7 Ways to Increase Affiliate Sales (Without Needing More Traffic)

By Monica Lent, Co-Founder at Affilimate

A lot of guides will tell you that the best ways to increase affiliate sales are to improve your SEO, use PPC ads, or find new traffic sources.

It all sounds great until you realize that each of these strategies can take ages to implement. And whether or not they’ll work for you, or your niche, isn’t even clear until you’ve put in a ton of effort!

But what about generating more revenue from the traffic you already have on your affiliate website?

By optimizing your existing content and campaigns, you can start to see the impact of your changes overnight without waiting for new content to rank or creating unproven landing pages from scratch.

Want to learn how to increase your affiliate conversions with the same amount of traffic you have today? Read on!

How to Increase Affiliate Sales in 7 Steps

1. Promote products with recurring commissions

Imagine you could bring a customer to a brand who buys from them every month. The lifetime value of that customer to the company is massive. And not only that, but it costs less money to retain a customer than it does to acquire new ones.

But as an affiliate participating in a program without recurring commissions, you’ll only get paid for the first sale you generated for the business.

The difference for you, and the brand, being hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of customer loyalty. So how can you get a slice of the upside?

The answer is affiliate programs with recurring commissions.

These are affiliate programs which will keep paying you as long as the customer you brought brings in revenue. Not only does this retention-based model align incentives between the brand and the publisher to send quality leads, but it’s also a fairer way to reward affiliates who manage to do so.

Here’s a visualization to help this point sink in:

why recurring commissions matter

In short, some of the most profitable affiliate programs to join offer recurring commissions.

So, how can you find them?

Some of the most popular types of programs that offer this model are SaaS affiliate programs, where SaaS stands for Software-as-a-Service. But there are other types of subscriptions that do the same, such as food and supplement subscriptions, memberships, and digital products.

Examples of affiliate programs with recurring commissions include:

  • SaaS tools like email marketing and webinar software
  • Subscriptions like food and supplement delivery services
  • Digital products like courses and trainings

ClickBank in particular offers its merchants a way to sell recurring products. So, when you visit the ClickBank Marketplace, you’ll see this icon which indicates you can continue to receive commissions through what’s known as a “rebill”:

Rebills on ClickBank marketplace
Rebills on ClickBank marketplace

This makes it easy to find out which programs will continue to pay out commissions when you send them loyal customers.

2. Optimize the order of your product roundups

Product roundups are some of the best-converting types of affiliate content for bloggers and publishers. People searching for terms like “best blender” or “best organic food for cats” are at a sweet spot in their buyer’s journey: early enough that you can still earn their clicks, but not so late they’ve already got the product they intend to buy open in another tab.

But what often happens is affiliates create their list of the best products for a given category, without knowing which factors are most important to buyers. So, their list doesn’t convert as well as it could.

Which means that even with all the standard conversion rate optimization, there’s a good chance that products mentioned later in the post are actually extremely compelling for visitors — they just rarely scroll far enough to see them.

Instead of publishing and forgetting about your post, you should be tracking exactly which links on the page are leading to clicks and affiliate sales using SubID tracking!

SubIDs are basically query parameters you can add on to existing affiliate links to track exactly which one led to a particular sale.

For ClickBank products, this parameter is called TID, which stands for Tracking ID. You can use these to track things like whether the link is a text link or a button, if it appears in a table or inside the copy, or even the CTA text that was used.

Tracking ID on ClickBank
Tracking ID on ClickBank

Once you get some initial results, try moving products higher on the page which are actually leading to clicks and sales.

3. Create standalone reviews of the best-converting products

Now that you know which products are converting, you can actually invest the effort into writing in-depth reviews for them. A common mistake many affiliates make is doing it the other way around: reviews and then roundups.

This is a mistake because you want to capture people at the beginning of their buyer’s journey.

Affiliate Buyer's Journey
Affiliate Buyer’s Journey

It’s far more effective to have a visitor land on your page while they’re becoming aware of their options via roundups, and then funnel visitors who need more details to dedicated product reviews through internal links.

That way, the visitor doesn’t need to head back to Google (and away from your website) to find the last bits of information they need to commit to a purchase.

So, what exactly leads to a high-converting product review blog post that gets you clicks and conversions? Consider following a simple product review template:

  1. Strong title that draws people in from the Google search results.
  2. Establish your authority as a reviewer in the introduction.
  3. Include a product review summary early on for people who just want “the gist.”
  4. Write a buying guide that helps people pick the right product for them.
  5. Share your results from the product through screenshots, photos, and social proof
  6. List product alternatives.
  7. Conclude with a strong call-to-action.

