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Earlier this month we talked about the importance of writing effective headlines when promoting an offer. Launching highly targeted Facebook ads, creating a custom squeeze page, and other forms of promotional support all require you to do just that. Another important component of those promotion methods is properly utilizing images to increase engagement.
Look at this Photograph
The internet is an environment where users are looking to consume information as quickly as possible, and social media has accelerated this ten fold. The faster you can accurately communicate to them what it is you’re promoting, the better chance you have of maintaining their interest. It’s not just an old idiom that a picture says a 1000 words, it’s a term manifested from truth. Pictures have been proven to increase engagement, and the right pictures can act as a green light at the start of the sale path for the user.
Increasing Valuable Engagement
Although it may sound obvious, you want to ensure the pictures you use are relative to what it is you’re promoting. This is where we’ve seen some affiliates make a misstep. An attractive picture is nice, but if there’s a disconnect between it and the actual content, the user is going to be ending their engagement almost immediately. They’re going to notice the irrelevance and it will distract them from the actual product/service you’re trying to promote.
If you’re promoting a skincare offer, don’t use a picture of a dog. They have fur.
"Pictures are only effective in influencing brand choice if there is a clear connection with the brand and message" – Giep Franzen, Advertising Effectiveness
There are multiple resources online that can supply you with high quality free-to-use images, without looking like the typical sterile stock photo. Pexels and Unsplash, just to name a couple. Use these and other sites to your benefit in order to give your landing page or other creatives a high quality look. Whether you're creating from scratch or using an LP builder,
If possible, showcase the product or service in your images, or present a scenario of the user post-purchase. For example, if you’re promoting a travel offer like Booking.com, show the outcome of the user using the service.
The two images below could both be used for this example, but the right photo is a less than genuine stock photo that doesn’t communicate much other then faux enthusiasm. The left photo which I obtained from Pexels.com, actually relates to the benefit of the offer – how the user could be positively effected by using Booking.com’s services. It’s more tangible and adds a level of realism not found in the photo to the right. It also adds legitimacy to the campaign, as stock photos can have a reputation for being used for low quality or scammy products.
The image on the left above attempts to generate a specific emotion from the user that the stock image fails at accomplishing. In this case, the excitement of traveling to a new destination. In any type of advertising, striving to create an emotional response from the audience is important, and that philosophy should be no different for your promotional methods. The type of emotion you’re trying to invite from the user should relate to what you’re promoting, but can include a wide range of feelings like happy, sad, angry, disgusted, excited, excited, and countless more. You won’t find as much success relying purely on logic, so tap in to the emotions of the user to ultimately increase your conversions
As with anything in affiliate marketing, always test to see what works best. It's the best way to hone your promotion techniques and to learn what does and doesn't work with certain demographics.
It’s easy to find proponents for both sides of the argument in regards to using questions in headline copy. For affiliates, that will frequently be the copy they write for the top of a custom landing page or squeeze page. Some will argue headlines structured as a question are ineffective, while others will swear by it’s connective nature to the user. Betteridge's law of headlines even states: "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no." It is named after Ian Betteridge, a British technology journalist. There’s definitely some truth to that statement, but the challenge and benefit comes from using questions that aren’t simply answered with a ‘No’.
We think the real answer to the question found in this headline is likely somewhere in between the two trains of thought, and we’re going to tell you why.
The best headline copy questions are ones that ensure the user’s answer to that question persuades them to become more invested in what you’re promoting. That’s why the phrasing of the question is so important, because you’re aiming to minimize the possibility of a user answering that question negatively. If anything, you don’t want them to be able to answer it at all. You want them to have to read through the rest of your copy to find their answer. Doing this will increase their interest in what you’re promoting, ensuring they invest more time into your landing page and learning about the offer.
If you directly tie the answer to the question with the campaign’s product or service you’re promoting, there’s a greater likelihood the user will go looking for the answer. To properly answer the question you’ve asked them, they will literally HAVE to find out more information first. You want a conversation to open within their user’s head, where perhaps without even realizing it they’re automatically trying to answer what you’ve asked.
An example of this could be: “Is This Weight Loss Program The Perfect Match For YOUR Body?”
The user isn’t going to be able to answer this question without delving in a bit further, inevitably learning more about the program. They’re engaging with your ad, article, social media post, or landing page, and spending quality time learning more about the product. This is going to increase the probability of a conversion significantly. The goal is to inspire the curiosity of the user.
If you were to just ask: “Are You Looking to Shed Pounds Right Now?” it’s very easy for the user to answer “No.” in their heads if they feel unmotivated or are still considering options when it comes to weight loss or living a healthier lifestyle. The disconnect between the headline and the content (which for affiliates will be the campaign landing page or a custom squeeze page) allows for an easy “exit” out of the sales path, leading to a reduced conversion rate.
Questions aren’t always the best option for headline copy, but they can still be useful way to attract users to engage if you put some thought behind what is you’re asking. Strive to make them as inclusive as possible to maximize the amount of users who want to learn more about the campaign you’re promoting.
Image based social juggernaut Pinterest announced the introduction of a search advertising function to their website last week. This is obviously big news to affiliates who are always looking for new traffic sources.
