So you’ve signed up for the Fanatics affiliate program and posted links to either the Fanatics site, promo or a product on your blog or a social post. Great right? The money spigot is going to turn on and you’ll be able to make an awesome dent in your holiday-related credit card debt when commissions get paid next month… but nothing happens. What the heck?
Here’s a check list to go through to troubleshoot the situation.
- Do you have traffic?
- Are you using affiliate links?
- Are you using text links and product links in content? Or just posting banner ads and hoping for the best?
- Did you leverage affiliate channel approved promotions or coupons?
- Did you give the shoppers “the why” and call them to action?
Let’s break these down one by one in a little more detail.
Do you have traffic?
If you don’t have traffic to your blog or social posts, you can post links until the cows come home and you won’t see much in the way of affiliate commissions. So how can you get traffic? There are a few ways that we recommend based on what’s allowed in our program. It all starts though with content. You need to come up with some content that is of value to someone else.
What the content consists of is entirely up to you. Just make sure that you help someone else out. Can you help someone find something they are looking for? Teach them something? Save them some money? Help them with tips to get more out of an activity they love? It helps if you base your content on something that you know a lot about or are passionate about. It could be your favorite sports team, or helping people find the best deal, or how to plan the best Super Bowl party.
In the case of Fanatics Sr. Affiliate Coordinator Joe Sousa, it’s all about that meat (boss). He built a site called CompleteCarnivore.com where he talks all about meat. How to select it, how to cook it, what are the best cuts, who are the best suppliers, etc. He writes great content, he participates in online communities and social pages with other folks who are interested in his topic and he makes money from people buying meat and meat related products that he then turns around into buying more meat and meat related products. Oh, and as a perk, sometimes vendors send him free stuff because he has made himself an authority on his topic. Pretty cool right?
Once you have your content together, find communities of people with common interests that you can interact with and contribute. Make sure you include your link in any social profiles or forum profiles and include your link where the platform rules allow it. This should lead to free traffic. If you’re using WordPress to build your site, do some research on SEO and how to optimize your posts to get traffic from Google and Bing.
If you’ve got traffic, you have the first part of the equation down.
Are you using affiliate links?
Of course I am using affiliate links! I’m signed up as an affiliate right and I posted a link to your site. Well… not necessarily.
You would be amazed to know how many affiliates post links that don’t and won’t track. In order for us to track sales, you need to make sure that your links to our site(s) are routed through either the ShareASale.com domain or their shortened domain shrsl.com.
If you post links that go directly to Fanatics or any of our other ecommerce sites without going to ShareASale first, your sales will not track.
We provide some great tutorials and tips on linking at http://fanaticsaffiliates.com/resources/affiliate-101/affiliate-technical-support
If you have traffic, but you’re not seeing sales and commissions, this is the first thing I would check. Look over all of your links and make sure they are going through the proper redirects before they hit our site. If you have any that aren’t, replace them with proper links and you should see your clicks, sales and commissions tracking.
Are you using text links and product links? Or just slapping up banner ads and praying for that cash waterfall?
I’m going to tell you something that probably won’t shock you much. Banners (on their own) usually aren’t big sales drivers. There are some exceptions, like hot market events like the Super Bowl, World Series, etc. where an aggressively posted banner can grab people’s attention and get some sales. But when that happens, it’s usually when someone posts a banner in the content column. Here’s a pro tip – most people now are viewing the web through mobile devices. Many of those people have ad blockers, and standard sized banner ads get blocked a lot. So in a lot of cases, if you’re relying on a banner ad alone, your link isn’t even being displayed.
It’s about that CONTENT. Work your affiliate links into your content. Use product images, talk about the associated product in your own words. Why is it cool? Why do you recommend it? Why does your audience need it? Then call them to action with a text link. If you’re talking about a specific product, deep link them to that product page. If you’re talking about your team, let your readers know they can shop for their team gear and drop a link to the team page, etc. People are more likely to click on a text link in the context of a post or article they are reading than a banner ad.
Are you using a affiliate channel approved promo or coupon?
You should use every tool at your disposal to get someone back to our site motivated and ready to buy. If we’re offering a coupon or promo that relates to a product you’re talking about, make sure to call it out. You will send someone to shop with us knowing what they want, and knowing that they are getting a deal. Who doesn’t like a deal?
You can find out what deals and coupons we’re offering at https://account.shareasale.com/a-dealscurrent.cfm
The links are even ready for you to use there. It’s a big time saver. Just do a quick search for the merchant you want to promote and you will get a list of promos available and any details you need to know including start and end dates, restrictions, codes involved and the links themselves.
Did you give your readers/shoppers “The Why” and call them to action?
So you spent some time creating some great content and included some affiliate links and product images. Great, all set right?
Nope. You’re forgetting an important step. Give the audience “The Why” in your call to action (CTA).
This is especially true if you’ve got an established community that you have been creating content for regularly and have good engagement with. It’s actually important for a couple of reasons: First, you increase the likelihood that someone will click through your link and make a purchase and earn you a commission. Second, if you do it right, you will handle your FTC Disclosure at the same time.
So what does a good CTA look like? It can be as simple as closing with something like:
“If you like what we do here at (your site name) and would like to support us, you can help us out by shopping through our link to Fanatics (or NFLShop, FansEdge, MLBShop, etc.) When you make a purchase after you click our link, they will share a part of that sale with us”
You see what we did here? The shopper has been invited to participate in supporting the content that they appreciate. People like to help out, especially if they are asked and if helping out is easy and didn’t cost them anything extra other than shopping for team gear they were probably going to buy anyway. Oh, and you also took care of letting them know that there was a commercial relationship behind your linking to our site, which keeps the FTC happy.
You can read more about Disclosure and how to use it to your advantage at http://fanaticsaffiliates.com/resources/affiliate-101/ftc-disclosures/
So there you have some tips on where to start if you’ve posted links, but aren’t seeing sales and commissions tracked. If you have any more questions, or would like us to check your linking for you, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org