How to Set Up and Optimize Your Affiliate Landing Page

When that prospect or person who is potentially interested in your affiliate offer finally clicks on your affiliate link, he will, of course, go somewhere. 

The odds are good that their destination will be some type of landing page. The landing page basically sells them on taking the next step — either getting onto a list or making a buying decision.

Whether you are an affiliate marketer or a merchant, understanding the basics of landing pages is critical to business success. Using a landing page, you can attract an audience that is ready to buy, trusts your recommendations, and spends more than they should.

This article covers the basics of landing pages and provides plenty of tips on making your pages successful.

What is an affiliate landing page?

Affiliate landing pages allow you to send traffic to your site with the purpose of driving your visitors to click on and convert to affiliate offers. You could receive traffic from organic search, social media, email newsletters, or paid advertising to your landing page.

When you’re running your website, the best place to refer your readers (prospects) are to your opt-in page. This page captures a lead (the name and email address of a prospect) to send them to a merchant’s landing page so that you have the chance for great affiliate commissions. 

Depending on your affiliate campaign, your affiliate landing page may be an optimized blog post (such as a product review or roundup) or a separate landing page. You can create them in WordPress with built-in blocks or with a landing page builder.

Affiliate landing pages can also be included in an affiliate marketing funnel. Using the landing pages, affiliates collect email addresses in order to warm up prospects by sending educational emails, so they are better prepared to make a purchase.

With a longer or more complex buying process, funnels work well for high-ticket affiliate offers.

In this article, however, we will only talk about affiliate landing pages that drive traffic straight to your affiliate offers.

Landing Page Builders

For those that have decided to create their landing pages via code, they may have to do so using the back end of the website.

As for those that are not developing theirs themselves, they do not need to have the necessary web knowledge to create a landing page. All they need is a landing page builder.

Few people know how to code, hence there is a great chance that you may need a landing page builder.

Below are some of the great software to help create landing pages:

1. Leadpages

Leadpages is a landing page building platform that charges a monthly fee of $37, and it is great for those affiliates that want their landing pages, yet do not have the requisite coding knowledge.

2. Unbounce

Unbounce is a landing page building platform that charges a monthly fee of $90. It is great for those affiliates that want a higher level of encryption like SSL encryption.

3. Instapage

Instapage charges a monthly fee of $199, and it is meant for those brands that want to create their landing pages immediately based on how their web design currently is. 

Learn more about the best landing page builders.

Structure of an affiliate landing page that converts

If you want your visitors to complete an action on your landing page, think about how to optimize elements such as design, images, headlines, benefit statements, copy, social proof, and call-to-action.

You can read our article on SEO affiliate marketing to learn more about optimizing your entire affiliate website.

1. The visuals: Colors and images

Your landing page should look professional. Are the colors and images appropriate? People typically buy either to “avoid loss” (the negative approach) or to seek a gain (financial, a new skill, well-being), so the colors and imagery matter.

For example, if you help people in the midst of a bad economy or declining financial markets, does the imagery invoke scenes of folks looking worried over an empty piggy bank? The imagery you choose should serve to reinforce the problem you’re helping with so that prospects can view your solution more favorably.

2. The headline and the subheadline

The headline is the first, most prominent set of words your prospect will read. The headline, or simply heading, is the single most important element on a landing page. It briefly and succinctly communicates the reason why the rest of the landing page should be read. Its intention is to grab the prospect’s attention — and we mean attention. Here are a couple of examples:

  • “Learning Exactly What You Need to Successfully Retire in 5 Years”
  • “Are Wrinkles Making You Look Years Older than You Are?”

The subheading goes into greater detail, enhancing the message from the headline. It features a pain point (or a desirable gain) that the prospect can relate to immediately. For the preceding headlines, subheadlines may be the following:

  • Your retirement goals can be reached within that short time when you have the right strategies and resources — this program has them now!
  • Aging should be graceful, and this product will give you the shortcuts to a more youthful appearance!

