affiliate_sales_processThis is the fourth post in my beginner’s guide to the affiliate sales process. You can click here to begin the series, or skip to affiliate sales rule #1 or affiliate sales rule #2.

Now that you understand the basics about the two types of customers, it’s time to turn to how you can develop readers that are highly likely to convert into a sale.

For this, we need to address the idea of where a consumer is in the purchase lifecycle when he buys your products, which leads us to affiliate sales rule #3.

Affiliate Sales Rule #3: Target Consumers Late in the Purchase Process

Readers are more likely to convert to affiliate sales if they have already decided to buy a product.

This may sound like an obvious statement on the surface, but in order to fully comprehend it’s implications we need to back up and look at the consumer purchase process, from a customer’s perspective.

The Consumer Purchase Process

Consumers don’t buy products immediately. Most people have to weigh decisions across a number of factors, regardless of whether the purchase is a high dollar value or not. In fact, the average consumer takes 7 points of contact before purchasing a product.

7 points of contact! That’s a lot. So what happens during that process, and how can you target the ultimate and penultimate touch point instead of the first?

Think about the process you go through before you buy a new product. In general, you:

  1. Identify a problem
  2. Research the problem
  3. Brainstorm possible types of solutions
  4. List specific solutions/options
  5. Research each specific solution
  6. Decide on the right solution for you, and
  7. Purchase the product.

Most consumers follow a similar process, even if they never formally outline the steps they take. Each action might occur quickly, and be as simple as a quick Google search, but as an affiliate it does you no good if the reader finds your page when he’s in step 1, and is still 5-6 other searches away from buying the product!

Naturally, most affiliate sites will have content that addresses multiple phases of this process, but the more you can gear your content to the later steps of the process, the better off you’ll be, since a consumer is more likely to transition directly from your site into a sale.

Realistically, only a small percentage of your users will ever convert to a sale, and that number is even smaller for new or first time users than repeat users. That brings us to our fourth and final affiliate sales rule. Click here to read on!