Google has long been the undisputed king of search advertising, but other sites and platforms like Pinterest are seemingly beginning to covet some of that kingdom’s wealth.
Pinterest said that its users utilize their platform to research products for up to three months before making a large purchase. This activity is the catalyst for implementing a search advertising platform, because the opportunity for marketers to advertiser to new potential consumers is so apparent based on that data.
In their post on business.pinterest.com announcing the news, Pinterest had the following to say about the new advertising platform:
“Today, we're excited to introduce Search Ads on Pinterest: a new way to connect with people searching for your products and services. We’re rolling out a full suite of features, including Keyword and Shopping Campaigns that are shown in search results, along with powerful new targeting and reporting options. And we’re continuing with our ongoing commitment to promote relevant content that makes Pinterest better for everyone.”
For now, Pinterest is only testing the new system with several big brand companies such as eBay, Garnier, Target, and Home Depot. This is to ensure they’ve fine tuned and developed a proper algorithm before allowing the masses (including affiliates) full access. However, once this happens, it could open up a new unsaturated market for affiliates to promote campaigns that allow search advertising in an environment that sees TWO BILLION searches every month. Stay informed to find out when their search advertising will be openly available.
Wherever you find the words ‘native advertising’ you’ll most likely find them followed by ‘the future of marketing’ as many marketing pundits and analysts believe heavily in it’s consumer attracting potential. And for good reason. Even so, a widespread agreed upon definition of the term is elusive, perhaps because of the sheer number of ways it can be implemented.
What is Native Advertising?
The simplest way to describe native advertising is that it’s a type of online advertising that aims to match both the form and function of the platform in which it’s found.
Essentially it’s blended directly into the content. This isn’t done to ‘trick’ a user or consumer into becoming an impression or sale necessarily, but more a strategy to minimize the inherent obtrusiveness of advertising. A significant amount of the population hate having their senses pummelled online by a site covered in non content related ads from one side of the screen to the other. (Who would have thought?) And that’s why native advertising is so effective and has the potential to keep growing as advertisers find new and creative ways to use it.
Some common types of native advertising.
In Feed Units
How It’s Used in Affiliate Marketing
Native advertising is frequently used by big brand companies, but it’s also an extremely useful technique for many affiliate marketers. Some affiliates may already be promoting campaigns that way and not even realize it.
For example, if you’re promoting a fitness offer from MaxBounty and you operate a blog or website that provides work out plans. Integrating the text link for that campaign directly into a post is native advertising. You’re incorporating the ad into the content in hopes of making a smooth transition for the user when they go from content to an advertisement. They’ll feel less like their being told what to buy and more that their legitimately being suggested a product or service that’s relative to their interest.
Another common area where native advertising and affiliate marketing work well together is on social platforms. Affiliates who operate niche oriented Facebook pages can utilize sponsored posts to help them promote offers that are relative to their page’s content. You’ll also frequently see Instagram pages promote content related products every 10, 20 or however many posts. This is an effective way to monetize a social page through native advertising.
Utilizing a Custom Landing or Squeeze Page
Custom Landing and Squeeze pages can be a great tool to have in your arsenal if you’re using native advertising in your promotion. If a user clicks on a link but is directed to a page with too much information on it, the experience can quickly become one of confusion. A Custom squeeze page can be angled to match your specific strategy for promoting the offer. This also creates the opportunity for additional tracking analytics to enable testing and optimization.
There are many forms of native advertising that can be used in conjunction with affiliate marketing, and new strategies for doing so will continue to pop up as the online experience involves. More importantly then getting caught up in the ‘how to’s of those methods, is to remain conscious of what native advertising is and the benefits it can provide. Whenever there’s an opportunity to integrate promotion with content to break down the obtrusiveness of advertising, it should be seized. You AND the user will both appreciate it.
Pinterest and affiliate marketing have always had a bit of rollercoaster of a relationship at best. Some have claimed it’s not an effective traffic source while others have padded their wallets utilizing it as just that.
Regardless if you’ve found it an effective means for obtaining traffic or not, once Pinterest removed the ability to post affiliate links, the social platform’s usefulness to all affiliates obviously bottomed out. In the last few months that has changed, as has Pinterest’s minds on allowing affiliate links.
Pinterest’s initial reasoning behind removing affiliate links was because they believed spammers were abusing them, which is a fair reason for doing so. Since then, they claimed they have bolstered their detection system, making it easier to distinguish between legitimate affiliate links and those leaning towards spam territory.
Besides the ban being lifted, not much has changed or will change If you’re an affiliate looking to promote offers through Pinterest, as Adelin Cai – Pinterest’s Head of Policy, states below.
“If you use affiliate links on your site, you don’t have to do anything differently—just keep on Pinning as usual.”
The company seems to understand that there is business to be made by allowing affiliates to use the platform for promotion, and that there are users who are doing so honestly. This is good news for anyone who was previously using the site to promote offers at MaxBounty, or perhaps you never had the chance to try using it the first time around. If you’re looking to try something new with an offer that allows social traffic, this could be a great choice.
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