to know you and what you’re about. You can let people in “behind the scenes”, in an informal way that’s more difficult to do in a straight business environment.
By blogging regularly, you can also speed the increase in your search engine rankings. This is because you’re effectively submitting a new page to be indexed every time you post.
Whatever you do, don’t just blog about the affiliate services you sell! That’s not what a blog is about. Make sure you offer useful content. This means different things to different people, and you have a number of different ways you can go with this.
For example, you could focus your blog on:
• Information: Help others stay in informed on an issue, product or topic. You can zero in specific topics, or provide overviews on an industry or area.
• Education: Help those interested in learning about a topic. This can include how-to tips, instructions of how to complete a process, or generally build knowledge for people.
• Controversy: Take an unexpected point of view, an unusual position, be a contrarian, or even wildly outrageous.This can often be a great way to stimulate interest.
• Something Entertaining: Offer jokes, laughs, gossip,fun, or lively conversation.
• News: Help people stay up to date in your field of interest or industry.
• Healthy Debate: Be the place where people can have a dialogue, express their opinions, or have a heated debate over issues.
• Reviews: Give your opinion on a book, an affiliate product, software, or even an experience you had in a certain industry or area.
• Community: Create a hub that satisfies the need all people have to connect and belong.
2. Have Your Photo On Your Site
The facelessness of the internet removes the opportunity to eyeball the person behind the shop counter. Let people get to know the faces of those in your affiliate marketing business!
There’s a good reason for doing this.
Research has shown that by showing the faces of the people involved in your business, this subconsciously starts to build a level of relationship, even if you never meet.
People are more comfortable buying from people they feel they know, and the better someone feels they know (and like) someone else, the more they trust them.
So make the effort to include some clear, friendly head and shoulder pics of yourself.
For example, these can be on your home page, your “contact us” page, your “about us” page, or other strategic places. Test what works best for you.
FYI, if you’re a guy, it’s best to make sure that you’re clean-shaven in these photos. Why? Marketing studies have revealed that people have a greater level of trust in men (and no doubt, women) without a moustache or beard. Another tip – don’t wear sunglasses. Make sure people can see your eyes!
3. Show Your Location
The same principles here can be applied to showing your location.
If you’ve got it – flaunt it! Listing only a post office box number on your site is the last option you would want to take here.
From a customer point of view, they have no idea where in the world you really are, and this often makes people uneasy.
Showing a bona fide address can be difficult if you’re working out of the garden shed. And it’s understandable that it’s not always possible to pinpoint your location if you’re working from home as an affiliate.
However, if you do happen to be in a half way decent building – give this address, and if looks the part, show it as well!
Yes, someone can always say you might be making it up. However,if you go the trouble of doing all the other things we’ve covered in order to increase trust and build rapport, all these things begin to add up to paint the desired picture.
Google Maps can also often help here by showing prospects your location if you don’t want to show a photo. The great thing about having a Google map is that it can also help you increase your search engine rankings!
With Google maps, you’ll find there’s different functionality in different countries, so you may need to check what’s available for you.
Right now, there’s full functionality available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Leichtenstein, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK and the US.
The good news here is that when potential customers search Google Maps for local information and you have their free listing, they’ll find your business and its’ details.
Even though your affiliate business is online, having a map means people looking for something locally can find your related product.
For example, your prospect might be looking for dog trainers in Chicago. Your affiliate product might be a dog training e-book, and your business is listed as being in Chicago.
Your prospect may be just as open to buying a good dog-training book as they are to getting a local dog trainer. By having a map listing that shows your location as Chicago, you can target them.
If you don’t have a business street address and need one to get a Google map, Google’s suggestion is to rent a PO Box in the area you wish to target. You’d have to consider your options on this one.
Here’s a link to the Local Business centre to see how you can attract local business in your area:
And to get a map with Google:
4. Provide on-site comparisons
Having comparisons of your affiliate product and the competing products in your market shows that you respect the fact that people will not always buy the first thing they see.
By making it easier for shoppers to do their homework, you demonstrate transparency.
It also shows that you know your market. All good stuff in helping to build your credibility.
Here’s something else to bear in mind. In general, men are more likely to be more impulsive and somewhat faster shoppers online. With women, it’s a different story.
Women tend to comparison shop with other vendors, checking out the pros and cons of a product before they buy.
So why not work with this web user behavior, rather than against it? If your prospect leaves your site, you may lose them forever. Or at least long enough for them to get distracted by another vendor’s wares, and procrastinate some more!
If you know there’s likely to be some shopping around anyway, you may as well help pre-sell them on your own product by pointing out the competitive advantages to it.
Make sure you have a good idea about what your main competitors are offering, and make a list of comparisons between your product and theirs.
Here’s an example of the sort of thing I’m talking about:
SpeedPPC product comparison guide
You can see with this particular example that there’s not just a direct comparison with a competing product. There’s also a direct comparison of the two different product versions offered by the vendor.
You can also see there’s been a deliberate choice to demonstrate with a visual cross and tick chart. Rather than go over the pros and cons in text, a web user can immediately grasp the differences at a glance. The positive take-out is immediate.
5. Make a map of where you want people to go
This is something that you do for your peace of mind, as well as your affiliate site!
If your site doesn’t have flow, you will be losing sales.
Go through your site with a fine toothcomb with this exercise. Your aim is to get rid of any links that may distract people into going in directions you don’t really want them to go.
Make sure all the links on your pages are chosen deliberately. This helps create some logical progression between your pages.
Many affiliates have a site that is one big sales page that scrolls downwards. This type of site is designed to lead the reader down a progressive path towards a sale. The idea here is there are no distractions of other links that can take the prospect away.
Whether or not you have this type of site, be aware that links on your pages can divert people’s attention from what you’re selling. You may or may not get this back!
This means you want to think carefully about which links you decide to have on your pages – especially external ones – and where you place them.
A few dollars from someone’s ad may not be worth the potentially lost revenue from the product you’re selling.
The other thing to consider here is that if you have too many places to go on the site, you’ll end up with very confusing navigation.
Confusing navigation means confused prospects, and confused prospects don’t buy.
Many professional web marketers work by the “3 Click Rule”.
This means that a prospect never has to click more than three times to get to where they want to end up. It’s a good way to judge how easy your site is to navigate.
Here’s an example of how confusing navigation can get when taken to extremes!
This was actually the Worst Website 2008 winner from www.webpagesthatsuck.com (a hilarious site that showcases sites to demonstrate what NOT to do!)
The guys who won this well and truly deserved to. If you can bear the pain – take a look at the whole thing here in all its glory.
Check it out:
Where would you decide to go first?!
Looking at this, you can see how not having a clear idea of the path you want prospects to take can really mess up any sort of sales funnel big-time.
So there you go – some not-so-optional extras to consider for boosting conversions on your affiliate site.
It takes a little effort to do things like research competitors’ products for a comparison guide, and some of the other things we’ve gone over here.
However, you can see it makes sense to do such things based on web user behavior, especially when those things help people feel more comfortable in doing business with you.
And what makes sense in web user behavior always makes good business sense as well.
Look forward to hearing how things work for you!
Look out next week for Part 3 of this series: “How To Increase Sales By Tracking Web User Behavior”.