mexican_cruise2This is the second part of a case study on how to improve affiliate conversion by understanding your reader. If you haven’t already, you should read Part 1 first.

To refresh your memory, in the first part I presented a case study involved a Mexican Cruise Vacation site, and outlined how we redirected scattered affiliate links to primary affiliate pages and product reviews.

Example 2: Engaging ‘Secondary’ Articles

The second major step to the site overhaul was to adapt secondary articles to fit better into the user flow. Rather than link directly to affiliate partner sites, or even directly to product review pages, these articles needed an intermediary step to help prepare the user to be sold on the product.

For example, in an article dealing with the Best Time of Year for a Mexican Cruise, the post originally ended with:

For more information you should go to Carnival or Disney cruise sites.

These each were linked to third-party affiliate partners. While the client was getting users to click these links, the conversion rate from having them was close to 0%.

That means that these users were leaving his site with a very low probability of completing a sale and providing a financial return to the client.

Rather than have the users leave the site, we redirected the links to point to other relevant articles on the site.

If you’re considering a Mexican cruise vacation, you may want to read more about The Top 5 Mexican Cruises or What to Look for when Choosing a Cruise.

These intermediary articles, in turn, linked to specific cruise review pages.

This approach makes it clear to the user that they’re clicking to find more information about a specific topic related to their need. This user is likely earlier in the sales cycle, and thus you, as a blogger, need to help walk him through the process until he’s ready to make the purchase.

The Results

The results of these changes were fantastic. Product review pages received a 500% increase in traffic. While the total number of clicks to affiliate partners dropped significantly (to about 10% of site traffic, from 30%), conversion rates of those clicks increased to 2.5%, up from a site-wide total of 0.5% and a product review page average of 1.5%.

Overall, this led to a 40% increase in revenue from affiliate partners.

Conclusion: You need to understand your reader.