From a pain point, imagine having a headline such as “Frustrated by Pests Ruining Your Garden?” with a subheading of “I hated coming out to my garden and seeing awful bite marks on my zucchini from groundhogs and having decimated flower beds due to voracious deer!”

3. Ad/sales copy

When you get past the headline and the subheading, it’s on to the main copy that describes the offering in greater detail. You can use a couple of different methods to create this copy.

Your homework is to look at many landing pages — especially those of your competitors — and fully notice how they communicate all the following elements to their prospects. You never should copy their text (especially since many marketers tend to copywrite their landing pages), but it should stimulate your creativity to enhance the effectiveness of your pages.

AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

The AIDA formula is a formula that was tested through millions of mail-order brochures and flyers and also in mail-order catalogs and other print media. Since it does well with human nature, the AIDA formula will certainly continue to work with landing pages, email marketing, and any other medium that is meant to be read by human beings. Here are the elements:

Attention: The first part of the formula is “attention,” and that is ultimately embodied by your headline (see the previous section). The equivalent, for example, in email is the subject line. The headline — the “attention grabber” — is arguably the most important single element of your landing page (or email if that is the case) for a very simple reason: If you don’t grab their attention, how can they possibly notice the rest of your landing page or marketing message?

Interest: When you have their attention, how do you hold it? Your text has to hold their interest so they keep reading (or keep viewing, if this is a sales video) as each sentence and paragraph leads them toward the offer.

Desire: As they are reading your text, you build desire in your offer. Whether you’re selling a product or a service, a new widget or a better mousetrap, why should they want what you’re offering? 

Action: Great! You got their attention, you held their interest, you instilled desire in your offer — now it’s time for action! The “action” means they do something, such as make the purchase by clicking the payment button to buy the incredible stuff you are providing in your phenomenal offer.

PAS: Pain, Agitate, Solution

The prior section gives you the AIDA formula, which has been the mainstay of advertising and sales copy for decades. It’s still a solid formula today and will endure for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean you can’t discover more about how great sales copy is written.

The PAS formula is essentially a spin-off of or add-on to that classic formula. Here are the individual elements (don’t rely on our sales copy prowess — you’ll get the point!):

  • Pain: The pain point is about addressing the concern of your prospect. This one says, “Hey, you’ve got an ugly pimple on the center of your forehead! You should address that before your social life goes to hell and you can only take your sister to the prom!” The reader says, “That’s right. I’ve got to fix that pimple, and I hate my sister too. I better get their treatment.”
  • Agitate: The “agitate” element just takes the pain point and puts it into overdrive. For example: “If you don’t address that pimple with our special treatment, it will get worse. The FDA reports that 98 percent of pimple sufferers have been known to move to caves and are prone to hoof-and-mouth disease.” The reader thinks, “Holy moly, I better get that pimple remedied. I wonder if they have a solution?”
  • Solution: The prospect is now ready for the sale. For example: “We have the solution! Our special cream, Pimpo-Fixo, was formulated by a special team of doctors that once treated Lawrence Welk and Howard Cosell when they were teens. After six weeks of daily application, they became teen heartthrobs — and so will you!”

Don’t forget that you are selling benefits of what you’re offering, not merely describing the features. Ultimately, you’re telling them about both the benefits and the features, but early on and before you get to the price, you’re focusing on benefits.

4. Call To Action (CTA)

The CTA of your landing page should match that of your ad. Let’s say, you write ‘get a free membership now’ in your ad, and in your landing page, you write, ‘get a paid membership now’, then there is a big problem.

If you try such with a platform like Facebook, it sees it as a type of deceptive marketing practice. As a penalty, it has your ad rejected, and your account closed.

If you land on your page, make sure that your call-to-action is visible without having to scroll down. Use a color that contrasts with the background design of your page so that it stands out. It is usually persuasive to use short command verbs like learn more, join, or get started for free.

