Affiliate Marketing 102 – Placement of Affiliate Links

Since you are going to be using free blogging service it’s important that you never directly link to an affiliate offer, especially with blogger. I had a blog deleted because I posted a direct link to an affiliate offer from PDC. It’s not a secret now that Google hates affiliates, so be careful.

So the first thing to do is to cloak your affiliate link. There are url shortening services that you can use, such as tinyurl.com and bit.ly. There are also some products on clickbank that offer cloaked urls that you can use directly.

So … no direct linking on blogger.

With that settled we can expand on strategic positions to place your affiliate link, and how to present it.

First of all the side bar is one place you must place your affiliate link, anchored by a picture of the product and/or text, above the fold. Above the fold is the part of the blog that shows for the visitor without having to scroll down.

Another strategic placement of the affiliate link in text is at the end of relevant posts, like the example we used to explain the pitch post in the last article.

Another placement that’s been less effective for me is within the post itself. For example, if your post is about a software that spies on other users you might want to link to the product with your cloaked affiliate link anchored to the text “spy on your spouse’s computer behavior”.

The first two positions are the best in terms of conversion, the last one never got me real money, so I don’t recommend it.

There is a different non-conventional placement, which is a full page ad that covers your website. It works, but there are two downsides:

1. The software is not free, if you can code it yourself go ahead, but if you can’t then you have to buy it.

2. You need tons of traffic to your site in order to split test different offers, weed out the losers and focus on the winners.

This type of advertising is tricky. From a research paper published by a team in University of Toronto last summer, the interruption aggressive advertising works best when the ad content are totally different from the website content, as opposed to the normal on site placement that should be relevant to the website content in order to be effective.

So .. go ahead, cloak your affiliate urls and post them on the side bar and after the relevant posts.

The rest of the series will focus on how to send free traffic to your free blog so that you start making some money.

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Affiliate Marketing 102: Blog Content 2: The Pitch

To get your readers to respond to your affiliate offers you need to ask them to do so. Trying to get your readers to buy or subscribe to your offer is called “pitching”. Example: “This offer is only available to you through this link and for a limited time only. Buy it today!”. Sounds like a pushy sales pitch, but it clearly demonstrates the pitching.

There are two types of pitching that you need to know as an affiliate: soft and hard pitching.

A hard pitch is like the example above. You are telling your readers that they have to buy the product or service that you are recommending through your link by generating urgency (limited time) and scarcity (only available through this link). It would be a lie of course if it’s not, but you can offer a complementing bonus and make it available to those who buy from your link only within a certain time frame.

In the hard pitch you are directing your readers to what you want them to do very bluntly.

In the soft pitch, on the other hand, you can use all psychological tricks like the urgency and scarcity but without pushing. Example: “This had been a problem that got me to stay up every night until I found this product and since then my life changed and my problem has been solved. You too can do the same, here is the link to get one like mine.”

So, you are not directly asking your readers to buy the product you are promoting. Instead you are giving them reasons to consider buying it on their own.

There is no rule to when to use a hard pitch and when to use a soft one, at least until the time of writing this article. So you have to test both and see which one will generate more sales.

So far your blog should have at least 5 articles each one is answering a question that your product provides an answer for. These articles provide the content that search engines are looking for. Link to each one of them from at least one article published on ezinearticles.com and/or squidoo lens.

By adding the pitch post (term courtesy: Amish Shah) you are giving your readers a reason to consider, and maybe buy your product. Now it’s time to link to this post and drive traffic to it.

Start with linking to this post from all of the other posts on your blog. Internal linking is very important, and it’s under your control. Do that first then start writing articles and building squidoo lenses and hubpages and link back to both the home page and the pitch post from each article you publish on other people’s sites.

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