Want to start selling affiliate products? Advertising affiliate products is one of the best ways to generate passive income with your website. In this guide, we’ll share how to sell affiliate products with comparison posts.
Ever wondered why some bloggers seem to earn passive income effortlessly, while your blog just sits there like a ghost town?
Maybe you’ve noticed those bloggers using affiliate links, and you thought you could do the same thing. But after signing up for countless affiliate programs, and sprinkling those links throughout your site, no one’s biting.
Your website still isn’t generating passive income.
But what if I told you that there’s a simple solution that will grow your blog traffic and income at the same time?
This method works like gangbusters for me, and I believe it could easily work for you too. It’s writing product comparison posts.
Product comparison posts are blog posts that review two or more products side by side, to help shoppers decide which product is best for them (e.g. “Aweber vs MailChimp: Which is Better?”).
Because product comparison posts are so helpful, your readers will love them. And you can generate massive affiliate income from them too.
In this guide, I’ll show you:
- Why comparison posts generate more affiliate sales than other types of posts
- How to promote affiliate products with product comparison posts (plus examples)
- A simple trick that will double your affiliate sales.
Are you ready to get started? Let’s go!
Introduction: The Customer Buying Cycle
Briefly before we dive in to promoting affiliate products with comparison posts, you should have a basic understanding of how online shoppers decide which product to buy.
Once you understand this process, you’ll find it so much easier to sell your affiliate products.
When people are considering buying a new product or service, they typically go through four basic stages in online shopping before making a purchase. These stages are collectively known as the customer buying cycle.
Here is a brief overview of the four stages of the customer buying cycle:
Stage 1: Recognize a Problem – the shopper becomes aware that they have a problem, and that they may need to buy a product or service to solve it.
Stage 2: Product Information Search – the shopper begins searching for information on potential products to narrow down their search for the perfect solution.
Stage 3: Compare Products* – the shopper checks out all the potential products to compare and find the best one.
Stage 4: Purchase – the shopper buys a product.
*Stage 3 (Compare Products) is the stage we’ll focus on in this guide. That’s because it offers a huge opportunity for you as an affiliate.
This is the last step before the shopper is ready to hit “buy”. However, they haven’t decided on a particular product or brand yet, and they’re looking for help to make that decision.
You can be there to help shoppers in Stage 3 of the buying cycle by offering a useful, side-by-side comparison on your blog.
Why Comparison Posts Generate More Affiliate Sales
When shoppers are in Stage 3, they will often go to Google and look for a comparison between two or more products that they are considering. And the closer they are to making a purchase, the more specific those search queries will be.
Why is this important?
Well, usually the more specific a Google search phrase is, the less competitive that keyword is. That means your comparison post has a much better chance of ranking on Google, and getting traffic every day.
Plus, long tail keywords (more specific search phrases) make up the vast majority of total search traffic, and have higher conversion rates (the people making those searches tend to be buyers).
Here’s an Example
An example I like to use is a business owner who is trying to decide which email service provider to use.
During Stage 1 of the buying cycle, the shopper recognizes that he has a problem: he needs to make more sales using email marketing. That means he’s going to need an email service provider.
Next, he’s quickly onto Stage 2, where he begins an initial search for some solutions. First, he will probably go to Google and type in a broad search term like, “email service providers”. Then he’ll learn some basic things, such as what you use an email service provider for, how it can help your business, and what are the most popular service providers.
Once he is aware of the email service providers out there, he may look deeper into a few of them by Googling “Aweber” or “MailChimp”, for example.
Now if you’re an affiliate for either of these products, you could write a blog post about just Aweber or just MailChimp. However, these search terms are usually very competitive to rank for. So unless you’re really good at SEO–or you just pay for ads–you probably aren’t going to get much traction on those posts.
However, product comparison posts are far less competitive to rank for.
Here is a look at what Long Tail Pro says about the competitiveness of “email service provider” related keywords. As you can see, “aweber review” gets only 170 searches per month, and the keyword competition score (KC) is a 37. However, “aweber vs mailchimp” has higher search volume and lower competition, at 880 searches per month and KC 27.
Don’t worry if you haven’t a clue what “KC” means. Just know that the higher the number, the more difficult it will be to rank for that keyword.
(I’ve found that a KC of 25 or lower usually means that minimal SEO expertise is needed to rank for that term.)
The bottom line is this: “Aweber vs MailChimp” is the post you’ll want to focus on writing if you want it to get organic traffic from Google.
