Have you ever spent hours sat writing, refining, and perfectly optimising a product review for your blog, only for your brand new post to be out of date almost the second you hit publish?
A well researched and equally well-written blog post can take hours to hone and craft. After all your hard work, is there anything more frustrating than having to constantly keep coming back and updating the crucial pricing information?
It’s a catch 22 situation. If you don’t, your conversion rate will surely suffer. And if you do, well, how on Earth is that a scalable business model?
My Best Converting Affiliate Pages
The best results I’ve had as an affiliate have been when I have included pricing information right there on the page.
If I can also include ‘in-stock’ statuses, so much the better.
But I’ve measured it using Google Analytics, and I can tell you that customers love to click on prices.
Time Sensitive Information
Maybe you considered making a pricing page for the launch of the PS4, or the Xbox One – you know the kind, the single page that displays the price of the console and whether it’s in stock or not.
And of course, the link is your affiliate code to Argos, or Play, or Amazon.
It’s such a good idea, and with just a bit of search engine love, or with a well targeted AdWords campaign, you can make a decent chunk of cash – so long as you are in position at the right time.
What about running a small niche site, reviewing bread makers, or toasters, or specialist Japanese silk kimonos, monetising your site through affiliate links to retailers ranging from specialist niche online stores, to global giants like Walmart or Alibaba.
All of these angles work – I know, I have been a successful affiliate with each of these set-ups since 2007.
And every time I wanted to automate the pricing updates so it wasn’t my big job each day, to keep those darned prices up to date. It would actually hurt my conversion rate the further my prices slipped out of date.
Happy Campers Return To Your Campsite
No matter how evergreen your content, if you are manually adding pricing information to your post, sooner or later it’s going to be out of date.
As a customer, there’s nothing more annoying than reading through a great product review, getting to the bottom and seeing that hey – my favourite big name retailer has this thing in stock right now and it’s only $34.95!
Only, they click through and find out that the price you had listed was a sale price, and now it’s gone back up to $49.99.
Or worse, it’s now out of stock.
In 2015 your site visitors expect your brand new WordPress blog, your growing product review site, or your niche authority site to be amazing. If your visitors are going to come back to your site in the future, they need to be seeing top notch content, and although they don’t care how you do it, they simply *expect* the pricing information to be up to date.
Time is Money
I’ve used a number of different price comparison solutions over the past few years – from confusing WordPress plugins, to hefty complex software that required an almost arcane technical expertise to install and set up.
What bugged me the most was when I invested a ton of time into building a niche site using a well-known WordPress price comparison plugin, and although it initially worked great and converted really well, I became so frustrated as the plugin began to intermittently break over time.
I would send emails to the plugin author who initially was full of enthusiasm for his product, and he would ping me back support emails day or night. In hindsight I kinda knew that could never last.
One day the plugin just stopped working. It was a good thing I was keeping a close eye on my pages as I might not have noticed. The prices stopped updating. Some broke altogether, leaving me with empty tables and links that no longer functioned.
Don’t Lose Another Working Day
I had a well respected niche site getting a healthy glut of daily Google traffic, and boom, my income stream had been torpedoed.
That single problem took an entire working day to fix, and even then I had to comb back through several hundred posts a couple more times when I realised I had messed up the linking structure.
These days I just don’t have that sort of time. Nor do I really have the desire to test my patience setting up complex technical integrations. API this, XML feed that… I just want plug and play.
Simple technology gets out of the way, leaving you to focus on making your customer’s lives better. That’s what you should be doing as an affiliate marketer – helping your customers, no matter your personal time investment.
The Game Gets Ever Harder
Back in 2007 when I first got started I used to think that being an affiliate was tough.
Thinking back nearly 8 years later, I can see now that it is only ever getting more difficult.
Back then, a one page wonder with a few shady backlinks was enough to get you that coveted number one spot on Google.
These days, if your site isn’t awesome, then you simply don’t stand much of a chance. There’s more people in this business than ever before, and to stand out you have to be different.
Dodging Curve Balls
It used to be that most programs would approve you without requiring to see any of the websites that you would be linking from.
Then, as poor quality traffic caused headaches for the Merchant community, they started asking for URL’s of any site that would be linking to them. This resulted in the process of URL vetting that is very frequent these days.
As if matters weren’t becoming complicated enough, some of the biggest Merchants in the game started adding new rules. I’ll be honest, I don’t even think these rules are emailed out to us affiliates, I think they just change the Terms of Service as and when it suits them.
But this can be hugely impactful on our businesses.
One that caught my eye recently was in that if we as affiliates are displaying pricing information on our blogs and websites, then that pricing data must be up to date or have a date and time that the pricing information was accurate at.
One of the Internet’s biggest retailers actually expects you to do this as part of it’s Affiliate Program Agreement – Amazon.com.
(o) You will include a date/time stamp adjacent to your display of pricing or availability information on your application if you obtain Product Advertising Content from a Data Feed, or if you call the Product Advertising API or refresh the Product Advertising Content displayed on your application less frequently than hourly. However, during the same day on which you requested and refreshed the pricing and availability information displayed on your application, you may omit the date portion of the stamp. Examples of acceptable messaging include:
- Amazon.com Price: $32.77 (as of 01/07/2008 14:11 PST – Details)
- Amazon.com Price: $32.77 (as of 14:11 PST – More info)
Additionally, you must either include the following disclaimer adjacent to the pricing or availability information or provide it via a hyperlink, popup box, scripted popup, or other similar method: “Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.” In the above examples, “Details” and “More info” would provide a method for the end user to read the disclaimer.
I know, yikes, right?
This could get your Amazon affiliate account banned.
No one likes reading Terms of Service, but this stuff is really important to get right. And here’s one of the biggest retailers, and one of the biggest affiliate programs on the planet telling you that you have to follow their set procedures or it’s curtains for you and one of your income streams.
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