tiered_affiliate_sales_processI’ve written elsewhere about how to find a balance between affiliate and non-affiliate posts, but today I’d like to go into a little more depth on how I categorize different types of posts in relation to an affiliate sales process.

In general, I think of the affiliate process as a 3-tiered system, and try to develop my sites to optimize conversions within that system. Here’s a look at each component:

Tier 1: Affiliate Sales Pages

The first and most important part of having high affiliate conversion rates is to develop a good base of affiliate sales pages. These are pages that are specifically designed towards a single product and are most effective when the reader already knows that he is being pre-sold on the product.

For example, one of the most common types of affiliate sales pages is to have a product review. The reader knows that in reading the review, he is already thinking about a possible purchase. He’s gotten to this page at the right point of his purchase cycle.

I try to keep a relatively low number of affiliate sales pages on my sites in order to maintain a helpful balance of information.

Tier 2: Links to Affiliate Sales Pages

Even though I keep a low number of direct sales pages on the site, I try to work on how I channel the reader into those pages. One method is to link to the sales page every time the name of product X appears. While this can be effective, that alone does not qualify the page as a “Tier 2” page in my eyes.

Instead, Tier 2 pages are pages that are directly relevant to sending a user on to the sales page for more information.

For example, if you have a niche on ‘beard trimmers’ with sales pages for various products, a ‘tier 2’ page might be a post on “Best Beard Trimmers To Take On The Road” or “Top 5 Beard Trimmers for a Close Shave.” Each of these probably has a list of possible product options, and it is a natural step to take from reading a short product description to a longer product review.

Tier 3: Everything Else

Finally, Tier 3 pages represent just about everything else that’s on your blog. For most blogs, tier 3 pages should represent the majority of content, and be well over 50% of your posts.

The primary purpose of these pages is to generate additional long tail traffic to your site, to gain a new reader’s initial attention. However, a well-designed site will have Tier 3 pages that naturally lead readers into a related Tier 2 page, which in turn leads to a Tier 1 page.

This is an appropriate method for channeling users. I strongly encourage you to experiment with different ways of implementing these tactics on your site and increasing your affiliate conversions. If you don’t believe me, check out this case study.