A great product review doesn’t need to be particularly long, but it should contain information that makes it a better resource than reading generic reviews on Amazon. Google’s own guidelines about what belongs in a product review should be followed if you want to rank.

4. Increase the density of affiliate links in your content

One of the easiest ways to increase conversions in your affiliate content is to link to the same product multiple times. Unfortunately, many affiliates go for the one-and-done approach.

The key is using enough links to improve conversions without looking desperate or spammy! To increase your affiliate link density, try some of these tips:

  • Link directly to reviews instead of only the product page.
  • Link to a return policy or shipping guidelines.
  • Reference the product using different anchor text, such as “this product” or “great reviews”, and not only the product name.
  • Present the link in different formats, such as buttons, lists, and in-content links.

Here’s an example from Health.com where the first product in their roundup includes three identical affiliate links, all visible at the same time:

In general, keep it natural. This gives visitors with different motivations multiple opportunities to click and thereby secure your affiliate cookie.

5. Provide alternatives for each product you recommend

No matter how great the product is that you’re reviewing, it’s impossible that it’s a fit for everyone. Each visitor has a different budget, different needs, or different goals when they land on your website.

That’s why you should also include affiliate links to alternative products. Look for alternatives that are “cheaper” or “smaller” or “best value.” The exact alternatives will depend on your product category, but a good place to start is looking at the alternatives recommended by the merchant themselves.

Here’s an example from Wirecutter, where they frame alternatives as “Also Great”:

This is a compelling way to clearly denote your #1 top pick, while providing alternatives that might be suitable for different types of shoppers.

Not sure where to find alternatives to the products you’re promoting? A good place to start is on the manufacturer’s page itself.

Most product detail pages on ecommerce websites will include alternatives at the bottom of the page. Snipe these in a pinch, but over time you should test different alternatives and see which ones resonate most with your readers.

You might also want to try promoting products by different merchants, in case their websites simply convert better.

6. Add social proof like ratings or reviews

Social proof can be summed up as a psychological phenomenon where people want to do what everyone else is doing, whether that’s going to the same parties, wearing the same brands, or buying the same recommended products.

In order to “fit in,” shoppers online turn to the opinions of others to decide what to buy. That’s why they landed on your website in the first place. But you can back up your personal opinion by bringing in social proof from other sources.

Here’s an example from a review of Elementor, a popular WordPress plugin:

Showing the 94% ratings and 5 million installs are all designed to instill confidence in the reader that they are about to read a review for a popular, quality product.

Here are a few ideas of social proof you can include in your affiliate content:

  • Star ratings or scores from marketplaces or the retailer itself
  • Number of online reviews
  • Number of times software has been downloaded or installed
  • Quotes and testimonials from the brand’s website
  • Social media shares and candid quotes
  • Certifications or awards the product has won
  • Celebrity or expert endorsements

While you might be a random person on the internet, there’s no denying the influence of numbers and status when it comes to selling a product effectively.

7. Include affiliate links earlier in your article

Last but not least, here’s the easiest improvement you can make to your content now: including your affiliate links earlier in the article.

One of the key affiliate marketing mistakes that bloggers make is writing their article first, and adding affiliate links second. Instead, structure the article in a way that it’s logical and natural to include your affiliate links early on.

For example, including a “summary” at the beginning of the post of the key recommendations throughout the article. This is not only useful to the reader, but saves them trying to skim the post – which could be thousands of words long – just to find out your recommendations.

Here’s an example from The Spruce covering the best types of vacuum cleaners for different needs, early on in their article:

But be sure to balance this with context. Before you promote too many affiliate links, make sure the reader has had a chance to get to know you first, and see you as an authority on the topic.

In fact, knowing how to instill trust and win your reader’s confidence is one of the most important blogging skills you can develop as an affiliate marketer.

Ways to Increase Affiliate Sales Wrap-Up

Increasing your affiliate sales overnight might sound like a dream. But if you’ve already got a solid foundation to work with, doing so isn’t that difficult.

Don’t just forget about older content and assume it’s earning as much as it could. Invest the effort to return to content after it begins to rank, and see what you can learn.

Watch your clicks, conversions, and on-page analytics to better understand what exactly is (and isn’t) resonating with readers.

Some of the most profitable affiliate sites out there are earning more efficiently with less content. Wouldn’t you like to do the same?

Optimizing what you already have is a great way to start.