HighlyStructured.com is a blog website run by Mike D'Agostino about search engine positioning, online marketing, php/MySQL, tae kwon do, and various other topics.

Affiliate Programs - Tips for Improving Ad Exposure

March 31, 2006

I have recently begun to start incorporating affiliate program ads on one of my websites. I have joined about 15 affiliate programs and have received the code for about 25-30 different ads. The ads have been incorporated into the website a number of different ways, and after seeing the ads, I can't help but feel like there is a better way to go about it.

Affiliate ads are great because they often display a specific message, rather than just the company's logo and tagline. Some ads might offer a discount on specific products, free shipping, etc. Most affiliates also supply a wide range of different-sized ads as well, meaning you can use the ads in just about any location on your site. I've incorporated 5 different sized ads in addition to text link ads. Now that the "standard" ads are in place, I need to develop ways to really get them noticed. Following are some ways I've thought of to really draw a reader's attention to the ad and hopefully induce a click.

Better placement on page
I'm really referring to the blog posts here. While I have a large horizontal banner, two 125 x 125 ads, and a bolded text link ad at the tops of each blog page, I think I can better integrate the ads into the posting copy. Perhaps designating an area within the post will draw more attention to the ads. Instead of just ignoring the ads which are placed in the usual locations, they will be almost forced to take notice of the ads in the middle of the posts. While this may seem obtrusive, I think if they are used tastefully on a limited basis no readers will mind.

Including an affiliate ad in the signup confirmation email
The website allows users to sign up for a service, and after successfully completing the registration, a verification/introductory email is sent with their signup information, etc. I think this would be a great place to include an affiliate ad. I believe even better results will be achieved if I try to "sell" the ad as well. Instead of just displaying the code, an effort can be made to describe the deal and the vendor.

Use affiliate product catalogs
This is a bit more entailed however I believe can produce great results. Some affiliate websites offer access to their product catalogs so that you can actually put together your own "store". Using a bit of programming you can pull certain products and deals from their affiliate product database and present them on your site. I could think of many different ways of incorporating such a system from developing an entire separate site just for those products, including a "store" section on the site, having a "featured product" on the home page, and promoting the products just as the affiliate ads are promoted.

Hype up the ads
I think the one crucial step that must be taken is really trying to sell the ads as if I am an actual sales rep for the company. A bit of care needs to be taken to highlight each ad in a customized manner. This will probably include creating a field in the database for each affiliate ad to hold random text. When the ad is displayed, it will be accompanied by "sell text".

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