Also, because this post targets shoppers in Stage 3 of the buyer’s cycle, this traffic has the best odds of converting into sales.
How to Promote Affiliate Products with Comparison Posts
So far in this guide, I showed you why product comparison posts generate more affiliate sales than other types of blog posts (because they attract shoppers in Stage 3 of the buying cycle, and they are easier to rank in Google).
However, if you want your comparison post to be successful, there are 5 elements that it should include.
Here are the 5 elements that every comparison post should include, if you want it to convert into sales:
- The reason why you personally chose these products or services
- Why readers should listen to your advice
- Information that is easy to scan, and touches on all the reader’s pain points
- A chart or break-down of all the information needed to compare (so the reader doesn’t have to look any further)
- A clear winner that the reader can jump on board with
To see an example, here’s an affiliate product comparison post I wrote titled Aweber vs. MailChimp vs. GetResponse.
See how the keywords are clearly built into the title? I even went a step further and added a third email service provider, thus niching down even more.
But this title isn’t just for the search engines. This title is primarily to tell folks searching on Google exactly what my post is about: comparing these three email service providers.
In the body of the comparison post, I explain that my advice is legitimate because I have personal experience using all three.
If you skim over the article, you’ll easily recognize my reader’s pain points in the headers.
You’ll also see some nice charts with a side-by-side comparison…
…and a clear winner is identified.
If you include each of these 5 elements in your product comparison posts, you’ll have the best chances at generating affiliate income from them.
But– I still have one more trick up my sleeve, and I’ll share it with you right now…
This Simple Trick Will Double Your Affiliate Sales
If you clicked through to the actual comparison post on my site, you may have noticed a couple of yellow boxes sprinkled in. Did you happen to notice them?
These are my free bonuses that I offer to readers who purchase through my affiliate link.
So if readers use my affiliate link, then I’ll offer to send them something extra. A free gift to thank them for their support.
NOTE: I am always completely upfront about my affiliate links, and you should be too. It’s important to be transparent with your readership any time you are getting paid to promote or endorse a product, and it’s also required by law.
In this particular post, I offered readers a free copy of my Professional Email Marketer’s Guide and a free consultation with me to help them set up and implement their email strategy if they use my link.
Now you may be thinking, why am I giving away so much of my time by offering the free consultation?
Well, helping my readers one-on-one is worth it to me because my affiliate commissions keep coming in every month. So as long as they are successful with email marketing and happy with their email service provider, I will keep getting paid.
Of course, you don’t have to offer a free consultation. This is just one example of a bonus that has worked well for me, but you can offer any type of free bonus that you want.
Here are a few more bonus ideas to tack on to your affiliate offers:
- Video or audio recording
- List of resources
- Free trial
- Swipe file
Basically, your bonus can be anything that will add value to the actual product.
This one strategy has worked so well that I’ve had clients tell me they weren’t ready to buy when they first read my article, but because of the free upgrade, they came back to my article just so that they could use myaffiliate link.
Not bad, right?
As you can see, a simple bonus offer woven into your product comparison post can increase your affiliate link conversions even more.
How to Find the Best Affiliate Products to Sell
When you’re considering what products to compare for generating passive income with your blog, it’s OK to think small. You don’t always have to compare big or expensive products or services like email service providers.
Instead, you could compare something small and inexpensive, like books on Amazon. In fact, the more “niche” your product comparison post is, the easier it will be to rank in Google.
For example, in this post on the Top AFOQT Study Guides, the author lists out all the best exam prep books for the Air Force flight test, along with detailed descriptions of each.
What’s really great about this post is that he not only lists out the best study guides, but he also explains which was his favorite and least favorite, and why.
Overall, this post does a great job of helping test takers find the right book for their needs. And since prep books for the Air Force flight test is a very niche topic, it is much easier to drive traffic.
BONUS TIP: You may be thinking that Amazon Associate links to cheap products like books aren’t worth your time. But remember, you get a percentage of anything that person buys within 24 hours of clicking your associate link– even if it’s not the same product you linked to.
If books aren’t your thing, here’s another idea to consider: apps.
Here’s a post from The Expert Editor that compares the Top 55 Apps for Writers in 2016.
This post is also one of their largest traffic generators.
At the time of this writing, the article is ranking on Google in the top 3 for keywords “apps for writers,” “writers app,” and “best apps for writers.” Every day there are more and more people finding that article, and potentially clicking on their affiliate links!