5. Testimonials

What can really sell the offer being presented is affirmation from others who have already bought or experienced the content or product and are happy customers or clients. In today’s social media–driven world, this can also be referred to as “social proof.” Given that, get at least three happy folks who partook of the offering and include their testimonials. Such a testimonial would look something like this:

  • “I loved the product! I lost weight, gained new friends, and increased my IQ by 50 points!” Zeb K., Toledo, OH
  • “I was skeptical when I bought Dr. Bob’s growth formula for my son, but in six months he went from being too short to be a horse jockey to being the new center for his high school basketball team — thanks, Dr. Bob!” Madge W., New York, NY
  • “Getting more digital sales at my site was difficult, but fortunately Ted’s system of sales through affiliate marketing has upped my monthly sales to over $2,000. I highly recommend his proven system. Unless, of course, you’re my competitor.” Biff J., Homer, AL

As you sell more and more of your offering, make it a point to ask your satisfied customers for testimonials. If your product or service works out well, testimonials usually aren’t difficult to get. The most common responses from your customers are usually “I don’t know what to write” and issues tied to privacy.

A common response is to ask some questions about what they liked about your product/service and then write the testimonial for them and get their permission to reprint it. For privacy, it is also common to use only their first name and the initial for their last name, or just initials along with an identifying state, city, or country (if your marketing reaches beyond your borders).

6. Bonuses

Hey, who doesn’t like free stuff? We think it’s ingrained in human nature. Fast-forward to marketing online and you’ll find that free bonuses are as necessary for your offers as any other element. It isn’t uncommon to offer several bonuses to really make your offer irresistible.

What can you offer? The bonuses don’t have to necessarily be expensive add-ons. Many times the bonus can be an easily produced information-related offer such as a report, e-book, video, audio, or similar digital content.

7. The “what’s inside” element

Marketing Ad Copy 101 tells you to emphasize benefits (first) and ultimately, at the time of the sale, provide the features. Just like that company that sold you “a good night’s sleep” when it meant their mattress.

In this part of the landing page, you tell them exactly what they get — the features. Why? Because you don’t want folks asking for their money back because what they got isn’t what they expected. In this segment, you make it explicit by saying, for example, “The content includes ten videos, a 30-minute MP3 audio, and a 28-page instructional PDF all within a single ZIP file.” Or if it’s a physical product, the “what’s inside” element may say, “The elegant elephant-foot umbrella stand is a colorful gray unit, 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide, weighing only 5 pounds and containing no gluten. Batteries not included.”

For example, I offer investing courses online, and I mention that in the audio version they will get “Three hour-long MP3 audios along with course materials in PDF and Excel-compatible spreadsheets,” and that in the online video format they will get “50+ videos in five modules titled [XXX]” along with what course materials accompany the program and in what format.

8. The bio

The bio section of a landing page tells readers that you’re someone who knows what you’re talking about. The bio is essentially a condensed resume featuring your credentials, experience, books written, courses taught, and other information emphasizing your expertise and why you’re great at doing this product/service or other offering.

For example, if you’re linking to or selling a gardening program, letting prospective customers know that you have an agricultural background and have been gardening for 33 years can give them confidence to make the buying decision.

9. Payment buttons

Of course, when you’re presenting an offer with a buying decision attached, there should be a mechanism to make a purchase. That mechanism is the payment button, which prospects click at the point of purchase. 

They will then go to a separate page to finalize that transaction. For many, that means payment services such as PayPal, Stripe, or a platform such as JVZoo, ClickBank, WarriorPlus, or another platform that can help you transact PayPal or credit card purchases.

Usually, a payment button should be presented at least twice: The first one should appear in the middle of a landing page after readers have viewed the headline, subheading, video (if one is included), and sales copy, and just before the guarantee. The second one can come later after the testimonials and the “what’s inside” text. However, if you’re selling an inexpensive item and little sales copy is needed, one payment button may suffice.

