Stuck trying to find the right words to promote your ecommerce product or service? Maybe you even don’t want to write. Endorsing your own product, service, or brand via the written word is a tough business. Some people come by it naturally. Others sweat for days trying to smash out enough words for an Instagram post.
If you’ve tried writing your own ecommerce product descriptions or supporting blog content, you’ve probably run into some challenges. Maybe you overdo it on the wit. Or underdo it on the engagement. Perhaps proper grammar and correct spelling don’t come easily. Most experts recommend keeping blog content at a 4th grade reading level; that doesn’t mean it should read like it’s written by a 4th grader.
Not getting it right can be the difference between more traffic and conversions and no sales at all. Keep reading to discover a solution that relieves you of the burden of writing and has additional benefits for growing your business.
As Shopify experts, we have a wealth of experience with content marketing, and we recommend that business owners don’t write their own stuff. There are a few reasons for this.
One is that most people are too personally attached to their product or service. They’re unable to keep an objective perspective and write from their customer’s point of view.
The second reason is that there are far more tasks that require your expert attention. Unless you’re a good writer and you enjoy the process, spending your time in areas where you’re highly skilled just makes better business sense.
Blogging is a craft. Content writers know far more than the average business owner what words will influence, persuade, and ultimately convert people.
But there’s another reason for hiring someone else to write about your product or service than just your lack of literary talent: Social proof.
Social proof is the evidence of a product, service, or brand’s value according to people who have purchased it.
For example, testimonials or reviews are a type of social proof. Another is an influencer’s mention of a product, service, or brand on a platform such as Instagram.
Blogs, via affiliate relationships, offer another way to establish social proof. They can be an effective way to introduce your brand to a wider audience. We’ll focus on this type of social proof because it is underestimated for its effectiveness and thus, largely untapped by many ecommerce business owners.
Is referral marketing right for you? We’ll discuss what an affiliate blogger is, how it can help your business grow, and what to look for when creating an affiliate relationship.
An affiliate blogger writes content within a particular niche and either mentions, reviews, recommends, or writes a story about a product, service, or brand. You may have come across a blog in which the author mentions and links to a product or even includes a disclaimer about receiving a commission for affiliate links.
Affiliate marketing is a huge industry. So are influencers. But many of them are fake. That is, they’re paid a hefty fee to push out content built around promoting a product, service, or brand. The business owners who have that kind of money to pay for such a service are usually doing well already. It’s the smaller, independent ecommerce folks that need the help.
Also called referral marketing or performance marketing, many of these affiliate arrangements operate on a commission basis, which means you don’t pay unless someone buys your product or service. This is an ideal arrangement for small businesses and those who are just starting out.
This is how it works: Someone stumbles upon a blog based on a keyword search, and within the content they find a review or recommendation to your product –– an innovative dog leash, let’s say. They click the link, which takes them to your product page, and they buy the dog leash. Because it was the blog that led them to your site via a coded affiliate link, you pay the blogger a predetermined percentage of the sale.
We always recommend honest affiliate relationships based on organic promotion. That means the blogger promoting your product or service has actually used and benefited from it, rather than just being paid to say great stuff about it, as happens with paid influencers.
Such an arrangement may involve you giving them access to your product or service to trial and write about it. It’s an honest exchange that benefits both parties and doesn’t mislead customers with false recommendations. In the long run, this makes your brand more credible.
We’ve already touched on this a bit in our mention of organic relationships. This establishes a certain degree of trustworthiness, both in your B2B relationship, but also with your customers. Most people can smell BS a mile away, that is, they can tell when someone is pushing a product with which they have no real experience.
But there are key characteristics to look for if you decide to intentionally seek out an affiliate relationship, or if an affiliate blogger approaches you for a partnership.
This is the most important consideration. It even trumps commission fee. Some of your buyers will become acquainted with your product or service through your affiliate partner who is essentially your brand’s ambassador. That person’s voice, persona, and image should align with your business values and brand identity so that when a buyer clicks through to your site they experience a natural flow, consistency in voice, and no shocking surprises.
If a blog cannot engage a reader in the first couple sentences, no one’s reading the whole piece. Creating affiliate relationships with someone who knows their craft well results in a higher probability that your arrangement will be successful for both parties. That is, there is a better chance that the embedded link to your product or service will be seen. And unless a reader sees it, they can’t click the link or buy your product. So opt for quality over quantity when selecting affiliate bloggers.
To make your life easier, establish relationships with bloggers who know what they’re doing and have been in the business a while. If you want to give a new kid on the block a try (and we encourage that too), pay attention to all that’s not being said as you work through negotiations. Efficient correspondence, courteous communication, attention to detail, and initiative are indicators of professional efficacy. While they may not be fully versed in the industry yet, they should demonstrate a willingness to grow professionally.
Affiliate blogging can help drive traffic to your site, increase your social media following, and feature your products through reviews or recommendations.
A blog is an excellent vehicle for communicating information about your product, service, or brand. It’s longer-form content than social media posts and can thus provide an organic context in which to provide details about your product or service.
Vloggers are also hot affiliate links too. It doesn’t hurt to utilise as many sources as possible, provided they align with your brand identity and values.
If you want guidance on establishing affiliate relationships and finding the right match, we’re happy to help. We’re a well-established Shopify marketing agency, so we have plenty of advice, knowledge, and experience with referral marketing. Give us a call or schedule a free strategy session today to learn more.