Why Would Anyone Click Affiliate Links?

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Very interesting question today in this week’s Friday Q&A.

A reader, Andy F., asked the following question via email and I thought it was a very good question which I think a lot of people who don’t understand affiliate marketing might be asking.

Here’s Andy’s question:

“Why would anyone want to click on (for example) your link to to go eBay or Amazon when they can just go to those sites directly? With all the phishing for personal information and fake landing pages, I don’t see why anyone would click an affiliate link versus just typing in the direct link to the company?”

The main point here is that it seems logical that in order for people to protect themselves from the dangers lurking around every corner of the internet, like scams and cybercrime, they would just go to the big brands that they know and trust rather than click links on some unknown, faceless website. Especially when you’re going to end up on the big brand website anyway.

This shows the general lack of understanding for an industry that has been around for over 20 years (nearly as old as the internet itself) and one that is encouraged by the same big brands.

Why would Amazon even run an affiliate program when they’re a household name? Certainly they don’t need help getting people to buy their stuff.

Consider this – Amazon pays out millions of dollars each month to affiliate marketers all over the world and derived 40% of their revenue from their Amazon Associate program in 2011.

This shows that people are indeed clicking on affiliate links despite the fact that they know about Amazon and other big brands like eBay.

Why are they doing it instead of just directly visiting the sites that they know and trust? Here’s the answer to this week’s Friday Q&A.

Affiliates Add Value By Helping Searchers

If I was to put up a website and plaster it with banner ads that pointed to Amazon, I would not be making a worthy contribution to the lives of internet browsers. In this case, people would be better off just visiting Amazon directly.

When you’re doing affiliate marketing the right way, you’re helping people searching on Google and other search engines to answer questions that they might have before they make an investment.

Let’s take for example, Amazon’s flagship tablet, the Kindle Fire. If you wanted to buy one of these, you would just go directly to Amazon and get one.

After all, Amazon does a great job selling their tablet, with ads on television, magazines, social media, informative product pages and even videos and reviews from buyers.

However most internet searchers don’t search this way especially when their mind isn’t made up about something.

People search for reviews from experts, comparisons with other similar products, unboxing videos, price comparisons with other sellers, compatibility issues with stuff they already own or need and lots of other things they need to know before they buy.

Here’s a scenario in which an affiliate could add value and get a searcher to click his affiliate link instead of having the searcher go directly to Amazon.

Madge wants the new Ipad tablet.

She’s never had an Apple product before but she owns several Android devices. She’s heard of the Kindle Fire before but never really paid much attention to it.

After doing a Google search she runs across an article online titled “Forget the Ipad. Here’s 12 Reasons Why You Should Get the Kindle Fire Instead”.

She reads through the article, that compares features of the Ipad with those of the Kindle Fire and reads about additional benefits of owning a Kindle Fire that appeals to her. She decides that she doesn’t need the Ipad after all.

At the end of the article she is presented with an affiliate link to check out the Kindle Fire on Amazon.

In this scenario, the blogger was knowledgeable and came across as an expert so it was easy to trust him. After reading the article it was easier to click on the link provided than to open a new browser tab and search for a Kindle Fire on Amazon.

Outcome: Amazon gets a new Kindle Fire sale. Madge gets a tablet she loves and the blogger gets a percentage of the sale from Amazon. Everyone wins.

Here’s another scenario where an affiliate might add value and get a commission.

Christmas is just around the corner and Pete needs to get something for his mom. He doesn’t know what to get her so he does a search on Google for ideas.

One headline catches his eye: “Ten Great Gifts for Techie Moms this Christmas”

He checks it out and gets a list of 10 great gifts he hadn’t thought about.

He settles on two that he thinks his mom would love. Some great bluetooth speakers for when she’s doing yoga and a Kindle Fire tablet from Amazon. He clicks the links for both but decides on getting the latter.

In this scenario, the blogger provided a service with his gift guide and advised Pete on some gifts he could get his mom. Pete got a great suggestion and his mom got a great gift at Chistmas. The blogger got a percentage of the sale from Amazon. Again, everyone wins.

Affiliate Marketing Is the Business of Helping

This is the reason affiliate marketing works and why even the big brands need it.

Once it is done right, affiliate marketing is a great business model that can generate income comparable to many offline, brick and mortar businesses.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to add value to people’s lives by providing supplementary information on products available on places like Amazon and other big brand sites.

If you asked yourself this question and found this answer helpful, maybe you’re looking into building an affiliate marketing business yourself. To better understand how you can leverage the earning power of affiliate marketing, you can learn how the process works and even put it into practice by building your own affiliate marketing business using the training available through this training website ran by two millionaire affiliates from Canada.

The site has been around since 2005 and I’ve been a member since January 2007. It has helped me to understand affiliate marketing and I credit this site with helping me to quit my job in 2009 so that I could run my affiliate business full time from home.

Check out the review I wrote and if you have a question for next Friday’s Q&A, please leave it in the comments or email me using the contact page.

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