If you’re selling a higher-end product and the landing page is relatively long, the payment button may be shown more than once or twice. An additional consideration (if it’s an expensive offer) is to give the buyer more than one way to buy, such as “You can save money by making a single payment of $197 or make three easy payments of $79.”

10. Guarantees

In this part of the landing page, you tell the reader what guarantee (if any) exists for this particular offer by the merchant. A guarantee is there to give the reader confidence in making the purchase, and it also signals that you stand behind your offer and the claims made.

Studies say overwhelmingly that a clear and strong money-back guarantee does in fact increase total sales and has a very significant impact on conversions (turning visitors/readers of a landing page into buyers).

It is also highly recommended that you provide the guarantee as soon as the price is shown, which can serve to make the potential buyer less concerned about the cost of your offering — especially if it is pricey, such as $50, $99, or more.

Keep in mind that a money-back guarantee is not always ironclad and sometimes you shouldn’t offer one unconditionally. I recall that one merchant had a 30-day money-back guarantee for his expensive real estate course, and it sold very well. 

But in a moment of greed, he increased his money-back guarantee to a full six months, figuring that sales would skyrocket. The sales did in fact soar to new heights, but the six-month money-back guarantee period was too long and in fact encouraged folks to use it and simply send it back (whether the program worked out well or not), so the number of people who chose to take advantage of the guarantee soared to new heights as well. 

The problem with the merchant was that he had already spent the money and ultimately did not have enough cash on hand to cover the full requests, and this situation forced his company into bankruptcy. He went from a million-dollar success to a failed enterprise in under 12 months (ouch).

In less dramatic fashion, the money-back guarantee should be carefully considered with some types of products. If you sell, for example, personalized giftware, then a money-back guarantee should be considered only if the merchant makes errors with the personalization; otherwise, a money-back guarantee may not qualify.

Before you enact a guarantee of any kind, find out what guarantees are commonly used for your type of product or in your niche. You can certainly find out with the active members of the business association involved in your type of product or business. We highly recommend that you view the guarantees explicitly made in the sales pages of your competitors.

11. Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

It’s always good to anticipate any questions or concerns your prospects may have in advance and create a section for “frequently asked questions” or simply FAQs. This is especially important if the product is expensive. Many buyers like this information because it’s convenient for both them and you. 

Otherwise, serious buyers email you questions, and as you get and answer all those questions, an FAQ makes a lot of sense, especially if the offer is somewhat complicated or needs further justification for a buying decision to be made.

12. Legal notices and disclaimers

Whether you’re an affiliate or a merchant, your opt-in page and your landing page need links at the bottom that serve as legal notices as required by law. Agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission mandate this as your duty to visitors of your landing page.

How to optimise your affiliate landing page

For budding affiliate marketers, no matter what you’re selling, keep in mind that you don’t always have to read the mind of you market. You should test, test, test to find out what makes them accept your offer. The following sections give guidance on testing and other factors for success with your landing pages.

1. Test with the A-B split

You always want optimum results with your marketing efforts, but how do you know whether you’re getting them? Just like they say that real estate is about “location, location, location,” a similar truism applies to marketing: “testing, testing, testing.” You will never know as well as your readers what they want or how they will respond until you test your approach. This is where the A-B split comes in.

Say that you have a relatively successful landing page that is converting at 1.5 percent. This means that from every 1,000 visitors, you are converting those visits to 1.5 sales. This means that you sold 15 units of your offer. If, for example, you’re a merchant and your sale price is $50, that means that you generated gross sales of $750 (15 units × $50). Not bad, but how good is it? Can you improve on it?

In this case, you assign your regular landing page the designation of “A.” And say that you have an almost-identical page but with a slight but critical difference where you make the same offer but at a price of $39 (rather than $50) and add an enticing free bonus that isn’t present in the regular or “A” offer page. Give this second version the designation of “B.” Do you see what we’re doing here?

