How-To Series: Evaluating Products as an Affiliate
Consumers are turning to digital channels to complete purchases, and the financial sector is no exception. COVID-19 has sped up this change in the financial services industry and we can expect to see more banks offering services online, fewer branches open, and better fraud-prevention in place for digital transactions by the end of 2020.
With this comes a change in how consumers find out and evaluate these products. This is where you come in. The importance of publishers will increase with more brands turning to affiliate marketing as a viable, cost-effective solution.
To truly leverage this opportunity, you must carefully consider the products that you choose to promote. Below, we discuss our top suggestions and what to look out for when evaluating new partnerships.
Why it is Important to Choose the Right Products
As a new publisher, it may be tempting to partner with all the brands you can and promote everything all at once. From our experience, this can quickly become overwhelming and challenging to manage.
When you’re first setting up your site, you will be choosing a certain niche to focus on and set yourself some goals. Read our guide on becoming a publisher to learn more.
It is important to choose products and brands that align with your goals, niche, and resonate with your audience. This will ensure continuity and align with the expectations of your audience. Your followers come to you when they want to know about a certain subject, and they trust you will have quality content that answers their questions.
Choosing to partner with the right products and brands can also play an important role in your search engine optimization and increase your search engine results (SER). Doing this, you will focus on chosen keywords, improve the quality of traffic, and help develop a well-invested audience.
Tactics to Evaluate Products
To help understand how to evaluate products, we’ve come up with questions and considerations to take into account before committing to a new partnership.
- Brand reputation – Would you like to be associated with this company? It is important to consider how a brand aligns with your own as any good/bad press they have experienced could impact your reputation and traffic.
- Product reputation – Does this product have a good reputation in the market? For existing products it’s always a good idea to read customer reviews (or try it out yourself if you’re in a position to do so).
- Product ethics – Does the brand/product have any bad press such as the materials, labour, ingredients etc. being unethically sourced? This can be less relevant for financial products but consider if, as a company, they have similar ethical values to you. What charities / initiatives do they support?
- Target audience – Who is their target audience and does it align with yours? If the product is aimed at 55+ and your audience is 20-35 yrs, this is an indication that it won’t be a good match and you won’t receive many conversions.
- Competitive set – Are there similar products available on the market and are they cheaper, better quality or more popular? If the answer is yes to all 3, chances are the product won’t achieve much traction. If the competition is 1 out of 3, consider what makes this product stand out and highlight this in your promotion of the product.
- Relevance – Is the product relevant to your audience? Even if you love the product and use it everyday, if you don’t think it will resonate with your audience you could be wasting your time. If you’re unsure, ask your audience if they would like to see more of this product (if available you could run this through your social media channels).
- Test the product – Can you try it before you promote it? For many products, this is a quite simple. However, financial products are a little different and we would suggest that you try to organise a call with a product expert to learn as much as you can.
- Personal preference – Do you like this product, and would you use it? This is simple psychology; the more you like something the easier it is to persuade others. If you love a product, it will really show, and your audience will more likely be on board which = more conversions. Also, as you develop your platform, you’ll find that your audience will return to your site if they value your opinion.
- Longevity and breadth – Can you promote it in various ways? The best products are ones that you can repurpose, share across multiple platforms, and continue to gain traffic on for a long-time post launch.
- Limitations – Are there any limitations with promoting this product? Is this a timely product or does it expire? Is it available everywhere? This may swing your decision as a great product that is only available in a small area or a limited time may not get the best conversion rate. Consider your own audience and traffic before committing.
- Ease of conversion – Is the product easy to get? If the client has a challenging approval process or poor UX, you may not see many conversions and your audience will not appreciate being recommended a product whose buying journey is difficult.
- The CPA – If the brand marketing the product is offering a low CPA and a low conversion rate, it may not be worth your while. Products with low CPA/high conversions and high CPA/low conversions may be worth considering.
Understanding Your Audience
The key to evaluating products and deciding which brands to partner with lies in knowing your audience. Understanding what content they respond well to, what type of products typically give you a high conversion rate and how engaged they are can really help when evaluating products.
With affiliate marketing, high engagement rates are more valuable than high volume of traffic, as engaged audiences are more likely to convert on your tracking links.
It’s a good idea to know in detail why your audience come to your site and engage with your content. This will help you understand their needs and how you can help to solve their problems through valuable content and recommendations. It’s a good idea to regularly survey segments of your audience to understand these motivations.
As well as helping you to understand why people are coming to your site, knowing you audience will help inform you of how they are getting to your site. This in turn can focus a keyword strategy, develop more streamlined social media content and help you use PPC advertising on Google.
If you take one thing away from this article, let it be the importance of product selection. The product must not only fit within you niche and align with your brand values, it must provide value for your audience.
The most successful affiliates are those that turn down high-potential products because they understand that they may not be the right for their audience. By doing this, they can spend more time in making sure that the products they have chosen to partner with and promote are executed properly, which ultimately will result in a greater ROI.
Affiliate marketing can seem overwhelming to start, but by setting clear goals and parameters for your content you can develop a successful strategy with many lucrative partnerships.
We hope that you’ve found this blog helpful and that you’re ready to get started.
If you’re interested in working with financially-focused brands, we can certainly help and welcome you to sign up for our network by clicking here!