helping_readers_leads_to_affiliate_successIf there is one premise of affiliate and content marketing that rises above all others, it’s that your job as a website owner is to help your readers, not to sell to them.

Overselling products is one of the key reasons many niche sites fail. Readers will arrive at the site only to be driven away by what they perceive as spammy sales content. Most site owners never fully understand that being helpful is what will yield the most success in the long run.

In this post I’ll talk about why helping readers leads to affiliate success.

People Buy What They Trust

The first and most important thing to understand is that there is a real person on the other end of your blog. In fact there are thousands of real people. These people may be looking to buy a product but may also just be looking for some type of information.

If you can understand your reader’s needs and wants, you can improve the chance that the reader will convert into a consistent blog reader and, eventually, a sale via one of your affiliate partners.

Just as you don’t want to land on websites that are clearly designed for the purpose of promoting products to you, you don’t want your readers to be oversold upon arrival at your site. This leads to higher bounce rates, fewer return visits, and an overall lack of trust from your audience.

In the end it is trust and integrity that makes sales, not raw advertisements.

Readers Are Trying To Solve Problems

The second point to understand about addressing your reader base is that these individuals are not “customers” in the traditional sense of the word. They are simply people that are looking to solve a problem.

Problems can take many forms. It could be an informational search, or it could be a dedicated search for a product type. Chances are you will end up sourcing the majority of your customer base from readers looking to find information.

Think about your own course of actions when buying online: if you already know exactly what you want to buy, you just go to amazon, or ebay, or the product website. If you’re almost ready to buy, but not sure exactly what you need, you look for more information.

Solving these problems first is essential to generating significant traffic on your site. You should design your site such that you’re helping the user pick the product that’s right for them, even if that means a lower or even no commissions for you as an affiliate. The point is to become a part of the community, not simply a promoter to it.

The act of helping will ultimately lead to higher success in the long run. Still don’t believe me? Check out this case study about how understanding the reader led to increased sales.