Say for the sake of our situation that you’re paying to have traffic sent to your A and B pages and you’re sending 1,000 visitors to each. Now what? The A page generated total sales of 15 units at $50 per sale (again, $750 in gross sales), but you find out that the B page generated 22 sales for a total of $858 (22 × $39). So now this test gives you a clear comparison when measured in total gross sales. Which did better — A with $750 or B with $858? B obviously did better by $108 ($858 minus $750).

The testing showed you which offer was better received by the marketplace. Now your former standard (the A page) can be dropped, and the new standard is the offer fleshed out in page B. Now, going forward, you can try a different test page B with a new offer or approach to see whether it can do better in gross sales versus the new A page.

2. Consider SEO

Your landing page is found by prospects who are either directed there (via email or a plethora of other venues) or have found your page using search engines. You don’t want to miss anyone, so make sure your page is optimized for those who use search engines (which is most of us).

Given that, understanding and using the idea of search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial. To state it briefly, make sure your page has the most relevant terms both in its visible ad copy (headlines, main text, and so on) and also in the aspects of landing pages that are not readily visible (such as meta tags and image names). For more details on SEO, read our guide on affiliate marketing SEO.

3. Use an exit pop-up

You’ve seen pop-ups before. There you are at a landing page for that snazzy elephant-foot umbrella stand that you were eyeing. But, for some mysterious reason, you decide against getting it and you either click the X in the top-right corner of the landing page or you click on your browser’s back button in your attempt to leave the page entirely.

Then, before you are gone, a small window pops up — the exit pop-up — imploring you to input your email address before you go so you can get the free report “How to choose umbrella stands.”

Pop-ups (either entrance pop-ups for those coming in or exit pop-ups for those leaving) are intended as just another attempt to collect the name and email address of the prospect (also referred to as “lead capture”). This effect is typically available through most full-service email services.

4. Learn from others’ wisdom

When it comes to the world of marketing, either online or offline, we emphasize that there are no secrets. This means that much of what you need to learn — be it for a landing page, a successful product page on Amazon, an ad on YouTube, or any other publicly accessible and viewable message or image — comes from noticing and analyzing what is in front of you and how you can apply it to your pursuits.

If ten (financially) successful landing pages all offer three enticing bonuses, seven testimonials, and a 60-day money-back guarantee and they are generally in the same niche or industry as you, then consider doing the same. If you want to try something better (desiring to be creative), then it won’t hurt your prospective sales if, say, you add another bonus or find a high-profile person to provide a video testimonial.

The bottom line is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but it pays to be sensitive to how you can provide a good — or better — deal than others in your niche or industry.

5. Solve page speed issues

For both Google Ads and Google Search, speed is a factor for landing pages. Make sure your page loads faster than it should by using tools like Google’s Page Speed Insights.

If your visitors have to wait longer than 3.5 seconds to navigate, click, and scroll the page, it’s not optimal. It’s called the average document interaction time. You can find the DOM timings for your page in Google Analytics by choosing Behavior > Site Speed > Page Timings and then opening the DOM Timings tab.

Page speed is adversely affected when images are not optimized, files are missing, plugins have compatibility issues, caching is not enabled, and URL redirects are not properly set up, for example.

Learn more about how to improve page speed.

6. Optimize for mobile

Optimizing your page for mobile is worthwhile, even if you have a small share of mobile traffic. Google introduced mobile-first indexing earlier this year. The mobile versions of all pages are now crawled and indexed by Googlebot. 

For that reason, mobile optimization has become crucial to the ranking process for everyone. Test your affiliate landing page’s mobile-friendliness using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

Learn more about how to make a web page mobile-friendly

Final Words

These tips will help you to create an affiliate landing page that will not only attract visitors but also motivate them to complete an action. Design, images, headlines, benefits statements, copy, social proof, and CTAs should all be optimized. Based on your visitors’ intent and the expectations of all users for landing pages, provide the best possible user experience.

After your marketing campaign is over, don’t stop there! It’s always good to analyze what happened and figure out how to do things better next time.

Check more tips for making money with affiliate marketing in our ultimate guide.

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