When we reach out to new affiliates who have yet to earn commissions, the first thing we do is ask them ” what have you done to promote our products?” The answer we usually get is ” Oh, I put up a banner on the sidebar.”
When we get this answer, we’re not surprised at the lack of results. Simply put, in most cases, banner ads alone aren’t going to drive sales. This is true for a few reasons. First, most readers don’t engage with banners on the sidebar, and haven’t for a long time. Second, ad blockers in place on mobile devices and installed as add-on’s or native in web browser often block standard banner sizes from being viewed.
If you’ve got a blog or discussion board/forum site, here are some suggestions for how you should look to promote our programs and products if you’re looking to really make sales. It all boils down to the fact that these type of sites feature engaged audiences and the methods we discuss below look to play on that engagement.
“Shop and Support” –
In forums I would push a “Shop and support” message. Make a pinned post letting your readers know they can buy their team fan gear through your link to our store and help support your site. They know it takes time and money to keep a site like this running and in every case where we have rolled this out with other team forums the feedback has been very, very positive. Your readers will be happy to buy their gear and know a percentage of the sale is going to help keep the site up and running. People that are part of a “tribe” want to help out if they are asked and if it’s not much bother to do it.
Special Products – When there is a big, new product roll out (coaches polos, new jerseys, sideline collection, etc.) it is a great time to write up a quick post highlighting the new gear. The post doesn’t have to be anything too elaborate. Something along the lines of “The 2018 Nike Coaches Polo’s just launched. Check them out below and buy yours today. When you buy your team gear through these links you help support this site” and then have some images of the gear with links where to buy it tend to work very well. We’ll do our best to let you know when product releases like this are coming so you can be prepared and cash in and can often get you product images in advance so you can write articles and social posts and have them ready to go when the product release happens.
Hot Markets –
If the your team win a championship (Conference, National Championship, Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, etc. ) we will have some champs merchandise that launches right after the game ends. These are huge opportunities to generate some big sales. Push that product everywhere you can.
End of the Post Calls to Action –
At the end of your posts and articles you can put a small blurb letting your readers know they can buy their team gear. A simple text link call to action like “Gear up for the 2018 season at Fanatics.com” and then a quick product image or two will generate consistent sales for you. You can also use the “shop and support” call to action to add some extra juice to the call to action.
Featured Product on the Sidebar –
In your sidebar put a “Featured Product of the Week” widget built with a tool like Make A Page and pick out your favorite gear to feature. Could be a cool t-shirt, some tailgate gear, a new coffee mug, or whatever you see that catches your eye. If you are loving it there is a good chance other hardcore fans will like it as well. Product callouts like this on the sidebar are consistently better performers than banner ads.